The choice to work from home where we can Mother our children while pursuing our
career and business interests is becoming an increasingly more
popular and more viable decision for many women.
For those women who have made the decision and succeeded --
we can all remember when we first started out. It seemed
impossible, didn't it? Please consider submitting a short
'testimonial' on your triumph in becoming a freelance
professional. We will post it here where it can serve as an
inspiration for many other Moms.
The "Eureka!"moment that
inspired my business came in the tub, just as it did for
Archimedes when he solved the problem of how to measure the
purity of gold in the Hiero's crown.
My office had been planning to convert its old
fossil database to Microsoft Access, and I'd taken on the job
of learning the software and implementing the project. That
required a lot of time outside of my regular work hours, but
I'd found it fun and challenging. My daughters were in
kindergarten and 2nd grade at the time, and one evening I had
the opportunity to take a bubble bath. Other moms will
understand the pleasure of it all: put Dad in charge, grab a
fun read, lock the door, and start the water. Maybe there was
even a glass of wine in the scene.
So there I was, reading and enjoying the bath,
when suddenly it hit me: "Phyllis! Look at what you're
reading. There's a message here!" And so there was. My "fun
read" was an Access software guide, and it was at that moment
that I decided to look into Access programming as a
I had an interesting job at the time. It paid
well, but the hours were beginning to feel less and less like
part time. In addition to my 30 hours per week, travel
requirements had slowly but surely been creeping up. With a
three or four day trip at least every six weeks, I was finding
it harder to balance life as a mom, wife, employee, and
community-minded person. With my girls now in school, lack of
flexibility was becoming a bigger issue. My boss was a great
guy in many ways, but he expected his salaried employees to
strictly keep their regular hours in spite of extra hours from
travel and other after-hours work.
My husband and I toyed with the idea of a career
change, and the moment of truth came a few months later. When
I seamlessly implemented the new Access database, it became
clear how little my boss valued all of the time and skill I
had used to move between database formats. With no clients and
only one Access project to my credit, I gave my notice. In
giving up the financial security of my job, I felt like I was
in a Beetle Bailey cartoon, leaping off the cliff and hoping
there would be a little bush to grab onto.
That little bush appeared, in the form of my
former supervisor, before I'd even left the job. Several years
before she had left the organization to head up a new project.
She called the office one day to say, "Hey, I hear that you've
recently established a new Access database. We need to upgrade
our database, and we were wondering if you knew someone who
could give us a hand." "Why, yes, as a matter of fact I do!"
responded one of my co-workers.
And so my business was off and running!
I've been reasonably busy - and sometimes too
busy - ever since. The flexibility of my new career has not
been without trade-offs. For example, vacations have strings
attached, since I never go out of town without my laptop
computer and I check at least once a day for messages from
customers in dire straits.
My success has been based on lots of luck
and hard work, excellent customer service, and a big dose of
chutzpah. Some people might think of computer work as dreary,
but I've felt everything from panic (when I think I may have
bitten off more than I can chew) to exhilaration (when I come
up with a great solution to an intractable problem). Best of
all is the satisfaction that comes from helping my clients
streamline their work and turn raw data into the information
they need to track history and efficiently plan for the
future. One grateful client even refers to me as "Phyllis the