Being a mumpreneur October 15, 2015 23:06
I'm not quite sure whether I like the term mumpreneur or not – it's a bit cheesy – but it seems to encapuslate exactly what I spend my time doing and for the want of it, I couldn't think of a better one! I've managed to grow my business, Flitterbee, from a mere concept to a now flourishing online craft business. It's given me the flexibility I desperately needed to combine being a mummy and making a living, and it has resulted in a great work-life balance.
The business seems to have grown at exactly the right rate. It started slowly, providing just enough pocket money to cover the cost of running my car and maybe a few swimming and ballet lessons (for my daughter not me!). When the children were very small I just didn't have the time to develop new products and market the business as I didn't want to miss a minute of them growing up and there were too many coffee mornings to attend :) However, as they have become older, I have been able to dedicate more time and focus to running the business and as a result it has become much more successful :)
Flitterbee originally began because my previous job was extremely inflexible and wouldn't allow me to return on a part time basis after my maternity leave. I didn't want to be a full time working mum, especially for a company that didn't share the same ideals, so it actually turned out to be the best thing that could have happened. As a result I had a great motivation to start Flitterbee and pursue my own career path, plus I'm the definitely best boss I've ever had ;)
The success of Flitterbee has honestly changed my whole outlook on life. I vividly remember saying 5 years ago 'if only I could make a good enough living from this that I could remain working from home'. It goes to show that you never know what is around the corner.
At times it can be difficult to balance both roles, particularly in the run up to Christmas when it gets crazy busy with orders, but you have to keep plugging away and recognise that it's a privilege to be making money from something you love doing. As sales have increased, my mind gets distracted with all of the orders I need to make and it can be hard to concentrate on playing with the children when your work is waiting for you in another area of the house! I hope it's not something the kids notice – I'm pretty sure they don't – in fact they probably think that I don't actually have a job at all, and that painting plaques and fairy doors is my crazy hobby!
Here's a few things I've learnt along the way that may be of some use to any of you thinking of going it alone as a mumpreneur.
1. Be organised! I try to get the work done as soon as it comes in because in my business you don't know how many orders are around the corner or how many kids parties there'll be on the next weekend. People who know me will know I'm not the epitome of organisation around the house, but when it comes to work I try to keep it as one of my top priorities.
2. Do something you enjoy! My work is time consuming and I spend most evenings working on orders but it's not stressful, in fact its quite the opposite - I love it! So painting plaques, illustrations and crafting in the evening and when my children are at school is like a hobby, with the added bonus that I'm making a living from it. It's a great feeling!! When I go away or on holiday I can put my online sales on 'holiday mode', but my work is pretty mobile so I can take it with me if needs be. Perhaps I'll get better at taking a break from it in the future but I'm still in the overexcited honeymoon phase!
3. Be prepared to become “Jack of all trades” - as you won't be sticking to just the one role when starting up and running your own business. You will actually need to learn a little bit about a great many specialised roles. From accounting and advertsing to marketing through blog posting and facebooking.
4. Take care of your customers. I always put all my efforts and focus into customer service and the quality of my products. I'll only send out something that i'm 100% happy with and a product that would take pride of place in my own house. I'll also always try and help a customer as much as I can, whether thats through being flexible, delivering a quicker turn around time or simply drawing an extra pelican on its perch. People seem to appreciate it and there's nothing more satisfying than positive customer feedback.
5. Network - Get talking and use the skills of people you know! I'm very fortunate that my husband also has skills in graphic design which I've learnt from so we could work together to create my brand identity and set up my website (I do recognise that this is not strictly networking ;).
Anyhow enough blogging from me, I've got two kids lunches to make, my husband's dinner, fairy dust to gather and 3 illustrated plaques to paint! Now who said I had the perfect work life balance all sussed out!