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.

www.talkingtots.info
https://www.facebook.com/TalkingTotsSouthend/
https://www.facebook.com/TalkingTotsChelmsfordandMaldon/

Looking for more Mum’s business inspiration?

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

[jetpack_subscription_form]

Working as a hypnobirthing instructor

Hypnobirthing Instructor: The Wise Hippo

Hypnobirthing can help women prepare for labour in a positive way, what’s it really like to be a hypnobirthing instructor?

What’s your business called?

The Wise Hippo Saffron Walden

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Teaching birth preparation classes to pregnant couples and supporting them throughout their pregnancy, birth and beyond.

When did you Become a HypnobiRthing instructor and what inspired you?

I trained to become a Wise Hippo instructor in February this year. I was inspired after using the Wise Hippo Birthing programme for the birth of my own baby girl, Sia. Prior to doing the course I was so terrified of giving birth that I was booked in for an elective c section! After doing the course I went from wanting an elective c section to wanting and having a home birth! I felt incredibly empowered and confident and I felt strongly that The Wise Hippo was something all pregnant couples should know about!

I am also a psychotherapist and having worked with women suffering from birth trauma, I know how impacting the birth experience can be on a new Mum. Sadly, this is often overlooked and a mum who has been through a traumatic experience is frequently told ‘having a healthy baby is all that matters’ in other words – the Mum doesn’t matter! A traumatic birth experience can have a huge impact on how a new Mum feels about herself, her baby and her partner. I feel passionate about helping women firstly to have a positive birth experience but also supporting them afterwards as well.

How did you fund your start up?

It was a big decision as I decided not to return to my full time job in London after maternity leave and focus on setting up my psychotherapy and Wise Hippo businesses so I got a local temp part time job to bring in some money to fund everything. It was a very challenging time trying to juggle everything but after 6 months I was able to leave my temporary job and focus solely on building up my businesses.

How do you manage working around your children?

It’s a constant juggling act and at first it felt overwhelming trying to fit everything in around being a Mum but now we have settled into a routine. I have my set working days when my little girl is at nursery and then switch off when she’s at home with me. I couldn’t do it all without the help of my wonderful hubby, Anthony. He is an amazing Daddy to our little girl and super supportive. Self-care is really important as well – something I often have to remind myself of! ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’ is one of my favourite sayings!

Can you describe a typical day as a hypnobirthing instructor?

I don’t really have a typical day as no two days are the same! But at the moment my working days are jam packed! To describe one day last week, I dropped Sia to nursery, responded to client emails, taught a Wise Hippo class, did an interview with the local newspaper, did a food shop and then home to do some housework before picking Sia up from nursery! Then it was playtime, dinner and bedtime for Sia, dinner with Ant followed by us collapsing on the sofa to catch up on Homeland!

What have you found hardest?

My brain tends to go into creative overdrive so being able to prioritise is always a challenge as I start thinking of a million ideas and then want to do them all at once! Learning to really focus on one thing at a time and stick at that has been challenging but worthwhile.

What’s the best thing about being self employed?

After 6 years of working full time whilst training part time to become a psychotherapist, I am finally doing two jobs that I feel truly passionate about which is the best feeling! I love that everything I do in my work is ultimately about helping and empowering others.

What are your plans for the future?

I have big plans for next year! As well as continuing to build my businesses I will be training to become a Doula and I will also be training to work with women suffering from pregnancy loss. I am also setting up PANDAS support groups for women suffering post-natal depression and anxiety which will begin in January. I have lots of exciting projects in the pipeline and can’t wait to see them all come together!

What advice would you give for someone just starting out?

Believe in yourself and just go for it! The best advice I received when I first started out was: ‘no one really knows what they are doing when they first start a business – we are all just winging it’ – it was reassuring and gave me confidence to go for it and learn along the way! Mistakes are just learning curves – don’t be scared to make them!

Get all the support you can especially in the early days. Find yourself a mentor who is willing to coach you or watch some tutorials online. There are lots of brilliant free business coaching videos on You Tube – Joanna Martin is amazing and this webinar is inspirational and well worth a watch: http://oneofmany.co.uk/befruitful-webinar/

https://twitter.com/THEWISEHIPPOSW
Email: zoe@thewisehippo-saffronwalden.com

Looking for Mum’s business inspiration? Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

[jetpack_subscription_form]

Interested in running classes? Check out these Mum’s storiesthese Mum’s stories.

Tamsin has been running a swim school since 2004

Running a Swim School: Water Babies

Tamsin has been running a swim school since 2004. A bad early experience with swimming inspired her and she has grown Water Babies through franchising.

Tell us your name and a bit about your family?

My name is Tamsin Brewis, I’m 55 and I live in Banbury with my husband Michael and our two children. Michael is a management trainer and my two children are now both at university.

When did you become a Mum and to whom?

I first became a mum in 1995. I have two wonderful children; Thomas who is now 21 and Sydonie who is now 19. They’re both at university and we couldn’t be more proud of them.

What’s your business called?

My business is called Water Babies.

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Water Babies is a baby swimming school offering lessons from birth to 4 years of age which are progressive, fun and safety driven.

When did you starT running a swim school and what inspired you?

I started Water Babies in November 2004. Before Water Babies, I worked for a field marketing company and I was forever commuting and away from home. I had two young children and I felt we were all missing out. Like so many other mums, I wanted to spend more time with them. I made what was, at the time, a pretty risky decision and changed career paths.

I’d had a bad experience as a child learning to swim and I swore my kids wouldn’t be afraid of water. At the time, I looked around for children’s swimming classes but was disappointed with what I found. Eventually, I found classes in London and I used to go all the way to London once a week for 40 weeks from Buckingham! The owner of that particular swim school asked if I would like to be a teacher so I qualified and became a swimming teacher. I started teaching locally and I was in the pool one day and a lovely little baby was sick on me – and that was my lightbulb moment! I thought, I need to be doing something for myself…

How did you fund your start up?

I used my life savings! I did speak to the banks about getting a loan but in the end I chose to put my own savings in rather than taking out a loan. It was a risk at the time. People thought I was totally mad. In fact, lots of people tried to talk me out of it.

I set off with a target for my first year and I not only reached this within nine months but over achieved; I’d always said to myself that if I hit that target for year one then we would go to New York for the weekend – so we did!

How do you manage running The swim school around your children?

When I first started out and for years afterwards, running the business alongside having a family and spending quality time with them was a great balancing act. I would work during the day whilst the children were at school and then again in the evenings when they were in bed. You have both the opportunity and the need to work around your children instead of having fixed hours.

Both of my children have very much grown up as part of the business with me. They’ve been with me to shows and fairs, they’ve helped with leafleting, visited pools with me. At first it was out of necessity and over time it became something we all enjoyed and in actual fact, something that has benefitted them socially and academically.

My family have helped immensely along the way – I wouldn’t have been able to do it without their support. When people say running your own business is easy – I say you’ve got to be joking!

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

What I first started the business I think it’s safe to say things were pretty hectic! I would be up at 7am to get the children to school then I would go straight into teaching swim classes for a couple of hours. After that I would be back to the office for admin work, then maybe out and about putting up leaflets or dropping flyers door-to-door before picking children up from school. Then of course it was family time so feeding everyone, doing homework and spending some time together before putting them to bed. Once the children were in bed I’d often catch up with missed phone calls and emails.

Now that the business has grown and I have a fabulous team of staff, I spend more time on business development than the day-to-day tasks. I still teach some classes because I love it and it’s important for me to be close to the children and parents that we work with. But otherwise I spend time on business planning, marketing, staff management, training and developing the Water Babies offering.

Do I do the same things every day – no! I didn’t when I started and I had two small children to work around and I don’t now that we’ve been established for over 10 years and they’re all grown up! I think that’s just the life of an entrepreneur!

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

I would say the recession in 2008 was the biggest challenge we’ve faced as a business. It was tough but we managed to overcome it by working hard and being sensible. Everyone went above and beyond on a personal level and internally, we looked at the structure of the business, what pools we were using etc. and how to be as efficient as possible whilst still providing the very best service.

I think growing the business has been an ongoing challenge – it tends to grow in stages and I’m sure most businesses are the same so people will be able to relate! You have to grow a certain number of clients before you can take on new staff so you always reach a certain pressure or pain point just before you can afford to take on extra resource. We’ve had to learn as we go.

I also think the market changes, not in terms of what we’re offering but in terms of what our clients need and want. So it’s about listening to your customers and responding appropriately; they are the same challenges for most businesses really.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

By far the best thing for me is the independence that comes with being your own boss and being in control of your own destiny. As a mumpreneur, I get the opportunity to try new things, learn from my mistakes and grow in personal strength and professional skill as a result. I love meeting new people and listening to them and learning from them.

I always said the reason I started the business was to spend more time with my family and I’ve definitely achieved that. My son, Thomas, is Dyslexic and Dyspraxic so needs extra support with education and learning. In the back of my mind, I knew that I wanted the business to be able to help with private school fees that would enable him to have the support that he needs. I’ve been able to achieve that and so much more, for my whole family. I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve done as a business and as a family.

Giving back to the community and helping others is something I’m passionate about. I started a company initiative to fundraise for Tommy’s. As a charity they fund research into the causes of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. And they also provide information for parents-to-be to help them have a healthy pregnancy and baby. I’m so proud that my business can help towards this cause.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to continue to grow the business of course but it is more important to me to support my staff and make an impact in the community and in the lives of as many people as possible.

In future, I would like to do some charity work and work with teenagers suffering with mental health, depression etc. because as a mother, when you see young people suffering you want to give something back and help. So that’s the next big challenge I’d like to tackle I think.

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

Identify your strengths and weaknesses and then play to your strengths. Get help where you need it and don’t be afraid to ask for help. There’s no such thing as a silly question. Learn from your mistakes and just have a go!

http://www.waterbabies.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/WaterBabiesUK/

Lucy is a MAD ACADEMY FRANCHISEE

Franchisee Story: MAD Academy

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
Lucy Curtis, I have 2 children, a daughter who is 12, a son who is 9 and 2 step sons 9 & 7 years.
I have been married to Dan (who works in the charity sector) for 2 years and we live in Surrey. We met doing one of our pastimes, amateur theatre.

What’s your business called?
I own the MAD Academy – Camberley franchisee

Can you describe it in one sentence?
Music and movement for pre school school children

When did you become a franchisee and what inspired you?
February 2014, I wanted a career change and with my divorce settlement, I decided to try something that inspired me. I have a background in music, dance and theatre and so it was an obvious choice!

How did you fund your start up?
I loaned myself 6 months of capital and then gradually paid myself a small wage as the business took off.

How do you manage working around your children?
My teaching hours are generally during school hours, but my admin is before and after school and some weekends. My children understand that to have a Mum who can work around them is a compromise. They accompany me during school holidays and help me with parties. Its a family concern and everyone has to make allowances. That said they would like me to sell the business so I’m not so tired!

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
School run, admin and preparing class plans for each class (they are all bespoke so I have to ensure they are relevant for each session as I teach a broad spectrum of abilities). Out teaching classes, generally x2 per morning. Lunch and maybe catching up on emails and then another session in the afternoon. Straight to the school run (learning lines whist waiting for the bell to ring) and then home. Normally more admin or prep, cook dinner and then on the sofa for around 7.30pm, although this will vary dependant on the workload. Tuck the children in bed around 8pm and then have dinner,

What challenges have you faced as a franchisee and how have you overcome them?
Building up form scratch – being as flexible as possible and patent. Understanding that its not personal and if someone doesn’t want to rebook then its probably circumstances not me!
Lack of finances initially – being patient and mindful of costs
Loneliness – working for myself on my own all day is lonely. There is no office banter or someone to chat to other than clients – trying to chat with family members or colleagues where I can.

What are your plans for the future?
To continue at the same level. I could potentially take on agents but I am mindful that this will actually raise the workload as I would nee to manage them and their workload.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Be patient and don’t take things too personally. Be as flexible as you can and go the extra mile for people. they won’t always appreciate it but many will!

www.madacademy.com
MAD Academy – Camberley

Think franchising might be for you, check out our Mums in Business Course, or find out more about franchising.

Lab Tots – A Business that Inspires the Next Generation of Scientists

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
My name is Sophia Mitchell, I had my son Edward in July 2014

What’s your business called?
Lab Tots
I also have Lab Kidz as a place holder for older children

Can you describe it in one sentence?
Lab Tots preschool science brings a world of scientific adventure to you in a fun, enjoyable, entertaining and safe environment.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
After a number of life changing events (becoming a new mum, being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, becoming an insulin pump user, being made redundant – all whilst on maternity leave) I took a long hard look at what I wanted out of life. Edward was my inspiration. I wanted to do something that would make me a better mum, allow me to spend time with him and to engage with him in a fun, interactive and educational way – and Lab Tots was born!

How did you fund your start up?
All of Lab Tots is self funded and this is ongoing.

How do you manage working around your children?
Edward is in nursery 2 days a week and its during those 2 days (and nap times!) that I work on Lab Tots.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
I try to balance my days between financial planning, marketing & social media, course content development, sourcing session supplies, making session supplies, testing experiments – basically everything!
I manage my time well – always carrying my note book & to do list with me. I prioritise important items 1st and mix bigger tasks in with ‘quick wins’ so my to do list doesn’t just keep growing!

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
All the usual obstacles you face as a self employed person – funding, sales, marketing, developing your product and brand. I try to keep things realistic, with short term, medium term & long term goals. I am financially savvy so don’t spend what I don’t have. Friends have helped out greatly with creating some of the physical material (as most things cant be brought anyway!) as well as the website. I wouldn’t say i’ve ‘overcome’ these obstacles as they are still ongoing, but I am making progress and 100% repeat business cant be bad!

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
Being in control of my own destiny, developing things the way I want to and being able to feel proud of what i’ve achieved and developed from a blank canvass.

What are your plans for the future?
My long term plans for the future are to grow Lab Tots into a nationwide brand, whether that’s via a franchise model or keeping it family run with teams operating nationally. I would also like to develop a touring / mobile Lab Tots experience.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Its hard work and you’re unlikely (in my case) to be earning on the same salary scale as you were previously – at least to begin with. So if you can plan financially for this prior to start up, it will take some of the pressure off. The rest is to stay positive & self motivated. Have a plan, (or several!) but keep it / them flexible so you keep yourself open to opportunities as they arise – you never really know what’s round the corner and who you may come into contact with.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Our mission at Lab Tots is to ignite a lifelong love of Science, getting children really interested in STEM subjects from a young age. So they are not just learning about the world around them, but they are practically experimenting, discovering and exploring scientific principles and concepts as well as their own ideas in an incredibly fun, interactive and engaging way.
Lab Tots bring a world of scientific adventure to you in a fun, enjoyable, entertaining and safe environment. Leave the mess with us and take the fun home with you!
At Lab Tots every session is different, comprising amazing jaw dropping demos like our rainbow geysers and rocket launches, hands on activities like our dino dig and space walk, physical representations like our path of least resistance obstacle course, polymer conga and good vibrations right through to creative, sensory play like rainbow rain, bubble mania and popping sherbet!
We believe that science should not be stuffy, boring or reserved for the class room. Science is everywhere and should be for everyone to explore and have fun whether you are 3 or 103!
So, why should your child become a Lab Tot? Do you want to develop their curiosity in the world around them, nurture their understanding, introduce them to scientific concepts and principles from day 1? Do you want to improve their dexterity, reasoning, team work, communication, creative & imaginative problem solving, do you want them to become truly well rounded individuals – if the answer to any of these questions is YES, then Lab Tots is definitely for you!

www.labtots.com
https://www.facebook.com/labtots.preschool.science
twitter – Sophia mitchell@labtots
https://twitter.com/labtots

singing mumpreneurs

Running Singing Workshops with Heart and Music

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

I’m married to Mark, also self employed (a football coach). Shortly after we got married, we had Hugo, now almost 3. We also have Toby, 10 months. He was very unwell a couple of weeks after birth, needing life-saving emergency surgery, so he’s quite a little tough guy!

What’s your business called?

Heart and Music

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Singing workshops that also use drama skills to communicate the message of each song.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

Having a degree Drama and Musical Theatre, I initially worked overseas teaching and performing in various resorts. After returning to England, getting a full time job, settling down and having Hugo, I realised that I didn’t want to spend all week away from him, working to effectively pay someone else to spend all that time with him! I was nervous of turning down a guaranteed job to pursue my own work, but I knew this was a subject I was passionate about delivering, so hoped that the work would build up. I landed the role of Musical Director for a huge local community choir when Hugo was 5 months old, and the work grew from then on.

How did you fund your start up?

I really only needed basic equipment, licensing, insurance and room hire at first. All other costs are just ongoing expenses. I suppose my degree was my biggest expense! Luckily, I didn’t need to look into finance from anywhere else.

How do you manage working around your children?

I try to remember that this is all for them, ultimately. We are lucky that my parents babysit two evenings a week, when our schedules clash for half an hour. Other than that, it’s just a case of juggling things around each other.
It can be hard to try and focus on work when I’m on my own with both children, but in the long run I think it’s good for them to see that sometimes I have to get an important email sent, or find some sheet music. It has given them a little more independence, but I always explain what I’m about to do, and I set aside plenty of ‘no-screen time’ so they know they have my full attention.

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

Mornings are an energetic time, so around the park visits, food shopping or gymnastics classes, I usually just manage to catch up on some emails or plan a set list.
Hugo goes to preschool for 3 hours, 4 days a week. As I don’t drive, travelling does eat into that precious work window, but I generally go into work-machine-mode and power through plenty of song arrangement, private lesson planning and administration during that time (partly dictated by Toby’s needs, but he usually naps at the ideal time!)
Sometimes I have workshops to deliver in the daytime; I’m currently working on a regional BBC project. This calls for childcare, generally from fantastic friends and family, luckily.
After preschool, I often have the computer on and dip in and out of small work tasks while the boys play, we prepare dinner together, the boys have their bath and I gather my teaching materials to head out to teach. My parents arrive to watch the boys while I go, because Mark usually finishes after I begin.
When I return from work, I feed Toby and usually have many messages from students: the upside and downside to 24 hour social media! I’m usually buzzing and get on with planning things, but we try to catch up and maybe watch something together before bed. Toby is still up a few times in the night, at 10 months old, which isn’t fun!

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

Although Toby was planned, I was worried that maternity leave would cost me many students. I returned to work when he was 5 weeks old, to keep on top of things. I also stepped down the pace whilst pregnant after I was admitted for a few nights in early labour, as the doctor told me to slow down.

The unofficial working hours can be extensive, and eat into social time: for example, the amount of concerts and charity bookings across all my singing groups in the festive period was quite extreme! The huge positive is that it’s work I love, and the Christmas events are sometimes suitable for the boys to attend with Mark, so I can see them in between performances and they can enjoy some Christmas music.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

Getting to have such a great relationship with the boys. I have mum friends who work full time and still have a fab connection with their children; I also have mum friends who don’t work, and have so much fun with their children. However, it was important for me to have a balance between raising the boys and working. Partly because it demonstrates the importance of focus and hard work to them, but also because I needed an outlet for that side of my personality and I wanted to use my skill set.

What are your plans for the future?

As the boys enter the education system, I will increase my teaching hours, as I have a waiting list for private lessons. I’m also waiting to launch ‘Wrap Stars’, a babywearing adult choir. The idea is that, instead of just singing nursery rhymes together (which are beneficial, of course!), it’s essentially an adult choir singing modern music that they enjoy, whilst wearing (or just bringing along) their child. The benefits of being involved with music from a young age are so extensive, and I genuinely believe that Hugo’s huge vocabulary and grasp of linguistics is due in part to exposure to so much music throughout his young life.

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

Make sure you’re really passionate about the business you’re going to commit to. Don’t add up the hours you really work, trying to work out your hourly wage! It’ll be a bit devastating, particularly at the start. Also, pace yourself. It’s better to take on 2 jobs that you’ll do well than to stretch yourself thinly between many projects and damage your reputation by under-delivering.

www.heart-and-music.co.uk
https://m.facebook.com/heart.and.music.swindon/

image

Looking for more Mum’s business inspiration?

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

[jetpack_subscription_form]