If you’re on statutory maternity leave pay right now, my heart goes out to you! I worked at different companies for each of my periods of maternity leave. Unfortunately, neither of them offered an enhanced scheme, leaving me to manage on 90% pay for 6 weeks and SMP for 33 weeks which at the time was around £150 per week.
But some maternity leave pay is better than nothing right?
And I would absolutely agree; women in some countries have far worse deals on maternity leave than in the UK.
But on a personal level, even with savings and mega-budgeting strategies deployed (which I excel at by the way), my husband and I were going to struggle to make ends meet when I was on my second maternity leave.
Could I increase my income?
I started to think, “can I work on maternity leave?” and after doing some research, found that indeed I could!
Enter Virtual Assistant job
I was reading on a money-saving website about ways to boost your income. As well as there being ideas such as completing online surveys and focus groups etc, there was a freelance website mentioned. On this site you could sign up and start bidding on projects to work on from home. I signed up, started bidding and the rest as they say, is history!
How did you fit it in?
This is a question I get asked a lot, but essentially the best advice I can give is, where there’s a will, there’s a way! I would work when my daughter napped and my eldest was in school, or in the evenings once they were both asleep.
It took off so well, that I considered quitting my full-time job and going freelance after my maternity leave instead. However, it did feel risky so I sought a part-time employed role which I am still in today. I work for a university in events for 17.5 hours per week and I freelance around it.
Fast forward eight years
I am there for the school run each day which has been so amazing over the years. Sports days, Christmas plays and concerts, school trips etc – I’ve been able to do it. They have also had extra-curricular opportunities afforded to them which would have been closed off if I worked full time. Both of them dance in a big way and have both performed professionally in panto, with my eldest even starting to seriously consider it as a career.
You can do it too!
It’s not going to be for everyone as working for yourself is a whole different ball game to being employed. But if you wanted to find out more about how to become a freelance Virtual Assistant, then do check out my Virtual Assistant training and my other Virtual Assistant blog posts.