Women make money: How YOU can take control

debtSelf-employed mothers have come a long way since the old days when earning pin money was their only option.

Some women are earning more than their partners and most are concerned about taking care of themselves financially after they’ve retired. With many of us expected to live to 90 it could be a long retirement, yet after the credit crunch we no longer have faith our pensions will be there when we need them.

Some women take full responsibility for supporting their families because they are single parents or their partner isn’t able to work.

Continue reading “Women make money: How YOU can take control”

Will you be ready to take your clients’ money this Christmas?

You could make more money in the next few months that at any other time of the year.

And that doesn’t just apply to businesses selling gifts, either.

Christmas is the party season so we want to look good (health, fashion, beauty products), we want to entertain family and friends (food, party supplies, TVs and audio) and we want our houses to look great too (furniture, soft furnishings, DIY). Then at the end of it all we’re so exhausted we want to give ourselves little treats like a weekend away or a new iPod!

Many businesses need extra admin support during this busy time of year and that means more clients for virtual assistants, for example. So even if you’re not selling direct to the public, there are still opportunities for you to support those businesses that are.

True, people may be spending less since the credit crunch, but the run up to Christmas is still the best time in the year for maximising your profits.

Are YOU ready to take advantage of all that spending?

Here are five ways you can get yourself and your business in tip-top shape for the Christmas season:

Your marketing plan

Update your marketing plan to make sure you’re squeezing the absolute best from your time and budget. If you don’t already have a marketing plan, now is the time to get yourself one. It doesn’t have to be a long or complicated document, just some notes about what you’re going to be doing to promote your business on the run up to Christmas and how and when you’re going to do it.

Make sure all your efforts are working together in a strategy. Look at which marketing methods are working well for you and do more of them. Is it time you dropped a marketing method that isn’t very effective?

Are you charging enough?

How do you feel about your pricing? Do you feel confident when you name your price or do you drop your prices too easily? Are you charging less than you deserve for what you do? Take a look at what might be behind this. Does your confidence need a boost? Do you need to work on your selling skills? Are you in a very competitive area and need to find a way to stand out from the crowd?

Are you in control of your money?

Unless you know how much your costs add up to (and yes, that includes paying yourself for the time you work on or in your business) you can’t know how much you need to charge to break even.  If you’re not breaking even – or don’t have a plan for how you’re going to get beyond break-even – your business is just an expensive hobby.

Having your financial facts at your fingertips makes it much easier to price your product or service, too.

Get better at following up

Are you telling potential customers all about you/your product but not actually asking them to buy? If so, you’re just warming them up for your competitors to come along and make the sale.

Following up could be as simple as making a phone call to see if they need any further information, explaining how you can solve their problem, then making the sale when the time is right.  If they aren’t ready to commit right then, make sure you arrange to follow up again. Book a date for another meeting, ask if you can add them to your mailing list or ask if you can call them again next month.

Think bigger

Whatever you have planned, take it to the next level.

Going to a conference? Don’t just network with the delegates, get to know the speakers.  Look at your branding: your logo, colour scheme, fonts, photo, business card, tagline, website, customer service, marketing materials and so on. Boosting the image that your business gives out to the world will improve the way people perceive your product/service and you may be able to charge more.

If you act like you’re running a little business just for fun, that’s how people will see you. You can think big even if you’re running a business part-time from home. It’s just a question of attitude!

Your customers are ready to spend their cash. Are you ready for them to spend it with YOU?

If you need help getting your business in shape for Christmas, get yourself a copy of the Earn What You Deserve as a Mumpreneur e-course. You can download it for just £24 if you buy it before 30th September (usual price £37).

Creative Commons License photo credit: Karen Roe


Tax Credit Deadline – don’t save all your changes until 31st July!

Today I’ve got a reminder for you from guest blogger Claire Meredith of Pennies For Parents and Zest Payroll Solutions. Over to you Claire!

As the Tax Credit Renewal deadline of 31st July fast approaches, I’d like to remind you how important it is to tell the Tax Credit office of changes to your circumstances at the time that they actually happen.

Please don’t save them all up until the renewal pack falls on your door mat!

If you have any kind of change in your personal life, work/self employment or childcare please pick up the phone and call the Tax Credit office as soon as you possibly can. Leaving important changes to information until July could mean you are possibly being overpaid (a real nightmare) or that you are losing out on additional payments that you could be receiving at a time you need them most.

If you have not yet sent back your renewal form or given them a call please do so now.

Remember: if you do not contact them your payments will STOP!

Call the Tax Credit Helpline NOW on:   0845 300 3900
Please also watch this great “Tell ‘Em” video from Martin Lewis too:

How to Earn What You Deserve as a Mumpreneur

UPDATE, Feb 2013: I wrote this post as part of the launch for my Earn What You Deserve as a Mumpreneur e-course in May 2011. The course is no longer available, but this post has some fab advice, so enjoy!

Being a mumpreneur is tough. You’ve got all the usual business balls to juggle, but you have to fit them around toddler tantrums, sick children, broken sleep, piles of laundry and everything else a mums does. Mums in business are often motivated by needing family-friendly work rather than an entrepreneurial urge and our learning curve is a steep one.

With the business and your clients, partner, friends and children all demanding attention it’s easy for the money-making to slip down your to-do list.

I’ve asked successful business mums and small business experts for their top advice for earning what you deserve.

Here’s what they said..

Focus on what you do best and outsource the rest. Surround yourself with a network of peers and partners who can take on the tasks you don’t want to do. This could be anything from admin to accounts, sales or technology but handing it to the experts will help you grow whilst keeping overheads low.

Emma Jones, founder of small business support company, Enterprise Nation www.enterprisenation.com

Whatever business you decide to set up, make sure it makes you HAPPY!

Adriana Lokman, Director of Enterprise Start-Up & Development Association (www.esuda.co.uk)

One of the reasons why I see mumpreneurs not making enough money from their home business is that they are not presenting a professional business to customers, and not yet behaving like the boss of a professional business (which they now are) To be taken seriously by  prospective customers and the wider business community I believe that us mums running businesses from home have to set a high standard, invest in ourselves and show everyone that we can make ‘home made profits’! No more dabbling…for serious results take your business seriously.

Mel McGee, founder of www.supermummy.com – online community for business mums and author of ‘Millionaire Mumpreneurs’ For FREE membership visit supermummy.com

My tip is to value yourself and what you offer. Too many mums in business pitch their products and services at the cheaper end of the market. Do your sums properly to work out the costs of running and promoting your business. Listen to the thanks and compliments you get from clients or customers. Truly value what you do, set your prices accordingly, and you’ll find others value what you offer too.

Author and award winning entrepreneur Antonia helps mums get into business at Become a Mumpreneur.

Planning is a key part of any business especially when you are combining it with a family & marriage.  Ensure you plan your work time and play time that way everyone knows what is happening and when but also plan for the future for your business – unless you know where you are going how will you know how to get there?  Set yourself goals/targets for 3/6/12/24 months and keep reviewing them remember to include within this your marketing plan otherwise you will be aggressively waiting for the phone to ring rather than being proactive.

Debbie Mann Founder of Independent Property Inspections and Manager of The Mumpreneurs Networking Club.

Invest in a good email marketing system and offer a newsletter or opt-in report. The better relationship you build with potentially interested customers, the easier it will be to earn their trust … and their custom!

Karen Skidmore, marketing mentor at CanDoCanBe and creator of the Web Tech Club, the marketing club for technophobic business owners

Stop thinking like an employee and start thinking like an entrepreneur.  The average hourly rate for everyone else may be £10 an hour, but you’re not everyone else.  When you’re the boss you decide what to charge and how much you want to earn, it’s a perk of the job!  I like to work backwards from my goals.  I figure out how much I need to realise my goals and then how much I need to earn per month/per week.  I create and sell products that help me achieve that income and in turn my life goals.  In short where you can, stop selling time for money and where you can’t ensure that you’re selling it at a rate that makes it worthwhile.  Time is the scarcest commodity we have, treat is as such.

Erica Douglas, ACE Inspire, winner of Best Start Up 2010 at the Mumsclub Business Awards

When you create a new business, look carefully at what’s already out there. Copying someone else’s idea only works if you know you can do it bigger, better and (ideally) cheaper. It’s far better to try and carve out your own niche and identify a brand new opportunity if you can – and the chances are you’ll feel far more passionate about it.

Sally Whittle, Founder, Tots100

we need to remember that pricing is part of our brand. our price sends a message to the world about the value of our products & services. we must value our own expertise, talent and experience if we expect others to, and we must price our work so that it matches our brand message & the values of our ‘ideal clients’.

karen gunton of build a little biz and author of the workbook build a brand.

“They say that 80% of your productivity comes from just 20% of the work you do, so for every ten items on your do to list, just cross of the eight least important! You’ll be amazed how it focusses your mind…”

Jo Middleton, freelance journalist and writer of the award-winning blog Slummy single mummy.

Work out what makes you special and then tell everyone about it. Don’t be shy – you are capable of much more than you think.

Amy Taylor, Founder of Amy Taylor Accountancy, specialising in accounts and tax services for Mums in Business. www.tayloraccountancy.net

Don’t hide your face behind your business. People buy People so let your customers know who you are

Laura Morris, Founder of www.rentabuggy.co.uk and Business Mentor at www.mumtomumpreneur.co.uk.

We often don’t recognise our skills as valuable.  Because we may find something easy to do – it’s hard for us to believe that someone else will pay us to do it for them. If you want to put a real value on your time, start by working out what it would actually cost to replace you in the home. It’s quite an eye-opener.

Heather Bestel – Award Winning Business Mentor for Mumpreneurs, www.mumsgotabusiness.com

Be open to doing things that don’t seem to have an instant payoff. Twitter is a lot of work, but it’s brought me one big client and several smaller ones. I never know it would be so lucrative for me! So don’t dismiss things just because you don’t know or understand them.

Liz Weston, providing Marketing, Comms and PR solutions through Weston Communications, www.westoncommunications.org.uk

Force yourself to stay focussed on profits at all times – it is easy to get caught up in exciting ideas, but if they won’t show a return on investment that is really worth the time and effort you put in, they are not good business sense.

Polly Marsh, Director of Cuddledry, makers of the award-winning Cuddledry apron towel

Be bold in making changes – don’t hang onto a product, service or idea just because you like it or ‘it’s always been there’ – if it doesn’t make money, you have to ditch it.

Helen Wooldridge, Director of Cuddledry, makers of the award-winning Cuddledry apron towel

Don’t be afraid to use a lifeline and call a friend or email another Mumpreneur and ask for help or advice. I found being brave and connecting with like minded business women has really helped my confidence and direction with my businesses.

Emma Burford of www.mumsbusinessdirectory.com and www.sayitwithchocolate.co.uk

Celebrate all your accomplishments and achievements – no matter how small they may seem, this could be a vital turning point for your business and believe in yourself and your product as if you don’t, no one else will!

Suzanne Borrell, Director of PR, Communications and Marketing, What’s on 4 Ltd and Event Director, BabyExpo Babyshows
What’s on 4 Ltdwww.brightonbabyexpo.co.uk/baby-show

Don’t be afraid of technology. Even if it seems daunting, it CAN help. It’s worth getting up to speed with what’s out there, especially what’s available using ‘the cloud’ (i.e. web based!). Using specific tools and apps (often free) really can help you work smarter. Do invest a little time up front to find what could help you in the long term. It’s also great for business continuity should something unexpected happen!

Jane Geldart – Owner of PlantPure Candles (www.plantpure.co.uk), Group Leader for Mum’s The Boss Avon and Somerset.

Choose a business that suits your personality and passions.  DO you like to work indoors or out?  Do you like to work on your own or with a team.  DO you like to meet lots of people.  Do you like set, regular hours and tasks or a varied, flexible life. Is there anything in the world that you really love doing, and anything that you really really hate?  Write down your answers to all these questions and any more you can think of then compare them to how you would need to work in the business you are thinking of starting – does it work for you?

Debbie O’Connor, Motivating Mum UK

Pitch yourself as an expert in your genre, write a blog giving some tips away for free and charging for your ‘expertise’ … this will help with PR, marketing for your business and not cost you anything. I now have local radio stations call me all the time about mum/business related topics

Joanne Dewberry Dorset Business Mum of the Year – www.joannedewberry.co.uk