If you missed our Working Mums Club chat with businesswoman and Apprentice finalist Claire Young, here’s what was covered
Whether you need advice on setting up your own business, tips on juggling work and family life or information on where to get support, we’ve got it covered with the Mother&Baby Working Mums Club.
Businesswoman and Apprentice finalist Claire Young recently took part in one of our Working Mums Club Facebook chats. If you missed it, here’s what was covered.
Did you always know you wanted to set up your own business? And what's your best piece of advice for people who want to start up on their own?
Not at all. Before I took part in The Apprentice I had always worked for other people. I loved business but never thought of my own venture. Then during The Apprentice experience I saw that some of my fellow candidates ran businesses and the whole experience changed my outlook on life. I decided to turn down job offers and do something myself. My advice would be:
a) Get a mentor
b) Do plenty of research on your idea before you spend any money
c) Cost control! Watch any spending very carefully
d) Listen to feedback
e) Make sure your idea is unique and people actually want it
f) Be realistic. Starting a business is hard work and takes time and millionaires aren't born overnight (unless they win the lottery!)
How do you find time for yourself when you're a busy working mum? I find it really hard to switch off each evening.
Do plenty of research on your business idea before you spend any mone.
Ditto! I have found that since becoming a mum I am light sleeper too. I switch off my phone, emails and social media usually from 9pm. Otherwise it is constant pinging and work. I have started going to the gym again four times a week and that helps clear my head and makes me feel tired so I sleep better. I think having a little time for yourself is necessary. Whether it’s a bath, reading, online shopping, gym, going out, cinema – what ever it is, doing it at least once a week is a must. I remember what my midwife said to me when Eva was born; “You are the most important person as you look after your baby and we'd be stuffed without you. Be kind and look after yourself.” A wise woman!
I've set up my own gift card business. How important do you think it is to get set up with Facebook and twitter pages for my company?
Congratulations on the new business! I think social media is really important to drive brand awareness and let people know about your business. Updates in your website homepage also reward your SEO and make it easier for people to find your cards. Social media needs to be planned and organised to make sure you see a return from your time investment. My local chamber of commerce runs workshops on how to use social media for business so check out what your chamber does, too. It could be a useful hour of your time.
Social media is really important to drive brand awareness.
I've just started back at work and feel terrible about leaving my son at nursery. Any ideas on how to stay strong about my decision?
I think finding good child are which you trust is invaluable. I know that my daughter, Eva, loves nursery, the activities, staff and friends there. I miss her when I am at work but I am unsure if she notices that I have even gone! I think being a working parent is good for children to see, installing a positive work ethic. Whenever you feel upset or like you’re crumbling remember that. You go to work to provide for your family. It is possible to have a career and be a good mum, nothing to feel guilty about.
I have four months left of my nine months maternity leave and have asked my employer if I can go back three days rather than five days a week. They have said it is only a full time job. My career has always meant a lot to me but the thought of leaving my baby for five days is really getting me down.
I think being a working parent is good for children to see, installing a positive work ethic.
This is a common story for many parents returning to the workplace and do not want to work five days. Flexible working is needed, job shares etc. We lose many women from the work environment due to this and it is frustrating to see female talent walk out the door! My advice would be to be proactive and send in a proposal about how you think it could work doing three days a week. What would the company need to do to accommodate this? Hire someone else for two days/week? Send the letter and proposal to your line manager, HR manager and directors. Sell yourself, what you bring to them and see if they listen. Sometimes, if you don't ask you don't get. If they still say no options are
a) Work five days a week for them
b) Job hunt for a part time role
c) Many parents turn to self employed work or set up their own business at this point as it provides them with flexibility to balance work life. Good luck!
I've got to stand up in front of a room of 22 people in two weeks time to do a presentation and I'm terrified – I thought motherhood had made me more confident – not less! Any tips on sounding more confident than I actually am?
Be proactive and send in a proposal about how you think it could work doing three days a week
I think you feel like most people who have to stand up and present in front of an audience! I still get nervous and have to take a deep breath and put my 'game face' on. My advice would be to wear something you feel great in and make sure you are you fully prepared and done a run through. I practise my talk in the car whilst driving. I look crazy but it helps!
Be concise and remember everybody in there wants to hear what you have to say and will be willing you to do well. Believe in yourself, if you can go through labour and have a baby then I am sure that a presentation will be a walk in the park! Finally, smile!
I'm looking at starting a business but am finding that it's hard to find funding. Do you have any advice on where to start please?
Have you been to your local job centre as they can refer you to your regional contact for the national enterprise agency? There is an element of funding there. Also, have you looked at the start up loan scheme? If your business has a social impact ie. helps others, look up Unltd.org who can help fund start ups.
Good luck, finding funding can be tough but there is money out there to help start-ups. It is just the case of finding it. Useful websites for you include unltd.org.uk and startuploans.co.uk.
- For further info and great advice from Claire on starting a new business, childcare and timekeeping as a working mum, or maternity leave and returning to work questions, check out videos recorded as part of Kiddicare's #InspirationalParents campaign.