Fastforward to the year 2004 - My husband and I were expecting our first child, and we decided together for me to be a stay-at-home mom and not use daycare services. We knew it was going to be a stretch financially, and I had no previous experience with babies. But, we felt it was what we needed to do as a new family.
I have always loved working and quickly threw all my energy into being a mom to our little guy "Rex". Once the early days of around the clock feedings were over, I found that I had some extra time in my day. I started to yearn for returning to work. I previously had a career in marketing and public relations but didn't want to give up my time with our son.
I began perusing job listings and was tempted to send out my resume. Then, I started wondering if there was a way that I could work from home. Through my search for work-at-home ideas, I found Elance. I signed up. Quickly, I was awarded a project to write an eBook about baby showers. I was hooked!
Soon, I was bidding on projects to write copy for websites, develop brand names, and promote businesses. I worked while my son was sleeping, and I made a nice amount of money each month to augment my husband's salary.
In November 2006, my husband and I had our second son "Judd". He was three weeks premature but otherwise healthy. We celebrated the holidays, and life was good! We just didn't know what was soon to follow.
On January 3, 2007, my husband was very unexpectedly laid off along with many others in his office. He was given one week's pay and told to clean out his desk. He lost his job, his salary, and our family's health benefits. Unfortunately, the worst was yet to come.
We immediately tried to get health insurance. It was next to impossible. Because Judd was only two months old and born premature, and my husband has preexisting conditions, we were only able to afford a substandard policy. We signed up and hoped that none of us were going to get sick, at least until my husband found a new job.
Only three weeks after the layoff with my husband fervently looking for work, Judd came down with what seemed to be a cold. But, it wasn't. He was sick for about a week when one evening, he began struggling for breath and began to turn blue. We rushed him to the emergency room where he was diagnosed with RSV - a virus that can be fatal for infants. We were told that he had pneumonia and a collapsed lung. It was a week in the hospital for little Judd, and we were so fortunate that he survived and recovered completely.
Then, the medical bills began to arrive. When it was all said and done, we owed over $10,000. My husband was still unemployed, and we had two small boys to care for along with all of the usual expenses of a house, cars, food, etc. It seemed insurmountable, and there were more than a few days where I just wanted to pull the covers over my head and feel sorry for myself.
After one fitful night of sleep full of worry, I woke up in the wee hours and began searching for projects on Elance. I responded to one in particular for a company that was looking for someone to write a white paper. I had a background in marketing and technical writing, so I decided to bid. I was awarded the project, and the pay was good! It was a mid-sized software company based in Hong Kong.
Hmmm! It got me thinking. If this company is looking for talent on Elance, I bet others are, too. If I could find enough clients, I could grow my part-time work into a business that would get us out of our financial difficulties. ...And, I could still be a stay-at-home mom. I ran the idea past my husband, and he said he believed it could work.
I ramped up my efforts dramatically and started getting lots of new clients. I worked my butt off and began to receive referrals. Soon, I was doing projects for British Telecom, Argent Software, and many other clients - both within the United States and beyond. Before I knew it, I was running a one-person global business and making enough money to support our family.
The good news is that my husband found a new job - actually one with American Express where he is allowed to telecommute. Our boys are doing great. And, I still work from the spare bedroom where grandma sleeps when she comes to visit. This year, my business was featured on CNN Online, Fox News, and was named one of the top 100 home-based businesses by Startup Nation.
None of this would have been possible without Elance. The site hasn't just given me a new way to work. I can honestly say it helped save our family, our finances, and has allowed me to achieve both personal and professional goals that I never thought were possible. Thank you Elance!