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Am I mental to want to go self-employed after next mat leave?

(6 Posts)
Queazy Mon 10-Aug-15 20:29:30

I'm in a 4-day a week job and really don't want to be doing this when my kids go to school. I know I'm fortunate but I just want to do more varied work and to have some greater flexibility. I have to return to work for 9 months (including notice period) after maternity leave with dc2. After this, when lo is about 18 months old, and dc1 is nearly 4yrs old, would it be foolhardy to quit work to build up my own business?

Without going on too much - it would be possible in my line of work but it would require some travel and client work. I'm well aware how hard self employed people work. I just don't want to be part of an organisation anymore, working all my evenings to make up for being part-time. I'd rather be out of the direct org politics/internal meetings thing too. Am I being stupidly naive? Please be blunt - I'm pregnant and bit hormonal so all this planning and hoping could be just wishful thinking for me.

NotYouNaanBread Wed 12-Aug-15 12:32:50

I think that the instinct to strike out on your own gets very strong when you are pregnant or after having a baby! That's good though - it leads to more women-owned businesses, but think carefully about what field you go into. It sounds like you're not thinking along the lines of cloth nappies or cupcakes, which is good! I'm sure somebody is making money in those areas, but

If you are planning ahead like this, then start building up your LinkedIn like crazy so that you have a massive database of professional connections to tap into when you leave, and during that 9 months you are back, save like crazy so that you have a buffer if there is a gap before clients start coming in. You can also be working on your website, your social media profile etc. so that you can hit the ground running as an expert in your field and not be starting from scratch on your first day.

You're not being naive. You're being sensible and ambitious (in my opinion, anyway!).

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 12-Aug-15 14:33:21

You're not being naïve but you do have to plan, plan, plan. Can you afford childcare while you're building up your business? IMO it's impossible to do any kind of working from home with very small children around, especially if you have client work to do.

You will end up working evenings - and sometimes weekends too - if you're lucky! I never say no to work and often work stupid hours.

But yes, it's worth it to be out of the politics and internal meetings and to have enough flexibility to nip up to school for sports days without having to get a full day's leave signed off in triplicate. grin

Queazy Wed 12-Aug-15 18:26:48

Oh thank you so much - fantastic advice and food for thought. I would need to save for additional childcare if I stop working. I'd be looking at consultancy work, so might even need an au pair or nanny for flexibility of hours for travel. Realistically, this might not mean more time on an average week with my dc, but I hope the flexibility and potential for earning more in less time might be beneficial. I'd compromise a lot to avoid spending my time embroiled in seemingly pointless internal stuff at work.

I need to think it through ahead though. You're absolutely right about contacts and I need to skill myself up to be in a strong position. This isn't my ideal scenario - I'd like to be a Charity HRD, but I also don't want to work full-time, and I've found those two don't readily go together!

Thanks again - much appreciated!

Queazy Fri 14-Aug-15 22:25:00

Bump, in case anymore advice to share x

MrsMargoLeadbetter Sat 15-Aug-15 07:14:17

Planning to freelance is a good idea, many of us fall into it.

I echo what others have said.

You also need to use your time in your job to make the most of any opps that will help you once you leave. So noteworthy projects, external profiles opps like speaking and joining any networks/working groups etc that will extend your network.

You need to imagine yourself sitting with a prospective client when then time comes - what will impress them about your experience?

Then I would start signing up to your 'competitors' e-newsletters and social media channels now. You may learn lots from watching them. I watch mine closely.

If you are trying to replace a salary then as wilson says it is likely you will need to work when the opps come which includes evenings and weekends. However, it does offer flex and you have control over what you agree to.

Re money. It could be worth waiting until DC1 is in school? Depending on when DC1 is 4 and therefore starts school. That will mean less childcare expense.

You should look at what you can survive on in money terms (taking inton account DPs income, if he has one) and work out the min you need to earn and maybe save up a few months worth.

Your DC2 will be able to have the 30 hours of free childcare when he/she turns 3 (Gov are bringing it in next yr) so it is worth looking at Ofsted reg childcare, as only those settings can access the funding I believe.

In my experience (marketing consultant) it generally takes 3 months to turn an enquiry into a project. It might be a faster turnaround in HR (if that is your field) but be prepared for that.

I would also consider having a part-time role. In my first 3 years I always had a retained (related) role on the go. I liked the fact I had assured income and it meant I fitted project work around it, so was busy the whole of my working week from the go which I prefered. I have 'honed' my offer during that time too.

There is some element of when you start not really knowing what clients will want
Although if you have planned then it might be clearer.

I would also suggest sticking to what you know. It is much easier to sell yourself on your previous experience. I dabbled with the idea of supporting SMEs but have come back to my niche which is where my career was.

I dropped my last retained role in Dec as I was so busy and it has worked out ok.

However, many ppl just jump straight into freelancing.

It is completely possible to do and planning will ensure you make the best go it.



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