Amaro e Dolce

Life, unfiltered


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Every day I’m hustlin’

I’ve had my nose to the grind for the past couple weeks. I’ve been writing, editing and planning non-stop. During nap time, after the babies hit the sack, when the sitter is here.

It’s time to rest for now. I’ve just wrapped up a ton of content for one of my projects, I’ve got my action plan in place for another, El Hombre ran out and the kids are still napping. I’m set to finish a ton of work in the next two weeks and then take a break for a week (as much as any freelancer can take a break that is).

Now I’m daydreaming of crisp mountain air, being outside in tolerable heat and exploring. We head to Colorado in two weeks and I’m ready for a change of pace. I’m excited to be outside without feeing smothered by humidity. I’m nervous about two wriggly babies on a 4.5 hour flight.

This is why I freelance… to be able to strike out on adventures when we want to. When you can work from where ever, and whenever it opens up the world. It allows you to meet new people, to forge new relationships (which can lead to more business) and open up your worldview. I never feel more creative than when I get a different perspective and there’s nothing like travel to spark that fire.


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Working Wednesday: the ebbs and flows

Freelancing is scary to a lot of people because there’s no guarantee that you get a consistent paycheck. Sometimes work is slow, and sometimes work is fast. For the past few months I’ve been running close to idle at times. Granted, being idle was somewhat by design (or as idle as any working mother with twins can be!) but none the less, I was starting to get a bit antsy. I was also starting to question whether freelancing was the right choice.

Then things started to shift. In the past few weeks, leads started coming in and my clients started ramping up. I’m not sure where it’s coming from because I am not out, hard selling people. But I am talking to my contacts more frequently than I ever did, sitting miserably in a cubicle.

If my workflow was ebbing earlier this year, it’s certainly flowing (almost overflowing) lately. And it’s awesome. It’s exciting. It’s humbling to know that people think of me when they think of hiring a contractor. These feelings are what keeps freelancers going.

Today I turned to El Hombre (who’s now being pulled in on certain projects) to tell him that I might seriously consider contracting out some of my colleagues, just to make sure I don’t overload myself. It’s such a gratifying feeling to know that at this stage in my life, I don’t have to consider going back into an office any time soon. Because that’s my goal for myself professionally. It’s our goal for ourselves, personally.

And that got me thinking. So many people say that they aren’t meant to sit in an office, yet they resentfully trudge to work every day. It doesn’t have to be like that.

I spent way too much time sitting in traffic, stressed, angry and upset to not consider walking this path. But I also wasn’t impulsive about it. I bounced the idea off El Hombre so many times that he eventually told me he didn’t want to hear about it if I wasn’t going to do it. He always supported me, but I was nervous. I kept worrying about whether I would be successful, whether I would make enough money. But then I realized – I made good money but I wasn’t happy. And one day I thought about it differently – what if I kept making enough money that I would keep justifying not being happy. That I would continue to justify spending the majority of my waking hours doing something that damaged my health from the insane amounts of stress. So I made a plan.

I started saving up. I cut expenses (which wasn’t hard – I basically went back to my life when I was crippled by student load debt) and I started chatting with people in my network who freelanced to get an idea of the highs and lows that I should expect

And then I made the leap. And it’s been worth every minute of it.


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Friday faves

It’s been a rough week. Both girls are sick and teething so we are all miserable. It’s their first time being truly sick, and while it’s nothing serious, we can’t help feel bad for them. But my personal business has been busy and I’ve been out of the house more for work, which is both invigorating and a confidence booster.

Last week I threw out a post on my favorite things for the week, and I like the concept of embracing the positives in written form, so I’m continuing it this week. Especially because it’s been tough, I wanted to reflect on things that I enjoyed.

Cactus Bloom

Our cactus occasionally blooms, and only in the mornings. There’s something dreamy about padding outside in flip flops with my coffee to see if there are blossoms.

Lizard among our succulents

We’ve been sticking close to home since the girls are sick, so in the quiet moments, I’ve been taking advantage of our front and back patios. El Hombre’s plant game is on point, and it’s nice to sit outside and take it all in. It’s been raining a lot, and the plants are loving it, and so have the lizards.

IMG_3129

I totally get why my mom always made my favorite foods when I got sick. It’s comforting to eat something that makes you feel warm and comfortable inside. Also, it meant I would actually eat. Because the girls’ appetites are down, they get hungry faster, which means they don’t sleep as well and are extra cranky. So I threw together a risotto with sage, using the last of my homemade chicken broth. And I realized that I went from never making risotto in my life, to “just throwing it together” status in the matter of weeks. Cooking is a mental release for me and the more that I can add to my repertoire, the better.

Bengal cat helps me work

This cute little booger has been hanging out with me on the desk, making sure everything is up to par. And by “up to par,” I mean she’s demanding ear scratches.

twin babies playing

At this age, most babies tend to parallel play and my girls are no different. But because they have always been together, they also play together occasionally (when they aren’t stealing each others’ toys and screaming about it.) It’s always so cute to me when they sit right next to each other to play.


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Working Wednesdays: Picking the right client (or job)

We’ve all been there or some form or another – after sitting down with someone to talk about potential work, the offer comes through. But is it the right offer? Should I take it?

In some cases you jive with your potential client (or boss) and there’s no hesitation.

But in many cases, there is that pause. Maybe it’s because the offer isn’t enticing enough – but often it’s because some nagging voice in the back of your head is whispering that it’s not the right fit. I’ve made that mistake – both in my freelance career and the corporate world – enough times to know that I should follow my instincts and decline the opportunity.

As you find your footing in a new venture, like freelancing, it’s tempting to take any work that comes your way. But there’s a danger in this – you might pick up something that becomes toxic, you may burn through a lot of time on projects that can’t be used in a portfolio, or you may end up generally unhappy with the work you agreed to.

So how do you avoid picking up the wrong clients or taking the wrong job offer?

These are the questions that I ask myself, and if the answers to any of these questions are no, then I decline:

  • Is this the right type of working environment for me? I know myself well enough to know that I like a fast-paced, start-up environment where I wear many hats. But if the organization isn’t operationally sound, I don’t do well.
  • Does my work philosophy align with the company’s?
  • Are there open communications across teams and with the person I report to?
  • Do I like the type of work that’s being offered?
  • Will this help me grow professionally and/or add to my portfolio?
  • Do I think the compensation is fair for the type of work I’d be doing?
  • Can I work remotely? If I have to be in an office for part of the time, can I handle the commute?

Because my husband and I are both building up our businesses as contractors/freelancers, we both occasionally get tempted by positions that have good pay. When either of us feels like there’s hesitation, we refocus on looking at both short-term and long-term goals to prevent ourselves from making that emotional decision.