One day a couple of years ago, I took my four-month-old daughter to visit a nursery. I was going back to work a few months later and had to sort out her childcare. As I left the nursery, I discovered that I simply couldn’t leave my baby anywhere full-time. It wasn’t the nursery that was the problem, it was me.
Like most families, we’d struggle to make ends meet on one salary but I couldn’t leave my baby in a nursery five days a week either. My job didn’t suit part time hours and involved travelling. It just wasn’t going to suit my new family.
I’d had my permanent job for a while, but before that I’d been a freelance trainer for six years. I knew that being self employed might be the only option open to me, but as a new mum I had no idea how it might work. What type of work could I do? Was it even possible to run a business around a small child?
I started to research some business ideas. I tried a party plan, but selling another company’s products just didn’t grab me. Then I found out, to my surprise, that I was expecting our second baby – due just fifteen months after the first.
With two babies I would need a business that was very flexible indeed. One that I could fit into a spare half-hour here and there, preferably without leaving the house! By then I was in the sick-and-tired first few months of pregnancy, I’d just gone back to work on a temporary-part-time basis and frankly, I was fed up. I started blogging – partly to connect with other mums in business and partly out of sheer frustration. I was going nowhere fast, but maybe all my research would help someone else in my situation?
My son arrived in August 2009 and I carried on blogging – although not very much for a couple of months! I realised there was a huge pool of experience and knowledge out there among mumpreneurs and I wanted to share it. So I started to feature guest bloggers and that meant I ‘met’ even more business mums.
After a year of blogging, my two babies are nearly two toddlers. My need to escape employment and full-time childcare has changed from a problem into a new career and a new way of life. There are lots of challenges and that means I have questions to ask of people who are ahead of me on the path. I hope I can pass this on to mums who are facing the same challenges as me.
Through blogging I met Antonia Chitty of www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk. Together we’ve written a book ‘Start a Family Friendly Business: 23 Brilliant Business Ideas For Mums’ which will be published on 15th September. I had no idea when I started my blog that all that research would end up in a book, but I’m delighted that it has.
So the blog that’s about starting a business as a mum is now a business in its own right!
Helen Lindop is the owner of www.businessplusbaby.com, a blog dedicated to helping mums of babies and toddlers start their own businesses. For updates on her book, sign up to her Start Up Tips Newsletter.