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Thursday, 15 December 2016

Children Changing Careers p:19 - Chloe from Life Unexpected

Chloe from Life Unexpected on her career change after having children

Welcome to part 19 of the blog series 'Children Changing Careers' - A series for parents who have pulled off a career change after having children.

This week's post features Chloe from Life Unexpected

Here is her career changing story...

Chloe from Life Unexpected

Tell me about your life, background and career before children? 

Hello, I’m Chloe. I’m a freelance writer, social media manager and blogger. I live in a beautiful little seaside town in Cornwall, with my very cute and chatty two year old called Evie.

Before I had my daughter, I had quite a varied working background. Ever since I was a little girl, I always wanted to be a writer. When I was 18, I applied to University, opting for a creative writing degree. But, due to very low self-esteem and lack of confidence (writing involves a lot of rejection), I last minute switched my application and ended up getting degree in Music Entertainment and Live Event Management.

I graduated just before my 21st birthday and then spent the next five years hopping from career to career. I spent a bit of time working in the music industry in London, predominantly in the marketing sector. But, I soon found myself leaving and heading back to the South-West, where I worked in a number of different jobs, ranging from retail, to hospitality, to social media.

When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I was working as a social media and event manager in a bar back in my hometown, in Cornwall. My days were spent both managing the staff training, co-ordinating events and running the social media accounts. At the same time, I helped out behind the bar and on the restaurant floor.

Did you return to your job/position after your maternity? 

After maternity leave, I returned to my old job for about two months. Although I really enjoyed working again, I knew that the job wasn’t for me. I loved running the social media accounts and growing the companies online audience, but I really hated doing the rest of it.

While I was on maternity leave, I happened to start a blog. I found myself writing to an audience who were actually enjoying what I had to say. I was also in-turn building a social media presence for myself, and loved the creativity the blog involved.

What were your reasons for leaving your previous career? Why did you decide not to stay?

I knew that the job, just like every other previous job, wasn’t for me. I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but I had crippling fear of failure and complete lack of confidence.

Having my daughter was a huge change on my life. She was very unexpected, but at the same time this unexpectedness taught me so much. Having a child, when that was never on the cards, is very scary. I knew after having her, that nothing would ever be as tough as suddenly becoming responsible for another person and such a precious life. I also wanted her to grow up, with the belief that she could do anything she wanted. How could I pass that on to her, if I didn’t believe it for myself?

So, I made the leap into turning my writing dream into a reality and started to try to monetise my blog. At the same time I started finding freelance writing and social media jobs.

Chloe and her daughter - life unexpected

Tell me about your new career now: 

Now I am a freelance writer, a freelance social media manager and a blogger. I didn’t need to re-train, but I am constantly learning.

Blogging started out as my hobby, but after a while I started to make a part-time income from it. I also used this as my portfolio when I applied for my first freelance writing and social media jobs. Now I do all three roles alongside each other and I tend to find a lot of my freelance clients, via my blog.

When I left my job, I did it without having any work set up. I was really lucky, that at the time of changing career, I had the option to move to my mums for a little while, till I got on my feet. I knew I’d potentially be working for free, while I built up my portfolio, but we couldn’t afford our house, on one wage. Evie’s Dad really encouraged me though and we all moved to my mums together

Talk me through an average day for you now? How much has your life changed?

My life has changed drastically. I absolutely love my working day and I am so grateful that I get to wake up and do something that I am passionate about.

I have two very different average days. I co-parent with Evie’s Dad, as we are no longer together. She spends half of her time with me and half with him.

On the days I have Evie, an average day involves me doing one hour of work first thing in the morning when we wake up. Then I work again when she is in bed, between 7pm and 11pm.

On a day I don’t have Evie, I work all day long and all evening, taking out an hour in the day to go to the gym for ‘me time’.

My work tasks vary everyday. One day I could be out and about taking photos of products, or I could be sat in writing posts, negotiating with brands, updating social media accounts, networking and planning my work for the month.

What is the best and worst thing about your new career?

There are so many amazing things about my new career. Most importantly, is that I now get to choose working hours that fit in with my daughter. Another favourite part is that I can work from anywhere, which was really incredible when we had the opportunity to go to Europe for the month as a family.

I love that I can pick and choose what work I do and I can take on as much or as little as I want. I also get complete creative freedom, especially with the blogging aspect of my job. I never know what is going to be in my inbox and I love writing posts, curating my editorial calendar and shooting beautiful images.

The worst thing, is that it can be hard to find work. You never know if you’re going to get enough to pay this months bills. Luckily, I’m now in the stages where I’ve built up enough contacts and ongoing contracts to not be worried, but there are still times when it can be a little scary.


Chloe and Evie Life Unexpected

Is there anything you miss about your previous career/life before children?

I miss the social side of my previous career. Freelancing can be very lonely. I have a few Facebook groups that I’m apart of. These are full of other people doing the same jobs as me. I love dipping in and out of these groups and socialising with the people in them. Everyone is so supportive and it’s so nice to talk to people who understand your job.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to do what you have done?
I couldn’t recommend freelancing enough. If you’ve always dreamt of running your own business or freelancing, then definitely do it. Just make sure that you have a little financial safety net to fall back on, for times when work might be dry.

Do lots of research first and start building yourself a portfolio. Don’t forget to spread the word to everyone you know, about what you are doing. You never know, who could be a potential client.

Chloe - Life Unexpected blog

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