Are you ready to take the leap?
Waving goodbye to a regular income is not an easy decision to make. As the end of my maternity leave drew nearer, I found myself going back and forth with this decision. But the appeal of more flexible working won out.
It’s such a personal thing, and so much depends on your own circumstances. But as I work on steadily building my own little business from home, on my own terms and working flexibly around looking after our son, I know I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you’re in a similar position and wondering whether you should return to your old job, here are a few factors that helped in making my decision to start my own business from home. Clearly so much of this depends on your own personal circumstances, but hopefully some of these will help you too.
Can you manage on one income, at least in the short-term?
Money is, of course, the main factor to consider (unless you’re one of the lucky few where money really is no issue). I was nervous about giving up the ability to earn a regular income. I’ve worked ever since I was 16, earning a whopping £2.30 an hour serving up burgers in McDonalds.
When I sat down and actually did the sums, there was very little for us to gain financially if I had returned to my old job. The cost of commuting into central London, plus childcare, meant I wouldn’t really be bringing anything home, and essentially just paying someone else to look after our child while I went to work. That didn’t make sense for us, so I handed in my notice.
In all honesty, it is hard relying on your partner to pay off the mortgage and bills while you build your business.
Previously, I had always contributed 50%. But I know that the work that I do now looking after our son and our home, enables my husband to go out and earn the money that he does.
And without him going out to work and earning a steady income, I couldn’t have started my business from home – so it works both ways. One day I know that I will be earning enough to contribute more, and it makes me even more determined to succeed!
Can you live within your means?
I suppose the biggest thing for us is that we live within our means. Yes, going from two salaries to one means less disposable income but we’re not overstretched with a house and mortgage that is too big for us.
While it means moving to a bigger house is not on the agenda for a while, it has given us space to breathe while we find our groove as a family of three. There is plenty of time for us to work towards buying our forever home.
Do you love your job?
Are you currently doing your dream job? If the answer is yes, then you should probably stick with it! And well done you for doing what you love!
For me, there were aspects of my job that I enjoyed but it was certainly not my dream job. While I loved the writing and techie bits (yes, I’m a bit of a geek) I didn’t find the actual content of my job – the stuff that I had to write about – very inspiring.
Do you have a secret passion to do something else? Maternity leave is the perfect time to explore new avenues.
I absolutely love working on my blog as it combines my passion for writing with other things that I enjoy, such as building relationships and developing my digital skills.
Basically, I’ve taken all the bits I enjoyed from my old job and now use those skills to create content about things that I’m passionate about and that hopefully helps other mums too.
Are you able to work independently?
If you work from home, you need to be able to get on with the job. Can you avoid distractions?
Initially I admit I wasn’t very efficient with my time. However I have got better at sticking to my to-do lists. While I’m a little stricter with the time that I spend on things, there is still plenty of room for improvement for me in this area!
Of course I do miss my old team and the laughs we used to have. But also, I don’t mind my own company! I’m quite happy working away at home. If I want a change of scenery and to be around people, I can always go and work in a coffee shop in town.
Importantly, I also have a fantastic network of other bloggers and freelancers who are brilliant and supportive, and who I know I can call on if I need help with anything. Or just a chat!
The bottom line
I love the freedom that working from home gives me. I can be there at school drop-off and pick-up. I can be there for sports days, and class assemblies.
And I don’t have to ask anyone for permission if I need to go and be with our son, for whatever reason. Yes, I’ve given up things along the way but I’ve gained so much in others. And for me, that makes it all worth it.
What about you?
If you also work from home, what do you love most about it? And what do you find most challenging? I’d love to hear your thoughts.