How I Doubled My Freelance Income — After a Baby Break

Business mom with child.By Alexandria Ingham

Taking a long absence makes it harder to come back.

After having my daughter, I decided to take some time off writing and focus on helping her during the first couple of months.

I loved the time that I got to spend with her, but eventually maternity leave ran out and I needed to get back to writing for a living.

I know many people struggle to come back after a long period away – I took nine months off! I’d read of many people going back to freelancing and having to accept a lower wage – or being worried about asking for more after the break.

I needed extra pay to cover all the extra costs I’d have with my daughter.

Here are the steps I took to get ready for my comeback:

Update Your Website (Or Create One!)

A couple of months before coming back, I made sure that the Internet was ready for me. Maternity leave in the UK allows you 10 “keeping in touch days” where you can come into work, so I used them.

I updated my photo, improved the testimonials and updated my samples. I’d stopped promoting my website while off and let many of my blogs disappear into obscurity but it didn’t take long to put a plan together to update them.

Focusing on sprucing up your site beforehand means you can focus on trying to write to make a living once you’re back. You have the admin out of the way and can make sure that clients find you.

Find and subscribe to interesting blogs

I tried to stay on top of changes while away, but it didn’t work too well. I needed to catch up on the changes and quickly!

I started looking for blogs that covered my interests, such as this one, and spent two months before my start date finding other writing blogs, technology blogs (my main niche) and those covering Internet marketing.

Subscribe to a few of the interesting blogs that offer something useful and look over past posts. I spent evenings looking through posts and making notes and to-do lists.

Inform previous clients you’re back

Instead of finding all new clients, I contacted previous ones to let them know I was back. I wanted to know if they still needed content.

Once clients said they did still need content and were happy to see me back, then I let them know about the increase in rates.

Raise your rates

I was cheeky and doubled the rates I’d previously written at, which some clients were happy to accept.

Not all clients agreed to it. Some negotiations were needed. Some clients wanted a little more work for the extra rate (not double, just an author bio or for me to find images).

Then I got myself out there and marketed with the new rates in mind.

Don’t worry, start marketing

Don’t sit at home worrying about making a comeback. It doesn’t matter why you took a break or how long it was for.

Fear gets you nowhere. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!

Alexandria Ingham loves to write and learn new things. When she’s not writing, she’s learning about history, law, and anything new that comes her way. Learn more about her at alexandria-ingham.com.

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13 comments on “How I Doubled My Freelance Income — After a Baby Break
  1. John Soares says:

    Alexandria, congratulations on making a successful transition from pregnancy and birth back to freelance writing. I’m a man, so I don’t have direct experience with your situation, but I watched my niece and fellow freelance writer relaunch her career after the birth of my grandniece Serafina a year ago. Babies take a lot of time and energy, so the transition isn’t easy.

    I think your most important piece of advice is to contact previous clients. Most of my work comes from people who have hired me before, and it’s the same for most other freelancers.
    John Soares recently posted..New Course Shows Freelance Writers How to Find Their Niches

    • Thanks, John. They definitely do take a lot of time! It’s easier now she’s playing with toys and figuring out how things work.

      I’ve been lucky in having referrals from previous and current clients, which helped with the transition. As soon as I said I was coming back, one client was referring me to people he’d heard was looking for content, so it was definitely worth getting back in touch!
      Alexandria Ingham recently posted..Top 5 Reasons You Need to Guest Post

  2. Jennifer says:

    Great tips. Putting out feelers and updating your site/posts before you come back is a great strategy. I also think that taking some time to come up with a plan before you start work again is also helpful.

    I haven’t taken 9 months off, but something that I do when I go on vacation for a few weeks is hire a virtual assistant to help me ramp back up. The week before I come back she will do some research for upcoming articles, look for sources and schedule interviews. I can especially see how a virtual assistant could be helpful in ramping back up so you can maximize your time at work since you have a little one. I use my VA regularly as well to help proofread since have a bad typo habit.
    Jennifer recently posted..3 Potential Content Marketing Clients That Are Probably Not on Your Radar

  3. Thanks, Liz. It’s hard but so worth it. I recently had one mummy friend who was upset that she has to go back to work and leave her baby in a nursery, even just two days a week. I’m thankful that I have a job that I can do from home and my daughter is small enough to not cause too much hassle during the day!

    I find searching for ideas and tips relaxing too :)
    Alexandria Ingham recently posted..5 Common Mistakes that New Freelance Writers Make

  4. jordan clary says:

    Thanks for the tips — and congratulations on your new baby! I’m just coming back to freelancing after 3-4 year absence (and I wasn’t all that successful the first time) so your advice is timely and helpful for me.

  5. Congratulations on your post-baby success! What did you do about child care? Did you arrange set daycare hours, taking a gamble that you’d bring in enough to cover it, or did you just learn to work during your baby’s naps? I’m trying to do the latter at the moment, and it’s proving difficult, but it’s hard to find the funds up front to pay for child care before I have an idea of what could be coming in. (I’m doing the same as you, starting up freelance after having a baby!)

    • I work while Kathryn’s around. I sometimes wonder about childcare but I can get everything I need to do while she’s napping and if I have extra she’ll happily play with her toys for an hour or so — we’ve got her all the development ones. As money evens out then I may consider childcare but right now I love being around her too much.
      Alexandria Ingham recently posted..Top 5 Reasons You Need to Guest Post

      • Carol Tice says:

        That nap will go away soon…sorry to be the one to tell you! When they’re very little it’s not hard to get a lot done — my oldest used to nap for 3-4 hours in the afternoon and I could work like a demon. Then my younger two hardly napped at all. And once they’re mobile and 2 or 3, it’s hopeless. They WILL NOT let you work.

        I used babysitting swaps with other WAHM moms when my oldest was a baby, which I loved — he got a playmate and I trusted another mom to care for my baby, rather than a bored teen. ;-)

        • Thanks for the tips, Carol! I hadn’t thought of baby-sitting swaps.

          Alexandria, how old is your baby? Mine is almost 15 months, though he is a really good sleeper. I can usually get a couple hours in during his afternoon nap, and a few more after he goes to bed, and sometimes he is okay with me working while he’s around. I expect this to change as he gets older, though, or if we decide to have more kids. I just hope I can start bringing in enough money to get child care a couple of days a week by that point, so I can start to carve out some more predictable work time. (Is it too optimistic to hope my business grows with my baby?) I’ve hit a road block recently because of some family issues, and haven’t been able to do anything toward freelancing beyond the content mills for the past couple of months. I have a fledgeling web site I haven’t had time to do anything with, and a partially filled-in LinkedIn page! Quite a lot to do…..

          • Carol Tice says:

            Personally, I am the queen of the 8-midnight shift after kids go to sleep. ;-) Only just recently hit the point where my tweener kids stay up too late, and now I’m trying to rediscover the joys of NOT working at night!

  6. Elaine says:

    Hi Alexandria,

    I too, really appreciated your post and have filed it away for future reference. I’m not a freelance writer, I’m actually a massage therapist looking to create a strong online presence. And I’ve been on “maternity leave” (you know, the self-employed unpaid type) since the beginning of August and will probably start transitioning back into work in December…
    I’m wondering though, if you altered your website at all while you were on maternity leave? To state in any way that you weren’t currently seeking new clients.

    Would love your feedback
    Elaine recently posted..Why Pause?

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