Work That Works For Mothers | The Upside

Photo of Erin Halper by Alexis Mera

Photo of Erin Halper by Alexis Mera

Our Work That Works For Mothers series  is an ongoing treasure hunt for the companies that are making unique strides to support parents make shifts in their work life to make room for family. Since our launch in 2017, we’ve seen an uptick of platforms that help women find and negotiate flexible roles and return to the workplace after pauses. We’ve talked about some stellar examples in the last two years - this one, this one and this one. The Upside adds another approach to the mix  - it’s a platform designed by Erin Halper to guide women in building and growing their freelance businesses, consultancies and boutique agencies. 

When I left my last traditional workplace role as Zola’s Brand Director, I was lucky to have a wealth of relationships in the start up scene and tech industry that were ripe for consulting opportunities.  I started brand consulting for female founders of early stage start ups when I got pregnant with Bodie. It allowed me a fair amount of confidence to know I’d be able to dial up or down work once I knew how I felt as a mother.

I returned to one particular client for two days a week when Bodie was six months old.  I chose that client as much as she chose me. I knew her deep understanding and value for family and her appreciation for quality work over face time. I  constructed consulting rates that made me feel valued and productive in the two days of work time.  I found my strategies for managing the work alongside motherhood (I wrote about that previously, here). Had I not eventually pivoted into building Mother Untitled, consulting provided the opportunity to cherry pick the work and work environments that felt right for me, to set the hours that maximized my time at home, and contribute significantly to our household income. 

There was a bit of luck and timing and a fair amount of privilege of a strong network and valuable prior experience that was baked into making my time in consulting successful for me personally.  However, there are common challenges: finding your first client, setting the right rates, getting paid the right rates, establishing boundaries, finding the next client and around and around the web of business building. 

Erin gave an interview to HeyMama about her own findings, how the non-traditional work landscape has changed and how to use The Upside to launch, navigate challenges and grow a practice at whatever pace you’d like for this chapter in your life.

We’d love to know - what industry did you work in previous to motherhood?  Are you taking a full pause or have  you found a flexible work arrangement that gives you a bit of both?