MUMPRENEUR ADVICE: Tips for mummies setting up a business from home
Updated: Apr 21
If you're thinking about setting up your own business from home, I say, "Do it!" Here are my tips for making it a success.
For a while now I've been thinking about writing a post to share tips for mummies setting up a business from home. But, if I'm completely honest, up until the last couple of months I felt I was a bit of an impostor.
After completing my business plan for 2020 and reviewing 2019, I realised that what started out as 'my little business' has actually done, well...ok. So, I've put my big girl boots on and written the post!
The idea for my business, Copy Write, started whilst on maternity leave with my second child, Erin. After Erin turned one I knew I had to start making solid plans about whether I was going to return to work or not. I was previously in the PR industry for over 10 years. I don't like to admit it, but I fell out of love for public relations. I'd lost my mojo for it.
I always loved writing for PR clients, and whenever I saw journalists to chat about the people I represented I'd often think, "I'd love to have your job." I'm also a massive bookworm and dream about writing my own novel. However, as I'm a mum, I realised my dreams had to be realistic. I couldn't afford to retrain as a journalist, work long hours in London, and be back for the school run. I'd also find it impossible to write my first novel, with no salary, and be at home with Erin. My dream job had to (rightly or wrongly) fit in around my family.
This is when I had the idea of becoming a copywriter. I had loads of experience of copywriting from my PR and marketing days. It was easily transferable. So, I did it. I took the plunge. I launched Copy Write.
The entire process has been a huge learning curve. Last year was crazy. There were many ups, there were many downs, and there was a lot of juggling many balls. However, with the first year behind me I can say I'm feeling very confident and comfortable with being an entrepreneur.
I've learnt some very valuable lessons setting up a business alongside being a mummy to young children. None of them are rocket science. However, if you're a mummy thinking about setting a business I wanted to pass on what I've learnt. Some things may help and some things may not. But at least you won't have to spend a whole year discovering them like I did.
So here they are: my top tips for mummies setting up a business from home.
TIPS FOR MUMMIES SETTING UP A BUSINESS
1. ONCE YOU HAVE AN IDEA, GO FOR IT. YOU CAN WORK THINGS OUT ALONG THE WAY.
I've met a lot of new business owners who have an idea but haven't launched it to the world.
I understand it's worthwhile having elements of your business prepped before you start. However, when I launched Copy Write all I had was a CV, an email address and my laptop.
The first roles that came my way were all very different. I wrote newsletters, blogs, websites, and leaflets. I even accepted a volunteer position.
As months went by I tweaked and perfected my offering. Experiencing different projects made me realise the jobs I enjoyed the most, but also the jobs that earned my business the most.
What I'm trying to say is, just go for it. Don't worry about making everything perfect. You can make changes along the way. That's the beauty of having your own business!
2. PAY PEOPLE TO DO THINGS FOR YOU.
I hope my husband isn't reading this as no doubt he'll roll his eyes!
At the very start of launching your business I think it's a good idea to give things a go yourself. At the beginning I built my website, designed my logo and printed my marketing leaflets. However, as the year's gone on I've realised how much time you need to dedicate to get these things right.
When you have limited time (like most of us mummies) you need to use your time wisely. Your time needs to be spent on doing the jobs that are getting you money.
Once you've worked out the things you need help with, pay someone to do them for you. I've met some very talented freelancers and small business owners at networking events. These people do a great job and are a lot cheaper than bigger, well known companies. I've now invested in my website, my logo, my laptop and I've even worked with a photographer to create professional business shots.
Every single one of these were worth the investment. Be sensible with your outgoings, but understand it's worthwhile spending some money too.
GETTING YOURSELF BUSINESS AND CLIENTS...
3. PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE AND MEET PEOPLE.
I have to say this has been one of my favourite things about launching a business. Meeting new people - many who are on the same learning curve as me.
Once I started looking for events and networking opportunities I realised there was a lot to choose from. It might seem daunting, but the more you do, the more you get used to it.
I cringe at my first networking session. I went along and sold myself to everyone. I quickly realised this was the wrong way to go about things and that the events should be used to get to know people and find out about them. You'll soon build up a rapport - and even friendships - with people. All of which will widen your network.
My favourite group so far is Mums in Business Association. There are many of these in the UK, so check them out. The best thing? You can take your children! Little Erin always comes along to be my admin assistant.
4. USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.
Before I launched Copy Write I was on social media for personal use. However, this past year has proven that if you find the right platform for your business, it can bring business in.
Baring all on social media isn't easy. It can also be cringe worthy at times. But, if you manage to identify where your audience is, use the platform to raise your profile and promote your work.
Hashtags on Instagram have also worked really well for me. They've enabled me to find potential clients, but potential clients have managed to find me through them too. So, do a bit of research to find hashtags that could work for you.
A few images from the Mums in Business Association events in Newbury
MANAGING YOUR WORKLOAD AND TIME...
5. WORK HARD, BUT DON'T BURN YOURSELF OUT.
Launching your own business can be so motivating that you want to spend every waking hour on it. If I didn't have the Ruggies, I probably would.
In my first year I said "yes" to every single job. Why? Because, I was a copywriter new to the freelance world and I wanted to build my client base.
My "yes" mantra however did get myself into a sticky situation. I was waking at 4.50am every morning to squeeze work in before the house awoke, I worked every nap time Erin would take, and I'd work every evening too.
I was fine with this set up for a long time as I was enjoying what I was doing. However, slowly I realised I was approaching burn-out. I tackled this and after a break I started afresh with a new mindset.
I've realised when you own a business the downtime is just as important as being busy. I've also realised I can say "no" and clients will wait for their work.
Be motivated and work hard. But, be mindful of your own wellbeing too.
6. PUT PERSONAL ITEMS INTO YOUR WEEKLY TO-DO-LIST FIRST.
One way I've managed to achieve the balance between my business and being a mummy is by putting personal items on my to-do-list first. This is something I took away from Dan Meredith's book "How to be f**king awesome."
Every Sunday, I look at my week and schedule in all the things I do with the Ruggies, my husband, my social life and exercise. I then slot my work around these commitments. It means, if I do find myself working a bit more than I should, I've got that dedicated time to all the other things that matter too.
It helps me plan and it helps make sure my family life is balanced. Give it a go!
7. "CHUNK" YOUR WORK.
Yes, you did read that right: "Chunk your work!"
You might've heard of this technique before, but it was new to me. I owe a big thanks to Life and Mindset Coach Jenni Donato for introducing me to this one!
I'm a perfectionist. I could keep going back to a piece of work over and over to make changes to it. I soon realised this wasn't great for my business. I was using extra time to do each job and I wasn't being paid for it.
Jenni taught me to set an amount of time aside for a piece of work and stick to it (well, at least try to). When you set yourself a timer, it's amazing how much quicker you work and how much more you get done. Once your time is up, you move onto the next task.
The "chunking" technique has allowed me to put all my round of edits into perspective. I realised I was doing myself a disservice spending more time than I needed on a piece of work.
I've used the technique for a few months now and it's certainly made my business more profitable. So, go on...chunk!
LEARNING NEW SKILLS...
8. READ, READ AND READ SOME MORE.
I read 10 business genre books in 12 months. These included books about copywriting, SEO, blogging and branding. I even read a book called, "How to be F**king awesome"!
After every single one of these books I made some kind of change to my business. Whether that was how I wrote my next blog post, portrayed my brand, or how I scheduled my working week. Every book I read in the past year helped me shape the business I want Copy Write to be.
As much as I love holding a real book, I cannot recommend the Kindle Paperwhite enough. It means I can snuggle down in bed and read for at least 30 minutes every night - even if my other half wants to turn the lights out! So, put the Kindle Paperwhite on your next birthday list.
9. FIND RELEVANT COURSES AND BOOK YOURSELF IN.
It's important to keep learning new skills when running a business. You can't rely on colleagues, managers and coaches to pass on their knowledge.
Think about areas of your business you want to grow or improve and find a course nearby to help you achieve this.
Some courses run by bigger companies can be pricey, so I'd suggest looking for smaller businesses and consultants running their own workshops. There are lots of freelancers and entrepreneurs running their own events these days and I've found you get much better value for money. Not only are they cheaper, but the sessions often have less numbers attending which means they're tailored to the people in the room.
Me with Charlotte Left at one of her events. And here's Helen Perry teaching me about Instagram stories!
10. HAVE A VISION AND KEEP WORKING AT IT.
Have a clear vision of where you want your business to be in one year, five years and ten years time. Write this down and keep working towards your goal.
Be honest about your vision too. There are some days when I feel I have bundles of Girl Power energy and want to own a copywriting empire. Then there are other days when all I want is a regular income that allows me to have a balance between work and being a mummy.
Realistically my one year and even my five year goal is the latter. But who knows where I'll be in ten years!
If you'd like to chat anymore about setting up your own business do get in touch. I love to chat!
Good luck with your new venture. Mum Boss power to you!
P.S If you'd like to stay in touch please join my mailing list (scroll to bottom). I'll be honest, I don't have time to send out lots of emails, so you'll only hear from me once a month (if that). I promise!