Having a baby often leaves new mums questioning their career: should I go back full-time? Do I want to be nearer to home? Is now a good opportunity to build my own business? If you’re asking yourself these questions, read on…
As many of you probably know, I lost my job when I gave birth to my daughter. I felt mixed. On the one hand, I loved that I could focus on becoming a mother and getting to know my daughter without thinking ‘what will the return to work be like’? But on the other, I had no idea what I’d do for money once my savings ran out.
Over the next few months, while battling sleep deprivation and all the other challenges that come with motherhood, I started to realise I’d had enough of working for other people; that I wanted to be my own boss. I knew I’d like more children and didn’t want to wind up losing another job just because I’d given birth.
So I took matters into my own hands.
I launched a business: The Early Hour. I started writing freelance articles. Later, I negotiated a book deal. I discovered that you don’t have to work a conventional 9-5 to get by – in fact, you can work nap-times, evenings, weekends and then, when you can afford it, get childcare and grow your freelance career/business even bigger.
But to get to that stage, I had to work through a specific process. Firstly, deciding what work I wanted to do. Next, developing the confidence to go for it. Thirdly, being business-like and working out how I’d make it all pay. And lastly, all the practical steps for launching: website, branding, PR, childcare, registering my company etc.
Five years on, I’m earning more than I was before giving birth but I’m working two and a half days a week (with a few evenings thrown in, when necessary). My projected income this year is close to six figures. I’ve had another child, and will be giving birth to my third in August. So I’m full-on mum, but also full-on career woman.
If you’d like to ‘make the leap’ from employment to self-employment but don’t know where to start – I can help. As well as teaching established freelancers and business owners how to do their own PR, I’m now running a course that helps women to transition from employment to self-employment. It’s creative, practical and packed with exercises, tips and advice.
When writing my book The Freelance Mum: A flexible career guide for better work-life balance, I knew that my story needed to be weaved throughout it. But for the book to really appeal to all freelance mums, it was crucial that I had loads of other voices in there too. In the end, I interviewed 50 other freelancers and business owners.
It’s the same with this course. Each month, I’ll be offering 10 spaces to women who’d like to become self-employed. It has to be this number so that I can give detailed personal feedback after each exercise. But they won’t all be writers. They might work in fashion, marketing, PR, fitness, TV, health, tech, education – any industry. And so that needs to be reflected in the course content.
That’s why alongside sharing everything that I’ve learned along the way, I have videos and written exercises, tips and advice from entrepreneurs and freelancers including:
Elizabeth Day (author of How to Fail and host of How To Fail With Elizabeth Day podcast)
Steph Douglas (founder of thoughtful gift company Don’t Buy Her Flowers)
Frankie Tortora (founder of Doing it for the Kids and graphic designer)
Robyn Wilder (journalist and podcaster, @orbyn)
Holly June Smith (celebrant and life coach)
Suzy Ashworth (entrepreneur and career coach)
Nicky Raby (actor and business coach)
Emma Merry (Homemilk interiors)
Cleo Walters (House of Cleo events)
Ingrid Fernandez (Dec and Dash legal consulting)
The course will teach you everything you need to know about becoming your own boss. You’ll end the four weeks with a clearer idea of what your freelance path or business should be, how to muster the confidence to get started, with ideas for earning while you set it up and what to charge for your time/product/service.
You’ll also be armed with legal advice, and the necessary steps for setting up as a freelancer, including: registering as self-employed, building a website, branding, social media, making contacts, spreading the word, childcare. All presented in digestible chunks.
It’s not easy, having a baby and then trying to work out whether you should/need to work and if so; what to do. But it’s bloody satisfying when you find a fulfilling career and a work/life balance that feels right for you. I’d love to help you get to that stage. If you’d like a place on my four-week online course, there are a few left for next month…