The Lady Programmer – Gem

Story by Gem – The Lady Programmer

Doing Full-time Freelance Business as a Single Parent

Being a work-at-home mom is not really what I had planned in life. I had studied in a good school, earned an engineering degree and gained some work experiences in IT and electronic companies. Never in my life did I realize that I would choose freelance web designer as my career.

I left my previous work a year ago in search for a job that will give me better compensation. While I was applying to jobs in my place, I was invited by a friend to do writing jobs. I accepted that job so that I could earn some pocket cash. Soon, I got my first payment and I was happy with it. It was not too long when I discovered that is possible to earn good income online.

Eventually I realized that those writing jobs are really those short SEO articles that are published over several blogs. Soon, I started my own blogs where I was able to earn some decent income writing paid reviews. I learned what Google PR, Alexa rank and Technorati authority – something that I never learned when I was an IT specialist in one of my previous jobs.

Starting out a freelance career

As I was blogging, a friend recommended me to check out online freelance jobs. I signed up at some of them and started bidding on jobs. I got frustrated at the beginning because I got one rejection after another. Clients prefer to hire freelancers who had work histories to show and a good portfolio to boast.

I decided to learn about the freelance trade for a few weeks. I read all I can about how to be a successful freelancer. I had to change my mindset – I began to adapt how entrepreneurs think. Freelancing is a big business that is managed by a single person.

Soon a client gave me a break at my very first assignment. I had accomplished that assignment after a few hours and gained a good feedback. It was not long before I had offers to work on assignments. At one point, I found myself juggling two freelance assignments. I am pretty much relieved that I was able to do a step forward: I am not a struggling freelancer anymore. At present, my earnings are pretty much the same as when I was still working as an employee but I see the potential of earning more online.

At times when there no freelance gigs to do, I spend that vacant time doing mockups, learning new skills and plenty of blogging. I am presently trying to minimize the habit of earning from sponsored posts and instead, earn from Adsense by trying to learn how to optimize pages for SEO. The same SEO skill is also the one that I can use for clients who prefer to have their websites optimized for the search engines.

The Freelance Life

My work hours for doing freelancing are constantly changing. Sometimes I would work until the wee hours of the morning. At other times I work at daytime. The work hours is depends on the job. My clients come from various locations – most are in US, but I have clients in UK, Australia and even within my country. One thing that I cannot change is the time that I had to spend on helping my kid in her schoolwork. I also allot my weekend time to spend time with my kid.

This arrangement is a lot different when I was still working for companies. Most companies have that lousy 48-hour work week arrangement. This is unlike other countries like the US where the typical work week is only at 40 hours. That 48-hour work week does not even count the overtime hours that a typical Filipino worker is required to render.

Most of my offline friends think that I am lonely at home and just sit on my computer for hours doing work. They are wrong. The office cubicle gave way to a makeshift home-office, and my officemates are replaced by online friends from various social networks and forums. Corporate parties are replaced by EB meets with Filipino bloggers. Most importantly, overtime hours are replaced with those precious times that I spend with my kid.

Gem is a freelance web designer and a single parent. Her main blog, The Lady Programmer, speaks her innate passion on technology and freelance. She also shares her personal opinions and life experience in The Single Parent Talks.

Filed under Mompreneurs Story #

Comments on The Lady Programmer – Gem Leave a Comment

March 4, 2009

TedWahler @ 11:19 am #


You are an inspiration to everyone not only Work Wt Home Moms (and Dads) in this tough global economic times. You took stock of your situation, identified your priorities, researched the options, and carved a path to self determination. Thank you for your inspirational story. Keep up the great work for yourself and for your family.

Be well

March 5, 2009

Pastilan @ 4:43 pm #

The Lady Programmer rocks!

Being your own boss is the best job that one could have, that’s what makes freelancing very nice.

I have attempts at freelancing too but my day job gets in the way. My oDesk account is dormant :(

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