Mums doing their own thing

On a daily basis I come across Mums who in addition to raising their families and running their homes, thumb are out there doing more than that, generic viagra doing their own thing, for their own reasons. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be featuring some of these mums on the blog. You might feel inspired, you might be glad to hear there are others doing similar to you, perhaps picking up some tips or insights if you want to do things differently. I’d love it (and so would the featured mums) if you stopped to comment and shared some of the love for Mums doing their own thing.

First up in the series, Leigh, a married mum of 3 boys, identical twins, who will turn 3 at the beginning of October and new baby boy, who was born at the end of June.

What was your working life like pre children?

Prior to starting my family I was very academic. I completed my LLB Law Degree with Honours, followed by my Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice. This led to my two year apprenticeship from which I became a fully qualified Scottish Solicitor.
When I fell pregnant with the twins I decided not to pursue my law career any further at that point to allow me to focus on raising my new family.

How has your working life changed since having your family?

My working life has changed dramatically since becoming a mum. Prior to having the boys, my job was the main focus in my life. This completely changed when the boys arrived. Although taking the decision to postpone my career at that point was relatively easy, I knew full well that I still had to make some income. From this knowledge I embarked on becoming a self-employed childminder. This seemed like the perfect opportunity for me, I would be able to raise the boys myself whilst being able to work from home making an income.

How do you find free time in amongst all the family madness?

My husband and I have always been strict with the boys routines, and as a result of this the twins have slept 7pm-7am since they were 10 weeks old and the new baby sleeps 8pm-8am since he was 6 weeks old. Having all the boys in bed and sleeping relatively early each evening allows my husband and I plenty time to relax and have time for ourselves.
Now that my husband and I have taken the conscious decision that our family is now complete, all this free time in the evenings has allowed my mind to wander. With the family now complete I was looking for a new challenge, something for myself, out with the family and childminding.

How important is external support in allowing you to ‘do your own thing?’

My husband and I are very lucky in that both our sets of parents live nearby, who are always on hand to babysit. This ‘free’ time lets us have nights out, go shopping etc. This support is invaluable, as it gives us time away from the boys, which makes things a lot easier to do as you aren’t trailing 3 children around with you. I am also very fortunate that my husband works 4 days on then 4 days off, meaning he is around a lot to help out.

Tell us a little about your work life now?

I currently run my own childminding business, which I started when I was pregnant with the twins. However, recently I have been seeking a new challenge, something completely new to push myself. I decided to start my own business with the Health and Beauty Company, which provides quality skincare, make up and nutritional products. This opportunity suited me perfectly, as I was able to start a new business without interfering with my family life or my childminding business. This business allows me to utilise my free time in the evenings, building a new business from scratch.

What do you enjoy about what you do? What’s challenging?

I love my new business as I am constantly developing new knowledge and skills. I am thoroughly enjoying the new challenge of building a new business from the beginning and building a loyal customer base. I am excited about being able to help people with skincare and health problems, and helping these people feel good on the inside and out.

If you could be doing ANYTHING in ten years from now, what would it be?

In 10 years time I would love to be running my own successful business, which still allowed me to work around my family life, but challenged me at the same time. I hope to grow my Health and Beauty business, but I also hope to branch back towards my legal roots and start my own legal advice business. I wouldn’t have to return to becoming a full time solicitor, along with its ‘challenging’ clients, I would be working within the legal system on my own terms.

What three words describe your life at the moment?

Fulfilling, challenging and non-stop.

What tips could you share with other mums wishing to ‘do their own thing’?

One piece of advice that I would impart whilst still raising a family is to believe in yourself. Focus on your strengths and look for opportunities that meet both your strengths but also your family commitments. If you cannot find any suitable opportunities, try and look to create them for yourself, like I did with starting my own Health and Beauty business.

You can visit Leigh’s Webshop here

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A useful equation – Mum Plus Business

I have long been a supporter, sick nay champion, discount of ‘mums doing their own thing.’ Like many others, I too grappled with the challenge of having a baby, considering career options and thinking about business ideas that would allow me to positively strike a balance between spending quality time with my family, whilst doing something for myself and earning a living to boot.

At the time I felt I had no skills to talk of which would naturally fit with home working or lend themselves well to business opportunities that could flex around my family.  What I did have however was passion, enthusiasm and buckets full of desire to do something. And so, whilst on maternity leave with my eldest, I set up a lovely little lifestyle business, which filled a gap in the local market at that time.  As well as giving me confidence to do my own thing, and proving the mantra I set down to the kids that “we can do anything we try” I could also work it fabulously around my family. Since then I know and have actively encouraged many other mums to do similar things and put their skills and talents to great use in their own business.

Five years ago, I’d have loved to have been able to use the services of Mum Plus Business, an innovative free online service to help local mothers form business partnerships. Mum Plus Business is a hugely useful resource for mums and expectant mums of all ages, backgrounds and with different levels of experience. The key aim of this venture is to connect motivated local mothers in a similar position, who can collectively support each other whilst also complementing each other’s skills. In certain cases an individual may be lacking the confidence, motivation or skill set to independently create their own company but can be very successful in a partnership. Maybe a mum has already thought of a business idea or she could be the perfect match for someone looking to launch a business. The site is brimming with helpful resources to support the setting up of a business, the writing of a business plan, as well as useful contacts, information and helpful tips that those in the know have shared. There is a quick online database search facility, which allows mums to select their local area and the business sector they are interested in, in order to generate possible pairings.

The response to Mums Plus Business has been very positive, and already they have developed partnerships with local Jobcentre Plus centres and single parent organisations such as OnlyMums, not to mention being nominated for the Mumpreneur Awards 2011.

I’m looking forward to hearing about many successful business pairings that have started with Mum Plus Business. I’m no mathematician but Mum Plus Business is one web resource which definitely equals fantastic!

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