The website has been Pat’s proverbial labour of love, income hasn’t been her main concern. Despite this, she has not only made the website viable, she has built it into a valuable resource for parents. However, her success hasn’t given her any illusions as to how difficult it is for parents to go it alone.
“It is incredibly tough, I wouldn’t say it’s got any easier, but I think more people are looking to do it,” she says. “If you’ve had a demanding job, people say you can go back, but it is practically impossible, without doing everything really badly.”
Perhaps surprisingly, Pat feels that the government is too generous to parents when it comes to maternity and paternity leave. She feels she has struck the right balance in being a parent and running a business, but believes that small firms simply cannot cope with extended breaks by employees.
“I know that’s not a very popular view,” she admits.
“The bottom line is if you work in the public sector, you are fine, if you for a large organisation they are getting there, but if you work for a small company, they are not getting there, for good commercial reasons that they cannot afford to be off work for that long.
“Most sensible employers who keep good employees give time off to those people when it can be managed, they don’t need Big Brother telling them.
“If good small employers are looking after their staff, they will give people time off, but when the business can stand it. It’s just barmy to legislate.”
Pat warns that other high-flying careerists looking to ditch it all to run a small firm should think hard before taking the plunge.
“I’d say think very carefully if you want to live without the perks you want to have,” she advises. “I’ve never planned my career, I’ve been very fortunate and I thought I wouldn’t miss any of it, having a nice car, earning a nice salary, people reporting to me and listening to me.
“But when you start your own business it’s very, very lonely. If you have worked for a small business, have a go, but if you’ve only worked for a big company, and you just think you might like to have a bash at it, you probably shouldn’t do it.”