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To Try and go self employed straight from Maternity Leave

19 replies

DinosaursArentMakeBelieve · 23/07/2017 19:35

Hi All,

I'm seriously considering setting up my own business so i dont have to go back to work after maternity leave. i've got a great business idea, but im in two minds whether to try and just go for it or would that be a bit bad to my current employer?

i've been with my current job for about 8 years and they're multinational corp so dont think they'd miss me but I have approached the subject of potentially working from home part of the time and have been told a big fat no!

My MIL is planning to look after my LO when i return but i dont like the idea for being 2 hours away at work. My plan is to get a wee office pod in the garden (like this one - but im not sure if working in the garden is practical?

Has anyone done this?
What guidance would you give?
And how did you handle it with your employer?

OP posts:

weeblueberry · 23/07/2017 19:39

I've no real advice but if you've had an enhanced maternity package then don't go back for a certain amount of time many companies can ask you to pay it back. Possibly something to look into.


DinosaursArentMakeBelieve · 23/07/2017 19:41

Thanks @weeblueberry my maternity package isnt that good to be honest, im just on the basic government pay (its part of the reason i've looked at how to make additional money and i think i could really make a go of it) but i'll look into that as that could definitely cause an issue!

OP posts:

Allthewaves · 23/07/2017 19:42

Do you have an enhanced maternity package to pay back? Gave you done a business plan and costing? Do you have start up capital and money to see you through before business starts earning?


BellyBean · 23/07/2017 19:44

Could you start the business before you're due back so you have time to see if it will work out? Maybe find a friend with space or library for starters rather than buying an office shed.


luckylucky24 · 23/07/2017 19:48

Check policy as said above and then do some research on competition in your area. If possible I would try to start it whilst on MAT leave as it will take a few months to make any money.


DinosaursArentMakeBelieve · 23/07/2017 19:53

@AllTheWaves i dont have an enhanced mat package - its just basic.
I've got a business plan and i've got a good idea of costs and i'll be able to use my savings to cover start up costs and 6 months of bills etc so im hoping that would be enough?

OP posts:

DinosaursArentMakeBelieve · 23/07/2017 19:56

In terms of starting it before had, i think thats something i will do, i've asked my MIL if she'd look after LO one day a week while im still on Mat Leave so i can start to get things going. The reason for the separate office pod is so that im not distracted with LO if i work in the house. as i have a tiny house but a decent sized garden and i really cant afford to extend the house - it also means i can lock up and leave it at the end of the day rather than having a desk in the livingroom if that makes sense?

OP posts:

DinosaursArentMakeBelieve · 23/07/2017 19:58

Has anyone ever worked from home with their LO there or nearby - does it work?

Also, has anyone started a new business during Mat leave - AIBU to think i could start off slow and not work full time and still manage to make it a success?

OP posts:

peachgreen · 23/07/2017 20:07

You need a full business plan. When will you generate enough profit to pay yourself a salary that covers your living expenses? How much childcare will you need to pay for and how will you cover that?


DinosaursArentMakeBelieve · 23/07/2017 20:09

i've got a business plan and i aim to start making enough profit to cover my living expenses within 3 months but i have enough savings to cover all the start up costs and also 6 months.
it terms of childcare - my MIL is paid in coffee, biscuits and cuddles from LO which is a massive blessing for me.

OP posts:

peachgreen · 23/07/2017 20:13

Ahh okay I didn't realise you planned on MIL having LO full time after your maternity leave, that makes sense.

Making enough profit to cover your living expenses in three months is very ambitious - I think the average for new businesses is a year. What general area is the business? What are you basing your profit projections on?

It's kind of hard to know how realistic it is without knowing what the business is. If it's a craft business, YABU. If it's consulting in your current field, YANBU. And then there's a million possibilities in between!


mimiholls · 23/07/2017 20:15

I did this. It doesn't matter about not going back to your employer at all- It happens all the time and they will be expecting some women not to come back. You just need to give them the appropriate notice.
Regarding finances however, I budgeted based on making almost no money for the foreseeable future. It's hard to know how it's going to go with a new business and I was not dependant on it to begin with. I would have found it very stressful having to make x amount per month by month 6 or whatever. I also have extremely low overheads and it wasn't something I had to put much money into at all. It all depends on your attitude to risk and what you would do if it didn't work, but I think mat leave is a great time to start a business!


DinosaursArentMakeBelieve · 23/07/2017 20:21

thanks for your comments - its a consultation business based on my current skills which i do for a current multinational corp. I dont have a non-compete clause and i have a number of clients i can carry with me when i leave as a number have been in contact while ive been off and asked me to do work for them directly..

@mimholls was your LO at home when you started your business? was it based from home and how did you manage your hours/ workspace?

OP posts:

peachgreen · 23/07/2017 20:23

Well there's always an element of risk but that sounds about the most sensible way someone could ever start a business so I wish you all the best with it! I guess ideally it would be good to have more than 6 months in savings but it sounds like you could get another job fairly easily if required. Good luck!


lifeinthecountry · 23/07/2017 20:25

Go for it OP! Smile But be prepared that it might take longer than 6 months before you're making a decent profit (it almost always does - unless your business is consulting in the field you are already in and/or you already have a waiting client list). I wouldn't invest in a garden pod until the business is well-established - that money might keep you going for a few extra months, if needed.


CurlyMango · 23/07/2017 21:01

LO needs to be looked after if you are working. It's not possible to do either well at the same time. So if MIL can cover then fab. It takes time to build up business but I would encourage....if you have finances to cover 6 to 12 months.


mimiholls · 24/07/2017 12:57

Dinosaurs yes I worked from home, no special work space. I do it with dd at home but it is part time. To start with I was probably working about 6 hours a week so not much and I could do this mainly when she was asleep/evenings. The timings are completely flexible and i can stop and start things without an issue mostly. I now have one day of childcare a week which helps. If it was full time or 9 to 5 definitely couldn't do it without childcare as I think would end up not giving full attention to either task and just doing things badly. Your previous employer sounds completely unaccomodating which was the same as mine, and I definitely couldn't have worked for a place with no flexibility or understanding also with a long commute.


crazywriter · 24/07/2017 13:55


I know plenty of people who have kids at home while they work at home. They balance things well but it takes time and a schedule. I put DD1 in nursery 3 days a week and those days were for my business. I'd also work on a night once she was in bed. This was before DD2. Now DH is a SAHD so I can work fulltime. I just couldn't find a way for it to work for me but have friends who have had excellent success and are making high five-figure and six-figure salaries.

With a consultation business you would need a plan for what you'd do with the kids when you have meetings. You don't want them running into the middle of the meeting.

I started my business when I was made unemployed as I couldn't get any financial help. I did stop while on mat leave with DD1 and then it felt like I was starting again. I know people who have started a business while on mat leave and have managed to take it fulltime afterwards. One mum forgot to check her contract re. the mat leave and payments and ended up having to pay some back but another found out she had to return to work for a day and could quit without paying anything back. They were on basic terms so just check things first.


lifeinthecountry · 24/07/2017 13:59

Many moons ago, I ran a business around looking after 3 small children (3 months - 5 yrs). Wouldn't recommend it, I did a lot of very, very late nights to catch up, especially when the business took off, but it can be done if needs be.

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