Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
My name is Jo Temple. I became a mum when I was 31 to Lucas who is now 9 and I live with him and my fiancé DaveIn Woking, Surrey.
What’s your business called?
Frank & Bloom
Can you describe it in one sentence?
Dedicated to girls being themselves Frank & Bloom is a unique Surrey, Hampshire & Berkshire–based photography experience, exclusively for girls aged 4-18.
When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
When Lucas was 2 ½ years old, he started going to nursery for a few hours every week. I realised it wouldn’t be long before he was at school and I would need to find an additional source of income to support my fiancé. We had been working so hard to save for a property and whilst he was covering our costs at home on a single income, we were struggling to save significantly enough to achieve that goal. Also, before Lucas was born, I had always worked and missed the feeling of independence and confidence I gained from it.
My priority was, and always will be, Lucas and I was determined to be able to be there for him when he got home from nursery/school. I thought about rekindling my coaching business “The Live Life Company”, through which I coached women with confidence issues. It had potential as I could coach in the evenings whilst Lucas was asleep, and my clients were home from work.
However, before Lucas was born, I had a major interest in photography. I was given my first film SLR camera when I was 10 and was always taking photos of friends and family. I loved Photoshop and in my 20’s I would spend hours in the evenings on my computer learning and experimenting with it.At the time my friends and friends of friends were asking me if I could take a few images of their kids, either for Christmas, birthdays or a nice family shot. I was in my study editing a few shots for one of my friends when it dawned on me that I loved photography and since people were asking me to help,maybe I had an opportunity to make a living out of it? I became a Mumpreneur when I started Jo Temple Photographyin 2014, and I decided to niche into girls portrait photography by setting up Frank & Bloom 4 years later.
How did you fund your start up?
When I first started Jo Temple Photography, I set up a website using a website template platform called Zenfolio. Zenfoliocost me around £100 a year. I already had a good DSLRcamera that I had bought two years before Lucas was born and I had paid off. In the first year, there were additional costs of course – company set up fees, domain names, additional equipment like a computer, lenses and props etc. which we bought from savings or from the money I was making from clients. I used the images I had already taken for free of friends and their friends for my portfolio, and asked the families to share my website on Facebook. Facebook and other social media platforms are perfect vehicles for promoting an image-based service such as mine, so I kept busy on those platforms. As my client base grew, word of mouth and referrals contributed heavily to growing Jo Temple Photography for a good four years.
For Frank & Bloom, I used the income from Jo Temple Photography to pay for web designers, a new camera and PR/ Marketing support.
How do you manage working around your children?
It’s taken me a while to get better at this, I must admit. I used to drop Lucas off at school, come home and start doing household chores. By 12pm I would sit down to work before picking Lucas up from school at 3pm! My theory was “If my house is clean and everything is in order, I will feel better and be more productive when I work” and I was wrong.
These days I get up early – an hour and half before we leave for school, have a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast. When I get back, I ignore any mess (it’s really hard), make myself a cuppa and go straight upstairs to work. I now order food shops online in the evenings and by the time I pick Lucas up from school, I would have had a good 5 hours of work completed. The clearing up occurs in spurts after I’ve picked Lucas up from school, in between homework and play.
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
I used to split up my time in the order of mum/homemaker/photographer. Working from home and on your own can create multiple distractions and so now when I return from drop off, I am officially at work. I may be physically at home, but I imagine I am reaching my office instead. I wouldn’t be able to do household chores if that were the case.
I first check my overnight emails and respond to any new enquires. I then load up “Trello”, a free organisational tool which has been a real help in organising everything I need to do into one place, with effective prioritisation. I use “To do”boards that I have created and have added levels of priorities to. I can see from this what needs my attention first and I can then plan my day.
Trello is saved on a tab on my browser and anytime I think of something (whether a short or long-term task or idea), I add it to Trello there and then (so I don’t forget it) apply a level of priority and can get back to what I was doing. It’s a bit like writing down a list of things to do the next day when you can’t get to sleep. I can stick to my plan without worrying about or thinking about other things I shouldn’t.
For regular tasks I have apportioned certain days of the week or month to them. Writing blogs happens every other Monday for instance, and I try to research and write enough so I am a couple of months ahead. Social media posts are weekly on a Thursday. Examples of other tasks would be editing shoots, sourcing locations for shoots, blogging, posting on social media, monthly newsletters, setting up Google or Facebook ads, researching or contacting other organisations that I could affiliate with.
I also get out the timer on my phone and I give myself a realistic time limit to complete a task. Giving myself a time limit for each task has really helped me get more done. It has also helped with procrastination, “should I, shouldn’t I?”. I don’t have the time to think and just get it done.
What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
Time management and prioritisation
When I first started out and sat down to work, I would apply a very light brush approach to this. I had an enormous list of things to do, often scribbled down on different pieces of paper. Whilst I always began working on what I believed was a priority, I didn’t plan my day or apply too much thought to what tasks were most urgent or perhaps needed to be done before I could do another. I was prone to distractions, having an idea or moving onto other important tasks without necessarily completing my first one.
Often, tackling a task would make me realise I had other things to do and before I knew it, I was researching that. I would miss things that were important like tax deadlines and I was constantly experiencing last minute panics, hurrying through things and cursing myself for not being more organised. It wasn’t working out!!! I had to try a different routine.
As an exercise, sitting down with my partner to construct and follow a plan just for my next day really helped me to realise the benefits of planning as a whole. Discussing my plan with someone else also helped me to pull myself up out of what I was doing and see the bigger picture. I think being accountable to someone in the initial stages really helped me. It doesn’t have to be a partner, just someone you have asked to question you or tell you off if you have wandered off somewhere else. Initially, he would check in with me at lunch to see how I was getting on. If I had veered from the plan, I needed a good reason and it was happening more than I had realised. If I just stuck to the plan religiously, I would find I was getting through my tasks with more focus and therefore more quickly.
Also, there were often tasks that I would avoid because they seemed more challenging, daunting or even boring. I had a tendency to aim first for the low hanging fruit or quick winswith the excuse that I would just get them out of the way. Because I now understand and believe in my plan, I just get my head down and get through what needs to be done, so I can tick them off the list or get to the things they are sometimes holding up.
When I started Jo Temple Photography I had been aphotography enthusiast for decades. I had been on photography courses, watched thousands of hours of training videos on camera operation, working with light and Photoshop but I had no formal degree or qualifications to fall back on. Was this ok? Could I charge people for something I wasn’t officially trained in? I recently read an article on “imposter syndrome” and in hindsight I definitely suffered with it! It held me back for a while with Jo Temple Photography as I dreaded someone asking me “so what training have you had?”.
One day I just decided to “face the fear and do it anyway”, and I have never looked back. I soon realised that if I looked after my clients the way I would want to be, set expectations and delivered on what I promised, they didn’t care about certificates and training. On reflection, I also realised and was lucky in that aside from my initial call out fee (which the client would have committed to, based upon my portfolio), they only had to buy what photographs they liked after that. Of course, there was a terrifying fear that they may not like my work, but at that stage I had delivered the key part of my product before they had bought it.
What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
Having the best of both worlds by being able to be there for my son and having my independence to work. I have also gained a real sense of achievement from coming this far. I would tell any Mumpreneur to see any challenges as an eventual boost of confidence once overcome. They will be overcome so long as you keep going.
What are your plans for the future?
Very simply, to promote and market Frank & Bloom as much as I can. Having only launched in December 2018, it is still in the brand awareness stage so that would be my focus for the foreseeable future. I would also love to collaborate with other organisations and businesses that hold the same values and ethos as Frank & Bloom. Guest blog posting on each other’s websites is something I want to focus on as well.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Every one of us must start somewhere. Don’t look at the whole picture as much as you can or else it will appear too daunting. Get organised first! Mind dump, then prioritise and just work through one or two tasks at a time. Continue to mind dump and reprioritise but don’t get distracted.
Don’t try and line all your ducks up before you start and consider that this may be a sign of procrastination or a personal need for everything to be neat and tidy. If you need to make money faster, then be prepared to get moving before everything is perfectly in place. Ask yourself “Is this taskessential to what my business needs, to be successful from day one?”. Not having the time to do those things because you may be too busy with customers is the best problem you can possibly hope for isn’t it? If you are achieving levels of success, then the business could potentially pay for these things to be done, if you don’t have the time. I include housework in that statement as well by the way. If your business starts to achieve a steady income and your business makes more money per hour than the cost of a cleaner, then is a cleaner not the right decision? You’ll have more time to invest in growing your business and making more money.
Continuously remind yourself why you are doing what you do and know that if you keep going you will eventually change your circumstances in the way you initially set out to. Your alternative is to take the free time you do have, waste it and forever be in the same situation.
Most of the things you will need to do are “Just things to be done” and merely require an application of time. Typically,they are not things that need a high level of intelligence or understanding to be completed. If you don’t know about something, ask friends or family you think may know. Aside from that, the internet is a fantastic source of information on almost any topic. If there is something you don’t know about, search for a video online and go from there. I prefer videos because I can do other less taxing tasks whilst they play andmake notes more easily. It’s also just easier to listen than read isn’t it?
Finally, be kind to yourself and don’t expect perfection. Remember that you are your brand and there is no one else like you! There is no one else who will have the same rapport with your clients or deliver the same service and that’s what makes you unique!
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Yes, that I’m excited for what this year may bring and looking forward to reading other people’s stories on this site 😊