Since starting my blog and embarking on setting up my own work-from-home business it has evolved many times. So has my motivation and ‘why’.
When I first started playing with and actioning the idea of having my own business there wasn’t even a twinkle of a baby on the horizon, although I knew a family would definitely be on the cards in the future. My motivation then was very much around finances, passion for creativity and mental health and the fact that the traditional confines of full time employment just don’t seem to work for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I work hard and have built a successful career in marketing off the back of an almost unrelated degree in performance art and the rest was pure drive and tenacity to learn the industry and get valuable experience. But I have always felt like I wasn’t 100% happy in the confines of an office, commuting everyday, working on things that my boss wants rather than what I am passionate about. Then there is the asking permission for anything that I need to do in my life and the fact that my salary is determined by someone else and I have little to no control over it. And all that was hard enough for just me, then throw in a baby and those things, plus many more, step up to a whole new level.
So I knew that I needed to look at making a change and work towards becoming my own boss.
I’ll be honest, there has been a lot of stops and starts and restarts with my business, due to time or lack of it, but mainly fear and doubt that we all tend to feel when we think about stepping outside our comfort zone. But then something changed…
...I was pregnant with our first child, a little baby boy. Then I was embarking on maternity leave, baby was born and we were in our little bubble. Then as we got into more of a routine, I suddenly couldn’t even imagine having to leave him everyday while I went to work. The closer I got to the end of my maternity leave, the more it was on my mind. I was constantly doing the sums to see if I could stay at home and not return to work. There was just no way we could afford it, yet returning to work also only just helped us cover our bills due to the cost of childcare. I considered my options and put in a flexible working application to work a maximum of 4 days, with the hope that 2 of those days I could work from home with baby home with me. My request was rejected, all of it, not just the remote working! It meant returning 5 days a week straight off. I cried a lot about that and felt so stuck and just knew that they wouldn’t reconsider even with an appeal because my company were quite old fashioned when it came to hours and remote working. I decided to put in an appeal for a phased return to work so that at the least I could return working less days temporarily and then try and figure something else out. They rejected that too!
Trying to find work-from-home options
I started looking more seriously at what I could do instead. I spend hours endlessly googling all manor of phrases based around work-from-home opportunities, remote working, stay at home mum jobs etc. etc. I found results for paid surveys, jobs that said they were remote or flexible, that weren’t actually flexible. Loads of franchise options which needed loads of investment that I just didn't have and I still couldn’t really have my baby home with me. I looked at returning to MLM marketing, but I had been there done that and although there is nothing wrong with MLM, it just wasn’t for me. There was no one really offering a true opportunity for mums that meant I could work from home, with my baby.
So then I returned to my original business idea, I had always wanted to offer business and marketing consultancy and training to female business owners, but now I had a new passion that would niche that down. To help mums like me, who don’t want to return to work after having a baby to build their own work-from-home business so that they can replace their income and still be home with their little ones. There are lots of coaches and consultants out there, but no one was truly offering an affordable and accessible option for one to one consultancy for mums who want to start their own business, because let's face it we don’t tend to have a lot of spare funds laying around after mat leave and baby stuff can be expensive, plus we don’t have a lot free time either! I found that so many of the amazing coaches out there are just unattainable in terms of investment for me, so I thought that must be the case for other mums too. Often all you need is someone to brainstorm ideas with, guidance on the next steps so you can make a plan and progress, a cheerleader to give you a pep talk when you feel stuck or are having a crisis of confidence, or even some back up when all of you business plans for the week went out the window because your little one has caught chicken pox. That’s totally what I needed, but I was doing it alone because I couldn’t invest huge sums of cash right at that moment.
Renewed motivation for starting my work-from-home business
I was motivated and driven by my idea and the thought of helping other people as well as helping myself too. I decided to revamp my website and put together some affordable and flexible services that would help mums in my situation get the help they need as and when they need it. No contracts or subscriptions, no huge investment, just real advice via online chat, pre-recorded tailored advice via video that you can access anytime (including during the 2am night feed if you like!), and training and courses to help mums get their business off the ground and grow it into a successful venture.
It was scary to think about going it alone and fear and doubt definitely crept in. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to replace the level of income I needed straight away and with only 1 month to go before returning to work, so I instead started to look for a more suitable employed role that would give me some flexibility and possible remote working at best, and at worst would be closer to home so less commute and shorter days. But all the time I kept thinking about my business and how there must be so many other women going through this same thing as me. I was desperate to be a stay-at-home mum, but having no choice but to return and put my little one in childcare, so the childminder would spend more time with my baby than I would. It just wasn’t right.
Returning to work after maternity leave
I returned to work for the grand total of 5 weeks full time. It was horrendous for me. Every waking moment was pretty much about work; preparing for it the night before, getting ready for it in the morning, travelling to work and home again and of course actually being at work and spending most of my time while I was there wishing I could be at home with my boy and building my own business. I finally got the opportunity I was hoping for, a new part time, remote working role came up for a Marketing Manager locally and I jumped at the chance to apply. I got the interview, loved the sound of the opportunity, it was working 3 days a week 9.30 - 3pm from home and I also had some flexibility of having my baby home with me while I worked. It also would just about pay my bills! I got the job and worked my weeks notice and then started in my new job and most importantly my new routine of being home with my boy for more of the week than I was away from him.
Part time remote working and building my business
Once I started my new part time remote working role and got into a routine, I turned my attention to getting my business set up and started to try and find other mums who needed help to get their own work-from-home business going. I am not going to lie, it was tough. Even though I was working just 3 shorter days, I still found it hard to find the time. Between taking care of baby, housework and admin, trying to do the occasional nice activity like visiting the park, a soft play or playgroup on my days off as well as spending quality family time together in the evening and weekends, at first it felt like I just couldn’t fit my business in or make it a priority. Especially when I was just getting started so had no client obligations to take care of and it was just about being self motivated to get out there! Hubby was always supportive and would do his best when home to give me time to work on my business.
Juggling work, family and business
I had to change my mindset and start to prioritise my business like I would when working for an employer or client. So I tried my best to stick to a routine of key times that I would work on my business (baby depending). In general this looked like me carving out a few hours on my two days off while baby slept and then also doing an hour or two on my working days tagged straight onto the end of when I finished work as baby would often still be napping. It didn’t always work, but it gave me time to commit and stay focussed on achieving what I needed to to build my work from home business.