It’s nearly a year since I became a self-employed working mum, and I have to admit that several times over the last ten months I haven’t just felt a little out of my depth. More like a lone island adrift on a sea of endless questions! I’ve been completely baffled about all kinds of things from how to write an invoice, to contracts, tax returns and credits. At times it’s felt like one big minefield! So, it’s fair to say that as I gradually worked my way through each confusing learning curve, I wish I had known how many organisations, charities and agencies there are to make life a little easier.
Today Freya and I went to the Workingmums.co.uk LIVE Exhibition at the Business Design Centre, in Islington. The event, sponsored by She Magazine, is a job fare with a difference, designed to give mums a chance to find out more about going back to work, as well as starting up a new career or business and all the inevitable childcare issues too.
Our day began with a keynote speech from Fiona Phillips, who talked about the perils of trying to have it all, and whether it really is possible. There were seminars throughout the day on Working For Yourself, 7 Secrets to a Great Work Life Balance, Practical Steps to Starting a Business, Working Flexibly and so on. As we browsed the stalls, we came across organisations like The Daycare Trust, a national childcare charity which campaigns for affordable services for all, the PCG, which promotes and supports freelancers, Working Families, an organisation committed to helping families balance their home and work life, and Workingmums.co.uk – a website offering career advice, job listings, franchise alerts and information.
We were also pleasantly surprised to see that half the high street were there; with H&M, Hobbs, John Lewis, Asda, Coca Cola, Starbucks and more offering career opportunities. I was impressed to see so many big companies are so keen to have mums among their staff. Refreshing.
Freya and I came away with a bag full of leaflets and information, as well as a load of contacts which I hope will help me with my growing business. If you missed it, check the workingmums.co.uk website for more information.