Episode 31 –
Creating a Unique Career Path through Freelancing with Micala Quinn
“Some people don’t want to stay home and not have something else going on. I know, I love the flexibility that my current job allows me, but I am not capable of being a stay at home mom without that. So I know that there are a lot of people like me out there and it’s nice to know that you can sort of make it what you want it to be.”
Have you thought about working from home in some capacity? In this episode I’m speaking with my good friend, Micala Quinn, on freelancing as an option for those moms wanting to work at home or just have more flexibility in their career!
If you’d like to discuss your specific situation and how the Raiseology 60 day system can help transform your life, your relationship with your spouse, your relationship with your children, and most importantly your relationship with yourself, book a free 15 minute call with me HERE! Thanks for listening!
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Welcome to the Raiseology Podcast with your host, pediatrician and parenting mentor, Sharon Somekh, here to empower parents to raise resilient and independent children. Grab your coffee or your Margarita and let’s get started. This podcast is for informational purposes only and should be used to supplement rather than substitute the care provided by your physician
Sharon: If you’d like to discuss your specific situation and how the Raiseology 60-day system can help transform your life, your relationship with your spouse, your relationship with your children, and most importantly your relationship with yourself, book a free 15 minute call at Raiseology.as.me/consultation.
Hi everyone, today on the Raiseology podcast. We are going to talk about something a little bit different and it sort of relates to parenting because I think that there are a lot of parents out there that are feeling a little bit stuck or they may sort of not even realize that they have other options for their careers or for what they do in their day to day life that might be an income-producing activity and I have a dear friend on the podcast today. Her name is Micala and she has a podcast called the Live Free Podcast with Micala Quinn, and we’re in a talk about her and her story and what it is that she does, but you know, I wanted to have this discussion today on the podcast as something a little bit different. I know normally we do talk about parenting topics, but I think that this is something really relevant to a lot of our listeners who have mentioned to me that they either aren’t really too happy with what they’re doing or they are staying at home, but they wish they could be productive in a different way that’s challenging to them. So that’s why I decided to have Micala on today and be a why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and about your family and we’ll start there.
Micala: Okay. Awesome. Well Sharon, thank you so much for having me on the Raiseology podcast today. I am super excited to be here and share about my story with your audience. Awesome. To start, my name is Micala Quinn. I am a wife. I’m, I’m married to my husband calling, we have three children and I used to be a high school English teacher. I kind of grew up always knowing I wanted to be a teacher. My mom was a teacher. I took her old school supplies like when I was growing up and I would play school in our basement with my dolls and I even saved up my allowance money and bought school supplies from the teacher store and I, um, I mean like back then it was pretty much just like make a roster and I, we did spelling tests because that was all I knew how to do as a five year old playing school.
So I just grew up always knowing that I wanted to be a teacher and um, decided to major in secondary education English. I loved working with the older kids. I loved talking about literature and got my first job right out of college, the school I wanted to at the school I wanted to work at and it was great for about the first year and then the second year, um, it was still good. And then when I had my daughter, that’s when things kind of started to change and I no longer really loved my job anymore. Um, my first year teaching or as you know, teachers, there’s a lot that I don’t think people that aren’t in the education field, um, there’s a lot that they don’t see that goes into it and it’s like being a teacher is not a eight to three contract our time. There’s so much work that goes home. So the summer before my first year actually teaching, I spent, I wasn’t even getting paid yet, but I spent that entire summer researching and planning lessons and you know, getting ready for the year. And then when I started that first year I would show up to work at like 6:30 and then I would work till about four and then go home. And then I’d work again and grade papers and read till probably like midnight. And it worked that first year I had just graduated. I was living with my parents because teachers make no money and I was just newly engaged.
And so then the second year is still good. Married now, but I mean when you’re married and you don’t have kids, like you have so much free time, so, but then we got pregnant right away and when I started looking into daycares I just, I started to get anxious about daycare and then when I started to look at how much daycare was going to cost verse, you know, in comparison to my salary, it just seemed like a awful situation.
Basically I would be taking home about half of my salary and the other half would be going to daycare and I really didn’t even want to pay for daycare. I wanted to be able to stay home and be with my daughter at first was a girl and it just wasn’t going to work out for us at the time. We were super young, got married young, had kids, young, bought a house so there wasn’t a whole ton of wiggle room in our budget to be one income family and I just. I struggled with that for such, such a long time.
Sharon: Yeah. You said that there were things about being a teacher that you hadn’t really realized went into it, and I know that, you know, my sister teaches at, I know that she definitely puts in a lot of time beyond her hours. Was that the main thing that kind of threw you off first that you weren’t, you weren’t prepared for or were there other things that you hadn’t realized that you weren’t too happy about?
Micala: Well, gosh, we could get into all the problems of education. At first I didn’t mind all the extra work. I truly loved it. I loved researching, I loved curriculum planning. Um, but when I had my daughter it was, I didn’t realize how, I mean I always wanted to be a stay at home mom. Um, but I didn’t realize how strong that pull would be until I actually had, had my own daughter had my own kids. Yeah. And the hours were because there’s no flexibility. Like it’s not, it wasn’t a job where if my daughter was sick I could, you know, easily like, Hey, I’m going to stay home today. It caused so much stress because I would have to, you know, create a sub plan and get stuff up there and make sure everything was printed and it was just way too much work. Um, and then I mean then there’s like the meetings and the oh, teachers, you also have to go on this retreat and you have to be here and we need you to do this and do that. And it was, there’s just all these add-ons besides just being in the classroom and teaching.
Sharon: Yeah, I, I find that to be true. So, you know, for anyone listening who is not necessarily a teacher or in that boat, you know, it helps us appreciate our teachers that much more because they do put a lot of work and energy into it. Um, so you always felt in your heart that you would probably want to stay home when you had your kids. Maybe you didn’t know you were going to have them so early, but um, but it’s nice to be a young mom. I think that’s awesome. And so you felt stuck at some point?
Micala: Yes, I did.
Sharon: Did you go back to work after you had your first daughter?
Micala: Yes. Um, I, my husband made me, um, I mean he didn’t make me, it’s just if you look at the budget and did the math, I had to have a choice really. So I went back, she was born in June and I went back probably in October of the following year. This was my third year teaching and I went back and she was at an in-home daycare nearby who just took teachers kids. But that year I was just, I felt stuck. I was mad. I was angry, that anger started to turn into present moment because I blamed my husband and he, I mean he had a great job. He was an attorney, um, but it just, when we were house hunting and looking at houses, we bought the one at the top of our budget because I loved it more. I love the neighborhood and um, it was closer to my parents and when we bought that, his thing was, okay, you know, you’re going to have to work, right?
I was like, yeah, yeah, no problem. We weren’t pregnant at this point and then, um, and I, I just thought, oh by then like he’ll get a raise and we’ll be able to afford it. Well, no, that didn’t happen in like a year’s time and I felt stuck and when I would search, you know, how to be a stay at home mom and I searched this probably like every night how to be a stay at home mom, how to work at home. Um, I looked at a lot of like here’s how you minimize your budget. And um, I didn’t want to do that either because I’m a shopper, I’m a spender.
Sharon: And you enjoy your lifestyle, right?
Micala: Yeah. And I enjoyed our lifestyle and I didn’t want to like go down to one car and cut out cable and stop eating now and like I didn’t want to live that way either.
Sharon: And then as an aside, we cut out cable this year. Not even, you know, we just felt like we weren’t using it. Really? Yeah, it’s been amazing.
Micala: Yeah. I mean, we don’t have it now anymore now with like, this was what, like three Netflix and Hulu, right? Yeah. And so now we just have a cable through Hulu TV. And it’s perfect. And so then I would start searching for options to work at home. It’s like, okay, I got to bring in an income and all of the options were awful. It was like work at a call center and I’m like, I have way more skills and talents then working at a call center, um, you know, sell a product my only like join an MLM. My only experience with MLMs at that point were like friends and family who started selling and then would just push those products on us and I didn’t want to do that and it just seemed to bleak, um, for a while. But I eventually found this other option called freelancing and um, started started freelancing. I started looking into it when my daughter was about six months and then the next year teaching I went part time to kind of give myself an opportunity to build up this freelancing thing and then quickly replaced my teaching income and quit teaching. After that year I went part time and that’s kind of like the rest is history. Never going back to the classroom.
Sharon: That’s awesome. So what was your first freelancing offering? What were you doing? And maybe you could tell us really. I think that there are people in the audience that sort of know what freelancing is, but they don’t really know what it could, what it means, you know?
Micala: And I didn’t either at the time. I like when I thought of freelancing, I thought a starving writer who like couldn’t pay her bills. That is so far from the truth. Um, so freelancing is just basically a way to know you operate an independent contractor and it’s a way to utilize your talents and your skills without having to be an employee. Um, so you run your own business, you get a kind of, you market your services, you get to work with people you want, you control when you work, how you work, how much you get paid, and you know, everything else that goes into it. And so my first gig as a freelancer was just a virtual assistant. Um, there’s lots of different job types or industries that you could get into as a freelancer and a lot of them have to deal with marketing or copywriting or graphic design or web design. And I didn’t really feel like I had enough and I mean I was a teacher, I’d never took a business class in my life.
So I started kind of the very beginning virtual assistant and just kind of took over all the random admin tasks that my clients needed.
Sharon: And then how did you, where did you go from there?
Micala: So my first client came from this website called hire my mom.com. Um, and I don’t really recommend them anymore because there’s just better ways I think beyond job source boards to find clients. But that was where I got my first client and then from there, um, she was a business coach. From there she sent me two referrals and then from there, one of the projects that my first client gave me was to, she had a facebook group and to take over her facebook group and get the engagement boosted in that. And as part of doing that, I saw all these other online entrepreneur facebook groups and kept seeing people post for, hey, I need a virtual assistant. Hey, I need a social media manager. Hey, I need whatever. And I was like, oh my gosh, there’s, there’s actually a market for my skills out there. There’s way more people beyond the people posting on hiremymom.com that I can help. And so at that point, that’s when I kind of started to see it was a real business. I invested in a program called create your laptop life. It’s actually no longer, I don’t think it’s available anymore. Um, and I invested in that and then found how to really market my services, get more clients. And that was in about November of 2016 and by January, February, I had tripled my teacher take home pay.
Sharon: That’s crazy.
Micala: Yeah. And then have not, have not looked back.
Sharon: Wow. Well, and you know, I know this, but you are actually not freelancing the same way anymore. Um, so can we talk a little bit about your transition from that aspect of your business to what you are doing now?
Micala: Yeah, absolutely. So once I replaced my income and I started working from home, no one really knew that I was working and they just thought I was working, teaching part time and staying home the other.
Sharon: You mean when you had your job, like your colleagues didn’t know that you had another side thing?
Micala: Right. And like friends and family. But once I like, hey, I like, hey, I know replaced my teacher and come in, this is how. And this is what I do. People just kept asking me to, Hey, can I do this? Is this something that I can do to. And I was in a lot of just like mom, facebook groups, not business related at all. And everyday there’d be a moms posting or multiple moms saying, hey, how can I work from home? Um, I want to work from home, how can I make money? I want to be a stay at home mom. All those, you know, different variations of that question. And I just started to help them answering them, you know, hey, this is what I did, this is how I got started for free. And then one day there were like 50 people that wanted me to message them and explained to them how to get started. And I was like, oh my goodness, I cannot message all of you individually. That’s, that would be like a full time job.
So I put them all in a facebook group. I started a facebook group and whoever wanted to learn about working from home, um, I put them in there and I would just start answering their questions kind of so everyone could see. And then from there it kind of dawned on me that I could, you know, I’m a teacher, I have that curriculum planning background. Do you know how to build your business? So from there I did my course and now it has grown in the last about year and a half to over 300 women that have enrolled in my program, um, and thousands of other people that have gotten started from my free resources and my podcast.
Sharon: That’s awesome. And you teach them how to start their own freelancing business.
Micala: Yes. So I, my philosophy as to, you know, start with your current skill-set if you are, if you’re really great at web design or graphic design, like start there. If you’re a great, if you do social media marketing for your nine to five or you do marketing or sales funnels or email marketing or copywriting or whatever it is that you do for your nine to five, you can do that in a freelance capacity. And then if not, like if you’re a teacher, if you’re a nurse or if you’re something and you’re like, I don’t really have any business or marketing experience, you can start kind of like I did as a virtual assistant and um, I mean it’s a great option with lots of room for growth.
Sharon: Yeah. Um, and I know that there are so many people out there that are, you know, they do their nine to five job because they need to bring in the income or because they, they know, some people really just don’t want to stay home and not have something else going on. I know, I’m like that I, I love the flexibility that my current job allows me, but I am not capable of being a stay at home mom without that. It’s just, it’s not something that would fulfill me personally. So I know that there are a lot of people like me out there and it’s nice to know that you can sort of make it what you want it to be and sometimes I find that you don’t even have to use the skills that you have from your old job, but something that you might be doing all the time now anyway in your personal life. Right? How many of us are spending, you know, hours a day on instagram or facebook and there are businesses out there that really could use that kind of help.
Micala: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Sharon: And I love what you said that like not everyone wants to be a stay at home mom. I thought, you know, like the grass is always greener. I thought that would be ideal. That’s what I wanted. And then when I did start staying home I, it wasn’t really what I wanted and I realized that I really truly do love working and I need, I need that fulfillment kind of like you. I’m not capable of not having that outlet where I can use my talents and creativity beyond just doing pinterest crafts with my daughter or you know, playing dress up for the thousandth time. I love working. And I didn’t realize that at first I thought like working was, was, was the enemy and it turns out it was just the lack of flexibility and freedom that I didn’t have when I was working as a teacher.
Sharon: Yeah. And I think the other thing about working from home that, uh, people don’t always understand is that you sort of think it’s going to be a less social thing. And I definitely was worried about that because one of the things I loved most about my old job was really the social aspect of it and not just with my patients but also with my coworkers and really just that kind of, you know, the office environment. I really did like it. Um, but I actually find that my current, my current job is just as social and I may not be meeting people necessarily in person a lot, although I do some, but it’s, it has opened me up to a whole new world of people I would never have met before. And um, and I’ve made great friends that way and I’m actually Micala and I became great friends that way. And then, um, so I think that there is this sort of poor understanding of the social aspect of working from home.
Micala: Oh my gosh. Yeah. I mean I am constantly in community with people and, but it’s like for me, I’m a homebody. I like, I love, I’m an extroverted homebody. I love to talk, but I also like talking to like be social and be around people. But I also love being at home. So if we hang out and you would have to come to my house, but I’m there, I’m constantly on voxer and collaborating and brainstorming with people and there’s, there’s lots of, there’s lots of pros and cons to everything. Nothing is going to be a perfect like one-stop, oh my gosh, life is amazing. But I think there are ways to find what you love about your current job and add those into the freelancing world or into owning your own business.
Sharon: Yeah, definitely. And um, I think that if this is, if this conversation is something that even sounds sort of remotely like something you would consider or think about, for me personally I would recommend at least joining Micala’s facebook group and just even, even if you don’t comment and you just listen and hear what people are saying and ask questions if you have questions about what this kind of life could be like for you.
I think it’s worth checking it out. So can you tell us where your facebook group is and then I would like to talk a little bit about sort of how people could even consider getting started. If they are thinking about it.
Micala: Yeah, absolutely. Um, so if you just searched the live free podcast mastermind and that, it’ll, it’ll pull up my group or you can get to it from my website. My website is just MicalaQuinn.com and it has all of the, all of the places to find me and come hang out with me. But the group is a great place to ask questions and see what it looks like for other other moms as well.
Sharon: Yeah. And I’ll link to those things in the show notes as well. So I guess what would be your first piece of advice for a mom who, you know, I have a very good friend who, she just had her third baby actually and um, and she is, she’s just not thrilled with her career choice and I think that she is considering a different path, but um, but she’s just not sure. So if that were someone who came to, to talk about something in that way, what would be the first thing that you would suggest?
Micala: The first thing I would suggest would be to just figure out and get clarity on how you’re going to help people. Um, what is your service going to be? What are you going to do for businesses, um, whether that is social media management, virtual assistant, pinterest management, graphic design, web design, copywriting. Just figure out what, bookkeeping, even what your service is going to be, and then start talking to people. Um, there are lots of ways to find clients from facebook groups, some of my favorites are boss moms and the golddigger insiders, join those facebook groups. There’s people constantly posting, Hey, I’m looking for a social media manager. Um, you can also reach out to people that you know and just say, Hey, I’m thinking about starting a copywriting business or a virtual assistant. Do you know of anyone that maybe could use my help or if they run a business, do you work with freelancers in any capacity? And just start, start to kind of put the word out there. Um, I know it sounds crazy, but so many people have landed some of their first clients that way.
Sharon: you know, I have a funny story about that, you know, um, there is a really big business coach his name is Pat Flynn and his virtual assistant and I are friends and she got that job working for him basically because when she decided she didn’t want to do her regular job anymore, she wrote an email to every single person that she knew or had ever met and had in her contact list and said, I am going to be starting to do whatever it is people need me to do for them. So if you need anything done for you or know anyone who needs anything done, just let me know. And that was actually one of her first clients and it became a full time job for her, but it’s not really a job the way that we think of it because she’s basically working for herself for him. You know and so it’s like he’s her one full time client, which is great for her.
Micala: Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. And it, I think a lot of people here like starting your own business, you’re a business owner as a freelancer and it doesn’t have to be so overwhelming and complicated and it really is not super expensive to, to startup. I mean, you could get started as a freelancer with no overhead costs at all. There are tons of free resources and tons of free tools out there to help to help get you started. So you basically just need your service and then you need clients. You need people to pay you and you don’t need a website, you don’t need to spend thousands of hours creating a blog and writing content, um, you just don’t need that in the very beginning.
Sharon: Yeah, I think that’s true. And, and then you, the truth is that happy clients breed more happy clients. Right? And the more, the more you help people, the more they want to help you to.
Sharon: Um, but thank you, that was really awesome. I, I just, I wanted you to come on and talk about this because I think that there are probably a lot more people listening and thinking about it than are talking about it and so this may inspire a couple of people to really just even just think about it and explore what their options are. So if you are thinking about and exploring your options, I highly recommend joining Micala’s group or, um, or checking out her free resources because I’m honestly, she is one of the smartest people I know in this area and she’s helped me a lot too. So what is a free resource that you would recommend and I believe it’s available on your website.
Micala: Yes, it is. So on my, on the front page home screen, um, I have three free resources right now that you can download, but I would recommend starting with the brainstorming guide that is going to be figure out what to service you should offer. If you’re sitting there like, I’ve got no skills, I’ve got no talents, there’s nothing I could help a business owner with. First of all, that is so not true. Um, I remember thinking that that’s why I created this brainstorming guide to kind of help you work through all of your different jobs, all of your skills, all of your talents, and figuring out how you can kind of morph those in together and leverage those to start, start a business.
Sharon: That’s awesome. Thank you. Um, so remember it’s MicalaQuinn.com and we will put all the links to everything in our show notes and, um, if you have any questions, you can join the facebook group and ask in there and you can let me know if there’s any way I can be helpful to you guys in any way. Thank you so much Micala for being here,
Micala: Sharon, it was my pleasure and I so appreciate you having me on.
Sharon: Yeah, sure. It was fun.
Thanks for listening to the result of the podcast. Head over to www.Raiseology.com, where you’ll find plenty of, you’ve got this resources for parents and any links or tools mentioned in today’s show. Be sure to hit subscribe on your podcatcher so that you can listen to the next episode the minute it’s out. Until next time, have an empowered week.
Meet Your Mentor
Sharon is a general pediatrician, loving wife and mother to 4 daughters.
After a decade of practicing general pediatrics and working with families, she realized there often wasn’t enough time while tending to children’s medical needs to help parents in the way that would be most helpful in shaping their children’s futures.
The Raiseology Program was developed to teach parents how to raise their children with the love and authority necessary to promote resilience and responsibility.
Sharon’s experience with hundreds of families as well as her own help her meet you where you are on your parenting journey to help you make it what you want it to be.
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