How I quit my office job, spend more time with my kids and still make money
Written by: Christina Sidoti
My family was blessed with a beautiful baby girl in June 2016. I returned to work three months after she was born. My husband and I had the mentality of “divide and conquer.” I went to work before they were awake, and my husband awoke with our daughter in the morning, got her ready and off to our nanny share.
In the afternoon, we did the opposite. I hated missing breakfast with my sweet girl, but I knew this was what our hectic schedules called for. When I became pregnant with my second child last year, the thought that kept running through my mind was, How are the logistics of life and work going to happen with two children? I knew our current system wouldn't fit in with our new life.
I have always been a person who deeply enjoys work; it gives me validation that nothing else does. My background is in physical therapy, and at the time, I was treating and running the backend operations of a clinic. I knew in my heart it was time to leave but I wanted to continue to make money (I love you Chicago but you are expensive). I needed a change but didn’t know how to get there, so I sought out a life coach. Coaching helped me examine my blindspots and realize that helping didn’t have to mean healthcare and a job didn’t have to mean “in an office.”
Through coaching and a lot of research, I found freelancing. Like most people I thought, I don’t have any skills that would translate... and I don’t know how to start a business! Through an online course that I purchased, I learned how to assess my own skills and start building a business in small, manageable pieces. In order to figure out what I might be good at, I asked for input from friends, family, and former co-workers. After narrowing down that list, I started looking at the types of freelancing or virtual jobs that were possible. Social media management, Pinterest expert, online business management, podcast editor, copywriter, website designer are just a few of the jobs I came across during my research. There is an entire online world of people I had no idea about doing these jobs from the comfort of their homes.
After thinking about my skills assessment and the jobs I felt like best matched my skills, I decided on virtual business management, strategy and operations. I help small business owners complete all the backend tasks that take up their time while looking for ways I can help them make things more efficient, create procedures and strategizing for growth. All these tasks come from the skills assessment I did and feel natural to me because of my background.
The next part of the journey was to find clients. This was the scariest part for me because I am not sales-y. The course I completed gives many different ideas on ways to find, pitch and land clients including Facebook groups, cold pitching, and utilizing friends and family to create a network. The best clients I have landed in these last few months have been connections of my inner circle.
I have been in business for four months now. In that time, I have built my website (with blood, sweat and tears), served five clients, and continue to walk through this personal mindset transformation. The freedom that freelancing has afforded me has been the most valuable gift. Now instead of getting on the El alone at 5:30am, I start my day by kissing my newborn, waking my daughter up, and having breakfast as a family of four.
You can find Christina in Logan Square with her husband, daughter and newborn having impromptu kitchen dance parties, walking their 4-legged first-born, Luca, or ordering take out from the hundreds of great restaurants in their ‘hood. She is a virtual business manager and the owner of CS Driven.
The NPN blog gives voice to our members' thoughts about parenting in the city, and the views expressed don't necessarily reflect our own. Want to write for us? Email email@example.com with your topic ideas.
Posted on September 24, 2019 at 4:44 PM