I Started a Business With A Toddler: Baby Signing Mummy Louise Gibbs

(Update….Congratulations to Louise who was married in April 2011 and is now Louise Lloyd!)

Baby Signing Mummy is a company that promotes communication and interaction with your baby using simple hand gestures – baby sign language. These hand gestures can allow a baby to start communicating with you before they are able to talk.  This can help reduce frustration and allow a natural special bond between you.  I run classes across the South East of England that are full of fun interaction, rhymes, songs and signs! It is a great way for mums and dads to learn something new and have fun with their baby.

I am by back background, a paediatric nurse with over 10 years experience. I have a BSc in Nursing Studies (Child) and am currently half way through my BSc in Advanced Practice. I have worked in a variety of settings including paediatric intensive care and more recently as a clinical nurse specialist in Children’s Allergy.

I went back to work full time when my daughter was only 6 months old. I worked full time for 3 and half years, running a matharon between London and a childminder and always feeling like I had to rush or I would be late. Christmas 2009 and this fully caught up with me, I was diagnosed with pneumonia and was in bed for weeks.  My fiancee and I decided it was time to change our priorities and the idea that I had always had of starting my own baby signing business was revisted. I launched the website in February 2010. I worked full time until June 2010 in my nursing job and on Baby Signing Mummy outside of work. With the growth of the business I was able to reduce my hours and by the end of September 2010 I was able to leave my permanent nursing job and concentrate on Baby Signing Mummy full time.

 

I am now able to run my business completely around my family. Isabella is at preschool in the mornings so I schedule my classes for then, and then I  get to spend some quality time with her in the afternoons – something I have never been able to do. I can then work in the evenings if I need too with admin and inquiries.

Having used baby sign language with my daughter three years previously, I had looked into starting my own business then but due to finances I wasn’t able to. When I re looked into the area I saw that there was still a lack of information for parents and I wanted to share my knowledge. This then snowballed and I was approached by parents asking me to teach them so I launched my own local classes and national online classes via Skype. I have now been able to launch the Baby Signing Mummy Method & Qualification and I am teaching others to be teachers of Baby Signing Mummy across the UK!

Training wise, I have been very lucky to have been taught Makaton and BSL during my Nursing degree and training, I knew that I knew the baby sign language, the information I was after however was on how to run a business.  Having only ever worked for the NHS, the business part has been a steep learning curve for me. I have used networking groups and mentorship to help drive my business forward in the way that I want.

My advice – To do it. Anyone wondering whether to set up their own business – it is hard work but it is so rewarding – and nothing can beat being able to take and pick my daughter up from pre-school and watch her excited face when she realizes it is mummy collecting her today.

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