Case Study: Balancing self employment and motherhood

Have you ever dreamed of self employment? I did for years before finally taking the plunge. I have been meaning to do another case study for a while and then the opportunity arose for me to ask not one but four business owners about their experiences in terms of setting up a business, being a mum and creating that balance I’ve been harping on about!

Firstly, let me introduce you to each of the business owners:

Anna is our local Hartbeeps teacher, running creative and original developmental classes from babies to preschoolers. Her business is flourishing and she is currently expanding both geographically and in the number of classes she provides. Anna has two children aged 7 and 2.

Jo is an artist and creative genius who loves to make things beautiful. She owns Silver Rock Designs who specialise in creating invitations and activity packs for parties, journeys and keeping boredom at bay. Jo has two young boys aged 4 and 2.

Ellie runs Daisy Birthing antenatal classes in the St Neots and surrounding areas. The classes provide a combination of antenatal education, yoga movement, breathing and relaxation techniques for pregnancy and birth. She has two children aged 7 and 4.

Katie is currently on maternity leave from childminding, having previously worked in finance and is now starting a self-employment in photography. She has three children aged 8, 4 and 9 months.

I asked each of them four questions:

What made you decide to become self-employed?

Anna – The need for variety, the need for a feeling of security when income streams come from different places, the way that self employment fits with family life. Being pushed by redundancy and falling in love with the self employed job I now find myself mostly working

Ellie – As with Anna, being made redundant and wanting to do something that fits with a young family.

Katie – My employer was unable to give me the flexible working I needed when I became a mum second time around. I knew my priorities had changed and long London hours had to go.

Jo – Wanting to do something but be home with my baby

How do you find your life-work balance since becoming self employed?

Katie – While I was a self employed childminder it took time to get the balance right and my own children lost too much mummy time. When I start my photography business i will learn from those lessons and get the balance right.

Jo – Difficult but I like the flexibility. I work when I want/need to.

Anna – Vibrant, complicated, constantly changing, active, in need of attention to ensure it stays healthy – a fun and worthwhile challenge

Ellie – Erm what balance ha ha?!!
I love the fact I can be more flexible, choose when I work, work to my own deadlines.

What is your favourite thing about running your own business?

Jo – Being the one in control of my life. Being able to choose my time to work around play groups for the kids

Anna – The feeling of achievement in creating success, getting to know myself, the feeling that the sky’s the limit

Ellie –  Being able to spend more time with my family. I’m able to be myself and I suppose pushing myself out of my comfort zone even though it’s scarey!!

Katie – Being in charge, driving myself. Feeling proud and independent

What would your top tip be to other women thinking of taking the plunge into self-employment?

Ellie – Find your support network. Those who will be there to celebrate with you and also listen and support when things feel overwhelming. Maybe also someone who can offer emergency childcare!!

Katie – Take time to plan everything and work through the worse case scenarios. If you can come up with solutions to the doubts and potential problems before you encounter them then you have no negativity holding you back.

Jo –  Push yourself (I constantly need to remind myself to keep going to set myself goals to reach) Definitely find like-minded women to inspire and support.

Anna – Plan. Create goals before getting stuck in. Enjoy! It’s a blast.


Business Development Group

Are you thinking of becoming self-employed? Perhaps you already are? If you are local to me then I invite you to come along to my business development group and grow your business (and your business ideas) as well as meeting women who understand the ups and downs of being self-employed.

We focus on supporting (and challenging) you to grow your business in the best way possible – authentically.

The group is for women who run or want to run their own business. You can be experienced or brand new to self-employment. There are only two rules – it isn’t a networking group or a place to sell – it is a business development group. To find out more, email me at [email protected].


Leave a comment