Return to work or start a business?

As the end of maternity leave draws near many Mums will start to wonder if going back to their old job is the right thing to do. Many will consider starting a business instead. It’s a big decision to make so here are 5 things you need to consider when making the decision.

How do you feel about risk?

The more risk adverse you are, the less likely you are to want to start a business. Giving up the security of a monthly salary is a big deal but how big a risk that is will depend on your financial circumstances. If you aren’t keen on risk but do want to start a business then a franchise might suit you. It’s a low risk way to start a business because the concept is tried and tested.


What sort of support network do you have?

If you go back to work you’ll need some kind of childcare in place and will, hopefully, be earning enough money to pay for that. While lots of women launch businesses imagining they can work while their child naps and in the evening, realistically that’s very hard to do. It helps if you have support from your family, a husband who’ll take the children out to give you some time to work at the weekends or parents who’ll offer half a day’s childcare a week, it can make all the difference.

How much do you need to earn?

Your earning potential in a business will heavily correlate with how much time you have available. Most Mums start businesses to avoid working full time so if you plan to run your business part time then it’s likely that you’ll earn less than when you were working. Earnings are also likely to be lower when you first start out, if you have some savings to tide you over then that will help.

Are you suited to self employment?

 To be successful running your own business you’ll need to be self motivated, particularly if you’re working from home. At work, you can rely on your salary arriving, if your self employed, if you don’t work you won’t get paid. You’ll also need to be able to understand they key numbers in your business. While you can outsource your accounts, you still need to be able to use the key numbers to make decisions in the business.

Have you got an idea?

Lots of mums start businesses doing something they’ve done before, for example, freelance marketing or tutoring a topic they’re familiar with. Some Mums have a particular idea for a product or service that they want to pursue. Even if you don’t have a particular idea, there are ways to generate them. Check out the stories on for inspiration.


Josie Cornhill writes about Mums in business at

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