Whether you’re already back at work but looking for a new challenge or you’re returning to work after having a family. Working for yourself can be a great way to bring money in without disrupting time with your children. Here are some useful starting points and resources.
Take some time out to sit down and answer these questions really honestly, before you begin.
- What do you want to do? Think about any existing experience you might build on and look at friends you admire – are they doing jobs in fields you think could be inspiring?
- What are you good at? Are there life skills or talents you have that could form the basis of a business? Working for yourself means that you’re going to have to be a multi-tasker, so choose something you feel confident you can pull off.
- How does it fit with life right now? If you’re going to have to do this job in school hours or when the kids are in bed, how realistic is it that you’ll have time to make your project a success? Tailor your goals accordingly.
- What’s the cash flow like? Some jobs, like making clothes or selling children’s books, can require upfront funds you’re not going to get back for a long time. To make a hobby into a business, money has to come in as smoothly as it goes out. Plus money must be ring-fenced for monthly household expenses like food, mortgage and tax payments.
- Where will you work? Whether it’s upscaling old furniture or freelance accounting, you need somewhere to leave your work in progress. If you’re working on the kitchen table, tidy-up time every day will eat into your working hours.
Happily, there are lots of brilliant sources of information so you can do your research before you start your own business.
- Financial advice. You’ll find your high street bank has a dedicated representative who can give free guidance so you can arrange your affairs properly.
- Advice from other women. If you want to exchange ideas and find answers to common start-up questions with women who have gone through the same things as you, go online. There are good and free resources to get inspired by. For example: the Middle East's top female entrepreneurs (http://www.arabianbusiness.com/photos/the-middle-east-s-top-female-entrepreneurs-514395.html?img=0)
Getting the skills
Experience and training can really boost your confidence and help your project be a success.
- Go back to school. Many local councils offer free or cheap training in basics like better computing skills and book keeping. Check your local council’s website for jobs and training opportunities.
- Find training courses. These don’t have to be expensive; some are apprenticeships which might even allow you to earn while you learn.
- Get work experience. Volunteer with local companies or organizations working in your field to gain an invaluable perspective on how to approach your own project.
Possible job options
If you know what passions and skills you have but don’t know what to do with them, here are a few options.
- Franchising – make or sell products on behalf of a bigger company. The upside can be that there is less core skill required as products are already made or just need final assembly. However you might be expected to sell at their pace not yours, so check the agreement to avoid workloads you can’t manage, and understand exactly what commission you’ll be getting.
- Being a rep – this could be home-based sales of products made by a bigger company or being the person who goes to meetings on their behalf, in your region. The upside is that they want you to make them look good, so a positive relationship is essential on both sides. The downside can be that you’re on call when it suits them not you.
- Blogging – the rise of the mummy blogger has been one of the phenomena of the internet age. You need to have good writing skills but honesty, passion, and first-hand knowledge is more important than a poetic literary style! Many family-related industries love working with bloggers as a way of sampling and reviewing their products or for getting their message out to more women, plus you can define your blog how you like – talking about one subject like food, health or raising kids.