Category Archives: Family Friendly Working

Media Mums Profiled on Family Friendly Working: Find Your Ideal Media Career

Have you always wanted to become a writer? Or would you like to run a community magazine, or create a buzzing website? Check out www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk every day from the 1st of March for fabulous profiles from mums working in the media. All the mums work freelance or flexibly to fit with the family and there are some really inspiring stories.

PS Don’t forget the competition to win a bundle of Essential Business Books ends midnight today.

Looking for mumpreneurs in industry and parent-inventors

I’m looking for mums who work in industry or parents who have invented a product for a profile on www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk

If you work in industry, I’m particularly interested in women who own/run a business AND those who manage flexible working in a traditionally male environment.

If you have invested a product, I’m most interested in mums or dads who have been through design registration or the patenting process.

Please email mail@antoniachitty.co.uk if you are happy to answer a few questions.

Ideas for Flexible and Home Work

Over half of new mums would like to run their own business, and the number of mumpreneurs is growing daily. If you want to start your own home business, here are some pointers from Antonia Chitty, author of Family Friendly Working, to get you going:

  1. Get a great business idea. If you’re not sure where to start, sign up for the Ideas and Inspirations E-course at Family Friendly Working.
  2. List your priorities such as earning money, or finding work that lets you stay home with your children.
  3. Write down your skills, and ask others what they think you’re good at.
  4. Think about the hours you can devote to working. Be realistic if you plan to work around the kids, as they may not understand “mummy’s working”.
  5. Research the market for your business. Will people buy your product or service? Is it unique enough to be appealing?
  6. Pop into a local Enterprise Agency for advice. The Inland Revenue can also send an advisor to your house.
  7. Go to The Mumpreneur Guide for a free start up e-course to help you get your business going.
  8. Prepare a business plan. Set out aims and objectives, and the steps to take to achieve your goals. There is a free business plan guide to download at www.prbasics.co.uk
  9. Work out how you will promote and market your business. Visit www.PRBasics.co.uk for a free promotion plan and lots of PR ideas and resources.

Good luck with your new enterprise.

Quick Tips for Freelancers: Pitfalls to Avoid

I’ve been working for myself for a number of years now, and there are a few things that I am glad I knew from the start, while others I have learnt along the way.

  • Register as self employed within 3months of starting – contact the Inland Revenue to do this.
  • Start records from day one. Note down each expense and every bit of income. It is FAR easier to update a little each day or week than to create accounts from a pile of receipts. You’ll save yourself money on bookkeeping or accounting fees too.
  • Make a database of customer and client contacts. A good database of contacts makes it easy to work efficiently, will save you time, and can even get you more work.
  • Know when to delegate. Everyone has weak areas and it can pay dividends to get help. There are lots of other freelance specialists who offer affordable services.
  • Set some working hours. It is up to you whether you work best in the early morning or late at night, or have to fit work round the kids. Whatever you do, though, make sure you have some time off and shut the laptop.

Antonia Chitty is author of Family Friendly Working(www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk), A guide to Promoting Your Business (www.prbasics.co.uk) and a number of other parenting and health books. She has a book on earning a living from writing, The Commercial Writing Guide coming out in July 2009. You can find out more about her own freelance writing career at www.antoniachitty.co.uk and her PR business at www.acpr.co.uk

Quick Tips for Freelancers: Freelancing for Parents

For anyone thinking of becoming a freelancer, my advice is to plan, plan, and plan some more. This applies double for mums and dads. If you have children you may have more financial pressures and more need to make a success of freelancing. You are also likely to have less time to work in, and no time to go back and make up for mistakes that you made when starting in business.

To make sure your freelance business is set up correctly, go on a start up course at your local enterprise agency. You will find out about whether you are best starting off as a sole trader or a limited company. You may get the chance to speak one-to-one to a business adviser about your plans: make sure you ask for an appointment if not. And chat to the Inland Revenue, who have a team of friendly and helpful advisers for people embarking on self employment. You’ll make a better start armed with all these facts.

As a parent, the other thing you need to plan is childcare. Some parents manage to work without it, but you will find yourself working evenings and weekends to make the most of time when your partner is available for childcare. This can lead to a fairly joyless relationship. Try to set up some regular childcare: if you want to avoid costly care while starting up do a regular playdate swap with a friend or get grannie to commit to a time to help out each week. At the very least this gives you a chance to make vital calls without little voices in the background. As your career takes off you may want to find a childminder or nursery, or just take things slowly until you get a whole six hours a day when your child starts school.

Working freelance as a parent is an amazing experience: you will find that you can cram more in than you ever did as an employee and still be there when your child needs you.

Antonia Chitty is author of Family Friendly Working(www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk), A guide to Promoting Your Business (www.prbasics.co.uk) and a number of other parenting and health books. She has a book on earning a living from writing, The Commercial Writing Guide coming out in July 2009. You can find out more about her own freelance writing career at www.antoniachitty.co.uk and her PR business at www.acpr.co.uk

Would you bring your baby to work?

The New York Times has reported on a woman who, instead of taking maternity leave, has set up a room for her children next to her office. The paper reports Carla Moquin, the founder of the Parenting in the Workplace Institute, saying”This has been going on for 15 years in a limited fashion, but in the last two years it’s really taken off.”

Mothers in the US are only entitled to three months unpaid maternity leave, which I can see would encourage women to look at this sort of solution. One business mentioned in the article, “Borshoff, a communications firm in Indianapolis with 40 employees, has a Bring Your Baby to Work program for infants ages 6 weeks to 6 months. The firm pays 80 percent of an employee’s full salary when the child is in the office.” Having reduced pay may be an accurate reflection that parents with a baby in tow will spend less time working, but also reduces the incentive to go through what seems to be a stressful scheme.

For more – and probably better – ideas on how to combine work and family, visit www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk

Quick Tips for Freelancers: Dealing with Emergencies and Domestic Crises

One of the great upsides of freelancing is that you can drop everything if you need. Sick children, neighbours who have locked themselves out – everyone will think that you can drop what you are doing and help. Trouble is, you then end up working into the small hours to catch up. It can be hard to set aside time for holidays too, when a break from work equals no income. With practice you will work out a way to be around for the family without letting your work slip too far: after all, that is one of the benefits of freelancing.

Antonia Chitty is author of Family Friendly Working (www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk), A guide to Promoting Your Business (www.prbasics.co.uk) and a number of parenting and health books. She has a book on earning a living from writing, The Commercial Writing Guide coming out in July 2009. You can find out more about her own freelance writing career at www.antoniachitty.co.uk and her PR business at www.acpr.co.uk.

Quick Tips for Freelancers: Managing your Time and Money

It was all so different when you were employed. Now you’re master of your own time, time management is key. One of the big ups of freelancing in the chance to take time off during the week, to go for a swim when the pool is at its emptiest or meet a mate for a long lunch. However in order to do this AND have money to pay for the treats you need to plan ahead. Work out how much you need to earn each month to pay your bills and have spending money. Allow for tax and National Insurance too. You might wonder what this has to do with time management….but time is money. Your income will depend on the hours you put in. It may take a while to work out how much work you need to do to earn the amount you need to live, and it can take time to build up enough good contacts to have a ready flow of commissions too. You may spend more time pitching or generating business in the early stages so try to have some cash in reserve.

Antonia Chitty is author of Family Friendly Working (www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk), A guide to Promoting Your Business (www.prbasics.co.uk) and a number of parenting and health books. She has a book on earning a living from writing, The Commercial Writing Guide coming out in July 2009 . You can find out more about her own freelance writing career at www.antoniachitty.co.uk and her PR business at www.acpr.co.uk.

Quick Tips for Freelancers: Should you get an Office?

If you’re considering renting an office, think about the pros and cons. It is lovely to have a clear office space, but can make a great difference to your business finances. Your earnings now have to cover rent every month.

If you find working from home an isolating experience a shared office is ideal. You get the buzz round the watercooler and the chance to chat to others. Do visit a few times to see the office in full swing, though, to find out whether you desk would be next to a loud sales person. And if freelancing is just the start of grand business ideas, you should incorporate the cost of an office, business rates, insurance etc into your plans.

Back to work?

The Guardian has been focusing on the issues surrounding mothers returning to work.

In a feature based on a Unicef report on childcare, Geraldine Beddell says, “Many women look at the pay gap, at their own inclination to balance, at the impossibility of two parents being distracted most of the time, and choose to work part-time, or at any rate with less zealotry. And most parents manage to cobble something together that more or less works.”

She highlights the problem where most men are unwilling or unable to change their hours, leaving women with limited options. She also points out that, “The Unicef report is flawed in not taking into account informal, home-based, or neighbourhood childcare – grandparents, child minders, au pairs”.

Josephine Murray looks at the women who have been driven back to work to balance the bills. She quotes a study published last week by insurer Scottish Widows that claims the rising cost of living has forced more than 4 million mothers back to work, and passes on advice from child development specialist Amanda Gummer who suggests that it’s important to make the right choice for your family’s well-being. “If you’re stressed and fractious because you can’t afford to do the things you want to do then going back to work will be beneficial for the baby or children. If going back to work makes you stressed that’s not going to help them.”

If you’re in the position of needing to earn to stretch the family budget, have a look at www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk for some ideas and inspiration, or sign up for the free e-course to find out your rights to flexible work plus much more. Going back to work does not have to be traumatic, and there are way to avoid having to put your children in childcare 8-6.