How to work for yourself

As working mums, we’re all seeking a good balance of work life and home life. In some jobs, that can be a significant challenge, which can lead you to start daydreaming about being your own boss. Even if you have a good balance in terms of hours, working for yourself can deliver more job satisfaction, flexibility and, often, salary.

But what are the options? How do you get started and what works?

Employee works from home


1. Go freelance

A lot of careers give you the opportunity to move from traditional employment to self-employment. Typical examples are journalism, PR and marketing, IT, HR, interim management, accountancy, and project management.

Newer disciplines include social media, web management and graphic design. Here, you’re essentially lending yourself to businesses as a resource.

You set your day rate to allow for the fact that it’s a somewhat riskier work option, and to cover you for sick leave and holiday. It’s a great option for those who like variety in what they do and who they work with. Read more on freelancing here.

2. Head in a new direction

Lots of parents take up the opportunity to do something completely different to fit around their family. Often it’s something they have a real passion for or is linked to a hobby.

It could be starting up as an interior designer, training as a dog groomer, becoming a reflexologist, physiotherapist or offering gardening services. If you’re retraining you can often fit it in alongside your day job, in preparation for leaving once you’re qualified.

3. Buy a franchise

This is a much-underestimated area of opportunity. Buying a franchise is essentially creating your own business using a tried and tested template. You’re guided and trained, given a brand and marketing strategy and a way of doing things: so it’s less risky than coming up with your own business idea.

There are hundreds of opportunities available from child-focused classes and party organisation to travel support and virtual business services. has a dedicated section devoted to flexible franchise opportunities.

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4. Find a self-employed role

Becoming self-employed doesn’t have to mean bravely jumping out of a paid role into the unknown. As the workplace becomes more flexible, some employers are actively seeking to recruit people on a self-employed basis. Again plays host to many of these vacancies.

They can range from market research to legal appointments; tutoring to customer relations. Search for self-employment opportunities.

5. Work with your children

If balancing childcare with work is a major challenge – could you combine the two? Many childminders and pre-school workers start out because they want to make a living without sacrificing time with their children.

A childminder tends to work from their own home and looking after other youngsters gives your own child early socialisation and the opportunity to make friends. Read more on becoming a childminder.

Whichever route you choose, there’s plenty of advice and support available online. It’s definitely worth exploring the options to see whether self-employment could work for you. As almost every self-employed person will tell you – you’ll never look back!

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