Work options

Having a baby doesn’t have to be the end of your working life. It can give you a chance to kickstart a whole new career and enjoy a more flexible work/life balance.

Rising costs mean that more mums are returning to work, according to research from the insurer Scottish Widows. But make sure you investigate all your options – many employers offer flexible working options.

 

Flexible working

It’s worth asking about job share opportunities within the company, or if you can afford it, ask about going part-time. 

 

Home-based opportunities

Lots of mums have found new careers with companies like The Body Shop, AVON or Usborne Books, organising events and parties to sell products. You can earn good money doing this, but you’ve got to be self-motivated and have a large social network of friends and family to help you get started. 

 

Child-friendly employers

There are lots of websites that specialise in jobs for mums – check them out:

Jobs for mothers

Working mums

 

Your CV

If you’ve been out of work for a while, you mustn’t feel you’ve lost your skills. One big name company compiled a ‘Mums’ CV’ to highlight just how valuable parental skills like time management and negotiation are back in the work place.

 

Networking

Use your contacts – call people who’ve met you through work and tell them what kind of work you’re looking for – you never known what or when opportunities can arise. 

 

Start your own business

Got a great idea or a skill you can use on a freelance basis – say, web design, beauty therapy, photography or accountancy? Do some research on the internet. Is anyone already doing this in your area? If so, how can you better their service? Start small – often a spare bedroom or kitchen is ideal to save on costs. Make the most of free advice from your local Business Link

 

Publicity is essential but don’t spend lots of money to begin with. Ring your local radio station or newspaper; they may run an interview with you to generate free publicity. For low-cost business cards, check out one of the websites offering introductory deals where you can usually order around two hundred cards for just a few pounds’ postage. 

 

Managing your earnings

Working for yourself means keeping tabs on what you’re earning and spending. Here’s a guide to some of the essentials: 

  • Tax – If you earn over £6,475 a year, you’ll be liable for tax. It’s down to you to settle your tax bill, so you’ll need to fill in a self-assessment form every year. (If you use an accountant, you should be able to claim the cost of accounting as one of your business expenses.) Ask your local tax office for details or go to HMRC.
  • Keep receipts for everything you spend. Again, you may be able to claim back some expenses, so get organised from day one.
  • Insurance – tell your insurer if you’re working from home, as you may need extra cover, i.e. for computer equipment. And if you’re using your car for work purposes, make sure your motor policy covers this and you’re not on ‘social, domestic or pleasure’ cover.
  • Public liability insurance – if you’re providing a service in clients’ homes like hairdressing, you’ll need cover in case of damage. Contact your local council about this.

 

Training

There are lots of great courses available – try Hot Courses to find those in your area, or ask at your local college. Depending on your circumstances and household income, you may be eligible for grants to cover the cost of childcare, transport and equipment. Go to www.careersadvice.direct.gov.uk for details. 

 

Childcare options

Make sure you’ve applied for Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit, (if you’re eligible). Call the Tax Credit helpline on 0845 300 3900 for details. Some employers run a childcare voucher scheme worth up to £55 a week, which you can put towards the cost of child minders, after-school clubs or nurseries. Although you have to contribute some of your salary, you get back a chunk of your tax.