Fiercemums

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?

I am Gemma Stow I am married to Mark, and we have two gorgeous children Matilda (8) and Grayson (4). They rock my world.

What’s your business called?

Gemma Stow and I am the founder of Fiercemums.

Can you describe it in one sentence?

I empower ambitious mums who are unfulfilled and ready to be more than just a mum, to be more confident and clear on what they really want, by helping them to get to the bottom of what is holding them back.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I actually started my first business when my daughter was born back in 2008. I wanted something different and wanted to work for myself to give me more flexibility, so I took voluntary redundancy whilst on maternity leave from the National Probation Service where I had been a Probation Officer for 8 years. Starting a family made me realise my ambitions and how much I love to do work I love – it is a part of who I am.

My first business was working with disadvantaged young people mainly with challenging behaviour that stopped them reaching their full potential in mainstream school. I had an amazing team of staff and the business built up a great reputation and I won a Network She award for our achievements.

However, after working with a business mentor (that was originally to help me up level and grow the business) I realised that after 7 years I wanted something different and my passions had changed.

I made the heartbreaking decision to close the centre in December 2015 and was left wondering what I really wanted.

After a great deal of soul searching and figuring out my own strengths, I decided to make steps into the coaching world and haven’t looked back. I am, and always have been, all about unlocking the potential in others.

How did you fund your start up?

My coaching business is all based online, and having debts from the closure of my previous business I needed to do something that would be easy to start and would only cost me my time.

I started my coaching business whilst working full time hours that I squashed into four days so it left me one day to work on the business plus the weekends and evening I put into it. The thing is – because I love what I do it doesn’t feel like work to me I enjoy it that much.

It was hard returning back to working for someone else at that time, but I knew it wasn’t forever and they also supported me regarding my new business venture.

My first biggest outlay was hiring my own coach. I didn’t have the funds so I used my credit card and knew deep down that I would make that investment back. I did within 6 months.

I knew that this was what I needed to really do to build my own confidence and make this business take off. It was the best investment I could have made. In myself.

How do you manage working around your children?

I have found what works for me and my family. I also love helping ambitious fiercemums with managing this juggle.

It is not easy and was one of the reasons I wanted to work for myself in the first place. I have set times when I work and have set times for fun. I changed my lifestyle so I get up super early and have time for me and my work. I can say that there are days when I would rather carry on working, but the school bell is looming and I find that hard sometimes to switch off.

Being present with whatever you are doing is the best advice I can give. Multi tasking just frustrates everyone – you and your children.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?

I get up at 515am – exercise and meditate or journal (sometimes that can mean having a cuppa and five minutes to myself before the rest of the house stirs) and then revisit my goals and I set myself three main things to get done that day – the rest is a bonus. Making time for you is crucial to getting the right mindset for success. I didn’t realise this at first but have learnt that this is a vital part of the journey.

Most busy mums, including myself, use the lack of time as an excuse, it doesn’t have to be that way and there will be a way of managing your time that suits you and your family but it will take dedication.

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?

The biggest challenge is doing it all myself and wearing all the different hats which also includes being a mum. I am not sure there is a perfect balance to this and it is more about doing your best with what you’ve got.

Even though I have years of experience playing different roles in my previous business, our growth meant we could eventually have specialists who would take on these roles for me such as accountants, PR, team managers, admin etc – however now there is just me again and I am back doing it all.

Juggling all the many areas of business is not easy and we all have strengths in different ones. I know that as soon as I can, I will be outsourcing the bits I am not that fussed about and giving them to someone who loves it, so I can concentrate and focus on the bits I love to do which is coaching my clients for transformational change.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

Being my own boss! Making decisions about my work and when, where, how and who I want to work with and what I want to do.

I love it and am grateful for social media for letting me build an amazing community and making incredible connections with other women and ambitious mums who are on the same path as I am. Their support is invaluable to me.

What are your plans for the future?

To grow. Both myself and the business and help my clients do the same.

Reach even more ambitious mums and keep on inspiring them everyday to be the best version of themselves.

I will have different ways women can work with me so I can be more accessible. From online courses, to retreats, to more group programmes and 1-1 private coaching with me.

The fiercemums private group will keep growing and we are already at 1000 members.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?

1. Keep going – Self belief is everything. Self doubt kills more dreams than failure ever could. And don’t be afraid of failure or getting things wrong. I really don’t believe you can ever fail at anything: You win or you learn. It is that simple.

2. Find external support – Don’t solely rely on those closest to you for support: hire a coach, join supportive communities and go out and make connections – they are what keep you going when times get hard.

3. Ditch the mummy guilt – I see this holding women back everyday. Tell your children about your business, explain it to them (when they can understand) get them onboard and share with them your vision of why building a successful business, more income and flexibility of working for yourself will only make your family have more of you. I am the best mum I can be when I am doing work I love.

4. Don’t be scared of success – If we get honest with ourselves this is usually a reason that holds us back fro going for it. We worry that we will have to spend more time away from our families or that we will have to step even further out of comfort zone that we shy away. Be bold. Be fierce.

5. Say Yes – Saying yes to opportunities that come your way and then figuring it out later. Don’t overthink and talk yourself out of it or letting others influence you. As soon as I started saying yes more, everything changed for me. You’ve got this!

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

It is so important to be passionate about what you are doing. It makes running your business so much easier and doesn’t feel like work.

Business is tough and can be sometimes be a lonely place, so make sure you love what you do and get the support you need to get you focused and clear on where you are going next.

Please come and hang out with me and other ambitious mums in our private group – see you there https://www.facebook.com/groups/fiercemums

 

www.gemmastow.com
https://www.facebook.com/groups/fiercemums
https://www.facebook.com/gemmastowfiercemum/
https://www.instagram.com/fiercemums/
https://twitter.com/fiercemum

Arden Bookkeeping

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?

Hi my name is Claire, I’m 32 and live in Solihull. I have been married for 5 years to my wonderful husband Matt. In October 2014 we had our beautiful daughter Olivia.

What’s your business called?

Arden Bookkeeping Ltd

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Accounting support for local businesses

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

After having my daughter I had maternity leave for 11 months. Through this time I dreaded going back to work and leaving my precious daughter! After paying for the childcare it almost didn’t seem worth it but we needed the small extra income I would be left with so did not really have much choice. The role I was in was not suited to part time so would be 5 days a week. Maternity leave was over all too soon and off I went back to work. At first I quite enjoyed actually using my brain again and adult conversation! It felt good to remember my enjoyment of work and rediscover the professional side of me. But I hated being apart from Olivia all week, the first pay check came in and the majority swiftly went out again and I found it really depressing! I struggled with the morning chaos trying to get my daughter to nursery and then rush down the motorway to get to work in time and my mood took a serious nose dive. It was then that I spoke to my husband about the very scary idea of going solo!! We discussed it and agreed to give it a go for 6 months then reassess. I officially left my job 6 weeks after returning and took the leap into self employment.

How did you fund your start up?

Luckily the type of business I am in has relatively low set up costs. All I needed was a computer which I had, insurance, website and accounting software. We used my last salary to cover these costs and hoped for the best!

How do you manage working around your children?

I worked two days a week meaning I still had plenty of time with Olivia and she still got the benefit of going to nursery two days.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?

I drop Olivia at nursery for 8-8.30. I get home and have a cup of tea in a quiet house (such a luxury!) then start work at 9am. I check my emails and make a list of tasks for the day. Sometimes I have client meetings or have to go to a clients office to work. If it is a day at home I go up to my office (with another cup of tea) and work on whichever clients books I’m doing that day. I have to be structured as if I’m still employed so I have lunch from 12-1 then get back to it! More processing of invoices, bank reconciliations, calculations until I leave at 5pm to collect Olivia from nursery.

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?

I was so motivated in the beginning and would go up to the office first thing and work all day but gradually the temptations of working from home began to creap in. I would think ‘I’ll just finish watching this before I start’ or I’d phone a friend and end up chatting away for an hour or so. I quickly realised if I wasn’t careful it would all get the better of me and I would end up with nothing. So that is when I began structuring my day as if I was still leaving home to go to work. Of course there are still some days where I still have more of a doss day then I should but I am on top of my deadlines and my clients needs and so feel I can give myself a bit of slack ☺️

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

I love having the best of both worlds. I get to spend time with Olivia during these precious early years but not put all the financial burden on my husband. I get to enjoy being mummy and being boss lady! I’m also earning double the salary I was getting for full time employment for half the working hours. That is a great feeling!

What are your plans for the future?

Since starting I have increased my days to 3 per week and plan by the end of this year to increase to 4. I have someone working for me to help with the load and hope to train more people in the future.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?

Have faith! The biggest thing is to believe in yourself and that you can make it a success. And for the moments you feel overwhelmed or unsure remember why you are doing it, your family are your motivation!

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I have always been an advocate for charity work and try to help others wherever I can. I am delighted to be in the position to have my business help others and regularly sponsor events, take part in fundraising and donate time and money. When I have needed help I recruit students at the beginning of their journey to help them gain experience and further themselves. If people had not had faith in me at the beginning of my career I would not be in the position I am now! I feel it is important to give back and hopefully one day they will have the faith in themselves to take this leap to.

Www.ardenbookkeeping.com

https://www.facebook.com/pg/ardenbookkeepingsolihull

Feed Nourish Glow

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?

I’m Claryn Nicholas, a wife and a mum of 2. I had my first child Imogen when I was 31 and my second Seb when I was 33.
I have a background in nursing, health visiting and teaching. I have a Masters degree in Medical and Health Care Education.

What’s your business called?

My business is called Feed Nourish Glow

Can you describe it in one sentence?

It’s a health coaching business with programme to guide, support, motivate, encourage and inspire people to achieve a healthy and happy work-life balance.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I launched my business in March 2017 so it’s still at a baby stage. I have always loved coaching people to enhance their personal and professional development and manage work-life balance. I also love food and cooking. But it wasn’t until I became ill with a really bad chest infection about 14 months ago, that not only it gave a massive kick in the backside to clean up my diet and make healthier choices to cook and eat for me and my family, but it was also a light bulb moment to find my calling; that is to become a health coach. I felt so lucky to have found an excellent health coaching training programme (Institute for Integrative Nutrition) that was just perfect for what I was looking for. I enrolled without hesitation because I knew it would change lives and I wanted to be part of it.

How did you fund your start up?

My mum gave me half of the course fee (£2000) and the other half I funded myself. I paid to have a business coach for 3 months and she helped me set up my Facebook business page amongst other things. I then set up a website 6 months into the course when I could start coaching.

How do you manage working around your children?

I’m employed and working as a health visitor and work 4 days (30 hours) a week. I run my business outside these hours. So I can work another 20-25 hours on top. My children are teenagers now so often they can occupy themselves but I make sure I have time at weekends and evening to spend time with them.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?

(Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday I work as a health visitor and my working hours are 8-4 (I leave the house at 7.15 am and get home about 4.45 pm).
I catch up on emails and social media posts for up to an hour (usually between 5-6pm), then I start cooking. Dinner with family is usually between 7-7.30pm.
3-4 evenings per week I catch up with my study and/or do 2 coaching sessions via video calls.
On Wednesday when I have a ‘day off’ which is in fact a working day for my business, and I love my Wednesdays. I have a personal training session in the gym for an hour. I study for 2 hours, business calls 1-2 hours, I write new recipe, cook it, take photos and upload the recipe and photos on to my website and social media.
I write 1-2 blogs per week and publish on my website. I do my schedule posts for Facebook on Saturday morning for the following weeks.
I go out on my bike twice per week (one of those is normally at the weekend, a long ride) and I do yoga 2-3 evenings per week.
I have started writing down what I’m going to do, what day/evening and how long for. I found this is extremely useful and I’m more productive and respectful of my time.

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?

• When I’ve given myself too much to do, it was unrealistic and the results were always disappointing or I’ve ended up doing nothing. So I set a time frame and I stick to it.

• When I’ve run out of ideas. Now every time I have buzzing with ideas or thoughts I write them down either type them on my phone or write them on a note book which I have a few!

• When I’ve compared myself with other people, when things don’t happen fast enough or when things don’t happen full stop. I will pick myself up by looking back how far I’ve come, what I’ve achieved and congratulated myself. I remind myself of self-care, self-love, and self-belief. I can’t compare my chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 20. Everything happens for a reason and I just have to trust the process. In the meantime I keep my head down, do what I love and share it with the world.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

I love the flexibility and the freedom. I am not answerable to anyone else but me. I have got to show up for me. I can change what I don’t like or if it doesn’t work without checking with anyone else first.

What are your plans for the future?

I’d love to do full time health coaching and would like to coach other people to be health coaches.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?

Be patient, everything takes time. Rome was not built in a day.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I’ve learnt that being myself has set me free to be me and authentic. I don’t have the need to follow the crowd anymore so I will no longer get lost. I’ve had more confidence and self-belief that I could achieve whatever I wanted or become whoever I wanted to be. It took years and a lot of doings because I did not love or accept myself for who I really was. I’ve learnt that you don’t need others to accept you, you just need to accept yourself. Being authentic is key because you attract the right people who want to be with you and support you.

Clarynnicholas.co.uk
Facebook.com/clarynnicholashealthcoach/
Instagram.com/feed_nourish_glow

mumpreneur photographer

Business Mums Story: Unscripted Photography

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?

My name is Claire. I’m a Mum to Harry and a wife to Andy. Harry was born in December 2013 – almost a Christmas baby, so that makes him 3 and a half at the time of writing this. And I’ve been married to Andy for 6 years.

What’s your business called?

Unscripted Photography

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Capturing {the beauty} of the EveryDay (and now the BigDays and WorkDays too)

Documentary Family, Wedding and Commercial Photographer and film maker based in Northumberland.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I launched Unscripted Photography in October 2015. Having moved from Essex to Northumberland, after my maternity leave, I did not have a job to return to. I needed something that would fit into the family ideal I so longed for. I dreaded the thought of returning to a marketing job in the city and missing out on spending time with my little man and husband. Also, as we had moved so far from home, I had no support network to help with childcare so the only option would be to find a marketing role with responsibility to make the money necessary to fund childcare and make the job financially worthwhile. With responsibility comes lots of overtime – and this is also something that I no longer longed for. Funny how Motherhood changes our outlook so much!

So. I had to work for myself. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. And it took my husband and friends to notice my talent and encourage me to launch Unscripted Photography. Being my own boss never worried me. To be honest, in my previous jobs I always hated working for someone else. Since Primary School I had an entrepreneurial spirit, and I’ve finally been able to harness that and (hopefully) flourish as a businesswoman.

Regarding inspiration – it was Harry. I had always liked and appreciated photography. But apart from travelling, I had never found a time to practice or a subject matter that I loved. Then Harry came along and the camera never left my hands. I very quickly developed a style and learnt more about the camera technically. If there hadn’t been Harry, there wouldn’t be Unscripted.

How did you fund your start up?

I already had a decent camera, but I knew to make decent money I needed proper gear. So I used some inheritance money to fund the purchase of a better camera, a top notch lens and a new computer. I designed my website myself and did all my own marketing – luckily my previous life helped me out here! Amazingly the day I launched my website, I got an enquiry. I was literally buzzing. I just couldn’t believe it. I was grinning from ear to ear.

How do you manage working around your children?

Late nights, nap times, early mornings – that’s when I do my editing, admin, marketing, blogging etc. Now Harry is at nursery three mornings a week, so I’m able to structure my work and I’m hoping that I can become more strategic with my marketing instead of just reacting to a lull. I want to ensure that I develop marketing plans and stick to them to ensure a steady stream of work.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?

On a day when Harry goes to nursery, I’m up at 6 o’clock and I sneak downstairs. The previous night I’ve left my hair straighteners, clothes and make-up downstairs so that I can get ready without waking anyone up! About 6.30 I wake up Harry and start to get him ready. We’re normally out the door by 7.45 – it takes him forever to eat his breakfast. Back home, I kiss Andy goodbye and I head upstairs to my computer to work. Harry finishes nursery at 1pm so I dart off, collect the little guy, rush home, make Andy his lunch (he normally works locally) and I enjoy some quality time with Harry before his nap at 14:45. So on a nursery Day I get quite a bit done. Although I know the napping days are numbered. Harry wakes at 16:30, so we head downstairs so he can play and I crack on with tea for 17:30. After dinner we play, have bathtime and get Harry into bed for 19:30 at which point I start work again if needs be. It feels like it never ends. Obviously, somedays I have shoots, so it can be a bit more exciting!

I must say though, I’m the typical Mumpreneur. I constantly feel guilty. Guilty that Harry’s at nursery. Guilty that when I’m playing with him I’m thinking about my to do list. Guilty that I’m listening to podcasts and not Wheels on the Bus. Guilty that I’m on the laptop when I’m sat next to hubby in the evenings. Guilty that the house needs spring cleaning. Guilty that I can bake bread, but I never do. But, at the same time, Harry sees me a lot more than if I had a traditional 9-5. And one day I will get time to clean the house properly and I will get to bake bread again. And I try to make a conscious effort to turn off the laptop at least 3 evenings a week to spend quality time with hubby. But needs must right? Competition is fierce. If I don’t put in 150% into this business – another photographer down the road will.

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?

My style of photography is quite niche and new – in the family photography genre anyway – so it has been an education process through marketing. A lot of families find it strange that a photographer may want to follow them around for a day and they wouldn’t believe that beautiful images could be captured in a messy home. So it’s been difficult to explain that actually – it’s the EveryDay life and moments that are the important ones. That images of them saying ‘cheese’ in the middle of a cornfield probably won’t mean as much as a photo of their toddler fiddling with their hair as they read a story together on their couch. The photography market is also completely saturated. I’m technically just another photographer in a big long list of photographers. So it’s been hard establishing a brand, identity and service that sets me apart from the rest.

One service that does set me apart is my film making. Yet people find it hard to believe that one person can capture film and images at the same time – but I do! I love making films for families especially. Capturing little people and their movements and interactions with those around them – it’s beautiful. I love capturing the essence of character and connections through film.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

Being BossMum. I set my own hours. I set my own goals. I have my own drive. Everything. I’m so glad I’m my own boss. It’s so much fun.

What are your plans for the future?

Oh I have so many ideas, I feel like my head is spinning most of the time. Now that I’ve established my family documentary photography service, I’m launching into wedding and commercial photography. Both documentary style. I know exciting times are ahead and I can’t wait. I’m hoping to ultimately become the main bread winner so that my husband can actually come and work for me and handle all most of the editing. It will really make a difference to our home/family life.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?

PLAN. You need a business plan, a marketing plan and strong brand. Even if you are your brand. Then develop that. Especially as a Mumpreneur, people are buying into YOU and YOUR service. So make sure that your message is strong. Your branding is strong. And you have direction.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

Cherish every moment and document it. As Mums – we see life flash before our eyes. I also see so many mums who don’t take photographs. Don’t forget photos/home-movies aren’t just for you – they’re for your children. So document the moments. You’re creating heirlooms. And then print them – because technology doesn’t last forever. And if you’d like tips on how to take better photographs of your children, I’d be delighted to send you my ‘Capture’ photography guide, just email me at claire@unscriptedphotography.co.uk and request a copy

www.unscriptedphotography.co.uk
www.facebook.com/unscripted.byclairebatey
www.vimeo.com/unscriptedphotography
www.instagram.com/unscripted.byclairebatey

Mobile hairdresser

Mobile Hairdresser: Emma’s Hair – Essex

Emma works as a mobile hairdresser as well as training other hairdressers on a freelance contract, she decided to go it alone after her maternity leave and hasn’t looked back.

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?

Hello, My name is Emma and Im 31 years old, I live in Thurrock with my husband and our son Michael. I became a mum 18 months ago.

What’s your business called?

My business name is Emma’s Hair- Essex.

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Hairdressing services and freelance education for hairdressers.

When did you become a MObile hairdresser and what inspired you?

I decided to go it alone in Sept 2016 after a years maternity leave. I wanted to go back into education which is what my passion is and I was offered a freelance educator contract with a major colour manufacturer. Being freelance meant I could work round having a baby and had more freedom than set salon days. In January 2017 I attended the Vidal Sassoon Academy to refresh my cutting skills after my maternity leave and decided to put myself out there for mobile hair services in Thurrock. Just recently I took on a second freelance contract for education in London which I’m super excited about.

How did you fund your start up?

Social media pages are free! I set up a Facebook page and advertised myself locally. When I had some pictures of clients I expanded to Instagram. I had enough product to get started then invested my profit straight away to buy more.

How do you manage working around your children?

At first having the odd day here and there I could manage by asking family. I had to stay away for training which was hard but I know it will be worthwhile in the long run. Now I’m busier I’ve just committed to a nursery day for Michael as well as our family helping out.

Can you describe a typical day as a mObile hairdresser, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?

There are now 3 parts to my business which involve a lot more admin time like spreadsheets and invoicing. I have to make sure all my equipment is cleaned and packed the night before along with Michaels stuff. I have a lot of enquires and emails to deal with which I just have to do throughout the day. I have alot of reading to do too with all the courses I teach! Things are constantly updating.

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?

Being away from home is definitely challenging and I couldn’t have done it without the support from my husband and family.

Also with being contactable 24/7 its hard to switch off, I have to be strict with myself.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

Having the freedom to pick and choose what days I work, I know in the long run I’ll have the ability to be there for Michael at certain things or events he might have.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to invest some more into advertising and marketing, I’m aware not everyone uses social media so will look at flyers and perhaps a website.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?

Go for it! It’s easier now than ever with lots of free resources like social media and Facebook pages to advertise. Local children centres often run short courses like cooking or computer skills.

www.facebook.com/emmashairessex

Instagram: @emmashairessex

If you fancy working as a mobile hairdresser check out our other stories of Offering professional services.

Working as a hypnobirthing instructor

Hypnobirthing Instructor: The Wise Hippo

Hypnobirthing can help women prepare for labour in a positive way, what’s it really like to be a hypnobirthing instructor?

What’s your business called?

The Wise Hippo Saffron Walden

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Teaching birth preparation classes to pregnant couples and supporting them throughout their pregnancy, birth and beyond.

When did you Become a HypnobiRthing instructor and what inspired you?

I trained to become a Wise Hippo instructor in February this year. I was inspired after using the Wise Hippo Birthing programme for the birth of my own baby girl, Sia. Prior to doing the course I was so terrified of giving birth that I was booked in for an elective c section! After doing the course I went from wanting an elective c section to wanting and having a home birth! I felt incredibly empowered and confident and I felt strongly that The Wise Hippo was something all pregnant couples should know about!

I am also a psychotherapist and having worked with women suffering from birth trauma, I know how impacting the birth experience can be on a new Mum. Sadly, this is often overlooked and a mum who has been through a traumatic experience is frequently told ‘having a healthy baby is all that matters’ in other words – the Mum doesn’t matter! A traumatic birth experience can have a huge impact on how a new Mum feels about herself, her baby and her partner. I feel passionate about helping women firstly to have a positive birth experience but also supporting them afterwards as well.

How did you fund your start up?

It was a big decision as I decided not to return to my full time job in London after maternity leave and focus on setting up my psychotherapy and Wise Hippo businesses so I got a local temp part time job to bring in some money to fund everything. It was a very challenging time trying to juggle everything but after 6 months I was able to leave my temporary job and focus solely on building up my businesses.

How do you manage working around your children?

It’s a constant juggling act and at first it felt overwhelming trying to fit everything in around being a Mum but now we have settled into a routine. I have my set working days when my little girl is at nursery and then switch off when she’s at home with me. I couldn’t do it all without the help of my wonderful hubby, Anthony. He is an amazing Daddy to our little girl and super supportive. Self-care is really important as well – something I often have to remind myself of! ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’ is one of my favourite sayings!

Can you describe a typical day as a hypnobirthing instructor?

I don’t really have a typical day as no two days are the same! But at the moment my working days are jam packed! To describe one day last week, I dropped Sia to nursery, responded to client emails, taught a Wise Hippo class, did an interview with the local newspaper, did a food shop and then home to do some housework before picking Sia up from nursery! Then it was playtime, dinner and bedtime for Sia, dinner with Ant followed by us collapsing on the sofa to catch up on Homeland!

What have you found hardest?

My brain tends to go into creative overdrive so being able to prioritise is always a challenge as I start thinking of a million ideas and then want to do them all at once! Learning to really focus on one thing at a time and stick at that has been challenging but worthwhile.

What’s the best thing about being self employed?

After 6 years of working full time whilst training part time to become a psychotherapist, I am finally doing two jobs that I feel truly passionate about which is the best feeling! I love that everything I do in my work is ultimately about helping and empowering others.

What are your plans for the future?

I have big plans for next year! As well as continuing to build my businesses I will be training to become a Doula and I will also be training to work with women suffering from pregnancy loss. I am also setting up PANDAS support groups for women suffering post-natal depression and anxiety which will begin in January. I have lots of exciting projects in the pipeline and can’t wait to see them all come together!

What advice would you give for someone just starting out?

Believe in yourself and just go for it! The best advice I received when I first started out was: ‘no one really knows what they are doing when they first start a business – we are all just winging it’ – it was reassuring and gave me confidence to go for it and learn along the way! Mistakes are just learning curves – don’t be scared to make them!

Get all the support you can especially in the early days. Find yourself a mentor who is willing to coach you or watch some tutorials online. There are lots of brilliant free business coaching videos on You Tube – Joanna Martin is amazing and this webinar is inspirational and well worth a watch: http://oneofmany.co.uk/befruitful-webinar/

www.thewisehippo-saffronwalden.com
www.facebook.com/thewisehippo-saffronwalden.com
https://twitter.com/THEWISEHIPPOSW
Email: zoe@thewisehippo-saffronwalden.com

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Interested in running classes? Check out these Mum’s storiesthese Mum’s stories.

5 signs it’s time to change from Stay at Home Mum to Mumpreneur

Being a stay at home Mum can be great, you’re there for all of the milestones, you don’t have to worry about finding (not to mention paying for) childcare and there’s no commute to worry about. However it can get a bit lonely, and dare I say it, a little bit boring!

Your brain feels numb from overexposure to Cbeebies

Talking to/about toddlers all day can get a bit mind numbing after a while. If you feel like you need an intellectual challenge then starting a business can provide you with that. Even if you’re still suffering from a bit of baby brain (my kids are 4 and 6 and I’m still using that excuse!) getting the brain cells working again can help you shake it off.

You’re worried that you’re not keeping up with workplace skills

Taking a career break to care for your children can have an effect on your long term career. Keeping your skills up to date is one way to mitigate the effect and running a business is a great way to do it. Running my business I’ve developed my IT skills, research skills, communications skills, writing skills. I’ve even learnt web development and marketing from scratch.

You need something that’s just for you

Having children is great but it’s easy to lose your sense of self when they take over your world. Running a business can give you back your sense of identity. It means that for some of the week you’ll get called by your own name instead of so and so’s Mummy. Starting a business helped me to avoid a repeat experience of postnatal depression after my second child was born.

You aren’t comfortable relying on your partner for money

Let’s be clear, being a stay at home Mum is of equal value to going out to work. You are entitled to a share of the household income. Knowing this still doesn’t mean we always feel comfortable about it. Earning your own money can be very satisfying. There’s nothing quite like treating your family to a meal out with money you’ve earned from your own business.

You want to set a good example for your children

Following your dreams is a great example to set for your children. If you want to run your own business, doing so can help show your children that you can achieve whatever you want in life if you work hard.

If you’re feeling inspired to swap being a stay at home mum for being a Mumpreneur check out our 10 Great Business Ideas for Mums.

Working as a freelance photographer

Freelance Photographer: Pied Piper Photography

Lindsay has been a freelance photographer from 9 years, has 4 children and loves documenting life and being creative in her work.

Tell us your name and a bit about your family?When did you become a Mum and to whom?

I became a mum almost 10 years ago and now have four children in total which are the light of my life!

What’s your business called?

Pied Piper Photography

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Unique timeless heirloom photography that captures the simple magic of life!

When did you become a freelance photographer and what inspired you?

I’ve been in business for almost 9 years now. I love to create and more importantly document lives so it was a matter of feeling the need to do it!

How did you fund your start up?

I was gifted a camera and lens by my husband, a computer by my parents and saved little by little for the others that started to become necessary as the demand increased.

How do you manage To work as freelance photographer around your children?

With difficulty! It’s not easy but has slightly become more manageable since my older three are in school.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?

UP, dress, breakfast for the oldest, put on the tea, drag two out of bed (EVERY.DAY), change and dress baby, pack up kids out the door, school dropoff, straight to the gym with baby, workout (essential for my sanity!), head home, baby to nap….WORK (edit images, answer emails, invoice, finances, phone calls), late lunch for me and baby, prep dinner, school pickup, CRAZYTOWN (ie dinner, cleanup dinner, baths) for about three hours, then BEDTIME (PARTY!!) and then a bit more work if needs be, snuggle with my hubby and a favorite show!

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?

Time management and marketing. I’ve had to learn better self control with my time otherwise my family suffers while I am glued to the computer. Marketing is still a skill I am trying to acquire!

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

Being able to do what I love and still be with my babies while they are small!

What are your plans for the future?

Hoping to get to my target market and then work on personal photography projects that maybe make it into books?!? (DREAMS!)

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?

Be patient and learn your craft well…never stop learning.

http://www.piedpiperphoto.com
http://www.lindsaysilsby.com
IG: @piedpiperphoto
FB: https://www.facebook.com/Pied-Piper-Photography-37670115953/

Want more inspiration? Check out more stories of Mums in Business.

Considering a franchise

Considering a Franchise? 5 Questions you need to ask

Starting a business is a big decision so it’s important to take everything in to account when considering a franchise and deciding weather its right for you.

What size territory should you look for when considering a franchise?

In some ways, the larger the territory the better. The more people in your territory , the more potential customers you have. However if you only want to work a set number of hours so will only run in one part of the territory then you may end up paying for areas that you won’t operate in. For example, if your territory has two major towns and you only plan to operate in one. If your business is something people will only travel a short distance for, like baby classes, then a small territory could be better. If you’re offering something that people will travel for then a big territory can help make sure you aren’t competing with other franchisees.

How much are the on going fees and what do you get for them?

Most franchisors ask you to pay a fee, usually monthly, quarterly or annually. This is to cover the cost of things like national marketing, maintenance of resources like websites and support. Sometimes the fee is a percentage of sales or it can be a fixed amount. If it’s fixed, bear in mind you’ll have to pay it, weather you’re making money or not and if you plan to keep your business quite small, it can be a big chunk of your profits.

To decide if the fee is reasonable, find out exactly what you get for it. How much national marketing do they undertake, how quickly is the website updated and how much Support do they offer you? Find out what their service standards are in terms of how long they expect it to take for them to reply to emails, make changes to the website etc.

What will your relationship be like with other franchisees?

One of the main benefits of running a franchise as opposed to going it alone is the support and much of this comes from more experienced franchisees. Is there a way for all franchisees to keep in touch, for example a forum or a Facebook group? Are there any training events or get together where you’ll meet in person? Do the local franchisees work together to benefit from local events, for example splitting the cost of regional advertising or trade show attendance?

How is Social Media dealt with?

Social media is a massive part of how people find out about goods and services these days. This means it’s important to understand how it will be used when considering a franchise. Are social media accounts set up for each individual franchise? Or are they regional with a number of people sharing a page? Are there guideline for how to manage it? Both in practical terms and the protection of the businesses reputation.

Also on the subject of social media, it’s also worth having a look at posts and reviews about the business. This will give you an idea of the sort of reputation they have.

What happens if it doesn’t work out? Or if it does?

While it’s important to be positive we also need to protect ourselves if the worst should happen. Find out if you are able to sell the franchise if you no longer want to run it. If you are, do you need approval of the franchisors? Do they take a percentage of the sale price? If you just want to stop running the franchise, will you owe them anything? Some franchise contracts include an agreement that you will continue to pay the management fee. This can be until another franchisee is found or your contract expires.

On the other hand, if you still want to carry on when the contract expires, what are the renewal terms? Is renewal automatic. Is there a charge? Can they increase the management fee when you renew?

If you’re considering a franchise then check out our Eight Best Franchise Business Types for Mum  and our directory of franchise opportunities.

Running a nursery

Running a Nursery – The Woodland Nursery Experience

Running a nursery is hard work but can be very rewarding if you love children and seeing them develop, find out about The Woodland Nursery experience.

What’s your business called?

The Woodland Nursery.

Can you describe it in one sentence?

We are the first outdoor nursery in South East London for 2.5 – 5 year olds based on the Forest School ethos that the closer to nature children are, the happier they will be and therefore the more likely they are to learn.

When did you start it and what inspired you?

The Woodland Nursery opened it’s virtual doors in April 2015. The idea for the nursery first came about by simply observing how much my three sons thrived in an outdoors environment. They were happier, more creative, more communicative and generally seemed ‘at home’ out in the open rather than being cooped up inside.

How did you fund your start up?

I used some savings together with a government start up loan.

How do you manage working around your children while running a nursery?

I have three young boys and chose to open my nursery from 9am – 3:30pm so I am still able to do the school run with my two eldest sons. My youngest son accompanies me alongside the other nursery children.

Can you describe a typical day?

My assistant, Laura, welcomes the parents and children to the morning session at our purpose built indoor space (‘base camp’) while I take my two eldest sons to school. When I get back the children change into their waterproofs, we collect whatever equipment we need for the session and then head off into either nearby woodland, a local farm or park. Once there the children engage in various outdoor activities of a multi-sensory nature, designed to encourage learning in all areas. The set their own boundaries and take their own risks but within our supervised guidelines. After snacks and stories we head back to base camp to collect the children for the afternoon session and repeat the process. At the end of the session, we return to base camp and wait for the parents to collect their children. I then head off to collect my own children from school while Laura finishes up and gets everything ready for the following day. If we have a spare session, we spend our time either catching up on administration or planning future sessions/new activities.

What have you found hardest about running a nursery?

Dealing with all the administration that goes into running your own business. I initially underestimated just how much there is to do as I was so focused on the Forest School sessions with the children that I forgot to take a step back and look at how everything would fit together.

What’s the best thing about being self employed?

Apart from having the freedom to make important decisions concerning which way the business will go and not being answerable to anyone but myself, the feeling of accomplishment as it’s incredibly satisfying knowing that all my hard work and sleepless nights have finally paid off.

What are your plans for the future?

I am looking to acquire a site where we can leave all our equipment permanently set up. As well as saving us valuable travelling time and not having to erect and dismantle the equipment, it will also enable us to progress to more advanced levels of activities with the children such as fire making and using tools. I plan to expand the nursery and employ more staff as time goes on so we can offer our unique nursery environment to more and more children. I also have long term plans to start another business once this one is fully established.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out?

Thoroughly research your idea to see if it’s viable. Listen to advice from varying sources and make sure you utilize all resource available to you. Once you have your great idea, make sure you do your homework properly in order to get it off the ground. Don’t skimp on anything, especially the boring bits (of which there will be more than you think). By doing this you will save yourself a lot of time and effort further down the line and be sound in the knowledge that you have given yourself the best possible start towards your business being a great success.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

If you believe enough in what you are doing and have enough passion, you will succeed and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If I can start and run my own business with three young children to look after then so can anyone. Good luck!

Website: http://www.thewoodlandnursery.co.uk
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thewoodlandnursery
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TWNrsry
Email: thewoodlandnursery@gmail.com

If you think childcare might be for you but you don’t fancy running a nursery, check out our post about becoming a childminder.

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