Sarah Rugg - My VA BusinessSarah Rugg took the leap from successful corporate banking career to freelance VA after the birth of her second child, and admits to having made every mistake possible. More than a decade on she explains how to avoid the pitfalls of starting up your own freelance business.

There’s little doubt that stepping off the corporate career ladder is scary. As a mum, finding your feet as a freelancer may remind you of your own toddler, a few faltering steps followed by a stumble. But as any toddler learns, keep getting back on your feet and you will soon be unstoppable!

When I decided to stand on my own two feet as a freelancer, I stumbled more times than you can imagine, despite spending months preparing for my exit from the corporate world.

I was consumed with questions like: what’s the best business to get into; how much should I charge; what do I do to market my business and – more often than not – can I really do this? The trouble is that every question generated multiple possibilities, and the only way I could find out if it would work was to take the first step and be prepared to fall on my bum! And fall I did – so many times.

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Working Mum The flexibility, freedom and satisfaction of a home business are well known; with low overheads, no commute and less risk, it is a viable option for many aspiring entrepreneurs.

Whether you want to start baking up a storm from your kitchen, dream of dog walking, pet sitting, or becoming a freelance writer, there are many options for a home-based business.

However, there are many things to consider, including legal implications, permissions and insurances. Not to mention personal obligations to acknowledge before jumping head first into your new business venture.

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Working MotherIt has been suggested by the National Childbirth Trust, the UK’s leading charity for parents, that 47 per cent of all mothers are sceptical as to whether their job will be secure throughout the duration of their maternity leave.

As a result of this, 43 per cent of mothers are choosing to return to work earlier than anticipated. This jeopardises not only the relationship the mother has with their child, but also the relationship mothers have towards their employers in the modern workplace. There are however, ways to avoid the harsh reality which has been placed upon mothers in recent times: alternative work opportunities can be found whether you are on maternity leave, looking after the children during the summer holidays, or simply trying to earn more towards the household income.

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Working MumWhen you return to work after having kids you may decide to reduce the hours of your previous role, find a new part-time role or work for yourself; these can all be very successful routes but can also pose challenges if you don’t have a clear plan and set strict boundaries for yourself and/or your employer and clients.

Here are some tips and useful technologies that have helped me as well as friends and colleagues in my position to take control, reduce stress levels and achieve the success you deserve…

Set clear expectations with your employer, colleagues and clients

Whether you are working for yourself, employed or have your own clients, make sure from the very start that you are clear on your working hours so that everyone has realistic expectations of your availability. Failure to do this causes frustration on their part and guilt on yours if you have to start saying no to things out of hours.

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Family HolidayBeing a single parent isn’t easy. It means there’s one of you and one or more of them. It’s lonely at times and there are challenges to overcome.

The perfect solution for a busy single parent is to go on holiday with the kids and simply have fun. The best holidays don’t have to be the most expensive. Learn money saving hacks and how to have a budget-friendly holiday as a single parent.

Take A Road Trip

Road trips are easy to plan because you pick a place you want to go and jump in the car. Kids love riding in the car and will be excited to see the sights as you drive. Of course, you’ll need to budget for gas and any stops you make along the way. See what indulgences you should stay away from using the Ladbrokes Games resource and avoid overspending on your road trip.

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Lucy Stanyer Life CoachingWe caught up with Lucy, a life coach who was prompted to start her own coaching business after a health scare…

If you could first of all introduce yourself…
Hello! I’m a Lucy, a Life Coach who works with mums in business and mums who are mid career or returning from maternity leave to make a step change in their work and their life. So I offer career coaching and small business coaching combined with life coaching.

I’m based in the lovely historical town of Faversham, in Kent. I’m also a mum, a wife and an avid ukulele student!

How did you first come up with the idea of your business?
I actually made a career change myself. I used to work in PR and Communications for national charities. I’d been talking about making a change for some time, then following a health scare, I decided to realise my dream to start my own coaching business. I wanted to use my skills and experience to help business owners and professionals – especially working mums – to make a step change in their work while balancing family and personal life. And I love what I do. 🙂

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Kiddilog | World VisionWe all know hands down that being a mum is chuffing hard work. If someone had told me ‘pre mummy’ Kids are hard work you know!’ I would have nodded and agreed but never fully understood the concept- then I had twins!

But when we make that transition from pre mummy to mummy, as parents we are only too willing to sacrifice our own needs whether it be our own interests, hobbies or even career to give our children what we think they need. We provide necessities such as food , clothing and shelter. We ensure their material needs are met by bankrupting ourselves to provide the latest iPhone, tablet, PlayStation etc. I’m also pretty certain we would throw ourselves under a big red double decker bus if put in the situation. But what do our children really need?

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Untitled design (43)Work For Mums official partner for careers advice and guidance is Hannah Morton-Hedges from Momentum Careers Advice.

Hannah qualified as a careers adviser in 2002 and prior to this, gained significant and valuable experience as an in-house recruiter for a number of major blue-chip companies.

As well as a 2:1 honours degree from the University of Hull, she holds the Qualification in Careers Guidance (QCG) and the Postgraduate Diploma in Guidance (PgDip Guidance).  She is a registered member of the Institute of Careers Guidance (ICG) and is committed to their Code of Ethics, which includes impartiality, confidentiality  and accountability.  She is a qualified administrator of the Morrisby Profile psychometric test and a holder of the Prospects Certificate in Life Coaching.

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Untitled design (12)Controlling bosses can slow you down and undermine your confidence. Maybe your supervisor second guesses your decisions and expects you to be available 24/7.Overbearing management styles are all too common and counterproductive. Most employees say they’ve been micro-managed at some point in their career, and studies show that workers perform worse when they feel like they’re being watched.

If your boss is hovering over your shoulder, encourage them to give you more space. Try these steps to gain more freedom and still get along with your boss.

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Untitled design (63)There’s a time and place for everything. And it’s important to understand when the time is appropriate for those things you set out to do in life. The same can be said for knowing when to self-promote.

Self-promotion really means “selling” your strengths and abilities to whomever you want to listen. Certainly, there are times when painting a perfect picture of yourself gets you the desired outcome. But there are other times when it’s just unsuitable and unattractive.

Review a few instances when self-promotion is a good idea:

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