Getting started as a mumpreneur – how am I doing?

You might remember that I had a breakthrough in deciding which business to run when I realised that I must do what I want to do instead of what I could or should do. (If you missed it, you can read more about this here.) I said I’d let you know what happened next, and with a week until my baby is due I’m in a reflective mood, so now seems like a good time. And I don’t have the energy to do much other than type these days!

I worked my way through Paul and Sarah Edward’s book ‘Finding Your Perfect Work’ and it felt a bit like going back to my careers adviser at college, except it was easier because I know myself so much better than I did at eighteen. If that sounds like a drag, it wasn’t really. Maybe it’s the coach in me, but reviewing your progress, likes, dislikes, achievements and even failures every few years can only  help you move forwards.

At the same time, I was starting to get some really positive feedback from my blog. I discovered that one of the themes in my working life was pulling together confusing and complex information then delivering it in an easy-to-understand way, so I wondered if I could change my main method of working from training to writing? After all, I had written a lot of training courses and manuals over the years. I seemed to be doing pretty well so far with my blog and it was a good way of exercising my writing muscles.

Reading Antonia Chitty’s book ‘Commercial Writing’ has opened my eyes to the paths I could follow from here. I’ve got too much to think about at the moment to decide on exactly which path, but I’m going to gently mull things over during the coming night feeds.

I was planning to move from my freebie WordPress blog over to my own domain name in a few months time, but  what was the point in encouraging people to visit a blog that was going to move? It made sense to move over sooner rather than later. So with lots of work from the fantastic Sally at Squashbox Media and my equally fabulous part-time web designer husband, we got businessplusbaby.com up and running last weekend.

Looking back, I’m surprised at how much progress I’ve made in the last month or so before my baby is due. During the last month of my previous pregnancy I couldn’t do much other than sit on the sofa watching TV. Which just goes to show how much motivation you can get from doing what you really want.

Start your business for less than £30

If you’re an aspiring mumpreneur, you might be wondering where on earth you’ll get the money to start your business.  True, there are some businesses that will always need a bank loan for a hundred thousand pounds, but it doesn’t have to be like that. Did you know…?

  • If you want to do some market research, Survey Monkey is a free tool that you can use to create an online questionnaire.
  • You can get a website with a shopping cart from Mr Site for £19.99 for your first year. No technical knowledge is needed because you use templates to create your site. (There are other similar sites, too).
  • Vistaprint do free or cheap business cards, postcards, fridge magnets, t-shirts, pens…..you name it, they can print it for you. (If you go for the free products, you’ll need to pay postage.)
  • If you need a simple website with perhaps a photo and some info about you, you can set one up in minutes for free at WordPress.com or Blogger.com
  • There are loads of websites that you can use to listen to and connect with potential customers for free, including Twitter, Facebook, BT Tradespace, EcademyLinkedIn and web forums where your target market get together. Check the rules for each, some allow business promotion and others don’t.

After a few months or so, you’ll probably want to find yourself a web designer, graphic designer or a printer that will give you more freedom and a less generic look.  By then you’ll have proved that your business has a market, found your first customers and hopefully earned yourself some cash.

It’s never been cheaper or easier to get a home business started. What are you waiting for?

Why I moved from a free blog to my own domain name

Back in May I started my blog for three reasons, firstly I wanted to do some online networking and this works best if people can read about you and see a photo. Secondly, I tend to think by writing. I had lots of business ideas – writing and sharing them was a good way for me to work out what was right for me. And thirdly, I’d felt very alone when I realised I couldn’t got back to my full time job, so I wanted to share my experience with other new mums who might be feeling the same.

It took me about an hour to set up my free blog using WordPress.com and it did the job brilliantly. I didn’t know where my blog would lead me  so I didn’t want to invest too much time and money in the beginning.  So why move to businessplusbaby.com? Well, I started to get really promising feedback on my blog and I felt I could turn it into a little business of its own. My url helenlindop.wordpress.com was fine for a hobby, but it didn’t feel professional enough for a business.

There’s another problem with free blogging sites such as WordPress and Blogger – they can edit, remove and publish your blog content elsewhere. I might be a bit of a control freak, but I want complete control over the content I write, because  I might want do something else with it, such as to turn it into a book or a course. Also,  if the content doesn’t comply with your host’s terms of service they can remove your content or close down your blog. Now I know you’re not likely to intentionally blog about anything so offensive or illegal that your blog is closed down, but if it happened by mistake (say, your account was hacked into), do you want the hassle of convincing your hosting company of your innocence?

Free blogs are great to get you started, but once you’re thinking about earning money from them or have a fair amount of content, seriously consider getting your own domain name. You can buy web space cheaply and downland WordPress for free from WordPress.org, so it needn’t be expensive. And your content is then yours.

New website!

Welcome to www.businessplusbaby.com – my new website, on a new domain with a fab new look!

Business Plus Baby

Everything from the previous blog is here and from now on all the new updates will appear here. After a little while I’ll close down the old site. Don’t forget to update any bookmarks or favourites you may have set up and don’t forget to direct your friends to www.businessplusbaby.com!