This is going to be a long post. A wordy and no pictures kind of. Sometimes we need to do this. Read and absorb and understand in order to act rationally. Let me explain without the drama. This is part 1 of the series of upcoming posts.
I am not sure how many parts Ok, there are going to be four parts. It is addressing so many questions of all sorts and since it comprises of my past 10 years of professional/ not so professional/ home based work, it can be more than 2 as I had initially planned.
From time to time and specially since my article has appeared on Gulf News here, there have been many queries from many women. So in order of increasing target audience, this post addresses married or unmarried, a mom, a mom to be or mom of grownups or not a mommy, if you are looking to start work from home, or want to work part time or want to start a blog/baking or just develop a passion and follow through or anything that lies in the close proximity of this, this is for you. The first part, that is this post will address the options of work from home, how to balance it with other tasks, how to find your passion and then make it happen in a productive manner. The second part will concentrate on, if your passion is baking whether you love to bake for your family or just want to become an expert, what are the resources to do so and how can you go about it. Third part, yes that is happening and I just decided will be if you want to pursue baking as your career, how can you do so be it any part of the world you are residing in. I will share my experience on what is possible while living in Riyadh. Recently I finished my diploma in Patisserie from Skillston Karachi, Pakistan and earned a certificate from City and Guilds London, more on that in the post itself. Fourth part will be basics of baking and how to bake your first cake perfectly with all the tips and resources. So yes this is going to be a daunting task but it was on my agenda of 2016 which is quickly running out of hands, I really hope that even if one of you benefit from it, I will be glad and the effort will be worth. Please share it with your friends who you think can benefit from it. It will contain secrets and all the not so secret stuff and many useful pointers I learnt while doing a summer course on entrepreneurship this year from IBA, Karachi.
Till 2005, I was following a typical, predictable pattern, studies, job, marriage+job, kid. I quit my job when in 2005, I moved to Riyadh, KSA with my husband. I needed a break and my first born was due as well, I thought I will go back to work when she is six months and I did, only to realize that it was not feasible in many terms, lack of reputable day cares, my demanding job and the work home balance. It was not worth it. I was going crazy and exhausted and above all I was not happy and enjoying, my daughter was suffering too while my husband was supporting on whatever decision I would make. I quit but I had to do something. Something like what? From my previous experience and education in computer sciences, I had worked as a software engineer, product marketing manager and project manager.
[image credit: https://ithemes.com/2015/07/21/success-is-an-iceberg/]
I wont’t be talking about the real on site job opportunities that exist and they do in any market. Lot of articles and resources are there to guide you about this. And yes in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia also, there are many options despite the common belief. This post is for those who have chosen an off-beat path. Coming back to the point,I found a freelance writing opportunity. Meanwhile I was exploring how to work from home. Before I explain the exact process, I would like to iterate a point. It is very important to do something for yourself. Not for money, not out of social pressure, not for competition, not for mere sake of doing it but only for you, yourself. If you are lucky and don’t have to contribute in household expenses then you are half way there. You have choice. Find the thing which triggers you, which makes you happy, which initiates a spark in you, which makes your eyes glitter, which gives you a reason to open your eyes in the morning with a wide smile on your face, which you can endlessly talk about. Every person needs to do this one thing either as a hobby or as a profession. I would not say that follow your passion all the way upto the profession because that might not be feasible specially if you share financial responsibilities or other factors. But doing something solely for yourself will give you great strength when later in life you have lesser responsibilities. This is vital, not only for yourself but for people around you. The world needs healthy, productive, positive, passionate people. Now on to something concrete, steps you can take to do something for yourself, an outline is given below and in brackets you will find my journey as a case study. I will share the snapshots of the paperwork I did to give you an idea.
- Discover your passion – this statement may sound very cliche but it is as is. You need to do this. A few things you can do – read on subjects that interests you, join people who talk about that subject and are experts in it. It can be any topic, any industry, any field, any genre. It can be an extension of your education or quite opposite, it can be anything under the sun. Browse related books in books stores and libraries. Write about it. Share it or keep it for your own analysis. [After resigning from project management job which I loved I started working on websites like odesk now upwork and getafreelancer now freelancer. I was looking for a freelance project in the same field or related. You can check my profile here and here for all the projects I did.]
- Profession or Hobby – Do you want to take it forward? Are you madly in love with it? Are you uncontrollably attracted towards it? You want to make it your hobby/part time affair or full time paid profession? Don’t worry about the money yet. Think long term, you are just investing your time, money follows the passion. [Baking has always been my love, there was a point when I got married that I could not cook but I could bake. When I saw a cake decorating class from Wilton, I immediately enrolled in it].
- Time – how much? – Second step leads to third one, how much time you can give?It totally depends on your personal circumstances and choice. Is your family at a stage that is draining your time? What are the priorities at the moment? Minimum invest a couple of hours initially. [I started to bake more often, with perfection and consistency, I started looking at the blogs of inspirational food bloggers, their photography and writing styles while practicing my newly learnt skills.]
- Take it to paper – Jot down possible options in your chosen field. What job titles are people doing? You will find volunteers, teachers, professionals, consultants, interns etc. Draw a venn diagram: market/money, talent/skills, passion/hobby. You have to find something that fulfills all three. [I knew baking was it, I was reading about it day in and day out, dreaming about it, found a few bakers and decorators I was following passionately, sorting out our family favorite baking recipes while doing my freelance projects side by side]
- Take the plunge – Don’t be afraid. Let not people drag you down. You do need to share it with the world but you have to filter the criticism. If you think, it has potential, it has. Let no one trample on your daisies which you got after a few months (at least) of hard work. Set yearly, monthly, weekly, day to day targets, include lot of reading, utilize each and every resource. Don’t give it up until you are sure you tried your 100%. [I started to blog and started to bake for family and friends to make the memorable occasions more special]
Some Side Notes:
I find the following points act as catalysts that help you in achieving what has been stated above.
a. Take care of yourself, exercise regularly, pray/meditate, socialize, eat well and healthy.
b. Enroll in a language class, if you are abroad then the native language or any short course. There are many online resources now to learn a language both free and paid.
c. Manage your time wisely. Early to bed, early to rise works very well most of the time.
d. No pre-requisites to follow the above steps. You can start anywhere, any time with any background.
e. This series is not about making money, its about finding what you love to keep yourself busy and happy, you can take it further for the money part though.
f. This series is by no means is to diminish the role of full time mothers, its just an effort to go an extra mile which leads to better parenting, happier you and later in life when kids are on their own you have something to pursue.
g. Self assessment sheets and lot of great information is available at Entrepreneur.com
Go and get it, internet is a great resource, your time and energy is even greater asset, use it wisely. Stay tuned for part II.