Mums Business Story: Pink Diamonds Office Support

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

My name is Suzanne Evans, I am married to Gareth and I am a mummy to two sons. Celfyn (2 years) and Ellis (14 weeks). Celfyn was born in January 2015 and Ellis in October 2016.

What’s your business called?

My business is called Pink Diamonds Office Support

Can you describe it in one sentence?

I am a Virtual PA who provides admin and bookkeeping support to local small business owners and Consultants.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I actually started the business before my sons were born. My husband and I started up our IT Company (Cloud46 Limited) in February 2012. My husband worked full time in the business from the beginning but I worked as a full time, permanent employee in a school and did the admin for our business in the evenings. A few months after starting our business 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.

How did you fund your start up?

Luckily there were very few start-up costs as we already had the computers and office equipment. As my husband works in IT he was able to create my website and set up my email account, so I was spoilt really! The main costs to begin with was for business cards and marketing materials.

How do you manage working around your children?

It took a good few months to build up a client base and once established, I was working full time on the business, which was great. Once I had my eldest son I realised that the workload wouldn’t be sustainable as I would need to take some maternity leave, so I took on an Associate who was able to cover my workload whilst I took a few months off.

Whilst on maternity leave I worked a keep in touch day per month and returned once my son was 9 months old. My eldest son now goes to nursery one day per week so a Monday is my dedicated office day. It took time to establish new ways of working with a child but I was able to fit the rest of my workload in around nap times and in the evenings, once he was in bed and I could work undisturbed.

I am currently on maternity leave with my second child but once he is 6 months old he will go into nursery on a Monday as well. I will then do as much as I can in the evenings once both boys are in bed.

Being a mum of two and running two businesses is definitely a challenge but I am able to work flexibly and use technology to help make life easier. All of our work files are securely stored in the ‘cloud’ so can be accessed from anywhere, at any time. My smartphone also allows me to get a lot done on the go, from accessing and responding to emails to checking and updating social media. My smartphone also enables me to be responsive to any emails that come in, even when I am out and about with the boys.

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

On an office day I get the little ones off to nursery and am at my desk for 8:30am. I check my emails and then plan my workload for the day. I usually get the Invoicing done first for our IT Company and I then move onto my client tasks that need to be completed. I am a great lover of ‘To Do’ lists and always prioritise tasks by their urgency. I tend to work until 4:30pm and then go to collect the boys from nursery. Once they are in bed for the evening I will then get back on the computer and carry on with my work. I tend to work between 7pm – 9pm and then wind down for the evening.

On a non-office day, I regularly check my emails, respond to them as and when I can and once the boys are in bed, I carry out any urgent tasks that need completing. I am always contactable to my clients 5 days a week during office hours.

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

One of the main challenges I face is lack of time but then I imagine most business owners would say that anyway! To manage this, I always try to work as smartly as I can and being organised is a great help. I couldn’t live without my smartphone – I have a variety of apps which I can access on the go, for example: Xero for checking and working on our accounts, LinkedIn for connecting with potential new clients and HSBC Banking for paying invoices. It is amazing how much you can get done without being at your computer.

When the children are poorly can also be a challenge – luckily I have a very supportive family who are able to help out if I have an urgent deadline to meet.

Having a baby to care for again is definitely a challenge but I am still able to get things done – a stretchy wrap is a business lifesaver at the moment. I am typing this with my 14 week old fast asleep on my chest!

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

I love the flexibility that it brings and feel so fortunate that I can combine running our businesses with raising my two boys. If they are poorly I can usually work flexibly and make up the hours on another day. When my first son was born I made a conscious decision to scale down my workload during the early years of his life, so I could enjoy being a mum and seeing him develop. I am fortunate that I am able to do the same with my youngest.

I find running my own business extremely rewarding and am so proud of what we have achieved so far.

What are your plans for the future?

I recently passed my Institute of Certified Bookkeepers Level 2 Bookkeeping exam and I am hoping to start studying for the Level 3 soon. Once I am back from maternity leave and my Level 3 exams are completed, I am aiming to build up the Bookkeeping side of the business and increase my client base. I am also hoping to get back to networking as I haven’t been since my first son was born.

I aim to work part-time hours until the boys are of school age and I will then increase my client base again in a few years’ time, once I have more time available during the day.

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

Be organised – plan your time well each day and start to get into routines, so you know exactly when certain tasks will get done each week. Make good use of your calendar and diary and write everything down so nothing gets forgotten!

Get networking – without networking I wouldn’t have a business as I got the majority of my clients via word of mouth referrals. Networking can seem daunting at first but practice makes perfect. I found that with networking it is more important to focus on building relationships with other business owners, rather than just winning new clients. If trust and good relationships are established, referrals tend to occur naturally. Hard selling and networking is not a good combination!

Set goals – I found it really useful to have clear goals from the very beginning and wrote them down. A vision board is also a great way of keeping your goals in focus as you can put it on your office wall and see exactly what it is you are working towards. I tend to have long term goals of how I want the business to look a few years down the line, medium term goals and also general day to day goals. It is a great feeling once you start achieving them!

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

Always remember the reasons why you started your business in the first place. You are in the driving seat, so make it exactly how you want it to be. A happy, organised and in control business owner usually equals happy clients.

Website: http://www.pinkdiamondsoffice.co.uk/
Twitter: @PinkDiamondsOS
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PinkDiamondsOS

Mum working from home on her accountancy business

Running an Accountancy Business: Wood Street Books

Ethne was so determined to become self employed that she decided to juggle starting up her accountancy business along with looking after a newborn.

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

I’m Ethne, long suffering girlfriend of Neil; not quite so long suffering mum of Erin who is nearly 3

What’s your accountancy business called?
Wood Street Books

Can you describe it in one sentence?
Accountancy, Taxation & Consultancy

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
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!

How did you fund your accountancy business start up?
There wasn’t much outlay required; laptop and some software, plus AAT registration fees and insurance etc. Most of my start up capital came from a tax refund I received after leaving my job.

How do you manage working around your children?
At times working from home is the perfect solution; but when it’s not working it’s literally impossible to get anything done. I am very lucky to have help from Erin’s grandparents and she also goes to a local playgroup a couple of times a week which gives a bit of time to work so I’m not always doing late nights or weekends and compromising our family time together. But the minute something like illness strikes all of that goes out of the window: you’re saddled with the usual rigours of looking after a poorly toddler but with deadlines and client meetings mounting up. That’s when life gets really tough as a sole trader.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
One favourable aspect of an accountancy business is that you pretty well know your work flow 12 months in advance. Everything I do is on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual cycle meaning I can generally plan my daily and weekly tasks around my domestic responsibilities. Most days see me in contact with clients over email, doing a bit of business admin and research or marketing. At the moment I have one full day (child and grandparent pending) to work from home and that’s when I do the bulk of the bookkeeping and accountancy I have scheduled for the week. I have a couple of weeknights allocated for work but I try to avoid working very late or at weekends as much as I can but sometimes needs must! This January all of my good intentions have gone out of the window as this year’s self assessment season has been non stop.

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
Making money has been my biggest challenge as well as the ultimate goal. 9 months after Erin & Wood Street Books were born I was in a very precarious position financially. I was on the brink of giving up and going back to employment and a reliable wage when the perfect opportunity presented itself, while I was searching for jobs!

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
The flexibility to arrange my work life around my family and not the other way around.

What are your plans for the future?
Continue with steady growth for the next financial year or two then make an investment in a serious marketing strategy to expand the business and maybe take on an apprentice or find another mum in a similar position to work with me. And have another baby if we can!

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Start small and do absolutely the best job you can; 90% of my clients so far have come from referrals. If you are doing a good job your work will speak for itself. The rest of my income comes from opportunities I’ve found via conventional job searches. The employment market is changing rapidly and freelance and self employed opportunities are being created thick and fast so don’t rule anything out.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
I wouldn’t have had the freedom or confidence to start my own business without the support of my partner, and I’m extremely grateful to him for being behind me 100%. Thank you Neil xxx

www.woodstreetbooks.co.uk
www.facebook.com/woodstreetbooks
twitter/instagram @woodstreetbooks

Thanks

Running a Branding and Marketing Business with InnerVisions ID

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
I’m Sapna Pieroux
Married to Andy, and IT consultant and entrepreneur
Two boys, Luc (2010) and Leon (2012)
Live in Ealing and love the culture and opportunities in London so have no plans to move to the country!

What’s your business called?
InnerVisions ID

Can you describe it in one sentence?
InnerVisions ID is a strategic branding, marketing and web consultancy specialising in helping ambitious and entrepreneurial companies grow.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
My two kids were my inspiration

How did you fund your start up?
My husband helped by buying my laptop and paid for my my initial running expenses which were kept very lean. I now fund everything myself. Me and my team work from home and I have use of an office in London thanks to a very lovely client of mine.

How do you manage working around your children?
I work when they are at school/childminder and then at night when the kids are down (sometimes till 2-3am!) or at weekends – like now. I don’t mind; my husband is an entrepreneur himself and we love the flex this gives us to go to a school play (or for me to do drop off/pick up and and take my boys to classes). We also never have to worry about how many (or few) holidays we take.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
Drop the kids off
Go home and tidy up breakfast/get a wash on/tidy for the cleaners (on a Wednesday)
Check emails and action/respond where needed
Go through my jobs list and prioritise. Do the boring admin stuff, accounts and invoicing.
I still have a couple of ‘short’ days whilst my little one is at nursery and needs picking up at 11.45 – so on those days this is pretty much all I get to do!
On longer days I can actually plan meetings in the morning, in town, or a lunch meeting which gives me time to get back for pick up/after-school classes.
Get the kids home, tea on, do homework with my elder boy.
Hubby home, he takes over for bedtime and I cook (or vice-versa if the kids haven’t exhausted me already!)
We eat, chat and watch a bit of TV.
Hubby generally goes to bed much earlier than me, so I get my laptop out from about 10pm and complete my days’ work – tends to be the more creative stuff in the evening that need an extended period of time for and the silence when everyone’s in bed means I can get absorbed in it for hours (I try and do the boring admin stuff like accounts and invoicing in my short mornings). I have also started blogging so I find writing at night again is my best time.

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
Running round like a headless chicken trying to do everything. I got an assistant (another mum) and she freelances for me and does my social media so I don’t have to. She is brilliant. So much so my husband has started using her for his business too!
Next thing now is to start getting proactive as I’ve so far only had time for incoming business rather than going out looking for business – although I’ve been busy all year through referrals so I’ve not needed to so far either, but I need to if I’m going to grow and not just coast along.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
Freedom to work when and where I want to – and be able to be there for my children and make their cakes and arrange their parties and do drop-off/pick-up and awesome playdates and days out.

(Although I personally hate the word mumpreneur. I’m a mum and an entrepreneur but when I’m being one, I’m not being the other – if that makes sense!)

What are your plans for the future?
Growing the business to the point of being able to actually employ Alex, I hope.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Read, learn, speak to others who are ahead of the curve doing what you are doing. Do a course – mine introduced me to more people and opportunities.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Be wary – don’t trust everyone, trust your gut – and always get 50% up front!
There is no such thing as a ‘self-made’ millionaire: cultivate a network of great mum friends and potential collaborators to help you with your life and business.
www.InnerVisions-ID.com
Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/InnerVisionsID/
Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/InnerVisionsID

Carnsight Communications – Launching a Communications Business

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

My name is Jessica Morgan (or Jessica Jefferys – depends if I’m at a business meeting or a playgroup!) I became a mum in March 2012 with Rosa and for a second time in April 2015 with Dylan. I live with my children and husband, Steve, who works in advertising.

What’s your business called?

Carnsight Communications.

Can you describe it in one sentence?

PR and communications for businesses – particularly small and creative ones.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I opened officially at the start of 2016. I’d worked in advertising and PR for 15 years and a move away from London to Bath forced the issue! I wanted flexibility to work around my children and it’s certainly the kind of job you can start off doing alone with just a laptop, a phone and some good contacts.

How did you fund your start up?

I started working from the kitchen table and as money came in I paid for more equipment and resources. We’re currently building an extension which will include a home office.

How do you manage working around your children?

I started off doing evenings and weekends then added a few nursery sessions for the children. When Rosa went to school I increased childcare and I now work three days a week with bits and pieces in between. I aim to spend quality time with the children and do every school drop off and school pick ups three times a week.

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

I get up around 6.30am so I can get ready before the children wake at 7ish (the power of Gro Clocks!) My husband is usually gone by 7.30am so I get the children fed, dressed and ready and we get out the door for nursery and/or school drop offs. I find trying to stick to timings in my head helps with the morning routine (e.g. breakfast all done before 7.45am, dressed and teeth by 8.10am etc.) We get in the car and drive when I’m working, walk if I’m not.
My desk is in the kitchen so once I’m back home I try and get everything cleared away and tidy before 9am when I start my day in front of the laptop. It’s a mix of phone calls, social media, emails and writing. I head to London at least once a month to see clients and contacts and also have more local meetings – e.g. in Bristol.
I try and break for lunch but usually it’s soup or sandwiches in front of my computer as I find the days go so quickly! No housework or anything else during my work days – there just isn’t the time. I finish around 5.15pm and start pick ups. I’ll check emails regularly and if I need to I’ll do extra in the evenings.

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

I’ve had to adjust to working alone. In fact I quickly started working with trusted freelance colleagues to give me extra resource at busy times and I enjoy working with others when I can and I find networks are great to get advice and tips when I need them. Children’s illnesses are always tough – obviously for them as well! I’m usually the one who looks after the children when they’re sick so that can be difficult to balance with work at busy times. My husband helps when he can.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

The flexibility. I love the fact that I can work my time around me and my family. No more missed nativities or trying to coordinate time off for sports day.

What are your plans for the future?

I would love to continue to grow the business and work with more people in the same work space rather than just virtually. It’s a creative industry and getting heads together really helps.

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

Start small. You can build up from there. Small steps feel much less daunting than big ones and allow you more flexibility initially. Also be prepared to adapt your offering depending on what’s needed in the market.

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

Just a big thanks for supporting women like me!

Carnsight.com
Www.twitter.com/cornwalljess

Image of Virtual assistant Jo Phillips

Managed Virtual Assistant & PA Service – A Business Mum’s Story

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

My name is Jo Phillips, and I have two girls. Elise is 17, and Jessica is 3.5. I became a mum in 1999 and 2013.

What’s your business called?

Managed Virtual Assistant & PA Service

Can you describe it in one sentence?

As a virtual assistant I offer business support to sole traders, small businesses and individuals both virtually and on-site.

When did you become a Virtual Assistant and what inspired you?

I was working for a big company here in Coventry when I restudied to become a hypnotherapist. I handed in my notice and during the last week of my notice we found out we were having a baby ( it was a shock, to say the least). I had to rethink my plan and so I decided to become a Virtual Assistant. I have over ten years administrative experience having managed a Commercial Director and an Investment Director for nearly six years.

How did you fund your start up?

I just threw myself into it. Luckily there was not a lot outgoing, and I have a very supportive husband!

How do you manage to work with your children?

Jessica goes to nursery thee days a week, and on the Tuesday and Thursday, I concentrate on tasks that can be completed with her around. I like to spend a little time in the evenings when hubby is home to get on or catch up.

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

I currently manage seven clients on an ongoing basis. Each client is different, and their workload is also varied. Many of the tasks that I complete can be auto-scheduled or have a particular time frame to complete. I normally start my day by checking emails, both mine and clients. I then delegate the priority management tasks. I use Asana to organise tasks and schedule social media for the day. I then contact a client’s customers to set appointments and handle his diary. I normally have a blog or e-book to write, and then I wait to see how the rest of the day will pan out. Most of my clients have their workload scheduled in advance which leaves me with time to tackle anything that drops in throughout the day.

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

Initially, my first concern was how to find clients. Once the first one came on board, it was relatively easy forward. The main challenge earlier this year was an unpaid bill, that is not a nice process to go through, but it was dealt with. Being self-employed can be difficult because you don’t know some months where the next client is coming from but if you can forecast ahead, you can cover the quiet periods.

What’s the best thing about being virtual assistant?

Spending time with my family and knowing that I am in control of my day. If I want to take a morning off or pop ou somewhere, then I can. I love being flexible and available for my three-year-old.

What are your plans for the future?

I am hoping to expand in the next two years and offer a training system for school leavers thaare less academic than usual. I would like to take on a small office and train them into someone they can be proud of and where they can eventually set up their own business, confidently.

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

Keep at it. It is so easy just to throw the towel in and when you think it is all bleak the next opportunity will come along. Make sure you have a plan in place and forecast for the tough times.

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

If you are thinking about becoming self-employed then why not try it, make sure that you have your finances in place to cover for the first few months and go for it. What’s the worst that could happen? You’d have to go back to work. Be prepared and have a plan and take the leap.

 

Wondering if a Virtual Assistant business might be right for you? Our course Business for Mums: Finding the right idea for you, could help.

Mums Business Story: How to be a Virtual Assistant

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
My name’s Tanya Kuhrt and I live in Loughton, Essex. I have a daughter, Lydia who is now 14. I also have two stepsons who are now grown up and in their twenties.

What’s your business called?
How to be a Virtual Assistant

Can you describe it in one sentence?
Award-winning Virtual Assistant, now training PAs to be VAs!

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
I became a Mumpreneur in 2012. 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.

How did you fund your start up?
I didn’t really – it was on a shoestring! As I made money bit by bit I invested in things like networking and a website. Luckily I’m not on my own though – I did have help and support from my partner and father to my children, Jason for day to day living costs.

How do you manage working around your children?
Now that Lydia is at “big school” I’m not needed as much as before and she wants a certain amount of independence – but because I work from home I still stop work in the afternoons so we can spend time together, chat about whats happened at school and I can make sure she’s doing her homework! Its great that I’m also around in the morning so we can have breakfast together and I can to take her to the orthodontist or for doctors appointments easily. No more asking for time off because I’m my own boss.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
I get up at 7.30, have breakfast with Lydia and then get a wash on before starting work. I’ll try to get at least a couple of hours client work plus a bit of my own admin or marketing in before lunch. Then I’ll often go for a walk or go swimming before heading back home for sandwich and to get on with the rest of the client work I need to do. Some days I’ll have a networking meeting at lunchtime, and sometimes I’ll do a lunchtime live coaching webinar for my students. It’s important to me to get out of the house every day in some form or other. I’ll usually stop for a tea break and a chat with Lydia when she gets back from school and then I’ll usually carry on for a bit before Jason gets home from work around 6. Then that’s it – because I work from home I’m quite strict with drawing a line under work each evening. The exception to this is that once a week I do an evening group coaching webinar for the students on my How to be a Virtual Assistant course.

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
The first year was hard. I found it really difficult to get used to selling myself – confidence was a big issue. There were a few times during that year when I felt I was banging my head against a brick wall in terms of sales and finding clients, and I nearly gave up a few times. But I kept on with it. I think throwing yourself in at the deep end is one of the best ways to overcome any fear. I joined a BNI networking group – this was extreme networking, and then some! I quickly got used to talking about myself and my business – because I had to. Any setbacks I had in my business would send me spiralling into despair at first but in the end I just got up and got on with it. The phrase “If at first you don’t succeed…..” is a cliche but it is so true. If I failed at something I tried, tried and tried again and eventually the strategy paid off.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
Flexibility. Independence. Being a great role model for Lydia!

What are your plans for the future?
To develop my Virtual Assistant training business further and provide a range of online courses.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Don’t try and run before you can walk. And start networking as soon as possible because that is the best way to grow your business quickly. Face to face networking if you can, but if you can’t then start networking online.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
If any of your readers are thinking of setting up as a freelance Virtual Assistant, I’d love them to join my Facebook group which can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BecomeaVAintheUK/ for tips, advice and chat about becoming a freelance VA in the UK.

Website: http://www.howtobeavirtualassistant.co.uk/
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BecomeaVAintheUK/

check out our course to find the right business idea for you.

become a Mumpreneur with a direct sales business

Mumpreneur Story: CG Safety

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

Caroline Graham
I am married and have two children, a boy aged six and a girl aged 13.

What’s your business called?

CG Safety

Can you describe it in one sentence?

I help small and medium sized businesses achieve legal compliance with their safety requirements and I also provide support to businesses looking to increase employee engagement by building a health and wellbeing plan.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I started my business earlier this year. A few years ago I was made redundant after working in the corporate world for about 15 years. I initially took some time out to care for my son who was only two at the time. I decided to pursue my own consultancy (now my son has settled into school) to enable me to work on my terms, have the flexibility I need and a work/life balance.

How did you fund your start up?

Personal finance. I try and keep my expenditure to a minimum. To begin with I did have to pay for professional indemnity insurance, register with the Occupational Safety & Health Consultants register. My initial other outgoings were business cards and building a website. More recently I have spent some more money using a Coach to help develop me and my business.

How do you manage working around your children?

Sometimes a challenge when holidays and sickness occur. Majority of the time I work during school hours but also fit in the odd hour/half hour when I can : evenings, weekends and during the holidays. I have sometimes got up extra early to complete some work.

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

In terms of building my business…
Check emails, quick look at social media posts on Linked In and Facebook
Draft blog posts for either my own website or guest blogs
Look at connecting with others on Linked In
Following up Linked In connections a couple of weeks after they accept invitation
Adhoc tasks such as sharing posts on social media, checking website to ensure up to date, preparing draft legal documents for clients
Following up any client enquiries

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

Marketing my business – so much to learn and very overwhelming – initially joined closed Facebook groups and connected with some really helpful contacts who are specialists in others areas of business which helped enormously. More recently needed one to one support and engaged with a business coach.

People’s perception of what I do – I can be perceived as an enforcer which is not what I do. I am there to help, advise, guide and support businesses achieve legal compliance and create a safe and healthy working environment for their employees.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

Having the flexibility to juggle work and home life

What are your plans for the future?

To keep building my consultancy and making it a success

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

Do some ground work when it comes to understanding how to market your business. There are some key elements which pop up regularly by experts and once you know them it will help you get the ball rolling to making your business visible and start attracting clients.

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

Based on my networking experience a lot of businesses have a lack of understanding when health and safety needs to be considered. As part of telling my story with you, I am happy to offer readers a free 20 minute call to explain when they would need to start putting safety measures into place to meet legal compliance.

email : caroline@cgsafety.netimg_4159
website : cgsafety.net
Linked In : https://uk.linkedin.com/in/caroline-graham-cmiosh-2a039117

 

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CGSafetyConsultancy/

Running a Business around Children with Additional Needs - running online business

Mum’s Business Story: GD Accountancy

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

I am Gemma and I am Mum to two boys aged 7 and 4. I unexpectedly became a Mum at 20 but was incredibly excited nonetheless and felt secure in my job having qualified AAT (NVQ Level 4 in Accounting). Me and my husband are childhood sweethearts and we’ve been married for 6 years.

What’s your business called?

GD Accountancy

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Providing a friendly and dedicated accountancy solution to individuals and businesses at competitive rates.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I opened my practice in April of this year. I have been inspired by many, but mostly my Dad who started his own small business some 10 years ago and I have watched his quality of life and happiness grow.

How did you fund your start up?

Luckily my business required very little more than a laptop to get started! I started work at home but it quickly became clear that I am more efficient working away from home so after gaining my first few clients (and fee income) I visited a recycling charity who cleared offices, canteens and schools etc. and was able to find all of the office equipment I needed to open a small office, at a fraction of the price of buying new. Having a presence on the highstreet attracted more clients and I have been able to fund software upgrades etc. from internally generated fee income.

How do you manage working around your children?

I have always been the breadwinner and have always worked full time. I still work full-time, but I was able to take my youngest in to the office with me on days that he wasn’t at pre-school meaning I was spending more time with him than I ever had before.

He has since started school and I have educated my clients to call ahead to make sure I am in the office before visiting which gives me the flexibility of doing the school run if I want to, even if it means bringing the kids back to the office for an hour or so to meet a deadline! I use a VOIP telephone number so when anyone phones the office it also dials my mobile, my laptop at home and my husbands mobile!

I have set up a remote desktop system so that I can access my data from anywhere as long as I have WIFI so that I can lock-up and go home after school pick up if I want to! Then if a client calls with anything urgent I can quickly remote-in from home and deal with it.

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

The beauty of my work is that I am dealing with a variety of people and businesses who all have different requirements so no two days are ever the same. In a typical day I normally have ‘work’ to do which may involve preparing a set of accounts and tax return, a payroll and a VAT return all in the same day! And as I am still growing my practice I try to do some social-media networking every day and I have meetings with prospective clients most days.

I use Microsoft Outlook to schedule appointments and set reminders but I still keep a diary in my handbag as well! I also use a simple workflow spreadsheet which I designed myself so I can check it every day and quickly see which stage each job is at and address any delays.

Since starting my business I have come to the conclusion that ‘you can only do as much as you can do’ and I no longer work myself to the point of being stressed when I feel I don’t have time to complete something. It’s not fair on my family, and it’s not fair on me. So now, if something can and will wait until tomorrow, it waits until tomorrow!

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

My biggest challenge has been gaining new clients. This is very much a word-of-mouth industry so I only needed to gain a few initial clients before word would spread. After my initial low-cost advertising campaign I began networking with social media and demonstrated how I embrace technology and could highlight key issues (such as the recent HMRC Making Tax Digital consultation) to my audience in real-time.

I am pleased to say that this has been successful and to date most of my clients have come through facebook, but now I am seeing more clients who have heard about me from someone else which is extremely motivating.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

Definitely the flexibility it gives me to spend more time with my children. And not having to ask anybody for permission to go to sports day or parents evening! But I also enjoy being able to give my clients the service they deserve without being constrained by time/recovery targets and budgets.

What are your plans for the future?

I would like to offer employment opportunities within the local community so I would like to continue to grow my client-base so that I can achieve this. I also have plans for my children to join the business, but I think they have other plans!

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

Speak to as many people/businesses as you can, you would be surprised at how many will offer you support in one way or another. Reach out to people on social media – the worst that can happen is they will ignore your message or say no! This goes for real-life too, just ask yourself ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’

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

Only that I wish I had taken this step years ago!

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Working as a VA – Lighthouse Virtual Assistant

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

Hello I’m Rachel (Wall) I’m 38 years old, mummy to Olly (8) and Phoebe (6) and wife to Andy. We live in Kent.

What’s your business called?

Lighthouse Virtual Assistant

Can you describe it in one sentence?

I give small business owners back the hours they lose on those necessary but time consuming daily tasks so they can spend more time with their clients and I specialise in marketing and PR.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I had always been extremely focused on my career as a marketing manager for Kent Police/Kent County Council and when I fell pregnant I fully intended to return to work full time after my maternity leave. However, my son was born with a serious long term medical condition and it made me completely revisit my priorities. I returned to work part-time and then had my daughter but felt that I needed to be with my children and so eventually took voluntarily redundancy in 2011. Once the children started school and nursery I felt ready to return to work. I wanted to find something that could give me that work/life balance so I could still be there when my children needed me and especially for when my son needed to attend his hospital appointments in London. I simply couldn’t find the right role that offered such flexibility. It was on the way to one of my son’s appointments that I got chatting to some ladies on the train who worked in PR and I’ told them about my work background and that i wanted to maybe freelance. They said ‘you’d make a great VA’ , I’d never heard of a virtual assistant! After this conversation I spent a long time researching the virtual assistant industry and decided that this was something that I could really do. I took time building the business behind the scenes and launched in 2013.

How did you fund your start up?

Being virtual meant that I didn’t need a huge initial layout. I needed a new laptop, phone line, marketing materials and decorating my own home office. I used some of my savings to fund this.

How do you manage working around your children?

I work during the school hours and make this very clear to my clients from the start. If I get very busy then I catch up in the evenings. Over the school holidays I’ll have child care one day a week so I can attend meetings and then work in the evenings. Again I always make sure my clients are informed about when I’ll be working over the holidays.
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?

My work is extremely varied with quite a few ad-hoc clients as well as long term so I don’t really have a typical day, I do always keep Mondays as my own admin and marketing day. Tasks range from writing and scheduling social media posts, writing press releases, general admin such as invoice management, marketing mentoring, social media tutorials, public speaking and of course networking.

I manage my time by looking at client deadlines and then prioritising. I use an hours tracker app to keep me on course.

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

I have sadly found that some people expect you to work for free and not charge for certain aspects of work such as meetings. So I quickly made sure that I had terms and conditions and a contract in place for every client so that they know how I work and what they can expect to be charged for.
What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

I absolutely love the varied work, I work for so many different clients from property investors to hypnotherapists. I also love how flexible it can be with family life and I’m always able to attend sports days, assemblies and do the school run. I’ll never regret becoming self-employed.

What are your plans for the future?

My business is growing quickly so I would very much like to expand and employ other virtual assistants to build a team and take on further work. I would love to build a business that I can one day hand over to my children.

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

Don’t give up, the first year is always hard as you try to get your name out there and let people know what you do. It will be worth it
Make sure you set out how you work to your clients from the start and have a contract in place. Don’t work for free just to get work, set your rates and be confident at sticking to them
Invest some time and money into your marketing, it’s crucial in making your business successful
Never underestimate the value of free networking, I’ve gained most of my business this way and have also made some lovely friends along the way.

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

I would tell every mum out there that’s thinking of setting up their own business to go for it! When my son was really ill I never thought I’d be able to go back to any type of work again but setting up my own business has given me the freedom to manage my own time and get that all important work/life balance. Good luck if you’re just starting out – you can do it!

Website: www.lighthouseva.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Lighthouseva
Twitter: @RachelLHVA
Instagram: lighthouse_virtual_assistant

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Get ahead Va

Get Ahead VA – Day to Day Life as a Virtual Assistant

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
My name is Rebeca Newenham and I live in Guildford with my husband and our three daughters. I first became a mum in 2001 and my girls Isabelle, Aimee and Robyn are now 14,12 and 10.

What’s your business called?
Get Ahead VA

Can you describe it in one sentence?
Get Ahead VA delivers nationwide virtual assistance services for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
In 2010, after a corporate career in buying for retail giants such as Superdrug and Sainsburys, I was looking for a flexible work solution that could fit around my lifestyle and my three young daughters. I was inspired by my mother who ran her own tutorial agency when I was a child. Having grown up with a successfully self-employed mother, I saw it was possible to be able to contribute financially to the family and to do school drop off and pick ups too. My mum was a great example and I knew that one day I wanted to run my own business just like she did.

How did you fund your start up?
Having looked at various business options I chose to start a Virtual Assistance (VA) business because I saw a clear gap in the market for it and because it had low start-up costs. All I really needed was a laptop and myself. My corporate buying career had given me so many great contacts and fantastic business experience, and after a few years of looking after my three children I was well accomplished at multitasking!

How do you manage working around your children?
It is always a juggling act but mobile technology really helps as I can be working from any location and I am not tied into being sat at a desk nine till five. As a business we really embrace flexible working – both for our clients and our VAs. There have been some late nights and weekends but I am lucky to have a great team of people working for me now which makes managing it all much easier.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
Every day is different. I am often at networking meetings or business events talking to prospective clients. Luckily I have always enjoyed meeting new people. I also have regular meetings with our existing clients and our team of VAs to make sure projects are on track and we are looking after clients’ needs. We often find that clients come to us initially looking for one service (such as social media or telephone answering) but go on to use our wide range of other services including PR, website design and even accounting.

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
Like any small business owner there have been many challenges along the way. Knowing when to invest and in what has been key. A few years ago we made a major investment in a new website, which proved to be really worthwhile. It made a real difference to our reach online and helped to develop social media as a key referral channel for our business.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
I feel so lucky to have found a real balance between work and family life. Being a mumpreneur means I am in charge of my own time – I can work flexibly around school hours and be there for assembly and netball matches. But I also get to use all the skills I gained in my pre-children career and do something I really enjoy. Networking is a huge part of my role and I have always loved meeting new people. The girls are all really proud of what I do which makes it even more worthwhile.

What are your plans for the future?
At the moment we are particularly excited about our expansion in Scotland, as we have recently appointed a dedicated marketing specialist for this area. Based in Glasgow, Beverley will be working on bringing new clients on board over the next few months. The number of SMEs in Scotland is growing strongly and we are well placed to assist in further growth for these businesses.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. Do your research up front and then just get on with it. If things don’t turn out quite as you thought first time don’t panic – just think about how you could do it differently. Keep evolving until you get it right.

Get ahead VAWebsite address: www.getaheadva.com
Twitter address: @GetAheadVA
Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/company/get-ahead-va

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