After being renters our entire lives, we just bought our first home.
It took almost 4 months from offer to closing, and while it was not planned to be simultaneous, I was also undergoing IVF at the exact same time.
Here’s the thing: Life happens.
Life continues moving forward no matter what you have going on.
So, while I was running and trying to grow my profitable writing and editing business, I was also calling 10 banks to discuss mortgage rates, finding and sending in multitudes of paperwork, finding a real estate lawyer, scheduling inspections and being there when it happened, going to weekly doctor’s appointments, taking a ton of new meds and experiencing (UGH) side effects, and getting procedures done and being away from work for several hours.
Now, being self-employed made this entire 4 months possible (for me).
I genuinely don’t think I could have managed to accomplish all of it in that time if I was constantly calling in late to work or needing time off.
At least being self-employed, I could call banks and schedule appointments in between planned client calls. I could do a lot of my work in the evenings or on weekends. I could be available to go to inspections and appraisals.
But no matter how busy I was in my personal life, work still needed to get done.
And on top of the existing work, I was feeling an extreme pressure to get more clients and make more money — after all, buying a home and IVF are both very expensive endeavors.
After about 3 months of going absolutely nonstop, I hit a wall.
Physically, emotionally, and mentally.
I got sick. I was exhausted. The internal pressure stressed me out to the point of headaches and tears.
It was time to get honest with myself.
I couldn’t do it all.
I DID for a while, but it eventually became too much.
I finally sat down with my husband and talked about how I feeling and all the pressure I was under (from myself!).
He looked at me like I was an idiot and asked why I was pushing myself so hard. He told me how much he recognized and appreciated all my hard work and offered to take some stuff off my plate and let him handle some stuff — that I was not alone in this process.
But biggest of all, he reminded me that we were fine. We ran the numbers. We weren’t going to be broke. We were and will be ok.
And that if I made less money for a couple months, we’d still be ok.
It was a revelation.
I grew up with all we needed and some of what we wanted. I started working at 15 and never stopped. I had scholarships in college along with jobs the entire time. I still graduated with some student debt — but not that much.
I moved to NYC and my first job here I was making $36k. In New York. That is insane.
My entire adult life has been trying to make sure I am not living paycheck-to-paycheck and without debt. I wasn’t always successful in that, but I got there eventually.
I have ALWAYS pushed myself to be the best, make more money, get promoted, be better, learn more.
It’s a point of pride for me that if I try my hardest, I truly believe I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. For the vast majority of things, this has proven to be true.
I have never once given myself permission to slow down or back off or work less or make LESS money.
I could slow down.
But I am at a place in my life and in my business that I could slow down a little.
Stop marketing myself and taking on new clients.
Just work with my current clients and work LESS.
So, that’s what I did.
For the first time since starting my business over two years ago, I intentionally slowed down. I worked less. I made less money.
And my stress levels went down.
I was able to get us the mortgage, go through all the medical procedures and appointments, do almost all the packing, find and schedule painters, movers, etc. Get the new place ready to move in (many small projects!).
We just moved in and now I am ready to ramp back up.
There is no paid time off when you are a freelancer.
Me working less and not looking for new clients over the last 60 days has certainly hurt my bottom line. I definitely made less money than previous months.
In fact, January 2019 has been my lowest-paid month since I started freelancing over two years ago!
And for the first time in my entire adult life, I am okay with that.
I had things I needed to do for myself and my family. Things that are making our lives better. Important things.
Now I am ready to get more clients and get back into the swing of full-time work.
I need to market my book writing course, How to Write a Book in 3 Months, which I am unbelievably proud of and excited to launch the second class.
I need to jump back on social media and market my writing and editing services.
I know what I need to do to find clients and I am going to jump right into it headfirst.
I just wanted to share my moment with you — the stress and pressure I put on myself to continue to grow and make more money, the inability to keep that up indefinitely, and giving myself permission to back off and have different priorities for a while.
There’s a YouTube video which goes along with this article!