Sitting in bed while talking and drinking a cup of tea is how Audrey van Ryn and her husband of 31 years, Chris, start their day. Both self-employed -- Audrey is a freelance editor, while Chris is a former interior architect now writer and event photographer -- they opt to relax in the morning before picking up any work.
Before this, Audrey spent close to a decade teaching English and music in Auckland, New Zealand. "As a teacher, there was not much time left for anything else. My evenings and weekends were mostly taken up with marking work and preparing lessons," Audrey said.
When she gave birth to their son Rouan, Audrey decided to become a stay-at-home mother until Rouan started school. She did a variety of part-time work: cleaning, proofreading, and relief teaching of English as a Second Language. "I came to the realization that working part-time was better than what I term, '9-5-ism'," said Audrey, who never returned to teaching full-time. She has since worked as a part-time transcriber for 15 years.
Fast forward to the present, Audrey, 57, discovered Freelancer.com through a family member. "One of the reasons why I signed up is because I had applied for a number of local jobs in the past and scored only one interview. It seemed that once you go beyond middle age, it is harder to get work, whereas on freelance sites the age doesn't matter," she said.
Rouan, now 26, also helped her create a website to promote her work as a proofreader and editor, but she only secured a handful of jobs. "Freelancer.com solved the difficulty of how to market my services. I now do plenty of the work that I have wanted to do for years," Audrey said.
She has only started February this year, but Audrey said the amount of proofreading and editing work she has received via Freelancer is already more than she had been able to secure in the past. "Since starting, I have spent less time on my regular transcribing work, so I have had more variety of work."
One of her most memorable projects on Freelancer.com was editing a fantasy novel. "I had fun reading the material so it didn't feel like work. I also felt very rewarded when the client expressed how pleased he was with the outcome. He asked if I would like my name to be included in the book as a contributor and a copy will be posted to me," she said.
Apart from the earnings (about 50 percent of her income comes from the site), Audrey also enjoys the freelancing lifestyle. "Being a freelancer helps ensure good work/life balance. I spend a lot of my time engaged in voluntary activities. Furthermore, I have reasonable availability for whatever comes up in life, and I am able to support friends and family, and the groups I belong to."
Audrey is an active marathoner, cyclist, musician, and event organizer. Right now, she is learning New Zealand sign language with Rouan, who is a linguist. On weekends, she spends her time cycling and watching the occasional movie with Chris. "The opportunity to do so many things during the week motivates me. Freelancing allows me to always have time with family and friends, and also to play a part in my community."
Check out Audrey's profile here.