Did you know that there are currently 287,000 mothers working as freelancers in the UK? Working mums make up 15% of the freelancing workforce as a whole, with numbers having risen a massive 70% since 2008.
As more and more women are deciding to take the fate of their careers into their own hands, ‘Mumpreneurs’ everywhere are hard at work at home, both looking after their little ones and juggling their freelance jobs.
Getting the balance right between family and work life can be a tricky task, but for many women, going freelance helps to ensure that their career continues to blossom, rather than being jeopardised as a result of insisting that family time takes precedence.
Part of why freelance work has become increasingly desirable for new mums is because of hostile working environments at previous places of employment. It’s estimated that a staggering 54,000 women lose their jobs during or following pregnancy every year in the UK. And for those mums who don’t lose their jobs, their welcome back can often be pretty cold.
By freelancing, these new mums are able to wave goodbye to workplaces that took advantage of their talents without caring about their needs. Working for yourself means that your success is your own, not for the profit of others.
It’s not always a smooth transition from full-time employee to freelance mum, but here are a few tips to get you started on this exciting new journey:
1. Build your confidence
Any time out of the workplace can knock someone’s confidence in their ability to stay on top of their game, so of course maternity leave can often come with a loss of self-esteem. If you’re someone who has lost their job as a result of their pregnancy, this feeling can be compounded even further by the anxiety of unemployment.
Fear of failure tends to haunt a lot of first-time freelancers and is often the reason why many people haven’t started freelancing sooner. But you mustn’t let it paralyse you before you’ve even begun. All successful business began with someone taking a risk.
It can seem like a big ask to change your mindset before launching into your freelancing business but this should be a fundamental part of your journey. Being self-employed will teach you more than you’ll have ever known before about how to gage personal success.
A good mantra to keep in mind when you’re feeling your anxieties creeping up on you is to swap perfection for progress. Stop thinking in absolutes of success and failure and instead focus on your sense of improvement. As long as you are learning from your mistakes and growing as both a person and as a businesswoman, you are making positive progress.
2. Network with other mums
Everyone already knows that networking is pretty vital for generating new business, but as a freelancing mum who might be feeling isolated at home, away from the bustle of office life for the first time, networking can also be somewhat of a lifeline.
Business networking is not just about wrangling new business, it also provides a platform to meet like-minded individuals, build relationships and get to know other businesses.
The Mumpreneurs Networking Club, for example, is a great place to get support from other mums who know exactly what you’re going through. Becoming a member enables you to attend a wide range of networking events for free and gives you access to exclusive blog articles, as well as the opportunity to list your new business on their Business Directory.
3. Understand what makes you special
Thanks to the rise of the internet, anyone can now start up a business from their kitchen table with nothing more than a laptop and a dream. But, if you don’t understand what makes you stand out from the crowd, then it’s unlikely you’ll be able to reach the heights you’re hoping for.
Whether you’re unsure which freelancing business you’d like to pursue or are already dead set on what you want to do, it’s important to hone in on your unique, marketable talents. What is it that you can offer your ideal client that others can’t? What are your strengths, your background, your experience?
By taking a moment to evaluate what it is that you’re truly passionate about and what you want from life, you’ll be able to enter into self-employment with a clear understanding of your business goals. Harness everything you’ve previously learnt, not just about business but about yourself too, and use that knowledge to build strong foundations for your future.