Single mother by choice, Emma-Louise Smith

Hi there, fabulous single mama!

I’m Emma, and I’m a self-employed single mum. That cheeky chops with me in the pics above is my daughter, Elodie.

I’ve created Self-Employed Single Mum because I couldn’t find an online community for women like me – and you. Ambitious, smart, creative single mums who dream about living, and working, on their own terms.

My goal is to build a community and resource to help you find the freedom, creativity and success you crave by becoming your own boss – at work, and in life.

I was lucky enough to stumble across a few beacons of hope. A couple of self-employed single mums who were generous enough to offer me their advice, experience and tips for success. For me, they tipped the balance.

If they could do it then I could too. And so can you.

So my hope is that this site offers you the same inspiration, information and support. I don’t want you to feel alone. I don’t want you to look around and not be able to find inspiring examples of single mums who are ‘doing it for themselves’.

Maybe you…

  • Want to work but can’t find a job that pays a decent salary AND allows you to balance work with time with you kids.
  • Are trapped in a job you hate because you can’t find any other part-time work.
  • Feel you’ve got no choice but to work full-time – wasting hours of your day commuting – so you can pay the bills, but feel horribly guilty that you can’t do the school run or show up to sports day.
I’m here to tell you there IS another way.

You don’t need me to tell you that being a single mum is flippin’ tough. It’s stressful, relentless and often bloody lonely. But it’s also hugely rewarding.

However, you frequently feel like a misfit in a world full of ‘perfect’ two-parent families, and here’s the rub…

All the mums you know who work for themselves have a partner helping them pay the bills.

But you’re on your own so it’s up to you, and you alone, to keep a roof over your kids’ heads and food on the table.

So you tell yourself that self-employment isn’t for you and put a lid on your dreams. It’s too risky, too ambitious for little old you. You decide to play it safe.

But here are the facts:

  • There are around 1.8 million single mothers in the UK.
  • A third of single mothers are unemployed, but the vast majority would prefer to get a job.
  • However, because of the lack of genuinely flexible work that would enable them to balance work and family life, single mums are more likely to get stuck in low-paid, part-time jobs.
And now for the irony…

The internet, with its myriad of associated communication technologies – email, Skype, smartphones and social media – has made it possible for the vast majority of jobs to EASILY be done remotely. In a place of your choosing, and at a time of your choosing.

But very few employers are on board with this. In fact, reluctance to embrace genuinely flexible working amounts to deeply entrenched social and institutional gender discrimination.

Let’s face it, enlightened as some men are, it’s still women who do most of the childcare and housework, and for nearly all mothers nine-to-five office hours, simply don’t work.

So why not cut out the middleman?

Fortunately, the same technologies that make remote working possible also mean that it’s never been easier, or cheaper, to branch out on your own and live off your own wits.

You can start a business and market yourself directly to people who need you, on a shoestring budget.

I believe self-employment is your ticket to sanity. It’s your ticket to success – success on your own terms, whatever that may be.


My self-employment journey

I’m a former journalist and charity communications manager turned freelance copywriter and social media consultant. I’m also an unapologetic feminist, devoted sun-worshipper, incurable procrastinator and confessed coffee snob.

I like Amaretto on ice, historical novels, getting bendy on a yoga mat and walking in the countryside near my Surrey home.

I’m also a single mother of one. I’m what I like to call single by chance, mother by choice.

When I found myself still single at 38, I decided to take control of my life and use a sperm donor to have a baby. So in 2011, my cheeky, spirited, smart and slightly nuts little girl arrived in my life.

It was becoming a mother that woke me up to the extent of the discrimination that goes in our workplaces.

  • Employers that sideline and demote you when you return from maternity leave and opt to work part-time.
  • Employers who threaten you with a written warning when you tell them you’re not able to attend a two-night conference because you don’t have anyone to leave you child with.
  • The dearth of ‘flexible’ part-time work in roles that match your skills and experience.
  • Employers that pay lip service to ‘flexible working’ – it looks good in the job ads after all. But still expect you to be a bum on a seat between nine and five.
  • Primary schools that don’t believe it’s their responsibility to provide before and after school care.

These are my experiences of gender discrimination since I had my daughter. And you and I both know this is just the tip of the patriarchal iceberg.

So for me, self-employment became a mission, a crusade of sorts. It’s my way of sticking two fingers up to all of that and say, “You know what? I don’t need you.” [but not quite as politely as that!]

So if you’re looking…

  • for a community of women who ‘get’ you, and share your ambitions and your challenges
  • for inspiration, practical tips, life hacks, and online marketing know-how
  • to hear it like it is from someone who’s been there and done that.
You’re in the right place. 

There are three things I want you to do now:

*Please click here to read this site’s policies.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

2 responses to “About

  1. Do you have to be a single mum to join? Myself and three or so girlfriends want to go it alone. We can’t get work easily anymore as we are all over 50. Gabrielle

    • So sorry for slow response, I’ve been on holiday. I’m afraid the community is really for single mums as the challenges we face in juggling work and kids are quite specific. There are lots of sites I can recommend for freelancing and self-employment. Freelance to Freedom and the Freelance Lifestyle are great. Also if you’re interested in retraining Digital Mums offer courses in social media management which as one of their graduates I can recommend!