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.