WorkingMums: Gillian Nissim

After Gillian Nissim had her first child she wanted to work from home. She spotted a gap in the market for a specialised recruitment service to connect employers looking for part-time or freelance staff to mums that wanted to find work around their childcare commitments.

Company name: WorkingMums Ltd

Website: Founder: Gillian Nissim

Age: 35

Based: North London

Staff Numbers: 2 plus contractors

Date started: April 2006

Tell us what your business does is a thriving jobsite and community for professional women looking for flexible, part-time, office and home-based job opportunities.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

After the birth of my first son, I began looking into ways of working that accommodated family life. I soon realised that there was a huge potential in connecting employers who need skilled professionals on a part-time, home-based or temporary basis with mums who needed flexibility in their jobs so that they can maximise the time they spend with their children.

What were you doing before starting up?

I was formerly a senior manager in internal communications for Abbey, Willis Group and within the Home Office and have almost 10 years experience of managing communications teams and projects across a wide range of media, both online and offline, plus several years’ experience as a corporate writer and in-house editor. Prior to launching I had been freelancing – and enjoyed the flexibility that gave me.

What planning did you do before you started up?

I carried out research – both face-to-face and online – amongst my target market of employers and mums to ascertain demand and also to get feedback on the services WorkingMums intended to offer. This proved invaluable.  I also wrote a business plan, which was an extremely useful exercise as it enabled me to get all my ideas on paper in a logical format, meaning I could prioritise better.

How did you raise the money?

WorkingMums has so far been funded through personal savings and latterly through increasing our mortgage.  We’re considering further investment and are looking at all our options.  I feel incredibly fortunate that I’ve had a number of offers of finance already, although it’s stressful having to consider which is the right route for us at this stage in our growth cycle – each option has different pluses and minuses!

What has your growth been like?

Each month is a record month and we’re cashflow positive, although every penny we make is being reinvested in to the business.  We only started trading in Q4 2006 as the service was free before this point, so I’m relatively happy about where we’ve got to, but you always want more!

What’s the impact on your home life been like?

In the early days, I envisaged running WorkingMums as a lifestyle business, although I’ve come to realise that “lifestyle business” is a bit of an oxymoron! I currently work from home and it takes a great deal of self-discipline not to allow business to encroach on family time. The huge upside though is the flexibility it gives me to be with my young children. Another huge plus is that I don’t have to battle against rush hour traffic and am not at the mercy of the tube – which significantly reduces my stress levels and is much more time efficient.


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