It used to be the argument should a mum go back to work. Now it seems the argument is how can a mum return to work. In the current work and economic climate, it’s not that easy. Add into the mix being a single parent and it can be a nightmare so could go self-employed be the answer for a single mum?
I worked full time for many years and just the process of getting out the house in the morning was nearly a full day’s work. Having two children they were at one point at different schools, at different parts of the town with different starting times with my office is a completely different part of town. Then there was the after school logistics to work around too. If all that wasn’t enough to think about there were school holidays and sudden sick days too. Once home in the evening, there were less than 2 hours to get tea (if I had managed a food shop at some point) help with homework and spend time with the children before they went to bed. Needless to say, I was permanently chasing my own tail and worn out.
Two years ago I decided to get some part of my life back and ventured into going self-employed. The change in my and the children’s lives is huge. My commute to work is the arduous task of walking down the stairs. I finish my day when the children come home from school. I have enough energy left that if work needs doing I can when they have gone to bed. The children look forward to school holidays instead of dreading the farming out to various clubs.
I’m not saying it’s the easy option. Going self-employed as a single mum is a challenge. Money is tighter but when I asked the children what they thought if I went self-employed and the fact there would be less money, they were both more than enthusiastic. They knew it would make me a happier mum which made them happier.
You may now be slightly intrigued if you could be self-employed. It doesn’t suit everyone; you have to be self-motivated and disciplined. If you’re a bit flaky on either of these then you may not be able to keep yourself away from the daytime TV when you should be working. It’s not an easy opt-out solution.
If you’re still interested the next question is probably what self-employed job could you do. Antonia Chitty has some excellent advice in her book Family Friendly Working, have a think about your skills. Write them down if possible.
- Can you cook, sew or take a good photo?
- Can you type, do shorthand or have other secretarial skills?
- Do you love to iron or getting to grips with a yucky oven?
- Do you have green fingers?
The list can be huge. Maybe you have a hobby which could be turned into a business.
If you’re serious about making the jump I really recommend Antonia Chittys books. She talks you through different ways of setting it up, financing your idea and lots more. Two books I can really recommend are:
Also, have a read through a couple of websites that really helped me were:
Talk to the Lone Parent Advisor at your local job center. They will talk through the financial scenarios as well as other help they can give small courses on going self-employed ( for managing your books etc). Once I knew some figures of what I could be earning I also checked the different scenarios out on the Benefit Checker at Turn2Us.
My biggest advice is to way everything up, make sure you have thought the cost side out really thoroughly. Talk with your children if they are old enough to understand, let them think on the idea and then see how they feel. Going self-employed was the best thing I ever did as well as the most challenging.