Mumpreneur Business: Great Little Rewards

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

Hello, my name is Katie and I am Mum to two boys aged 13 & 8, a mini daschund called Monty and two cats and am married to John – life is busy!

What’s your business called?

My business is called Great Little Rewards (GLR)

Can you describe it in one sentence?

We aim to provide engaging pocket money toys and fun activities for young learners – we import from the USA, Japan and, of course, source from the UK as well

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I started GLR alongside a four day a week job in 2011 and have worked on it full time since April of this year

How did you fund your start up?

With my savings

How do you manage working around your children?

I started working full time on GLR from April 2016, before this I had been working on it part-time. It is tricky balancing work and my family, especially during the school holidays. I work school hours during term time and then log on again once they have had dinner and done their homework. I find it challenging to be disciplined enough not to be distracted by constant emails/calls and to be present for the children, but am getting better at managing my time.

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

A typical school day is that I get up around 6:30am and check my email. I then get the children (and pets!) sorted out and start work properly from around 9:15 onwards. We have several large Clients and I spend at least the first hour or so following up with them to make sure that we are providing everything they need – we aim to provide outstanding service. We are launching a new concept (www.greatlittlerewards.co.uk/joinus) and are looking for interested Mums and other Partners at the moment, so I am spending a lot of time trying to plan that and to make sure our communication is right. We are also developing a GLR capsule range and I’ve been busy managing everything from the design to the stock control for that. We have a warehouse in the beautiful Lake District and I liaise with the team up there every day to make sure we are in good shape and have enough of everything we need. Planning takes up a lot of time!

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

It is very easy to think that what sounds simple as a concept is simple in reality! My natural style is to have ideas and to leap to action immediately without thinking through all the details of what is involved. I have to force myself to plan and to break down the ‘big idea’ into simple steps and milestones which help us achieve our goals – I am now doing this much more consciously! I have also found it tricky to work at home full-time and to clearly separate home life from business life as, if you are not disciplined, the two blend together and you never switch off and the family can suffer as a result. Another challenge is to ensure I actually pay myself something! Whilst it is relatively easy to turn over money, it is very tempting to re-invest everything you earn and to never take any income, which is difficult if you are relying on it to pay your bills!

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

I love, love, love what I am doing now. I am my own boss, I work flexibly and can fit around my family’s needs. The opportunities for success are only limited by my imagination and creativity and I love that!

What are your plans for the future?

We have big plans for growth. We have just launched www.greatlittlerewards.co.uk/joinus and we think that is a really exciting concept for anyone who likes our products and wants to earn extra income in a fun way. The margins we have created are unrivalled. We are also working on some large contracts for 2017 and are very excited about those.

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

Believe in yourself – if you want it enough you can do it but break down what you need to do into ‘baby steps’. It can be overwhelming to think of that you need a complete website, for example, so start small – maybe start with a single page and grow from there.

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

I think I’ve covered everything – I also started www.sniftyfundraising.co.uk a couple of years ago but have struggled to get much interest in that, although I believe it is a unique and great offer (guess I would think that, though!)

www.greatlittlerewards.co.uk
www.greatlittlerewards.co.uk/joinus
www.sniftyfundraising.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/greatlittlerewards/

Feeling inspired to start your own business? Have a look at The Business for Mums cour

Book Review: Find your extraordinary by Jessica Herrin

Despite not being a high achiever at school Jessica Herrin managed to go on to graduate from Stanford and become the founder of a very successful tech company in Silicon Valley. Once she was ready to start a family her goals changed. Her aim was to give both herself and other women a way to run a business that allowed them to prioritise family. She achieved this by launching mid range jewellery brand, Stella and Dot and brought direct selling up to date to provide other women with a business opportunity.

I was keen to get in to her story and found the introduction a bit slow but once she began telling her story I was really engaged.

The book is structured around her 6 P’s of the entrepreneurial spirit. The first P is passion, which is about realising the importance of focussing on what you want rather than what society thinks you should want.

The next P is for path, this one isn’t quite so straightforward. It becomes clear that following your path involves careful judgement to decide weather it’s time to change tactics as we have a tendency to want to change our path because things are getting hard when you actually just need to push on through. The part that really resonated for me was the importance of doing something rather than nothing. It’s tempting to keep putting off starting something as you want it to be perfect but it’s better to get started and make changes along the way than never start at all.

I’ve always been a positive thinker so the next P was a no brainer for me. I firmly believe that we all achieve more when we think positively but that does make it hard for me to judge her advice on changing your mindset, I’m not sure how easy it would be to apply it if you tend towards negative thinking.

As part of the “People” P she describes her father, I loved this part as I was inspired by his willingness to teach himself the things he didn’t know in order to move forward. I also thought his attitude to parenting was interesting, focussing on encouraging his children to do things for themselves to help them develop. She describes an exercise to help you listen better to those around you and that’s something I’m going to try as I realise I am often more focusses on what I’m going say next rather than what the other person is saying.

Perseverance is the 5th P and focusses on keeping going despite adversity, the idea that the people who succeed are simply those who keep going is a very powerful one. I also liked the idea that when we are unhappy we don’t necessarily have to change our choices, just make our current ones better.

The final P is productivity. This is the one that had the biggest impact for me. She talks about the need to make trade offs to prioritise what matters, instead of saying that you don’t have time for something, say that you don’t choose to prioritise it, this helps you to see what really matters. She also points out that it’s important to spend your time on a high value activities that align with your objectives rather than the things you enjoy or find easy.

My big takeaway from the book though is about chunking time and staying focused on one thing. She described some research that showed the human mind is a bit like a factory machine, it has to be tooled up to start work on a particular project and when you change task it has to be retooled, wasting valuable time. I have the habit of stopping what I’m doing frequently to check emails or reply to messages. In future I’m going to set aside chunks of time to work on a task without interruption. In fact I’ve already started by writing this review in one sitting without getting distracted by other tasks! Unfortunately it was only partially successful as my 6 year old kept interrupting me to ask for help with his Lego but I definitely got it done quicker than I would if I had been checking social media and emails while I did it.

Although Jessica is in the direct selling industry her advice is applicable to women in any field and I found “Find your extraordinary” a very inspiring read.

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book to review but all opinions are my own

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