How do people cope with job insecurity and a lack of opportunities? Many Brits are choosing self-employment. The Guardian has recently published an article about this new trend: many who have recently become self-employed are satisfied with their jobs. According to financial recruitment consultancy Robert Half, 29% of HR executives in the UK mention work-life balance as the main reason employees leave. Many consider self-employment when they realise they work better on their own and they can stretch themselves, often discovering skills they didn’t know they had.
This self-employment fad is led by women. In fact, the working world has a culture essentially hostile to family life, which still is a bigger problem for women than for men. The promise of flexible working is a myth to many: now around 70% of British companies prefer not to hire a mum because of the potential for additional maternity leave or time off for sick children. The problem of getting women onto company boards or other top roles in business is well documented.
Laura Rigney turned that problem into her business model; she started Mumpreneur in 2010. It offers events, advice and support for mothers thinking of becoming self-employed. Rigney says that when a mum starts a business, nine times out of ten she will start it when she is on maternity leave. Mums tend to grow their business slowly while their children are young, and a significant growth normally doesn’t arrive before year four of the business. This slow growth can be one reason why it is impossible for them to secure bank loans.
Rigney’s business is growing, with Mumpreneur’s fourth annual conference expecting double the delegates of its launch event, a national roadshow in the pipeline and daily requests for regional events.