Mumpreneur Profile: Why Working for Myself Changed my Life

Antonia Chitty Summer 2009I trained as an optometrist. I sat through the compulsory business studies classes without a flicker of interest: I wasn’t going to run my own practice. I was very happy to work for someone else and switch off at 5.30 each night. When I moved to working for RNIB promoting their eye health campaign I found something that was more engrossing , but still was a happy little employee. It wasn’t until I had my daughter that the joy of employment started to pall. From formerly being able to commit all my brain to work, I was pulled from the first day I went back after maternity leave. DH dropped our daughter off at nursery and I picked her up. It was a rush every day to fit in a full day’s work and leave at 5 on the dot to make sure I could collect her before the nursery closed at 6. And while I’d honestly found the first few months of D’s life just hard going, she was getting more and more interesting and yet I was paying someone else to look after her.
It took me 9 months and a session with a life coach to work out that there was another way. Talking to Suzy, it was like a light bulb had gone on. Becoming self employed seemed like the perfect solution. And from the moment I gave in my notice I felt better. I managed to generate enough work that, combined with the absence of nursery fees, it would work out financially.
A lot of what has happened since then has taken place because I have seen opportunities and explored them. I saw that there were lots of business owners who needed help with PR but would never dream of booking a big agency to help … and that’s why I launched ACPR. I created some factsheets about PR for clients, and a couple of people said that they would make a great book … and that’s why I wrote A guide to Promoting Your Business. Another friend suggested I contact a publisher that she knew with a book proposal …the same publisher has since published several more of my books. And when I had an awful pregnancy last year that left me unable to go far, it was the ideal chance to work on my blog, Family Friendly Working, which is packed with flexible business ideas for mums.
Antonia Chitty receiving her award from Wendy ShandSo now, I help people with PR and do training for enterprise agencies and groups. I write books and also do copywriting for small businesses. I still work with national charities and professional organisations, providing them with press releases, features and consumer leaflets. And I get to do that mainly from home and have time to spend with the kids. Can you see why I’m passionate about self employment as a great way for parents to achieve a better work-life balance?

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