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!

Stuck for ideas?

If you want to browse a list of business ideas to see which ones grab you, take a look at Entrepreneur.com.  When I had no idea which business was right for me I found it helpful to look down this list and see how I felt about each one – hot, warm or cold!

Business Ideas for Mums: Running a pre-school group

Tell me more… Pre-school groups are for children under five and usually held in village halls or community centres. They help children play, learn, have fun and interact with other children and include:

  • Messy play
  • Arts and crafts
  • Music and dance/movement
  • Speech and communication
  • Cooking
  • Baby yoga and massage
  • Languages, including sign language

You might also like to consider becoming a tutor.

What are the benefits?

  • You may be able to take your own children with you, although it will depend on the group and the age of your children. Caring for your own toddler while setting up and clearing away could be hard work!
  • You can run as many or as few sessions as you want.
  • You might be able to start your own franchise.
  • You could diversify e.g. you could also run children’s parties or produce a CD.
  • If you don’t want to start from scratch, there are several franchises you could buy.
  • If you have a background in childcare or education but fancy a change from school or nursery, this could be a rewarding new career.

Things to consider…

  • Parents may encourage you to charge on a per-session basis as it’s more convenient for them. But you’ll have costs to cover such as the hire of a hall, so you may need to charge on a termly basis. You could make this more appealing by offering a the first session for free or the first three sessions to be paid on a per-session basis.
  • Demand is likely to be term-time only, so will you need to find other ways of earning an income for the other 12 weeks in the year? Or does term time working suit you?
  • Many Sure Start centres have opened up over the last few years offering free pre-school sessions. You can compete with this, but you will need to think about what you have to offer that the Sure Start centres don’t have. Alternatively, you could ask them if you could run sessions for them. If you can’t beat them, join them!
  • When working out how much you could earn from running a pre-school group, don’t forget to include the time you won’t be paid directly for, e.g. setting up and clearing away, administration, lesson planning and preparation.
  • Check out the legal requirements, which will be different depending on the group you run. For example – do you need a Criminal Records Bureau check? What are the health and safety requirements, do you need to be inspected by Ofsted? The Pre-School Alliance leaflet (see below) is a good place to start.
  • If you’re looking at buying a franchise, how long will it take you to earn back the franchise fee? What do you get with the franchise? Is this good value for money?
  • It may take you a couple of years to get a full group of children.

Further information

Not convinced that running a pre-school group is for you? Take a look at other business ideas for mums.

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