Most of my adult life has been spent working for other people. Even when I achieved a leadership position, it was still under the umbrella of The Company.
I did go rogue back in 2013 and went to work for an online paper. I was so happy to be writing and editing and helping train other writers. This is my dream job. If I could get paid well for writing, I would be in a permanent state of bliss. Unfortunately, I was not making the money I needed to support my family.
I was severely depressed for several weeks after I left that job.
I mentioned in another post that as an independent contractor or freelancer unless you get a spectacular client that pays extraordinarily well, you might need more than one gig to cover everything.
I didn’t understand this in 2013, but the lesson stayed with me.
Down to #WageLife
Thankfully I picked up another #WageLife gig in early 2014. That one lasted until 2016 when I lost my childcare and had to miss work “too much”. I was released on what I thought were good terms, but each time I have reapplied to that company, I was declined.
The entire time, I was still looking for some kind of #WAHLife gig to replace that JOB (Just Over Broke) so I could get about the business of raising my child without moving us to a cardboard box.
Let The Juggling Begin
In September 2016, just after I was so politely fired (#notsalty), I started looking at Uber and Lyft. I had already spoken to a Lyft driver who had good things to say about it. Even though I didn’t have a car, Uber and Lyft both had a program where you could lease a car from them and start driving right away.
They took the cost of the lease out of your earnings automatically, so there was no extraneous expense, aside from gas. They even covered upkeep like oil changes and other maintenance.
I started the process of leasing a car from Uber. When I had the money for the $250 deposit, I caught a Lyft to a local lot and had a look. I wanted an SUV, but they only had sedans. I ended up with a lovely 2015 Toyota Camry.
Despite my aversion to being out of my house for extended periods of time, I started working right away. I had to make sure I made enough to cover Uber’s $180.00 weekly lease as well as my bills.
Shortly after I started with Uber, I added Lyft to maximize my driving time. When one was slow, I switched to the other platform.
I had a rider who mentioned another company in my area called Favor They are a delivery service that started in Austin, TX. I was not always comfortable having people in the car with me, but I had to pay that weekly lease to Uber.
*Favor is only active in Texas https://favordelivery.com/runner-faq
I added Favor to my list of freelance gigs I was running, and the income got somewhat better.
The Cost of Doing Business
In 2017 I got a pretty good income tax return, so I decided it was time to ditch the lease. I went back to the same car lot and picked up my Ford Explorer. It was older (2008) and it did not have the awesome touch screen from the Camry. It did have Bluetooth and voice capability, so I went with it.
It was also about $400 cheaper than my Uber lease by the month. Overall, I was paying over $700 a month to lease the Camry. With the Ford, my monthly outlay dropped to $270.00 + insurance at $160.00. I was still coming out way ahead.
I ran with Favor for a good while. I liked having my car to myself and the deliveries weren’t too bad either. I got to know the restaurants in my area pretty well, and when I did Uber/Lyft, I was able to enhance my riders’ experience by sharing my eatery knowledge with them.
While I was doing all of this, I had another work from home job reviewing ads and videos for a company called ZeroChaos. It paid $15.00 an hour, weekly by direct deposit and that was a pretty good gig.
Unfortunately, it was limited to no more than 25 hours a week. That contract ended in July 2016, which is one of the downsides of contractor work.
Not only do you have not much chance of benefits but you also never know exactly when that cash cow is going to dry up. We were notified by email 2 days before the end of the ZC gig.
How Many Jobs??
Talking to people about my various gigs usually elicited the same reaction: How did I balance it all? I have to say that my home life suffered.
I was rarely home to cook dinner, so my son had to pick up that slack for me. Being a teenager, he often threw together a meal that was not quite what I would have done. I had to remind him to do a veggie and to cook to everyone’s tastes, not just his own.
My husband was doing laundry, and his shirts were never ironed. My house cleaning fell way behind. It wasn’t filthy, but not as tidy as I would like to keep it.
The very worst part was I was missing out on my baby boy. He is now 4 and I am not doing any of these gigs at the moment. I am determined to find something steady and lucrative that I can do from home, with him dashing about as he does.
This is the challenge for anyone wanting to work from home, at home, virtually or remotely as a telecommuter, freelancer or independent contractor. We are all trying to strike that balance of work-life. Making enough money to cover living expenses and to live well are the ultimate goals.
Time On My Side (And Front…And Back)
The scheduling flexibility available when driving for Uber, Lyft or Favor is excellent. I could work in blocks of a few hours at a time or take one call and take a break. I could log out, go have dinner with hubby, and go back to work or go home.
It always requires discipline. Nobody is going to call you to ask why you’re not working. It is completely up to you to motivate yourself to get up and get out the door. You and only you decide how long you’re going to work, how many calls you’re going to accept or reject. With these gigs, you have almost complete control of just how much money you make.
Win…And Go Home!
That discipline also comes into play when deciding when to go home. Uber implemented a change to its platform that would not allow drivers to work more than 12 hours at a stretch. This was for safety reasons. If you hit the threshold, your Uber driver app would not allow you to log back in for work for 6 hours. This was to force drivers to rest.
A lot of people only drive on the weekend, from Thursday through Sunday. They slept in the car and pulled 12 to 16 hours of driving without a break. These people made mad bank, of course, but they traded this for safety.
Sleep deprivation diminishes reaction time and attention span. When you drive for a living, this is not a good thing. Personally, I got woozy anywhere from 4-6 hours on the road. It is not really seen as strenuous work outside of the industry. Anyone who drives for a living can tell you that physical and mental fatigue can set in before you know it.
While I was doing all this driving, I was also working from home for SigTrack. It is a data entry gig confirming voter registration information. It is penny work, but it goes pretty quickly.
It wasn’t very hard to do enough work to get a small check. The most I ever made in one pay period was $50.00. It paid weekly, however, so it was good pocket change.
I am still registered with them, but I have been focusing on Appen.
I picked up Appen shortly after I started with Allied (and I was still driving, mind you). With Appen, you are assigned to various projects. The work involves anything from tagging videos and ads to recording voice prompts to improve voice recognition software.
The pay is usually around $10.00 an hour, but I have seen projects paying as much as $19.50 for specialized work. The pay periods are usually monthly, but I am starting a project soon that pays biweekly. This one is transcription work and I am looking forward to it.
Other Side Side-Gigs I was running at the time included:
Secret Shopping for:
And photo inspection for insurance claims with Onsource. If you decide to check Onsource out, please use my Inspector ID in the referrer spot. It is 35852.
*ShiftSmart is completely app based. All of these gigs require a mobile phone and the app to work them. Onsource requires verification of your driving record.
I was a busy bee.
In 2016 I started classes at Everglades University Online. I have been interested in herbs and natural healing all of my life. When I saw they offered course for a degree in Complementary & Alternative Medicine, I went for it.
I’m still attending but had to take a short break. I’m adding lessons at The Herbal Academy, because why not?
Last But Far From Least
Remember when I mentioned earlier that I was on the hunt for a #WAHLife gig? I found Wealthy Affiliate in 2014 just after I gave birth to my now 4-year-old son. At the time I was struggling with having to back to work in 4 weeks instead of 6. I used 2 weeks due to my mother’s illness at the time.
I can only speculate on why I didn’t get into WA at the time, but I guess it’s a combination of factors.
Anyway, I found it again earlier this year. After 3 months I own 2 domains and 5 websites. This is one of them.
I won’t get into everything they offer here, but I wrote a review on them. Let me remind you that I have been searching for some kind of legit work from home gig for over 20 years. This is the first and only platform I can say all these things about:
- It’s not a scam.
- Has ongoing, relevant & timely training.
- A responsive and helpful community. No competing for customers or commissions.
Even on my How-Are-We-Going-To-Pay-That budget, I can afford it.
Take a look. Your first 7 days include free access to select Premium features. If you upgrade within that time, you pay only $19.00. After that, it is only $49.00 a month*.
*Via auto draft. No refunds. Cancel any time.
One More Thing
If you do decide to go Premium within the first 7 days, send me a Private Message or drop a note on my profile page. I will be delighted to give you these BONUSES:
• Unlimited access to ME as your Mentor.
• Feedback on your content and your website. We’ll cover everything from syntax to social media!
• Access to the Diamond Traffic Program to boost your site.
As you can see, living the #WAHLife as a freelancer or independent contractor has its challenges, I can honestly say I don’t get bored. I do get tired, but I expect that. Nothing worth doing is easy.
While working on this, I was reminded of a popular skit from a mid-90s TV show called In Living Color. It was about a family that worked several jobs to make ends meet. I hope you enjoy this little snippet as much as I do.
Until next time,