From Jobless to Mompreneur: How I Took Charge of My Life and Built A Career After I became A Mom
I was jobless thirteen years ago. I'd gone from working two jobs a day to stay-at-home mom status. For some, being a SAHM is their ideal. And that's awesome. For them. For me? I worked relentlessly for so long that without something of my own, I lost my own identity to motherhood.
Suffering from major depression following the birth of our first child didn't help my lost sense of self. I was only able to piece myself back together once I regained my own identity.
How I Found My Career
To me (and you may disagree), a job is something you do. A career is something you have. And it doesn't necessarily mean doing one thing in a certain profession. It can mean doing many things within an industry. Again, on this we may disagree, and that's okay.
When I stepped into publishing I did so as an author. From there, I discovered a wonderful world of possibility. What else can I do in this magnificent, and fun, industry? I asked myself this every day, and I answered the question by researching other aspects of publishing besides 'author'.
Since I'm more of a creative type, I leaned toward graphic art. I YouTubed how to use Corel Paint Shop Pro (since I couldn't afford Photoshop). I downloaded a ton of free stock art to practice photo manipulation, lighting techniques, and color blending. Once I felt I had things down enough to create eye-catching art, I got to work as a freelance cover artist. Still not content, I also taught myself how to format books for digital and print publication.
A Professional Appearance
Given that I had extremely limited funds, I researched how to build a website because I couldn't afford to pay someone to do it for me. Honestly, though? Even if I did have the extra funds, I still would done it myself. Why? Because learning how to create a website was one more tool in advancing my career as a graphic artist.
From there, I built a free Wordpress blog. Instead of traditional posts, I used the platform as an online portfolio. Since I was marketing myself as an artist, I had to make sure my site showcased my work in a captivating, but professional, light. No way could I have a sloppy or crowded site. So, I spent over two weeks tweaking it until it looked just right.
Armed with a full portfolio featured on a sharp site, I drafted an introductory email. Since I already had a foot in the publishing door, I reached out to my fellow authors, editors, and even went directly to publishers to get a feel of who might be in need of my services. But... And this is Key... I never spammed anyone. I didn't send out a mass email. Rather, I put out feelers and targeted only people and companies who were seeking a graphic artist or book formatter.
It didn't take long for me to find work. But that was the easy part. The hard part was maintaining my position by being receptive to the needs of my clients and ensuring they were driving their projects.
In the End...
It doesn't matter the industry or profession you choose. What matters is setting your goal and being prepared to do the grunt work to get you where you want to be. It takes time and determination...and an armored hide because you will hit walls. You will experience setbacks. But, you learn from those obstacles by asking yourself:
- What could I have done differently?
- How can I improve myself?
Those two simple questions go a long way.
No matter what you set your mind to, hone your skills. Master each level before moving on. Always be on a path of improvement. The day you think you've learned it all is the day you limit yourself.
Look, there's no magic wand you can wave for instant success. It all about not being afraid to get dirty in order to achieve your goal.
For me, I wanted a career in publishing. I love every aspect of the industry. Although my dream had always been to be a New York Times bestselling author, I doubt that's in my future. But, that doesn't mean I can't be a part of publishing in other ways. I just had to find my place and do everything in my power to be excel where I fit in. It wasn't easy, and I sacrificed a lot to get here. But, in the end, it was worth it. I'm not just content with my career. I absolutely love what I do. But, if someone told me thirteen years ago I'd be working for a top NY publisher as something other than an author, I would have thought they were delusional. But, here I am, and I've never been happier. I found a way to have it all. A family. A career. And a solid sense of self.
If I can do it, so can you.