Burning Questions Asked of a Freelancing Mama – Will You Show Me How?

To continue in my (very short) series of common questions asked of a freelancing mom, I’ll now reveal my true personality. It’s not very pretty – really, I know that. But this mom isn’t really that soft and gentle when she’s not dealing with her own children.

It’s the most common question asked of freelance writers around the world that gets under my skin.

“Will you show me how to do what you do?”

Answer: Probably not.

Why? Because, quite simply, if I have to show you how to do it, you probably won't end up doing it. There. I said it.

Granted, there are plenty of tricks to the trade and I can help you build a business if you’re really serious about getting started, but it’s my experience that about 95% of the people, stay-at-home moms included, who ask me to show them the way don’t really mean it, don’t have the business sense to make it work or think it’s just a fun little hobby that happens to pay pretty well. They don’t even blog. They've never posted a comment. Some have no clue what a forum or blog is. And I just don’t have time to keep telling the world how to do what to do if they aren’t going to actually do it.

If you’re the 5% that’s huffing and offended right now, I commend you for being serious about this. And for that 5%, I’ll give you some real tips from one mama to another.

Plenty of mothers, especially those that stay home, are looking for ways to earn a few extra bucks without sacrificing time with their children. This is why the WAHM forums are full of moms working for pennies on projects here and there. They just want a bit more spending money. Pocket money is one thing, but a full-blown career is something else. Getting from one point to the next is not a matter of landing better gigs – it’s a full mentality shift.

When another person asks me how to get started or how to get her daughter or son started writing online, I used to try to give everyone tips and pointers. I’ve written tomes of emails that rival some ebooks and tried to point out the dos and don’ts of getting started online. Now, for the most part, I’ve given up doing all of that. When someone asks me to teach them what I do, I just give them my email address and ask them to email me when they want to talk about setting up a professional online presence and building a portfolio. Of the dozens of emails I’ve given out, I’ve gotten exactly NO inquiries. Go figure.

That being said – I’ve helped more than a few budding writers over IM strangely enough. Maybe that’s the litmus test I need for finding someone serious about writing online. If they have IM, or PM, for that matter, they are far enough along to need help – not a career coach.

Building a writing career is not simple. There are wonderful ways to write as a hobby online and plenty of moms (and others) do exactly that. But regardless of offspring, there only seem to be a handful of people who are serious about building a career in writing. The minute someone serious comes along, this work-at-home (and work-away-from-home) mama will certainly help, especially another mom who’s looking for a way to afford staying home with her kids during the day. Hey, I’m certainly not heartless. I’m just tired of shelling out my career secrets for someone who struggles to pull up Internet Explorer for something other than Facebook games.

If a mom or anyone else isn’t willing to take the first step, she just isn’t serious enough for me. Working at home might seem frivolous to the outside observer, but when there are twenty-four hours in a day and you’re working your not-so-little butt off all but seven of them, you just don’t waste time on those who don’t have the stamina or risk-taking nature to give it a real go.

Will I help someone serious about learning to write professionally? Absolutely! Will I hold their hand and give them an illustrated guide to how the world of web writing works? Probably - but only if they are savvy and dedicated enough to take the first step. Email me if I give you my address. Research the topic the same way you research how to make salt dough ornaments. Google it for goodness sake! If you can't do that - you'll never have the chops to make it.

Now I’m off to write loving notes to tuck into the lunchboxes of my little angels.

Profile image for Rebecca Garland
Rebecca is a full-time everything. She teaches English and reading to her much loved, if challenging, high school students during the day and is a freelance education writer in the evenings. With almost ten years in the classroom and advanced degrees in business and information science, Rebecca specializes in materials that inform, educate and entertain. Rebecca indulges herself by pretending to have spare time and writing about the ups and downs of being a freelancing mama whenever she gets a chance.

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1 thought on “Burning Questions Asked of a Freelancing Mama – Will You Show Me How?”

  1. I’ve had this same experience, Rebecca; very recently in fact. Running a business full-time, marketing my services and caring for four kids doesn’t leave me a lot of time for people wasting my time because they want a guaranteed blueprint for easy writing success.

    There is quite a bit of FREE information out there if people would take the time to investigate and do a bit of research (valuable skills for freelance writers, don’t you think?).

    That said, I don’t mind answering questions from those who are getting started and are putting forth a real effort.


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