Running a business around your family has never been easier!

Being a mum and a business owner is hard work, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Running a business and raising a child are the two things I’m most passionate about in the world. A lot of people think that the juggling act is a difficult one, and they aren’t wrong. However these days it’s easier than it ever has been to build a business around your family. And I’m going to tell you exactly how to achieve this.

Do as Much as You Can From the Armchair

When you run a business around your family, you need to stay home as much as you can. If you have a toddler or infant, it’s not practical to be heading into the office every day. And that’s why I would advise trying to do as much as you can from the armchair. That’s the metaphorical armchair, of course. What I mean is try to do as much as you can from home so you can balance looking after the family and the company together. Bits and pieces that have to be done away from home can be sorted at a later date.

Use Software to Make Things Easier

Running a business is fun and fulfilling, but it’s never straightforward. As a mother, I like to use tools that will help me be more efficient and streamlined as a business. As a mumpreneur, I always make sure I research software that can help me with important areas of the company. For example, if you need to learn about utilising keywords and SEO  check out the Keyword Canine 3.0 review. This helps me understand how the software works and how it will benefit me. If I’m looking for teleconferencing software, I will compare Skype and Viber and see which is more user-friendly. I want the easiest software that can help me grow my business.

Be as Productive as Possible

The fact of the matter is that being a working mum you may only have limited time to work each day. So it’s important to make the most of this. When you do get the opportunity to work interrupted, i.e. when the kid is asleep, knuckle down. Try to be as productive as you can with the times you have available. If you can be disciplined and structured you might be surprised by how much you can get done.

Don’t Try to Do it all Yourself

We all know how time-consuming it can be running a business these days. There are so many different facets to it, and trying to juggle that with motherhood can be too much sometimes. The trick is to let go of your pride and accept that you can’t do everything yourself. In fact, I don’t think you should even try. You’re not going to have the time or resources to carry out all your business tasks properly. But that’s okay, no one expects you too. And that’s where the wonderful world of outsourcing comes to the rescue! Anything you can’t do yourself you just need to outsource. This will help the business run effectively, and give you more breathing space.

eco-summer

As you can see, there are quite a few things you can do to run the company effectively. These will allow you to give your child the attention they need, and still run the company. Make use of my suggestions, and if you come up with any of your own feel free to let me know!

8 Key business skills that make moms great entrepreneurs

eco-summerIn the competitive business world, so often stereotypes of ruthless men or tech-savvy geeks are held up as the ideal entrepreneur. However, as we all know, the real world is far more diverse than that. Many great and successful companies are led by women and mothers who, with their unique skills, take their organisations further than anyone else could. Companies like Cannon Hygiene are a perfect example of a business that has been built around a strong female team, and others would be wise to follow their lead.

Today, we’re taking a look at the entrepreneurial skills that make mothers the perfect choice for business leaders in the modern world. As you’ll see, moms are special. They have more than a few skills that allow them to spearhead business endeavours that are both successful and well-recognised. Let’s take a look at some of the key qualities: [Read more…]

Podcast: 5 top tips to successfully run a business around your kids

RUN A BUSINESS

 

When  Veena V of Mum to Millionaire asked me my top 5 tips for running a business around kids I was surprised how simple my answers were. You might be too!

Simple tips aren’t always easy to implement though, are they? 🙂

In this podcast Veena and I chat about many of the things we mums in business know we should be doing, but often get distracted from by all the things we have to do in our busy lives. Plus we share our own experiences of working around our kids and:

  • How to focus on your business and really get things done
  • What you should be charging for your services and why you should never under value yourself
  • The pros and cons of working for free!
  • Why it is so important to INVEST IN YOURSELF

I’ve known Veena online for a few years now right from the days when she was running her VIP pregnancy blog. I’ve always loved her infectious enthusiasm and how hard she works to build her business around her son.

So I’m delighted that her podcast is in the new and noteworthy section of iTunes at the moment. Congratulations Veena!

This is the link if you’d like to sign up.

Think you don’t have business skills? Think again!

self-talkAre you thinking of starting your own business but fighting your own self-doubt? From time to time we all have those voices in our heads telling us that we’re not good enough, or that we just don’t have what it takes to succeed.

This can be a big problem for mums in particular, because our business role models are mostly wealthy, extrovert and male. It feels like there’s a huge gap between the dragons in the BBC’s Dragon’s Den and our everyday experience of feeding the kids and getting them to school on time.

But believe me, you have a lot to offer. Here are just a few examples of the valuable skills you’ve picked up as a mum:

Negotiation

If you’ve ever tried to convince a screaming two-year-old back into a pushchair or a three year-old that they don’t want chocolate for every meal, then believe me you have excellent negotiation skills!

Networking

Mums are fantastic networkers. I’m always amazed by how a group of mums can connect with and motivate many others to raise money for charity, get all hands on deck for a school event or help out another family that is having a tough time.

Event planning

Birthday parties, weddings, school events and fundraisers. There’s always an event in the diary if you’re a mum. And most of us are great at organising them, often with limited time and resources.

Patience

True, you may not feel like the most calm and serene person in the world when faced with the prospect of removing glitter glue from your carpet. But motherhood definitely teaches you that you can’t have everything precisely when you want it. Sometimes you have to get to work then wait a while before you see success.

Getting things done

Since I became a mum I’ve dropped my standards. And that’s a good thing! My inner perfectionist used to stop me from tackling some projects because the time wasn’t right or I needed to take yet another course first. Dealing with the chaos that comes with small children has shown me my timing will never be just right, I will never be organised enough and I will never know everything I think I need to know. These days I just get on with it. Maybe you’re the same?

Better to finish an imperfect project than to never start a perfect one.

Taken time out of your career?

Don’t overlook all the skills and experience you gained in your LBK (life before kids), whether that was archiving documents at the office or handling patients in a hospital!

It may seem like you’ve forgotten it all, but with a little practice it all comes back. You may not want to go back to the career you had before, but there will definitely be skills you can adapt and use.

If you take some time to think about what you’ve learned from being a mum, I guarantee you’ll have a goldmine of skills and experience you can use in your new business.

(This article previously appeared in My Family Magazine – read it online or grab a print copy in supermarkets and many other places across the UK)

I started a business with a baby: Andreea Ayers of Product Marketing Breakthrough

Andreea Ayers started her extremely successful business Tees For Change in 2006 when pregnant with her first child. (And when I say extremely successful, I mean that she sold over 20,000 t-shirts in over 300 stores worldwide!). Andreea is now teaching other entrepreneurs how to launch and grow profitable product-based businesses.

Later today she’s releasing part 3 of her free training course Product Marketing Breakthrough. You can sign up and join in here. Over to you Andreea:

“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but somewhere between high school and college I convinced myself that life would be ‘safer’ and I would be ‘better off’ if I went on to work for a prestigious company. After graduating with a degree in Business and Marketing from Cornell University, I spent the next few years working for many prestigious companies and organizations in NYC, including McKinsey & Company, Citibank, W Hotels and New York University.

Even though I worked for some great companies and learned a lot, I had always wanted to start my own business.  I had dabbled in running my own business (including knitting hats and selling them in college or setting up candy machines around the water cooler at one of my ‘office’ jobs) and there was something about it that I really enjoyed. Whether it was actually knitting the hats or buying the candy, I felt like I had actually created something from nothing – simply because I had an idea that I wanted to try out.

Soon, I realized that I had to start my own business, so I did what I knew best – marketing and market research. I set up a consulting business and started working with clients to help them with their online marketing (some of my clients included SpaFinder, The Leading Hotels of the World and Ideal Bite).

Then in 2006 I became pregnant with my first baby. While I was taking a prenatal yoga class at a local studio I felt inspired to start a new business. But this time, it would be a product-based business (t-shirts), rather than a service-based business (marketing). I knew nothing about the apparel or t-shirt industry, how to manufacture a t-shirt, how to print one, how to sell to stores or even how to set up an online store to sell a product.

So I started to research and learn as much as I could, ordering t-shirt samples and coming up with design ideas. Well, since I was really not a designer, I decided to do t-shirts with only words, not graphics. That way I could still have control over every aspect of running my business and do it all myself (which was not such a good idea, as I soon learned).

So, about a month before my son was born, Tees For Change, a line of inspirational and eco-friendly tees, was also born. I was slowly learning about the t-shirt industry and reached out to a lot of already-successful t-shirt entrepreneurs to ask them for advice. Most were very generous with their time and with sharing their knowledge, which I definitely appreciated. I felt like I had so many mentors to guide me along the way.

Of course I made a lot of mistakes along the way!

To make a long story short, I’ve come a long way since that day in 2007 when I started with 96 t-shirts (and sold out of them within a month, to my surprise!). After four years of running Tees for Change, I’ve sold over 20,000 t-shirts in over 300 stores in the United States and internationally and have had six figure sales after only one year of running my business.

My t-shirts have appeared in over 200 magazines, newspapers and TV shows, including ABC, NBC, Fox, The Bonnie Hunt Show, Redbook, The Chicago Tribune, USA Today Magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal, Self, Shape, The Nest and many more. And I even got Tori Spelling, Ed Begley, Denise Richards, Sarah Jessica Parker and Sarah Michelle Gellar to wear my tees!

Of course I made a lot of mistakes along the way! Like the time I spent $6,000 on a PR company hoping that they would help me get tons of press. I got some press, but definitely not enough to cover my $6000 investment. Or the time I spent $1000 on advertising in a local magazine, only to get zero sales from it. Or the time I signed up for a booth at a trade show that was definitely not for my target market – and had only three orders in two days. And what about the time that I trusted that my manufacturer would get my order right, so I didn’t bother to ask for samples before ok’ing the full production run of over 5,000 shirts? Well, half of the shirts came back the wrong color, ALL of them came back with the wrong neck label and another half came back a size too small!

pmb_180-x-150_4Needless to say, I could have done things better, but I was grateful to have learned all the lessons that I did (even though some were very expensive and time-consuming lessons).

I kept getting emails from other entrepreneurs (who had products other than t-shirts) and who wanted to get them into stores and wanted to know how I did it all. So I started to focus more on working with other entrepreneurs and helping them increase sales for their product-based business. So, in 2011, I sold Tees for Change and now my main focus is on working with entrepreneurs and teaching them everything I know about getting their products into stores, in the media and increasing their online exposure and sales.

I’ve worked with entrepreneurs who sell bath and beauty products, products for babies and kids, food, gifts, yoga products, eco-friendly and green goods, handmade and one of a kind items, accessories, greeting cards and stationery products and a lot more! I love seeing other entrepreneurs succeed while pursuing their passion!

I managed to grab Andreea to ask her a few questions…

1. You started your first business when you were pregnant with your first child. How did you find the time (and energy!) to have a baby and a business at the same time?

I really took it one day at a time and didn’t try to do it all! I tried to set up as much as I could before my baby was born so that way a lot of things were in place by the time he arrived. After he was born, I took some time off, of course, and then I started to add more time to my business when I could.

2. We live in times where business, the economy and technology are all changing fast. How are you dealing with this in your own business and what’s your advice to people who are new to or in the early stages of business?

I set aside time each week to learn about new technologies or new things that are happening in the industry. I also read and subscribe to relevant blogs and magazines so I can stay up to date with what’s going on. My advice would be to pick one or two sources that you love and stick with those instead of trying to read everything!

3. Of all the lessons you’ve learned since you started your business in 2006, which is the most important one?

Great question. The most important one is that success comes in the following up. Most of the time you contact someone (whether it’s a store, the media or a potential partner), your first email or contact will most likely not get a response. But when you follow up, that’s when success comes in.

4. Which quote or saying best sums up your approach to business success?

It’s actually a quote that I came across recently “The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them” I don’t know who said it, but it is so true!

Click here to sign up for Andreea’s  free Product Marketing Breakthrough training course.