What is the Best Way to Build a Successful Career as a Busy Mum?
How can you build a successful career as a busy mum?
Making the decision to return to work can be a daunting one for mums. The idea of being pulled between the home and office, not spending enough time with loved ones and failing to meet work responsibilities can leave women stressed before they even start out on their career once again.
For those feeling the pressure of returning to work, remember that the traditional 9 to 5 office job is not your only option. There are other employment opportunities more suited to busy mums, many of which give you a greater opportunity to balance your home life with your career.
Contracting or freelancing opportunities for mums returning to work
Working as a contractor or freelancer is one of the preferred employment options for working mums, as it offers freedom, flexibility and often the chance to work from home.
The benefits of choosing to start out as a contractor or freelancer include:
- No travelling time: You don’t have to waste time commuting to work, so can enjoy more time with your children. You can also spend your lunch hour with your kids when they are not at school, preparing and eating meals together rather than missing out while in an office environment.
- Ability to attend school events: Freelancing from home allows you to organise your schedule around your home life. Any school holidays or events can take priority with your work organised around key dates, so you don’t have to miss out on any moments special to your children.
- Pick up and drop off from school and activities: Managing your own timetable means that you don’t have to work standard hours. Many freelancing mums work when their kids are at school, clubs or asleep, allowing them to spend more time with their children and help out with family life.
This flexibility is one of the main reasons why working mums turn to freelancing or contracting. With the freedom to select your working hours and organise your own diary, you have the chance to establish a strong career that doesn’t interfere with your responsibilities at home.
Remember, some contractors are required to complete their assignments on-site. This employment option can still work well for busy mums, as you can choose to take on contracts during term time when your children are at school, allowing you to spend the holidays at home.
How to start working as a contractor or freelancer
If working as a contractor or freelancer sounds like the best option for your career, there are a number of different ways you can go about starting out, which include:
Joining an umbrella company
Often the best option for newcomers, you will be given a full contract of employment, which includes all statutory benefits such as holiday pay, maternity pay and sick pay. An umbrella company can also manage your tax and National Insurance contributions, where you will pay PAYE tax and NIC on your earnings so that you don’t have to spend time managing your own finances.
They should also be able to handle admin tasks such as invoicing and collecting payments. This support means that you can spend your working hours focusing on your contracts and your home life concentrating on being a mum, without having to worry about looking after any additional tasks.
Setting up a limited company
You can also choose to contract through your own limited company. While you can enjoy tax benefits and a greater profit, you will also be in charge of finding an accountant, arranging your insurance, managing your accounts and checking your IR35 status.
This can work for mums willing to manage both their assignments and extra responsibilities in their working hours. However, if the extra tasks involved in setting up and running a limited company sound too much, joining an umbrella company may be more sensible due to the support available.
Working as a sole trader
This is the simplest way of working as a contractor or freelancer as you just need to register as self-employed with HMRC. However, you will be responsible for completing self-assessment tax returns and landing contracts, and will also be personally liable for any business debts.
While this employment option is beneficial for mums wanting to start their career quickly and with minimal hassle, we would recommend that you get the support of a contractor accountant. They can take on some of the additional responsibility and ensure that your finances are in check, so that you can enjoy a flexible working lifestyle without having to spend time managing any extra duties.
It is clear to see why both contracting and freelancing are amongst the most preferable options for working mums. With freedom and flexibility over your working schedule accompanied by a wide choice of employment paths to head down, you have a real chance to establish a career where your work and home responsibilities are balanced perfectly.
Derek Kelly is managing director at Cheshire-based Parasol, the UK’s largest and most forward-thinking umbrella company. He joined the company in 2008 following 15 years at KPMG. Whilst at KPMG Derek specialised in employment taxes, leading KPMG’s northern and south west practices. Derek has spent his career providing no-nonsense advice to employment outsourcing specialists, employment agencies and blue chip-corporates. In his free time Derek can either be found sailing his boat “Noah’s Ark” on lake Windermere or walking his dog Minnie; but is never far from his iPad. Parasol is part of the Optionis group.