At least one in three British mothers have now found creative or business solutions to the problem of juggling a family and a job, or working from home. Recession setbacks have been overcome, ideas generated and home businesses grown. But whether you’ve invented a wheelie bin cover or run a mail-order service from your living-room, there comes a time when the home office alone can feel a bit limiting.
With many mums running internet businesses these days – from designing websites to using theme-based content to market other companies – it’s only another short step towards virtual services. If the workload is getting on top of you and you’re struggling with responding to emails or voice messages, you can contract someone to deal with your communications without any travel involved on either side. In return, you get a professional front for your business, and you only need to pay for the service you require, leaving out employee expenses such as holidays and sick pay.
Virtual assistants are fast-becoming a popular option for mums themselves and those with anything from secretarial skills to executive-level management experience are finding work on websites which specialise in flexible and stay-at-home jobs. Many mumpreneurs have found the benefits of networking with others in a similar position; applying the virtual office model from a reliable provider to your home business or working for someone else’s can create reciprocal opportunities that help everyone involved.
But whilst expansion and taking on new clients is always a good thing, the strain might start to show on a home-based office. Working next door to the playroom does not always mix well with attracting and meeting with new customers, but solutions like serviced offices – which you can rent for a matter of hours – can help to create a professional image. You can then reinforce this with a number of virtual options, including a separate business address, without having to relocate or leave the childcare responsibilities with someone else.
A virtual approach really can be the saviour of working mums. You get to keep the home office but also keep your business life completely separate from your domestic one, solving staffing problems and utilising temporary premises without the travel expenses, salaries or business utility bills. With the chance to employ other freelance or flexi-workers as well, it’s a sound compromise that really works.
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