Thinking about becoming self-employed?

It is difficult for women to know how they will feel about returning to work after their maternity leave finishes. Some return to their original position, whilst others may not return at all, or look at part time work, job-shares and flexible working; all of these options are open to partners as well. More details about your right to request flexible work can be found here Self-employment can be an option and below we look at some pros and cons.

Fit work around your children, choose your days & times
If you don’t work you don’t get paid
Flexible childcare for holidays, sickness
Takes time to build a business
Do something that you are passionate about
You may not be able to afford to take holidays as there is no holiday pay, no sick pay, no pension
No-one to work to, you’re your own boss!
Steep learning curve with finances, time management, costs and marketing, customers
Local networking groups can provide support
Many businesses fail in the first year
Happy doing something you love
Can feel isolated without others to work with
Personally fulfilling by achieving your own goals
Work life balance, often working late at night when children are in bed

The decision over whether to become self-employed is a very personal one, which will depend on your own circumstances and personality. You know best how you work best, what inspires and motivates you. It is worth talking your idea through with your partner or significant others, contact your local council and see if they offer support and maybe a grant to help new business start-ups.

Becky from Saks Beauty

For Becky Barraclough, franchise owner of Saks Beauty in Halifax, the planning of her return to work was completed well in advance of the arrival of her son, Ruudy. Here Becky tells us about her decision to return to work after four weeks.
In April 2011, Saks Beauty in Halifax became the first standalone salon – that is, not based within a Saks hairdressing salon. Then, much quicker than anticipated, Becky became pregnant – her new arrival was due on the salon’s first birthday.
“I always knew I wanted to return to work, my original plan was to go back after four weeks, but because Ruudy, born on April 29th 2012, was a caesarean birth I took longer to recover and went back after 10 weeks. I employed another therapist to cover my maternity leave and I planned to work part time (16 hours a week) on my return.”
What made you decide to return to work so soon?
“I love my job. I’ve spent a lot of time building up my business and it’s really hard to step away, especially when you’re self-employed. My friend bought me an Oliver James book, ‘How not to f%*k them up’, and he talks a lot about the importance of mums being happy – my work makes me happy.”
What support / childcare have you needed to balance work and family life?
“My family live locally and they are very supportive.  My mum has Ruudy one day a week and he goes to nursery for a day and a half and then he’s with me for the rest of the time.”
What is the worst part about going back to work?
“Missing Ruudy, balancing the cleaning, making meals and all the others things that need doing, like the accounts!”
And the best?
“I love being a mum but when I’m at work I’m Becky, and I get a buzz out of being at work.  Becoming a mum has given me a new perspective on my business – I’ve been able to step away and get a better work-life balance. I’m a better mum for being at work.”


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