We had the good fortune of connecting with Cammy Lee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cammy, what’s the most important thing you’ve done for your children?
First and foremost, sharing my love of Christ is the most important thing I have done for my kids. No doubt about it. But, showing my kids what good old fashioned work ethic and grit looks like is something I have put a lot of stock in. My kids are the reason that I have worked for myself for so many years, actually. I remember back in 2011, it was just before Christmas, and I got laid off due to budget cuts within the company. My husband was a brand new teacher at the time, and with two little boys at the time we were barely getting by as it was. Every month we robbed Peter to pay Paul, and there never seemed like there was an end in sight for our financial struggles. So I remember this overwhelming feeling of knowing that I never wanted to be in that position again, where someone else had control over whether I made a paycheck or not. I knew I had a massive amount of drive, work ethic and ability…I just needed to find the right opportunity to channel that through. I needed to know that I could take care of my little family, as we were just getting started out in life and wanted to find stability for once. Something had to give, so I decided that I would make my own way in the world. I believe by doing that I did two things for my family. One, I found a way to provide but I also have shown my kids what it looks like to work for something in this crazy big world and to achieve things without taking handouts. They have watched me continue to have success over and over again because I chose to step out with a little bit of grit and whole lot of faith that I could do it. I would love to see my kids step out into their future with the same tenacity and belief in themselves as well.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think what I am most proud of is the fact that Wheelhouse VA started as an idea…a thought really. Could I? Should I? Would it actually work? But rather than setting up shop in the “what if’s” of it all, I put action to my thoughts and I decided to go for it. I created a logo, a crappy website (of which I frankly need to update but have been too busy with client work to do anything with it) and I put myself out there to tell the world what I was doing! I had no idea what that was exactly, but I was doing it! I started out the first 3 months offering services and learned my areas of giftedness along the way…very much a “work in progress” process. It was difficult but I was determined to become GREAT at what I was doing. At the time I had an 11 week old as well as my other three boys to care for, so I remember sitting at my desk and nursing my son while working on my computer. My husband would bring me snacks and I kept his little crib right by my chair. I did what I had to do and it paid off in the long run. I refused to put my kids in daycare all day…I wanted that life where I can be a provider and be a mother to my kids at the same time. I found my first big client about 2 weeks after launching my business, and then slowly I built up to a full client load over the next 3 months. I have had a full docket ever since, and have actually been booked out 30-60 days for the last two years. People are waiting on deposit to work with me, and they all came through client referrals. It’s always good when the work finds you and you don’t have to go out and look for it. I feel like that alone speaks volumes to the work I do. Now, about two and half years later I am doing much different work than I was when I first started. I’ve learned new skills, valuable skills, that many people in the online arena need. I also have learned that I can charge a premium for this new set of very valuable skills that I have acquired, and have been able to double my hourly rates. The best part about that isn’t the money…it’s the time. Now that I make twice what I was making before, I can work half the hours that I did when I started. There is that balance that we often talk about needing and wanting as working moms. Well, it’s not easy, but it does feel like I have choices in my life and found a balance that works for me…and that is priceless.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have to be totally honest, in the six years that I have been here I have done very little exploring of the city. With four kids in tow, everything is either too expensive for the six of us to go or it’s just too much trouble to drag everyone around. Ha! It can be tricky finding things to do that entertain both a 3 year old and a 15 year old. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t want to, it’s just to say that I haven’t…yet. My week is full of baseball practice and games, wrestling practice, pre-school pickup, Awanas at church, and that’s just the kids…we have all the other things that life demands when raising a large family…groceries, house, laundry, errands and of course there is work. Sounds exhausting right? Well, it can be, no doubt about it, but it is rich with love. I do cherish this season in life, as I know it will be over in a flash and soon enough I will have a house that is empty and clean, with no toys or shoes to pick up and making meals for two. I never complain that my life is all things “kids” because it truly is a blessing. So, if I had a friend in town I would likely order from MOD pizza, binge watch Netflix after the kids are in bed, maybe sneak away for breakfast at La Madeleine in Kingwood and a mani/pedi, and perhaps go grab a movie and dinner at Gringos or Chimichurrie’s if I want to be fancy. I keep it pretty simple because simple for me is always enough. Over the summer we do like to drive to Port Aransas and have a beach weekend, or go fishing up near Lake Conroe. We enjoy the outdoors more than anything, and you will likely find us at the neighborhood pool during the hot months here in Texas.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have to thank God first and foremost as I cannot do anything or achieve anything without Him at the center of my life and my work. Not just as a freelancer but also as a mother and wife. I have to thank my husband who has never hestitated in supporting me in anything I try accomplish in life. He is my biggest cheerleader and helper. My Mom who has always shown me what it looks like to roll up my sleeves and throw my hat backwards in life, and lastly, my teacher Lauren Golden who showed me that I don’t have to choose between being a mother and being a provider…that I can be both and have an amazing guilt free life doing just that!
Other: This is the program that I went through to learn how to become a freelancer: http://bit.ly/freemamafreetraining. My priority and goal is my family…it always has been. Freelancing allows me the freedom to choose how I show up for my clients and my family, and gives me the ability to give them both 100% of my best self always. I love exceeding expectations with everything that I do, and working with incredible clients who are happy and cared for. I get to take stress and frustration off of their plate, and rescue them from all of the things “to do” that never get done because they either don’t know how, or don’t have time! I am good at all of the crazy techy stuff that leaves people frazzled, but I also know how to make things look pretty and sophisticated. I call it “The Cammy Touch” and I believe my creative and design abilities set me apart from my peers more the anything. I have learned that it is hard to find that combination and being a valuable asset in my field can be difficult because these days we are a dime a dozen. I like to chat over zoom, face-to-face, with potential clients to discuss their specific needs in order to price them fairly and accurately. My hourly rates range from $45 to $80 per hour depending on the task, however those rates can come down when they are tied into a monthly retainer. So, it’s always best to have a chat over zoom and discuss the scope of work in detail before landing on a final proposal. Appointments can be made for a free 30 minute consultation through my website!
Nominate Someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.