I Started a Business with a Baby: Helen Pritchard of New Stork Times (Part 1)

Are you working one-to-one with clients in your local area? If so, you may find it tough to grow your business because you only have so many hours available to work and clients can only travel so far to meet you.

Helen Pritchard is a holistic therapist and baby massage instructor who has overcome these limitations by taking her business online. So I was really pleased when she agreed to tell us her story. I’m sure this approach could be the way forward for many mums in business, let me know what you think!

This is part 1 of Helen’s story, I’ll be posting part 2 tomorrow.

Tell us a little about your business

New Stork Times was created to help parents have all the benefits of baby massage in their own homes – either in place of, or alongside an infant massage class. My digital tutorials take parents step-by-step through baby massage routines, giving mothers and fathers all the information and techniques they need to enable them to start practicing baby massage in the comfort of their own home, at a time that suits both parents and baby and at their own pace. The techniques are also available to purchase as a DVD.

What was your job before starting your business?

I am a self employed holistic therapist (specialising in fertility and pregnancy treatments) and infant massage instructor. New Stork Times was set up in 2009 to handle the production and distribution of the baby massage downloads. Prior to self employment I worked in social services for six years – I retrained as a therapist during my second period of maternity leave with my youngest daughter, Megan, and never went back.

How did you go from your old career to your new business?

The progression from local therapist running a simple private practice and teaching baby massage twice a week to internet entrepreneur was a swift one. Suddenly I had a very steep learning curve from creating, writing and filming the DVD, artwork and barcodes, internet marketing, affiliate marketing, and international trading to where I am today. I still work on a local level of course but that is very intimate, hands on (literally!) therapy work with a huge amount of human connection and working via the magic of the internet is a totally different and equally challenging and exciting environment. I love it.

What were your reasons for starting a business?

I initially wanted to produce something simple for my baby massage mums to use at home as the feedback was that they would like that (as they often forgot what they has done in a session, and with massage you really need a visual aid) and would be interested in dad or grandparents getting involved, plus they wanted to give to friends as gifts. I also found that people really wanted to come to a class but they worked, did another activity on the days I taught, were too anxious about their baby crying during a class or the class times were at a bad time. The idea kind of spiralled from there into a professionally filmed and produced DVD. I love the internet and buying e-books etc online so I wanted to sell my videos as a download to reduce overheads, eliminate postage and packing, allow customers to access the information right there and then (I am naturally impatient and hate to wait for things) and make myself available online via email for consultations and any ongoing questions. Being online also allows me to use an affiliate scheme whereby anyone promoting my downloads will automatically receive a share of the revenue – this is a great incentive to people aiming at a similar market to me and the fact I have affiliates in the UK, US, Australia and Dubai shows how this model is becoming more and more popular.

Did you use any childcare?

Not really – I use a childminder to do one pick up a week so I have one day from 9.15 to 3.00 and I try to do the bulk of my admin that day. My eldest started Reception last Sept and my youngest went to pre school three mornings a week. From this Sept my eldest will be in Yr1 and my youngest at pre school five mornings a week so I am hoping to get a bit more structure – even though I teach baby massage two mornings and see my own clients in the afternoons and evenings! From a purely business perspective I would love five days a week 9 – 5 (oh! The luxury!) to work both on and in my business(es) but in reality that would defeat the object. I love the fact I have never missed an assembly, or a sports day and I do 99% of the pick ups and drop offs. I would love a nanny and a housekeeper though so they could wrestle the mealtimes and get them ready to leave the house while I locked myself in the office (read: box bedroom)!

You can read about the Helen’s challenges and how she overcame them, plus her advice for other aspiring business mums, here at Business Plus Baby tomorrow.

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