Deciding to give up a professional career to become a full time mum is an enormous life change, and for me I realised very quickly that I missed work and wanted to find something that I could do to occupy my brain while still spending time with my son.
When my son was just 7 months old I bought my first business. A franchise of Smallprint Fingerprint Jewellery. It was a substantial investment in an area that was totally new for me, but the opportunity presented itself at a time when I knew I was ready for a challenge.
I consider myself very fortunate that it turned out to be one of the best calculated 'risks' I have ever taken. The franchisors were fabulous and trained me in every aspect of the business, from selling and marketing the products, keeping my accounts and to actually making the silver jewellery by hand.
Within a couple of months I had started trading, but it took a very long time for my confidence as a business owner to build.
Many of my friends and family saw the business as a 'hobby' because I was working part time around my son. I think I began to believe that too, and would never have called myself a business woman or entrepreneur.
I’ve never been a pushy sales person and at events I often felt out of my comfort zone trying to ‘sell’ my product. I preferred to take the friendly chatty approach and with time I realised that this was perfectly ok, I just had to find my own style. Taking a genuine approach meant that I built a very loyal customer base and a large percentage of my income was from returning customers.
It wasn't until about three years in when I started developing my own business idea that I began to grow in confidence, and give myself a bit of credit for the huge learning curve I had been on.
I was able to put my new found business skills in to play when I set up Pitter Patter - The Hub for Bubs in 2013. Working solo I managed to get 200 people to the launch event at The Grove pub in London and the concept proved very popular with local mums. I had a huge surge in confidence and would even dare to believe that I was in fact an 'entrepreneur'.
Since then, my business partner Shelley and I have given support to many other mums who similarly lack in confidence, through running networking and training events through Ealing Mums in Business. There is a massive network of mums just like us, who are finding their feet within this new arena.
“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there”
Leaving your comfort zone is indeed daunting, and one of the best ways to increase your confidence is to build your support network, by connecting with like-minded mums. Look out for networking groups or meetups in your local area, or search online for other communities like Making Mumpreneurs. The more you immerse yourself, the more you will believe that you can do it too.
You may be reading this feeling that you would never have the skills or confidence to start your own business, but believe me, you do and you can.
Take your first step now by investing in your education, and get ready to take a leap of faith!