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Monday, July 23, 2007

A Day In The Life Of ...

Ever wonder what a day in the life of a SAHD WAHD looks like (OK that acronym wasn't funny!)? Well, I thought I would share with you what my day was like today. I'm sure that every stay and home dad and work at home dad has a vast and different experience, but I have always been intrigued, and I though you might be intrigued as well.

So, here's what happened at my house today.

  • 7:30 AM - Kids woke up. They are now my alarm clock.
  • 8:30 AM - Watched 'Home on The Range' with the kids on DVD. We promised them we would watch it with them last night.
  • 10:00 AM - OK, this is when I actually started 'working', if you can really call it that. I have a writing assignment that I started last night, and should finish up today.
  • 12:00 Noon - Time for lunch. Spent more time with the kids. Not like they were not here while I was writing, but my wife pretty much kept them occupied so dad could 'work'. Unfortunately, we really don't have a spare room to set up as an office, so the PC is in the corner of the living room. Sure, I can type in the middle of a three ring circus, can't you?
  • 1:00 PM - Watched some NASA videos with my son. He is really into the space thing, so this was cool. It is one of my interests as well.
  • 3:00 PM - OK, it's back to the grindstone ... well, actually the keyboard. I picked up a second writing assignment, so I can begin working on it as soon as I am done with this one. I missed a tech support assignment on the tech job board ... someone else picked it up while I was offline with the kids. Oh well, life's full of opportunities ... you just have to decide which ones are the most important.
  • 5:30 PM - Dinner time. We take time to eat together, although it is usually in front of the boob tube. I guess it's better than nothing, but this is an area I would like to improve on.
  • 7:30 PM - Back to the writing gig. The kids are in bed now (their bedtime is 7pm), which allows me much more coherent thoughts when doing creative writing (if it can be called that).
  • 9:30 PM - Woo Hoo! I'm finished with my writing assignment for the day. After roughly six hours of work, I've completed 15 keyword articles for submission. I also received payment offers on two exclusive articles I submitted over at Associated Content. This makes the day a productive one.
  • 10:00 PM - After a short break, I'm back online, going over my blogs (I currently have 5 semi-active blogs that I am trying to get in shape to qualify for an advertising program). I'm posting, posting, posting, trying to get everything in shape for the advertising market that's out there.
I don't know when I will call it quits tonight, but it will probably be after midnight. I've always said I would rather burn the midnight oil for myself, rather than for someone else. Now is my chance to see just how productive I can be ... for me.

Come back tomorrow, and perhaps we'll have another chance to visit.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Time Flies When You're Freelancing

My, my, my ... how time flies when you are freelancing! It seems like it was just a few days ago when I posted last to the blog here. I'm really going to have to try harder to stay on top of things here.

I don't even know where I've been since we got back from the out of town trip. I've done quite a few articles for pay, including a nice news piece on the flooding in central Texas. I've gone out on another service call since last week, and I've done some independent system consulting as well.

All-in-all it's still a bit slower than I would like, although I have found another group of online sites to explore and add to my ever-expanding plethora of work-at-home freelancing sites. Most of these center around writing, as I like to write.

Scheduling is still an issue. I have yet (even after almost a month now) to nail down a good working schedule that I can keep on a consistent basis. If only I could do that, I feel like I would succeed in becoming a bit more organized with my writing plan. At this point I'm signed up to write for 4 organizations that will actually give you a list of content they are looking for, as well as accept non-solicited articles. In addition, I'm currently surfing the job boards of two bid-for-the-job freelance sites. The problem with these sites is that there is so much competition for these jobs from the overseas markets, that it looks like it is next to impossible for the American writer to make it worth their time, bidding so low that it amounts to less than minimum wage work.

OK, so much for catching up on what's happening since last week. I'll try to be more faithful and post here more often.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Family Travel With No Schedule

We just got back late yesterday from a family trip out of town to visit some relatives. Usually this is the type of trip that you would get all worked up about because of time constraint issues. Being a real man (read: stay-at-home-dad) has some distinct advantages, as we discovered over the last few days.

Vacationing or traveling out of town for the normal 8 to 5, Monday thru Friday worker is hard enough. Most people out there rarely have a schedule that is as accommodating as those banker's hours. However, when you don't have to report to work on Monday morning, and you don't really have to feel pressured on Friday to leave as soon as possible, a whole new world of possibilities opens up to you!

This is what we discovered on this particular trip. It occurred to us as we left town on Sunday rather than Friday how nice it was not to have to compete with weekend traffic. There was no rush to get out of town on Friday night so we could make the most of our weekend. As people were leaving the state park where we stayed, we were arriving. OK, so there were some retirees and summer students that showed up on our second day there, but I'm betting that's pretty atypical and probably a result of the recent flooding at other larger area attractions (we were at the Meridian state park in Texas).

It was comforting to realize on Tuesday when we left, that I didn't have to 'get some rest' just because of work in the morning. In fact, if we all stayed up late and were bushed, we could all sleep in. How gratifying is that? Not having a regular work schedule to worry about has definitely had an impact on our recreation. Although this trip cost us more than we bargained for (with car troubles I will elaborate more on later), it was still a nice thing to come to terms with.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

When It Rains ...

Have you ever noticed that when it rains, it pours? First, you have the weather. It's been raining here in Texas for days, weeks, months. OK, maybe not for months on end, but definitely for weeks. Last year we had a drought so bad that some cattle ranchers whose families had been in business for generations were put out of business. This year, we're planning a re-creation of Noah's ark.

This phenomenon also relates to faith. Since embarking on my journey into real manhood (read: stay-at-home fatherhood), I've been trying to get something going to generate income. I'm not independently wealthy, so a source of incoming funds to counter-balance the outgoing funds is pretty important. So, if we feel that the Lord is leading us, then it becomes a walk of faith to trust in God to bring in the work and our labor to complete the tasks.

So, for the first few weeks, nothing. Then, last week, the graphics job shows up. Yesterday we determined the scope of the job was larger than anticipated, and we get to increase the invoice amount. In addition, I finally got a tech support call lined up for tomorrow, and potentially a freelance gig for next week online! Finally, to top it all off, a guy came by yesterday and offered me what I was asking for an old '82 Chevy pick-up I've been trying to sell for a month. So, you see, when it rains, it pours.

It appears that while there will be times of testing, if we put our faith and trust in God, He will open the doors to provide for our needs.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Jack-In-The-Box Is Out! What Next?

So we celebrated my personal declaration of independence on June 19th, when I submitted my letter of resignation to the tyrannical empire that had enslaved me for the past five years of my life. It was a great day of rejoicing and an immediate release of stress. I finally took the leap of faith and left the rat race, so-to-speak. So what was the plan? What lies ahead as the plan of action to allow me to become the man that I desire to be: a real father to my children, staying at home to help in their mental development, education, work ethic, and spiritual enlightenment? Well, since the corporate 'jack' is now out of the box, let me share with you the rocky road ahead...

My wife and I have been talking for several months about starting our own business as virtual assistants ... doing administrative and marketing work locally and through the Internet. This would allow us both to participate in generating income for the household, as well as give us both the opportunity to set our own schedules, have family time, and personal one-on-one time with the children. At least that's the way it was supposed to work in theory.

We got our business cards, developed and launched our website, put an advertisement in our local newspaper, and waited for the calls to come in. Below is a copy of our ad that debuted in the Business Services listings of our local newspaper:

"NEED A HAND TO GET all your work done? A Present Help can help you with your administrative and marketing needs. No job too big or small. Call today, XXX-XXX-XXXX."

It was at the end of our first week that we got our first call from the ad. A little old lady on the other end of the phone was asking if we could come over and hang a storm door for her. Not exactly what we meant when we said "no job too big or small", you know what I mean? Pretty disappointing results for our first week.

On the Internet front, I launched my professional services profile on, hoping to glean some freelance work from that site. What I have quickly learned is that the low-bidding competition is fierce, with service providers from India and the Philippines making it hard for any American freelancer to come up with a low-ball bid price that is worth the time and effort that will be expended into the project. Again, somewhat disappointing, but I am still searching for the niche where 'English is my primary language' and 'working from the USA' mean something. Wish me luck. In addition to this outlet, I have found several freelance content sites that either sell articles for authors, or they will buy your article with various types of licenses in place. Between these sites and developing a list of freelance Christian writer's markets, I've been pretty busy.

Well, finally, last Friday we got the phone call we have been waiting for. My wife picked up a graphic layout job (graphics work is definitely her forte, not mine) that will bring in some cash. I also received payment for my first article, and payment for some online advertising space that I sell on one of my websites. All in all I would say we're off to a slow start ... but at least we are out of the starting blocks!

The Journey Home

My journey home began a long time ago, when my son was born.

He is six years old now, soon to be seven. From the moment I knew that my wife was pregnant, I started looking for a way to earn a living that would allow me to be home with my wife and my family. I investigated numerous multi-level marketing schemes, direct sales (cold calling, door-to-door) programs, Internet marketing scams, etc. You name it, I probably have checked it out.

You may be asking why on Earth I would want to put my personal career on hold (assuming I've got one) to stay home or work from home and help take care of children (now there are three!). Let me elaborate on that in another post. For now, suffice it to say that I have a deep-seated desire to be a genuine part of my children's lives, to shape their character - who they are and what they stand for. I don't want to leave the raising of my children to the public education system, daycare, or even to my wife alone. I want to be an integral part of their upbringing.

So, as of June 19th, 2007, this dream has become a reality. On that day, I turned in my resignation for a job going nowhere to a boss who's already arrived there. I stepped off the platform of 'my career', and onto the path of the 'real men'. In my book, real men are the ones who stay home.

After all, anyone can have a career. However, you may sometimes note that those who arrive at the top of their 'game' frequently arrive there without some or all of the members of their family.

Thank God I finally stepped out in faith to do what my heart has been telling me to do for years.