Tag Archives: mumpreneur

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Summer Business Tips for Mums

Summertime – that time of the year when everything slows down and moves out of doors. “Less work, more play” is often the motto found in the minds of many. It’s a time when you spend a day at the beach or lake, or take an afternoon off work just to be outside. Kids are out of school for the summer and holidays are on the schedule. Outdoor activities take front seat.

But how do mumpreneurs deal with juggling their business commitments in the holidays? Here are some summer business tips for mums.

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Running Your Business While on Holiday

It’s been reported that at least 60 percent of all small business owners don’t take a holiday in any given year. And of those who do, 75 percent still do some sort of work every day during their holiday,  These numbers are higher for home-based business solopreneurs who have no one to toss the reins to while they take a break. It’s a challenge to take time away from your business when you know that if you aren’t working, you aren’t earning money.

But taking time off allows you to recharge your energy levels so that you don’t burn out. The summer slow-down time is the perfect time to do this.

Here are some tips to manage your work and time while you take time to have some fun.

  • Plan ahead. This means setting up a schedule on your calendar for when you will be away, so you can get projects done ahead of that time. Let clients know when you’ll be away and have them schedule what they need prior to or after this time.For example, if you are going to be gone for a week in July, have all your projects finished the week before you leave. Don’t try to fit 3 days’ work into the day before you leave. Give yourself time to fit in all the activities you need to get done.
  • Set up systems and tools. Almost all businesses have tasks they can automate. Marketing efforts can be maintained with various tools. For example, social media posts can be scheduled with tools like HootSuite. Blog posts can be written in advance and scheduled to post later in WordPress.Autoresponder systems like Aweber.com allow you to schedule your email message updates, so set up one that answers common questions you receive.Be sure to add a note that questions will be responded to personally after you return (unless you have a virtual assistant who can take care of them).
  • Virtual Assistant/Online Manager. Hire a virtual assistant to take the reins while you’re away. They can take care of your emails, update posts or whatever you need them to do while you’re away. They can work as your project manager as well, keeping your projects moving forward. They can even help you in planning and setting up tools and systems.
  • Outsource. Even if you have a virtual assistant to manage your business, you can outsource many other individual tasks, such as writing, graphic work or blog maintenance.
  • Take care of maintenance only. While on holiday, make it a point to only check in once in a while. Do the very minimum to keep your business going, such as checking your email once a day and quickly checking in with your virtual assistant a couple of times.
  • Inform clients. Let clients know you will be away from the business. Be upfront with them so they can get work to you ahead of time if they need to. Letting them know your schedule demonstrates that you value them and respect their business. But don’t forget, many of them will be on holiday too

If you need help with setting up any of the above or running it over the summer, check out Mum’s Little Helper

Just because you own a business doesn’t mean you can’t take time off for relaxation and rejuvenation.

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Using the tools and systems available online can help you keep your business from falling into a slump while you are away. You can continue to market your business with help from a virtual assistant or concierge company. And you can keep your relationship with clients on good terms by informing them of your plans well in advance.

Managing Your Time While Having Fun

Summertime can find many online business owners focusing more on where they could be instead of the work that’s actually in front of them. We see images of boats on the lake, beaches and swimming pools and tall cool drinks instead of our computer monitor and the tasks at hand.

Working? Or staring at the sky?

Working? Or staring at the sky?

Often, we are constantly checking the clock or the weather outside or even our Facebook accounts.

The summer slow-down steals your motivation to work and kills your productivity, making you feel like you’re constantly fighting an uphill battle to get work done. You try to work but the outside air is calling you…. You can beat this slowdown and still have time for fun by managing your time better.

These tips will help you manage your time so you can get work done more quickly.

  • Switch your working hours. Change your normal working hours so that you have enough outside time to keep you satisfied. For instance, you could work early mornings and late evenings, leaving the afternoons free to enjoy outside activities. Or take certain days off during the week.
  • Delegate work to others. Outsource more than you normally do in order to free up some time. Hire a virtual assistant or online manager to take care of the big projects, giving you more time to do what you want.
  • Take advantage of technology. Use your smartphone to keep up with email and social media while you’re having fun. Wi-fi is available almost everywhere, making it easier than ever to keep in contact with customers and clients. Just be sure to set time limits for yourself so you don’t end up answering emails instead of catching waves at the beach.computer
  • Use to-do lists. A daily to-do list during the summer can keep you organized and on task. Ticking off ‘done’ items from your list keeps you motivated to finish, instead of checking your social media accounts or daydreaming.
  • Prioritise work. Plan out your days with work that has to be done. Do your money making tasks first. Also, don’t take on a lot of new projects if you are more interested in going out in the boat. Keep your work load lighter if possible so you can enjoy time on the water.
  • Break up big projects into small micro-tasks you can do throughout the day or week. This works for projects such as a new product launch, and for client work as well.
  • Take your work outside. There’s no reason you can’t take your laptop to the park or your back deck to work. Even without a wi-fi connection, you can write documents or work on graphics.
  • Take advantage of systems. You can create a bunch of blog posts ahead of time, and schedule them for publication at a later date using WordPress. The same is true for your autoresponder messages. And social media posts can be pre-scheduled to appear at a later time using software like HootSuite.

Managing your time and taking advantage of tools and outsourcing can help you do more than just dream of being outside during the summer. Breaking down projects into smaller tasks can help you get more done in less time.  Mum’s Little Helper can assist with any of your outsourcing requirements

If You Have Children at Home – How Do You Manage To Get Work Done?

Many online business owners work from home. And just as many may have kids at home with them during the summer holidays. It doesn’t matter whether they are young children or teens, working at home with kids can be challenging. Not only do you have to find time to work your business you have to keep the kids entertained as well.

Here are 10 tricks for working at home with children:

  1. Be flexible. Get up early and work before the kids wake up, or stay up a little later at night to finish projects and jump online throughout the day when you need to. Send emails while kids are napping. Don’t worry so much about how many hours you are working, and instead focus on getting your work done whenever you can.
  2. Get the kids involved. Hire them to do some of the housework while you work. If they are old enough, hire them to do some of the cooking or taking care of younger siblings. Older kids can even be hired to do small tasks in your business, like packaging orders or uploading photos to your website.
  3. Schedule playdates with other mums who have kids the same age. You can alternate between your homes so that one parent isn’t watching the kids more often than the other.
  4. Take advantage of technology. Use your smartphone or tablet when you’re out. Check your email or make notes while you’re at the park or take conference calls on the way to an outing.
  5. Outsource more of your work. Giving work to a virtual assistant or ghostwriter can free up time to let you spend time with your kids doing fun things this summer.
  6. Go on field trips. Take the kids with you when you need to pick up supplies or pick up a gift for a client. Along the way, stop at places your kids might enjoy, like a new ice cream shop.
  7. Go to the library. Or even a local bookstore. Check out new books or DVDs the kids can watch and read while you work. Or get some work done while older kids browse the library for their own books or DVDs.
  8. Send the kids to day camps. There are many local authorities that offer reasonably-priced camps your kids would want to attend. Everything from sports to music to adventures is available in almost every town.day-camp
  9. Schedule work ahead of time so you know when something has to get done, and can make arrangements for the kids to be entertained elsewhere (either outside the home or with their own activities).
  10. Don’t schedule any big projects to be due during the summer. Work more on maintenance and keeping things updated.

If you have children at home during the summer, finding ways to work with them underfoot can be a challenge. Make it a priority to spend time with them doing fun activities while fitting your work into their schedule.

Other Tips and things to consider during the summer: 

Even if your business sees downtime and you are staying in town, there are some things you can do to get your business ready for the latter part of the year.

  • Spend time looking for ways to add passive income. Create that program or eBook you don’t have time to work on during peak times of the year. Check out affiliate programs that fit your audience.
  • Back up and tidy up your files. Consider an online backup programor an external storage device These can be used in addition to external backup systems. Summertime means many areas are prone to summer storms and power loss. Print out copies of important business information like client contact information and passwords.
  • Jump into a training program for something you’ve wanted or needed to learn. Or attend networking events that can help you grow your business. Print out some relevant reading material or download some audio files to listen to while you are at the beach
  • Plan marketing for the rest of the year. Do market research to see what your customers think about your business or services.
  • Update your website if it needs a makeover. Improve navigation structures, remove or update old content, update the design and more.
  • Look for ways to incorporate summer type themes or information into your email newsletter and your website. For example, send out newsletters that focus on summer specials, mixed with summer recipes or tips for pet care during the heat. Just make sure it relates to your niche.

Even if business slows down during this time of year, you can still make progress with your business. Take the time to make plans for growth, update your website and network with others.

What Happens Next

In this report we’ve looked at ways to keep your business thriving while taking time to enjoy the season. We’ve gone over some tips on getting work done if there are kids underfoot and how you can spend time doing activities with them while still having time for work. I hope that you have found something that you can take away and use in your own business.

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Now it’s time to start implementing some of the tips you’ve found here so that you can enjoy the summer. Start planning and scheduling your projects. Get help from a virtual assistant or outsource work you are going to need done while you enjoy the season!

If you would like to hire a virtual assistant over the summer, or if you would like a few hours of hands on help to implement some of the projects covered in this report, then check out Mum’s Little Helper, a joint venture between Motivating Mum and Sooqini.  You can pay somebody to take care of your business projects for a few hours, or for the whole summer, so you can get on with the things that are important to you and have some serious fun.

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The Rise of the Mumpreneur

Did you know that three in five mums are considering or have considered starting a business from home?  Direct Line has been examining the whole mumpreneur phenomenon.  

You can see the rest of their report on the Direct Line website

Mumpreneur Reaps the Benefits – profile of Anna Seager

I recently read an article about how “mumpreneurs” might be the answer to our struggling economy (http://news.sky.com/story/1065411/mumpreneurs-could-be-lifeline-to-recovery).

Whilst I don’t particularly like the term “mumpreneur” (I am sure lots will disagree, but personally, I find it a bit patronising) the story did make me think about all those mums who are busy juggling kids/home chores/business/being a wife etc etc – so they can work in a free range, flexible way and be there for their family.

This is exactly why I chose to set up my own business – for flexibility.  Admittedly, there are some days where I do think “wouldn’t life be so much easier if I just went to work for someone else 3 or 4 days a week, collected my pay cheque and slept well because I didn’t have a “to do list” of a million things that kept my brain whirring away at night”!  However, there are many more days where I am so happy I’m my own boss and have the flexibility to make my own choices.

[viralpullquote ]I am so happy I’m my own boss and have the flexibility to make my own choices[/viralpullquote].

 

For example, a few weeks ago, I chose to take the afternoon off and go and cheer on my daughter’s hockey team in their County Cup hockey final. Today, I am taking the whole day off to go and see my dad, who is undergoing rigorous chemotherapy at the moment.

Having this kind of flexibility, is the reason I chose to go the mumpreneur route and not to get a job.  I see friends of mine, who are employed, missing out on their kids’ special events, time and time again because they can’t get the time off, but I don’t have to answer to anyone, and this allows me to watch my kids grow up as well as having a strong sense of self-worth as I am making a significant contribution to the family income.

For me, another benefit of being a mumpreneur is that the business has grown with my children. When I started out, my children were still quite young – 3 and 5, so the hours I could put into it were quite limited.  Slowly and steadily, as they have grown and the Mummy hours have eased off, I have been able to put more time into Little Crab Designs and have gone from earning a bit of pocket money to earning a substantial income, whilst doing something I love and still being able to be there for my children (now 10 and 12).

So if you’re reading this, at home with little ones, wondering how you are ever going to be able to go back to work – think about going down the mumpreneur route.  It was the best decision I ever made and who knows? – You could even be part of the revolution that is going to turn our fragile economy around!?

Anna Seager – founder of Little Crab Designs – nursery wall art specialists

If you liked this article – do check out my blog – charting the ups and downs of running a small business round a family.

You can also follow us on twitter or like us on facebook , plus I also pin helpful business tips on our pinterest pages.

The Mumpreneur’s Guide to SEO

So you’ve found your perfect business idea and have set up the website. Now you’re waiting for people to find you. You probably know that search engine optimisation is going to be important, but how do you do it?

mums entrepreneurs Continue reading

Calling all Mumpreneurs: Get Creative this Christmas

By Kate Miranda, Director, Mumpreneur Marketing.

The countdown to Christmas has begun. For many of us Christmas is a frenzied infusion of family, friends, presents, excessive food and alcohol, plenty of cheer and special memories. For mums, it’s multitasking taken to the max with the ever expanding ‘to do’ list. Have you found the perfect present for your husband’s visiting second cousin? What about his wife? Pass the wine, please!

The bizarre thing is, once the chaos of Christmas day has passed, it is often followed by a sudden and almost dull calm. The kids are occupied with new toys and gadgets. Dad seems content to potter and recuperate. These are the moments we have to seize for ourselves. Seize some time and space to think and create. Unleash your inner mumpreneur.

Mums by nature are creative beasts – I mean beauties.  We have occasional moments of inspired brilliance and the lucky mums have more frequent moments of brilliance. Many mums who act on these moments become successful mumpreneurs by transforming their ideas into businesses.

If you are thinking about starting your own business or contemplating how to grow your mumpreneur business in 2013, use the Christmas break to get creative. Use the mental break from the daily machinations of work to think laterally. Brainstorm business ideas with friends or random relatives. Most will relish being involved.

Nothing saps your creative spirit like churlish children, cleaning or the cold so take time out to visit a place that inspires you, like your favourite gallery or cafe. Somewhere you can get headspace. Use this time and space to come up with creative ideas that will help you connect with more customers. If you haven’t changed your tagline in a while, come up with a new one. It’s great to keep things fresh. Brainstorm taglines and slogans with friends. Think of an idea for a PR campaign or competition idea you could run with a local media partner.

Go viral. Challenge yourself to come up with a viral campaign or a new product. Here are some great examples to help you get started. The tone of a viral campaign can be either funny (Meet Doug Pitt. The Second Most Famous Pitt in His Family), or funny and terrifying (Extremely Scary Ghost Elevator Prank in Brazil), or funny with a serious message (check out Vinnie Jones for the British Heart Foundation). Originality is what will create an impact. It won’t cost you anything but your creativity and time to make a video on your phone and upload it onto YouTube, which is now the second biggest search engine next to Google with more than two billion views a day.

If you are looking for a place to start, why not use the number 2013. How can you hang a campaign off these numbers? 2013 is the year of the Snake and the United Nations has declared 2013 the International Year of Quinoa, a super food high in protein and gluten-free. If you are in the nutrition, diet or fitness industry, get creative with Quinoa recipes for your customers.

Bouncing off current affairs stories can also be an effective way to increase brand awareness. If you deal in fair trade products respond to the Starbucks greed on a grand scale story by launching an email or viral campaign around the word fair. We pay our fair share. We play fair etc.

If you are planning to throw a bit of creative marketing into the Christmas mix this year be sure to have fun. Be imaginative. Get carried away with possibilities.

If you are looking for creative marketing ideas, contact Kate Miranda or try one of her DIY marketing workshops designed for business mums who do their own marketing. [email protected]

 

5 Steps to making your business a success

Starting a business can be one of the most exciting yet stressful things you could do in life. There’s the euphoria of being your own boss, choosing your own work hours and following your passion, and then there’s the stress of getting your product/brand out there and staying motivated when times get tough. To ensure your business gets off to the best possible start, here’s my personal 5 step guide to making your business a success: Continue reading

Life, death and everything in-between!

I wrote a blog for last years ‘mentoring month’ on motivation. My life at that point was calm – although balancing all aspects of family life, working on my coaching business, and managing everything else was not an easy task – the waters of life had gentle waves with the focus on the future.

Then, my Mother (my last surviving parent) took ill. Although she had suffered for many years with various ailments and had started with Dementia, the call that came to say that she had months, perhaps weeks to live was a complete shock. Life became a circle of visits, phone calls and trying to maintain some form of ‘normality in-between. Utilising the power of laughter, music and positivity helped throughout this period. Continue reading

Ring to Win

Feeling connected is lovely. In this scary age when old people can lie undiscovered for days in their homes, stricken strangers get stepped over as commuters run to catch their trains, or people wonder if you’re crazy if you smile at them at the bus stop or attempt conversation in the supermarket, the internet can make us all feel closer.

We interact with our hundreds of friends on Facebook and feel cared for, we meet new friends or colleagues on Twitter, and we run our lives – business and social – via email and text message. Continue reading

All you mums (and dads) with that budding business idea in your heads? GO FOR IT!

I spent three years thinking about my business.

It’s an online one, so I tried learning HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL and all the other horrible acronyms that techy geeks treat as if they are the holy grail. But they just seemed like a random collection of letters to me….

All that happened was my head exploded, I spent a lot of money on Amazon (well someone benefited) and I still didn’t have my business.

Then, I gave up work to look after my little boy and girl.

I lasted three months as a stay at home mum; and launched my printable reward charts business. It was an accident; I just though, hey, I’ll explore how much it costs, and before I knew it, I was doing it. And despite all the hurdles, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

And do you know why? Lots of reasons – eight to be precise.  Hopefully, some of you who also have a sneaky idea in your head may just try your ideas out now too. It’s worth it – honest.

  1. Regret – it’s always a shame when you look back on life and say, “if only.”  So give your idea a chance, and if it doesn’t work, you can always say you tried it, can’t you?
  2. Learning new skills – my god, I haven’t learned so much since I was at school! And you can bet that you will be learning as much as I did.  You have to do it all as a small business, and that’s great. You will become a seriously active learner again.
  3. Finding new talents – in learning all the new stuff, you find new things that you are actually quite good at.  I have discovered a talent for social media, and for writing. I’m not an expert by any means, but good enough to impress, and good enough to be proud of what I do.  And I am sure you will find something like this too.
  4. Meeting new (and wonderful) people; there are so many other entrepreneurs out there.  And networking is a joy.  Everyone feels like you when you take your first tentative steps into the networking jungle…so don’t be nervous – just remember we are all bricking it!  And once you have got over that fear, there are some lovely people out there that want to help and guide you.
  5. Discovering social media – What is Twitter? What’s the point of Facebook? Why bother with LinkedIn?  All the questions that we ask before we dive into social media.  I wouldn’t be without the support network and the followers I have on these media now.  They help to answer my questions, and I hope to answer some of theirs too.
  6.  Being able to help others – businesses are often about helping others, whether it’s my business that helps parents with tough challenges, or a cake business that helps people’s celebrations go with a bang, or someone who helps another organisation get their name known in the press.  And there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that your efforts have helped an individual or a business to succeed.
  7. Involving my children in what I do –  my business is child-related, so I involve my kids. However, it’s not just my kind of business where you can involve your children. Talking to them about what you do, and why you do it is really important. And if your idea means you work from home, then you will get many more opportunities to do so. Even if it’s just asking them whether they prefer this design to the eBook cover or that one! My daughter and son actually helped choose my logo. This involvement can do wonders for your child’s self esteem (and your mummy guilt…!)
  8. Building confidence – having your own business is a massive confidence boost. So if you are a naturally shy person, you will find yourself doing things for your business that you would never do for yourself – like selling to strangers.  If the business doesn’t succeed, how you deal with that can shape you as well.Lessons learned from failure are some of the most valuable lessons we can get.

What about you other mums and dads out there who finally went with that idea?  What were your final motivations?  How has it been? Have you any encouraging words for our would-be entrepreneurs?

Helen NealeHelen Neale regularly blogs for her printable reward charts business KiddyCharts. She always has a thing or two to say about being a working mum, a small business owner and a social media geek.

She writes regularly for LoveAllBlogs Weekly Business Showcase as well. Her full website is due to launch in May 2012, and in the meantime her charts are currently selling (she hopes) on eBay.

You can follow Helen on Twitter or join her on Facebook

How I became a Mumpreneur and got rid of my plastic household

I’ve been thinking about ideas how to combine my family life and work for quite a while. I knew I wouldn’t go back to my old job, working maniac five days a week and not seeing the kids most of the day.  Additionally, it is usually my turn to stay at home when the kids get sick or during term breaks. A part time job didn’t seem to be an option either as my previous job required to be present full time. So I was thinking about being self-employed and had a few ideas spinning in my head already.

One afternoon, during a play date, a friend of mine asked me where I got my aluminium drinking bottle from (an unhealthy old one as I would find out later). I told her I got it from somewhere in Germany but was sure they would be sold in the UK as well. When she replied that her son hates the plastic water bottle he always took to school, I immediately had an idea. I thought I would purchase healthy bottles for schools in the area as my friend’s school was not the only one to provide plastic bottles only. And if her son hated the bottle, I was sure a lot of other kids would too. That’s when I started researching and found out all about BPA in plastic and how it can harm you and your kids’ body. I realised that I fed all my three kids out of non BPA free baby bottles. I just didn’t know about BPA at the time. I also did heat their milk in the microwave, meaning I did everything wrong and can just hope it didn’t harm them too much. That’s how my journey started.

I was always striving to find healthy, natural products for the whole family but now I realised my household was full of plastic and unhealthy products. I started throwing everything away which was not marked as BPA-free and suddenly questioned everything. Which lunchbox can I still use? Which are the healthier options for drinking bottles compared to plastic and aluminium? Where shall I put my leftovers in? Which alternatives do I have to avoid tins and cans? Which chemicals are in my shampoo and which washing detergent is safe? Questions over questions…

Eventually an enquiry came along from one of the healthy stainless steel suppliers from the US (whom I asked for prices for bigger amounts) whether I wanted to become their UK distributor. After doing some calculations I decided to go for it and became UK distributor for Green Bottle – eco-friendly and BPA free water bottles made out of stainless steel.

I feel very balanced since starting my own business 1.5 years ago. It is something I am doing for myself, not the kids, not the husband just for me. It feels great but of course it is sometimes a challenge switching between work and family.

The other day my daughter couldn’t go to nursery because she’s been sick. I was supposed to have a work meeting though. I thought of cancelling it but we agreed I would just bring her with me. Luckily it went well as she was sitting nicely and not interrupting me a lot. But kids are so different it wouldn’t have worked with my boys at all. My business bag was a great mixture between work stuff and nappies plus food and toys to keep her happy. I’ve been proud I could go to that meeting as it was important for me and I’ve been proud of my daughter too.

You see, you can combine work & family and feeling balanced at the same time.

daniela schaffrik
Daniela Schaffrik is Founder and Director of A Fine Choice Limited.

Please have a look at my blog where I share lots of experience I made as a Mumpreneur.

You can follow us on Twitter or join us at Facebook.

Telephone +44 (0)7904 959 574