You’re already a Supermummy – here’s how to be a ‘Mumpreneur’ too!…

March 1, 2009

I love getting parcels in the post, and this week I got one containing a brand new book which launches this month!

This book is aimed at mums who have just started or are thinking of starting a business, as it has lots of tips and information for coming up with a business idea and promoting this new venture. One thing I always look for as a business mum, is advice from people who ‘walk the talk’. I’m quite choosy about who I listen to just because I want to know that if you are telling me a way to do something, that you understand what it is like to be in my shoes, and this book doesn’t disappoint on that score. The writer, Mel McGee obviously writes from experience, knowing the little barriers that many mums put up to stop themselves from achieving great things, and Mel shows you how to remove them. There are some really powerful messages in the book around stopping limiting beliefs, something I’ve had to deal with in my past as a Mumpreneur and I know many Mumpreneur friends have too.

The book starts by building the reader’s confidence that they can start a business and the chapters are sprinkled with ‘Supertips’ to help you along the way. One message that rings out loud and clear from the book is that nothing is achieved without ACTION! And I fully agree – ideas are great but it is putting them into action that makes the money.

Even if you don’t have a business idea but are thinking that you’d like to start a business, then this book gives you some useful exercises to get started and help you create your money making idea

I really liked the tip about trying out your sales message on your kids or your mum. If they can understand the benefits of your business, you’ve cracked it! This is a great way to check that you are delivering the right message to your potential clients and getting to the point quickly and coherently. I worked in marketing for more than a decade before starting up my business as a Virtual Assistant and have never heard it said quite so succinctly before!

All in all, a very practical book loaded with advice. If you are looking for both a guide-book on starting a business and a cheerleader to encourage you along the way, this book is it!

It’s available from Amazon – check it out: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Supermummy-Ultimate-Mumpreneurs-Business-Success/dp/1905430515

Five stars:

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….. And the winner is…..

February 27, 2009

Terry Anne!

Terry Anne’s “Me Time” was inspired – it consisted of bubbles, massages and music! Absolute bliss!!

If you missed it, here was Terry Anne’s post:

“My me time has all year round availability. I venture out of the door into the garden and indulge in the 102degrees warmth of the hot tub.

I can relax quietly, listen to the CD player or have a massage with the various water jets.

The added bonus for me is that when in or around water I become very creative, so I often have “light bulb” moments and come up with great new ideas for my business.

Twenty minutes indulgence and I feel like I have had a weeks holiday and ready to face the world again. Bliss!!!”

Terry Anne wins a fabulous ‘Busy Book’ – a fashion led loose leaf planner to diarise her busy life!  It’s on its way Terry Anne – well done!

Ladies, I loved all of your ideas (except perhaps the Sudoku on the toilet – sorry Sam but it reminded me of my hubby who takes the paper to the loo and it drives me mad!!)    🙂

However if you really wanted your own exclusive Busy Book, you can still get one for £39.99 here.

Keep reading Time Management Mum because in the coming weeks I’m re-launching with a fantastic new blog design and will have some great Guest Bloggers, special features for busy mums and more competitions!  Watch this space!

I’m having the whole weekend as ‘Me’ Time now because I’ve just handed my book over to the publishers and this will be my first weekend off in months!  I’m also going to see the Live X Factor show with my daughter tomorrow!!!  Catch you later hot mamas!

Nadine – the Time Management Mum

xx

How to bribe – ahem – ‘Incentivise’ the kids!

February 27, 2009

As any ‘business mum’ knows, when you have babies you get to learn lots of new skills that don’t involve your brain (like learning how to erect a Travel System – this used to vex me!)  So when you can use some of your savvy business skills when it comes to your kids, it’s like the ‘Supergirl’ putting on her cape!  You can rediscover your “don’t mess with me” side and remind yourself that ‘pre-kids’ you did lead a team of people, or juggled multiple ‘kick ass’ projects or just that you used to actually have business cards with your name on them!

My 6 year old has now moved into the discipline territory of ‘good girl charts’ with stickers rewarded for effort but my 18 month old is coming up to the stage where I can use the “Lucky Treat Box” to teach him that good behaviour will get him a ‘dip’ into the box for a new toy!  The “Lucky Treat Box” was named by my daughter.  I called it a ‘lucky dip’, my hubby called it a ‘treat’, so my daughter christened it a “Lucky Treat”!  But essentially what it consists of is a large wicker basket that I keep in the cupboard with the ‘Happy Meal’ toys from McDonalds in it!  I’m sure some of my friends think I’m tight, but I believe a trip to McDonalds is a treat enough, without getting a toy for it too.  So when we go there, I confiscate the toy from the Happy Meal box and put it straight into the Lucky Treat Box so it can be used to ‘incentivise’ good behaviour later on.

Whenever I need to get my child to ‘make the right decision’ concerning their behaviour, I remind them that they can have a dip in the Lucky Treat Box which seems to work more often than not!  The Lucky Treat Box hasn’t cost me anything to procure as we’d have been eating the Happy Meal anyway, and it is always greeted with excitement when it comes out – as the toys which they’ve glanced at then forgotten, are tantalisingly still encased in their new cellophane packing and are ready to be picked!  Not only is it a good behaviour incentiviser, the Lucky Treat Box is also useful for making up ‘party bags’ at birthday time and for if a little friend comes round for tea it makes a sweet ‘going home’ present for them to have a dip.

The only trouble with it is that stock needs to be kept up which isn’t so good for the waistline(!) but I started the box when my girl was 18 months old and she got the occasional trip to McDonalds as a treat and at that age, she had no idea that you also got a toy with the meal so she never knew that I was secretly building up a ‘bribery stash’ over time!

I have to say, if I ever pop to Maccy D’s just for me, for an ‘on the go lunch’, I never get a proper ‘adult’ meal.  I get a Happy Meal so I can put the toy in the stash.  Good thing my back seat car windows are blacked out so it isn’t really obvious that there’s no child with me!!

Has anyone else found a useful method of incentivising good behaviour?

The plumbing – puh-lease!

February 25, 2009

What a week is all I can say!

We’ve had pathetic plumbing in our house for the last few years – absolutely no ‘power’ in our shower!  But this week has got to be the worst.  On a world stage we’ve had the Oscars and as an ex fashion student, I tend to take an interest.  I watch more what they are wearing rather than who wins what but I have to say, it’s quite fitting that ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ did so well because it felt like we were living in the slums yesterday without clean running water!

My husband decided on Monday that he would drain the whole system to force all the air in the pipes out, then re-fill the house again which should improve our water pressure.  We get cold water ok so are having plenty of cold showers, and when we bathe the kids, it takes ages as we’re boiling kettles to get the warmth, I don’t mind this too much, it reminds me of my youth when my mum did this on occasion as we didn’t always have ‘the immersion’ on.  But my hubby had decided enough was enough, so instead of plentiful cold running water, instead he ended up draining the tank, leaking our son’s bedroom and having to buy a new valve instead!

I got the kids up yesterday morning and nothing was coming out of the tap.  At a push, the toddler can have a ‘wet wipe’ clean for just one day, but our daughter had school and I had a business meeting, and we both looked as though we’d been sleeping in the mosh pit!

I got the kids up and took them to Grandma’s in their pyjamas.  They both had a lovely bath and my daughter was clean and well turned out for school.  I on the other hand, looked like I’d been at Glastonbury for 3 days so I had to get in at the hairdressers for a blow dry (with the straighteners!) At least I looked glam when I was at my business meeting!  The kids enjoyed bathing at Grandma’s for a change and I was so grateful to her for both the help and for not judging me when I rolled up in my scruffs with the kids in their PJs at 7.30am yesterday morning!

With Mother’s Day coming up I wanted to spare a thought to our mums, who do the very best job in the world, just as we are doing for our kids.  I have to tell you an incredible story though.  As I’ve mentioned before, my blog is being re-designed with a fresh new look and I’m moving blogging platforms very soon.  My awesome designer is April Durham, and she writes the blog April Showers.  She has just posted an amazing story about her mum – you can read it here.  If you feel you can help in any way then please do!  I have paid in advance for my blog design and given a donation and I’m pretty sure that I will use April’s talents again in the future, as I have another project brewing (once a business mum, always a business mum!!)

The newsflash on the plumbing fiasco is that it didn’t work, so we’re back to square one except that I have a ton more washing to do because hubby used my decent towels to mop up the leak on the floor, instead of old rags.  Genius!  I can’t be mad though as it’s his birthday today and we’re off to Nando’s.

Link- tastic!

February 22, 2009

Now we’re getting to know each other, I can trust you can’t I?  After all, I told you the bikini wax story (and no, I’m not linking to it again, if you really want to know what went on, you’ll have to trawl the site!)

So let me share some resources with you, of blogs I like and useful links…

I was delighted when I found the blog ‘Nadine and the City’  http://www.nadineandthecity.com/ because the writer shares my name and she loves fashion!  This site is like ‘me’ but 15 years ago! (How that makes me feel old, even though I try to be a hot mama! – Seriously, read the bikini wax story, I do my best!)

I also recently joined the social network ‘British Mummy Bloggers’:  http://britishmummybloggers.ning.com/

Yay! It was nice to find a group of ladies like me, well, ladies who enjoy blogging!  I don’t know them very well yet so who knows if they are like me and I have seen a couple of ‘moany’ posts and as you know I don’t ‘do’ moaning!  Hey, time will tell, and I’ll keep you updated.  We all have our own style I suppose:)

Whilst we’re on the subject of links, check me out on Twitter, I’m @businessmum (www.twitter.com/businessmum)

…and if you are a ‘Mumpreneur’, join my group on Facebook here.

I wasn’t going to say anything at this stage but I am so excited that I may need to pee, so let me reveal that I am currently having the Time Management Mum blog re-designed by a hot blog designer.  It is going to look fab and be a lot more colourful, and it will be installed in a matter of weeks.  I’m switching blogging platforms too, so I’ll post a new URL where you can follow the blog and the new blog will have cool features like RSS so you can subscribe easily and never miss a post!  There are also some surprises up my virtual sleeve, but I don’t want to give the game away all in one go, so chew on this info and keep watching this space!

Happy Sunday!

Mumpreneurs – Prepare for World Domination!

February 21, 2009

Thought that might get your attention! Well perhaps not quite world domination but I do believe that us working mums are ideally positioned to build our businesses and actually gain something positive from the economic crisis we find ourselves in.

Something positive to say in amongst the doom and gloom and the “Don’t panic Mr Manwering!” type attitude the media can’t seem to get enough of? Well actually yes and it makes a nice change doesn’t it?! I’m no authority on the economy and I certainly don’t wish to position myself as an expert on surviving the credit crunch (although, as a marketing consultant, I can certainly help companies develop marketing strategies to raise their game and differentiate from their competitors) but when I look around and talk to colleagues, contacts and friends it seems to me that the people booming while others flounder are the freelancers and small work-at-home businesses.

I am a freelance marketing consultant and work-at-home-mum and the work that I do often requires me to use other freelancers to deliver client projects. I use specialists for particular types of work that require skills that I don’t have or I don’t have the time to do myself including graphic designers, web developers, PR specialists, telemarketers, photographers, administrators etc. I use freelancers because it’s a cost effective way of doing things, it allows me to use the people who will be particularly suited to the client and the project and I know that they will deliver and not de-value my own brand because I have worked with them many times before and trust them to do a good job. These are the people whose businesses are booming!

In a climate where companies are laying off staff and even going under, all the freelancers that I work with have never been so busy and that is exactly what is happening in my own business. This made me wonder why and the conclusion I have come to is that it’s down to the flexibility and affordability that a freelancer brings to organisations of all sizes.

People who run a business from home, and that includes us WAHMs, are equally as qualified, experienced and resourceful as larger companies offering the same products and services but we have an enormously powerful bargaining tool at our disposal and that is the cost saving that we can pass on to our clients. We don’t have expensive offices, big staff bills or fleets of company cars to maintain and this can make a huge difference to the fees we charge and at the end of the day, the service we provide is just as good as any of our more sizeable competitors.

I personally think we also offer extra flexibility and a more personal service. Because we are always the central point of contact and we work on every client project personally we know the client and the project inside out and we build a relationship with them. We’re also prepared to go the extra mile if we need to because it’s OUR business and we want to make sure the job is done well. We’re not working for a monthly salary or as part of a corporate machine, we reap the benefits that we sow and we see direct results from our actions. Yes, we may take time out of our day to put another load in the washing machine or pick our children up from school but we will no doubt make that time up and more by doing a couple of hours in the evening or over the weekend or even at the baby’s nap time because we’re dedicated to what we do.

Clients see this and they keep coming back. Even companies who would have never used the services of a freelancer before are seeking us out because they know they need still to market their company, access admin services, control their finances, manage their HR function etc and they may not have the internal skills to do that. We represent the best solution for their needs at a cost that is affordable and that, my fellow mumpreneurs and freelancers, is why we are about to take over the world!

Sarah Ainslie runs Sarah Ainslie Marketing, offering creative marketing solutions to UK businesses. http://www.sarahainslie-marketing.co.uk

Stylish women now have a stylish planner to put their dreams in!

February 19, 2009

This week I realized a long held dream and actually launched my own range of personal organisers! Some people get excited about colourful clothes, I get my kicks from colourful organisation and having a place to plan my day and my life! Here are some pictures of the planner and my press release so you can see what it’s all about!




Planning, productivity and prowess now comes in a red package with the launch of a new personal organiser designed for modern businesswomen.

‘The Dream PA’ personal organiser is a fashion led leather bound planner embossed with a stylish girl logo and adds a dash of colour to any business meeting. Who says planning has to be boring? This ‘Busy Book’ is a loose leaf personal organiser and reflects a stylish and practical way for the modern woman to schedule her activities.

Created by businesswoman and former London College of Fashion Graduate Nadine Hill, the planner appeals to the super organised. At A5 size it is large enough to cope with a demanding work and social schedule whilst the elegant ‘girl’ motif says the owner has flair and personality. The owner of this organiser is both savvy and fun!

The Dream PA is the name of a boutique Virtual Assistance firm based in Yorkshire, and the girl logo is the identity of the brand. The company formed in early 2005 to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses with PA services, and quickly grew to serve clients across the globe. The name now stands for efficiency, pride in a job well done, individuality and time management.

Managing Director of The Dream PA Nadine Hill says:

“I was frustrated with all the black organisers on the shop floor and wanted something that reflected my individuality whilst being spacious enough to handle my busy life. The Dream PA stands for effective time management so I created this ‘Busy Book’ to keep track of my many appointments and roles. I use the planner to organise me, my business and my young family!”

The Dream PA ‘Busy Book’ has a smooth stitched red leather cover and operates with a standard 6 ring mechanism. Perfect for everyday use, the A5 executive organiser features a pen holder, storage pocket and credit / business card holders, week to view diary and retails at RRP £39.99.

To make a purchase or for more information, visit http://www.thedreampa.co.uk/shop.html

-Ends-

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  • The Dream PA is a boutique Virtual Assistance business based in West Yorkshire, UK.
  • The business serves small business clients across the UK and Internationally (Australia and USA) with PA and Virtual Receptionist services.
  • The Dream PA spinoff product line launches with the exclusive leather Personal Organiser and will expand in 2009 to include mobile phone charms, designer mugs and fashion key chains.
  • Nadine Hill graduated from the University of the Arts, London (London College of Fashion) in 1995 with a Higher National Diploma in Fashion Journalism and Promotion.

What do you think? I think this organiser rocks!

I’ve already had one review in from a buyer – see below:





– 5 Star

“I was very excited when Nadine Hill of The Dream PA launched her own personal organiser “The Busy Book”.

I am very busy with my own business, young son, husband, etc (list to long !) so for me “The Busy Book” was a MUST have.

The organiser is good quality, very competitively priced, it is a good size, great colour and has just about everything you would need in it.

I use my Busy Book on a daily basis and it travels everywhere with me and it really does keep me organised.

12 February 2009

Caroline Coward

The Business Network (Leeds) Limited

How to juggle without dropping the baby!

February 17, 2009

Busy mums everywhere know the juggling act that is working and keeping a home whilst raising a small family.  Fortunately at the Time Management Mum blog, my Guest Bloggers and I are (hopefully!) providing some great time management tips and observations, embedded in some humour and at the very least, provide you with some affinity!  (Did you read my blog post about the eyebrows and the bikini wax?)

So this post from America made me smile.  Well, actually before I smiled I sat up straighter and felt I was being told off – and I never even have the TV on!

Modern business mums have enough to do, and this writer says that we are maybe spending too much time on personal calls or personal errands in ‘work time’.  However as you ‘Mumpreneurs’ know, work time is personal time and personal time is work time.  Look at Guest Blogger Sarah Ainslie’s recent post – her title has it spot on!  For a lot of us, we became business mums so we’d have some flexibility over our schedule so technically, whilst it may be between the hours of 9am and 5pm, I might nip to the supermarket or put a wash load on.  Otherwise, it won’t get done!

So what advice can business mums out there take, which recognises their actual real life circumstances?  here’s the lowdown on how to juggle without dropping the baby!

  • MOST IMPORTANT: First, take care of you.  You are the kingpin upon which the whole family revolves.  If you don’t do a lot of the tasks, they usually won’t get done.  Be sure to allocate some ‘me’ time into your day
  • Multitask like crazy!  When you are doing a ‘mindless’ task like sorting the washing or cooking dinner, use that time to engage your brain too by having a conversation with the kids and catching up on their day.  Do only one thing at a time when it is essential that you are focused.  If the task you are doing is not rocket science, then do several ‘easy’ tasks at the same time
  • When you are sitting down to your work, minimise distractions.  Divert your telephone to a Virtual Receptionist, check the emails only once or twice and make sure your desk or work area is clear of everything that you don’t immediately need.  Clutter just drains you.
  • Don’t put off any large projects thinking that you’ll clear the smaller stuff then get round to it.  That’s just procrastination!  Start the big task, allocate an hour to it then see if you want to continue.  Often ‘little and often’ is the only way to get something big done.
  • If you do have a big task that you could become engrossed in and you need to pick the kids up at a certain time or put the jacket potatoes on for dinner, set an alarm to go off at the time you need to set off or put the oven on.  This way you can immerse yourself in the task without worrying that you’ll forget the thing you have to do.  Having an alarm on my mobile phone has helped me get out of lots of situations where I’m stuck at a place where it seems impolite to just leave, so the reminder to pick the kids up is a great audible way to let others know I have to go!
  • Batch tasks together to do ‘similar’ activities in one go, such as returning phone calls.  Or if you have to go out to pick something up, try to knock two or three errands off your ‘To do’ list whilst you are out.  To help with this, I tend to keep a list in my personal organiser which is of things I need to do but don’t (yet) have a deadline, such as drop dry cleaning, go to Staples and pick up a new ringbinder or get nappies at Costco! (I buy in bulk – it’s cheaper and saves time, there’s another tip right there!)  By batching up my tasks I can eliminate as much ‘dead time’ and ensure I don’t repeat my actions just a few days later!

So working mums, are you just watching the telly?! …And even if you are, don’t beat yourself up about it!  A bit of Jeremy Kyle first thing on a morning never hurt anyone!

Found time to read The Sunday Times – 1 day late!

February 16, 2009

Pre kids, I used to love taking The Sunday Times to bed with my husband, with a pot of tea and a couple of pain au cholocates and spend a lazy morning reading and lounging.

Two children later and it’s a miracle if I get to read The Sunday Times when it is still Sunday!  Actually, sometimes I do but it’s the following Sunday when I then have two lots to read!  So it’s Monday today, and I grabbed my stash of papers to read whilst I had a quiet moment.  The toddler had just gone down for a nap and my 6 year old was watching ‘Hannah Montana’, so I seized the opportunity!

I was really pleased to see that in the Culture section, there was a 4 page article all about blogs and blogging, called “The 100 Best Blogs”.

I think that once you get into both reading a blog and writing one, it can be highly addictive and this article confirms my suspicions and gave me a list of some interesting blogs to check out!

There were no ‘mummyblogs’ listed;  I’ll have to get the ‘Time Management Mum’ blog in front of the reporter and maybe we’ll make the list next year!

You can read the Sunday Times article in full here: http://tr.im/gjo7

Ah! My hand ‘other woman’ is the 2o year old me!!

February 14, 2009

I don’t know if you have found this, but since becoming a mum, I have rarely had ‘nice nails’. My hands used to be so elegant with naturally long nails that looked as though I spent a fortune on manicures, but since I had smelly bums to change and my hands were constantly in and out of dishwater and in disinfectant, my once lovely nails have become brittle and damaged.

I became so fed up with this after having my second child (I just didn’t feel glamorous anymore!) so I started having falsies put on at the beauty salon. These looked lovely but they require constant upkeep and when you have to have the periods when your nails ‘rest’ in between applications, my own nails just looked stumpier and even more unglamorous!

Three weeks ago I had the last of the falsies removed so I could let my real nails have a chance to breathe and I decided that in these credit crunching times, I would economise and try to get my own nails back to their former glory so I can once again look like I spend all my time and money at the nail bar! I trimmed them, removing the jagged bits, buffed them up and put a coat of clear polish on and waited for them to grow.

I had observed a product in the supermarket earlier by Sally Hansen called Nailgrowth Miracle, which promised 30% longer nails in one week, but as it cost £8.95, I decided to leave it for a week and see what my nails did all by themselves. I figured that they are a living entity so they are bound to grow alone – ha! This was a fallacy! After one week of zero movement on the length, and they still looked stumpy, I decided to buy a bottle for £8.95 and see what happened.

I love a job well done and I have to say “Hats off” to Sally Hansen. This product is supposed to be applied every other day but I was impatient so I applied it each evening and after just 2 days I could really see a result. After the week, my nails had started to grow again, and I felt that I was getting somewhere! I don’t know what they put in it but whatever it is, it works!

Here is a picture of the bottle…

If any mums out there are wishing they could have their 20 year old self’s nails back, this is the way to do it! I’m now a raving fan and I always keep my bottle by the bed so I can put it on just before I sleep. I will never remember or have chance for it to dry in the daytime – I’m always on the go, so it has become part of my bedtime ritual, along with the large cup of tea, the cuddle with the kids and the listening to relaxing music!

I’m still not 100% where I want my nails to be – they still need to grow longer but this product has really given them a kick start.

My hands are starting to look 10 years younger – without surgery!!

I’d have to give it 5 stars!

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