After 10 years of working for an organisation larger than Boots (the chain of chemists, not a pair of shoes) and leaving after I had my little boy, I now work with my husband for our own company. It’s great. When I left my previous job it was to spend more time with my son but I was very aware of the pressure this put on my husband to earn all the money. He had set up as a Freelance Web Designer when I was 6 months pregnant. If he had stayed in his previous job he felt that he wouldn’t have seen our baby as much as he wanted once it was born and he wanted more flexibility to be able to support us. I completely agreed – he would stay late nearly every night and one year even had to put a website live 1 minute after midnight on New Years Day (seriously, who’s checking then?!).

Many people thought this was a bit of a gamble, taking away a stable income at that time, but (as I knew he would) he pulled it off and after just a couple of months he was earning more than he was while employed and was able to see his little family whenever he wanted to pop downstairs. As anyone who works as a freelancer or who runs a small company knows, the work isn’t always consistent and there’s also a lot of bits and pieces to do to keep things running smoothly that take time but can’t be charged for. These things include invoicing, keeping accounts up to date, filing, liaising with the accountant, getting new work in and most importantly, making tea. So to free up more of my husband’s time to focus on delivering work that pays, I joined the company to do all those things.

What title would you give someone in that role? Administrator? Secretary? Office Manager? PA? No – Business Director – obviously!

As Business Director I work two short days a week from 9.00am – 3.30pm and the little man has a day with Nanna one day and a day with Grandma the other day, which they love and has done him and me the world of good (he was getting very “Mummy-fied” and I was getting very protective of him. See my one of my previous posts, Leaving my Baby for a Day). Only working two days means I don’t need to use a nursery and everything is so flexible. If he’s ill, I don’t work and I don’t need to let anyone but family know and I’m not paying for childcare I’m not using. If Nanna or Grandma go on holiday, I don’t work. If we want to do something else that day then Nanna or Grandma get a day off – well deserved!

What has surprised me since getting involved in the company is my need for structure. I spent 10 years complaining about bureaucracy, red tape, the ridiculous amount of time it took people to make decisions and the lack of autonomy that seemed to be around me in my previous working world and now I feel like I’ve had a comfort blanket taken away and I want it back. The pace of the world of web is fast. An initial query about a project to completion and invoicing can happen in a couple of days. That’s how long completing a form to ask for something to happen used to take in my previous job. New technologies, ways of coding, design styles and probably lots more develop quickly and as hard as I try to get my head around them and get a sense of the new world I work in, I struggle. The Twitter feed of the people @weare2ndfloor follows is a stream of nonsense to me, it may as well be javascript (industry joke, probably not funny to anyone in the industry!). I am trying to bring some process to the company but only in the loosest sense, where it’s absolutely needed and it’s mainly in the form of post-its under headings so we both know when things need doing or are done.

I am trying to bring my own skills to the table within the company as well. Obviously I’m using my organisational and management skills in my (elevated) position as Business Director but now I’m with the company it means we can also offer a copywriting service. Elements of my previous role required me to write copy to promote training courses and I really enjoy sitting at a keyboard and tapping away to get a message across. I’m looking forward to receiving my first copywriting job and developing my writing skills and as much as it’s a challenge being in a new working world, it is actually turning out to be a lot of fun.