Juggling parenting and being their own boss, meet Bhavini from B81 Designs


I’m Bhavini and I’m a dessert loving, coffee obsessed graphic designer. I’ve been in the design industry for the last 14 years and the last 7 of them have been self employed.

I live in Milton Keynes with my husband and 2 girls (aged 5 and 8). I grew up in MK and then lived in London for a while, but moved back to MK when my eldest was due to start school

I run my business around my kids which means I work term time only and gives me a really great work/family balance.

Tell us about your business baby

My business baby was born out of redundancy. As my maternity leave was coming to an end in 2011, I wasn’t able to work as flexibly as I had hoped to and my role at work was changed. I took the redundancy package and haven’t really looked back!

The initial idea was to freelance whilst looking for a more flexible and part time job closer to home but that job never came about. After freelancing for about 6 months I realised that it was so much better than being employed especially where my little one was concerned.

I have a love for branding and all things design for print so that’s what my business focuses on – branding, brochures, advertising, business stationery and large format print.

What’s your why?

I have a few different whys. The first why is the complete flexibility that comes with being self employed. I can make sure I’m at every school drop off/pick up, I can take time off at the drop of a hat if one of my girls is sick and I can go to every school assembly the girls are taking part in. And to me, being there for all that is really important. I love that I can manage my time in the best way for me and my family.

Secondly is the option to say no. Working for myself means that I can choose which clients I want to work with, and which projects I want to take on. In every job I had, there was always a project that had to be done that I didn’t have any passion for, or a client that wasn’t easy to work with. I don’t have those issues any more which means that I love every single project I work on, and my clients are all so fabulous!

And the last why…because I absolutely love love love what I do!

What do you find the hardest bit about doing the juggle?

For me, one of the hardest parts of the juggle is realising that I can’t do everything myself where the business is concerned! I can’t do the accounts, and build a new website, and put together a marketing strategy etc because all of that takes away time from me doing what I enjoy doing – the design work!

The other main thing I struggle with is making sure I know how to sell myself and my business – not just at networking events, but anywhere really. I struggle to let people know what I do!!

Who’s in your support network?

I’m really lucky to have a very supportive husband – he’s been behind the whole self employed thing right from the start, even when I wasn’t so sure about it. My parents also live in Milton Keynes – they’re about 7 minutes across town!! They’re always there to lend a hand with childcare if I have an event to go to, or have a huge workload on.

I’ve also made some great connections via online groups such as Freelance Heroes, Digital Dreamers Playground and Mama Tribe. Groups like these are vital to keep me sane, regardless of where I am in my self employment journey.

If only you knew then what you know now…

If only I knew that I should value my time and services, and should always be charging what I’m worth. Just because one person tells me my (very cheap) prices are too expensive, it doesn’t make it true!

What’s your favourite inspiration quote?



“I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really really hard. Don’t call my lucky. Call me a badass.” Shonda Rhimes

The second one is one of my favourites and reminds me that I work hard to have the life I do. People always tell me I’m lucky to work from home, or I’m lucky I don’t have to go to work every day etc. but it’s not luck, it’s hard work!

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