"Get a proper job", Why ?

Starting my own business was an exciting but nervous opportunity. You might want to become self-employed so that you can spend more time with your family, Which is exactly what I done. I have three children two girls and youngest a boy.

 Kids having fun at Pollock Park Glasgow

Kids having fun in Pollock Park, Glasgow, Scotland.

Becoming self-employed is a lot to take on but by taking things step-by-step and getting advice and support along the way, you can make your new business work for your entire family, not just you , your partner and your kids. As I found out over the last 13 years.

I was lucky I had a partner that saw that me returning to work just might not be best for us as a unit. I worked full time and wanted to return to work full time whole heartily, however once I costed up childcare for not the 40 hours I would be working but the time I would need to drop off and travel to and from work also. I would have £1000 left at the end of the year , this is £19.23 pocket money a week. I would be working for nothing. I wouldn't spend time with my baby and as it was retail I would have to spend most weekends working along with the Christmas period the fast pace of retail.

Single parents successfully combine raising their family with running their own business. So why can't I ? Four things you need to do for going self employed 

  • Managing your budget work out if it is worth while working or being self employed
  • Registering as self-employed , you have to do this within one month of start up.
  • Check out your benefit and tax credit entitlement, this might just help out.
  • Getting a work-life balance plan, see what you want out of life and see when you can do your work.

There is plenty of advice and support available to help you launch your business. I just came across www.gingerbread.org.uk and I have learned so much, it has inspired me as well. Even after 13 years of plodding on, I still need that little boost from time to time. 

What Can I do ?

Well I had no idea, but I was lucky it was 2003 and eBay was just really starting to capture everyone, but it is even better for people starting up now, the internet itself is bursting with info. so many new selling sites. Some are free, some have membership, some work on a percentage fee. something for everyone.

You know, you have been working for yourself all along. Be it a house wife, you have been a manager of your family. making sure deadlines are met, accounts are up to date. delegating to a partner where they need to be what they need to do etc. co coordinating those party and swimming runs. Go you !!

You really do need to see, if it will be a burden or an asset for you to have your own business. So much to do and usually by your self at first. As many people start off along side working in employment, as you need to make sure you are not just jumping on the wagon that is already swamped a mass market. Do you have a better idea just waiting to come out. Don't follow the group be unique after all this is your USP ( unique selling Point)

Are you a small fish in a huge Ocean , or are you a big fish in a small Pond ?


Financial support

It is out there, but I was lucky that I started out with £150 and maternity leave money , which set me on my way. I done well on eBay from the start selling camping equipment (never camped, don't plan on it but I saw a gap and went for it.) and it was all good. Also my partner had a good job that was a life saver so the time was right for me, 

you should visit Turn2us online benefit calculator to check what benefits and tax credits you’ll be entitled to. You never know it might make or break you going self employed check everything first before you jump in with both feet. I'm all for "live life with no regrets" but check it out first.


For me I started at the right time in my life (everyone is different), when I just had my baby, my first one. Oh how I remember the clean house with the show house feel. long gone I have to say, now we live like the hoarder next door.

So me, my baby and the self employed making money from nothing thing was working together. But this wasn't enough for me. In 2009 I decided I wanted to have a shop, I always wanted a shop, had no idea on what type perhaps a recycled furniture shop, ( which has made a full come back in 2016. But I had to persuade my hubby. He worked long hours and wasn't sure. I needed to do it. I was living life, what felt like a single mum sometimes, and I wanted to get back out there.

My parents worked full time 6 days a week with their own businesses and the 7th day was for visiting the suppliers and re stocking up. But mum had to have her entire shoulder replaced forcing her to stop work with a long recovery time. She came and stayed with us. I had, had my second by then, and I was getting itchy feet. I wanted more.

Due to mum not working she was crafting more and more, Always been creative and I guess, I get some of it from her. She was helping me a little to get things done and coming up with ideas. We sat and worked out if a shop would be an idea or not, it was the childcare that would be my concern.

My second would be going into state nursery so I could work when they were at school ect, I did take someone on to cover the kids being sick or school holidays etc. But one year in I had my third baby. So took on a second member or staff and went on maternity leave. It was great, as this let me see if my concept was going to work or not with me not giving it 100%.

granny and kids on pancake day

My mum and the gang on pancake day 2014

Maternity doesn't last forever, sorting out childcare arrangements when you change your work can be a big challenge, and I had to see if I could manage to go back to work, or was I having a business to pay others to work for me , and me for free ?

Sometimes it’s possible to get some help from your child’s other parent, family members and friends, Mum and I sat and planned my day by hour and hour, we worked out that yes It could be done with her help. But the thing is she lives 113 miles away. She would get a stagecoach megabus from Perth to Glasgow on a Tuesday and go home on a Thursday evening not getting in until around 10pm. Just to help me with the daily things of being a working mum. It was perfect for my entire family, as mum was getting cabin fever herself. Dad was still working, baring in mind they live in Perth and I live in Glasgow, they wouldn't see their grandchildren  much , other than special occasions or Holidays times. 


Getting support from others

It worked for the entire family, People would always say " You don't know how lucky you are, your mum does so much for you." Actually I do know exactly how luck y I am , Thank you. 

  • 1. my mother in law sadly passed away when I was 5 months pregnant with the first grandchild on both sides, MY father in law decided he would follow a dream that they had and that was to build a house in the states. Life was hard
  • 2. My mum has had a hard time and needs some sanity or she will go mad sitting in the house on her own, or mum will wind dad up being in the house ALL the time.
  • 3.They live so far away that my kids don't get to go to granny and granddads house at the weekend or after school.

Lesson learned: never pass comment on others, as you don't know their life story.

Something I do need to, and am trying to do is share experiences and get support from friends or others, who have been through similar challenges. I chat to others and seem to inspire loads around me, but never take the time to find some for me.

Why do what you do ?

I do what I do. So I can spend time with my kids, and work the hours I need to work, Yes its hard and tough, and so many other things need done. Other than making sparkly things. My hubby works the job he works and yes its hard for him too. but we both work the madness for the kids.

It is not easy but nothing is. how many people can hand on heart say they love there jobs. The good thing is I can put the kids first and then slot work around their school and fun. 

Do what suits you and your entire family, if its not working. STOP pretending it is. Its not good for anyone.

This brings me bang up to date, 2016.. My shop was now too busy with word of mouth the best form of advertising. I was trying to make up orders through the day as always, but it was just getting too much, between serving customers and having clients in to collect or order.

I would having clients come at night, as they would say I have to work. Some would sometimes not turning up to the appointments. Mum was watching the kids after school, feed them, homework with all three bath time. and bed time on some nights. I would come home , eat and get to making again, some nights we would sit until 2 am I would work on till 3:30 and then get up at 6 to finish things and start the school run day all over again. Hubby still working mental hours and starting to miss out on things, kids don't stay kids forever.

KIDS don't stay kids for ever

Kids don't stay little forever, make the most of every minute.

It had to stop, so it was back to the drawing board, and we have closed the shop in February 2016 to move it to the home studio. ( AKA converted garage ). 

This allows clients to come at night or weekends, The kids can do what they want to do as they are getting older but still need a watching eye on them. I have no interruptions ( other than Facebook) , I can book clients in when suits them. I can now juggle work and kids better through the day. I can produce orders and new designs through the day again.

Sometimes you need to stop the train of life and get off.

Life can change in the blink of an eye. My kids are everything.


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1 comment

  • Wow Karen, what a fantastic blog!! I am thinking about going self employed atm as my kids are older, I have made a few bouquets, tiaras etc for family/ friends as wedding gifts but I am constantly asked if I could make some for others, i’m just not confident enough but reading your blog has completely inspired me!
    I have made jewellery for a few years now but been ill so would be great to fit in around health etc. Don’t worry I won’t be stealing your customers LOL I just wanted to say I love the blog, have bookmarked it and will hopefully be coming along to the wedding fayre just for a bit of research.
    Keep doing what you are doing, you are a Star!!! xx

    • Deb