Freelance With a Full-Time Job: Maria Walley’s Balancing Act

By Christine Warner, Contributor, on May 2, 2017

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“Every project is different — and a chance to dig into new territory and add an entirely fresh spin and interesting perspective.” cofounder and former agency marketer Maria Walley started freelancing on the side to fulfill her passion for writing. Despite her hectic schedule, she makes time to freelance with a full-time job, since she finds it so rewarding — and irresistible. Walley shared, “I didn’t realize how addictive it’d be. Also, I didn’t realize how hard it’d be to say no to projects, simply because I don’t have enough time!”

Maria Walley: Freelancer, Entrepreneur, and Mother

Her freelance work allows her to escape into intriguing subject areas and writing angles. “Freelancing gets me out of my head and into a topic,” she explained. For instance, one of her favorite projects involved testing an online game and writing a review and cultural commentary.

Although Walley improved her efficiency and output over time, she still gets chills from the thrill of publishing work. “People are reading my work, my thoughts? It feels unreal.”

Set Hard Deadlines to Stay Motivated

Since Walley continues to freelance with a full-time job and a family, she constantly battles with time management. “While running my own business and taking care of a small infant, I often find the only time I can write well is toward the end of the day, when the night falls and I’m left to my own devices.”

Holding herself to firm deadlines keeps her motivated and productive, and the same goes for the relationships she’s built with the editors of her freelance work. “I tend to be a more emotionally driven person, and developing a relationship with my editors really helps me stay on top of my deadlines, as I really don’t want to let them down.”

Know Your Personal Productivity Peaks

Keep yourself accountable, but accommodate your natural work style. Walley acknowledges that successful freelancing is “a combination of having systems but also being flexible.” She freelances around her full-time work schedule on weekends or late at night on weekdays. The support and understanding of her husband also makes it possible.

Explore New Things to Expand Your Skills

Enrich your expertise by experimenting with new tactics and perspectives. Walley advises, “Consistently try something new. Whether it’s a new topic or a new type of product, don’t be afraid to expand your writing skills into an entirely different arena.” She also suggests following, reading and engaging with those you admire, so you can keep on learning.

It’s a never-ending balancing act to freelance with a full-time job. But mother, wife and entrepreneur Walley proves it’s possible with the right drive and passion. In her own words, “Whether you’re freelancing on the side or as a full-time gig — it’s a hustle. You gotta be hungry for it.” She wraps with, “That said, it’s incredibly rewarding.”

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