Business Ideas For Mums: Complementary and Sports Therapies

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Many mums have always wanted to work in health or sport,  so take opportunity to retrain as therapists when they have children. There is a huge range of therapies to choose from, including:

  • Sports massage, sports therapies, teaching yoga, pilates and tai chi
  • Herbal, homeopathic, aromatherapy, flower remedies
  • Reiki, energy healing, spiritual healing, crystal therapy, teaching meditation.
  • Hypnotherapy, counselling, psychotherapy, neuro linguistic programming (NLP)
  • Chiropractic, osteopathy
  • Reflexology, hopi ear candles, stone therapy, Alexander Technique
  • And many more!

What are the benefits?

  • You can choose how many hours you work
  • You can work weekends and evenings
  • This could be the chance to do the type of work you've always wanted to do

Things to consider…

-You can work from home, in other people's homes or rent a room from a clinic, natural therapy centre or hairdressing salon. If you work from a clinic, centre or salon, you will almost certainly have to do some , if not all, of your own marketing. -Marketing methods that work well for this type of business are –

  • Taster sessions (perhaps as part of a pampering evening) often run as fundraisers for schools.
  • A leaflet campaign backed up by a website which gives people further info – leaflets could got through local people's doors, be left in business centre receptions, GP surgeries, libraries, railway stations, gyms or handed out to everyone you know.
  • Local websites such as gumtree.com
  • Postcards in local shop windows.
  • Get an article in a local newspaper.
  • Use your car – put a sign in the back window or magnetic adverts on the doors (check out Vistaprint.co.uk).

-This article covers a huge range of therapies, so the time and effort needed to get qualified varies enormously from a weekend to a five year degree course. The first place to look for training would be your local further education college or try Natural Therapy Pages. -You can do some training by distance learning, although you'll need to weigh up how effective this is for learning 'hands on' skills. You can study subjects such as anatomy and physiology successfully, though.

Further information

Healthypages is a mine of useful information and a place to advertise your services ITEC – exam board for beauty and complementary therapies as well as yoga, pilates etc. Not convinced that complementary or sport therapies are for you? Take a look at other business ideas for mums.

One Good Way To Save Money as a Business Mum

Software can be expensive if you’re running a small business from home.

A good example is Microsoft Office – Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook (and sometimes a few other programs thrown in).  Bought from the Microsfot Office website, the Home and Student version of Office 2007 costs £99.99, but you cannot use it in ‘business situations’. The standard version costs £349.99 if buying from scratch and £249.99 if you’re upgrading from an earlier version.

The good news that you can get very similar software for free – check out Open Office. As an ex-Microsoft Office trainer, I  didn’t look at Open Office for years. I’d spent so long learning MS Office to the advanced level, I couldn’t face learning new Office software. But if you’re a regular Word, Excel or PowerPoint user, Open Office will look very familiar indeed. A few minutes exploring should be all the training you need. If you’re worried about the files being compatible with Microsoft Office – say, you need to send a spreadsheet to your accountant who only has Excel – don’t be. Open Office can cope with MS Office file formats.

It’s amazing that we all go out and pay hundreds of pounds for software we could (effectively) get for free, but I guess that’s the power of Microsoft.

There’s a lot of open source software out there – the blog software I use, WordPress, is open source and doesn’t cost me a penny. If you’re thinking about buying new software, it’s well worth Googling to see if there’s an open source equivalent. You could save a heck of a lot of money.

Getting moving again after maternity leave

It's now six months since my last day at work and time I started to think about earning again. I'm grateful I haven't got the abrupt jump into to work I would have if I was returning to employment, but getting started in self employment has its own challenges.  For the moment, I'm just getting some rough plans together and leaving the harder work until the first few months of 2010.

Not surprisingly, the last few months have been more 'baby' than 'business'. I'm making sure that amid all the chaos of being mum to a 19 month and (almost) 4 month old, I stop to appreciate where I am. One of the joys is seeing the world through the eyes of a toddler – the noise that gravel makes when you stomp on it, watching the last few roses of autumn clinging on in the cold, dropping letters into a big red postbox. And the joys of being a parent to a toddler – finding a tin of tuna on your doormat and your phone in your washing machine! Baby boy is just starting to grasp at things with his little hands. He's smiling at everyone and is fascinated by everything going on around him, including his big sister trying to balance teddy bears on his head.

Getting back to my business, I'm planning a 'multiple streams of income' approach. I've already arranged to do some admin for a book keeper friend as one of the income streams.  If you like the sound of this approach, it's worth putting the word out among family and friends that you'd be happy to do some admin work on a freelance basis. You never know who might need someone to do a mail shot, compile a mailing list, tidy up some spreadsheets, write a  manual, do some invoicing and so on. I'm not talking about becoming a fully-fledged virtual assistant – although that's an option of course – just bringing in an income while you get other streams of income up and running (and that usually takes longer than you think).This approach takes some careful planning and focus because it's easy to get distracted if you have several jobs on the go at once.  But for me, it's worth the risk to not have all my business eggs in one basket.

One of the other business eggs in my basket is exploring web-based businesses. I've been learning a lot about blogging, social media and driving traffic to a website over the last six months. With my background in coaching and training, I feel sure I can develop an income stream from it although I'm still working out the best route to take. I'll let you know how I get on. If you have any experience of going self-employed after your maternity leave ended or using a multiple streams of income approach, drop me a comment :0)

Become a tutor: Business ideas for mums

(Updated March 2015)

tutoring_business2

Tell me more…

If you enjoy working with children, why not become a tutor? You could tutor them outside school hours in subjects such as maths and English. You can either work for an agency, find your own clients or both. You can work in your own home or in your clients’ homes, although it’s usually more cost effective to work from your own home as it saves travelling time and expense. You can work with individuals or small groups, primary school children or secondary.

What are the benefits?

  • You can choose how many hours you work
  • You can work weekends and evenings
  • It’s very satisfying work if you enjoy teaching but find the thought of being a classroom teacher too bureacratic or stressful!

Things to consider…

  • Make sure you really enjoy working with children!
  • Teaching methods will almost certainly have changed since you were at school. Unless you’ve been a teacher very recently, you’ll need to learn how your subject is taught in schools now if you’re going to avoid confusing your clients.
  • Although there’s no legal requirement, parents will usually want you to be DBS (previously CRB) checked. You can’t apply for a DBS check as an individual or self employed person, so you’ll need to get this through an organisation. You could do this by signing up with a tutoring agency, although they may make you pay for this. Or you could do some voluntary work, such as running an after-school club at a local school. This would also give you useful experience and may help you make some contacts. (Applies to UK only)
  • You may find it easier to tutor children who attend the same school because you’ll have  only one syllabus to work with.
  • Allow at least half an hour preparation for each hour of tutoring.
  • If you’re signing up with a tutoring agency, look for one that advertises regularly in the area where you want to work.
  • You can advertise in your local newspaper, by putting up a card in local shop windows,  on free websites such as gumtree.com. You can also send your details to local schools – if parents ask for teachers for extra tuition, they may pass on your details. Once you get started, you should be able to get work by word-of-mouth referrals, so make sure you have some business cards printed that clients can hand out to friends.
  • Be clear about your expectations when you sign up a new client – how much notice do you need for cancellation? What happens if the child doesn’t do their homework? What materials do you provide? What happens if you or the child are late for a session?
  • You don’t necessarily need a teaching qualification, although this is a big advantage. The need for a teaching qualification will often depend on supply and demand in your area. E.g. if there aren’t enough qualified maths teachers to go around then you will be able to find work without a teaching qualification
  • There isn’t a steady stream of work throughout the year – work increases on the run up to exams and decreases over the summer holidays.

Recommended resource:

If you want to get to grips with the business side of being a tutor, including pricing, I recommend this course:

How to start a highly profitable tutoring business by Vicky Olubi

Not convinced that tuition is for you? Take a look at other business ideas for mums.

(contains an affiliate link)

The best advice I have ever been given

This post is inspired by Josie’s Writing Workshop over at her Sleep Is For The Weak blog.

The best piece of advice I have ever been given came to me  in the middle of Wales in 1993. By a guy whose name I can’t even remember.

I was coming to the end of my university course and it hadn’t been the fabulous experience I’d expected. Brought up in the 80s on a diet of Johnny Ball and Tomorrows World (when it was good) I was fascinated by how things worked, so I’d chosen to do a physics degree. But the reality was very different – apart from one afternoon a week in the lab, the rest of the course was just maths, really hard maths.  Half way through the course my confidence was at a low and I dropped out. I was talked back by a tutor and ended up taking physics with a medical physics option, which was an improvement because it was using science to make ill people better. All that maths had a practical use at last.

By 1993 I was coming to the end of my course and, even though life was better with medical physics, I wasn’t going to get the grades I needed to actually be a medical physicist. The recession was just about at its worst so there were next-to-no jobs out there.  At that time I felt I’d have been better off if I’d left school at 18 and got a job – at least I’d have some useful skills.

We went on a residential course somewhere in mid-Wales a few months before we took our final exams. The physics department had invited an ex-student back to give us a presentation on life beyond the University of Wales. He’d got a physics degree, but like me he hadn’t been the natural born scientist he’d hoped to be.  He’d done some more studying and become a Master of Wine. Despite doing something completely different from his degree, he said that his physics had come in useful. Especially when he had to learn about the technicalities of producing wine.

“Nothing is ever wasted”, he said.

Just four words, but it gave me hope that the tough previous three years hadn’t been for nothing. Those words have come back to me whenever I’ve come to a crossroads and wondered if the path I’ve taken to get there was a waste of time and effort.

Like the time I realised, even thought I’d spent a year getting qualified as a teacher, I didn’t actually like being a teacher.  A couple of years later I got a job training teachers in IT,  using what I knew in a way I didn’t expect. And it led me into a whole new career in training.

Then there was the day I realised I couldn’t go back to my full-time training job when my maternity leave ended. Was that the end of my career? I kicked myself for not seeing it coming and making better plans. But over the next few months I realised that six years as a freelance trainer was actually pretty good preparation for life as a self-employed mum.

As the man said, nothing is ever wasted.

So if you happen to know Master of Wine who is in his early forties and has a BSc in Physics with Astrophysics from the University of Wales, please let me know. I’d like to say thank you.