#079 Financial stability in 25-minute chunks ~ Abbi Perets

#079 Financial stability in 25-minute chunks ~ Abbi Perets

You can listen to this podcast episode on iTunes or Spotify.

It’s not my area of expertise, and I don’t talk about it much, but the truth is that we all know it. Financial stability IS one of the good things in life that we want for our kids. 

On the podcast this month, we’ve been diving into the realm of business and finance and WHAT you can do as a mom of a kid with a disability to earn money AND parent your kids. This episode, I’m talking to Abbi Perets. Abbi is an award-winning copywriter with over 20 years of experience working with some of the biggest brands in the world. She’s also the go-to coach for moms who want to break into freelance writing and work from home on their own terms. As a mom of five kids — including one with significant special needs — Abbi knows the unique challenges moms face when building businesses, and her trainings are fun, actionable, relatable — and grounded in reality.
Abbi has helped hundreds of moms to become freelance writers – earning income while raising their kids. Part of the reason that her students are so successful is that Abbi teaches how to do this in 25-minute blocks of time so that it works with the reality of mom’s life. 
Abbi’s advice to you? Just start. Abbi says, “You have to take the first step before you can take the 100th step!”

Transcript

Genia:
Welcome to the good things in life podcast. I’m genius, Steven, if you’re a long time listener of the podcast that you know, that business and family finance is not my jam, it’s not that I don’t care. I just don’t talk about it here. Our focus here on the podcast is on supporting kids with disabilities to build positive inclusive lives at home at school and in the community. I also don’t really cover business and finances in our membership inclusion Academy or in the courses that we offer. But I am talking about it now, families that include kids with disabilities are often underemployed because of the demands of raising their kids. And COVID is caused a ton of job losses and financial stability is one of the good things in life that we want for our kids and ourselves. One of the things that I experienced in my life and, you know, I’ve been in this disability community for a long time because I have a younger sister with a disability.

Genia:
One of the things is that I didn’t have a lot of role models or really any role models of moms, of kids with special needs who were also kicking it in their careers and, you know, maybe even their own businesses and finding that they could balance those two things. So we’re diving into the realm of business and finance and what you can do as a mom of a kid with a disability to earn money and parent your kids. And during the series of podcast episodes, we’re going to be talking with moms who have done it so that you have role models for how it’s possible. Abby Pretz is a award-winning copywriter with over 20 years of experience, working with some of the biggest brands in the world. She’s also the GoTo coach for moms who want to break into freelance writing and work from home on their own terms. She’s a mom of five kids, including one with significant special needs. And Abby knows the unique challenges that moms face when building businesses and her trainings are fun, actionable, and relatable and grounded in reality. And she’s going to talk about some of those opportunities, Abby, thank you so, so much for joining me today. I’m really grateful to have you here.

Abbi:
Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Genia:
I wonder if you could start by just talking about your family and your kind of journey to where you are today.

Abbi:
Sure. I tend to go on and on about my kids so feel free to stop me at any time.

Genia:
Okay. Fair enough.

Abbi:
So, I have five kids and their ages now are, Oh my gosh. It’s the youngest is turning 11 on Saturday in two days. That’s crazy. And the oldest just turned 21, so 11, 14 and a half 16 and a half 19 and 21. Crazy. Okay. But they were not always that old, like at one I had, you know, zero through 10, right. And that was a different world. My husband and our kids and I live in Israel, we have lived in the United I’m American, as you can hear. We have lived in the United States. My husband, this is really the whole family is dual citizens now. And we made certain decisions in our life based on medical needs. Israel has socialized medicine, so that has been very helpful. And I have been freelancing for more than 20 years. I started freelancing when my first baby was born and I wanted to be at home with her. And I have been freelancing all the way through, took a short break in the middle. When my middle son who was the one with significant special needs wound up, you know, with a mild case of leukemia, that was actually not very mild.

Abbi:
It was actually terrible. But since I thrive on black humor and sarcasm, this is how we deal with things in my world. So yeah, so that sucked and I stopped working completely for a couple of years in the middle of there. But other than that, I’ve been freelancing all the way through. So yeah. So what did that look like when your kids were really young? Yeah it looked like working crazy hours. It looked like learning how to work in small blocks of time. It looked like being really clear on what to do tasks were. I got really good at taking everything on my own to-do list and breaking it down into something that would fit into a 25-minute block. And what worked for me in the longterm was every single task on my to-do list. I had to assign either one, two or three 25 minute blocks, cause those were the blocks of time that I could legitimately figure that I would have.

Abbi:
If something felt like it was going to take more than three 25 minute blocks, that meant the task was to it wasn’t a task. It was like more of a project and I needed to break it down a little bit more. That way it wouldn’t be intimidating to me when I saw it on the list and I could break it down and I could fit it into the slots that I had. I did a lot of my work in those early years, I’m sitting in waiting rooms while my son was in with the speech therapist, the developmental therapist, the occupational therapist, whatever the therapist, whatever there was, he had them. And so a lot of driving around. So I also learned to listen to a lot, like a lot of the things that I learned, I would learn by listening to them even before they were podcasts per se. You know I would often have even just audiobooks that I would be listening to. I was the, when the iPod came out, I was like, huh, I don’t listen to music, but I read a lot. I bet I could listen to books on that thing. And yeah, that was my first iPod was exclusively for audiobooks.

Genia:
Yeah, I think that’s really relatable because most of what, you know, in trying to figure how I was going to start a podcast and build a website and, you know, get the word out there about good things in life. It was largely me listening to things listening to learning opportunities as I was doing other things. Yeah.

Abbi:
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. And then the same way that you can listen to audiobooks and podcasts while you’re driving, you can listen to them while you’re doing dishes while you’re folding laundry. I did a lot of that. The other thing that I did now that I’m remembering is I used my free time, my free time used to be the grocery store. And that’s when I would listen to like romance novels, like chiclet, like pure trash on my, on my iPod pattern. Remember those little iPods, they were good. They didn’t have all the other distractions on them, like email and stuff. They were just great.

Genia:
It’s so funny what you’re saying about the grocery store being like your self-care time, you know, but I just think that’s so so incredibly relatable for so, so many moms. Awesome. Okay. So what, how did you even start? Like if you’ve been freelancing for more than 20 years and your oldest is 21, it sounds like your family life and your freelance writing career started in roughly the same,

Abbi:
So weird. Yeah. Look at how that happened. So basically what happened was this, I was living in Israel. I was a college dropout. I have no degree in anything to this day is the bane of my mother’s existence. And I got a job as a junior copywriter in a boutique marketing agency. And Televiv, my qualifications were basically that I spoke English and I knew how to use a computer. And let’s use the word computer loosely because this was, you know, 19, whatever, 96, 97. Yeah. The internet was not like a big thing, you know, like people had heard of it, but not really. And it was back when, like, if somebody picked up the phone in your house, they disconnected you. So anyway, I had this job as a junior copywriter did not really have a clue what that meant, but they would bring me things and they would say write about it.

Abbi:
And I would ask these deep probing questions, like, what do you want me to say about it? And they would tell me and I would write it. And I did that for a bit. And then I got pregnant with the first eye and I in the beginning, I thought, well, I’ll have this baby and I’ll have it all. I’ll come to work and I’ll bring her and she’ll sit at my feet while I work. And then I had the baby and I was like, yeah. So yeah. So I told them I wasn’t coming back and I would be a freelance writer and my husband was like, okay, but what will you do for money? And I’m like, Oh man, we’ll figure it out. I don’t know. I’m a reasonably intelligent human who has dropped out of college twice. I am certain that this is not going to be an issue.

Abbi:
And I started literally like, you know what, at the time there were a handful of parenting websites and again, website is a term that I’m going to use really loosely. This was 1999. But back then you could find people’s like direct email addresses on websites. And we weren’t all getting 9 billion emails a day. We were getting like six. Right. And we were excited by all the emails. So I literally just emailed these women directly. Hi I’m a freelance writer and I would like to write for you, and I’m a total expert on pregnancy and parenting because I’ve had one whole baby. Right. And so there you go. And I did, I wrote my first piece, I sold for $25. And you know, an article on something probably about breastfeeding. I don’t remember what it was, but I do remember the 25 bucks.

Abbi:
And from there I wrote articles for small regional parenting magazine. So in the US there’s like, you know, big Apple parent and like Minnesota parent, like, so these small regional print papers and I would submit query letters to them, get them to assign me an article and they would pay like 25, 50 bucks each. But if you sold something to like big Apple parent, you could then resell it to Minnesota parent. Right. So you could get paid a couple of times for the same piece. And then we moved back to the States and I thought, okay, I like this article thing, but like 25 bucks a pop, I have to write a whole lot of these to make any good money. Yeah. I read a couple of books about freelancing and I thought, okay, I could do this. Like I could make more money if I worked for like businesses.

Abbi:
So I didn’t know how to get started. Exactly. again, you know, this was early 2000. I went to the local public library. I asked for the reference librarian she showed me all kinds of things, how to find different things, how to access different databases, that the library had access to, how to track down books. She introduced me to the amazing world of interlibrary loans, which is like, if you live in small town, America, and your library, your public library system doesn’t have access to a lot of books. You can actually tap into all of the public libraries in the United States. So that’s like New York and Los Angeles and Chicago and all the big cities. And you can borrow books from their libraries and they will deliver them to your local branch where you can pick them up. It’s awesome. And I read everything.

Abbi:
I could get my hands on, on copywriting, freelance writing, building a business. Remember we didn’t have Google. The search engine back in the day was AltaVista. You do a search and it would spin for a couple of minutes. And then it would like throw out, I dunno, 10 sites at you. And that was what there was. Right. So my research came from books. And then I got out the yellow pages and I called every marketing agency and design agency that I could find listed. I was living in Los Angeles at the time. And, and I called them all and I said to them, hi, do you outsource any of your writing to freelancers? And the vast majority of them were like, I don’t even know if that means goodbye. But like I made a thousand calls of a month and like three people said, Oh yeah, sure. And paid me money to write things. And each time they’d be like, Oh, well, can you write a trifold brochure? I’d be like, yeah, of course. And then I’d drive over to the library. What’s a travel brochure, or find me a book about those, you know? And that is how I built. It’s a really high tech system, as you can see.

Genia:
Well, I think what’s, there’s a couple of things that I want to highlight in your story. One is that everything that you found in a book is available in some form now online in a few seconds. And the problem now, when people are looking for information is that there’s too much, like, it’s very hard to actually find something that like, feel like, you know, you’ve got something good because there’s just so much volume of information, but in the spirit of like figuring out how might I do this and take care of my kids and balance all the things and everything I was, you, you had to go to the library, learn how to use it, request the book and then wait for it to be delivered from Colorado, and then go back to the library, pick it up and then read the whole book in order to access the information, which I just think highlights the, like, we can, we can make things happen. Sometimes it might be slow, but forward progress is so far forward progress around this.

Abbi:
Absolutely. Yeah, no, Def I remember many, many weekends sitting with stacks of books on copywriting and about, you know, early marketing and ad agencies and advertising. And gosh, I just, I remember bringing home these stacks of books and going through them with kids crawling over me and just soaking up everything that I could get my hands on it today. It’s kind of like that scene in the movie Castaway with Tom Hanks, where after he’s off the Island like somebody hands him a cigarette lighter at one point. And he like, you know, he just flicks it and gets a flame. Whereas on the Island, he had to work for like two hours rubbing sticks together to make fire, you know, it was like, wow, this is so much easier.

Genia:
Yeah. Yeah. That’s great. Okay. So then, so, you know, you make a thousand calls, so you get three leads. And, and then how does that

Abbi:
And English at work, right. Basically I mean, for each of those assignments being a writer is really about not being afraid to ask questions and to keep asking questions until you get what you need. So basically anytime somebody would hire me to do these things, what do you want this to look like in your perfect world? What am I giving you two weeks from now? And they would literally tell me, and over time I got much better at asking those questions in very targeted ways. So that I could get that information quickly and easily from clients. So I did these first three things, and then I had, you know, three paid things, samples, whatever gigs. I went back to those people, do you need more? Do you know somebody else who needs something? And it really, that was that, that was what kickstarted things I would say in the first year or two of my business, probably 80, if not 90% of my time went to finding the clients like tracking down the work.

Abbi:
And after that, I had a solid base of probably eight or 10 people who I could count on for fairly regular assignments. I wasn’t making millions, but I was making a consistent in the beginning, probably two to $3,000. And then after a year or so, three to $4,000 a month, and I stayed there pretty consistently for a long time for a decade or more. And because you couldn’t make more or because that was because I couldn’t, I, that was the time that I had, I had, you know, I have five kids and I had them over 10 years. So every other year I was basically, I’m a baby. I was nursing. There were babies all around. And then when a D was born, a D is my middle child and he’s the one with special needs. So he has a rare syndrome. It’s called sodas syndrome.

Abbi:
It’s an overgrowth syndrome. So he’s physically larger than you would expect based on his parentage. I am five-eight. My husband is five, five and a half. And a D is like six-two. And he was very big from like, when he was less than a year old, he looked like a three-year-old, like a healthy three-year-old. And then just developmental disability that comes along with that, similar to what you might see in a down syndrome or child. And he has also on the autism spectrum. So so those are the kinds of disabilities we’re dealing with. And, and that took an enormous amount of time. And I didn’t really know like, well, how do I, how do I do this? Right? And so it just became about having a laptop and being okay, like I said, you know, even more working in these short blocks of time.

Abbi:
So I knew that when he went in for a session with the speech therapist that he would be in the room for, he was like 38 minutes. So I knew that I could get about 25-minute worth of work done in that 38-minute block. So I got really good at focusing for 25 minutes at a time. And then being able to kind of pull out from that and go back to what else I was doing.

Genia:
I love this piece of how you teach like this 25-minute block piece of how you teach. Because I think, I think that for many people, including myself, I feel like if I don’t have access to like a standard six or eight-hour Workday, then all is lost kind of thing. Like the, the, we’ve kinda been indoctrinated into a, into a perception of what work and time means.

Abbi:
And I’m gonna say that a lot of that was determined by men. And I love my husband and I love my sentence, but let’s just call a spade, a spade, right? Like look at the, the great thinkers. And I put that in quotes, right. Of the Renaissance and the enlightenment men, because they didn’t have to cook or clean or take care of the children. They could go to their studios and paint or write or sculpt or whatever for eight, 12, 14, 16 hours. And somebody would bring them food and wash their clothes and make sure that they had what they needed. That is not a thing that women have ever had. Right. And so we have to work differently. And I think that recognizing that and saying, you know what, I’m going to turn that into a strength. I’m not going to let that hold me back. I’m not going to let that be the reason that I can’t do things, I’m going to accept that this is my reality. And I’m going to make that my strength. That’s really where I’ve come from.

Genia:
Yeah. I think that’s really powerful and really important for people to recognize and really spend some time reflecting on, on that. And I, I also think another valid thing to consider for people to consider is whether or not whether or not thinking through the eyes of particularly, you know, a white heterosexual, CIS man might give you some ideas of things you might be able to actually get off your plate. You know, like so often, so often we think about, we feel like if we’re not doing all the things, then we’re not being a good mom. And, you know, the sometimes we can’t figure out how to get anything off our plates. Like I think actually all of us, at some point fairly recently have had that experience. Like it’s, cause it happens in stages. Like you figure things out in stages, right? And your situation in life changes and new things come up and it takes some time to figure that out. But just keeping an eye to the idea that being a good mom doesn’t mean that you are doing all the things and that you might actually have to say to a spouse or a family member or a support worker. I need you to do this, you know, and I also really recognize, and I just want to honor that lots of women are, are living in domestic situations where that’s not a safe thing to do or that wouldn’t be supported. So I, I’m not ignoring that. Either,

Genia:
Hey there. Have you ever heard that Einstein quote “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”? Kind of like me, I was working full time as a midwife and trying to figure out how to build and support a community of parents with disabilities. It was just a lot, it was too much learning the ropes to building out my digital course. The what, why and how of inclusive education is what allowed me to gain some balance between my family’s need, for me to be present and available my commitment to truly serving my community and earning a little money to support my family. And if you’ve ever thought about doing something a little differently in your life, it’s time to officially start, like right now, Amy Porterfield, who taught me how to build a digital course as an awesome new free master class called how to create and launch a profitable digital course from scratch.

Genia:
Meaning that you can get access to my digital course creation, mentors, coaching for exactly $0. Jump into the training time that works best for you by going to good things in life.org forward slash Amy, she’ll teach you the 30-minute post-it party method to kickstart your digital course planning so that you’ll pull the ideas out of your head and get them onto paper. She’ll cover how to build your confidence that you have something to offer. No, you don’t need to be the end, all be all expert in your field, or even hold a certification or degree to teach something successfully and to make a big difference. And she’ll cover how just one digital course can create an income stream for your family that still allows you to show up as the parent that they need and that you want to be. I learned how to take my knowledge and the knowledge of others and make it available online from Amy. And I’d love for you to have the same opportunity Amy doesn’t offer this often. So don’t miss out. I’m hoping that you will join me inside the free masterclass. I’ll see you sitting there virtually right beside me and support you through this journey. Again, if you’re interested, you can find the registration page so you can pick a time that works for you at goodthingsinlife.org/amy.

Abbi:
I practice a parenting philosophy that I lovingly refer to as benign neglect. I’m so, so, so I don’t actively abuse my children. But I’m not always the most present mom. There have been stages in my business where I rely more heavily on screens than is socially acceptable. Let’s say. And I’ve decided that I’m okay with that. I’ve decided that I’m, I don’t, I don’t personally feel that I’m causing permanent damage to my children. I’m definitely okay. And I’ve always been okay with the older kids, helping out with the younger kids where that’s possible. I am 100% okay. With not doing it all. I get a lot of my students say, well, how do you do it all? I’m like, Oh, I don’t even pretend like I have a cleaning lady. You know, we order pizza every single Thursday night and just recently.

Abbi:
And I mean, like in the last two weeks recently, I said to my husband, Hey, what if we ordered in two nights a week instead of one? And we looked at the finances and we looked at how we’re both working right now. And we’re like, yeah, that actually makes a lot of sense. Yeah. The two of us know that and again, this absolutely comes from a place of privilege, right? Like we can make more money focusing on work. Then, then, you know, it’s more cost-effective for us to bring in that second meal plus it’s sushi. So, you know, whatever. So, you know, my kids actually really enjoy having pizza every Thursday night for my for a D my middle son, you know, routine autism, right? Like we don’t mess around with that. Like one, you’re not allowed to order pizza on a night.

Abbi:
That’s not Thursday. And to God help you, if it is Thursday and you’re not planning on ordering that pizza, like that is just not how things work here. So so that’s something that’s become a real part of our routine. And we’ve now slowly introduced this whole we’ll have sushi on Tuesdays. And it’s like, I’m on board with that. And I think for, for people, for whom, this is like, the idea of ordering food is in, is not financially viable. The idea that you give your self permission to, to make an app, to, to have that as an aspiration, like offloading some of your responsibilities and feeling good about that and confident about that as something that you aspire to is a step towards. And I think, I think it’s really important. And I think that, you know, even if it doesn’t look exactly like ordering in food, right, what are other ways that you can think about that would free up that little bit of time or make you have to do a little bit less?

Abbi:
So for very early on, all of my kids have had chores. I haven’t, you know on a regular basis, they’re the ones who clean the kitchen. They’re the ones who fold the laundry and we have assigned chores and everybody in my house has chores. So, and, and we are all about play to the kid’s strengths, right? So a D my OCD child unloads the dishwasher every morning before he goes to school. It’s fantastic because he’s, he’s the one who’s out the door, the first thing in the morning. And we have an empty dishwasher to start the day with, which helps the whole kitchen look better, which helps the whole house run more functionally. Right. so we played a kid’s strengths. We, we, but everybody has chores. The 11-year-old is the worst because he’s youngest and he’s spoiled. And like, he doesn’t think that he should have to do anything.

Abbi:
But we’re working on him. And, and that’s a big thing too. I’m also a huge fan of lower your standards. I’ve personally never been a person who is bothered by dirty dishes in the sink does not affect my sleep at all. I know plenty of women for whom that’s not true. Like I must have, you know, the kitchen must be spotless before I go to bed. And these are the women who tell me, I’m exhausted all the time. And when I say, well, what time do you go to bed? They’re like three in the morning. I’m like, do you see a connection between those two things? Maybe? I mean, I don’t know whatever, but, so if you know that you are a person who has to have those things happen, one of the easy tricks I recommend is set an alarm on your phone for the early evening.

Abbi:
Like at that time, you know, start doing what you can so that you can get to bed earlier than three in the morning. Little things like that, look for this. I don’t think that change happens in big gigantic movement. And I think that change happens from tiny, tiny changes, you know, small steps that we can take that and if you figure out what the what’s that small thing that you can do that can have a really big impact on your life. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time or be this super significant thing. But if it matters to you and if it’s making your life better or easier than go,

Genia:
Or if it frees up a few 25-minute blocks of time in your day, so that you can think about how you might make some money or work on your business idea then. Yeah,

Abbi:
Absolutely.

Genia:
So let’s loop back to your story and your, your business. So you started, you were copywriting earning up to, you know, around $4,000 a month, and that was the balance point for a long time for you, between your family and your business and what happened. That’s no longer the case. So obviously your kids grew up a little bit, and let’s be honest, that helps.

Abbi:
That massively helps. Like, I mean, especially now with COVID and being at home all the time, I can’t like, I’m so grateful that my kids are the ages that they are, it’s not great with teenagers either. Like they’re, you know, really antsy and whatever, but they’re not toddlers anymore. So there’s, there’s a big piece of that, that I’m so grateful and I’m so in awe of and humbled by the mothers of young children who are surviving this, I really like my hat is off too. So for me, my kids did get older. They were in all-day programs. I was able to think about taking on larger projects right then was when D got cancer. So that threw a wrench in the works for a while. But when I came back from that experience there was a, there was a whole process and we can go into that or not.

Abbi:
But one of the things that happened after I went through this whole, like my kid lived and I can also be happy and I am allowed to make money, which is a big part of my philosophy of life now. And it took me a long time to get there. I got much more specific in the work I did. So for the first, I’m gonna say 10 to 15 years of my business. If you would pay me to write nursery rhymes, I would write nursery rhymes. Like I didn’t care. As long as you were paying me to write, I was happy and I would do what you asked. So I don’t do that anymore. I’m very, very specific in the kind of writing that I handle and who I do it for. So we call that niching down. Right. and now that I have a niche and I am very specific, I make a lot more money in a lot less time.

Abbi:
I’m consistently bringing in from my freelance writing clients, 10, 15, $18,000 a month. And on top of that, I have this other side of the business where I teach other moms how to get started in freelance writing. So yeah, I’m making, I’m making a lot more money than I ever made before. It’s been kind of amazing. And on a daily basis, I wake up and I’m like, is this really my life? Like, is this really happening? Cause I’m a very ordinary person, like an extremely ordinary person. I am not special. You can ask my kids, they will be happy to tell you. And, and it’s really like, I don’t have a college degree. You know, I don’t have like years of corporate experience. I had this one job and this little, nothing agency in Tel Aviv, but no one’s heard of, and interlibrary loans.

Abbi:
Right? Like I am completely self-educated. I learned all of these things from books and, yeah, it’s sorry. I just want to interrupt to say by the end of this episode, we will tell people how they can learn all of this from you. So we’re headed there if people are like, okay, so I don’t know. I find this well, we’ve got you covered. Okay. So you’re and so you’re earning a lot more, I’m writing specifically in the niche that you’ve chosen spending less time. Cause you’re not all over the place and writing about something that you want to write about as opposed to taking any gig that fell into your lap. Exactly. I have a lot of fun doing the stuff that I do. Like I wake up excited, you know, it’s, there’s that, there’s the difference between when we wake up and you’re like, Oh, I have to do that thing today versus, Oh my gosh.

Abbi:
Oh my gosh. You know, like when I know that I have calls on my calendar, I’m excited because it means I’m talking to clients who I adore, who I think of as friends. And, and it’s exciting and fun. So my generally speaking in Israel our weekend is Friday and Saturday. So we, I work Sunday through Thursday and for a long time, I haven’t worked on Fridays. The last couple of months I’ve been working on Fridays because again, I run two sides to my business. I have the core side and I have the client side. So I’ve been putting in time on Friday is just to make sure that things are growing exactly the way I want them to, but it has never felt like drudgery to work on a Friday for me in this time period. I’ve been like, my husband laughs at me, he’s like, like I’ll get up on a Friday and I’m running down to my office. And he’s like, what you tell him, like I’m working today. And he’s like, you have a really big grin on your face for somebody who’s working on a Friday. And I’m like, well, I really love what I do. So there you go. Yeah. I get great pleasure from it. So that’s exciting.

Genia:
That’s awesome. So just, I just want to repeat one thing that you said, and then I want to hear more about actually how you’re, how you’re running your business. So one of the things that you said you had to work on for a long time but now you’re clear about, and passionate about is moms are allowed to be happy, have time and earn money simultaneously. It’s not one of those. Like you can only pick two. Yeah.

Abbi:
No, no. I’m all about, you know, both. And I mean, for me, when you have a kid who goes through cancer or any life-threatening illness so you see, you know, when you’re in the hospital, you see the kids who don’t make it and you see what their parents go through and you think, Oh my God, I would do anything to make sure that doesn’t happen to me. And then when your kid survives, there’s a ton of survivor’s guilt, right? Like on top of, you know, on top of all of the special needs stuff that you live with anyway, right. Then there’s all this survivor’s guilt. And then you go back to the special needs world, which can be different from the medically fragile world. And like, if there’s there’s a lot going on, right. And so you feel like this is all I get, like, it would be greedy to ask for more.

Abbi:
And I was absolutely in that place. And I had to do a lot of hard work to get to the place where I could say, actually my kids lived and I can buy a new iPhone and I can really enjoy my coffee in the morning and I can go to Thailand and I can, I don’t know, just be really, I can take a bubble bath and be happy and enjoy it. Like that’s okay. All of those things can simultaneously be okay. It took me a long time. That was not an easy journey, that involved an enormous amount. And I would say that I’m still doing that work. I don’t think that you ever finish that.

Genia:
I agree. I agree. And it’s not so much that we are required to have all of those three things at the same time or that that’s even going to be possible at times. But just that just like, I think you and I are just giving moms permission to yes. To have that or to pursue it in, in situations like if their life allows for it. And just like you were saying, when your kids were younger, you, you weren’t where you are now, but you were building those foundations and you were still securing, you were securing your financial stability at the time with the smaller business and you were building all of the blocks to be able to be where you are now.

Abbi:
Yeah. And I don’t think that I even knew that I was doing that then. But when you look back, you can kind of see that clearer path. I also really believe that even when my kids were smaller, the one thing that I always have pretty much throughout my life that I have always done for myself is I’ve always taken time every single day to read for pleasure, even if it’s literally just in the two or three minutes before I fall asleep at night. There’s always a book next to my bed. These days, it’s a Kindle, but there always, always a book next to my bed. And even if it’s only that two or three minutes before I fall asleep, if I don’t have that, I’m a much less happy person and recognize that early on in my life. And so even when I had five small children and there was so much happening, and even when my kid had cancer, I still took those four or five minutes every day to read for myself for pleasure.

Abbi:
And that’s always been something that’s critically important. So like, it’s not, it doesn’t have to be a big thing and it doesn’t have to cost money and it doesn’t have to be taking an hour out of your day, but find that like three, five minutes that you give yourself, I think that’s critical. Yeah. Thanks for that. I agree. So tell us a little bit more about your business now and how you help other moms to build a freelance writing business. Sure. so I kind of fell into this when my son had recovered from cancer and they had released us from the hospital and they were like, okay, he’s better now go back to your normal life. And I was like, I don’t know how to do that. I was in a Facebook group for moms of kids with cancer. And I live in Israel, socialized medicine.

Abbi:
Our cancer journey did not bankrupt us. It did not cost us any money, but that is not the case for our friends in the United States. So there were a lot of moms in that group who were really struggling to put food on the table, keep the lights on and like special needs cancer is not something that’s compatible with a nine to five job. Even when your kid has recovered, they’re still, they’re exhausted. They can’t go to a full day of school yet. There’s a lot happening. So it doesn’t work with a traditional nine to five job. So I started very informally helping some of these women explore the concept of freelancing. And I gave them very simple instructions that I would email out with like, Hey, try this, do this, you know, walk them through that process. And as they started getting results and coming back and saying, Oh my God, like I just got paid, you know, $500 to do this freelance project.

Abbi:
We can go grocery shopping with that money like that. It gave me a reason to like, kind of get up in the mornings when I was in this very dark place and not really whole again it pushed me to go beyond myself and think about other people which for me has always been a good way to get out of depression. And it was having this positive impact in the world, which is something that matters to me. And so I started looking into ways to make that a more formal process. I’m more a bigger thing. And out of that was born successful freelance mom, which is my business now. And really everything came from that. I fell into, I built my course, I call it my zero to freelance writer. Course it’s called writing for money. It assumes that you know, nothing about being a freelance writer and teaches you everything you need to know.

Abbi:
And as I built out that course, there were pieces that I needed. I needed emails to help promote the course and I needed a sales page to sell the course. And I loved writing those things. And I was hanging out with all these other people who were creating courses because I was learning how to do this. And I took a course on how to do this. And all these other people needed those same things written for themselves, but they weren’t writers. And it was really painful and horrible for them to try to do it on their own. And I quickly figured out, well, not that quickly, it’s like eight months longer than it should have to figure out that I could charge them money to do this thing. And that’s really the niche that I’m in. Now. I write sales pages and email sequences for online course creators.

Abbi:
I only work with people who really like who have something that I really believe in. I work mostly with women. I get to do what I love. I get to help people have this amazing positive impact in the world. And that’s very exciting and I get paid really well to do it. And at the same time I’ve created this course that I’ve now put hundreds of women through. And all kinds of women like women, you know, moms of kids with special needs. Moms have typical kids, although what’s typical today, who knows, I don’t know. You know, and, and they can make it work. They can take this proven system and use it themselves and make money and, and change their lives. Like I’m going to cry like on a daily basis, I get emails from women who say to me, Oh my God, like my family’s life looks completely different now because of you like women email me that, well, I was telling my husband about your video.

Abbi:
And he was like, Oh, did Abby also say that I’m like, people have conversations about me and they’re doing it. Like, that’s weird and amazing. And my, my kids don’t pull. They’re like, whatever, we don’t want to hang out with you, but strangers on the internet do so. It’s, it’s incredible. We’ve built a real community. And, and I’m, I’m honored. I’m humbled, I’m astounded. I’m grateful. Like every day I get to wake up and feel like this. And that’s, that’s pretty amazing.

Genia:
That is amazing. So that’d be, if people are interested in connecting with you, considering your course and joining your community, what’s the best way for them to reach you?

Abbi:
Yeah. So my website is at successfulfreelancemom.com. And if you go there, you will find everything you need. If you go to a successfulfreelancemom.com/go, you’ll get directly to my free email course. I’ve got a free five, six-day email course on how to be a freelance writer. From there. You can decide if this is something you really want to explore. I have a paid course. I have a free Facebook group. Everything is linked very easily from the website and I’m on Instagram at Abbi Parents.

Genia:
Great, wonderful. So if you had sort of one thing that you really wanted to say to parents of kids with disabilities, who are, you know, thinking about money and finances and time.

Abbi:
Yeah. So I would say the most important thing you can do is, is start what you’re thinking about doing. If you never take the first step, you don’t ever get to take the hundredth step, right? None of us are good at anything. The first time we try it. And the example that I frequently give is look at our kids and the way they learn to walk and crawl and talk, like they fall down the first time they try to crawl it. Right. And we don’t ever say to them, you know what, clearly walking is not going to be your thing. You should just crawl, right? Like that’s not who we are. It’s not how we relate to our kids, but we expect ourselves to be perfect to things that we try from the first moment that we try. So if we stop putting all of that pressure and expectations on ourselves and just go ahead and take the first step, knowing that we’re going to fall down and land in a heap, but that we’re going to get back up. So you have to take the first one before you can, you have to do the first one before you can do the hundreds. Right. And that’s really what I would say.

Genia:
Awesome. I love that message. I think that one of the things that, one of the things that, that makes me think about is that also when you’re taking that first step, that 100 stuff is quite literally unimaginable. Like you will not be, you will not anything you’re imagining when you’re taking the first step is probably actually not going to be anything like what the 100 step looks like. And that’s both scary and exciting, scary, because you’re like, I don’t know where this is going. And, you know my life already includes all kinds of uncertainties, but it’s exciting because if you kind of recognize that you, you can’t predict or anticipate the 100 step, you can let the responsibility for that go and just take the first step. And then the second

Abbi:
I would even say exhilarating and exciting and into exhilarating. And they’re one of the things that I’m learning to do is let future Abby deal with future Abby’s problems. Like as a, as a Jewish mother, I am a chronic worrier, right? Like, and I can worry, I can out worry anybody with my hands behind my back. Right. Like I am really good at it. And I am learning to be less good at it. And to worry a little bit less, my husband says, don’t worry about the things that you can’t control cause you can’t control them. And don’t worry about the things you can control. Cause you can just change them. Right. And I’m like, I feel like that does not, you know, like that’s not a natural state for me, but I’m learning very slowly to let future Abby deal with future Abby’s problems and I don’t have to solve them all right now.

Genia:
Yeah. That’s brilliant. Thank you. So Abbi, I’ll make sure that all of the links that you’ve mentioned are in the show notes for this podcast episode. And thank you so so much. I think this has been really, really valuable and I, I know very confidently that people who are interested in freelance writing will be extremely well-served and find success following your process. I know that hundreds of other moms have already done so. So thank you very much.

Abbi:
Oh thank you so much for having me.

Genia:
Have a great night. You’re, I’m just starting my day, you’re finishing your day?

Abbi:
Right. I’m finishing.

Genia:
And we’ll talk soon.

Abbi:
Thank you. Thanks. Take care.

Genia:
Take care.

Thanks for Listening!

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Special thanks to ABBI PERETS for joining me this week. Until next time!

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