I’ma take your freelance work.
No, for real, ask your blogging friends: Do they need my services?
~(admittedly) awful riff on Thrift Shop
I’ve been very careful and logical about this whole transition-to-freelancing thing. I’ve slowly been stepping down the day job, building up the freelance biz, juggling and hustling and working my little tail off to get myself to the place where Calling It Quits could (*cue angelic choir song here) become a doable and feasible reality.
And I’ve done pretty darn good so far, if I may say so myself.
I’ve kept food on the table. I’ve kept the biz growing—much faster than I could ever have hoped for. Things like doing the dishes may have become a standing joke of cosmic proportions in our household, but I’ve been doing what I need to to see that my little family of 4 (one husband, 2 dogs) is provided for while mommy launches her dream.
But eventually, any goal reaches its tipping point. And now is that tipping point.
On hand #1, we have a steady, reliable office job that pays me weekly and helps to keep things like groceries and electricity flowing into our house. It limits the time I can spend on my dream, yes, but with a mortgage and a family to look after, Responsible Me feels the need to keep these things coming.
On hand #2, we have a freelance biz that keeps growing and growing and has now reached the point where it needs more “me time” or it will level out until I may as well not have launched it in the first place. I can say “Meh, this close enough,” or I can say, “Yes, dream I’ve worked my arse off to realize, I am willing to give it the final go.”
Guess which hand is tipping?
The Exit Strategy
So, no, those of you wondering if my last cryptic post meant I was quitting the day job—you’re weren’t entirely right. But you were awfully damn close.
I haven’t given my notice yet, but I have, after many long discussions with myself, my husband, and the fates (who are all very encouraging) decided that I am officially launching my exit strategy. The countdown has begun. Fasten your seat belts, return your seat backs to their full and upright positions, and hold on, kids.
‘Cause shit’s about to get (even) real(er).
For those of you playing along at home, here are the factors that led to my decision that the ultimate Quit of Quits is within reach, and the steps I’ll be taking to make sure it is:
1. As aforementioned, I have hit the wall. There is no longer enough time or enough Cordelia left to spread between my office job, my freelancing, and managing my household single-handedly. (And by “managing,” I mean managing to keep juuust enough clothing clean that my husband and I don’t have to leave the house naked. That, literally, is the full extent of chores I am able to keep pace with around the house in the spaces left in my now 60-70 hour work weeks.)
I have a few new freelance projects in the application phase, and if I get them, I will definitely be past capacity. But even if I don’t, there is nowhere for my biz to go but backwards unless I start clearing out more lifespace for it. I have enough faith in my skillz and my hustle that, once said lifespace is cleared, I am confident I will find a way to bring in the extra work needed to keep it going, keep it going, keep it going full-time. (I’ve made a similarly scary leap before, facing the exact same uncertainties, and it led me to here.) And, I know enough to be also hedging my bets (see below).
If I don’t leap now, I may as well call the quits on my freelancing, because it can’t go any farther in its current state. (And neither can I.) And if you’ve been reading this blog…well, at all…then I think you know I am incapable of letting that happen.
2. I am selling my car. To fill the budget gap while I work to bring in extra business, and to cover any slow months starting out, I am selling my faithful 2004 Hyundai Elantra (“Mortimer,” in case you were wondering) to give myself a fall-back fund.
Being a one-car household is doable for us because the only places I drive anymore are to work and back. On the weekends and in the evenings, the husband always drives us in his car. Should something happen where I need to get somewhere while he’s at work? I look forward to walking more, actually. And if I need to get farther than my legs can take me, I will take the metro. Plenty of people make the sharing-a-car-thing work, and I’ve always kind of envied those people their frugality.
Should this sale go through before I’ve officially left the day job, I can, thankfully, catch a ride into work with Cordelia’s Mom).
3. In November, my credit cards will be paid off. I have done penance for my unspeakable stupidity as a young woman long enough. In November, I will be credit card debt free, and we will have an extra $420 in our monthly budget. At that point, the husband will enroll to pay down his cards, likely reducing the amount we spend per month on his payments (and making us a card-free household by the ages of 35!).
Have you heard my spiel on why you should never sell your future to debt? Read it again. I could have gotten to this point of freedom years ago if it weren’t for mine.
4. I am using my vacation days now. One, because I might as well use ’em while I’ve got ’em; and two, because I am in desperate need of a couple weeks to catch up on life and sanity in general. It will also give me a chance to try out a week of having my time for my own and to make a real push towards getting some new clients on board for the official exit.
5. Did I mention I can hustle my little tail off? All this considered and done, we’re still going to be a short of our current income once my notice is finally given and the Quit is Quitted. But, I am nothing if not a Hustler 4 Life, and therein lies the ultimate reason I am not as frightened as Responsible Me maybe ought to be about this leap.
It didn’t seem likely that I’d make a real go of this blog, given the sheer size of the blogosphere and the fact that my writing had lain dormant for years. But here we are. It didn’t seem likely I’d gain enough work from this blog to go down to Freelance Fridays, then part-time at the office gig—but I did, and so far the Cordelia fam is still fed and clothed and kept warm. I truly believe that opportunities come to you when you make room for them, especially when you’ve proven time and again that you will work like ever-loving hell to get and hold onto them.
I will never let us get to the point of being in trouble. I can always pick up more part-time work to fill in the gaps if needed, and I will do whatever it takes to keep us clothed and fed and kept warm. But, oh-so-much more importantly in the world of fighting for your dreams, the reason I’m making this leap in the first place is to enable me to give it my all 100% of the time. And if I’ve gotten this far slogging through 60-70 hour weeks, oh! the places I can go when I don’t have 25 of those hours tied to a desk with my brain turned off.
The places I can go when my brain and my time and my soul are entirely mine again…
Now Is When the Future Starts
Please excuse a little turbulence as we make our descent, but be assured that we are within landing range.
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