by Sharon Gourlay
I am blessed. I have two great kids. I have a flexible job that I have been able to create myself, and we travel frequently. It is the lifestyle I dreamed about for years but never thought was possible.
However, now that I have arrived here it is like most things I want in life – it doesn’t quite live up to the hype.
The best part about working online is the flexibility. I have a 2 and a 4 year old and I love that I get to spend the majority of my time with them. I can choose if and when they go to child care. It is never an issue if I have to get them early or they are sick. I can put them first in a way I just couldn’t in my previous job.
In general, I love the work that I do. I get to spend my time writing about travel and working online. There are lots of parts that I don’t enjoy so much, but mostly it is exciting to spend the majority of time writing and promoting things that I love and feel passionate about. It is also very challenging to be building my own business and I thrive on a challenge.
We love travel and my work online allows us to do this more frequently. My primary income at the moment comes from my travel blog and it has the added benefit that it gives us travel in exchange for writing about the experience. I also love the emails and messages I get from other families who now feel like it is possible for them to travel to thanks to seeing us do it.
The other great part about working online is that we can do it from anywhere. We are currently packing up our house in Melbourne to head off to Malaysia for up to a year. Working online has been able to give us this option.
Unfortunately, all this great freedom and flexibility comes with a cost – a lot of hard work. A lot of what I do is not financially rewarded, although I hope it will be in the long run. Like anyone building up a business whether it is online or offline, it can take awhile to see a real financial pay off.
I started working online for better work/life balance, but it can take a lot of discipline to achieve this. It can be hard to avoid spending time working when really I should be playing with the kids. I spend at least part of our weekends working and the vast majority of evenings.
I thought I didn’t have any “me” time once I had kids, but I really don’t have any now. I am happy to give up this time in return for more time with the kids, but it can suck sometimes. I actually can not imagine how I would spend an evening off at home. What do people do with spare time? I can’t remember!
Despite the fact that this might have been my dream lifestyle, it seems most other people just don’t get it. I get so many blank stares when I mention I am a travel blogger, let alone my other work. Some people even laugh right in my face like it is a big joke. I actually stopped going to a playgroup I loved because I felt like I couldn’t be myself. I stopped feeling like I could talk about huge parts of my life.
Is it worth it?
So is working online worth it? For sure! I love that I am no longer dealing with the stress and anxiety of my previous job as a teacher. I love that I am always at home for my kids, but I still have a challenging work outlet. I love that we can travel when we want and we are able to take off to Malaysia.
Some of the uncertainty I have with working online is because I chose to take a harder route with starting my own online business rather than options where pay is more certain, such as freelancing. It is absolutely amazing how many options exist out there to work online or from home once you open up your mind to them. I feel so passionately that working online is a legitimate career option that I have actually started a new site which is dedicated to helping others start working from home too.
It is not easy juggling parenthood, work and travel, but when is anything easy once you have kids? I do find that all of us are happier since I made the switch to working from home, and I really wouldn’t have it any other way.