Sad mum

A Business that didn’t make it: Tots Tales

What was the business?

It was called Tots Tales: The baby & Toddler Book Club, I ran baby and toddler classes from 6 months to 4 years based around books. The general structure was a few songs, a story, an activity linked to the story (for example book about baking then pretending to make biscuits with playdough), a few nursery rhymes, some unstructured time to look at a themed selection of books (ie books that made sounds, rhyming books etc), another story followed by finding pictures around the room of things that were in the story, then a few goodbye songs with instruments.

How long did you run it?

Around a year from start to finish.

What do you think went wrong?

As a former librarian I am very knowledgeable about books but unfortunately don’t have a great natural rapport with children which is really important when you are trying to engage them. I also knew very little about social media when I started which made it difficult for me to fill my classes.

What did you learn from it?

Lots! I made loads of great contacts which i now use running baby and children’s nearly new sales, I realised that while I’m not great with children, I love new Mums, its an amazing, terrifying and sometimes miserable time in life, I lean’t the basics of bookkeeping, a huge amount about social media and most importantly, that failure isn’t the world ending event I imagined that it would be.

I now run Mum2mum Market Baby & Children’s Nearly new Sales and this website!

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Gift Business Ollie Collie

Running a Gift Business: Ollie Collie

Heather’s gift business Ollie Collie, was launched after a movement to Cumbria and inspired by her bordie Collie, it allows her to work around her children.

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

Hi, I’m Heather and I have two children. A twelve year old boy and a two
year old girl. We live in Cumbria with our crazy Border Collie and my
husband Paul.

What’s your business called?

Ollie Collie

Can you describe it in one sentence?

I design and create gifts inspired by life with our Border Collie, Ollie.

When did you launch your gift business and what inspired you?

When I was pregnant with my daughter I decided that I wanted to be able to
work around family and be in charge of my own time as I hadn’t had that
opportunity with my son. We had just moved to Cumbria and I loved country
life and getting out with our dog Ollie. I was always on the lookout for
items with Border Collies on and couldn’t find what I wanted. The two things
came together at the same time and Ollie Collie was born.

How did you fund your start up?

We funded it ourselves from savings.

How do you manage working around your children?

My son is at school and my daughter does spend a couple of days a week at
nursery which helps when I need to really focus. But the rest of the time
it’s working when they’re in bed really! My daughter still naps a little
during the day so I can get some work done then when she’s at home. Think I
will need a new plan when that stops though!

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

There never seems to be a ‘typical’ day and that’s what I love about it! One
day you’re doing admin and finance work, the next you’re making items and
the next having sales meetings or delivering products to customers. It’s
really varied when it’s just you to do everything. Writing lists is the key
for me, and planning the more challenging items for when the children are at
school so I have no interruptions.

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

Balancing work and family is always the overriding challenge. When you love
what you do you can get lost in trying to do more and more. I’m lucky that
my husband is very supportive but also knows when to say it’s time to put
the laptop away and rest!

What’s the best thing about being Running your gift business?

Being able to plan my own time and be there for the children and the family
when I need to be. I can be at appointments, school plays and the important
events without having to sacrifice my job or make up the time to an
employer. If my baby is poorly I’m there without guilt. I think that’s a
really big thing for a parent.

What are your plans for the future?

I’d really love to grow the brand and get to a point where there’s more than
just me!

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

Just keep going! There are so many points where you can question yourself
and what you’re doing but keep taking good advice from experts and stick
with it. Celebrate the small wins, whatever it takes to keep you motivated
and have faith that it will work out.

www.olliecollie.co.uk
www.facebook.com/OllieCollieUK
Twitter: @OllieCollieUK

 

What it's like when a business fails, Tots Tales Story

How does it feel when your Business Fails?

If you’ve read much of this blog before you’ll know that as well as Business for Mums, I run Mum2mum Market Nearly New Sales. Neither of these were actually my first business. My first business was “Tots Tales: The Baby and Toddler Book Club”. It was baby and toddler classes based around books (I’m a former librarian so it’s kind of my thing). They ran for about 9 months before I accepted defeat and closed them down. Had you told me that was where I’d end up I’d have been horrified, failure was my worst nightmare. When I experienced what it’s really like when your Business fails,  it really wasn’t so bad.

How it all started

In the beginning it seemed like a great idea. I loved going to baby and toddler classes with my kids. I loved books. I have a Business Studies degree. I even lead the singing session at my local toddler group. What more suitable business could there be for me than running book based baby and toddler classes? What I didn’t think about was how stressful I’d found my previous experiences of teaching. How I wasn’t really that keen on children who weren’t my own. How I had avoided like the plague running story time when working in the library. I didn’t want to go back to work, I’d always wanted to start a business so I only saw what I wanted to see and ignored the glaringly obvious reasons that it was a bad idea.

There were things about the business I loved. Researching and planning the sessions was good fun. Getting the logo designed and creating my stationary was great. Learning about accounts and marketing was satisfying. Unfortunately I soon came to dread running the actual classes. Initially I thought it was because numbers were low to start with and that created an odd atmosphere. I then did a big Facebook promotion and had lots of people come for a free trial. Very few came back. In my heart I knew then that I’d made a mistake. I didn’t enjoy running the sessions which was the heart of the business and it came across in the delivery. If I wasn’t having fun, no one was going to have fun.

Knowing it wasn’t going to be a success

I carried on for a while, feeling that it was too soon to give up. I tried changing the structure of the classes, tried to relax and enjoy it more. Eventually I reached the point were I was feeling sick at the thought of running the class. I had to accept that this just wasn’t the right business for me.

And once I’d done that I felt fine about it. In fact I felt excited because now I could focus on finding something that was right for me. I always imagined that I would feel humiliated if a business failed (in fact that’s probably why it took me so long to start) but actually I felt proud that I tried when so many people never do. Friends and family were surprised when I stopped running it but nobody made me feel like a failure.

Moving on

I started researching other opportunities and this time I was far more honest with myself. When I came across Mum2mum Market I really considered what would be involved and weather it would suit me. It was scary trying again. You start to wonder if you can trust your own judgement but I had loved being self employed so much that I couldn’t imagine going back to work. This time I got it right and have been running and growing nearly new sales in my area for three years. I had developed a good knowledge of the local parenting community when I was running a Tots Tales. I was able to make use of that in my new venture, as well as all the general business skills I learnt like book keeping and marketing.

The most valuable thing I learnt from the experience was that failure isn’t the huge disaster we think it is. I was lucky that the only money I lost was my redundancy money and obviously if I had lost money that I couldn’t afford to, it could have been a much bigger problem. But it’s usually the humiliation that we fear and the experience has taught me that it’s really unfounded. Most people just carry on down the easy route and never really follow their dreams but, to adjust the famous Tennyson quote, it’s better to have tried and failed, than never tried at all.

You can read more about Tots Tales in my Business Story or read about other people’s business fails in Businesses that didn’t make it.

More to business

Mumpreneur Story: More to Business Ltd

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

My name is Victoria, I became a mum about five years ago to a beautiful boy called Oliver and then two years ago I became a mum second time around to a little girl called May. Being a mum of two is insanely hard work but as I’m sure all mums would agree incredibly rewarding (well most of the time!)

What’s your business called?

MORE to business limited

Can you describe it in one sentence?

A collection of services and products designed to help creative businesses flourish while ensuring they still have time for the things they love.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I was in business for 11 years before I became a mum. Being a mum adds a whole new dimension to being in business. It allows me the flexibility to do the school runs and be with my children while giving me a sense of achievement on a daily basis. Being both a mum and a business owner is hard work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

How did you fund your start up?

I took out a small business loan of £10,000 and also had a credit card on standby just in case. I also did a bit of temping to ensure I had a bit of income coming in while I got my business off the ground. This was 16 years ago and before Facebook and social media so I think you can get started for much less than this now.

How do you manage working around your children?

It is a struggle! But not as big a struggle as trying to manage a 9-to-5 alongside the school hours. I can work in the evenings If needed, although these tend to be less frequent now. I’ve become very good at working smart. So using automation, outsourcing and an amazing planner keeps me sane. As a working mum you have small windows of working time and it’s important that we get maximum output from the small windows we have. I have also started to work term time only which is an amazing motivator when planning our projects.

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

There really is no typical day. On Tuesday we get together as a team and talk through any issues and make plans for the forthcoming week. The rest the days are spent working on the computer on various websites, emptying the inbox replying to enquiries, recording videos for our social media channels, recording content for our training portal, running in person training days and generally spending time with amazing ladies who all run their own businesses too.

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

Self-confidence mainly. I hold myself back on many occasions because I don’t feel that I’m good enough. As I have progressed through the years I have found out that everybody feels the same. We are all winging it 😉 I have also had issues with a ruthless competitor trying to sabotage my business in impressive ways. It all adds to the fun!

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

The freedom and flexibility without a doubt. If my little ones are poorly I down tools straight away with no guilt no worry and no boss to placate.

What are your plans for the future?

Do more of what I’m doing now. To increase my income by helping people to follow their dreams. I would like to continue growing multiple avenues and interests and to do it all with the freedom and flexibility that running a business can give you. I need to make sure that I grow it smart though and not get carried away with my ambition which can sometimes get out of control and take over.

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

You have everything you need right now to start an amazing business. Trust yourself and if the advice you’ve been given doesn’t sit well with you then trust that you know better than anyone what you are meant to be doing. I wasted many years searching for the expert to tell me what I should be doing where I actually knew all along. I just needed the confidence to go with my heart. That being said I believe everyone needs a good mentor, mastermind group or business confidant to give them the courage to follow their dreams through to reality. We can’t do this alone so seek help as early as you can. Without support you remain alone and it is so easy to give up when we feel isolated. Keep chasing that dream and don’t let anything get in your way.

Www.victoriacasebourne.com
Www.createyourwaytosuccess.com
Facebook.com/vcasebourne

My Viral Facebook Post (Plus 5 Tips to Create Your Own)

Disclaimer: I have no idea what the number is that defines a post as being viral but for me, this was a viral Facebook post!

I’m always on the look out for new stuff to post on my Facebook page. I try to post twice a day, everyday so that’s a lot of content to generate. What I share varies, I share the posts I write, the stories from my blog, quotes from people who have shared their stories on Business for Mums. I also create my own memes, usually inspired by something I’ve seen. I will often take the sentiment and reapply it to being a Mum running a business.

My Viral Facebook Post

The inspiration for my Viral Facebook post came from reading something on Facebook. Someone was complaining that we support our favourite celebrities and we should support our friends and families in the same way. This immediately struck a chord for me. I love it when I see my friends liking posts on my business page. That quick click let’s Facebook know that what I’m sharing is good stuff so it shows it to some more people. If they then engage with, Facebook shows it to some more people and so on. That inspired me to create this meme:

My most Viral Facebook post

I posted it on a Sunday night and went to bed. The next morning I was amazed to see that it had almost 100 shares. I’d had pretty successful posts before but nothing like this. It turned out that was just the tip of the iceberg. The post eventually had a reach of more than half a million people, 6300 shares and 1400 likes. Most importantly I got literally hundreds of news likes on my page.

The results of my Viral Facebook post

Someone (who had no idea that I’d created it) shared it in to the group for the franchise I run. A friend told me they’d seen it shared by one of their friends in Australia.

I’ve also found that I can reshare it from time to time and still get great results. This last posting was from about 3 weeks ago and has resulted in around 400 new page likes.

A more recent share of the post

I think the reason that it’s so successful is that people want to share it rather than just like it. They want their friends to see it to encourage them to hit like once in a while. The friends seeing it then hit like on the post. Other successful, if not quite Viral Facebook posts for me have been ones that encourage tagging, like the examples below.

Other popular Facebook posts

Tops tips for a Viral Facebook Post

1. Look at other memes that is popular and think about weather you can make relevant to your industry

2. Focus on things that people want to share, Facebook places a high value on shares so will show posts that have been shared a lot to more people.

3. Think about things we’re people will want to tag other people, name based posts or posts referring to a particular quality

4. Make sure you put your branding on your images. Some people will share from your page but others will save the image and then share it, if your branding is on there people will still know where it came from.

5. Make the most of the fact that Facebook allows you to invite people who have liked your post to like your page, this way you’ll maximise the number of new page likers you get.

I’d love to hear about any viral or near viral Facebook posts you’ve had.

Running children's classes via Kidslingo

Running Children’s classes: Kidslingo

Jill has been running children’s classes in Essex through the franchise Kidslingo since last year, she teaches preschool children French and Spanish.

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

Hi, I am Jill. I have a 7 year old little boy called Enzo and I am expecting my second child in June. I also have a step-daughter called Eevee. She is 8 years old and she lives with my fiancé Leigh, Enzo and I 4 days a week. Leigh is a firefighter and his shifts are very family friendly, which will come handy with my business once the newest addition to the family has arrived.

What’s your business called?

My business is part of a franchise called Kidslingo.

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Based in South West Essex, I teach fun French & Spanish classes for little ones from age 0 to 11 years in a variety of venues such as nurseries, primary schools and in the community in Soft Plays etc…

When did you begin running children’s classes and what inspired you?

I was approached by my son’s headteacher to give French classes in the curriculum from Year 2 to Year 6 last year. I also set up Spanish breakfast and after-school clubs there. I was then approached by another school to do the same, at the recommendation of one of my Year 3 pupil, whose mum is also a headteacher! I started looking into ways of expanding without compromising my life-work balance and came across Kidslingo. I researched many other franchises but Kidslingo really stood out for me so I started just before Christmas 2016.

How did you fund your start up?

The start up costs are very affordable so I managed to come up with the initial fee by putting it on my credit card.

How do you manage working around your children?

I set up my classes at times that suit me, which also happens to be times that suit my clientele. It is just perfect! My son comes to my French After-School Club despite being bilingual already and he attends my Spanish After-school club so he learns Spanish now, which is another bonus.

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

Every day is different but I get to drop off the children at school and pick them up, be there to take them to their gymnastics and Badgers clubs etc. I used to work full time in London and commute so I really appreciate the difference of work-life balance I am able to achieve now. Some days, I am at home ringing and emailing nurseries and schools to let them know about the Free Trial I offer and the fun children have when learning French and Spanish with Kidslingo. Other days, I run classes in a Soft Play called Monkey Madness in Basildon or in a lovely little independent bookshop called the Chicken and Frog in Brentwood and I am adding more classes as the demand grows. Every week, I go to nurseries and do the classes in their settings or I have classes for older children, sometimes in Primary Schools, some days for home educated children.
Once my children are in bed, I spend my evenings online, advertising on Facebook and other websites, replying to enquiries and getting all the toys and props ready for the following day.

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

The main challenge is being able to speak to the right person in the schools and the nurseries. The only way to overcome this is by being patient and persistent. I am learning a lot about Social Media advertising but for any questions, doubts and advice, we have a fantastic support in Head Office and a Facebook page for all the franchisees so any question is answered within minutes. Seeing how well all the other very successful franchisees in the network are doing just keeps me going.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

The best thing about being Mumpreneur is being able to work around my children and meeting parents who like me, believe that introducing languages to their children from a very young age is an invaluable gift. Even though I spend long hours working, it doesn’t feel like I am working because I work for myself and love what I do. It is all worth it: I just love coming into the schools or nurseries to hear children welcoming me with “Yaaaay! The French teacher!!’ or “Yaaaay! Spanish!!”. Giving them the love of learning languages is so satisfying!

What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future are to get more and more nurseries and schools onboard and employ tutors to teach all the fun classes I can’t personally deliver. All the lesson plans and materials are provided so I can train and employ someone to carry on teaching my classes whilst I take a little bit of time off in June when my newborn arrives. I’ll be able to take him/her to my baby classes as well, which will be great. The future is very exciting!

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

I would advise to have a clear plan and be organised from the start. It takes a while to be established so don’t give up! There are very good days and not so good days but keep your goal in mind and all the positive reasons why you started your business in the first place.

www.facebook.com/kidslingoJillHosy
www.twitter.com/kidslingoJillH
www.kidslingo.co.uk

If you’re interested in running Children’s classes have a look at our Education and Coaching stories.

A freelancers market means that you don’t have to settle

As a mum, sometimes you feel you have to settle with juggling and compromise. You’re either in a job you don’t want to do because it fits around school pick up times, or, you’re not spending enough time with your little one as you have to be at a job which is longer hours than what you would prefer. You just settle for this as you can’t always see another option. Like many other mums in the UK, Julia struggled to juggle a career as a Data Analyst Team Leader with her two beautiful young children and felt that she was being pulled in all directions.

In a post Brexit market, one thing that comes with the uncertainty is a booming market for freelancers. So perhaps 2017 is the year to learn a new skill or qualification and take the jump into freelancing? We’ve all been there and sometimes it’s difficult to know where to make that change, particularly when it comes to employment. You spend a huge amount of your life in work, and it’s important for health and wellbeing to enjoy what you do.” Says Julia Hill, a 36 year old mumpreneur from Andover.

What do you enjoy?

Shortly after the birth of her second child Julia knew things had to change. Although she’d been in her current employment for 12 years, her job was no longer fulfilling her and her young child was in nursery, neither of them was enjoying it.

Julia looked at the aspects of her role as a Data Analyst Team Leader and realised that what she wanted to do was find something she enjoyed. In her role as a Data Analyst Julia realised that she loved was working with numbers so Julia investigated which roles included a large amount of numeracy and she settled on Bookkeeping.

Flexibility

Julia quickly realised that to have the flexibility of working around her children’s needs self employment was the way forward which would require some further studying. Then, she looked at which providers would be best suited to deliver the Bookkeeping qualifications she needed. After researching all options, Julia decided that the Bookkeeping course with Open Study College/ICB. Taking the bull by the horns, she signed up for ICB Levels 2, 3 and 4 Certificates in Bookkeeping.

Being out of the learning cycle for some time, Julia soon found that she enjoyed distance learning as it also gave her the flexibility to learn when it suited her and before long, in just one year with Open Study College, Julia had completed levels 2 and 3 with flying colours, achieving distinctions in most of the exams. After less than a year of studies Julia was awarded her own Bookkeeping Practice licence in June last year.

“As a mum with young children you feel that your employment opportunities are limited to either compromising your childcare or stacking shelves. I decided to be the owner of my own destiny and thanks to the courses through Open Study and ICB, I am now on the way to having a thriving Bookkeeping business which is rewarding for me and works for our family.”

This time of year, whilst you may be stuck in doors you can put that time to good use, reflect on what you want to change, investigate what you need to do and make plans for your better future for you and your family.

This post is in collaboration with Open Study College

Carnsight Communications

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

Pink spaghetti franchisers

Franchisers Story: Pink Spaghetti PA Services

Becoming franchisers is something that many small businesses consider as a method for growth, Caroline and Vicky from Pink Spaghetti PA Services have done just that.

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
Caroline Gowing, 44, Mum to Charlotte, 12 and Imogen, 9, wife to Pete
Vicky Matthews, 44, Mum to Holly, 12 and Tom, 7, wife to Chris.
We both live in Cheshire

What’s your business called?
Pink Spaghetti PA Services

Can you describe it in one sentence?
We offer small business owners the elusive 25th hour in the day for their business and domestic tasks.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
We started Pink Spaghetti in 2009. We were inspired by the need for flexibility in our working life, where children and long hours simply did not mix.

How did you fund your start up?
We funded our start up from savings, and budgeted very wisely!

How do you manage working around your children?
Our business is based on flexible working. Our phone systems allow us to only answer a call if we are free from screaming or giggling children, we use technology so we can work from play bars or a home office, our work can be done mainly in the hours we choose, so during school hours, or very early/late during the holidays. We are at every school run, assembly and sports day and we are proud of that.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
Every day is a varied one! For customers we may be doing book keeping, writing social media posts or researching a holiday. To build the business we will be doing marketing, lots of networking and social media. As we run a franchise we also have lots of contact with our franchisees, training and supporting. Every day is varied, without a doubt!

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
Growth has been a challenge for us, trying to balance bringing on staff but only when we are sure. We are both risk averse, so we use a lot of talking, reporting and planning to make sure this is done at the correct time, supporting the growth but making sure we will still get paid after the staff do!

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
Flexibility! All our franchisees have this flexibility too. Every hour you work is for yourself not for someone else – that is so valuable. Neither of us would ever go back to corporate life.

What are your plans for the future?
We are building our franchise offering steadily. We currently have 24 franchise areas across the UK, and we aim to grow that next year – we have another three going live in January 2017.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Go for it! Take advice, don’t plan too much but deal with everything as it comes in, and be prepared to take your business in a direction you don’t expect, if customers want something slightly different to what you thought they would want.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
We have this year won Working Mums Most Supportive Franchisor award, and the Smith & Henderson best new entry award to franchising. In 2014 we won the EWIF (encouraging women into franchising) award for best new franchise, sponsored by McDonalds. We have been finalists in many more awards.

www.pink-spaghetti.co.uk
www.pinkspaghettifranchising.co.uk
www.facebook.com/pinkspaghetti
www.twitter.com/pink_spaghetti

Caroline from added zest

Adding Zest Ltd

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

I’m Caroline Cavanagh, wife to Nick who is in the army and Mum to Nadia and Eden who are 12 and 11.

What’s your business called?

My business is called Adding Zest Ltd

Can you describe it in one sentence?

I help teenagers and their parents overcome anxiety and build resilience as a platform upon which to develop confidence.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

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.

How did you fund your start up?

Fortunately the investment was not high so within the realms of self-funding.

How do you manage working around your children?

It has changed with the children. Initially it was just when they slept, I used a bit of childcare when they were toddlers and then when they started school, I was a Mum until 9 and after 3 and prioritised work for the 6 hours in between. Now that they are at secondary school, those 6 hours have grown to be 8 so I’m practically a full time worker again.

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

Working from home is a big factor in keeping all the balls up. The first part of the day is all about getting everyone out of the house but then I can just ‘put the washing on’ or empty the dishwasher throughout the day to keep the house going. Walking my dog in the morning is key as it is ‘me’ time when I get to think through problems and plan. I also find that being out in nature and getting the heart working is a part of the routine that just cant be compromised. Once the children get home at 4.30 I work hard to close the laptop and give them my full attention. That’s the downside of working from home; the temptation is always there to ‘check emails’ but I have learned that this compromises everything – not giving the children the attention they deserve and the work is being done without focus. So now I aim to compartmentalise my day – I am either working, parenting or having me time and ensure each is given full focus. That way, I believe, I am the best version of me I can be and so everyone wins!

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

The biggest was my husband going away for 12 months to Afghanistan and both children under 7. I learned what was important and what could be left. Taking on the role of being both parents and getting my children through that period was my priority and if that meant the house was not as clean as it could be, or I earned a bit less, then so be it. Whilst it was a tough time, I learned two great lessons – every challenge will end and you will have learned something from it. These lessons have meant that when new challenges come up, they are not as scary as they will end, I will be stronger for it…..

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

I’ve been to every sports day, every school play, every concert. These opportunities only come once. I am not a millionaire (yet) but that’s still possible and ‘Ill do it with all those wonderful memories stored away and no regrets.

What are your plans for the future?

Now that my children are at secondary school, their needs for me are changing allowing me more focus on the business. I wrote a book this year, have just won a national award and have big plans for next year to take my business to a new level – and one that will also help my own children as its working with teenagers so that also supports motivation. Finding a way to bring the two elements of my life together really helps as they can contribute to ideas and feel included in my work. My aim is to be a good role model for them.

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

Only ever compare yourself to you. If you start to compare your products, your earnings, your client base etc it is likely you will always find someone better. However that is not a fair comparison. I once worked with someone who was the same age as me, a multi millionaire, global following by thousands who loved her work, travelled the world, award winning author………who had no children, a failed marriage, spend more than half the year away from her husband…….If I only focused on the first half, I felt like a failure. When I saw the bigger picture, I now the comparison is incomparable! When you compare yourself on one element, you lose focus on all the other areas. So the advice is just compare yourself to whom you were yesterday. If you are stronger, fitter, healthier, happier, richer in any way, you are a winner!

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

Enjoy today. Yesterday has already gone so learn from any mistakes and look forward. Know where you want to get to and ensure every step is leading you closer there but tomorrow, next week, next year, isn’t here yet so dont spend lots of time focusing on it. The only chance you have to enjoy now is NOW so make the thing you are doing now, one that leaves you happy.
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