Category: Real-life stories of Women Entrepreneurs

Career Change - From Acccount Manager to Entrepreneur

Career Change – From Acccount Manager to Entrepreneur

Lisa had a successful career change from account manager for a telecoms firm to founder of a baby gift company. She is also a wife, and a mum to two teenage boys, all of whom she uprooted as the business grew and they moved to South Gloucestershire where they now live alongside the business and the grandparents, together with their spaniel Ben. Read more on what it’s like to start your own business.

What motivated you to have a career change?

I studied Business and Finance at University and worked as an account manager for a telecoms firm. I have always enjoyed my working life and successfully worked through both my pregnancies. But, like many working mums, the arrival of a second child meant childcare costs prevented a return to my career. In addition I really wanted to find a job that would have the flexibility to enable me to work around my family and children and still engage my brain and allow me to express myself creatively – this was the motivation I needed to start out on my own.It had always been my dream to run my own business and to work for myself doing something that allows me to get creative and most importantly to enjoy what I do. So when I had my boys that gave me the last bit of motivation and confidence to ‘go it alone’.

Where did your business idea come from?

Drawing from my own experiences of motherhood, Babyblooms was forged in 2005 through my quest to create the perfect new baby gift for expectant friends. For me this had to be a delight to receive, with a real wow factor, encompassing my love of all things beautiful and practical. So I designed the baby clothes bouquet. Following on from the success of the bouquets we now have a range of gifts including hampers for mum and baby, skincare, jewellery, baby http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/effexor/ shower and Christening gifts and a range of gifts that can be personalised.

I find being creative a real joy and consider myself very lucky to head a business that allows me to indulge in this every single day.

100% conviction that my idea would work gave me the drive to make it happen.

What kind of support do you have?

I work with a fantastic group of people, many of whom are mums like me and together we have created a flexible and supportive work environment and a highly successful business. Our success is due in no small part to the priority we give to accommodating family life, working to provide cover for each other when needed, ensuring business needs and deadlines are met alongside the demands of our families. My husband and family also have been very supportive.

For me it was important to always keep business separate from home and family time. If it is possible, having a physical door that you can shut on your business really helps. Make the most of the time when your children are sleeping. I conducted most of my planning and research in the evenings while my children slept. Needless to say, bedtimes were strictly adhered to!

What was the biggest challenge you faced?

The biggest challenge I have faced was moving home, family and business from Berkshire to Gloucestershire without experiencing a break in the Babyblooms service, or our next day delivery option.

When faced with a challenge I break it down to what I can change and what I can’t. I write a list detailing what actions I need to take and when. Then I go home to my family and shut the door on it until it is feasible to do something. I have learned that worrying in the meantime is futile.

Author: Bryony Bower, PR Executive of Lisa, founder and CEO of Babyblooms, a UK baby gift company.

Creating my own Flexible Work - Personal Assistant, Entrepreneur, Franchise holder

Creating my own Flexible Work – Personal Assistant, Entrepreneur, Franchise holder

When Vicky Matthews took voluntary redundancy from a high-street bank after the birth of her second child, she vowed no-one she ever employed would suffer the same inflexible and negative experience she’d endured since becoming a mum. She really needed flexible work.

Now, seven years on, Vicky employs three very happy part-time staff in the head office of her personal assistant business, Pink Spaghetti, all of whom work around their busy family commitments.

Inflexible Employer

“I’d worked in project management for the same high street bank since starting as a graduate trainee,” explains Vicky. “When I became pregnant, I requested a three day working week after maternity leave. This was declined and I was told four days was my only part time option. A job-share was never considered.

“An even bigger blow came when I was told my current senior management position was not feasible on a part time basis and that I would need to take on a new, lower, middle management role.

“I had been their golden girl but when I returned from maternity leave, I felt my position within the company was tainted. My opportunities for promotion and recognition were gone, so after the birth of my second child three years later, I took voluntary redundancy.”

A New Start – Flexible Working

After taking time out to spend with her young family for a couple of years, a chance meeting at a baby swimming class saw the beginning of a partnership that would see Vicky’s dream of creating flexible employment come true. A poolside chat with her now business partner, Caroline Gowing, revealed the pair had all-too-similar experiences and after discussions about their respective talents and experience, the foundations were laid for an award-winning business venture.

In 2009, three years after their first meeting and with Vicky’s youngest child still at home, the friends launched Pink Spaghetti, a home-based, pay-as–you-go personal assistant service. Clients aren’t tied by a monthly retainer and only pay for the hours they need, which is a major selling point for the predominantly female, home-based clients who are often juggling work and childcare.

Pink Spaghetti, whose strapline is ‘Let us be your 25th hour,’ will take on any task from its clients and to-do lists frequently include the bizarre alongside the mundane. Sourcing reindeer for a Christmas event and attending a client’s wedding as a paid witness have featured alongside travel booking, running social media accounts, holiday cover, managing email newsletters and book keeping.

Growing the Business – Franchise Holder

The formula proved a resounding success, so much so that after three years of steady growth Vicky and Caroline decided to grow their business through franchising and now operate in 10 UK territories, from Chester to Portsmouth.The flexibility the pair needed in their own lives has proved a major pull for franchisees, almost all of whom have children and tales of inflexible employers forcing them out of the workplace.

“Our franchisees come to us with years of valuable business experience and yet find themselves unable to find a job that fits around their families,” says Caroline. “We have franchisees from all backgrounds, but they all share the same desire to not have to choose between work and family.

“From our own experience, we knew http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/celexa/ that our business model works as both a part time opportunity, to fit around the school day or nursery hours, and that it can also be scaled up as the children get older.

“One of our franchisees has proved just how scalable the business is, by buying a second neighbouring territory and taking on employees of her own. We also have franchisees with very young children who work just a few hours each day. They know that the opportunity for expansion is there once it suits their family.”

Flexible Work from Home

Ever since that first meeting in the swimming baths, flexibility has been the driving force behind Pink Spaghetti. As owners, Vicky and Caroline have the flexibility to manage their business in a way that suits them. For clients, the Pink Spaghetti service frees up much-needed time, and for franchisees, Vicky and Caroline’s model allows them to grow their franchise at their own rate and fit in work around their own commitments.

But, more importantly, the pair have been able to provide flexible employment to busy working parents. Pink Spaghetti’s head office, in Northwich, employs three part-time members of staff. Lucy works school hours four days a week. Katherine does three days, two to fit around school times and a third shorter one to allow for a nursery pick up. Leigh-Anne is currently on maternity leave, but before the birth of her second child she was able to work two long days at the office in order to make the most of her son’s hours at nursery. When she returns from maternity leave, Leigh-Anne has opted to switch to two short days.

This flexible and family friendly approach was cited as a best practice case study in a report handed out at a recent Working Families conference. The charity was greatly encouraged that employees can pick their own working hours, and are able to change them at short notice, where feasible.

“By accommodating our employees’ needs for flexible working we are offering them the kind of benefit that money can’t buy,” says Vicky. “In return, employees work harder and have more work satisfaction as their needs are being met and their voices heard, which is key for retention.

“After what I went through in my previous job, I feel very strongly that I want to set an example to other employers.”

But what about Vicky? Her business is providing a positive work life balance for her employees and franchisees, but has she achieved the flexibility she was striving for?

“I work from home, I can do the school drop off and pick up and I don’t have to miss important milestones like special assemblies and sports days.

“I love my work, both servicing our own Pink Spaghetti clients here in mid-Cheshire and supporting our franchisees to grow their own businesses. When I took voluntary redundancy seven years ago, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next. It’s been a fascinating journey and I wouldn’t change any of it.”

 

Author: PR Agent on behalf of Vicki

April 2015 (2)Attached picture (left to right) Aylesbury & High Wycombe franchisee Rachel Martin, Pink Spaghetti co-owner Vicky Matthews, Luton & Bedford franchisee Anne Little, Pink Spaghetti co-owner Caroline Gowing

From Registered Nurse to Plug-In Developer

From Registered Nurse to Plug-In Developer

Now here’s a great story of a mother changing career. To inspire you all to try something new. Of course there is lots of work in nursing, but there is also lots of work in IT, and it’s probably better paid. Is it for you?

Read Steph Wells’ honest and inspiring story

First Published by Formidable Pro, for beautiful WordPress forms

Motherhood, Starting a Business and Simon Cowell

Motherhood, Starting a Business and Simon Cowell

Starting a business is a daily uphill struggle, or at least it can feel like that at times. Working mother and entrepreneur Michaela knows exactly how that feels and gets inspiration from an unlikely source: Simon Cowell. Can he help you too?

I’m taking my first, clumsy steps into the world of starting a ‘business’ – a world that for the longest time has (in my mind) been the domain of Other People. A world inhabited by those who know things I don’t, who know exactly what it is they’re offering, and how they’re going to go about asking people to pay money for that.

And as I stumble out of the cosy, yet constrictive, world of the employed into the harsh, exposing light that shines on those who want to get paid for doing something they love, the feelings are totally reminiscent of when I had my first baby.

It’s all so painfully familiar. I may be less sleep deprived, and truth be told, the physiological stuff is a heck of a lot less brutal. But the struggle, the self doubt, and the desire to do it my way (when everyone everywhere seems to be telling me how I ‘should’ be doing it) echoes a reality I thought I’d left behind nearly a decade ago.

When I’m all at sea and unsure of myself, I start searching for a guru or a book with Answers. And I’m finding them left right and centre right now. There’s some amazing stuff out there for people in my position, with awesome advice and resources. There are people writing books, e-books and articles that are inspiring and exciting me, and having me try things differently, and see things a different way. And my head is full of them, just as my head was once full of ‘new baby’ advice about feeding schedules, and approaches to sleep.

But right now, these ideas belong to other people. They’re great, but they’re not mine. They live in my head rather than my heart. And living out other people’s ideas about what I ‘should’ be doing is as exhausting and distracting as it was when I was lugging around a screaming infant in my arms for the first time.

It’s precarious when you’re living out someone else’s ideas of what you should be doing, or being. You’re on flimsy ground when your head is filled to the brim with the ideas of others. You’re utterly disconnected from your own intuition, your own resourcefulness and your own useful life experience. It’s like you hand yourself over to whoever you pick as your guru, and let them push you around, wagging their finger at you, telling what you ‘should’ be doing, how you ‘should’ be going http://www.montauk-monster.com/pharmacy/priligy about it and the mistakes you ‘need’ to avoid.

And if you’re anything like me, when you’re in this way of being, your source of support and inspiration can quickly become a gremlin, a saboteur – a pain in the butt inner critic. Inspiration quickly morphs into self recrimination. A potential leader becomes a punishing teacher. Not because of anything they’ve done, but because it’s still early days. Because you don’t yet know where you stand, or indeed what you think.

And as I did when I was a new mother, I feel enormous resistance to this process. As I did when parenthood was new and bewildering, I feel resentful and frustrated by how little I know, by how far I have to travel, and by the reality that no bugger out there is going to hand me a tidy answer on a plate – however hard I wish they would.

And at times like this, I am prone to handing my power over to others on a plate. I am prone to turning away from myself and toward those I think will help me get where I want to go. Which leaves me all destabilised and out of sorts. None of which is conducive to building something awesome, which is ultimately what I’m trying to do.

My favourite, and most unlikely guru in moments such as these is Simon Cowell. Really. Despite his monumental successes, he is clear that “the fun bit” was “getting there” not the successes themselves.

I like that. So much. It grounds me in the here and now. It soothes my agitated mind. It reminds me that what happens today, however inept I may feel, and regardless of where it is I’m aiming to get to, matters too. Better than that, it’s the “fun bit”. And I’d be crazy to squander the fun bit in a puddle of angst and self doubt.

I need that Simon Cowell wisdom now, and I sure as heck needed it in the early days of motherhood.

So if, like me, you’re starting something new (whatever it may be), and like me, you’re weaving and wobbling all over the shop, and living in the future rather than the present – turn away from the ‘experts’ in your field for a bit. Then suspend your disbelief. And turn toward Simon Cowell’s unexpected, but bang on insight. Even if its just for a moment.

Sit with it for a minute.

He’s onto something.

Sometimes help lurks in the most unlikely places.

Go figure.

 

Author: Michaela Horan, Founder of Parenting in Public. Michaela writes a blog about her experiences as a business owner and mother of 3. She shares insights on life and has a refreshingly honest style, guaranteed to make you feel better.

The Mummy VA Myth

The Mummy VA Myth

As a busy mother myself, I can assure you that being a virtual assistant (VA) is a great job to have alongside family commitments, such as the school run and odd daily chores. However, with almost half of married women doing more than 13 hours of household chores each week1, it’s no surprise that sometimes home-based businesses suffer.

Stereotypically, when people imagine a VA, they often picture a stay-at-home mum, trying to work whilst looking after teething babies or crying toddlers. This picture gets painted time and again when people talk about VAs. Whilst I agree on the female aspect, with 99% of VAs being women2, I would instinctively challenge the rest of this generalisation.

SVA Annual Survey

Instincts aside, I set out to factually reveal just how much of an impact being a mum has on home-based VA businesses. I decided to address this topic head-on through annual surveys from the Society of Virtual Assistants (SVA).

Each year, the SVA takes a snapshot of the VA industry and presents findings through its UK Virtual Assistant Survey. This survey of real VAs looks at everything from how much they earn to what marketing methods work best. The results are always an interesting read…

It was time to find out once and for all whether the Mummy VA is a reality or a “Mummy Myth” (as I call it!).

One of the core topics researched through the SVA is to do with working mums. Firstly, are VAs typically mums? Secondly, are they working without childcare in place, juggling their commitments? And finally, does this affect income?

 

The Mummy Myth

We’ve now asked these questions three years in a row through surveys and the results are fairly consistent:

* Just 35% of VAs are mums with young children (under 12)

* The percentage of WAHMs (work at home mum) who have no childcare in place is 1.5% of the industry – which has fallen in the last 2 years from 3-4%

So there you have the “Mummy Myth”. This stereotype is fantasy. The number of WAHMs without childcare in place is actually comparable to the amount of men working in this http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/birth-control/ female-dominated industry at just 1%. The drop in VAs without childcare in place would suggest that it’s not sustainable to run a successful VA business without childcare – these VAs have clearly either left the industry or decided to put childcare in place.

Do mothers with young children earn less?

This led me to wonder whether mothers with young children earned less.

Our most recent SVA survey (v5) looked at the rates mums charge compared to the non-mums. The mums without childcare were earning over 24% less than the average VA rate.

You could argue that the hours available to work are hampering their earning potential – that is, until you look at what other VAs working the same amount of hours earn, and the mums without childcare are still earning 20% less than those working similar part-time hours.

Fact: If you want to earn a living from being a VA with young children, childcare is essential for success.

Understandably, it’s hard when you’ve perhaps voluntarily opted out of the traditional workforce in order to look after children. You have to be able to justify the increased cost of childcare versus your (hopefully!) increased income. The SVA research would suggest you can charge more if you have more consistent working hours in place.

If you have any questions about juggling your VA business with home life responsibilities or would like to find out more about the SVA, please visit www.societyofvirtualassistants.co.uk or email info@societyofvirtualassistants.co.uk.

1 Source: Institute for Public Policy Research 2012

2 Source: UK Virtual Assistant Survey v5

caroline-wylieAuthor: Caroline has been a Virtual Assistant (VA) since 2004 in her business, Virtually Sorted. Virtual assistance in the UK was a fledgling industry in 2004, so she worked with a collection of VAs to educate the business community about virtual working which grew rapidly into the Society of Virtual Assistants in 2006. In her role as founder of SVA, she has previously judged the VA of the Year Awards, runs the UK VA Survey each year and is the UK representative of the world’s first virtual assistant certification programme, VAcertified.

 

Seeking professional challenge AND flexibility? Why I decided to create it for myself

Seeking professional challenge AND flexibility? Why I decided to create it for myself

Is eighteen my magic number? Eighteen months ago, I decided to leave my corporate career. In December 2013 I actually did leave after eighteen years (it took a long time to work through how best to direct the next phase of my career!). I’m now eighteen days into my new venture of self-employment and thought I would take a moment to reflect.

Why did I make this crazy decision? I took no severance package, I had no certainty of clients – it seems like a risk.

Looking for a new professional challenge

However, for me, the greater risk was actually to do nothing. I’ve had an amazing corporate career and enjoyed many successes and a wide variety of experiences. I have learnt much from wonderful leaders and colleagues. As a Mum of two girls now aged 8 and 5, I also cannot fault my previous employer in terms of flexible working. I worked part time in a senior position and that was not the problem.

The reason I decided eighteen months ago to leave, was because I craved a new professional challenge. I wanted to take the skills and competencies that I had and employ those in different sectors, for different sized organisations and optimise that variety. I also feel that I have a huge amount of valuable experience to bring value to smaller, medium and growing organisations.

Senior level and flexible working

What isn’t straightforward is moving companies at a senior level and maintaining flexible working. I’m positive there are examples of women (& men) who have achieved this career migration blended with an integration with home life (I’m not a fan of the phrase ‘work-life balance’). However, I was impatient myself to start the new phase in my professional career. The searching for, and negotiation of, what is still viewed by many as a privilege (and an earned one at that ) to not work 9 – 5, 5 days a week in a specific office location – was too much of an uncertain obstacle to me. I found I would talk with a Recruitment Consultant and either not mention my preference for flexibility or play it down – I’d learned that when you do, the conversation changes.

Getting the job done vs. availability

The absurdity of ‘flexibility’ and it’s actual rigidity and perception in organisations today occurred to me. It’s going to take longer than my immediate career life span for the current working paradigm to shift sufficiently for organisations to be less interested in people’s availability and more interested in outputs, talent and fit for a job. The fundamental fact is that I get the job done. Well. How and when and where … well I’m a professional. I make http://www.montauk-monster.com/pharmacy/valtrex good decisions about when I do actually need to be at a certain location and when I don’t. I make good decisions about connecting with people and building relationships. I make good decisions about when I need to prioritise to achieve a deadline. My integrated life is full, but completely manageable if I can control my own schedule without needing to seek permission or justify to others where I am. Sure … measure that if I’m not delivering the outputs. Trust that I will make the right choices – after all, it’s in the interest of the job holder to continue to deliver isn’t it?

Hence my decision to keep my professional development going by finding my own integrated solution, rather than seeking those rare enlightened few who would hire at a senior level with flexibility.

The new challenge

This is not the only reason I decided to work for myself. I am a pragmatic, intuitive professional and this enables me more than just flexibility in terms of work schedule. I can determine how I work, my method, who I work with and where. Is it challenging me – yes! In so many ways and it’s just the early days, but the root cause for me to leave my corporate career was to seek and live new professional challenges – so in that sense it is delivering already.

As an HR professional, once I freed myself from the constraints of conventional working options, this became fascinating. Research shows that there is going to be a fundamental shift in our approach to working in the next decade to twenty years. I read and connected with ‘Future Work‘ by Alison Maitland and Peter Thompson  with new enthusiasm. What better way to understand the coming employment trends that technology has enabled than to experience and live it myself?

And so here I find myself, after 18 years of wonderful and varied HR experiences and after 18 months of very considered deliberation, 18 days into what I am expecting to be an interesting, challenging and hopefully fulfilling chapter in my career (fulfilling for both myself and my Clients).

Along my eighteen month journey from decision to action, I had many inspiring pieces of advice and interesting conversations. Two I would like to highlight are as follows: Hillary Lees at Essence Coaching for helping me to ask myself the right questions and manage my inner critic. Dr Sam Collins founder of the Aspire Foundation for introducing me to the power of Vision Boarding.

Author: Paula Leach, Director, Indigo Day Ltd , Paula Leach on Facebook. If you are an HR professional, CIPD qualified with corporate experience and you would like to embrace Associate working with Indigo Day Ltd, please contact Paula Leach directly at paulaleach@indigoday.co.uk. She would love to hear from you as she is excited to be building a fabulous network of highly professional and experienced HR colleagues.

An Unemployed Mother Becomes an Independent Financial Adviser

An Unemployed Mother Becomes an Independent Financial Adviser

How do some women seem so focused and clear in their decisions? How do they turn their lives around and turn the worse situation into a positive outcome? Here’s my story and how I turned everything around, and started my business in financial advice.

Experience in Finance

My business, Evolution for Women, was a dream on scrap bits of paper, years of ideas that have become something. It started at 19, and working as a temp cashier for Alliance & Leicester. The love of clients and helping people fast tracked my career and at the age of 27 I was a Regional Sales Manager, managing a large, all male, self-employed Independent Mortgage and Financial Adviser team. My responsibility was to manage sales and train the advisors to an exceptional level, I was my job and my job was me. If I went out to a party and people asked what do you do, I would say ‘I am a regional sales manager’ and I would feel proud!

Pregnant and unemployed

After a few years, I found out I was pregnant. I paced the room for hours…at 14 weeks pregnant I was being made redundant. My life was over. How could I go to job interviews with a huge bump? How would I explain maternity leave? How could I work full time with a baby? By June 2008 the recession hit and my daughter was 2 months old. Signing on was my lowest point! I was over qualified for the majority of the jobs I was going for or they were in completely different industries. When going out to meet people and they asked what do you do, I would say ‘just a mum’ with a smile on my face however felt so low and that my identity was gone. I was lost.

Returning to work

Being head hunted by my old boss, I found myself back in financial services again and back to what I was good at! I was very nervous, not as confident as I was before. I had to learn the products and processes all over again. I just pushed myself as hard as I could, telling myself ‘you can do it – you did it before – you can do it again’.

The job was a love/hate relationship, loving the relationship with clients and helping people to overcome their issues and plan for their future. However it also reminded me of everything I didn’t like about financial services. I seemed to have changed, softened, the hard sales lines, high fees and even tougher targets didn’t sit well with me anymore. The client never came first and the sale always did! On top of that, I was now a mum, juggling working in a tough sales environment and the needs of my own family.

The birth of my own business

After many sleepless nights and much soul searching Evolution for Women was born in February 2011.

I am writing this article with my daughter giggling in her bedroom whilst I work in my home office in half term. I have my pa on the phone from main office discussing the goals for the week. My daughter and I are off to a play date in ..oops now.

This is how my life is. It works for me. I am organised and manage every body’s expectations. Everybody wins; I have weekends with the family. I take my daughter to school every day and pick her up. I attend as many http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/erectile-dysfunction/ school plays and assemblies as I can. I sometimes have to work in an evening for a client appointment, this is when the support of my husband is fantastic and he completely takes over putting her to bed and making sure she is happy. I take my hat off to single mums who manage to juggle life and family alone.

So what tips can I give new mums or mums wanting to start their own business?

1) There is always a compromise. It might be you don’t make the gym one week, or the hovering doesn’t get done. You can’t do it all perfectly.

2) Do one thing at a time. Otherwise you don’t do anything right. Plan out your actions and make them time bound.

3) If you aren’t working, you aren’t working. Turn the phone off and social media off. We aren’t able to operate at our best 24 hours a day. Find a way to switch your brain off and let it go, let your mind drift and just relax. Taking a day out of your business for yourself can have a massive positive impact on your business. Some of my best ideas have come from standing in the shower or lying in bed on a Sunday morning.

4) Find a business buddy, someone you trust and can share ideas with and together you can set targets and deadlines so you have some accountability.

5) Get help on the areas that don’t come natural to you. So if you’re not already social media experts get the help from someone who can train you or provide that support. You can’t be all things to all people.

Hard work and persistence

Of course there can be down sides to running a business. The tips above have been learnt from experience. It has taken much determination and not just hard work, that is a given. It has taken a strong level of will power to not give up at the first or second or third or even forth hurdle.

Making it work with childcare

I have help from after school clubs, a baby sitter and a friend who does the school pick up when needed. I have a dog sitter to look after my other two babies in my life. In the school holidays I have a day swap with another mum who works full time, this is a great way to save money and get to spend time with my daughter.

Is it worth it?

But why have I done this? Why have I put myself through such a mental challenge when my life could be so much easier? The alternative to me is working part time doing a job that brings me no satisfaction, no challenge or gives me motivation to push myself in life. Or it is a job which I would find rewarding however I wouldn’t get to spend time with my daughter and the job would dictate my life. Instead I wanted to create my own path and my own opportunity to create a life that works for me.

I love helping my clients and giving them impartial advice on their finances. The client comes first in my business, but my family comes first in my life. “A mum on a mission”.

profile pic 2Author: Rebecca Robertson runs Evolution for Women. She is a  financial planner and works completely independent. She lives in Kent. She advises on mortgages, personal and business protection (insurance) and  helps you plan your estate. 

More mums are successfully earning from home - and watching the kids

More mums are successfully earning from home – and watching the kids

When becoming a mother women are all too often faced with a hard reality of putting their career temporarily on the shelf to focus on their children.

However, a recent press release from Crunch Accounting has revealed an unprecedented rise in female freelancing. Female sole traders have shown a growth of 21% since 2008 with the gender gap in London continuing to narrow so that women now account for 41% of new starters in the freelance community.

With a third of all female freelancers being mothers and the majority of freelancers aged between 25 and 34 now being ladies, we have to ask what’s shifted in the working community for this unprecedented rise in mums to bring home the bacon, whilst watching the kids.

 

Why the rise of the freelancing mother?

Flexibility: The obvious answer is the flexibility that freelancing provides for working mothers that an office based job with traditional hours cannot. Being able to allocate work-time around childcare, is not only going to save you money on a potential £11,000 a year on nursery costs http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/dostinex/ (not to mention other childcare), but also allow you to manage your work efficiently.

Hostile environment: The latest findings on a Freelance Advisor poll suggested that 80% of Briton’s believe that is has become increasingly difficult for women to progress in large corporations, largely due to regressive attitudes in the office towards women and a gender bias which sometimes supersedes mothers.

Tax saving: HMRC’s recent capping of Child Benefit at £60,000 has also encouraged some mothers who earn near the threshold, to move into part-time or freelance work, in order to maintain their original income on a lower salary and retain their benefits.

In total women accounted last year for 31% of the freelancing community, although the gender gap looks increasingly likely to close as further tax incentives are rolled out in the next few years in favour of getting parents, more importantly, mothers back into work.

Calum Morrison is a finance and accounting writer for Crunch, an online accountancy firm for freelancers and small businesses. His business advice blogs can be found at http://www.crunch.co.uk/blog/