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The 1k-per-month crew....anyone still around?

(92 Posts)
Redoubtable Wed 16-Apr-14 07:39:02

Inspired by the the original thread I got my ass-into-gear and started my own business, based at home. I have a professional qualification but had always worked 'for' a variety of employers.

I had dipped a toe into the self-employed water, but only as a 'hobby' really; as a way of keeping current until I returned to the world of 'proper' work once kids are older.

Circumstances changed drastically and I find myself needing to work to keep myself and DC. But needing the flexibility of being self-employed so that I can be here for them.

I was hugely inspired by the many people on there who were encouraging other women to think of 1K per month as a minimum.

My little business, while not yet at earning 1k per week is growing faster than I anticipated. I am on my way....which I dont think I would be were it not for the wonderful people on the original thread who were so supportive.

I'm on the laptop at the moment, as I have 4 pieces of work to finish and bill today; 4 clients who would have gone elsewhere. My phone rang yesterday with a new client source, which I would never have reached if I hadn't put my name out in a particular forum.
All of this stemmed from the inspiration I got from the people on here. thanks

I'm starting this thread to see how people are doing (several of you stuck in my head).

Screwing up my courage every day, to put myself out there is still daunting. How do you do it?

ZebraZeebra Wed 16-Apr-14 10:30:56

I started exactly the same way as you! A professional digital marketer/ web, had a baby, quit my very stressful job and started doing some side work JUST to keep my hand in for when I return to the workforce. My industry moves so quickly in terms of tech and trends, even a couple years out would render me out of date.

My husband is self-employed and he is with a group of people who do the same as him who all needed web and marketing help. Although I charged them mates rates, it wasn't far off my guestimate market rate. Then I got my first "proper" client through People Per Hour. I'm no where near consistently making 1K per month but I'm doing enough to keep my hand in and build a portfolio.

I suspect if I needed to, I could push myself to finding enough clients to sustain my financial needs. I find it very hard valuing my skills and my work, especially because it's easy to be under-cut particularly in things like social media marketing/SEO/ PPC/ email/web/content. My market is swamped with people offering jobs very cheaply. But I've found that you can go down the route of marketing yourself VERY cheaply and gaining masses of clients - or saying, actually my skills are worth a lot more and I offer quality over quantity. I'm freakin' chartered FFS, I'm not going to try and compete with crazy low prices. So I've gone the other way, found a middle ground market rate and stuck to my prices.

I HATE having the conversation about scoping out projects and costs though. Hate it. Find it very difficult. I tend to cringe inwardly and wait for the "Oh...oh I wasn't expecting to pay that!" Fortunately my DH is experienced in this and says that if a client does do that and won't back down in any negotiation or compromise on cost, you just smile and politely and warmly say - that's OK, I'm sure you will find other people to meet your budget, and walk away. Don't feel like you have to sell yourself extremely short because there will be other clients, other people willing to pay you.

But still. It's not easy.

Well done you on screwing up the courage every single day. It IS hard. It's so daunting. I'm not even doing it properly, I've been lucky to have had a few clients who are friends of friends, or clients of friends. And really all I'm after is building up a portfolio over five or six years while we have more babies and until they go to school so I can go to interviews and show prospective employers what I've been doing and why I'm still employable. I've not had to rely on it financially. So really well done you for building up your business this far - it's a lot of pressure and so far away from any kind of comfort zone. You should be very proud!

Redoubtable Wed 16-Apr-14 22:32:35

Hi zebra thanks for replying. I've been busy all day and kept myself offline to get work done. DC now back from their dad's and in bed so I can relax.

I get what you're saying about 'mates rates'...thats where I started and found that 'mates' didnt value what I was doing if I was giving them a cut-rate. Like you, I've spent years building my qualifications and breadth of experience; but I still stumble at pricing myself to reflect it.
ExDH was quite arrogant in that way, often pricing to the market rather than his skill...and getting by, by learning as he did it. I dont want to be that cynical but I think there is definitely something to be learned about putting a proper value on your work.

Redoubtable Wed 16-Apr-14 22:36:50

Oh and the pride thing...I am learning to high five myself (!) when I do something that I was scared about.
I did some medico-legal work; did it really well, really short time frame. Utterly terrified to let report go....2 years ago I would have looked on from the sidelines as someone else did it.

Courage, courage. How do you keep it going? On Twitter, I follow various career coaching people and business journals...and scroll through them when I need a kick in the pants burst of inspiration.

moneyone Wed 16-Apr-14 22:40:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 16-Apr-14 22:50:34

Hi- i posted on the original theead although possibly under a different name. I was on my way and everything in place to becoming a Childminder and had my inspection a few weeks ago only to be told my home and garden isnt big enough so i wont be registered. I am quite gutted tbh and still a bit tender about it but have been job hunting since i got the news. I would still very much like to be self employed but just have no clue what i can do. I feel very disoriented at the minute. Am hoping for inspiration.

Glad to hear others are well on their way to £1k a month.

BusinessUnusual Wed 16-Apr-14 22:56:38

Well done!

LyndaCartersBigPants Wed 16-Apr-14 22:59:15

Silly billy shock. How can they say that?!

If it helps, I just registered for over 5 year olds, so not as useful for daytime earning, but means I can do before/after school and take plenty of children during school holidays to make up for it.

As I'm not doing early years they don't need to do an inspection.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 16-Apr-14 23:04:00

They said they would register me for 1 part time mindee if it hadnt been for the garden being unsuitable so i asked about registering me without the garden and they said that it was t possible to do that if there was a garden there. So no registration.

On to plan b. whatever that may be.

Redoubtable Wed 16-Apr-14 23:04:39

Oooh more replies. smile Welcome wine brew

moneyone Well done, on already achieving the £1k/month. Did you find the last thread inspirational?
There were ladies who came on and said to regard the years where your salary is only paying for childminding fees as a long term investment...which will come back to you in the form of higher salaries later.

silly I'm sorry, that sounds like a blow. I imagine you had put lots of work into having your proposal up to scratch...and there's not much one can do about the size of your property.
Have you brain stormed what else you could do with the skills you have...I'm guessing here, but was it an issue that you had a certain number of children in mind to make the business viable and they feel the space is not adequate?

Where are you...big city, town, rural? What are your skills? What is a gap you can exploit?

Redoubtable Wed 16-Apr-14 23:11:27

What about offering a specialist level of minding
e.g. one of my DC has High Functioning Autism. He found standard childminder many children after a tiring day at school, too many social rules to negotiate. But as a one-to-one with an understanding adult, he manages brilliantly.
I dont have fulltime childcare as a result; I do have a lady I can ring when needed but someone who could take him, and understand that he needs to chat about the Hubble telescope/ISS/naval history, with you..thats worth extra to me.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 16-Apr-14 23:11:38

Well for the time being i'm looking for anything to pay the bills. Having done my pre registration, first aid and CRB for registration i do at least have those certificates all up to date for working with children if a job comes up.

Long term i am all in a tizzy tbh. I had no back up plan (stupidly). I'm in a small town, qualifications = gcses and an NVQ that i have no working experience in and is 10 years since i gained it. I previously worked in a national bank but havent worked in 4 years apart from cleaning for a year.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 16-Apr-14 23:13:42


What sort of qualifications are required for specialist minding?

Redoubtable Wed 16-Apr-14 23:21:11

silly for someone like my DC, nothing extra.

I would look for CRB, first aid, insurance and an interest/understanding of my child's needs...he's not at a specialist level of care, just knowing that he needs a little more understanding, a bit more social coaching, a bit more patience when he gets it wrong and some understanding that he's different but thats OK. Someone who could tolerate a child who is not interested in football and needs to be pushed to try things.

A more involved child may need a specialist childminder...I've had a school TA help out with him (before she got a fulltime job).

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 16-Apr-14 23:24:49

And would my own children (4 and 8) be an issue or would it be better for him just to have one to one care?

Thank you for this btw- its not something i thought an option.

Redoubtable Wed 16-Apr-14 23:39:16

Ummm that depends...wrt to my own DS, I'm not looking for 'care'. He presents as a normal, slightly quirky, pleasant boy. But (having done it wrong for him) if he gets stressed, it will all blow up when he gets home. He'll pick on one of his sisters, or just be very unpleasant to deal with. Thats his anxiety as he knows he just doesnt 'get' social rules quickly or easily.

I looked for a TA as I knew they would understand that, in most respects, DS needs a standard childminder; but the ratios of minder to him have to be lower....and the 'fit' has to be really good as he doesnt have the flexibility to mould to you IYKWIM.

My DS is slightly older and enjoys younger children as they are more at his stage of social development.

Redoubtable Wed 16-Apr-14 23:40:34

So thats one what else can you come up with? If one door closes, you have to open a different one.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 16-Apr-14 23:57:50

Thanks for this. Definitely something to look into and i'll call my social worker tomorrow to investigate this.

I need to sit down and have a good old brainstorm but just so tied up with job hunting and CV tweaking at the minute. I think i may have to put self employment on the back burner til i have secured a job.

duvet Thu 17-Apr-14 12:56:09

I'm a supply teacher but not getting regular work at the moment, I was thinking of offering baby-sitting/childminding for some weekends/holidays, does anyone know if I'd have to register for this or just get crb checked.

WaitingForMe Thu 17-Apr-14 13:27:10

I have an established small business (content marketing) but want to expand and do new things. I'm currently working through Free Range Humans by Marianne Cantwell and finding it brilliant. Great way to pull a business idea out of vague thoughts about what you like doing.

InMySpareTime Thu 17-Apr-14 13:50:09

I'm a long-time poster on these threads, though I'm still some way from 1k a month.
On days I have storytelling bookings I can get £300 a day for 6 storytelling sessions, but full day bookings are few and far between.
My books are selling well, it's hard work keeping up the marketing effort but worth it!
My biggest barrier to earning is the school holidays. The DCs are 10 and 12, old enough to not need my constant presence, but they are so loud and distracting that I can't focus with them around.
That, coupled with the fact that their holidays don't align so I have 16 weeks this year with at least one at home (plus inset days), is limiting my productivity.

Redoubtable Thu 17-Apr-14 17:27:00

sillybilly; did you read through the original thread. I think the overall message was to not put it on a back burner any more and just go for it.

That was what I got from it anyway. It sounds so easy when someone else tells you their story...its very easy to imagine that somehow 'it's easy for them, they have X and Y'.

It's not easy, it's scary, and worrying. There are nights I lie awake and wonder what will pay for my retirement? What happens if I get ill?

But I am nonetheless happy that I've done it.

duvet a bit like silly billy, I can think of lots of things that I would ask a qualified teacher for.
Wow, to have you doing in-house child care, especially over holidays- I'd love that.
Or to come to my house and do weekly typing lessons with children...a bit like piano teachers but come and do it for me here please?

Or would school allow you to offer a touch-typing class for children during school hours...or even better, I'll collect my child an hour late from school, you collect them from class, take them to a classroom, supervise their homework/teach them an additional subject/special area of interest, give them a glass of milk and a light snack..thank you very much.

waiting I googled that book and found this website which is by the author. I'm going to read through it later...looks interesting. Have you found it scary to pitch new ideas or are you just not easily intimidated? grin

inmysparetime <waves> I remember you (well, the story teller bit) from that thread. It's such a juggle isn't it? I have the same difficulty with my DC. I spoke to a solicitor recently who has a day-time au-pair who looks after her children allowing her to get on with conquering the world. Thats an option- though the cost has to be factored in......

YoureBeingASillyBilly Thu 17-Apr-14 19:25:47

I did read the original thread but it was ages ago. Think i'll re read it over the weekend. I've also ordered the free range human book from amazon. I know what you mean about not putting it on the back burner and just going for it but money is so tight at the minute and without even an idea of what i'm going to do i think i'm better getting any sort of work right now which will give me headspace to think about long term. My head is too muddled up with panic and stress about how to pay this and that to get any decent thinking done. I'm in panic mode tbh.

duvet Thu 17-Apr-14 21:16:05

Thanks Redoubtable you are very encouraging. Some great ideas here. Next to read the Free Range Human .......

Redoubtable Thu 17-Apr-14 21:39:47

Yes sillybilly I know what you mean about stress and panic. It just fills your head so there's no room for planning or being objective or whatever. <<offers hand to hold>>
Have you put out feelers locally as to what you could do? Other childminders that might have a niche they cant fill at the mo? Especially as it sounds as if you have all the prep work done?

I found my first client by just being brave...I put my name out there and they found me. I now have a solid relationship with them, and in my head I always discount my price for them as I am so grateful for their early belief in me.

Duvet...go for it. No book is going to do it for you (ask me how I know this grin)...I read lots of positive stuff to keep my chin up, but I still find I have to put my foot out and not worry about what anyone thinks.

I love the 'man in the arena' quote that Brene Brown uses...just get out there, you will fail sometimes, but you're still ahead of the you-that-didnt-try.

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