Adventures in internet marketing: here’s where I go next

Running a business is all about matching up what you can offer with what the market wants. So as 2012 began, I decided to talk my market and see how I could best help them.

My plan was that I was going to start out as an internet marketing consultant. I wasn’t planning on just offering advice and information, I planned to provide services too. So if a business needed a mailing list setting up and managing, I would do that for them. If they needed a new website complete with copywriting and SEO, I could do that too. I didn’t plan to do everything myself, I would work with a team of freelancers (after all, I know plenty of mums offering these services!)

Back in January I kicked things off by offering a free consultation to one of the members of my mailing list. (I send things to my mailing list that you don’t see on Business Plus Baby, so you might like to sign up here?)

This was the email: Continue reading “Adventures in internet marketing: here’s where I go next”

Savings? What Savings? Or How We Survived Maternity Leave Twice

maternity leave savingTwo years ago I started my first maternity leave utterly convinced that I’d be back at my desk six months later. I couldn’t afford to take any longer than that off work, or so I thought. Here’s what really happened – I’m still laughing about how naive I was back then!

A month into my maternity leave, the day after my daughter was born, I realised I couldn’t go back to work in five months time. So Mr L and I agreed I’d take a total of nine months off, mostly because that’s when my maternity pay ran out.

Then I realised I couldn’t face working full time and went back to work two days per week. Somehow our budget still just about worked out.

Then I found out I was pregnant again. Big shock. Our finances got tighter, but we coped. After four and half months back at work, I was on maternity leave again.

A month ago I passed the nine-month mark on my second maternity leave, meaning my maternity pay has run out again. Now we’re in the gap between my maternity pay ending and my new business bringing in an income. This is when we start to spend our savings in a big way.

I can feel my stomach clenching at the thought of it.

I’ve always been fairly sensible with money. True, there were times I could have been better, but I’ve always had a bit of cash tucked away in an online savings account for a rainy day. So I’m uncomfortable about spending it all now.

I’m also uncomfortable about being (temporarily) without an income and not contributing into a pension for a few years. At a time in my life where I’ve just picked up a lot more responsibility, I’m not being very responsible with my finances.

But maybe I’m being too hard on myself. I keep reminding myself that we are in exceptional circumstances. Life will get easier and I will find the time and energy to earn an income again soon. And if I can plan a business while having two babies fifteen months apart, then I can do anything!

In a way, this is the rainy day we were saving for.

Having babies has booted me out of my comfort zone in so many ways. The gap in my income isn’t a failure; it’s me being out of my financial comfort zone.  If you’d told me two years ago about the battering our finances were about to receive, I’d have told you there’s no way we could have coped, but we have.

I’m actually quite proud of us.

Photo by Alan Cleaver

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Seven Things You Didn’t Know About Me

I‘ve been tagged by Antonia of Family Friendly Working and Sam of Keep Calm Eat Cake (and Mum’s The Boss), so I thought I should get around to doing a post on seven things you didn’t know about me. Sam also sent me the Kreative Blogger award, so I’m quite tickled by that. Thanks Sam!

1. I was a clumsy child. I’d broken both my legs by the time I was three. I was quite proud of this when I was a child, but now I’ve got a daughter who is almost two I’m horrified at the thought of it! I’ve always been a bit clumsy and uncoordinated but this improved when I…

2. …Spent seven years learning tai chi. Then I moved to Bedford three years ago and gave it up. Well, not exactly gave it up. More like never got around to continuing it. It’s a real shame because I must have forgotten most of it by now.

3. When I was 35 I found out I was Irish. Kind of. My maiden name was McClagish and my Grandad was born in Glasgow, so we’d always assumed we had Scottish roots. Then I checked the censuses for my Scottish ancestors and found every one of them had parents or grandparents who were born in Ireland. I don’t think my Dad believes me.

4. My little brother used to go out with Sam Pearce’s (of Mums the Boss fame’s) little sister. But Sam and I didn’t meet until fifteeen years later at the first Mum’s The Boss meeting. Sam worked out who I was when she read my Facebook wall a couple of weeks later and saw my brother had written ‘My big sis stinks’ on it (he was 33 at the time!).

5. I’m a rubbish snowboarder. It’s probably something to do with point number 1. I’ve spent five days learning in France, another five in Bulgaria and I’ve slid on my bottom down the Tamworth Snowdome on many happy occasions but I’m still awful. I tried Cairngorm too, but it was hardest of all there because of the horizontal snow causing a white-out  (I certainly didn’t feel any affinity with Scotland that day).

6. Come to think of it, I don’t have much luck with outdoorsy stuff. When I went white water rafting the raft capsized (it was in Nottingham in November). I perforated an eardrum during my first outdoor scuba dive. I went zorbing and had a panic attack. These days I just stay in and watch Cbeebies instead.

7. I lived in Cardiff for three years, but it was a long time before Torchwood and Gavin and Stacey made it cool. Back in those days, Captain Jack’s office would have been under the Severn Estuary. I don’t think Barry Island has changed much though.

I now have to pass this award on to seven other bloggers. If they want, they can also take up the challenge, which is:

1.Copy the award to your blog
2.Insert a link to the person who nominated me
3.Tell you seven things about myself that I haven’t told you before
4.Nominate seven other bloggers for the award
5.Link to their blogs
6.Tell the nominees about their award

So here are my seven nominees (I hope you’ve not been tagged already!):

Becky at Baby Budgeting

Maggy at The Good Life

Sam at Mumazing

Mummy’s Little Monkey

Andrea Daly, the Accidental Business Mum

Susie at Wise Genius

Toniann at Knot Just Jigs

Every Child Deserves A Good Start in Life

My mummy has asked me to tell you about our fabulous local Sure Start Centres called Pine Cones Children’s Centre and Queens Park Neighbourhood Centre in Bedford. She says she’s worried about budget cuts and if Sure Start Centres start closing down, being stuck in the house with me and my little brother might drive her bonkers.

We don’t know why this is because we’re such adorable children. We only cry when we’re hungry, thirsty, tired, frustrated, bored, a bit fed up, need a cuddle, fall over or steal each other’s toys. Oh and when Mummy won’t let us suck pebbles in the garden.

Anyway, the Sure Start Centres have been brilliant for us. A few months ago I was really nervous and wouldn’t let go of mummy’s leg whenever I was in a room with strangers. But now I happily run around the Sure Start activity sessions and don’t bat an eyelid when little boys roll push-along toys over my toes. I’ve got lots more confidence now.

Each week we go to a Musical Movers group where we sing with lots of other little ones. It’s VERY LOUD. But I’m not scared any more and I sing and dance to the music. In fact I’ve learned lots of my first words from the nursery rhymes we’ve learned there.

That’s not all, at Sure Start we’ve been weighed, spoken to a dietitician about our milk allergies and chatted to an oral health lady about getting our new teeth nice and clean.

We’ve sung with the speech and language therapist too, but last week we found out she’s had to leave because her funding has already gone.

If you want to help keep these and other fantastic Sure Start Centres across the country open, sign the Shout Out for Sure Start Pledge today. It’ll only take you a minute.

You could save a lot of mummies from going bonkers.

Love from

Little Miss Lindop

Age 22 months