Roger Trapp: The desire for freedom leads to a DIY boom

Running your own business is proving a popular alternative to trying to juggle work and family

It is the sort of juggling act that will be familiar to many of us at a time when not just our work schedules but also the extra-curricular diaries of our school-aged children are much more demanding than anything our parents knew. Technology - particularly the arrival of the BlackBerry and other similar devices - are helping a great deal here in enabling busy office workers to attend sports days at the same time as satisfying clients. But there is still a need for much more flexibility on the part of both organisations and the people who work in them.

Which is why, as survey after survey tells us, so many people are setting up on their own. They do not necessarily want to be the next Alan Sugar or Richard Branson - though many probably would not mind if they were that successful. They really want freedom to run their lives in a more orderly, less stressful way.

Of course, running your own business is not everybody's idea of reducing stress. But it might not be as stressful as trying to combine a conventional career with responsibility for childcare and running a household.

This is certainly what Claire Dossett found when she tried to re-enter the workforce following the birth of her son six years ago. Unable to find a suitable job that she could fit in with childcare, she found herself creating her own job. As she explains, the start came "purely by chance", when a former colleague contacted her to offer her a job. It did not provide her with the flexibility she required, but she offered to see if there was anybody else she knew who might be interested.

When she came up with a suitable client, the company offered to pay her the fee that would otherwise have gone to a professional recruiter and her own recruitment business was born.

Based initially in the classic back bedroom before moving to the equally iconic kitchen table ("because the light was better"), her business turned over £55,000 in its first year as Dossett set about matching people to jobs. She believes her lack of previous recruitment experience (she had previously worked in IT) enabled her to see the business in a different light. "It's a matchmaking game," she says. This fresh perspective also led to her adopting different business practices. In particular, she put a lot of effort into finding out as much as possible about the company looking to fill the position and put similar work into researching the candidates. As a result, she passed on to companies shorter lists of candidates than they were used to. "I think they appreciated me sorting through the applicants rather than sending in hundreds," she adds.

Moreover, she believes that her method of working - being based at home meant that her overheads and hence the amount she charged for her services were lower, and her readiness to contact people in the evenings because of the flexibility she had gained during the day - actually helped the business.

If Dossett had just carried on in this way, this would just be one more story of an individual regaining some control over their busy life without having to give up everything. But she saw an opportunity to extend the approach.

Inspired by the interest she attracted at the school gate, because she was sometimes casually dressed and sometimes dressed for the city and always seemed to be making business calls, she has set up a franchise operation designed to give women - and men - the chance to build on their experience at work while still giving them the freedom to fit in other parts of their lives.

The business she is developing with Antal International, an established global franchise recruitment operation, is only just getting going. But Dossett is confident that there are enough people out there like her to make iworkLife (the "i" stands for "intelligent") a success.

Indeed, by offering the chance to be part of an organisation as well as flexibility, it could appeal to many people who might otherwise be put off by the risk and she might have the stress of dealing with something bigger than she imagined.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Sport
sport
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all