Tell us a bit about your family?
I am a mum to 2 very lively toddlers, a girl and a boy, as well as a wife and owner of 2 cats!
What’s your business called?
Mum plus One
Can you describe it in one sentence?
I offer indoor and outdoor pregnancy/postnatal fitness classes and virtual fitness training plans for mums and mums-to-be who prefer to exercise at home.
When did you start it and what inspired you?
I started my business in April 2015 once my little boy was nearly 1 and slightly less dependent on me. As a mum of 2 I found it incredibly hard to fit any meaningful exercise into my life and having been a fitness instructor about 15 years ago decided to pick up that career again but specialising in pregnancy and postnatal exercise. As soon as I was qualified I started up my business!
How did you fund your start up?
I work 2 days a week from home in a paid job to bring in a steady income and run my business on the other days. I am completely self-funded through savings and earnings so far as my overheads are pretty low. I may need to look at a business loan in the future if I grow my business though.
How do you manage working around your children?
My children go to a childminder 2 days a week whilst I do my paid job and also when I teach my indoor class. Fortunately I am able to take them to my outdoor class with me in their pram. I do the rest of my marketing, social media, website updates and admin of an evening when they are in bed, or at a weekend when my husband is around to help out.
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
My days vary hugely during the week. On a day when I’m teaching a class I have to sort out the kids and get them to the childminder, prep my my class kit, run the class then get the kids back again to look after. During the evening I’ll update my attendee sheet and budget to make sure nothing gets forgotten. I sometimes post on facebook or twitter about my class so people can see what we do. On another day I’ll update my marketing materials, write a blog for my website, contact some businesses or groups to promote myself to them, or even have a meeting with an appropriate local business to see if we can help each other. I manage my tasks by having a to-do list and scheduling my time into blocks so I can maximise my productivity rather than try and multi-task the whole time.
What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge I have had so far is trying to get some marketing for practically no budget. If you don’t advertise you don’t get clients so I’ve been working really hard on networking, concentrating on local information services or other mummy groups. In order to get a wider reach for my virtual fitness training I am starting to list Mum plus One in various directories and write guest blogs.
What’s the best thing about being self employed?
I love being able to follow my passion and work flexibly around my family. I get a kick out of helping other mums with their exercise programmes and seeing them improve week on week. I also feel very lucky to be able to create my own business and run it and market it how I like. I can tailor my services directly to the needs of my clients, almost on a case by case basis. My ethos is quality over quantity and I’m very proud of that.
What are your plans for the future?
My 5 year plan is to increase my virtual fitness training offering to more clients and get more of a national interest in that and my classes. Ideally I’d like to work myself into the position of being able to franchise Mum plus One across the UK.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out?
My top tip is to do your market research to make sure you are offering something people want. Find out who your audience are and how to best target them. There are lots of pitfalls around advertising and promoting yourself so it’s definitely worth reading up before you start so you don’t waste precious time and money.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Many people don’t know much about virtual fitness training and mine in a slightly different model as I want to provide a bespoke service. I don’t just load videos onto my website for people to follow on their own. I actually design my clients a fully personalised exercise plan which I can demo over Skype if needed and then contact them at least weekly for a progress check. This allows me to make alterations to their plan as they develop so they get the most from it. I can also ensure they are exercising correctly and safely which is very important with pregnant ladies and new mums!