The decision over whether or not to return to work after having children is one of the biggest that many will face. Although there are pros and cons on both sides, for many women there is simply no choice with the family unable to cope financially without their income.
For others, the challenge of balancing their accounts with money earned compared to childcare costs can be a real headache, with many doing only slightly better than breaking even. The stay at home mum is certainly far less common than in years gone by, with a recent study by the Daily Mail concluding that only 1 in 11 mothers now stay at home to raise their children full time.
This huge increase in mothers having to go out to work can therefore provide an obvious explanation for the large shift in recent years towards flexible home working, with many finding that such an option allows them to get the best of both worlds, being able to fit a rewarding and challenging career around the school drop offs.
There are a few different options available to mothers, which can make a home business suit them and their family, since there are a huge variety of business options out there. However, there are a few key factors that all women who are considering setting up their own home business to take into account before they start.
1) Designate a workspace
Your productivity will be infinitely improved by insuring that you have set out a specific area in which to complete your work. Workspaces come in many shapes and sizes and don’t need to be confined to an actual desk or big fancy office – the beauty of a home office is that is can be exactly how you want it. Just make sure that the area you intend to work from is as distraction free as possible – this means that the TV should be off and working from the comfort of your bed is probably a no-no!
2) Check your budget
Making sure you have made a projection of your planned expenses and income will make it easier down the line to check whether you are where you hoped to be with your business. Be realistic with your estimations – you are unlikely to be profitable in your first year but year two should start to show some more reward. If account keeping is not your thing then consider enlisting the help of an accountant to keep an eye on your expenditure and ensure you remain on track.
3) Arrange suitable childcare
Trying to do too many things at once will usually end up with jobs half done and this is particularly true when it comes to balancing your kids and your work. Although it seems crazy to have to pay for childcare when you are in the house, doing so for just a few hours a week will give you some vital head-down time. This will also eliminate some of the guilt that comes with trying to juggle too many things, when you’re not able to give the children your full attention and not getting the work done that you need to.
4) Think about insurance
The thought doesn’t even cross most people’s minds when setting up a home business but doing so can often leave you in breach of the terms of your home insurance. Even the most basic clerical business can invalidate a standard home insurance policy, leaving you at risk of not being covered in the event of a claim. With so many people now choosing to be their own boss and run a flexible business from home, there is a good selection of specialist non-standard insurers that will be able to cover you, so it is worth investing before the launch of your business.
5) Make a business plan
This point applies to your long term aims for your new home business but also your day-to-day working life. For long term plans, make sure you have done plenty of research into your target market, your competition and what growth you expect to see in your chosen sector as your own business grows. When looking at your day-to-day routine try to have a rough schedule that you stick to – for example if you need to fit working hours around the school pick up and drop off.
Harriet Richards is the marketing assistant at CoverBuilder, a specialist home insurance provider covering the growing number of non-standard properties in the UK. They provide insurance for a wide range of specialist scenarios, including home businesses.