Entrepreneur and mum of two, Lindsey Fish, shares her top five tips for how to set up a business during maternity leave.
Having a baby stirs up so many crazy emotions. It’s a whole new chapter of life and a huge catalyst for change. My story is similar to millions of other mums across the UK. After becoming a mum, I didn’t want to return to my corporate career, drop a day and take a 20% cut in salary whilst paying for childcare 11 hours a day. So I faced the conundrum of what to do about work once my maternity leave was over.
Fast forward three years and I am now the Founder and CEO of Mum’s Enterprise, with a very different story to tell and one that I hope will inspire other parents out there to believe in themselves and follow their dreams. This is how I went about planning my business whilst on maternity leave.
Numbers and money
Look at all your options This is all about how much money you need to make to survive and pay your bills and I would suggested doing the maths for every scenario. About 5-6 months into my maternity leave I started to do the maths. How much money would it be to a) return to work b) return for 3 or 4 days c) get a local part-time job out of the city d) being self-employed?
After all my calculations were done it ended up looking like I would be working my socks off and it just wouldn’t be worth it. I’d have to put Molly into childcare from 7-7 and after all other bills were paid I would be left with only £600 of my own from quite a nice salary. What’s worse is that it would have been even less if I chose to reduce my working week to four days. So that was when I seriously started looking into working for myself and I had my target which was to earn this £600 per month which was totally achievable.
Write thoughts on paper
An idea has to start somewhere and the first thing to do is to get it from being a thought or an idea and put it onto paper. This can be in whatever form you want; a diary, a blog, just a scrap bit of paper with notes. Whatever it takes, get your ideas somewhere safe, where they can be curated and nurtured.
Make sure you organise all of your ideas in a way you can clearly identify each one and remember your own train of thought so that it gives you something to work with. All of a sudden it all becomes more viable, you get a feeling that it could actually amount to something.
Write your business plan
So now you are ready to seriously think about your business plans, it’s time write up your business ideas again but this time in a much more structured way (other people may see this version). There are lots of places you can find Business Plan templates from, this is a one-page business plan template you may want to use, useful if you have lots of ideas or just to make a start. There are plenty of other, more detailed business plans out there too but this is a good place to start.
Test your idea and your audience, and this really is crunch time. Is there really an audience or any customers for you and your idea? For you this could be asking public in the streets for their opinion, asking them to do the online survey or make a few calls to people who will be able to give objective advice. I really would always, always test your idea in some shape or form (friends and family don’t count) because without having an inkling or any feedback from your target audience, which you would have identified in your business plans, then you won’t know if you really have a viable business idea.
Go for it
“Courage is not fearlessness, it is taking action and persisting despite that fear.” If you have the answers you need, have done your planning and budgeting and are confident there is a gap in the market – you just need to go for it. Don’t hesitate and definitely don’t sit on the idea for weeks on end. Make a decision, put a date in the calendar for when you will launch the business and take it seriously.
Last tip for facing fear
Take it a day at a time, try not to picture the future or think about the huge long list of things that need to be done or what could happen when you be the success you always dreamed. Just take it one day at a time and the fear won’t appear.
#shootforthemoon – ‘Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land amongst the stars’
About the expert
Lindsey Fish works with business partner Lucy Chaplin to organise the UK’s only child-friendly work and business exhibition which has grown from attracting 200 visitors in 2016 to an anticipated 10,500 across two events, including one in its new London Home Olympia, all with £0 investment or funding. Working in events, marketing and sales for over 18 years Lindsey uses her previous experience and passion for events to help thousands of parents seeking an alternative to the 9-5 to find the know-how, tools and support they need. The next events are coming up in Manchester on 20th June and Friday 28th and Saturday 29th September 2018 in London. Lindsey has huge ambitions for the brand as they continue to #shootforthemoon and create nationally recognised exhibitions and the development of their digital hub.