Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A new year...and a plan revealed

At the start of 2012, I made a New Year's promise to my children. A promise that this year will be different. And I'm determined to keep it.

But how will I make 2012 count? I have a plan.

Up until now it's been my secret plan.

I've been a bit reticent about telling people other than my nearest and dearest about it; while I knew exactly what I wanted to do and had most of the details set out in my head, I wanted to get my idea much more 'fleshed out' and on paper before revealing any aspect of it.

So, what is my plan?

I have decided to go it alone.

Let's be clear right now that I'm talking about my professional life, not my personal life. I have no intention of getting rid of my husband just yet, he still has his uses. Oh yes, and he puts up with me and my tantrums. I don't think many men would.

Let me explain what I really mean. I'm due to return to work next month. In fact, I've technically returned already. My maternity leave has finished and I am seeing out the last of my annual leave from 2011.

It's a scary thought, returning to the world of work. I have loved every minute being at home with my two little ones. It will be difficult to adjust to the role of working Mum again.

The problem is that I'm not sure I want to be doing what I'm doing anymore. I'm not talking about my job - I love my job, I really do - but the commute is a right royal pain in the you-know-what. The amount of time that I will spend travelling to and from home means I won't get much time to spend with the children during the week. Another issue is the distance between home and office; if something major were to happen to one of my children, it would take me at least an hour to get to them.

Going back to work full-time after my daughter was born was fine. I accepted the situation without question and was happy to return to the workplace. But for some strange, inexplicable reason, now that I'm a Mum of two, I'm not sure I be away from my children for such a long period of time each weekday. I know we all have to make sacrifices for the sake of our children, but surely there must be a better way?

This is why I've decided to do things differently. This year, I will be beginning my journey into the big, scary world of...*gulp*...self employment.

There, I've said it. There can be no going back now.

While I'm not going to quit my job just yet, I am going to explore freelance opportunities alongside my current role with a long-term view to forming my own agency. I'm going to take it slow, try to build up a client base and from there...who knows?!

But what will I do? More or less what I'm doing already, except I'll be working for myself. I have many years of experience in PR and communications behind me and there's no reason why I can't use the skills I've acquired to best benefit myself and my family. 

Yes, I know that my income will become unstable and that I'm likely to end up working more hours than I would do normally, but I honestly think this will be a near-perfect solution. If I can work from home, I can be near my children. They will still be cared for by my mother-in-law but I will be on hand to do the school -run and the childcare arrangement could become more flexible to take pressure off my in-laws as they get older. I won't feel like I'm missing out; if I'm working from home and my son decides to take his first steps while in the care of my mother-in-law, I can be over there in five minutes to see him. 

The other upside is that my husband and I would get some time together. He is a sports journalist so works a lot of weekends. My job, on the other hand, involves me working in an office Monday to Friday. It means we won't see a lot of each other when I return to my job. But, if I work from home and schedule my time properly, we should be able to spend time together during the week; not just us two but the four of us as a family.

I know things are difficult at the moment, that the economy is struggling, but I have confidence that I can offer organisations something unique and beneficial. I guess there's only one way to find out...

...Wish me luck.


  1. I completely understand what you mean.  When I had my daughter 3 years ago I almost couldn't wait to return to work and get some 'normality' back in my life.  18 months later I took voluntary redundancy and now 18 months on from that and with another baby having just arrived in the house I couldn't bare to go back to work full time.  I too am looking at ways to work from home in order to not have to leave them, but to have extra money coming in as to give them the best life possible.  Good luck with your plan - I'm very excited to hear more in the coming months!x

  2. Good for you! I'm right there with you having set up my own online copywriting and social media business just recently. And I mean very recently! I still don't have my website up and running, but I bet you'll be amazed how quickly you find work. It has been sporadic, but I've been approached a few times to do website copy and blog posts so the work is out there and freelancers offer businesses a more flexible and cost-effective solution, so I thing right now is a great time to be freelance! Good luck, and if you ever need to chat you know where I am :)

  3. I wish you lots of luck with your new adventures when you take the plunge - I know you will make a success of it xxx

  4. Great your taking that step for your children and am sure you will have the determination and skills to make it work :) x

  5. I did it too. Yes, it is relatively unstable - but I would make the same decision a zillion times over (and I did it with no local family, so was reliant on working while children were sleeping!) I'm sure you'll make a huge success of it, and that you will find it a far more fulfilling balance.

  6. I wish you lots of luck! It's a brave move but when you look back and you've spent more time with the children, you won't regret it!

  7. How exciting! Good luck with the change. I think it sounds like a great idea and that if you have the opportunity to improve the dreaded "work/life balance" in any way, you should grab it with both hands, which you clearly are doing, no matter how scary it can seem at the outset. Exciting!

  8. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who feels this way after having two! I'm just very aware of how little time I'm going to get with my children when I go back to work & would love to be much closer. This work/life balance is a tricky thing!

    Good luck to you Alice in your endeavours to work from home. I hope it can be possible for both of us x

  9. Thank you for your kind words. It's good to know that you're getting your business off the ground and finding work in this current economic climate. I'd love to chat about it and maybe we could support each other?  Good luck with your business and hope you get your website up soon x

  10. Thank you for the vote of confidence! It's a scary decision to have made but hopefully it'll turn out to be the right one

  11. Thank you missus. I've made this decision based on what I think will be best for my children and my family and, whenever I make a promise to them, I'm extra determined to see it through!

  12. It's reassuring to here from people who have made the leap into freelancing and found it to work for them, so thank you. I certainly hope I can make it work - I shall let you know!

  13. Really hope you can make it work. An hour commute each way is no fun x

  14. This was something I always wanted to do & had hoped it would be in my game plan but as my circumstances have turned out differently since having S, I've had to give up work altogether. BUT I do know quite a few people in the PR world who've done it and are continuing to do it. I know I'm not speaking from direct experiece but think you've just got to plug away at it and take a deep breath when things go quiet as it always picks up again. So many people will benefit from you doing this, your kids, your hubs and you will no doubt feel more fullfilled (& if you are feeling better in that respect than no doubt that will impact on your family). Go for it. You've got to be in it to win it! x

  15. I know you will do well!

  16. Thanks for your comment. I'm under no illusions that it'll be easy but long-term I hope it's the answer for me. It's good to know there are people out there who are doing it and earning a living

  17. Wishing you the very best of luck - this is what I SHOULD have done!

  18. Well done Lau. you won't know unless you give it a go. Here's rooting for you. xx

  19. That sounds really exciting!  I can't wait to hear how it all goes.  Good luck!

  20. Just received a cheque for $500.

    Sometimes people don't believe me when I tell them about how much you can earn filling out paid surveys at home...

    So I took a video of myself getting paid over $500 for taking paid surveys.


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