You probably know those days, weeks or even months where everything seems to go wrong. Well, we are experiencing those months right now and let me tell you, I have learned a lot! See, from nature, I am a very patient and positive person. I rather look at things that are still going right before freaking out too much about what is going wrong. But sometimes that means I’m sticking my head in the sand, while I should be looking at what I can do to make it better.
Working as a freelancer is not always as good and easy as it seems. Since mid 2021 we have been struggling with unexpected events (higher fees, less pay, less work), which were completely out of our control. Especially for Paul! He started working as an English teacher for a Chinese company. In the beginning everything went really well. He earned a good wage, and had steady hours. It felt like nothing could go wrong.
Change was coming…
And then the Chinese government decided they wanted to ban foreign teachers from teaching their children English. Paul received his first pay cut in July with no prior warning. This was to ‘save’ the company. Okay, we understand. It was an unpleasant surprise, but didn’t affect us that much, so we shook it off and focused on the positive side, which was that he still had a job with steady hours. But that didn’t last long, in September Paul received the news through a Facebook group and the kid’s parents that all foreign teachers would get fired by the end of the month. What?!
Trying to stay positive
Okay, this became a bit harder, but we were still trying to look at solutions. What can we do ourselves to keep earning an income? He could start for himself! So I spent 4 – 6 weeks building a website that would make that possible. In the meantime, his company told him that he could finish all the lesson packages with the students, but for a lower pay. By this time he earned only half of what he earned before. Pff, that was a tough pill to swallow, but at least it gave us time to focus on building his business and he still had an income.
We decided to go ‘live’ on the 1st of January this year, but still combine it with his other job. I was proud of us! Instead of sulking and moping, we chose to be determined and make the best out of a bad situation. We had big plans for this year!
Until a couple of weeks ago … Paul woke up one morning where his WeChat (Chinese WhatsApp) had exploded with messages from parents. Apparently the company that he worked for, fired him without any warning. His schedule was cleared and his account was blocked. No message from the company. Through one of the parents he found out why this was happening. They told him he could reapply, but for a lower pay grade.
The first few questions we asked ourselves
‘Why is this happening?’, ‘Why can’t we catch a break?’, ‘We are hard workers, good to others, what did we do to deserve this?’
Yes, we felt a bit sorry for ourselves, but where I started to panic, Paul took it the other way. He was even more determined than ever to make his business work! He managed to sell a few packages to his students in 1 morning! Wow!
What is the biggest lesson we’ve learned from this?
That things happen for a reason. When we started his own website, he wasn’t fully committed to it, because of his safety net, but now the safety net was gone, he had no choice but to go for it! And it paid off! We’re not out of the woods yet, but the start has been great!
What do you do when things seems to go wrong? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!