self employed

How Do You Find The Time??

Is a question I get asked a million times? 

The plain and simple of it, I don’t !! But I wouldn’t have it any other way. After having been out of work for some time, I soon realised I don’t like to sit around doing nothing. I have to be doing something. So when I was unable to work, due to PTSD, which is a whole different blog post, I started to eBay. It started off by just selling bits and bobs around the house, just like everyone else. I soon realised that I was finding it quite therapeutic too. I was interacting with people even if it was just on a virtual level, I liked that. I liked that I was good at it too. An opportunity came along where I was able to use some of the money I had made to buy more items to sell. From there RillyRoos started to grow. When it was getting too big for my bedroom, I knew I had to do something. 

We went off to get a storage locker, which then became two, then three, and an office. Before long, it was time to move into bigger pastures. We are now proud occupiers of a warehouse. 

But, this doesn’t answer the 1st question of ‘How do you find the time?’ 

As I have already said…. I don’t! 

I am up any time from 5.30 in the morning, some days I have a crafty snooze on the settee, and some days I just straight onto the PC to check the previous nights sales and answer any queries. Check emails and messages for potential clients etc, and then its time to get 4 out of the 6 fed & dressed ready for the day ahead and I often fall into bed at Midnight after finishing off bits & bobs from the day before. 

I have to say, if it wasn’t for Mr Rilly, I don’t think we would be as successful as we are now. He has given up his time and his career to be a stay at home dad, (Don’t tell him I said so, but he is pretty damn good at it) 

So there I am at the warehouse, 5 days a week, 8-9 hours a day, and I come home and often finish off little bits, or communicate with buyers and clients. And then BOOOOOM a new thing starts!! School event photography & Friends getting married and they know I have a love of photography, and its something I have wanted to try, so as a gift to them I have done their wedding photos, and I have to admit, I am pretty OK at it. Very proud of the shots (and thankfully so are the Brides & Grooms). Not only now do we have one business with 49 clients to sell for, in my spare time I do photography. 

I am not a wonder-woman, a supermom, or a career driven maniac, I am just a woman who likes to keep busy. 

Back to the question again…. How do I find the time?? I don’t, I MAKE the time. I enjoy what I do, I like being busy, I have a family that is supportive of the businesses, so its worth making that time for. 

And that’s the key, If you enjoy something, don’t just sit their moaning about not having the time to do it… MAKE the time to do it, what ever it may be. 


Self Employed Mums – Hop Stitch Jump – With Catherine Knowles.

This is a fantastic and very unique product from Catherine, I am sure you will enjoy getting to know about her business and what it is all about

Who are you? 

I’m Catherine, although like most of us, I answer just as readily to ‘Mummy’! I’m 35 and have a real love of stripes and rainbows, and a penchant for wearing a false moustache! I’m mummy to Beatrix, Jasper and Abel, and wife to Paul.

Gorgeous Creation from Hop Stitch Jump

Gorgeous Creation from Hop Stitch Jump

What do you do?

I make pretty things! More specifically, I make fabric keepsakes and gifts. My business is called Hop Stitch Jump and my signature work is Doodlebroidery, which involves transforming children’s drawings into wall art using freemotion embroidery.  There are no fancy computer programs involved; I use a regular domestic sewing machine and have a very keen eye!

Why did you start?

Before parenthood, I was pretty much defined by my career as a teacher. Like all teachers, I worked really hard, long days and committed myself to the job and my students. I went back to work full time after my daughter was born, but returning to the classroom was far more difficult than I expected and I felt as though I wasn’t being the best mother, wife or teacher I could be. At the same time, the school I worked in underwent radical changes in management structure and it was clear that its ethos was becoming increasingly removed from my own picture of the ideal, and so it became a little easier to plan to take some time out of teaching and concentrate on my family. After I had my second child, the rainy day fund was hit by a downpour and I started looking at new ways to save money. Hop Stitch Jump began with me making presents for friends’ children as a way to cut back on spending and quite literally snowballed from there.

How fabulous is this??

How fabulous is this??

Do you enjoy what you do?

I *love* working with the amazing masterpieces that little artists create, and I feel very privileged to be able to share an insight into their beautifully creative minds! I try really hard to stay as true to the original drawing as possible. If I’m honest, I’m more concerned that the children are happy with my finished work than the parents who pay me for the commission!

Have you always wanted to be self employed or is it something you have just worked your way into? How do you work it around children and family life?

My dad has always been self employed and I spent my late teens in our busy family newsagent’s shop and family pub, so I was well aware of the hard work involved in working for yourself! From first qualifying as a teacher, I never considered that I would do anything different, so I suppose I expected that I would always be an employee. I do think that being around so many people who ran their own businesses gave me the confidence to give it a whirl when the time came, though!

My children are six, four and almost two, so my days are filled with three school runs, playgroups, clubs and classes and all the usual housey chores and distractions. I work in the evenings and at weekends, which is great for the most part as it means I am always around for the children, although at my busiest times I find it hard having to miss out on weekend fun with the family and often go for weeks without sitting on my sofa!

Awww so cute, How special!!

Awww so cute, How special!!

Is your partner supportive?

My husband has been wonderful and has spent more than his fair share of evenings covered in stuffing and cutting out pattern pieces! There have been times when I’ve expected him to say it’s time for me to return to the classroom and start earning some ‘proper’ money again, but he has been brilliant!

WOW, What little girl wouldnt love this?

WOW, What little girl wouldnt love this?

Where can people find you?

I’m most active on Facebook at Hop Stitch Jump Facebook Page but people can also drop me a line at or contact me through the fabulous Created In Yorkshire shop in The Ridings, Wakefield.

Self-Employed Mums – Debutots – With Jenni

I know quite a few Self-Employed mums. I have asked some of them if they would like to do a blog-aview with me to maybe inspire mums out there that think it would be too hard to do, or want to make the jump but just need a little push.

First one is Jenni from Debutots.

Tell us all a little about yourself Jenni.
My name is Jenni and I’m 33. I live in Swindon with my husband Paul, three kids – Oscar who is 8, Sadie who is 6 and Lottie who is 3. Oh and a naughty chocolate labrador called Pickle!

What is it that you do?
I am a franchisee for Debutots. We run story and drama sessions for babies and children aged 6 months to 7 years. There are lots of different ways we do this, from parent and child classes, to nursery sessions and afterschool clubs. We also offer entertainment for birthday parties, and the weekend often finds me dressed as a fairy, a pirate or a spaceman ready for a big adventure with some great kids! Sometimes people wonder how you can do drama with such young children, but really it’s all about usuing stories to encourage language, gesture, sounds and imagination. For very little ones it is a chance for them to play creatively with their parents or carers, and see them doing lots of funny faces and noises, which they love! For older children they get the chance to explore different feelings and experiences through the safety of let’s pretend.

Jenni at the head of a class.

Jenni at the head of a class.

Why did you start with Debutots?
I started 5 and a half years ago now! At the time I was working part time in a Building Society Head Office. I have a drama background and when I came across Debutots I knew it was the perfect job for me. It’s been a lot of hard work, and it took a while to see any financial gain, but I have never regretted it. I don’t get that Monday morning feeling any more!

Do you enjoy what you do?
Yes I love it! What other job do you get to dress up as a fairy and play games and get paid? The children are brilliant. It’s amazing to see how they change over time. I love watching the shy ones come out of their shell. We’ve even had a little girl say her first word at a class once. The parents are lovely too and I have made some lovely friends along the way. I also get to network with other mums doing similar work which is really fun and a great way to have some support.

Jenni dressing up for one of her parties. Cally from Night Before Christmas

Jenni dressing up for one of her parties. Cally from Night Before Christmas

Have you always wanted to be self employed or is it something you have just worked your way into?
Hah! I never even considered it! I saw the advert in Center Parcs magazine when I was in the bath one night. My husband was working nights and by the time he came home in the morning I had sent emails and was on the way to buying a franchise that 24 hours before neither of us had ever heard of.

How do you work it around children and family life?
That is the main reason I chose this work. It is perfect for family life. I run all my sessions during school hours and term time only. I am able to take them to school and pick them up again. I sometimes run special holiday classes and then they come with me. My older daughter is great and will probably take over from me one day Birthday parties are a little harder as they tend to be at weekends, but luckily we have helpful grandparents on hand if my husband isn’t free to look after them. The children have only recently realised that Debutots is Mummy’s job – and I think that’s a great sign from a family life point of view (Although I was a bit put out that they thought I never did any work! haha)

Is your partner supportive?
Thankfully yes, or I would never have been able to make a success of it. He could see that it was something I would love and he was prepared to take a risk and give it a go. He is a bit of a worrier about money so he had to be very brave at the start. I even sent him off for training so he could help me out with classes and parties. He makes a great Pirate Scallywag, but don’t ask him about the party he did for a group of six year old girls or you might just see a grown man cry

Where can people find you?
You can have a look at our website Debutots UK where you will find me and all my colleagues who work in other areas. Or check out my Facebook page Debutots Swindon

Jenni working with a toddler making a Squeaky Mouse

Jenni working with a toddler making a Squeaky Mouse

Thank you for the little look into your self employed world. Looks like you all have great fun and I know we at RillyRoos, wish you all the best in the future with Debutots


All pictures are copywrite of debutots Swindon and should not be copied in anyway.
This is not a sponsored post.