I first "met" Soha El Borno online when she was working at Wild Apricot as a Web Copywriter and blogger. She always posted great content and was an excellent resource for social media and nonprofit work.
When I put out a call for your career transition stories, she responded to me quickly by email, telling me she wanted to share hers.
As you'll see, she's like a lot of women who go through career transition when they start trying to juggle a desire to be home with their children with their professional identities. My own foray into self-employment began when motherhood and career aspirations collided and I know a lot of other women who pursue the freelance route to better meet their needs for career and family.
Here's Soha's story:
Q. Can you give us some background on yourself, just for some context?
I hold a bachelor's degree in Marketing and published my first article about a year after I graduated. I started out doing marketing writing -- specifically marketing communications and PR - for a few years. I then moved to a software company, where I did all their copywriting and blogging. I transitioned into freelance writing gradually over the years. During that time, I held my full-time day jobs and took onfreelance assignments on evenings and weekends.
Q. Like happens for many women, your career change was precipitated by starting a family and juggling the demands of family and working. How did that factor into your deciding about what new career direction you wanted to go in? How has that shaped your career identity?
Deciding to get into freelancing really came about as a natural next step for me. I always loved writing and got to do a lot of it in all my previous roles, but being a parent was also a high priority for me. I knew that if I was happy with myself and my career, that I was going to be a better mother. I also wanted more flexibility to be with my children. It just seemed like the right choice and I'm happy I took that step.
Q. What kinds of emotions have you dealt with in making the transition? How have you dealt with them?
I'd freelanced before, so I knew the basic drill. I took on extra freelance assignments while working full-time but this time around I didn't have the security of a job. So the pressure was stronger and I needed to find a lot more work. Emotionally, it was very hard, but worth the pain. I was determined to make it work so I started marketing a lot. I began by telling all my colleagues and friends that I was freelancing and many of them offered me some writing work right away. I also started using linkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and networking and that helped me get more work.
Q. What has been most challenging for you in making the transition?
The biggest challenge was juggling motherhood and work all at the same time. Trying to fit in freelancing where I can while delivering a high level of quality in my work was overwhelming. So I learned to be to a very early riser and got all of my writing work done in the early morning. That was the best time for me to finish my work and get some peace and quiet.
Q. What has been most rewarding?
There a lot of rewards. I love the flexibility and the fact that I can be involved in my children's life. And it's a wonderful mental exercise every day. I'm always learning and building my skills and meeting different people.
Q. What would you do differently if you could do it all over again?
Honestly, I wouldn't change a thing.
Q. What advice do you have for other people who want to make a transition? What was the most valuable advice you received from someone else.
Transitioning into freelancing takes time and patience. But don't let that scare you. If this is what you truly want, then go for it. Never give up on your dreams. When I was first starting out, I was working full-time and taking on extra freelance assignments. I worked during the day and on many evenings and weekends and all my hard work has paid off. If you're determined to make it happen, you will find a way.