The number of maternal breadwinners has grown sharply in Europe over the past decade, and Britain leads the way at a third (33%) of working families with a woman as the sole or main breadwinner. This demographic shift can be attributed to factors such as the rise in double-income households, an increase in single-parent families, and the fact that employment rates for women have gone up over the past 40 years while those for men have reduced.
With more mothers shouldering the financial responsibility for their family, coupled with the difficulties of juggling childcare and work, a franchise business can prove an excellent option for those looking for the flexibility that comes with being their own boss.
“I now have exactly what I always wanted – a business where I get to meet and work with new people every day, a rapidly growing residual income and, most importantly, I can still be at home when my children get home from school.” Suzy Perry, Spoton.net franchisee
A 2016 Department for Education survey of parents discovered the following:
- 22% of families find it fairly or very difficult to meet childcare costs.
- Over half of non-working mothers said they would like to go to work if they could find quality, affordable childcare.
- 46% of working mothers said that their reliable childcare enabled them to work.
When a parent does stay at home, this is most often the mother, yet one in seven (14%) fathers now stay at home with their children. Overall, both mothers and fathers desire a more balanced life, with eight in ten parents feeling they don’t get to spend enough quality time with their family.
“We love the flexibility of our business! You can swap out a Friday afternoon for a couple of evenings in the week and still get the same amount of work done. Running a business isn’t necessarily easier in that sense, it’s just more flexible.” Mike and Luisa Keig, Auditel franchisees
With rapid advancements in mobile technology and cloud computing, there is an increasing demand amongst employees for flexibility and the option to work remotely. While many employers are responding to said demand – illustrated by the 4 million employees working from home in the UK – it’s estimated that a further 1.8 million UK employees still yearn for a better work–life balance. Currently, a majority of homeworkers are male, but recent research showed that 35% more women were working from home in 2015 than in 2005.
Both double-income households and single-parent families experience remote working as an asset which can fit around family life, resulting in high competition for these kinds of jobs. Employees can unfortunately be very much at the mercy of their employers in achieving this working pattern, and the option to work in this manner is not always available. Many opt for freelancing, but the fluctuations in work and payment which accompany this mode of working can be stressful and precarious for families who rely on a steady flow of income. A franchise business can provide a suitable model for stay-at-home parents who wish to work, allowing them to achieve a work–life balance not always possible as an employee. In fact, some franchise systems are specifically targeted towards parents who are looking to work from home.
“I wanted a better work-life balance and to make a difference to struggling SME business owners, just like my parents. I now see more of my wife and two daughters.” Jamie Goral, ActionCOACH franchisee
Potential benefits of franchises for stay-at-home parents
- Flexibility: A franchise model can provide parents with much needed flexibility to manoeuvre the hectic schedule of family life. Reducing the stress of commuting and taking time off for appointments and special events leads to a happier and healthier family.
- Security: It’s important not to underestimate the potential unreliability of starting a business completely from scratch. The stresses of starting out alone can be difficult on families who are reliant on the success and income of a business. A franchise provides an established, proven model, along with expert training and support. The networking opportunities of franchising are also beneficial – associating with other franchisees in the same sector can lead to valuable contacts and a chance to learn from the experiences of others.
- Being your own boss: Rather than trying to fit family life around a job, for parents being the boss means the freedom to set their own hours and fit work around family instead. A franchise business can be set up and built from home, and many can be operated on a part-time basis. Franchises also offer parents the prospect of entering the career world again, possibly following a gap on their CV.
Additional factors to consider
Take your space into account.
The first element to consider is where you’ll actually be working, and how much space you can realistically put aside for your workspace/office. It’s crucial, where possible, to ensure that this space doesn’t blend too much with the rest of the home. For example, work-related items should be kept within your workspace only. While it may be tempting to migrate to different spots throughout the day, for maximum efficiency and concentration it’s best to keep work to a well-defined and organised area. Depending on your childcare arrangements, it may be necessary to find the quietest area of your house – preferably behind a closed door! – to minimise distraction.
Just like a regular office environment, it’s important to remember ergonomics when setting up. Slumping over your laptop while sitting on your couch could eventually damage your health, so to prevent injury, do some research on office chairs, desk height and the best peripheral devices. Check out the Mayo Clinic website for some useful tips on office ergonomics.
One advantage of working from home is the ability to have a flexible timetable, as the unpredictability of child-rearing (factoring in sick days, appointments, school events, etc.) means that working hours may change from week to week.
- To maintain focus and eliminate distractions, try Freedom, an internet and social media blocker.
- Plan tasks, set reminders, and share lists with Wunderlist, which can be synced across all computers and devices.
- Is conference calling necessary for your business? FaceTime, Skype or Google Hangouts are your best bets.
Legal requirements & taxation
Setting up a business from home comes with its own particular requirements; you may need permission from your landlord or mortgage provider, local planning office (if making adjustments to your home), or local council.
- In terms of insurance, your home cover may not be sufficient and it could be necessary to invest in separate business insurance.
- If you’re self-employed, you must fill out a self-assessment tax return, in which you can include business costs. Certain expenses can be partly claimed for, including council tax, internet, heating and lighting.
- If you’re using part of your own property for a business, you may be required to pay Capital Gains tax if you eventually sell your home. Business rates may be charged on the part of your property used for your business.
- It’s necessary to comply with health and safety requirements. Look up the Health & Safety Executive website to ensure you’re meeting important specifications.
Are you a parent who would like to be your own boss, work from home, and achieve a healthier work–life balance? Franchising could be your best route to flexibility and freedom. Browse our tailored listings for the perfect opportunity for you: