Very excited about today’s Amazing Women I Know post. Jessica and I were connected through her husband on a Linked In post a couple months ago. We instantly hit it off as freelancing moms who are working to find balance between career, family and life. On our first phone call, I was struck by how quickly she had figured it out and how level-headed she approached work and kids. (For those of you who know me well, it’s something I’m constantly struggling with, so Jessica has been a huge encouragement in my life.)
Jessica is smart, accomplished and driven - but most of all, she is an amazing mom who has figured out how to have flexibility so that she can give her all at work and give her all at home. For those of you looking for balance, she has some great advice for how to go about freelancing and launching your own business. I hope you enjoy reading this post as much as I did!
Name: Jessica Dumont
Hometown: Roseville, California (a suburb of Sacramento)
Occupation: Freelance content writer/editor. Prior to freelancing, I spent about 10 years in public relations roles at agencies and corporations. [Editor’s Note: Yep, she’s a boss.]
What motivated you to start your own freelancing career? I was inspired to go freelance because I knew it would give me the opportunity to call my own shots and manage my own schedule, as well as to pursue projects and activities that I was most passionate about. I come from an entrepreneurial family, and I always knew I’d go out on my own someday when the time was right. [Editor’s Note: LOVE this. The passion piece is so critical when it comes to finding the right balance between work and home.]
How do you balance your responsibilities as a mom and as a business owner? My secret weapons are keeping my kids in childcare and good time management. While many freelancers work from home with their kids home too, I have always prioritized childcare and I treat my freelance gig like a full-time job. Keeping the two separate is the best way I can manage motherhood and work – and, ultimately, I can generate more income this way.
When my kids are at preschool, I am super driven and focused to handle any and all work needs. Once I’ve completed my work, if there’s time left over before picking up my daughters, I use the time to prep dinner, do a load of laundry, or run a couple errands. This makes it possible for me to stay totally focused on my girls when they are home with me. [Editor’s Note: I’m taking notes. I definitely need to up my childcare time.]
What would you say to another mother who is looking to go out and create a more flexible career? I would encourage any other mom to take the leap to a flexible career – it is so incredibly rewarding! I would also say, however, before making the change, there are a few key elements to success that I have learned along the way:
Have a very clear idea of what your service or product is. This will make it easier for you to gain clients and customers, and it will ensure you hit the ground running.
Carve out specific times for work. This will ensure you accomplish what you need to each day, and it keeps some separation between “mom” and “professional.”
Remember, you’re the boss! Don’t be afraid to turn down work that isn’t a good fit, and think like CEO when it comes to how you operate day to day. It can be easy to let clients or customers run you ragged if you don’t set parameters. [Editor’s Note: These are all amazing pieces of advice! Take note moms, you CAN do it - just stay focused.]
Let's talk about the myth of being it all, doing it all and having it all. How have you adjusted in various seasons of your life? I think the biggest adjustment to life as a mom and a career-driven woman has been changing my vision of what “all” means. In my early career years, I planned to be a vice president at a public relations firm by 30 years old. Then I had my first daughter at 28. My feelings changed really quickly from there, and it took me a while to figure out what my new vision was. It turns out that I do still want a stellar career, but I’ve had to let go of the expectation of what it would look like. That’s not to say I can’t jump back into a company a few years from now when my kids are older, but at this moment in time, with the type of presence I want in their lives, it would not be the right fit for me.
Now that I am almost two years into freelancing, I am more fulfilled than I ever would have been climbing those ranks for titles and salary. The work I do is work I love, and I do it without feeling like I am missing out on anything with my kids. I know I don’t have it “all” and that there are areas of my life where I wish I was better or stronger, but I have a lot, and I am completely OK with that. I know there will be a time and a place for everything. [Editor’s Note: Jessica, you are so WISE!]
And last fun question - what's your favorite meal/thing to share with your kids? Favorite meal to share: Pizza! We are all huge pizza lovers, and it’s so fun and easy for a Friday night or a weekend lunch. (My husband is less enthusiastic about the amount of pizza we consume!)
Favorite “thing” to share: A love of reading. My girls adore reading, and so do I. We are fortunate to have lots of trips to the library, and we read as a family every night before they go to bed.