In my spare time...I started up a business

Sitting at my surgery desk at 8pm one night I realised that there must be a way to enjoy general practice without becoming burnt out. Having recently been married and planning a family, I was looking for financial security, but did not feel that increasing my GP hours would help the work-life balance I sought.

Starting my own business was one of many options, and it seemed possible to fit it around general practice and family life.

I discussed different business ideas with friends and colleagues, and was particularly drawn to the idea of providing a new baby gift service by post. So that’s what I set up.

I run the business with my mum, a part-time practice nurse. As professionals, we know that time is valuable and that when a baby arrives, there often is no time to find the perfect gift.

So we created luxurious, immaculately presented hampers with a selection of gifts for the newborn: loveable soft toys, cosy comforters and exquisite baby wear. We decided to include an indulgent box of our luxurious, hand-made chocolates for the proud new parents. Finally babyhamper.net was launched last year and has been a growing success.

Launching this business has been a complete roller coaster, perhaps the biggest high being our first order, and the biggest low being arriving home to find we couldn’t climb the stairs because of the hundreds of boxes in the hall.

But we now know that starting your own business is not difficult. You need a good idea, an understanding partner, lots of time and a variable amount of finance.

An early meeting with the accountant gave me good advice on the pros and cons of a new business and off-setting some costs against tax.

And my work–life balance? I started the business without reducing my three days as a GP, but I did drop locum and out-of-hours shifts. I am currently on maternity leave and will go back to work as before. The business allows me to be at home with my son without either being affected. So, yes, the work–life balance is good.

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