Running baby and toddler classes

Running Children’s Communication classes with Talking Tots

What’s your business called?

Talking Tots – I own the franchises for Southend & surrounding areas and Chelmsford & Maldon

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Providing classes to pre-schoolers and
early years settings to help develop good communication, language, listening & attention, social and pre-literacy skills in preparation for pre-school and ultimately school.

When did you start it and what inspired you?

I started in September 2013 – I
was looking for a job that related to child development and that fitted around school hours and holidays. I was also particularly attracted to the opportunity to run my own business and being part of a franchise made sense as the business model was already established.

How did you fund your start up?

Through personal savings.

How do you manage working around your children?

Because it’s my own business I can choose the hours that I run classes and I have also taken on class leaders to help me meet demand. I generally do the admin and marketing in
the evening once my two children are in bed.

Can you describe a typical day?

No day is ever the same really – obviously I have my timetable of classes on some days but the nature of enquiries, head
office / other marketing initiatives requiring attention and whether or not I have plans with my family dictate the structure of my day.

What have you found hardest?

The admin and marketing is very time consuming.
Running classes is the easy part – it’s fun, I meet lots of lovely children and their families and knowing I am helping their development is fantastic – it’s just that at times it can be difficult to switch off from the ongoing tasks that need to be done to support and promote the business. I’m sure I put more hours in than when I worked in London!

What’s the best thing about being self employed?

Having the flexibility to allow for a good work / family life balance and also the personal challenge of building a business.

What are your plans for the future?

To grow the business to meet the demands
for our sessions in nurseries, pre-schools and schools (reception) – the impact we are having in these areas is significant and leading to lots of interest through word of mouth alone.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out?

Do not underestimate how much time and effort it takes to get your name out there! If people don’t know about you then they obviously won’t use your business so ongoing marketing is essential. Explore the free / low cost options first, particularly through social media – you may even find that these are more effective than more expensive options.

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

A Mum writers story: Your Teething Baby, from one Parent to Another

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

My name is Emma Reed and I currently live in Basingstoke with my husband, Rob who I have been with for ten years, and my son, Jake who is almost three. We bought our house in 2011 and the following year we were married on a beach on the Greek island of Rhodes. I then went on to have Jake on Christmas day 2013 via emergency c-section. We managed to pack quite a bit into those few years!

What’s your book called?

‘Your Teething Baby, from one parent to another’

Can you describe it in one sentence?

It is your essential guide to answering all your teething questions and provides tips, advice and support through, what can be, a very painful development.

When did you decide to write it and what inspired you?

I decided to write it after a friend joked that I knew so much about teething I could write a book on it! I laughed it off at the time but the idea just seemed to stick. My son started teething from 6 weeks old and I found very little help or advice. I had to learn everything myself, spending a lot of time asking others questions and using the internet to find answers. I knew that if I was doing this, other parents must be doing it too. So, last August I sat and began to write. Once the writing was looking like it was going somewhere I revealed my new venture to family members who were all very supportive.
I felt that a book about teething was missing from the baby market which seemed crazy as it is a development which can start from birth (or even in the womb) and end by the age of three. We have a huge choice of books on pregnancy, newborns, weaning, toddlers and child psychology but this development seems to have been missed. I hope that my book will help many more parents and prevent babies from being in discomfort for quite so long.

How do you manage working around your children?

When I was writing the book my son was still napping in the day. I would take every opportunity I could to add to it and found that hour in the day valuable. Now that he is older the nap has gone so it isn’t quite as easy to find time to market myself and the book plus write blogs. I find myself making notes of ideas when they come to me and plan topics which may help people. I write mostly in the evening or when he is engrossed in a film or the TV in the day.

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

I am a full-time Mum so I have all the usual, lovely household chores to do on top of looking after a very active toddler. We don’t tend to have a ‘typical’ day because I like to mix things up a bit. We like to get out and about during our week and Jake really enjoys seeing friends and family. I tend to see my sister a lot as she is a Nanny and the children can play together. We also have a dog and love going on long walks with her out in the countryside. We both like to be busy and juggling Mum life with writing life keeps me from becoming bored.

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

The main challenge has been the fact I have self-published my book on Amazon. It gives you the freedom to have complete control of your book but it also means that you are solely responsible for advertising, marketing and self-promoting. This is where a lot of my time and effort goes.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

I love being able to reach out to others. My blog consists of a variety of topics which I think is important in helping others realise that they are not going through something alone. I like to write from a personal point of view and from my own experiences. This has also turned out to be a type of therapy for myself too. I also enjoy writing some fun posts and trying to engage the reader. The great thing about writing is that you can use your mood that day to draw inspiration from.

What are your plans for the future?

I am currently working on some children’s books which I am hoping to approach publishers with. I think children’s books would sell much better from a shop and I would love to see my work sitting on a shelf in a store such as Waterstones.

What advice would you give for someone who wants to write a book?

If you have the passion and drive to write a book I would say go for it. It is so satisfying to hold the finished product in your hand and so rewarding when you receive a positive review.Your teething baby

Entrepreneurial Girl at desk

Were you an Entrepreneurial Child?

While I’ve only been self employed for about 4 years, it struck me the other day that I’ve always been quite entrepreneurial. I can remember as quite a small child making “Rose Perfume”. It was basically old jam jars filled with water and rose petals. I’d sell them to my neighbours for 50p a jar (clearly I had very kindly neighbours!) Then when I was what we now call a tween I was very concerned with animal welfare. I was always running sponsored events and selling raffle tickets (again, it was my poor neighbours who I hit up for this).

When I first started senior school stickers were all the rage. Where my grandparents lived in Surrey there was a little shop that sold really unusual stickers. I used to buy loads then sell them to my friends at a mark up of about 400%. When I was a bit older I used to trade horse equipment with the girls at the riding stables I went to and make cakes to sell cakes to friends and family.

And it seems I’m not alone. Luisa, who runs Just for Tiny People used to set up a stall at the end of her drive to sell things in aid of her local hospice. Natasha, who runs Cheeky Treasures, set up a snack bar with her friends to sell flapjacks in aid of Guide dogs for the blind. Caroline (from Caroline VA) collected toys from kids in her street to sell at garage sales in aid of The British Heart Foundation.

The current generation is also producing entrepreneurial children as demonstrated by Penny from Redmanva:

“..I have just spend the last couple of hours teaching my 5 yr old to sew a felt
snowman. She enjoyed it so much that she asked could she make more and sell them. My response was of course, you could have a stall and sell them at the school and rainbow Christmas fairs. I explained that to do that she would need money to buy material, thread etc. She asked how she could pay for them and I said how do you think? Response was fab – I could sell some of my old toys! So we have today put some of the toys she has outgrown up for sale. I have advanced her a few pounds in order to buy a couple of essentials i.e thread. She is a very happy lady and i’m very proud of her entrepreneurial spirit.”

I also see plenty of entrepreneurial children at the nearly new sales that I run. Often parents will convince children to part with old toys by letting them use the money to buy new toys. It’s lovely seeing them getting a first taste of business while helping their parents out on the stall.

Childrens stall

I asked some family and friends weather they had any entrepreneurial experiences as children and many did. It turns out that even my husband used to wash his neighbour’s cars for £5 a time. These days he takes it to the car wash although I don’t suppose it’ll be long before he starts paying our children to do it!

Do you think that some people are born entrepreneurial? I’d love to hear your stories of mini businesses you ran as a child or anything that your own children have done. If you’ve got a child who is keen to make some money check out these ideas on how to make money as a kid.