5 top tips for mums starting their own business
Many mum’s, new mum’s or about to become mums dream of running their own businesses but don’t know where to start.
Here I share my tips on time management, financial planning, and exploiting the resources around you.
I had the idea for my first business whilst sat on Michigan Avenue in Chicago with my husband drinking a green smoothie after walking past the most incredible doll shop American Girl wishing there was a British way we could capture imagination and play in children for longer!
Working with so many children from 1997 – 2002 running my own dance and fitness school that fitted around being a mum really did put my passion and creativity on overload. I used the children to help me build the brand, draw what their favourite sweet and toy shop would look like, what their favourite doll would look like, I trusted them and didn’t need any further acceptance of my idea, I knew I had to do it.
Choosing the name was easy, my dolly growing up was Bonnie, I adored her and Lisa my friend, my business partner’s dolly was Pearl. The brand was born.
I wanted to create a premium doll brand that imbues the ethos of American Girl, but re-imagines for a British market, occupying it’s own unique space in the retail arena. A brand that actively extends childhood, with a doll that becomes part of family life. The bonds of family and friendship are the defining values of the Bonnie and Pearl brand.
I wanted to work for myself, whilst having something I was passionate about. Working for myself was a choice for a few different reasons. Primarily, I wanted to find a way of working that would be flexible, on my own terms, and allow me to spend more time with the boys. I often asked myself “Why am I doing this?” as I sold our family home and moved my husband and 2 boys in to with my parents.
I also wanted to get back to doing something more creative, that I really enjoyed and found satisfying. Time becomes so precious when you have children, and I wanted to make sure the time I had to spend away from them gave me some fulfillment too.
Yes I had to make sacrifices, which I call choices as I chose to work on weekends to get the job done as I knew in the long term it would have a huge TIME gain.
Now, having taken the plunge 6yrs on and asking my friend Lisa to join me on the adventure here I am, enjoying the wonderful success of Bonnie and Pearl being a best seller in Harrods, being sold in over 14 countries worldwide, working from my Wales-based workroom (with my husband Darryl’s support); indulging my love of all things magical, imaginative, sourcing new designs, fabrics, and loving the resurrection of my creative side.
Here are some of the things I’ve learnt along the way taken and inspired from posts read over last 6yrs.
Flip your schedule around. Starting a new business does take a lot of time and energy. I found it by carefully structuring my time. Days centred around my children, so evenings became the best time to get things done – there are no childcare costs and you’re only clock watching for bedtime. Some evenings I did just want to flop on the sofa, but the vision I had for a truly flexible home and work life made me make a coffee and get on with it. Energy can be harder to come by…I found mine by taking snippets of time out for myself, seeing friends or going for a run to clear my head.
Take advantage of the support around you. This was a clear message I came away with when meetingTheo Paphitis. Lots of us try to do it all and, although we may just be able to manage, why do it to yourself? I asked my parents and husband to look after the boys and do many hobby run’s and sleepover drops. I also started asking friends for help in their areas of expertise in exchange for a coffee, or skills-swaps for bigger asks.
If you can, try to find a mentor/coach. Check out my 12 week Bulletproof Business Blue Print and my online training launching next month. Get the support you need and the right person/people around you right from the beginning it will not only save you so much with budget but also time to make your IDEA/BRAND/BUSINESS successful.
I wish I had found a coach that had been there, done it and could have given me a clear direction as I wasted over £32k when launching Bonnie and Pearl along with so much valuable time. That is why I now am so passionate of helping other new start up’s and have created my very own BLUE PRINTS and online learning classroom.
Put plans for perfection aside. Waiting for the perfect moment, idea or time to start my own business stopped me achieving my ambition for years. Having children and doing a full-time job in part-time hours, I learnt that “good enough” really is just that. I also learnt how to do some extreme prioritising. Check out my blog on the best diary system that helps with family time, work time and YOU time. I still am a perfectionist at heart, which is useful for the business I’m in, but it doesn’t help when trying to set up. A business plan is useful to keep your focus, but you don’t need everything planned out to get your business started; flexibility is vital too. A simple BULLETPROOF business blue print is a great way to get started. I created this to help aspiring entrepreneurs to overcome confusion and overwhelm when putting their business plan together. It gives complete flexibility to add, adapt and grow with you throughout your brand building.
Notice your networks. The concept of “networking” is genius, I am a professional network marketer with my 2nd business which pays me the most amount of income for the least amount of hours. SO, absolutely NOTICE YOUR NETWORKS, networking is VITAL to growth and is the FUTURE. If honest it had always given me the shivers in my professional life, but I’ve realised that life is one big network without the name tag. Once you are doing something you love, it doesn’t feel like networking, it’s just chatting. Be YOU, your story and YOU sell! Start talking about your business idea now, and you’ll gain valuable feedback. You never know where a casual conversation in the park might lead to.
Put your mind to it. I’d talked myself out of business ideas for years. If you really want to get a business off the ground, decide what it is, make sure it is viable, then be really positive about it. Don’t listen to the doubters, haters and non believers, surround yourself with positivity and PROVE them wrong. Your just a reflection of what they wish to be.
Set firm financial goals. Work back from what you need to live on to know what the business needs to make. I coach a great BULLET technique on my Bulletproof Business Blue Print which is designed to make the boring financial planning bulletproof for dummies!
Happy Sunday everyone!