You can read part 1 of this article here: I Started a Business With a Baby:Julia Odgers of KidsTravel2 (Part 1). Back now to Julia…
I try really hard to balance work and family life and remind myself constantly that it is important I do this as this was my primary objective for going down this route. I ‘officially’ work a day and a half a week, with the support of my parents in law who look after my 2 1/2 year old. Other than that I am a full time mum to my 5 year old son, Will, and my daughter, Rosie and run KidsTravel2 single handed. I do work several evenings but build in time out for yoga & socialising with my friends and husband. I believe my key skills and strengths are focus and determination in both my personal and business life. Last year as the business snowballed I did have doubts about whether it was right to put my family under the strain – the dining room and utility room were stacked high with boxes at one point and we were making several trips to the post office in one day over Christmas. I had an end goal and a plan though and we made it through until we could outsource in the New Year, and with the profit made, we put it towards redeveloping the downstairs of our house. I feel proud that I have contributed to this.
It is possible to develop a business with minimal investment and therefore minimal financial risk by choosing products wisely & growing organically.
I believe I have demonstrated that it is possible to take a business and treble turnover in a year by applying some sound online marketing principles, talking to customers and keeping overheads low. It is possible to develop a business with minimal investment and therefore minimal financial risk by choosing product wisely & growing organically. As you grow you can build up trading accounts with suppliers and have more credit flexibility, enabling more growth. I feel I have shown it is possible to develop a strong business that can still look good using a simple off the shelf online web design product coupled with maximising personal strengths of marketing & copywriting. During the last few months I have continued to evolve by dedicating the time I have gained from outsourcing warehousing and fulfilment to embracing social media. This is already proving a great way of building stronger links with customers, a cost effective PR tool, and a great way of networking to build strategic partnerships.
The biggest challenge to date has been maintaining a balance between a healthy family life and keeping the business going through the tricky startup phase. I have learnt to have belief in my own convictions and keep going inspite of opposition even from family members! Key achievements are trebling turnover during the first year and being on track to double turnover again this year. I would have 2 pieces of advice to a mum thinking of setting up her own business:
- Have the courage of your own convictions and stay focused on your goal as it is this that will keep you going through the tough times you will inevitably encounter.
- Remember that starting your own business doesn’t necessarily have to be about doing something different to everyone else, just doing it better. I spent a long time racking my brains trying to ‘invent’ a new product or service, thinking this was the only way to set up and run my own business successfully. I have since realised that by striving to be the best at what you do is what will set you apart and bring you success
By the way, if you’re travelling with the children this summer, check out Julia’s free e-book, Children’s Travel Activites and Travel Tips.