Ever thought of freelancing?

As a mum with a young family you need to earn an income but you need flexibility, too. Childcare is expensive, so if you can work hours that minimise your need for childcare you can save a lot of money (and can work fewer hours if you like). You also need to be able to drop your work and pick it up later if you have a sick child to take care of. And then there’s the flexibility we all want so we can go to school sports days and concerts. You also need work that doesn’t involve too much travel because you need to be back for when school or nursery closes for the evening.

Freelancing from home ticks all these boxes so it could be a great fit for you. True, there are challenges, including finding clients and needing to shift your mindset from employee to business owner. Here are some tips to get you started.

Choose the service you offer

First of all, what do you have to offer? Look at your skills and experience, for example do you have project management skills, are you a good writer do you know social media well? These don’t have to be skills you’ve developed at work, often you can make use of skills you’ve learned in your spare time or voluntary work. If you feel your skills need a bit of a polish or you could use a testimonial, reference or even some examples for your portfolio, you can consider working for family or friends or volunteering for a charity.

Make use of technology

Technology has made a huge difference to freelancing from home, both in obvious ways such as small businesses needing someone to handle their websites and social media, but also in less obvious ways such as tools like Asana and Slack being used to manage remote team working.

It’s also relatively cheap and easy to get started – both at home and on the move as you wait for your kids to finish their sports clubs! All you need is a laptop, internet connection (broadband or wifi) and cheap, often free, software.

Try networking to find clients

The big question for new freelancers is ‘how do I find clients’? There are many ways you could find clients, but one of the most effective and widely used is networking.

The great news for those of us who are working around a family is that you can do this online. Twitter and LinkedIn are very effective ways of finding people who need freelancers, as well as some Facebook groups for small business owners. But always aim to encourage people to know, like and trust you rather than diving straight in with a sales pitch.

Although it’s easy to network online, don’t be shy about going to local networking events as these can be very effective. If the more formal groups aren’t your style there are plenty of more relaxed groups you could try.

Freelancing is a great low-risk, low-cost way to start your own small business so why not give it a try?

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