Too old to learn a new trick?

While I didn’t specifically want to refer to myself as a dog (!!), I do wonder if it is too late for me.

Taking voluntary redundancy and giving up my stressful-but-confidence-boosting career to be a stay at home mum has been harder than I thought. I’m used to being able to have a good old snark about whomever at work was annoying me, but I can’t really do that when my kids’ incessant ‘Mammy can I have…?’ , ‘Mammy can I have…?’ all day every day starts to creep under my skin. The guilt really is huge. My poor husband has developed ears of steel – effective barriers to my crazed psycho rantings that cannot be unloaded on anyone else due to the gush of guilt and betrayal I would feel.

So, I took up writing…not as an outlet, but as an inlet…to give a sense of self and confidence a place to surge in…tidal waves welcome. Yes while I love being a mother, and I love my children so much it physically hurts, I need to keep grounded and keep being me.

It’s not going to make me any kind of decent monthly income, more like ‘pin money’ as they used to call it in my grandmother’s day…just enough to keep you in essentials.

I’ve been doing white label stuff, meaning other people get to put their name on it. I get about $15 per 500 words. Sounds kinda comfy, except I have to spend a lot of time researching what goes into those 500 words, so one article could take me all afternoon. Especially as my children are all ‘Mammy can I have…?’ .

Every.Single.Afternoon.

In my career I did IT system architecture, which sounds way posher than it is. In fact I felt somewhat of a cuckoo in the nest, seeing as I have a degree in languages of the French kind and not of the programming kind. I wouldn’t even be able to write HTML on this page.

My talent seemed to be telling business people how they should design a system or an online experience to be brilliant, and a keen eye for predicting problems, anticipating weak points and spotting flaws in developer designs. It made people trust my judgement which motivated me not to let them down and always do my best.

Now, I know, I could not get an architecture job again. I had worked into that position through several others after more than a decade in the same company. Now though, as a new candidate, with no reputation to precede me, employers see a great CV but an enigma sitting in front of them.

How did she do that job?

She has no formal IT qualification??

She can’t program???!!

I recently did some writing for a Miami based web design company for their own blog. I find I do this quite a bit and to be honest it strikes me as quite hilarious. Lots of web design and social media management companies are hiring out freelancers like me to write content for ***their own websites*** which they need made SEO friendly as they don’t know how and they don’t know how to write content. All fur coat and no knickers springs to mind. Selling services to clients that they cannot even do for themselves seems quite ambitious to me!! (It’s not a time issue, I have talked with them.) That being said, fair play for making a go of something and not letting anything get in their way.

So, this reckless entrepreneurial spirit combined with the topics my client was asking for…such as Best Principles in UX Design, How To Do a UX Audit etc, had me doing my research and… along the way I discovered I would actually LOVE to be a UX Designer.

It perfectly combines what I did in my old job with what I am good at and what I have an interest in …being great at my job (whatever that actually ends up being, I want to be great at it) or giving people what they want, be that giving a company a fabulous UX design on their website or giving a customer an easy online experience or my family a quirky gift I know they will love, or a homeless man a sandwich.

The question is now…am I too old? I’m 33. It would take me a year to do a course in Digital Design (which I am about to sign up for). I would probably only get hired as a junior, if at all in the future when I have to go back to work (which I’m hoping is at least 2 years away).

Back to the entrepreneurial spirit now for a moment…could I combine my love for writing web copy, articles and content with new digital design skills and…become my own boss with MY OWN web design company??!!

Dare I dream it??

Well yes I do…dream anyway…but I’m not sure I could turn it into a reality or if I am too old to make a go of this. Have I / Would I have enough talent and experience? I wish I had a crystal ball.

Any words of inspiration?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Will write for electricity!

On your marks, get set, WRITE!…or not…

So I’m trying to make a living as a freelance writer. Well ‘make a living’ is probably stretching it a bit. Well actually it’s totally stretching it. Think Loom Band type stretching. I’m trying to pay my electricity bill by doing some freelance writing.

As a relative newbie, it really doesn’t seem to pay that much. Being a freelance writer seems to be the one contradiction of the supply and demand rule. Yes there are endless freelancers. But there is equally an endless supply of jobs. Many of which go unanswered.

It gets frustrating when people want an intermediate or expert level of writing and have set their budget at less than $20 for 1000 words of well researched content.

Sometimes I just want to send those clients with $5 budgets a message just to tell them how ultimately shit their attitude to freelance writers is. I mean, come on. Meanwhile they have ‘expert required’ selected as their required writer level. If you offered to pay your cleaner $5 for the visit, how much help do you think you would get? I face palm every time I see it. My eyeballs are actually getting sore from all the rolling.

I know they can get cheap writers in Asia – let’s name no specific countries here – but mostly those are not native English speakers. You only end up paying someone else to proofread and edit it.

On top of that the platform I use takes a juicy 20% off most of my earnings…thanks lads.  Then I pay fees to get the actual money to me. So yeah, financially rewarding it is NOT.

I don’t write just for money. It’s my way of keeping my brain active, my way of asserting some mental and financial independence. It is draining though;  my perfectionist self won’t let me churn out crap and yet I spend far too long doing research, reading and rereading. So the money earned is negligible against the time invested. /Sigh/

Nonetheless I think – no I feel – that I must continue. I need it. I open up my content articles and I read them and I feel proud, because the quality is great. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have so many repeat clients across so many different industries.

I’ve edited novels. I’m working with startups. I’ve done content for web design companies, asset management companies, florists, service app creators, social media management companies, tech product reviews, parenting blogs and more.

I think it might be time to invest in myself though. I have to raise the rates and put a price and a value on my own time.

Even if that means I never get another job again (which is quite likely because everyone seems so damn cheap).

What’s that? … oh the electricity company is calling me again…