In terms of career choice, blogger is relatively recent addition to our options. Bloggers have been around since the early days of the internet. They started out as simply an online version of the paper journals many people used to keep and it’s only in the last 10 years or so that people have really started to make money from it. Parent bloggers are one of the largest groups of bloggers, here are some of the reasons that blogging attracts them.
Low Entry Barriers
These days, it’s very easy to start a blog. You don’t need to know any coding or have more technical skills than it takes to use a word processor and the internet. There are lots of platforms around, like WordPress, Blogger and Square Space, where you can start a blog and be online in less than an hour.
Blogging also has little or no costs associated with it when you first start. Even if you choose to buy your own domain name, and host your own site, you could spend less than £100 in the first year.
Parent Bloggers have Flexibility
This is obviously one of the huge benefits for parents who need to fit their work around children, especially younger ones. You can blog in the evenings, while they nap, while they’re in the soft play or while they’re at school.
This flexibility does come at a cost though. Blogging can easily take over your life. It takes time to build a blog and it’s easy to end up spending every spare moment on it. Once you start to get paid work, you’ll also have deadlines to meet and that can be tricky if your children are also demanding your time.
We’re often sharing our lives anyway
In the age of social media, many of us spend a lot of time sharing our lives online anyway. Social media is a huge part of blogging and so can feel like a natural extension of it. It’s important to bear in mind that what we share will be in the public domain forever. When they first start, every blogger has to decide how much information they are comfortable putting out there. Some people are happy to share images, names and town, others give their children nicknames for the blog and only share photos of them from behind. Ultimately there is no right choice, you just have to decide what you’ve comfortable with.
A Creative Outlet
Parenting may be very rewarding but it can also be really tedious. If you are used to working full time and having your work recognised, it can be hard to adjust to spending your days at home, changing nappies. Most bloggers have always had an interest in writing and enjoy the chance to express themselves through their blog.
For some bloggers, photography is key to their blog and that’s where their passion lays. Whatever topic you care about, a blog can provide you with a way to keep that passion alive and share it with others.
A Sense of Community
While some women are lucky and have lots of friends with babies, others aren’t. Blogging can be a great way to meet other parents who you have something other than your status as a mother in common with. The blogging world is a very friendly one where, in general people support each other and that can be a life line if you’re finding parenting a bit lonely.
If you want to work from home and enjoy writing, blogging is definitely something to consider. Building a blog from scratch is hard work and it takes before money can be made but if you love it, it’s well worth the effort. If you fancy giving blogging a go, check out this great parent bloggers course*.
This post contains affiliate links, identified with *
Working as a virtual assistant involves providing admin services to other businesses, often small businesses and one man bands, in exchange for a fee. This might be a set fee you are pained every month for taking responsibility for certain tasks, or a payment for a one off piece of work. Some people prefer to take on a virtual assistant franchise to lower the start up risk and have access to support.
Virtual Assistant work often fits in well for mums as it can be done from and can usually be fitted into the hours you have available as long as work is completed by the agreed deadline.
Starting a virtual assistant franchise rather than going it alone can increase your chances of success as the franchisee will provide training and you will be working under an established brand.
To help you decide if work as a virtual assistant is for you, we have interviewed Sandra, who runs a virtual assistant franchise with Pink Spaghetti.
Tell us your name and a bit about your family?
My name is Sandra and I moved to Sussex with my family 7 years ago, I am married to Paul, who is a Product Manager in London and mum to three girls, Mia aged almost 14, Alexa aged 11 and Sienna aged 9
What’s your business called?
Pink Spaghetti PA Services
Can you describe it in one sentence?
Your 25th hour in the day, offering you the ‘Gift of Time’.
How did You end up buying a Virtual assistant franchise and what inspired you?
I started my virtual PA business over two years ago and have never felt more fulfilled. I had always wanted to run my own business, especially after starting a family of my own. When my first child came along I reduced my hours to part time with the full intention of returning full time to my corporate role but when no.2 arrived and then no.3 I knew I had to have the flexibility of working for myself and started to think and search for ways to achieve this, I dreamt of running my own business someday and knew I had to turn this dream into a reality.
How did you fund your start up?
I had a small savings plan mature and weighed up the pros and cons of putting it towards a new car or holiday but instead the business concept won out. I didn’t want to look back at retirement and regret not going for it. I knew in my heart of hearts that it was now or never!
How do you manage Running your virtual assistant franchise around your children?
I work during school hours but sometimes have to work after school pick up or in between school clubs. I make sure I carve out time to support them in their homework or have a planned meal for dinnertime so that the evenings are stress free.
I have become much more conscious now of putting my family first. As my family has grown I have realised the importance of being there for them is even greater. Contrary to popular belief they need me more now, perhaps not so much physically i.e. I no longer need to help them with their shoe laces but they definitely still need me emotionally, whether it is to discuss school work or generally just being available for them as a sounding board.
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
I love the variety of my work, the day is never dull and you can never guess what your next enquiry could bring. For example I may be organising a party one minute, then be creating social media content the next. Helping my clients with their book keeping or sourcing a gardener. Some tasks are on-going month on month and others are one-off jobs.
I try to structure my week carefully, spending one morning per week on my admin, one day on my social Media Marketing and the rest of the week working on my clients work. I try not to have more than one day per week at networking meetings or 1-1 meetings, although it doesn’t always work out like this, just like life there are curve balls thrown at me i.e sports day at my kids school recently.
What challenges have you faced in your Virtual assistant franchise and how have you overcome them?
Getting the balance right is always tricky, especially in my first year of business where I was working long hours and it was impacting my family life, my work/life balance was non-existent. I found it really hard to switch off from the business and was thinking about it 24/7. I realised this was not healthy and had to find a happy medium. Working from home also created other challenges, I would often feel the pressure to do housework or could get easily distracted by social media. I have now become much more disciplined with my time. I set a timer for tasks and also switch off notifications from certain platforms to avoid unnecessary interruptions. I also have my own office space now, which has helped tremendously, I walk in and immediately turn to work mode.
What’s the best thing about being Virtual assistant?
The best thing is definitely being my own boss and having the flexibility to go out for lunch with a friend or make that important school assembly.
What are your plans for the future?
I would like to see my business grow and become an employer, this will be a huge step for me.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
NETWORK. It takes a good year to get established within your community and to turn a profit in your business, sometimes even longer, so adapting your mindset to this is crucial. Going from an employee to the boss is not an easy transition at times. Every aspect of the business is your responsibility, which is easily overlooked when you are first starting out, new skills need to be gained and dedication is the key, being able to adapt and continue to keep learning.
All this though can be very overwhelming. I found lots of support from my local networking groups. It is vital to network with other small businesses, gaining their trust, confidence and expanding your network is fantastic for your business and for you, you learn so much from each other. It also brings new friendships and combats any loneliness you may be feeling working from home. You will be out, socialising with other businesses in the same situation as you or who have skills and expertise to advise you and will offer support. I have made some really good friends from my networking groups and have even become an Ambassador for one and currently run another networking group of my own now, something a few years ago I would never have believed I would be doing… I didn’t even realise networking groups existed before I started my business!
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us
It has been a steep learning curve with many challenges and amazing milestones along the way. I am truly happy to have had the courage to start this journey, it has opened doors to me I never knew existed, I have established friendships and collaborations with fantastic local businesses and feel so empowered, don’t get me wrong there are up days and down but the ups definitely outweigh the downs.
I hope that one day when my children are older they will be proud of their Mum and admire the business woman I have become. #NoRegrets
With childcare costs as high as they are working in the home is an appealing option for many mums. Unfortunately there are a lot of unscrupulous people promising unrealistically high earnings for home working jobs. To help you find an opportunity that really can earn you money from home we’ve put together 5 home business ideas for mums. These aren’t get rich quick ideas and all will take time to establish but, with hard work, can create an income.
If there’s a product you’re passionate about then selling online could be for you. If you’re fairly good with a computer then there are plenty of packages that will help you to build an e-commerce site. You couldn’t also consider selling through another platform. eBay is a popular choice as is Amazon. If you’re selling something you’ve created yourself then Etsy can work well. Just bear in mind that all of these sites will charge you a fee for using them, usually a percentage of sales. If you plan to hold stock you’ll need some storage space, either at home or through a company. Alternatively you could look at drop shipping, where you take the orders and pass them on to another company to ship. Read about Mums who run e-commerce businesses.
Bespoke items are one of the few things that small businesses can often do better than large ones. There are hundreds of items that can be personalised for buyers for example clothing, food items, gifts, stationery or furniture. Just be prepared to spend as much time Marketing the business as you do on the creative process. Check out our stories from mums who’s create bespoke items.
Of all our home business ideas for mums this one will probably take the longest to build in to a profitable business. However if you enjoy writing it may be one of the most fulfilling. Bloggers make there money from advertising on their blogs. In some cases they will be given a product as payment for reviewing it, in others they will be paid either to write a post about something or to publish a post written by someone else. They also sometimes sell display advertising on the blog and run affiliate programs like Google Adsense. Read blogger KatyKicker’s story for inspiration or check out this fab course on how to get started as a blogger.
Information products describes a range of products, usually online, that provide the purchaser with information they need. The products might be ebooks, courses or access to a library of resources via a subscription payment. The hard work is in creating the products, once that’s done, the focus is on marketing them. This way you can continue to make money from them long after the initial hard work is finished. Have a look at our information product stories to find out more.
If you have excellent admin skills then you could put them to use to creat an income. Many small business owners prefer to focus on the core elements of their business and outsource the admin to someone else. This creates opportunities for people whose forte is admin. You’ll need a decent laptop and good broadband speed to make it work. Networking skills to help you find your clients. To the stories from Mums who have become VAs have a look at our business to business stories.
Other home business ideas for mums
We’re tried to stick here to home business ideas for mums that are fairly accessible to everyone but if you have a particular skill set you may well be able to make use of it at home. You may be knowledgable about something that you could teach. You could either do it by inviting clients to your home or via the internet. If you’re a coach or counsellor you could offer your services via Skype. Perhaps you could do something you’ve done before but on a freelance basis. Whatever home business idea you choose to go for, make sure that you meet the legal requirements by getting insured and informing the council, landlord or mortgage company if necessary.
A career shift, a new baby, or the need to take better care of your family; are some of the reasons why mothers would want to become ‘stay at home’ mums. However, whatever the reason is, being at home should not stop you from making some extra money. Don’t know what to do? Here are five business ideas to consider as a stay at home mum.
Become a virtual assistant
A virtual assistant (VA) job allows you to make some money in your free time, perhaps, while your kids are away at school or taking a nap. Virtual assistants offer administrative services, such as managing emails, social media, and calendars, booking hotel rooms, air tickets, and appointments, amongst others. Unlike nine to five jobs, not only do you get to get work comfortably from home as a VA, but you also get to work flexible hours.
Start a transcription job
Transcribing audio and video files to text is another business idea to consider. Most of the transcription jobs available online do not require any experience – so anyone can join. As payment depends on the number of files transcribed, the transcriptionists have control over the number of files converted in a day or the month- whichever allows for flexibility.
Are you a mum who can knit a blanket, make wigs, make cute hair accessories, or just like making things? Creating and selling your craftwork might be a business idea you would want to explore. Online services like Etsy and Amazon, provide a platform for you to sell your crafts. You can also sell your items from the comfort of your home or at the crafts market in your neighbourhood.
Creating a daycare center can help turn what would have otherwise been your daily chores into a good source of income. If you have a spacious backyard for children to move about, then this is an idea you should consider. Other busy mums would like to have a daycare within the neighborhood to take off some of their stress and to provide a safe place for their children while they are away.
After school pick up service
Just like the daycare idea, you can help other busy mums by running an “after school pick up” service. You could offer to pick up kids of working parents for a fee, either dropping them off at home or have them stay at your house till their parents close from work. Are you worried about being distracted by many excited kids in your car? Well don’t fret because ADAS Systems (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) like CarSafe, can help you keep both yourself and the kids safe. If you already use a vehicle with these systems installed, then you should have them frequently checked and tested to avoid any accidents.
So, if you want to be a work at home mum, these five flexible business ideas can help stay creative while making some extra money to support your family. This way you may be able to say goodbye to the stress of trying to build a career while carrying out the responsibility of taking care of your family.
Mums Business Inspiration can come from many places. On Business for Mums we’re shared the stories of hundreds of Mums who have started their own business. They all answered the questions “What inspired you” and we’ve used their answers to look for recurring themes.
Mums Business Inspiration: Why Mums want to start a business
I had a always known that I wanted to start a my own business but I had never known exactly what I wanted to do. It took until the maternity leave of my second pregnancy for me to take the leap. The stories shared on Business for Mums suggest I wasn’t alone in knowing that self employment was the direction I wanted to take.
“When my youngest was a year I started watching out for ideas. I wanted to do something that worked around my three young kids (they were 1, 3, 4 when I started) and also something I am passionate about.” Lisa from A Fine Choice
It can also be the experience of motherhood that inspires the Starting of a business. Grace from Beauty by Grace was inspired to start her business by the need for a sense of self “Even though I absolutely loved being a mum, I felt like I had lost myself, I felt like I had no identity.” Keeping hold of your personal identity can also help with postnatal depression.
Many life changes are inspired by a significant life event and that’s no different for Mothers, Suzanne started working as a virtual assistant as it offered a way to work that suited her circumstances.
“I was in a car accident and as a result of the injuries, I was off work sick for a few months, which I hated. I was desperate to get back to work but needed a role that was flexible as I was still recovering, so I decided to hand in my notice and began building up my own Virtual PA business.” Suzanne from Pink Diamonds Office Support
For Ethne from Wood Street Books, it was a personal tragedy that led her to reassess her priorities and become self employed.
“I disliked my job intensely and had long had the desire to become self employed. I had a miscarriage in March 2013 which made me reassess my work/life priorities and I promptly handed in my notice at work. Fast forward 12 months and I had finally completed my long overdue accountancy qualifications and done all the leg work involved in becoming a self employed accountant just in time for Erin’s arrival. Then there was only the small matter of managing a start up as well as a new born baby!”
Mums Business Inspiration Ian often triggered by the thought of leaving their children to return to the work place. That then pushes them to start a business.
“I was feeding my youngest in Chessington World of Adventures and looking through a parenting forum. It was about 6 months from my return to work and I was having that wobble….”I can’t possibly go back to work, my babies need me at home!”. I saw a post on a forum from another Mother with the same dilemma and someone had mentioned Pink Spaghetti Virtual PA’s.” Laura, Pink Spaghetti Franchisee
It can be important for Mums to both be their for their children and retain a sense of self. For a lot of women to best way to achieve that is through self employment.
“I made an active choice that being a Mum was more important than financial success, but having the mental stimulation that work provided was still important to my own well being. Becoming self employed seemed the best answer. As the children have grown, it has allowed me to be the Mum I want to be but fit in the work commitments to allow me to still be ‘me’ and keep a platform from which to grow as my children’s needs change.” Caroline from Added Zest Ltd
There are also less positive circumstances that push Mums in to self employment:
“What inspired me was not being able to get a job! Previous to 2012, the last time I’d been applying for jobs was 2001 and things had changed A LOT! I wanted something well-paid and part-time but I wasn’t getting anywhere so essentially I was forced into the position of finding freelance work – and it grew from there.” Tanya from How to become a Virtual Assistant
Mums Business Inspiration: Where Mums ideas come from
So, we know why Mums want to start a business, but how do they come up with their ideas? A lot if Mums take their inspiration from a skill they already have:
“I was approached by my son’s headteacher to give French classes in the curriculum from Year 2 to Year 6 last year. Then I also set up Spanish breakfast and after-school clubs there. I was then approached by another school to do the same. Next I started looking into ways of expanding without compromising my life-work balance and came across Kidslingo.” Jill from Kidslingo
It can also be reigniting a previous passion that leads to a business:
“Initially, after having my first son in 2012 I became a little frustrated at the lack of time I had to concentrate on my art. But then one day I drew him – nothing radical! – bit it was a breakthrough…I showed some family & friends, who really liked them & said that they could relate to them & so I decided to make them into more finished pieces in order to produce limited edition prints to sell. So, my family is a huge inspiration!” Anne-Marie Rickus Arts
For other Mums, a new business means a completely new direction:
“I found a book online about how to become a VA. All you needed was internet connection and you could work with people online. This was a totally new way of looking at things for me and I realised that I could be doing this and working with people all over the world.” Chichi Eruchalu
People often imagine that all businesses are inspired by a gap in the market or finding the solution to a problem. Evidence from the stories on Business for Mums suggest that this is the case for only a small proportion of Mums. Here are a couple of examples:
“I had always enjoyed making and sewing but didn’t have time or resources to make more ambitious things such as clothes and, speaking to peers it appeared that there are many people in the same boat. When I looked around crafting shops or haberdashery departments in the larger stores they were full of kits, aiming to simplify a particular craft, but none contained kits to make actual clothing.” Kate from The Pretty Lovely Company
Businesses can also be inspired by a childhood experience:
“I’d had a bad experience as a child learning to swim and I swore my kids wouldn’t be afraid of water…I looked around for children’s swimming classes but was disappointed with what I found. Eventually, I found classes in London and I used to go all the way to London once a week from Buckingham! The owner of that particular swim school asked if I would like to be a teacher so I qualified and became a swimming teacher. I started teaching locally and I was in the pool one day and a lovely little baby was sick on me – and that was my lightbulb moment! I thought, I need to be doing something for myself…” Tamsin from Water Babies
Running baby and toddler classes is a popular choice for Mums who are looking for a business that will fit around their families. Weather you want to run them independently or through a franchise, here’s what you need to know.
It’s about the parents as much as the children
The classes might be for the children but it’s the Mums who make the decision to come. I attended a music class with my son for a couple of years. The class itself was pretty rubbish but it was such a lovely group of Mums that I kept going. If you can foster a nice atmosphere and discourage cliques, you’ll get more parents coming each each term.
If there is time during, or at the end of, your session for parents to chat that can help to develop a friendly group. Less formal meet ups at parks or soft plays during the school holidays also help. Mums of under 5s are often left with nothing to do when classes stop for the holidays.
Finding the Right venue is key
Venue hire is an odd business. Mostly it’s done as an add on to an organisation’s real business (church’s hiring out their halls, school’s hiring out their gyms) and that means price and terms vary massively. This means that shopping around is key.
For running baby and toddler classes you’ll need good parking (make sure that the car parking won’t be used for something else when your customers will want to use it), baby changing and a room without hazards. A cafe and are near by park are also bonuses.
You’ll also need to be happy with the person that you’re dealing with and their reliability. I viewed a hall which was perfect but rejected it because I found out that they cancelled all bookings if a funeral was taking place. I also moved on from a venue because the person I was supposed to collect the keys from was so often not in when I arrived.
Facebook is your frieNd when running baby AND TODDLER classes
When I ran baby and toddler classes, I got very few bookings until I started using Facebook. If you only have a small advertising budget then this is where you should spend it. I paid a lot for adverts on parenting websites and in parenting magazines. They were all wasted money when compared to the number of bookings I got through Facebook.
There are also lots of free ways to advertise on Facebook. Every area has lots of Facebook parenting groups where you can post about your classes (just not enough to annoy people). You can also get your friends on board with spreading the word by asking them to share your posts
You’ll get recognised in the street (aNd you’ll feel a bit famous!)
Who knew that running baby and toddler classes could make you famous! The baby and toddler world is surprisingly small. I would often run into my customers when I was out and about. There’s nothing quite like having a toddler run up to you in the library and give you a big hug because they know you from your class.
Your own children will love it
When I first started developing my classes I would try my ideas out on my kids. Soon I found myself running baby and toddler classes everyday at home because my baby and toddler loved it! It was a great way to practice my songs but it did get a bit old in the end.
If you think you might enjoy running baby and toddler classes then have a look at the stories on our classes and education page or, if you think you’d like to go down the franchise route then you can check out our franchisees stories.
If you’re considering becoming a childminder then there’s a lot to think about. Like anything involving children it’s carefully regulated. Taking care of other people’s children is a big responsibility so it’s important think carefully about the decision before committing.
Are you suited to becoming a childminder?
Of course it’s important that you like children, you probably wouldn’t be considering it if that wasn’t the case. What people sometimes forgot is that you need to like parents too. Liaising with parents is one of the most important parts of a childminders job so think carefully if that’s something you’ll enjoy. If you have strong opinions about parenting this might lead to clashes with parents that would make it difficult for you to look after their child Looking after someone else’s children is a huge responsibility so you’ll need to decide if that’s something you can cope with or not.
If you’ll have your own child with you when you’re working you’ll need to consider how becoming a childminder will effect them. Will they enjoy having other children around or will they find it difficult to share you? If they struggle, how will you cope with it?
To become a childminder you need to be registered with the local authority. The only circumstance in which you don’t need to register is if you’re looking after children for less than two hours a day. You also don’t need to register if you only look after children over the age of eight.
The registration process involves undertaking a training course approved by the local authority. Some authorities run their own, alternatively most authorities have approved the course run by PACEY which is available by distance learning. You will also be required to complete paediatric first aid training. There are online first aid training courses to help you meet this requirement.
The local authority will want to check that you are suitable to look after children by carrying out a DBS check and speaking to referees that you provide. They’ll also carry out DBS checks on anyone else who lives in the house, including young adults.
As childminders look after children in their own home, your home will need to be suitable. You’ll need to have enough space for children and ideally some equipment for them to play with. You’ll need to keep records for the local authority so will need space to create and store your paperwork.
The location of your home is also important. Parents will need to drop off and pick up there children so a location that’s close to family homes or a station can helpful. It can also be useful to be close to a school/preschool for pick ups and drop offs. Becoming a childminder could be difficult if you live somewhere very remote.
Most parents find their childminder through word of mouth but this can be tricky when you first start out. Make sure everyone knows that you are becoming a childminder. That way they can recommend you if they hear that someone’s looking for childcare. Most local authorities keep a list of local childcare providers so make sure you’re on it.
Facebook can be a great place to advertise your services, in local parenting groups and general local groups. Lots of schools have a Facebook group for parents. If you know people with children at a local school you can ask them to mention in the group that you have vacancies.
Alternatives to becoming a childminder
If you don’t think your home is suitable for looking after children then you could consider becoming a nanny. Nannies look after children in their own homes and tend to ok after fewer children at a time.. Childminding hours can be long, if you want to work less hours then you could look at running baby and toddler classes or after school classes. If you’re really ambitious you could even consider setting up your own nursery.
When you were little, it seemed so simple. You wanted to be a firefighter, a nurse, a teacher or, in my daughters case, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Once you’re a bit older it’s a bit more complicated (you realise you’re never going to be a turtle, green isn’t really your colour after all) and you have to take decisions that will effect your future, weather that’s to carry on studying to follow a career path or to find a job and start earning. When you go on maternity leave for many women it’s a bit like going back to that question of “what do you want to be when you grow up” except it’s “what do you want to be now you’re a Mum”. For some it’s to be a stay at home Mum, for some it’s to be a working Mum and for others it’s to become self employed and work around their family. If it’s self employment, then you need to decide which business is right for you.
So you want to run a business
You’re then back to the question of what do you want to do? I knew for a long time, even before I had children, that I wanted to be self employed but just kept waiting for the right idea to come along. I had no idea which business was right for me, I imagined that one day I’d have my eureka moment. I’d come up with some great product to solve an everyday problem or think of a service that I could turn in to an international franchise. It didn’t happen and eventually, after having my second child, I realised it wasn’t going to. I needed to make it happen by picking an idea and going with it.
In reality, only a small number of businesses start with eureka moment. When I look at the stories shared on the Mumpreneur Inspiration website it’s clear that inspiration for which business to start comes from a whole host of places. Many Mums have turned a hobby into a business. Lots have become self employed doing something they’ve done when employed. Some have built a business around selling a product they love or teaching something they’re good at.
Starting a business is a huge commitment, even if your start up costs are low, the time and emotional energy required are massive. It’s really important to find the one that will give you the rewards you’re looking for. Both in terms of both finances and satisfaction.
Finding the right idea for you
To help you do this I’ve created the course “Mums Starting in Business: Finding the right idea for you”. The course takes you step by step through the process of deciding if self employment is right for you. How you’ll manage to work around your children, getting to know what you need from a business, generating business ideas and how to evaluate those ideas to see if the business will meet your needs.
It’s really how hard to fit a course around family life. That’s why this one’s online, the lectures are short so that you can slot them in when you have time. There are also exercises that you’ll need to complete. These are where you’ll make the real progress towards your goal of choosing a business idea.
Most people have heard of franchising and licensing but not everyone understands what the terms really mean and what the differences are. Both can offer opportunities to Mums who are looking to start a business.
Franchising and licensing are both ways for businesses to leverage their success. They do this by allowing other people to use the knowledge, branding, intellectual property or business model that they’ve developed. These methods can offer a route to expansion in businesses that are “local” by nature and so don’t lend themselves to national expansion.
Licensing takes quite a hands off approach. The licensor grants someone permission to use something, a design or intellectual property, for a set period. They don’t offer any on going support to the licensee and have no say in how the businesses are operated. Licensees usually have no limits to the area in which they run their businesses and don’t Pay management fees.
Franchising is more like running an independent branch of a business. Franchisees are usually granted the right to run the business in a specified territory, for a specific period of time. There is an initial payment to purchase the franchise (anything from a few hundred pounds to hundreds of thousands of pounds). This is then followed by an ongoing management fee, either a set amount or a percentage of sales. Franchisers retain much more control than licensors and franchisees are usually expected to run the business in a particular way. They often follow a manual, to ensure consistency across franchises. Franchisers will provide ongoing support for their franchisees to make sure that they are able to operate correctly. Franchisers also sometimes make additional money from franchisees by selling items that they use to run the busines. These might be branded merchandise that franchisees can sell on. Franchisees can usually sell on their franchise although the franchisor may include some limitations on this. They might insist on a certain amount of time running before it can be sold and will probably want to approve the buyer.
Both licensing and franchising offer a way in to business using something that has been tried and tested. Licensing can work well if there’s a great product or service that you want to bring to a market. Franchising allows you to start a business that you know has the potential to be successful along with getting some support to run it. You can find out more about franchising from The British Franchise Association.