This interview appeared in Stylist Magazine, Online Edition, November 2014
Recently I responded to a journalist request and this was the result…
Downgrading your job – Career women who traded high salary careers jobs to set up their own business or become self-employed
What was the job title of your original job?
Media Relations Manager
What’s the job title and annual salary of the job you downgraded for?
Freelance Copywriter & Owner, Everyword Copywriting, salary (depends how hard I work!)
Why did you decide to make the change?
The change in my work status was a result of personal reasons. As a busy and engaged mum of two, I find working freelance enables me to manage my work and family time for effectively, I don’t mind working at odd hours either!
What made you take the plunge when you did – what motivated you, specifically?
My mum passed away in November 2012, a month after I started my last job, I was in shock for months afterwards. Managing a fast-paced working environment, grief and two dependents as a single parent was starting to take its toll. When I saw my doctor, she was adamant that something needed to change to prevent my health from deteriorating.
What fears did you have about making the downgrade?
In my situation, it wasn’t something I was consciously thinking about, so in a way I didn’t have time to worry about anything. I saw my changing circumstances as a huge opportunity.
What lifestyle changes did you have to make as a result of your salary change?
Well, I’ve always been an avid charity shop shopper, and now I can legitimately give up the corporate suits and dress in a way that better suits my creativity and personality. Cutting down on food is no problem as I’m sure it’ll help me stay the same size to fit into the designer clothes I bought in the ‘flush years!’ I’ve switched to packed lunches for my son, and we’ve had some financial help with school trips etc. Thankfully he’s not into expensive gaming toys so he hasn’t really noticed any changes. Generally we are all just really, really careful with money and the priority is that the mortgage gets paid. I stay within my overdraft limit and gave up my credit card ages ago!
Did your friends and family support your decision, or oppose it, and why? Did anyone try to advise you against it?
Because the situation wasn’t really planned, no-one really had a say in it. All of the people close to me were hugely supportive and agreed that now was a good a time as any to set myself up.
What did your boss say when you gave your notice in (and the reason for that)?
I didn’t actually hand my notice in as I was signed off sick and didn’t return.
Do you enjoy your new role – what are the benefits?
I totally love writing and I have a very enquiring mind, always have, so for me it’s a dream role. You have to be realistic about what money you can make however, and how to promote yourself effectively. The clear benefit is the opportunities to learn new things, meet new people and push my creative boundaries. The key benefit is being able to meet my son’s teacher in the middle of the day, supervise his homework and finish of my work in the evening, free of the guilt of not having spent enough time on parenting. I love being out of the office environment, sometimes I work in a café or in a library in London there’s inspiration in creative settings. I am also making great progress with a book that I started in 2011 and didn’t finish.
Any regrets – do you miss your old job, or the salary that came with it?
I have no regrets at all, I’m so much happier: It’s now two years since mum passed and although you never get over the death of your mother, I’m starting to feel happy again and confident in my abilities. Now I’ve started out, I have lots of other business ideas I want to pursue. I believe if you set your sights on a goal and work hard, miracles can happen.
I’ve realised that life isn’t always a smooth path of steady employment work until retirement: for lots of people the ‘portfolio’ career is now a reality. My mum was a teacher, an intellectual, an author and she belonged to an armful of volunteer organisations. Not having the cushion of a steady salary can be a huge motivator to achievement.
Having at least three months’ salary set aside makes sense: Or save before you make the leap. If you don’t plan properly and go back into steady employment without having given your idea a proper go, you’ll feel disheartened.
There are often key times in your life when a natural ‘break’ presents itself: even if you haven’t planned it, sometimes you need to jump in and say a little prayer… you never know where you might end up!
If you’re currently working for free, how do you support yourself?
I’m working part-time for a charity in a paid marketing role, it’s really enjoyable. Clearly I’m not earning as much as I was previously, but it feels good to be working part-time whilst I build up my freelance business.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of making a similar move?
Well, it’s not original advice but having at least three months’ salary or mortgage holiday set aside makes sense. Or save, before you make the leap as if you don’t plan properly and go back into steady employment without having given your idea a proper go, you’ll feel disheartened. Discuss a sabbatical with your employer, leaving your job open at the end of it, so you have a safety net. There are often key times in your life when a natural ‘break’ presents itself – even if you haven’t planned it sometimes you need to jump in and say a little prayer… you never know where you might end up!
My business called ‘Everyword Copywriting’ which is about focusing on my strengths and my first passion: words. I’m able to support clients with my mix of marketing expertise in blogging, social media and they can tap into my inexhaustible well of ideas and enthusiasm!
I will be sharing my logo with you and very soon, I will be pleased to share my new website 🙂
Here’s to fulfilling goals and pursuing dreams!