FOR many mothers, giving up their employment to run a business is a bit of a pipe dream.

But it has become reality for 36-year-old Lisa Pantelli, who gave up her full-time job three years ago and now owns and manages her own consultancy firm.

“I just couldn’t go back to my old job,” said Lisa, who used to commute from her home in Fiveways to Farringdon for her job as an employee engagement and change management consultant.

“My boss didn’t care that I was exceeding all of my targets, working on the train to and from work and billing 140 per cent of the hours I was expected to bill.

“When I was 36 weeks pregnant, she said my salary would need to be reviewed because I wasn’t seen to be working in the office enough, because I was working shorter days a couple of times a week to pick up and drop off my son.

“She struggled with the idea of flexible working, plus we were spending hundreds on nursery fees every month.”

So when a freelance consulting contract came up towards the end of her maternity leave with her second baby, Lisa decided to take the plunge.

A couple of years later, Lisa set up her own business, Become Communications, that has helped the likes of American Express, Higgidy Pies and Ernst and Young with their employee engagement and internal communications.

She is now a mother to three children aged six and under, and she says she is better off than ever before.

She said: “Funnily enough, I now talk to employers about changing their mindsets to allow for flexible working to give their employees more time for their families and hobbies outside of work.

“I think there has definitely been a shift; bosses are realising that the traditional way of working isn’t the only way, and that they might lose fantastic talent if they don’t embrace flexibility.

“Engaged employees are happier and more productive, and there is less absenteeism.

“But some employers are still oblivious to the benefits of flexible working.”

Lisa, who set up the Brighton and Hove Working Mums Facebook group, said she often hears stories that are similar to hers.

“It’s a story I hear time and time again from mums, they feel out of the loop at work and resented by their colleagues after going part-time,” she said.

“The pressures on me are very different now to when I was working, as I don’t know when or where my work is going to come from and I sometimes have to work until 1am.

“But I’ve found a solution that works for me. Most of all, I want to inspire my children through the way I work, because I love my work.”

Stepmother Alex Smallman, (pictured, top left) used to work as a natural stone tiler.

But five years ago, the 36-year-old, who lives in Hove, decided she wanted to do something different.

She said: “I wanted to work on helping people change their lives through exercise and diet, and bring the community together.”

She retrained as a personal trainer and set up an online franchise business selling dietary supplements called Juice Plus.

Then in May 2016, she set up her own business, Uber Mummies, to provide high-intensity training sessions which mothers can bring their children along to.

“It’s great because mums can come along and get fit with their babies and toddlers in tow,” she said.

“I now help other mums work flexibly as well as they run their own Juice Plus businesses and we help each other out.”

One of the mothers she has helped is Kim Hopkins, 38, from Chichester.

Kim was working six days a week in a pub until two years ago, when she became a Juice Plus franchise partner.

She also took over running Alex’s Uber Mummies classes in Chichester three times a week.

She said: “When I had my fourth child, I decided I’d had enough of not spending much time with my family so I qualified as a personal trainer.

“My youngest is three now and he comes along to some of my Uber Mummies sessions. He goes to pre-school once a week but that’s not because he has to, but more for his own benefit.

“I’m more financially stable than before, it’s made such a difference. Our family life is much more positive. I work from home or outside, and I’m not rushing around anymore.”