Stuck in a rut at work but too scared to leave? How about setting up a part-time business?

Running around doing the school and/or nursery run is n mean feat for most mums. But when you work and have to catch a certain train, or do early morning meetings, or face a hefty fine from your childcare provider if you are a millisecond late ? again ? for picking up your child, all the military precision juggling can take its toll.

Going solo
And for many mums who choose to go back to work after their maternity leave, this amount of stress is a common reason why they decide to resign. Who wants to be the one who is always in a rush, never having time for themselves, and always snapping at people because you?re so tired, anyway? Let?s not even get onto the point on employers who have no regard for flexible working?that?s another story altogether.

One way out of this type of rut for many mums is to set up a business. You only need to look at our Inspirational mums to see that many are making a real success of their businesses, enjoying it, and getting back some control of their lives.

Another way
But we?re not all brave enough, or in a financial situation, to quit the rat race and set up a business. And not all of us want the full-time hours, even if it means being the boss. But there is another way: set up a part-time business.

Yes, it is possible, and many business models like public relations, virtual assistants and teaching enable you to decide what hours you operate your business.

Melissa Talago, 35 is married and has two sons ? Josh, four, and Jamie who is two-and-a-half. She runs Peekaboo Communications.

Melissa Talago, Peekaboo Communications?Who looks after your children while you work ? a very complicated arrangement! Mondays and Fridays they both go to a nursery all day.

?Tuesdays and Thursdays they both go to a local village preschool which runs from 9.15am to 2.45pm. As Jamie is only two-and-a-half, he leaves at 12pm and goes to a childminder until the later pre-school session finishes, at which point I pick both up!

?I run Peekaboo Communications, a PR and marketing consultancy for the parenting sector. Most of my clients are mothers who run home-based businesses with products or services that are in same way related to babies, children or pregnancy. I set it up as something to do part time so that I could also spend time with my two sons. I work two full days a week and two half days.

?The rest of the time I spend with my children. That said, I do work quite a few nights to catch up on work. And although I might not be working full time, my brain doesn?t shut down just because it?s the end of my official working day. Finding the off button can be difficult!

?It?s not easy to run a business part time – certainly in this line of work. If a journalist needs something and the deadline is today, you need to respond immediately. So oftentimes, even though I?m with my boys, I have my Palm Pilot with me to check for things that need to be dealt with urgently. I?ve taken calls from national newspapers and TV stations with children yelling in the background, which can be incredibly hard. The upside is that most journalists covering this sector are parents, too, so they understand what it?s like.

“I definitely have more than enough work to operate full time, so my solution has been to work with freelancers who I can outsource work to. Most of them are mothers too and want to work reduced hours so that they can spend time with their children. So it?s a situation that works for all of us. I think most mothers who run their own businesses will get to a point where their success means they have to grow – either by putting in more hours themselves or by taking the plunge and hiring staff or outsourcing.?

Setting up a part-time business makes business and family senseWhere do you start?

  • Do your research before you start ? find out if there is a need for the service you want to provide, see who your competitors are and see how you can improve on the service they provide.
  • Set up a separate workspace, preferably in its own room, that’s used for business only. This will help make the transition from home to work a bit easier and will focus your mind during the day. It might be worth getting a second phone line installed so that your family ? kids in particular ? don?t pick up your business calls.
  • Should you tell your boss? If you?re still working for an employer while you ?test the market?, make sure your contract does not have any restrictions on the business you are setting up. If your contract does not stipulate this, and you are unsure whether to tell your boss, you?ll need to think about what the implications are. For instance, will he or she turn it on you when you don?t meet targets at work and assume that it?s because you are using work time to do your business? Weigh up the pros and cons.
  • Experts advise that you have at least six months’ worth of income as a back-up before you leave your job ? that?s why starting the business part-time is a good idea, because you will be able to build it up gradually, and resign when you can see that the business can meet your needs.

Carine?s story
Carine Pouypoudat, mumpreneur of {{post id=”carine-pouypoudat-mumpreneur-of-wwwmadeinwatercouk” text=”Made in Water” target=”_self”}} a natural birth and organic shop tells her story.

“I decided to start my own business when I was pregnant with my fourth child. I eeded to have more flexibility in term of hours and also to enjoy what I as doing. I decided to design my own birthing pool and launched Made in ater a website dedicated to natural pregnancy and birth.

During the first two years, I earned only half of what I used to and we had to hange a bit our life style but it was worth it as family life become more central.

I try to work only three days a week. On these days, I usually wake up at 7.30am to prepare breakfast. At 8.45am the boys walk to school with their dad and I get the girls ready. At 10 am, I drop them to my much adored and trusted childminder and work until 5pm. My husband works also with me, processing and dispatching the orders, maintaining our website and doing all those house chores that I am not good at.
?He picks up the boys at 3pm and I got home by 6pm with the girls. It’s time for everyone to get a bath, a dinner and at 8.30 they are tucked in their bed. We then work until 11 or 12 pm.

“On my days off, I try as much as possible to keep one of the girls with me and not do any work during the day. Week-end is usually spent in family. My previous jobs as finance director came with a lot of responsibility, but always got the balance right by negotiated flexible hours to be with my family. Today, things are different. It is not really in terms of working hours but more the difficulty to switch off from work.

“Made in water is always in my mind, resulting in less quality time with my children. I never been the workaholic type but I found that having your own business is dangerously addictive.”

Have you read…

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