After a couple years’ worth of grinding, I am finally able to stay home with my son full-time.
Many people know my Father to be an excellent banker. He started his own bank and has grown it in impressive fashion. It was because of him that I wanted to give banking an honest shot.
Though I admire my Dad’s success and passion for his career, that wasn’t enough to inspire me to follow the same path. What has always truly inspired me is the relationship I have with him. I knew that if nothing else, I wanted to be a dad so that I could always cherish an incredible bond like the one I have with my Father.
That was a path I could follow. That was an example I could mold myself after.
Though my son, Luke is only eight months old, I have been working towards staying home with him for almost two years now. The journey really began a couple of years ago while I was with my wife at a business conference in Atlanta. She was attending workshops and seminars while I just read in the hotel room, close coffee shops, or parks.
It was in those parks that I learned not to open my wallet in front of people asking for money. Sometimes you don’t have small bills and will wind up being more generous than you mean to be. Completely unrelated, but a good lesson.
Anyway, my wife, Emily is pretty easily inspired and is always setting new goals for herself, so she was eating up this conference. She was thrilled to be soaking up new info that will be helping her in the field that she enjoys. I was just happy to have an excuse to take a few days of vacation time away from spreadsheets and number crunching.
Leading up to the trip, we had been discussing my future on and off. I had plenty of reasons to get a business degree and give finance a shot, which I did. However, I was discovering that most positions in the financial world would not necessarily align with my strengths.
More creative avenues are unfortunately rare where I am. There aren’t many realistic options to make a living doing comedy, acting, entertaining, or whatever my skill set would lend itself to in Southwest Missouri. So, before the trip, we had discussed writing as a possibility.
I took a book with me (Halo: The Fall of Reach) on our Atlanta trip because I knew you are supposed to read constantly to improve as a writer. I hadn’t read a book since college, so I started with something easy to get into. So, I’d spend my day reading (often in apparently shady areas) and then the evenings discussing with my wife about everything she had learned that day.
Much of what she learned about was developing people and getting the most out of them by playing to their strengths and insulating areas that weren’t as strong. To explain everything, she used me as an example for most of what she was telling me, and we both quickly realized that it was time for a change.
I decided to pursue writing as my path to a more creative career. I knew the change would be a lengthy process, but though my job wasn’t for me, I was always surrounded by great people. I don’t regret my degree or time spent working in finance. I’ve had great experiences that will apply to everything I do with my life.
In becoming a writer, I finally had a goal. Knowing that my priority was to enter a flexible, creative space that would allow me to focus on my family was so refreshing. Even before I had a child, I knew I was on my way to something that suited me at last.
When we got back from our trip, I bought a book about freelance writing and started this blog to establish a portfolio. I was constantly searching around online to find writing gigs but had no luck. My lack of experience and a professional portfolio of work made it essentially impossible.
While filling this site in with occasional blog posts, I also attempted to increase my social media activity to grow my online presence (It wasn’t too hard – I was the kind of person whose only Facebook activity was making sure their profile picture changed every three years). I had a few articles that I donated to a gaming site and eventually started as a (volunteer) Contributor for a fan-powered NBA website. After a full year of unpaid labor, I called it quits on the for-free stuff, as it had gotten me noticed elsewhere.
I started writing blog posts for The Basketball Movement and actually making money! Apparently pleased with my work, the basketball facility’s founder asked me to write for his four-state AAU program as well. Now, in addition to the blogs, I have taken the reigns of their Facebook and Twitter pages, do basic website maintenance, and even some email marketing. Now, it pays for our mortgage each month.
Now armed with a solid portfolio, I am looking to expand my freelance writing work (post on that coming soon). I have been Ubering as well to fill the cracks and am finally confident in my ability to continue to provide for my family while keeping my son out of daycare.
I have plans for additional business ventures as well and am not going to stop working hard for the three of us. I am proud of what I have accomplished to this point and am also incredibly thankful for another large part of what we are doing: my wife.
With a kid as excellent as ours, you would have to be crazy to not want to be around him 24/7. Emily would like to stay home as much as I would, but we agreed that it makes more sense for us to do things this way. It is not easy and still not quite a social norm, but for her to be such a successful, hard-working woman while still balancing her roles as mother and wife is nothing short of spectacular. I have no doubt that working full time or not, she can continue to mother with the best of ’em. She has already proven that multiple times over.
There is still plenty of work to be done. We have been prepping for months but will need to continue to find ways to get by on a tighter budget. In the meantime, I will be seeking additional writing gigs, pursuing some remote business opportunities, and ride-sharing at night.
I am continuing to find my “voice” as it pertains to writing. I have been at it for a while, but am excited to continue to improve and allow my personality to come through in text. I managed to type all this without saying “butt” or “fart,” so I think I’m off to a good start.
Wait, do those count? Doesn’t matter. IN CONCLUSION:
This is a bit of a scary chapter in my story, but also the most exciting one yet. I like to think that it is big a win for our little family and I will do my best to make it last. Thank you for reading and keep an eye out for a post about the services I can offer soon!