I recently experienced the frustration of missing a flight in France, thanks to 1,000 taxis blockading Toulouse airport to display their dissatisfaction of the threat brought to their profession by Uber. It made me think – not just about Uber, but Airbnb, Childcare.co.uk, eBay, Elance, Amazon and other similar websites that are allowing individuals to […]
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 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.
As a mum, you may well have experienced private tutoring from the other side of things. Whether your child needed support for their Common Entrance, or you had a son or daughter that struggled with one of their GCSEs, private tutoring has helped a lot of families with their educational needs. At Regency Tuition, we can vouch for the fact there is an increasing demand for reliable and talented tutors in this growing industry, and you may well be the answer.
One of the main perks, from a mum’s perspective, is how flexible the work can be. Whilst many tutees will be at school from 9am until 4pm, there are plenty of adult learners, university students with flexible hours and school pupils on study leave to fill in the gap. It should also be noted that home-schooling is becoming more and more commonplace, with parents across the country needing support for the subjects they aren’t capable of teaching themselves. With most tuition happening on an hourly basis, you can book it around your own commitments to avoid any clashes between work and home life.
Wide range of subjects:
People need tuition in dozens of different fields, so you don’t necessarily have to have trained formally as a teacher (although that would definitely be a plus!). If you did a degree in an interesting field, if you can speak another language, or even if you have a particular hobby or talent, there will definitely be people out there who want to learn. Regency Tuition have had requests for tuition in tapestry weaving, chess and flower arranging, as well as music lessons, English and foreign language tuition, and support for children in their early years. There is a whole host of subjects for which people want tuition, so don’t think you’ll only get work if you’re a maths professor!
Experience with children:
Regardless of whether you’ve ever had personal experience with tutoring or not, it’s completely understandable that most parents want tutors with childcare experience. In our experience, tutors with experience as teachers or parents are always high in demand. Not only is it reassuring to parents to have someone they can trust around their child, it tends to bring the best out in the child too. Finding someone who’s patient and kind, and knows exactly how to communicate with their son or daughter, is so important to these parents.
Great hourly rates:
Unlike many other part-time, flexible jobs, tutoring privately will earn you more than the standard £10/hour. Depending on how niche and in demand your subject is, you can comfortably charge £25-£35/hour. There is also the option of holding tuition sessions over Skype, which opens up the possibility of tutoring students further afield, or even abroad! Just a couple of sessions a week can pay the same as a full day’s work at the office.
Whilst all this might sound ideal, it is worth bearing in mind that tutoring isn’t for everyone. For a start, no matter how much you love your own children, you might well find that you can’t cope as well with other people’s! We always recommend a couple of trial sessions to check that there’s good compatibility between the student and the tutor, because the relationship between the two is so essential. It’s also important to know you can commit for a decent length as time, as too many changes in tutors can be very disruptive for the student. There are plenty clients looking for intensive sessions however, especially when it comes to teaching crafts and hobbies, so it might be possible to consolidate your lessons into a few afternoon sessions.
With so many different ways of going about it, tutoring privately can be a very interesting and rewarding career path for mums with lots of other commitments.
Author: Jeannette Smith (email@example.com) is the Tuition Co-ordinator for Regency Tuition, a tutoring agency that offers bespoke private and corporate tuition in all subjects, for all ages. Go to http://www.regencytuition.com/ for more details.
I recently experienced the frustration of missing a flight in France, thanks to 1,000 taxis blockading Toulouse airport to display their dissatisfaction of the threat brought to their profession by Uber. It made me think – not just about Uber, but Airbnb, Childcare.co.uk, eBay, Elance, Amazon and other similar websites that are allowing individuals to generate revenue through means other than standard employment. Could these be a solution to all of those mothers and fathers out there, unable to find the perfect paid flexible employment?
Advice – Offer a Flexible Job
At Workpond, we are committed to helping businesses improve their resourcing. We do this by teaching them how to attract the best talent – and one of our key pieces of advice is to make it a more flexible job. But we know that for every job we create, we could fill 10 more. So what about the unsuccessful candidates? What can they do?
Be Innovative about Wealth Creation
We find that when we speak to our candidates, both men and women, we discover that they are becoming increasingly innovative about how they generate wealth. It’s rather like the modern portfolio career, but rather than offering their services to many businesses, they are using their assets or time to generate wealth. Perhaps they rent their house out while they are on holiday; they babysit; they do small pieces of freelance work for businesses when needed. They sell second hand clothes, unwanted presents or their own crafted goods online (for themselves or others) or trade stocks and shares through a platform. These are fantastic ways of ensuring that they are creating wealth while they are waiting for the right timing to commit to a more permanent role or for the perfect flexible position, with the benefit that they are all totally flexible and in their control.
Time to Grow and Explore
There is no doubt that the majority of us are already independent wealth creators to different degrees and life events will certainly impact our level of activity. When starting a family, we all have a huge range of choices – whether to generate wealth by returning to work – or by building an extension. As our children grow and enter school and childcare needs change, our career aspirations and demands may evolve and we may choose to increase or decrease our work hours or elect to take a different career path and retrain. Time away from work can allow us to remove the blinkers, explore options, get creative and pursue other wealth generating activities, all thanks to the web and the plethora of options out there. Time away from work gives us the opportunity to try on a new career, just like you would try a new pair of shoes before you buy.
Could a Micro-business be the First Step to your Future Career?
So, do look at your options – thanks to the Internet, three of our team at Workpond set up their own modern micro-businesses when their children were small. This gave them real pleasure, something to channel their creative energies and experience into and taught them how businesses worked. It has certainly stood them in good stead. The experience has been valuable, it has made their CVs far more interesting and they have a great innovative story to tell at interview. So why not explore and enjoy seeking out new ways to generate wealth. They may lead to better things….
Author: Amanda Seabrook. Amanda is the MD and Founder of Workpond, a resourcing consultancy helping experienced professionals find flexible opportunities.
One of the biggest problems that people face when starting their own business is finding the perfect name for their company. Choose the right name and it can help your company stand out and attract customers, choose the wrong name and it can set you up for failure. You need to find something which is catchy and interesting, which tells the buyer a bit about the product and why they want it. The more the name tells the consumers, the less you have to explain it.
If you are really struggling and don’t even know where to start, then there are tools out there which can help you choose the right name. In the end, chances are you will want to go with a name that you have thought of yourself and that your instinct tells you is right.
Get Creative About the Name for your New Company
So it’s time to get creative. One great way of coming up with a name is to brainstorm all your ideas. Send your kids out to play, grab yourself a coffee, and get thinking. Write down what your product does in layman’s terms, and then write down everything that you can think of which could portray that message in an interesting and quirky fashion. There isn’t really a set time in which to do it, as you could be hit by inspiration at any point. Give yourself a few attempts and don’t get disheartened when you can’t think of anything straight way.
Try not to tie your name down to your area, for example don’t call it ‘Surrey Stationary’ because there may be a time when you need to expand outside your initial remit. Find words that jump out at people and don’t fade into the background. Avoid cliches and don’t make the name so obscure that people will have no idea what service you offer.
Select Options for the Name for your New Company
Once you have a list of all the possible names it’s time to concentrate on the pros and cons of each possibility, slowly making your way down the list until you have two or three really good names. Make sure you have a look at The Companies House and do a Google search for each name to check that they are unique and haven’t already been used.
Test the Name for your New Company
Then it’s time to test the name with your target audience. You can do this by asking people on social media, email, or just asking around to see what name gets the best response.
One thing that a lot of people tend to forget about is remembering how important getting the domain name right is. According to Dan Coleman, Product Manager of The Formations Company, “one of the most important and often overlooked factors involving name choice is making sure that you get the .co.uk or .com domain name for the company name you choose, as this will help hugely with the authority of your company.” Once your company website goes live you don’t want it to fall to the wayside simply due to the domain name not standing out or being clear enough.
Once you are completely settled on the name for your new company register it quickly so that no one can get there before you. You can either register it yourself on The Companies House, or use a service such as The Formations Company, who will do all of the hard work quickly and efficiently.
Enjoy being a business owner!
Author: Amy Shaw, PR executive for The Formations Company. The Formations Company help people to register and form their own limited companies. They simplify the process by stripping away the unnecessary extras and giving new business owners the right kind of support, especially during the first part of their start up journey.
We are well aware of the sense of frustration most people have when searching for that perfect flexible job. Whilst your children are your prime concern, you may wish to work either for financial reasons or you want an outlet for your talents. Your talent that, pre children, took years of hard work to build up, could be wasted if the right opportunity doesn’t appear.
Here at Workpond we are passionate and positive about what the future for flexibility holds – see ‘Flexible Working – Predictions for the Year Ahead on the Future of Work‘. However, while we spend much of our time educating businesses about thow they can redesign roles to attract better talent, there is definitely scope for educating those seeking flexible work on how to be successful in winning the best opportunities.
Flexible work – the business view
To explain what we mean, it may be best to go back to the conversation that we have with our clients – the businesses. We spend much time persuading them, that if they are flexible about hours worked and remote working, they will broaden their pool of talent and increase the calibre enormously. Some are uncomfortable with the lack of control that flexible working brings to their processes – but we try to persuade them that they should focus on results – what do you want to achieve by recruiting this new person. What can they achieve – and to measure by results, rather than time at a desk. When we are successful, this conversation will result in a really interesting flexible role – if not, they will stick to their guns and advertise it full-time, as they have always done before. It is all a matter of demand and supply – there are many more people looking for flexible work from scratch than businesses looking for flexible workers. If employers don’t take advantage of this talent pool, they lose out on experienced talent that has taken years to build up.
Flexible work – the candidates view
On the other side of the equation are the candidates – mothers, fathers, and others looking for consulting or interim work, part-time work or remote working. We have those who are A* candidates and those who we know we will find hard to place – and the key to success is not how skilled or experienced they are, but how driven and flexible they are. Yes, flexible….
Very often mothers phone Workpond explaining that they are wanting to return to work. They don’t mind what they do, as long as they can work for 3 day a week in term time only. It is difficult for us to then match them to our clients as their purpose is not clear and they are inflexible about when they can work.
Flexible work – the successful candidates
The successful mothers and candidates (many of whom are men) that we help find work have a very different approach. They generally pick the phone up when they have seen a job advertised that they really like the look of. There is a flame that has been ignited in them. They want to work for our client because they love what they do. Once we have established that they are attracted to the culture and purpose of the company, and that their skills are aligned, the question of flexibility and pay will come up. Our best candidates are the ones that say that they are really grateful that the company is willing to give them flexibility – and in return, they too will be flexible (within reason).
Where our clients and our candidates align and where both are flexible we find that the best results occur. It is no surprise then that “We believe that best outcomes are achieved when people’s lives and business goals are shared”.
Author: Amanda Seabrook. Amanda is the director of Workpond, a resourcing consultancy helping experienced professionals find flexible opportunities.
There is plenty to thank our mums for this Mother’s Day, but as well as helping raise us, the nation’s matriarchs are making an increasingly valuable contribution to the UK economy through their own thriving small businesses.
Looking after a child is like a full time job at times, yet many stay-at-home mothers are finding the time to run a business, forming the growing phenomenon of the mumtrepreneur.
Figures from the office for national statistics show record numbers of women are running their own firms part-time, unlocking previously hidden creative, digital and financial talent.
There are now 806,000 stay at home mums running their own firms, according to the Office for National Statistics, all while dealing with the demands of the school run, nappy changes and mealtimes. These figures are up 3.7 per cent on 2014, showing this is a rising trend that could just get bigger.
More than a cottage industry
Mumtrepreneurs are not just running these enterprises as a hobby to pass the time, they are actually making a valuable economic contribution.
A report by think tank Development Economics at the end of 2015 found mumtrepreneurs added 30 per cent of value to the UK economy between 2011 and 2014, generating £7.2billion of wealth.
The report predicts that by 2025, mumtrepreneurs will generate £9.5billion for the UK and support an extra 13,000 employees.
The most popular sectors identified in the report for mumtrepreneurs were retail, entertainment, management consultancy and care home management.
The eBay effect
The mum economy has been helped by modern technology and new approaches to business that mean you don’t need a high street presence to gain customers.
Women are also now more willing and able to stay involved in the workplace or keep their careers going while juggling family life, even if they can’t be in the office.
Instead, savvy start-ups can use websites such as eBay or Amazon, or social media, to run their empire from the kitchen table.
This keeps the set up costs low and means mums can manage their business remotely whether they are at home or in a mother and baby class.
Mother knows best
Many of the biggest and best-loved brands in the UK were started off at home by mums.
Perhaps one of the most successful mumtrepreneurs is the late Dame Anita Roddick. She began making and selling cosmetics and beauty products in the 1970s from home to earn some extra income for her daughters while her husband was away.
This was the early days of the Body Shop, which opened its first branch in 1976. By 2006 it had almost 2,000 stores and was sold to L’Oréal for £652million.
Other more recent inspirational members of the mum economy include Annabel Karmel, who built up a baby food and nutrition empire from her kitchen while looking after three children.
Parents now rely on her recipes and advice, and she was awarded an MBE in 2006 for services to child nutrition.
Mums are also looking outside the kitchen for business success. One of the biggest parenting advice websites, Mumsnet, was founded by mother-of-four Justine Roberts following a disastrous family holiday in 2000.
What started as a forum for advice has become a community of half a million users, local groups and bloggers that has even hosted webchats with the Prime Minister and other politicians.
In the same year, mum-of-two Natalie Massenet founded fashion website Net-a-Porter from her flat in Chelsea after struggling to locate designs for a photoshoot.
The former journalist sold her majority stake in the magazine style designer fashion website for an estimated £50million in 2010, but is still involved in the business.
Even former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham provides inspiration for the mum economy. She has managed to use her pop success to become a respected fashion designer, all while raising three children.
The gift of a good accountant
Mums should be thanked with flowers and chocolates as well as praise this Mother’s Day.
But you could also give your mumtrepreneur the gift of a good accountant.
Not only are we small business accountants, we also work with our clients to help them grow. Could we help you keep the mum economy going?
Author: Chris Conway. Chris is the Managing Director of London accounting company Accounts and Legal, who specialize supporting the growth of small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs, by providing them with accounting and legal compliance services together with innovative commercial advice.
Trailing spouses are known for making the ultimate sacrifice; they give up their careers and lives at home to follow their partners overseas. But rather than see it as a negative, we choose to see it as a wonderful opportunity. A chance to experience an unknown culture, see the kids thrive in a fresh environment and try out a new career.
TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) is a great option for women who want to make the most of their new life abroad. Here’s why:
The Job Market is Huge
Recent estimates suggest there are currently more than 1 billion people learning English around the world. The British Council predicts that number will double by 2020.
As you can imagine, with that many students there is huge demand for teachers. There are plenty of positions available, particularly in Asia, South America, the Middle East, Africa and Europe but even English-speaking countries have their share of vacancies too.
Finding vacancies is simply a matter of searching online job boards, contacting local language schools or advertising your services privately.
Hours to Suit the Kids
This is probably the most important factor for working mums. You want a career and a life outside of the home, but you also want to be there for the kids (and your spouse).
Teaching is the ideal solution, not least because you’ll get school holidays off! Whether you choose to work for yourself or work part or full-time in a school, you won’t be away from home for much longer than the kids. Working hours that complement their schedule saves massively on childcare costs too.
You Can Work for Yourself
If the thought of working in a school fills you with cold dread or you need really flexible hours there’s the option to teach privately instead.
Many experienced English Language teachers move onto private tutoring as they love the freedom it allows. It can also be very lucrative, with tutoring rates starting £15+ an hour. And don’t worry; you don’t necessarily need experience, just a willingness to work hard and promote yourself to prospective students.
You Can Work Anywhere in the World
Even back home! If you relocate to another country or move back home, you can bring your skills and experience with you.
As already mentioned, there are TEFL jobs all over the world and an abundance of vacancies for experienced teachers (and even inexperienced ones). There are very few jobs that travel as well as TEFL.
The Skills are Transferable
Teaching English abroad will boost your CV with a whole host of transferable skills. The skills and experience you’ll gain whilst teaching will be highly desirable to other employers. This is really useful if you return home or decide on a different career path.
So if you want to boost your confidence, improve your communication, IT and language skills, learn to become adaptable, creative and resourceful, teaching is for you.
You Can Train in a Matter of Weeks
Qualifications aren’t always necessary to get a job teaching English. If you’re a native (or very fluent) English speaker, most employers will consider you.
However you will increase your prospects – and your confidence – if you complete a TEFL qualification.
Fortunately, you don’t need to go back to university for 3 years. You can learn online. TEFL certification courses range from 120 – 150 hours, so if you’re in a pinch, you can gain your qualification in a matter of weeks.
It’s Really Rewarding
Teaching is one of the most rewarding things anyone can do. Whether you’re privately tutoring a young adult hoping to land that exciting overseas job or a group of young children in a school, you’re practically guaranteed job satisfaction.
Sure, it can be very hard work and frustrating at times, but teaching English as a foreign language is one of the best ways to kick-start a career abroad. Why not consider it today?
Author: Mark Johnson is an experience TEFL teacher which saw him visit Asia. Upon returning to the his home country he began working for ICAL TEFL in the hope of inspiring others to take a similar career choice. Find out more about ICAL TEFL.
Is 2016 the year of a revolution in flexible working? – Predictions for the year ahead and the future of work.
For those of you seeking and perhaps struggling to find fulfilling flexibile working opportunities at work, 2016 be the year of change?
The Christmas break seems to have long since faded away as we have been thrust back into the routine of everyday life. Most of you will be reading this as you have either made a commitment to find a new job in 2016 or you are browsing to see what other opportunities there might be for you. Perhaps you are hoping the ‘grass is, indeed, greener’?
A staggering 14.1 million British workers are interested in flexible working so there has never been a more relevant time to talk about it – as changes in legislation, society and technology all converge. The traditional model of nine to five might not be extinct, but it’s probably fair to say that it is endangered necessitating employers to focus more on the output of workers rather than the time spent in the office.
Flexible working benefits business
The majority of us will agree that more companies need to open their doors to flexible workers and challenge the outdated perceptions associated with it. To make flexible working work, employers need to see the killer benefits that working from anywhere or on a part time basis will bring. They need to provide employees with the right tools to keep communication channels open, help their workforce to become more productive, and provide them an environment of trust.
According to research by EY, 82% of managers do believe flexible working benefits their business; two thirds mention increased motivation, commitment and even employee relations but we need to see faster adoption and adaptation of working policies.
Flexible working driven by innovations and employee preferences
Innovations in technology and trust will have a huge part to play if we are to witness a revolution in work flexibility. Work is no longer a place that we go to – it could be anywhere anytime and accessed via numerous devices. In the next five years it is estimated that approximately 40 percent of the workforce will be contractors working typically from co-working spaces or remotly – all supported by improved and integrated technology.
But while the technology certainly enables workforce mobility, it is basic economics and employee preferences and expectations that are driving its explosive growth. Most people are thrilled to avoid those long commutes or are able to comfortably juggle home life with work life. The legislation that came out last year giving everyone the right to request flexible working has started to level the playing field. Fathers are now the front line and the ones needing support so that they can break the mould and feel confident in requesting flexible working. This is turn is starting to take away the ‘mother’ stereotype and makes it much more the norm in society.
Nobody really knows where we are going to, because everything in the world of work is changing too fast. The employee of yesterday is very different to the employee of tomorrow. Technology will no doubt play a massive part in how we all work and how businesses adopt flexible working and is fast becoming the most important requirement for workers today – particularly for Millennials as well as parents.
Your employer cannot avoid flexible working
So if you are seeking flexibility in your job, and have struggled to find it, perhaps 2016 is the year you will see some changes and greater opportunities out there as businesses start to adapt. We urge you to challenge employers and educate them on the benefits of resourcing experienced professionals, like you, on a flexible basis. Have confidence that this trend is here to stay and you will soon be part of a majority not minority seeking workplace flexibility.
Companies should start to understand that they will be left behind if they don’t grasp the changing workforce demands and invest in supporting technologies and gain a strong belief that flexibility is a win, win.
Can 2016 really be the year of a revolution in work flexibility? Watch this space.
Author: Amanda Bixby. Amanda works for Workpond, a resourcing consultancy helping experienced professionals find flexible opportunities.