Tag Archives: mumpreneur

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

Top 5 Time Management Tips for Juggle Mums

If you’re like most time pressed Mumpreneurs, you probably find that much of your time and focus is spent juggling day-to-day administrative and office management tasks (and your childrens’ social diary) rather than on actually growing your business.

Planning your day efficiently can really give you hours back, increase your productivity and help you leverage your time more effectively.

Here are my top 5 time management tips for time starved Mumpreneurs:

1. Set goals. Set yourself achievable daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals for your business and family life and stick to them. If they seem overwhelming break them down into manageable chunks and tackle them one step at a time.

2. Plan your day in advance. In the evening or the first 10 minutes of your current working day, plan your ‘to do’ list so that you can start your day with focus.  Batch similar tasks to be worked on together and add times to them so that you know precisely when you will work on them.

3. Use your calendar effectively. Block out time to work on specific projects and stick to these times. Schedule everything from phone calls to meetings to picking the kids up from school.  Never agree to calls or meetings with no clear agenda or end time.

4. Switch your phone to voicemail or divert it to your call minding service and use that time solely to clear the items out of your to-do pile.

5. Manage your email inbox effectively. Aim to clear your inbox. Once you have deleted unwanted mails either action or file the remainder immediately - you will find that your inbox is much less of an interruption and source of stress. If you regularly receive a lot of emails then allocate a couple of set times in the day to go through and action items.

Julia BurmanJulia Burman specialises in providing virtual business support, lifestyle management and coaching for mums in business.

For more information you can contact Julia directly at [email protected] or visit www.juliaburman.com

You can also follow her on Twitter and join her at Facebook

 

 

 

 

Mums in Business at Home – what a difference an hour makes

In an interview last year I was asked the question “If you could only work on your business for 1 hour a day what would you focus on to make it a success?”

That’s a great question and started me thinking about how important it is particularly for us mums to get the most out of the time when we’re working in and on our business, so here are some ideas and strategies to help.

A space to call your own – well for an hour or two! – being a mum in business and working from home means clear boundaries between business and family is important. I’m fortunate enough to have a separate space in my house and the physical boundary of a door can be important to avoid the distractions of for example house tasks (think ‘out of sight, out of mind’) allowing 100% focus on the business when I’m in that space. Dedicated space however isn’t possible for everyone in which case drawing up a schedule for use of the kitchen/dining room table and posting it up on the fridge for family members to see should help. You and they will know that the physical space is yours for the allotted time giving you also the mental space to focus on the work you need to get done.

Be realistic with time and tasks – trying to cram in a full revision of your business plan or update of your web site in an hour or so isn’t realistic for most of us so break the big tasks down in to smaller, achievable ones working towards the overall goal.  Many working from home mums with school age children will be working the ‘split-shift’ work system – you get the children to school, start work on the business, collect children from school (play, dinner, bed), then back to work on the business once they’ve gone to sleep (that’s the theory anyway!), sneaking in business calls, emails or anything else when you can.

This is a demanding schedule and it’s important to prioritise tasks according to when you’re most productive. For example if you’re a bit of a night owl and some of your best ideas ping in your mind later on, save the more creative tasks until after your children have gone to bed. Longer tasks such as business reviews will need blocks rather than snatches of time to work on so schedule those in when you know (all things being equal!) your time is less likely to be uninterrupted.

Make routine work – I know it sounds obvious but tasks such as checking emails and using social media lend themselves perfectly to a routine. Recent research says many people are starting to develop the FOMO (fear of missing out) complex in relation to social media in particular but the reality is if you’re running a business you can’t be on Twitter and Facebook all the time!  If you’re using Twitter for example schedule in the reading of timelines, postings and RTs twice a day. With email, decide on the frequency you want to check them and stick to it. If you are using ‘push’ notifications (posts/emails are pinged to your smartphone) set the phone to ‘silent’ so your work flow isn’t interrupted. If you’re that worried about ‘missing out’ on the latest news from your social media network it might be time to re-think how you’re using it.

Remember emotional boundaries – as well as the physical boundary of the kitchen table or separate room to work in, it’s worth remembering to set your ‘emotional’ boundaries too. By this I mean being clear in your head when you are ‘business woman’ and when you are ‘mum’. I try to schedule in at least 15-20 minutes before I do the school run to clear my head of business things and get back in to ‘parent mode’. Throughout the course of a day we switch from work to parent mode often without thinking about it, but taking a little time to think of ways to help you make that switch may help you be more ‘present’ both with your children and your business.

A change of plan doesn’t mean you’ve failed – whether you’ve had a call from the school to say your child is poorly or you’ve realised a piece of work you’ve taken on is taking longer than expected (it happens to all of us), try not to see a change to your work plan as failure. If you haven’t a partner to share the unexpected childcare situation the bottom line is your family comes first (see ‘Remember why you’re doing this’ below). If a client job is taking up way more time than you bargained for resulting in the re-scheduling of other tasks, try not to see this as a failure either. Take a moment to think about why it has happened, evaluate your strategies for how you calculate and cost out your time (that applies equally to service and product industries by the way) learn from it for next time, and move on.  I have had to learn over the last 5 years that it’s fine to be a ‘good enough’ Mum, and there’s no reason why this can’t be applied to your business as well.

Remember why you’re doing this – it’s easy to get caught up in the whirl of day-to-day business when the children are at school – fitting in client appointments, calls, making products, delivering services and much more. Being time limited makes us focus on the tasks in hand often at the exclusion of anything else (including eating!) and I know there are occasions when I’m sitting in the car waiting to pick up my son from school wishing I had ‘just another hour’ to work on the business. Having a family and running a business are not and never should be mutually exclusive in fact for many mums the freedom of being able to work around the children as opposed to the children around the work is a key factor in deciding to start a business in the first place giving flexibility to be around for children that employed work often doesn’t. For others being self-employed is just a way of life, it’s what we’ve always done long before the children came along. Whatever your reasons, remember that you’re the boss so when she says ”take a few hours out to see the class concert” listen and act!

Get yourself a coach or mentor – this is one of the best pieces of advice I can give anyone starting or running a business regardless of whether they are a Mum or not. Coaches can be helpful for working with you on confidence issues, business skills and attitudes, whereas mentors can help to bounce ideas around, progress specific business goals and of course to learn from their experiences.  Whether you choose a coach or a mentor, the main thing is to find someone you feel happy to work with and who will support you in achieving your goals and getting the best out of the time available. Time spent on mentoring or coaching is some of the best time you can spend and will benefit business and family. My mentor keeps me focused, challenges my thinking, and allows me space to share difficulties and frustrations as well as teaching me strategies to make better use of my time and maximising business opportunities when they arise.
So now, if you’re interested in my answer to the original question at the start of this guest blog you can read the full interview here but in a nutshell I said I would split my 60 minutes into three parts allocated to social media interaction, personal interaction (e.g. telephone calls) and focusing ‘on’ rather than ‘in’ the business looking at areas such as business plans, targets, exploring strategic partnership opportunities. Oh and a little bit of speed mentoring too. That’s an awful lot to pack into 60 minutes but is definitely achievable.

Now it’s my turn to ask you the question…“If you could only work on your business for 1 hour a day what would you focus on to make it a success?”

Lorraine Allman MD Speed Mentor CentralLorraine Allman is Managing Director of Speed Mentor Central® a company providing services and expertise to entrepreneurs and small businesses. She personally offers business mentoring and practical support to anyone thinking about starting or already running a business, and is an author at the number one ranked Small Business Blog  and one of the leaders of the micro-enterprise initiative Enterprise Rocks.

Lorraine is supporting Mummy Mentoring Month by offering two 30 minute mentoring sessions and a two-hour practical support session for one lucky person. You can follow her on Twitter @beindemand

This blog is part of my Mummy Mentoring Month series – support and advice for you and your business from a different guest blogger, each day throughout March. Follow the link to see how we are raising money for charity with this initiative.

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Don’t forget our charity auction of mentoring services is now live.  Take a look at the Mummy mentoring page  to see what is on offer and grab yourself a bargain!