It is ideal if you can have a separate workspace. Depending on how noise resistant you are you may need a desk in the corner, a separate room or even a garden office. Make sure you have space for record and filing. I like to have a bookshelf for work books too. Because my children are younger I actually do a lot of work in the centre of the home, and I’m used to punching out quick replies to emails and writing in short bursts. This doesn’t work for every project so I save in depth research for when the kids are out. I do have an office, though, where I can leave papers and ongoing projects out.
I think it is important to take a business-like approach to freelancing from the start: you make your life much easier in the long run. Set yourself some realistic working hours. Build in breaks and make it a strict rule to turn off the pc at the end of your work period. It is all too easy to end up burnt out. Obviously there are always exceptional deadlines, but if you can keep work for weekdays and evenings and weekends to relax you will feel better and work more effectively too.
Lilach Bullock is a renowned virtual PA who helps to support business people from her own office. And the successful entrepreneur is offering telephone seminars on how to set up similar ventures. She said: “These are a great way for people to find out about setting up their own VA (virtual assistant] company – which has to be attractive in the current economic climate.
“People simply dial in from the comfort of their own home and participate in the session.”
The next phone seminar hosted by Lilach, a finalist in the National Virtual Assistant of the Year Awards 2007 and Mumpreneur of the Year Award 2008, is on Friday, November 14 at 8pm. Lilach also runs one-day workshops on setting up a virtual assistant business. For more information and to book a place on a free phone seminar call Lilach on 01442 231663 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
From Hemel Today
Have you signed up to http://giantpotential.ning.com yet? It is a great place to meet other women in business, and there are nearly 1000 members. If you haven’t joined yet, do it now. Antonia Chitty of www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk is offering a selection books including the essential Guide to Promoting Your Business and parenting books from White Ladder Press and Need2Know for the 1000th member. Sign up soon or you’ll miss out.
Results of a Government survey in 2008, found that the majority of mums are still returning to work within the first year of their baby’s life. 50% of full time working women, return to full time employment, though half of these mums would prefer to work part time. This indicates that making such important decisions, like returning to work, isn’t unusual but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy choice or it is always made at the right time, for the right reasons.
Here are some tips from Sam Pringle to get you thinking about different aspects of your decision so that you can go ‘Back to Work Without a Bump’;
What do I want get out of my work?
Whether you have been away from work for 6 months or 6 years, you now have an opportunity to look at your career from a new perspective.
Is my old career the one I would choose again?
Write a list with two columns headed ‘activities’ and ‘feelings’. List all the things you would like to do in the ‘activities’ column and how you would like to feel about working in the ‘feelings’ column.
How do these outputs fit into my career?
How do these things affect what’s important to my family life?
Who shall I go to for support?
Finances, childcare and emotional support are all areas that can be pro-actively managed through this period of change. The toughest part is asking for this help. Talk to friends who have similar principles as you, about how they manage their work and family. Ignore the advice you get from people with different values! Sometimes your family are so closely involved in the decision that their advice may not be for your benefit. Speak to people aren’t affected by the outcome of your decision as well as involving those who are.
Who can I talk to with similar values? Who will listen and support me through this change?
We can be influenced by people and things from a long time ago which may no longer be relevant to our present needs. So ask yourself:
Who am I pleasing now, by making these choices?
When do I want to return?
Timing with work and families is crucial. Nearly all mums will go back to work; the more relevant question is ‘When?’ 8% of Mums return to work early because they feel otherwise, their career will be compromised.
There may not be an easy time to go back but there is the ‘right’ time for you and your family. This is different for every family and not something you can decide before you have your baby! Its amazing how many people say to their employers when they leave on maternity-‘I’ll be back in 6 months’ and feel they should keep to this because as that’s what they said they would do.
What factors influence when I want to return?
Brainstorm these and decide when to review them to see what has changed.
Take responsibility for your decision and give yourself flexibility. The great thing about decisions is that you can always change your mind-it’s a women’s provocative!
Why–Sell it to yourself
Give yourself a pep talk like you would a friend. Every time you tell yourself you ‘should, ‘need’ or ‘have’ to do something ask ‘what do I really want to do?’
You may be going back to work but actually you are going forward in your life as a more fulfilled and whole individual. There are incredible things you learn from maternity leave which will make you an even more valued, skilled and motivated person.
Sam Pringle is a Professional NLP coach specialising in women returning to work. She offers 1:1 coaching, group workshops and business consulting. www.beeleafconsulting.co.uk . For more ideas aboutflexible work, see www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk
Sometimes it is easy to be confused between Editorial and Advertorial
Editorial is what the publication’s journalists write. they may research a news story or use information from a press release, but it is up to them what they include. You have no control over what they write. This makes up most of the content of most good media.
Advertorial is paid for, like an advertisement. A business may decide that potential customers will be more influenced by an article promoting their business. They pay for the space, and fill it with an article, often in a similar style to the rest of the publication. You can spot advertorials though as they must have ‘promotion’ or ‘advertisement’ printed above the text.
Have you visited Giant Potential yet? The friendly networking site for women in business is one this month. Join the site for the chance to tap into the collective knowledge and expertise of over 900 women and release your own giant potential in business.
In a recent survey for Skillfair, 22% of freelancer feel business is worse, even dire this year. The credit crunch seems to make businesses more cautious about booking freelancers, with several respondants commenting that it is taking longer to get a decision on a new project.
However, if you are thinking of freelancing as a way to get the family friendly work life balance you need, don’t despair. 78% of freelancers say that business as good or better than last year. A small number, 14%, even said they were rushed off their feet.
Are you a web designer, developer or marketer? I’m looking for a selection of freelance mums to provide comment for an online article. Email email@example.com and I’ll pass your details on to the journalist.