In the summer of 2012 the baby of the family, my youngest son, is starting pre-school nursery and my life is going to change.
It is many years since I had a child in nursery (my other two are 11 and 14) but from memory the next two or three years are, in my opinion anyway, the hardest logistically. The baby that can be packed up and deposited with Granny for the day while I go to work is gone and I have to build my working life around either a morning or afternoon nursery session.
So I am now looking at how I get the combination of work and being Mum right for the next chapter of life and I have made the decision to go it alone and work for myself. I have long felt that I am worth more than I am paid. That statement is about more than the amount I get paid per hour. It is about the difference I know I can make but am too often prevented from making by my job description or title.
Over the years I have often thought about and have been attracted to the thought of working for myself. I am now in my early 40’s with a wealth of experience and loads of great ideas that will stay as ideas unless I do something about it. Like most people I have a fear of failure but I also know that I am good at what I do and my successful work projects far outnumber those that fail so why should it be different because I am doing it for myself – I might actually have an even better success rate because I am more driven!
There are lots of practical reasons for giving self-employment a go right now. I need much more flexibility to work around the family and also need to earn money to support the family finances but I also want to do this for my own satisfaction and self esteem – I want to put a real value on my time and knowledge. There are also lots of practical reasons not to become self employed right now with a big one being the state of the economy; I suspect that lots of people would think me insane to walk away from a well paid job in the current climate. However the regular pay and security of being an employee is not outweighing the lure of flexibility and new challenges.
So the plan I have hatched is to take on two or three small part time jobs that I can do from home and at the same time start up my own small business. My theory is that having several income strands might give me some protection against the current hostile financial environment and let me shelter my fledgling business if I need to. Depending on whose book or column you read, a recession can be a great time to start a business but it still makes sense to me to have a couple of other options.
I still have lots of decisions to make (do I go it alone or set up in business with another Mum, for example) and lots of concerns (no sick pay or holiday pay, doing my own tax returns and understanding the pension minefield). I have taken the first steps, completed training for one of my part-time jobs and legally set up my new business but I still worry…. a lot! Am I just being selfish? What happens when I don’t have the weight of a whole organisation behind me? Will I be too lonely working on my own all the time? Ironically, will I miss being interrupted constantly by others?
As I write this I am still 100% happy to trust in myself and the world. (My Granny always told me that if it scares me I should do it!) Life has shown me that the things you worry about when standing on the edge of the cliff ready to jump are not the things that actually cause you sleepless nights once you have jumped off. I am nearer to the edge of the cliff now than I have ever been but I still have not quite leaned over to the point of no return. In five years time I want to be saying “I jumped off that cliff with no clue about what lay ahead; but I have never looked back”. Wish me luck!
I whole-heartedly agree Vanessa-"feel the fear and do it anyway", it's my mantra! Wishing you all the best at the start of your journey and I hope you'll begin the reep the benefits in a number of ways very soon.