Since I took the plunge to start Baby Beats I have been amazed and overwhelmed to find out how many other ladies are going it alone and starting their own businesses too. I started out feeling really alone and isolated and thought you need to be an expert business person to run a business. But I soon discovered a whole local network of mumpreneurs in the same position as me who have supported me just like co-workers.
Having a baby changes you. When you realise how much money you have to pay out in childcare to have someone else look after your child while you work, it can often make you wonder if the work and the wage is worth it. For me it was fine after baby number 1, I actually enjoyed having my career back and doing something for me again, but after baby number 2, I decided it was time for a change. To leave two babies (well, a baby and a toddler) it needed to be something I was really passionate about as well as providing the flexibility I would need to fit in with the fast approaching school years.
There are downsides too of course. As I'm writing this I've had to take the day off from classes due to my poor little boy being sick throughout the night, and now my eldest is home after being sick at school. Although they bounce back pretty quick they have to stay off for 48 hours. So if I stay off work all that time I can't take holiday or sick pay I just don't get paid. I also don't get a set salary every month so booking clubs, classes, outings or anything 'extra' can be really hard when I don't know how much money is coming in.
The thing I have struggled with the most has been making major decisions all by myself and being responsible for everything. But whenever I have been stuck I have always found support out there, and some amazing new friends too. Networking now comes in all shapes and sizes and the first group I joined was Bizmums which was invaluable as I was starting out. Through our local meetings I realised how many women running their own business there are in my local area. I have learnt so much from them, and pleased to say I have taught them things too, and now some of us have formed our own skill-sharing group.
One thing I have found really successful is working with other businesses, not just behind the scenes to learn from them and share ideas and information but by forming partnerships too, helping to introduce each other to a wider range of customers and raise each other's profiles. I did this recently at my Easter Holiday event by inviting some of my friends along and I wanted to give them a shout out and tell you a bit more about them.
Little Potters - Becky and I have known each other since we met at our local toddler group and she made Christmas baubles with my eldest sons teeny hand print on when she was just starting out. I have seen her business go from strength to strength and know how hard-working she is and how amazing she is with children. I love it that we have both supported each other and bought products from each other, but on social media too and physically when we're at an event and need a hand, or when we need a wine and let off steam. Her products were really popular at the Easter Party especially as we had quite a few small babies, and she offers lots of lovely keepsakes now such as jewellery and hand and foot casts, plus amazing ted-bear birthday parties.