I started a business with kids: Lisa Roberts of Babyblooms

Babyblooms - Lisa Roberts PhotographTell us a little about your business

Babyblooms was the first company in the UK to offer bouquets of Baby Clothes as an alternative to fresh flowers, offering next day delivery within the UK and a worldwide delivery service. The website www.babyblooms.co.uk now includes Babyblooms own range of natural skincare for Mum and Baby as well as a wide selection of baby hampers and personalised gifts.

What was your job before starting your business?

I studied Business and Finance at university and initially worked as a financial advisor for a couple of years before switching to account management with a Telecoms Company. When my sons were born I worked for a while, part-time selling educational software before childcare costs became prohibitive and I worked a couple of evenings a week waitressing in a local Italian restaurant, leaving my days free for the boys and leaving the boys with my husband in the evenings. Whilst quite poorly paid, I had no childcare costs so had more money in pocket and essentially had two nights out a week!

How did you go from your old career to your new business?  [Read more…]

Going to University after starting a family

eco-summerHaving a family totally changes your priorities, especially in terms of how you ear a living. Sure, there are  the practicalities of fitting your work in around school and childcare, but it also brings up other issues. In my case, I had a job that involved travelling and overnight stays – that was going to be almost impossible with two very young children.

It isn’t just the practicalities, though. Sometimes we realise that our old career had run its course and we’re ready for something new, maybe the economic climate has changed and jobs are harder to find with our skill set (hello recession and credit crunch!) or perhaps the babies arrived early and we hadn’t had time to go to university as we’d hoped.

The good news is that learning really is lifelong these days and you can – and probably must – retrain throughout your working life. There are many online courses which you can study flexibly around your family, even at the university level. If you’re thinking of going to university you may be able to get help with childcare, course costs and travel – see study after having a baby by Money Advice Service for more information.

So what might you study at university? Some mums use it as an opportunity to do what they’ve always wanted to do. Maybe they ‘fell in’ to their old career by accident when they were young and now they want to work in an areas that really matters to them or that they are passionate about. What have you always wanted to do? What interested you as a child? What do people tell you you’re naturally good at? These can all be ways of homing in on a new career.

If you don’t have the time right now to start a whole new career or study, why not talk to people who work in the field that interest you or maybe shadow them for a day? This would enable you to see what the job is really like before you commit to the time and expense involved in a university course.

Finally, a university course doesn’t have to be a three year full-time undergraduate course. If you already have a degree, there are many postgraduate diploma. certificate and masters courses you can study part-time that could launch a whole new career.

We started a business with kids: Elise and Gemma of Nurturing Mums

elise and gemmaTell us a little about your business

Nurturing Mums is run by two North London mums – Elise Mendelle and Gemma Frenchman.  We run postnatal courses to support new mums in the early days of their new role, to give them a warm, encouraging atmosphere where they can talk about their babies, and to provide them with information from expert guest speakers to alleviate concerns about sleep, feeding and other important issues they are facing as new mums.  Practical, sociable support is the name of the game!

What was your job before starting your business? [Read more…]

I started a business with kids: Catherine Graham of Adventure Togs

catherine_graham_adventuretogsAdventure Togs began life in 2004 when my children were still very young, so the company will be 9 years old this October. We couldn’t find new waterproof jackets for them in any of the outdoor shops in Cardiff, I came home that evening and began researching my idea to start a business specialising in childrens outdoor wear.

I didn’t even have broadband at home at the time, and I needed to invest a few thousand of my own money to buy stock. It was tough, starting an ECommerce store on a budget, without the social media marketing opportunities we have today. The business grew very gradually by advertising on flyers, magazines and word of mouth.

I was a part-time pharmacist working 2-3 days a week as a locum, had two young children and a husband who worked long hours. Looking back now, I must have been mad to even contemplate the idea of starting a business. It has been hard letting go of pharmacy to entirely focus on the business, and I have constantly juggled all the balls.

I have never actually used childcare, as I mainly worked around the children and in the evenings. The children have always gone to my parents for their tea once or twice a week, so the longer working days til 6 really help to keep me on track.

The most difficult thing in the early days was drawing the line between work and home, and I became a slave to the computer, not knowing when to switch off. My husband was relatively supportive but didn’t really understand my need to immerse myself into my business. To me, it was my third child, and it needed nurturing so. Over time I have become a better at juggling the work/life thing and really appreciate the balance having my own business has brought.

I outsourced the warehousing in our fourth year, when I started running out of space for stock. This was a real turning point – I only needed to deal with the day to day admin and was able to spend time marketing and promoting the business and seeking out new product ranges.

My day is so varied…..I can be chatting to customers on Twitter, or speaking to schools about outdoor play clothing. I can get up to work at five in the morning and work for a few hours before breakfast if I need to, or catch-up in the evening after a family day out. It is truely a flexible way of working. I have even been known to work 14 hour days when I am in the mood, but it is so different working when you ‘want to’ rather than ‘have to’.

So much has changed about the business since the start. When I hear people complain about the demise of the high street and companies going under, I do empathise with them, but know that retail is ever changing, and you have to constantly move with the times. The retail world has probably changed more in the last decade that ever before, and anyone who ventures into this vocation should be prepared to keep learning to evolve their business to meet changing customer demands.

If I had to advise someone starting out in business – Do lots of research, but don’t feel too bombarded. There is so much advice out there, it is easy to become overburdened without actually taking action. It is the actions you take which matter, not necessarily your knowledge or qualifications, so start quickly and grow as you learn.

You can find out more about Adventure Togs here:

www.adventuretogs.co.uk
facebook.com/AdventureTogs
twitter.com/adventuretogs
pinterest.com/adventuretogs/
youtube.com/user/AdventureTogsUK

I started a business with kids: John Leach of SpeedQuizzing

Tell us a little about your business…

Our business, of which my brother and myself are the directors, is SpeedQuizzing LTD. We have been trading since 2012 and are continually developing a software system which provides a much needed 21st century technological approach to running pub quizzes and trivia events. My role, as primary software developer for the company involves day to day fixes/improvements to both our quiz hosting desktop application and the accompanying web applications.

What was your job before starting your business?

I have worked for many years as a web designer and developer. Often freelance but between 2004 and 2008 I worked in a permanent role for the Leeds based agency Twentysix. In a full time job, I have always found the regime frustrating. Travelling to and from. Punctuality. Also, around the same time, computers were getting increasingly more mobile and Wifi becoming more prolific. It was these elements that turned me on to the possibilities of remote working. Just how remotely could I work?

To put this to the test, I found myself a one off dream freelance job which was to build a desktop application for a college in York. I say a dream job because the client were paying me £5000 but were happy to take delivery of the product five months later and were also happy to deal with me on a purely remote basis for the entire project. I left my job, travelled to Thailand, and embarked on my new truly remote working lifestyle, working on this project to the backdrop of numerous tropical beaches whilst making my way around South East Asia. [Read more…]

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