Magnifisense

Running a Business with your Sister: Magnifisense

Gail and her sister run Magnifisense, providing bespoke interactive, informative, fun experiences based on the 5 senses, ideal for businesses and groups.

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

Hello my name is Gail, I live with my partner Tony and my 3 beautiful girls Megan 18, Alanna 15 & Darcy 13 put their initials together and it spells MAD! Our house is a mad house; especially with the addition of 2 dogs Deefa & Harvey. Our dining room table is my office but I have the freedom of working in my pjama’s should I wish…..which I don’t….well not often!

What’s your business called?

Magnifisense

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Providing bespoke interactive, informative fun experiences (some may say workshops) based on the 5 senses ideal for businesses and private groups.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

Magnifisense was started May 2016; so still under a year old. My sister and I were made redundant from the same events company which was a shock in itself and sent us both into a whirlwind. We both attended interviews but knew something just wasn’t right. We had been so fortunate with our previous employer; as we were pretty much left to our devices to perform and maintain our own job roles. We then had a ‘lightbulb’ moment; why not set up a business together. We knew that we had a good events background amongst other valuable skills and we had been instructing our own workshops for years; so Magnifisense was born.

How did you fund your start up?

With very little money which is difficult! Yes we both have partners that can pay the majority of the bills whom I must say have been brilliant. However it’s very difficult and there is no quick fix or instant cash. It does feel like you are paying out all the time and it certainly is a learning curve with regards to prioritising.

How do you manage working around your children?

You may be reading this thinking well she has it easy she hasn’t got little ones round her feet! Which I appreciate but my girls still need me; my eldest was finishing off her beauty course when we started so she needed my time to be guinea pig and to help with course work. My middle daughter has started her GSCE’s and is not having the best time at school and my youngest craves attention is vocal and keeps us on our toes and is for ever dancing round the house; despite complaining her joints hurt! When I split from the girls dad I started my own cleaning business the girls were then 10, 5 & 3. It wasn’t easy but I was very fortunate to have a good network around me; which I still do. In hindsight what I should have done was expanded the business but I went to work for the events company and didn’t look back as I had the best of both worlds independence and a regular salary which you don’t always get when self-employed. However working for yourself gives you flexibility in the hours that you work and you have no-one to answer to but yourself. Of course there are so many ways of being a Mumpreneur now and I do think it’s awesome. This is one of my favourite quotes “When it feels scary to jump, that is exactly when you jump, otherwise you end up staying in the same place your whole life” – JC Chandor

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

So after school run in the morning I take my 2 dogs for a walk so they are then settled. Usually come in and put washing on. Switch laptop on; catch up and respond to emails, speak with my sister on phone if working remotely (we try and work together 3 days out of the 5). Look at various trends, make appointments, go to appointments, speak with suppliers, stock check and perhaps pack if we have an event the next day! Around 4 I switch off for a couple of hours get dinner ready; then usually in the evening I look at Social Media. At first I wondered how I actually ran a home when working nearly full time. Only recently have I learnt to get into a routine and allocate tasks during the day which doesn’t always work but again flexibility works.

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

We supply and deliver experiences/workshops so when it came to the website, graphics and anything IT this was out of our comfort zone. Every day is a learning curve; I think we have learnt to take a step back and prioritise where we are going and what we want to achieve. There is so much conflicting information sometimes it’s hard to see the wood for the trees but try and stay focused and breathe.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

I love the fact that being a Mumpreneur means you can be flexible; we’re hoping that the girls will start to join us and be a part of Magnifisense; keeping it in the family. I love working with my sister but above all I love being a MUM so mixing this with my own business is the right combination for me.

What are your plans for the future?

Grow Grow Grow! Magnifisense is a young company we know we provide the extra in front of ordinary but it’s getting our brand recognised and establishing trust with our clients so that ‘word of mouth’ marketing commences bringing in further business. We have recently entered the wedding market too with bespoke fragrance wedding favours; design your own bespoke fragrance and capture it in a bottle, room spray, candle or pretty draw liners to share with guests on the special day.

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

It’s scary and still is. If you have faith and passion about what you do and you think other people can benefit from it then Jump; otherwise you will stay in the same place. For International Womens Day (8th March 2017) I posted this on social media “She believed she could, so she did”. Don’t get me wrong this is one hell of a rollercoaster ride and its tiring but we are hoping all are hard work comes to fruition soon; but one must never be complacent and keep working.

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

“Do what you love, love what you do!” Thank you for reading and good luck! Come & find us on Social Media it would be awesome to see you. Gail x

 

www.magnifisense.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/magnifisense5/

https://www.instagram.com/magnifisense5/

The mum and Working Academy and Awards.

Yesterday I spent the day at the Mum and Working Academy and Awards. Mumpreneur Inspiration was nominated in the working parent blogger of the year category,  we didn’t win but still had a great day.

There were excellent speakers at the Mum and Working Academy on topics like social media, Finance and funding, search engine optimisation,  team-building PR, legal advice and vlogging.

NatWest were the event sponsors and their regional enterprise manager gave a great session on funding and finance. As well as talking about bank finance he told us about the many great resources that can be found in the city business library. He also discussed alternative funding routes, for example grants, sweat equity, crowdfunding, government start up loans, peer-to-peer lending, pitching competitions and crowdfunding.

Natwest small business funding presentation

Natwest small business funding presentation

There was an excellent session called 42 great SEO tips for small businesses, they focused on how good the search engine optimisation was really about helping users find what they want rather than tricking Google. My key takeaway from this was to think about what people might be googling and use those phrases to make my posts easier to find.

Sarah Cressall

Sarah Cressall

Claire Jones-Hughes from Claritaco Media led the session on social media she talked about limiting the number of platforms that you use, many people agreed that four was overwhelming so she suggested starting with one of them and when you feel confident with it add another. She talked about the importance of making a commitment to your social media and linking in your social media goals with your business goals.

I particularly enjoyed Sarah Cressall’s closing remarks, her enthusiasm is really contagious and she left me feeling inspired.

 

The awards part of the day began with a keynote address from Caroline Dinenage MP who talked about the importance of women in the economy. The working parent blogger of the year category was quite early in the program. Tired daddy received a highly commended award and the winner was honeymumster, the blog of Sarah-Jane Honeywell, who also spoke later at the awards. These are both fantastic bloggers and deserving winners as were  the many other amazing award winners.

All of the finalists received a framed certificate and everyone got a fantastic goody bag. If you’re considering attending next years event I highly recommend it.

Mum running her business on her laptop

Made by Mummy Markets

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

My name is Samantha Jennings, I became a mum in 2013, and started by business in early 2016.

I am a 30 year old mum to a beautiful boy called Thomas, who is coming up 3 years old, and a gorgeous girl called Emily, who has just turned 1 year old. They are absolutely wonderful and fill me with joy, even on the days when I’ve changed 20 pairs of pants and they are climbing up the stairs, again!

My husband is called David. We met via Match.com and are now living our very own ‘digital fairy tale’. He is handsome and kind, and incredibly supportive of me being a stay at home mum and starting my business.

I am a Women’s Institute member, I love to make things, watching science fiction films and if I had to chose between never having chocolate or cheese ever again, I’d have to keep cheese. I just couldn’t live without it!

What’s your business called?

Made by Mummy Markets

Can you describe it in one sentence?

An affordable market place for crafting mothers to sell their creations.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

The idea for Made by Mummy Markets has been brewing in me for about 2 years, but it was joining the WI and having my second child that really made me do it in early 2016. Emily was a really good baby and started sleeping though pretty well. We have been blessed with two healthy children and after the blur of those initial new baby months began to clear I started to think more and more about my business ideas. As a member of the WI I meet lots of amazing women, and read about them in the magazine, WI Life. I decided that I’ve managed a successful career before kids, and now I keep two small people alive all day, so really I can do anything I set my mind to.

How did you fund your start up?

My initial costs were pretty small so I was able to fund that out of our household income and I knew I could recoup my costs from my first event. I needed to pay for some printing of banners and flyers to promote my first event, venue hire and insurance. My husband has been very supportive in allowing me to use the household income in this way. Other things I use for the business have built up over time and family members have contributed to them as gifts for Christmas/birthdays etc. Things like a laptop, a smart phone, and sewing machine.

How do you manage working around your children?

I am a stay at home mum and we don’t use any other child care. So I look after my children all day, every day. I use a lot of social media based marketing, and email which I do in the evenings. Ultimately there are only so many hours in the day and somethings have to be prioritised. Generally the ironing gets pushed to the bottom of the list and I catch up with house work in dribs and drabs. I have to remember to make time for the odd night off, and the odd date night with my husband, other wise what’s the point in all of that hard work. Because many of my clients are also mums I do lots of meetings during the day combined with play dates, so my kids are always with me. It is not always ideal, but I’m working with families, and we are a family so I think people like to see that side of me. When I have an event the children are looked after by a grand parent.

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

I often have a 15 minute social media window while my husband has breakfast with the children first thing in the morning. Then I catch up in the kitchen, clear up breakfast, do any prep for the dinner, empty the dishwasher and chuck in a load of washing (how is there always so much washing?!). Once David has gone to work I pack the nappy bag and most days we head out to a play date or toddler group locally. I am a stay at home mum so I find the interaction of toddler groups great for the kids and for me. I couldn’t just stay at home all day.

We have some lovely parks in our town and we don’t get put off by the rain so most days include a walk and my son loves splashing through the puddles on his balance bike. We do lots of free activities. Puddle jumping, picnic lunches in the train station (very exciting!), the library and we have memberships at a couple of museums so can go as often as we like.

We normally head home at about 3pm. 4-5pm is know as ‘danger hour’. The smallest thing can become a total melt down. She touched my toy train, he stood on her finger, the wind blew on me….I think mostly they are just really for dinner, bath and bed but it’s just a bit too early for that. So generally a bit of Peppa Pig comes to the rescue while I cook dinner.

We normally eat around 5pm, David’s home at 5:30pm, bath at 6ish and wee ones in bed by 6:30pm. I normally make it back downstairs for 7pm and have a quick clear up and start working on the laptop. Some nights I just do an hour or two, sometimes I’m working till 11pm. It just depends on what is coming up. I mostly work on plans for up coming events, marketing, emails, website content and recruiting new makers.

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

So far, tiredness. I have to remember to have an early night once a week. If the kids are sick that throws everything off. But they come first, end of. That’s the beauty of being my own boss. I try not to leave anything to the last minute, because I can guarantee that’s the time the kids will have me up all night. I also have a business plan that starts small. For the preschool years of my children’s life my business is growing, but I am being realistic and not over committing myself. I see these as foundation years, on which I can build huge towers of success once my children are in school and I can operate more normal office hours.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

My children are my priority and I don’t have to justify that to a boss. Being a mum is also a gateway to a market of clients that I don’t think I could have reached or understood as well before being a mum myself. I am very proud of my work and as my children get older I hope they will be able to see how they have inspired and driven me. I am working, but I spend every day with my kids. It can be hard and tiring, and I have had to give up things. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What are your plans for the future?

To continue to grow my business. To support other mothers turning a crafting hobby into a professional business that makes more money than it costs. I plan to break into new geographically areas, spreading out from my home town. Potentially creating a franchise for other mumpreneurs to take on in their own locality.

Ultimately I hope that the extra money I can bring into our home will pay for home improvements, creating the family home we dream of, together, alongside my husband. Taking some of the financial burden off his hard working shoulders.

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

Start small. But start. Make a plan but DO something. Have an go. Don’t underestimate the power of social media as a free marketing tool! Oh, and join your local WI!

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

Real life arts & craft fairs in North Yorkshire and an e-commerce website.

My fairs are designed to be easy for mothers to attend, short and sweet on Sunday afternoons, just like tea and cake. Low stall fees keep your costs down and your profits up.

The website is the craft fair that never closes. You don’t have to be stood behind a stall every weekend to sell your creations.

What makes us different?

Makers are selected by invitation or application to ensure a high quality of craftswomanship is maintained. Homemade and handmade crafts are key, it’s got to be something more spectacular than just bits you’ve bought and stuck together yourself.

A spectrum of crafts on display. Good old favourites yes, but more as well. Floristry, the written word, pottery……and the list goes on.

Support. I also arrange a number of expert speakers to attend workshops with the Makers. These are both practical and informative. Covering areas like product photography and basic book keeping. Whenever possible these experts are also mums working from home, full of top tips for getting the job done.

 

http://www.madebymummymarkets.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MadeByMummyMarkets/
Twitter – @strawberrysam1

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Mums who Can

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Tell us a bit about your family?

I am happily married to a serving police officer and between the two of us we have three children!
My son has just turned 12 years old, my step daughter is 5 years old and our daughter is 18 months old! They all keep me on my toes and there are days when I despair but I love them all with everything I have!

What’s your business called?

Mums Who Can

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Mumpreneur events and opportunities to show case the talents of local mum-owned businesses.

When did you start it and what inspired you?

When my 12 year old was born, the term Mumpreneur was rarely used. Given the fact that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter had yet to be launched and mobile phones were only just starting to allow internet access, it’s not really surprising.
Fast forward to my daughter being born, Mumpreneur is now a well-known description of mums taking the leap of faith and setting up their own businesses whilst juggling every day activities like breastfeeding, teething, toddler groups, school runs, and, of course, tantrums!
It was rude not to follow suit and in February 2015, Mums Who Can was born.
I wanted a business that allowed me to grow, create a brand and forge relationships that lasted. Mums Who Can is just that!

How did you fund your start up?

The great thing about setting up my business was the fact that I did not have to fund anything until I started getting payments in from mums who wanted to exhibit at our events!

How do you manage working around your children?

By sticking to a strict routine! Social media updates get done first thing in the morning before everyone wakes ups and I generally plan my week so I know what I need to get done. I am lucky that my hubby works various shifts including lates and nights so I get time in the evenings to work when he does – it also means that when he is at home I can afford to take some time away from the laptop. My daughter goes to nursery twice a week and with great technology like the iPhone, I am able to answer emails and Facebook messages throughout the day when she naps or plays.

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

My typical day depends greatly on how far from an event I am! If I am in the lead up to an event with only a few weeks to go, my day is spent checking and re-checking arrangements, sending regular updates and ensuring all advertising is done as much as it can be. If, however, I have a few months to go before the event I tend to use this time to update the database of mums who wish to exhibit, send confirmation packs, chase invoices, and advertise on a more general level like taking part in radio interviews or press articles.

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

The biggest challenge I have had to overcome is the fear of “asking”! In my personal life I find it very difficult to ask for help or ask for something to be free etc. but I have overcome this with my business as I have realised that if “you don’t ask, you don’t get” and it is so true! Everyone is always so responsive to what I do that they never mind helping out or offering their services.

What’s the best thing about being self-employed?

For me it’s watching the business grow into a well-known and respected company. Mums Who Can has quickly become a brand that is recognised and trusted. I have met the most amazing mums and developed friendships that will be long lasting. The testimonials on my website are all from mums that have exhibited at the events and reading them always makes me proud!

What are your plans for the future?

Over the next 5 years, I plan is to offer either Franchised Area’s or Area Manager roles that will allow Mums Who Can to grow into the rest of the UK and internationally.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out?

Find something that you feel a passion for. You will be spending an awful lot of time on the business when you start out and if you have no passion for it, it will fail quickly because you will find it a chore.

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

It is very easy to be tempted to offer friends and family “freebies” but it’s important to remember that you are running a business and therefore should never feel bad about sticking to your normal prices etc. when dealing with people you know.

Website: www.mumswhocan.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mums-Who-Can/451442821683412
Twitter: Lisa@mumswhocan

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Shoot for the moon – Guest Post: Lindsey Fish, Founder of Little Fish Event Management Ltd and the Mums Enterprise Roadshow.

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Like thousands of ambitious mums out there I launched my own business rather than return to my city job. I found my love of events as an apprentice 16 years ago, and since then climbed the career ladder until I had Molly in October 2013. My last corporate job was as a Channel Marketing Manager for a tech firm. Whilst on maternity leave, when it came to thinking about my working future it was clear that the figures wouldn’t work in my favour after taking out living expenses, childcare and commuting, so I started to research my options.

As a marketing manager I knew how to assess markets, audiences and competition and I had a good idea of how to write a business plan. I had always wanted to run my own business and was eager to start putting thoughts on paper.

First I listed all the things I could do. It really only came down to marketing and events as a service. I chose to focus solely on event management because although I have a CIM diploma in Marketing and have worked in business to business marketing for a long time. I know there are experts far more specialist and knowledgeable than myself. But when it comes to events I knew, 100% that I could deliver events for external clients. So I set about my research and created a marketing audit where you look into various aspects of the internal and external environments which will highlight any key challenges you need to overcome. And also may highlight areas which will help you create a key differentiator over and above your competitors.

I did a couple of surveys throughout the time from initial idea to launch, this was to get feedback on business names and whether or not people would use a service I was planning to offer. Thankfully I had a few yes’ which was enough for me to go for it.

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When it came to funding, I literally had the last of my maternity pay which would have only lasted a couple of months. I didn’t get any loans and I set the business up on a shoe string. My website hosting was only £15 per month, my domain name was cheap, I use gmail but you pay to use your domain name (xxx@my company.com) which is only £3.50 a month. And thankfully my brother is a graphic designer so he created my logo and brand colours which is very important. Design and aesthetics are important, again from a marketing background I wrote my brand personality and values and provided my bro with a comprehensive brief which included background about my idea, target audience etc.

I set a date to launch Little Fish Event Management on 2nd June 2014 and that would be when I would officially be open for business. I needed to secure my first client within 2-3 months, otherwise I would have to consider looking for a ‘real job’. Luckily for me I managed to win a bid to help organise the National Apprenticeship Awards. Pretty cool and almost like fate, seems as though I started and found events as an apprentice myself 16 years ago…spooky.

This was a total cold call, from doing my marketing audit I had decided who my audience would be which helped when I started to sell. I looked companies up on the web and basically started to cold call, it isn’t the best approach I have now found out, but that is what I used to do when I used to sell so that’s what I started with. I don’t cold cold call now, rather I am always increasing my network and have found linked-in to be a great way to connect with your target audience, and when the time is right you can approach them about your business or idea. I have done so well from this for Mums Enterprise.

Back in about March 2015 I started having an idea for Little Fish’s own event. Because I had launched my own company I found just how many awesome organisations there were out there, specifically supporting mums and women in business. I also spoke to many other mums about the challenges they faced about work and career. I knew for certain that an event would be an ideal platform to bring support, advice and opportunities together so ambitious mums can find the support they need face-to-face and be inspired. I now know just how much of a common conundrum it is, deciding what to do after a career break or maternity leave, it’s a big big deal.

I did some research as always, but this time Talented Ladies Club helped me and sent a link to my survey to their email database as I had ran the idea past Hannah Martin, Co-founder, the same with Debbie Gilbert who runs a local networking group Viva Networking and Mums Unltd – both were so supportive and thought it was a brilliant idea.

So when I decided to go for it, again it was time to start planning. Writing a business plan for this project and another marketing audit.

I pretty much launched this idea in the same way I launched Little Fish. Researched, planned, then created the name, brand and website. Mums Enterprise needed a lot of branding and design work and is why I now have a business partner in the form of Lucy Chaplin, she is a friend of mine who was also a freelance graphic designer. Again I wrote a comprehensive brief for Lucy, gave her background to my idea, what I was aiming for and she came back with an amazing mood board. I literally cried of happiness when I saw it, Lucy had got exactly what I wanted. It was perfect and the match was too good for us not to become business partners.

The events are taking place in Hertfordshire this June (2016) and I am really excited and of course nervous. But they have been so well received so far, the brands we have on board are just fabulous like our partners Virgin StartUp, Talented Ladies Club and My Accountant Friend. We have over 25 exhibitors on board now with more coming on board every week, all are just as passionate as me about supporting ambitious mums. It really is amazing.

My aim is for the Mums Enterprise Roadshow to be the UK’s number one event of it’s kind I have no doubt I will succeed at this, something special is happening. And for Little Fish I am still organising client events and very much intend to grow that side of the business and bring in further support so we can deliver more events for more clients. I really am considering angel or crowd funding investment to really get things moving.

So that’s it really.

I have been working for the last 18 months in my kitchen, literally just pushing and pushing every single day. I have written all my own copy, press releases, marketing plans, newsletters, web copy, content and blogs. Everything you see is from my head and I am just loving every moment. I am working so hard but I know, I can feel it in my bones that both Little Fish and Mums Enterprise will be the success I can see in my mind. Because I won’t stop until I make it happen. So there you go my Mumpreneur story.

These are just three things which may just help give insight if you are thinking of starting a business.

1) Speak to an accountant before you launch the business. I started as a sole trader and now wish I became Ltd from the get go. I have just turned Limited and basically the company doesn’t have the value of the turnover I made in my first year. I am gutted about that as its just lost revenue which could have been and should have been owned my Little Fish.

2) Think about setting your family’s expectations: When I started the business I didn’t really take into account the sacrifice my family would also be making for me to #shootforthemoon. It may be 2 or even 4 more years before I actually earn a salary anywhere near the one I had before Molly. My partner pays most of the bills, there isn’t much chance of a family holiday aboard for a while yet and there is certainly no shopping trips for me. It’s a big change and it’s not just your change, it’s a family change. I also work in the evenings and although I try to avoid it, I do work at weekends sometimes. I don’t think my partner expected my work to consume me like it has, although I absolutely love it. I guess it’s just a big shake up to the usual 9-5 routine. But my thoughts are a baby shakes all that up anyway, so why not shake your whole life up?

3) It really is like taking one step forwards and two steps back. Expect it to be hard work and don’t expect instant results, be patient. I have cried tears of joy but also tears of frustration, anger and sadness. It’s an emotional rollercoaster. But it’s your roller coaster

Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land amongst the stars.

You can find out more about the Mum’s Enterprise Roadshow here:
http://www.mumsenterprise.events/
https://twitter.com/Mumsenterprise
https://www.facebook.com/mumsenterprise/

http://www.littlefisheventmanagement.com/

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