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Life as a Freelance Editor

life as a freelance editor
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Before my daughter was born I would insist that I would definitely go back to the office as an online editor on a full-time basis. Wow, how things change once you see that special little face staring up at you. Becoming a parent definitely puts life into perspective. Some people relish the thought of going back to a normal working life, or they simply have no other option when it comes to keeping a grip on their finances.

I was lucky that I trained as a journalist, which is a career that offers great flexibility for a working parent. As a self-confessed control freak I didn’t feel comfortable handing my baby over to someone else for five days – especially with such high childcare costs in London. I relished the thought of balancing work and quality time with my daughter and felt that part-time work would be the best solution.

life as a freelance editorThe end of maternity leave

There were lots of things that scared me about being back in the workplace – returning to a newly located office when my daughter was 10 months’ old made it feel like a whole new job, as well as readjusting a new team, new desk, new rules and a new computer system. But on the flip side, I had great enjoyment in feeling my brain ticking again, finishing a hot drink, going out for lunch on my own and reading a newspaper from start to finish!

In reality, things were very different. There were lots of friendly faces, but I probably wasn’t as missed as much I thought I would be. Within three weeks of being back at work I felt as if I was in a much more junior role and I wasn’t being given the same responsibilities. I know I could have spoken up and I would have been listened to, but deep down that it felt like the right time to become self-employed.

With a commute of an hour-and-a-half each way, this also became a sticking point. I prayed that my daughter wouldn’t need picking up early too often, but little did I know that when babies first start nursery they can get one cold after another… and this is exactly what happened.

Preparing to enter the freelance world

I had three months’ notice to work in order to avoid paying back maternity benefits. This gave me a good amount of time to prepare for my new venture working as a content editor and journalist and meant that I managed to secure my first editing job before I left.

My evenings changed from watching TV, or the occasional night out, to designing and developing my own website for potential clients. I thrived on being busy and having a focus and sense of excitement about what may lie ahead, rather than feeling demotivated in my job.life as a freelance editor

Support from friends and family

Friends and family were incredibly supportive of my decision to go it alone – it became obvious to anyone I spoke to that my creativity wasn’t being fulfilled and I was quickly losing confidence in my abilities. Once I’d made the decision to leave it wasn’t long before I started to get that ‘buzz’ back and I was brimming with ideas.

There were days when I doubted myself, yet a bad day would soon be balanced out by a good day after receiving a promising phone call or email, or on even better days when I had work confirmed.

Juggling work and parenthood

In the beginning it was a struggle to work out how much I could fit into a three-day week. I often took on too much as I was scared to say no and be seen as inefficient, but at the same time I learnt a lot from being too keen to show clients how quickly I could work. As a result, I have now become far more confident in explaining what I can do in a certain amount of time.

My clients range from small businesses to entrepreneurs, large national charities and global agencies. One of the things I have learnt is that, on the whole, being a freelancer or working part-time is of no interest to my clients in regards to what days I work or don’t work. All they want to know is that I can do the job when I say I can, that I do it to a good standard and that I show initiative.

I was recently interviewed by a third year PR and Journalism student and my advice to her was to make sure she always stays in touch with people she meets along the way and to keep Tweets clean!  You just never know when paths may cross in the future.

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About Julia Faulks

About Julia Faulks

Julia Faulks is a content editor and journalist with 11 years' experience writing and subbing editorial for a number of publications. Now a mother herself, she has turned her hand to writing content for parents as well as young people and likes nothing more than turning long and complicated copy into something that everyone can understand.

Website: Julia Faulks

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