Can the Working Woman “Have It All” When It Comes to Work/Life Balance?
Many AWAI members find that freelancing offers the opportunity to have a thriving and high-paid career, as well as a flexible schedule for plenty of family and personal time.
In the corporate world women are often forced to make a choice between a career and family, and are often paid less than their male co-workers to boot. Among recent college grads, women make only 82% of what men do, according to a recent study by the American Association of University Women.
But there is a great equalizer when it comes to women finding a work/life balance and getting paid what they deserve: a career as a freelancer.
Jacksonville, Florida resident Cindy Cyr is a freelance copywriter. (Copywriting is advertising writing used to promote products and services online through web pages, sales emails, and social media, as well as offline through sales letters, brochures, and other media.)
“My experience has been that I not only cut out the commute, giving me more time, but I’m able to manage my schedule better than when I worked for someone else,” says Cindy. “I’m able to attend all my kids' activities and travel more. I also make a much greater income than when I was in corporate America.”
Cindy has used her freelance flexibility to run not just her own writing business but also help get her son's burgeoning music career off the ground. She's able to dedicate 20 hours a week to this effort, and travel around the country for events, concerts, and meetings with him.
“I like being able to role model to my children a strong, successful woman who is also there for her family. That is the most unique part for me too. My kids can see first-hand what I do, what it takes and then I can stop right in the middle of the day to sit and talk with them and be fully present.”
Her best tips for women planning a move into the freelance world?
“I think the secret ingredient to optimal work/life balance is having a plan and letting your family know what your plan is so you’ll get the support you need to stick to it,” says Cindy. “Include family in your daily routine and above all treat your business like a business. Set boundaries that you communicate to your family, friends, and clients so they will treat your business like a business too.”
Fellow American Writers & Artists Institute member Mindy McHorse loves her writing business but knows life isn't all about work. With young kids at home, she values the time during each day she's able to devote to them during their early years – without having to put a career on hold.
“As my kids get older, my work/life needs are bound to change, and I'll probably be able to fit more work time in because they'll need me less,” says Mindy. “But right now, I don't have to choose between family and work. No sacrifice needed on either end.”
Of course, work/life balance is also possible as an employee of a business in the right circumstances.
American Writers & Artists Institute not only works with many female freelancers and counts women as a majority of its membership, it also has women in all the top management positions. Co-Managing Partner Rebecca Matter works from her home office, which allows her the flexibility to spend time with her growing family.
“I run a successful publishing company alongside my partner Katie Yeakle, have an 18-month daughter who I adore, and spend lots of time with, and have a very close relationship, with my loving husband Jeremy. And I'm getting ready to have baby #2 in July!” says Rebecca. “I truly believe that my professional success – and that creative outlet where I get to just be me – allows me personally to be a better mom and a better wife.”
Three women who've found work/life balance. It's thanks to a profession and industry that supports flexible schedules and doesn't punish anyone for valuing family time and a personal life just as much as their career.
For a glimpse at some of the ideal freelance careers for those in search of work/life balance go here: www.awai.com/careers.
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