Debbie O’Connor Listed in Top 100 Business Mums list October 8th, 2012
Late last night I received some fantastic news. I was nominated in the Mumpreneur Champions section of the Mums Club Business Mum Awards, and it seems that I have made the shortlist of the Top 100 Business Mums in the UK.
To say I am bowled over by this is an understatement. When I took over this business from Alli Price two years ago, I had never even used twitter, and certainly knew nothing about blogging. When it came to last year’s awards season, I still felt too much like a newbie and did not feel worthy to enter any awards. So the fact that only one short year later, I am going to be trotting off to an awards ceremony, at which I might just win a prize, is like all my Christmas and Birthdays come at once!
I just want to say thank you to all those lovely people who nominated and voted for me. It still feels quite surreal to think that there are a whole group of people who read every word I write and yet I haven’t met them. So to all of you, however you know me, a big heartfelt thanks.
MumsClub is encouraging us to bind together in our counties and make noise about the county winners. So I’d love to give a shoutout to the other winners from Surrey,
Venita Antonij of SheBizPower
Jo Mackay of Bookings For You
Together we will show the world that Surrey is a great place for Businessmums.
Congratulations to the other winners too and I look forward to meeting you all at the awards!
Motivating Mum East Hertfordshire: Autumn Event Programme Successfully Launched! September 27th, 2012
Thank you to the great group of mums who joined the first autumn morning networking event for the Motivating Mum East Hertfordshire group in Bishop’s Stortford on the 19 th September. It was great to see everyone so enthusiastic about their business or business idea after the summer school holidays. Read the rest of this entry »
My Second Motivating Mum Event in East Hertfordshire September 13th, 2012
After what seems like an amazingly full summer, with the Olympics (and how proud we can feel of what has been achieved so far), holidays, rain (and more rain) and sunshine and, phew, now back to school it hardly seems possible that my second Motivating Mum East Hertfordshire event was only in July!
Having been delighted at the success of the first event in Bishop’s Stortford in June I was raring to go with running the second one in July, a couple of weeks before the end of term, at the Café Rouge in Hertford. With a total of eleven women, and a small baby, it was another very enjoyable and supportive event with lots of opportunity to swap contacts and share ideas in an informal environment (and many thanks to Café Rouge which has proved to be a very suitable and child-friendly venue for us).
Alongside the informal networking opportunities, the talk by Katie Neilson of Little Bees Music Classes, was really practical with lots of hints and tips as to what has worked for her as the business, and her family, has grown. Thank you very much to Katie for being able to speak to us after a busy summer term teaching. Her new music classes, for pre-school children, start up again in September in the Hertford area.
Free goody bags were available again to everyone who came along and the responses on the evaluation forms I circulated has really helped to shape the future event programme for this group.
Thank you to everyone for being able to come along to both the first Hertford event and the first Bishop’s Stortford event. I am now looking forward to seeing more samples of products from mums in business at future events, especially with Christmas ever nearer (yes, I think I can say that as the new term is upon us!)
So, with autumn on the way and hopefully feeling a little recharged after the summer, now could be just the time to start thinking about coming along to a Motivating Mum event. There’s plenty to choose from in East Hertfordshire, with seven events during the autumn term, including networking events with a speaker (a free goody bag is still available to mums at these networking events), brainstorm sessions, a social media workshop and a pre-Christmas networking and selling event to other mums in business.
So, please tell your friends and spread the word. I look forward to meeting more mums and hearing about all the local businesses we are involved in across East Herts. very soon!
With the Support of your Friends, Anything is Possible August 26th, 2012
We took our new puppy Sirius out for his first walk today. We went out with Sirius’ mum and dad, and his two remaining siblings, who are still with the breeder as their new owners are on holiday.
Sirius wasn’t so sure about the outside world at first. He sat on the front doorstep and sniffed the air. He didn’t like his harness and jumped about, fighting against it. then a car spooked him, and he sat down on the pavement and whined. But with much encouragement and cajoling we made it to the park, where he was set free with his parents and siblings.
Once he saw his mum and dad rushing around, clearly having lots of fun, Sirius and the other puppies were super keen to join in. Before long the three of them were bombing around like mad creatures, chasing mum and chasing each other. You certainly wouldn’t have known that this was the first itme they had seen the open world.
Looking at them, I realised there was a lot to be learned for me and my friends. I sometimes pause on the edge of something new, reluctant to take the plunge. I can be easily spooked by the unknown and easily persuaded to sit down and give up when things just seem too scary.
But if I can get good advice and encouragement from someone more experienced than me, who can teach me how things work and tell me that things are going to be OK, and if I can get support from a peer group who are experiencing the same problems and fears as me, then suddenly the whole situation looks a lot brighter.
Over the next few months, I will be bringing together two mums networking groups into one giant sized organisation. Keep an eye out on our events board to see where you can get your very own support, advice and encouragement. If there is nothing near you, why not take the plunge and set a group up – I can show you how.
Whatever you are planning, whatever you are uncertain about, get out into the big wide world and look for some support.
I’ve been sitting on this news for over a month already, and I’m so glad that finally I can share it with you all. I have agreed to take over at the head of Mum’s The Boss, a networking group and blog very similar to Motivating Mum, as Sam and Helen have decided to move on to other projects.
I’m so looking forward to taking this on, and to sharing the best bits of each group with the readers from both. Look out for more posts on exactly what this means in the next few weeks, but for now, I’ll just leave you with the official press release on the Mums the Boss blog
My vision is to take two very successful mums networking organisations, and knit them together into a big amazing family, providing huge support to entrepreneurs, mums in business and anybody who has a dream of working from home.
Please wish me luck as I take on this giant project, and I look forward to seeing you all online, and meeting many more of you in person very soon
Posted in - Business Networking, - Business Success, - Confidence Building, - Get Motivated, - Get Organised, - Growing a Business, - Image and Branding, - Managing Time, - Marketing your Business, Mums in Business, Stay at Home Mum, Work/Life Balance | No Comments »
Chester Mum Brings Support to Work at Home Mums May 30th, 2012
Here is a press release announcing the launch of yet another Motivating Mum franchise – this time in Chester and Wrexham. I hope to be able to invite many more people to Motivating Mum events in the future. A full list of current franchisees is on our website. If we are not in your area yet, why not consider setting up a group yourself.
Chester mums launching or running their own businesses no longer have to do it on their own, in between nappy changes and the school run. There are now events designed specifically for mums in business across the UK, and they are coming to Chester and Wrexham. Read the rest of this entry »
Motivating Mum opens in Milton Keynes May 29th, 2012
Motivating Mum is coming to Milton Keynes – starting with a Mums Networking Meeting on June 19th 2012.
Starting a business is one thing, but maintaining it and keeping it afloat is another hard thing to get through. That burden is heavier when you are a mum balancing family life and the desire to realise your business aspirations. But, that is not the case when you got yourself a network to depend on when times get though or the competition gets stiff to survive. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in - Business Networking, - Business Planning, - Business Success, - Confidence Building, - Get Motivated, - Get Organised, - Starting Out, Stay at Home Mum | 1 Comment »
International Business Networking June 13th, 2011
I met up with Alli Price, the Original Motivating Mum, and some of the other Motivating Mum franchisees the other day.
Since leaving the UK with her two daughters and her new partner last September, she has started and built up the Motivating Mum brand in Australia, so that it is really a force to be reckoned with.
Alli is an amazingly strong woman – she was over in the UK for one week only to deliver her four year old daughter for a 3 month visit with her dad (see her blog). I can only imagine the bravery and emotion involved.
But despite the seriousness of her mission she still found time to catch up with loads of people, and spread her own brand of Aussie sunshine wherever she went.
The meeting got me thinking about how incredible the modern world is. People think that Alli was an old friend of mine, but in fact I did not know her when I answered her ad. We spoke a few times then met twice, once at my home and once at a Businessmums Networking Lunch. Then two weeks after our first meeting she left for Australia leaving me in charge of her UK business.
Many people would find that foolhardy – at the very least risky. And yet, by the power of the internet, email and Skype, Alli and I have forged an amazing business relationship in the past year, such that I would now count her as a friend. When I met her in the cafe this week, I immediately started talking to her like we had never been separated by half a planet’s distance.
Alli is a supreme networker – her message to us all was just keep picking up the phone and chatting to people. It’s something I’m very bad at – I prefer to hide behind email, and often don’t find the time to talk to people because I put it too far down my priorities list. But I came away from our meeting enthused and determined to work on my weaknesses. Alli just has this effect on people. You can tell that Alli was born to be a life coach (her original profession) – she just has a way of mentoring and lifting the spirits of everyone she meets.
Alli now effortlessly runs an international business – she speaks to all her franchisees in both countries with one message and we are all joined as one global family. It’s an amazing and wonderful concept.
Alli is now looking for other partners to help her in her quest for total world domination. If you live somewhere where there is a community of English speaking mums, you fancy running a small business, and you would like to bring an Aussie networking phenomenon into your life, then I would thoroughly recommend you get talking to Alli Price. She can change your life, as she has changed mine.
What I like about Motivating Mum…. May 9th, 2011
I ran a Competition on Motivating Mum in April – the prize was a fridge from Argos. If you want to know who won the fridge – you’ll have to wait until it comes out in the newsletter next week… join here if you haven’t already
As part of the competition I asked the entrants to tell me what they liked best about Motivating Mum, and so I thought I would share the entries with you. With any luck they might inspire some of you to look at the sections of Motivating Mum that you might have missed.
As for me, what I like about Motivating Mum, is that it has given me a real sense of purpose, bringing good advice, support and entertainment to all you businessmums out there. I love hearing that you are enjoying what I do, and I just love helping you all. Thank you for all your kind comments – please keep spreading the word, leave your comments here and tell your friends….
There will be some more competitions this month, so keep your eyes out on the site. In the meantime, here are some of the other answers to the question “What I like most about Motivating Mum…..”
- The site is informative and a one stop shop, perfect for busy parents.
- Wow, so full of useful information, great for the working mum
- ’tis a clear and easy to understand website you have there. I’m thinking of setting up my own business and it’s given me a bit of a shove!
- A multi-tasking Mum, I feel it’s an honour… to be motivated by Debbie O’Connor!”
- One of the very best sites around for helping busy mums – written by mums for mums.
- The advice which ranges from how to deal with my pregnancy to my tax!
- It’s a one stop shop for everything the business mum wants to know.
- I like the forum and knowing that there are other mums out there in the same situation as me, going through the same start up issues and that there’s somewhere to go for support.
- The website is colourful, informative and user friendly, it covers multiple subjects
- What I like about the site is everything is so easy to find.
- …it reminds me that it is completely possible – and normal – to run a successful business AND be a good Mum to my two kids!!!
- I like the advice you give to mums that want to return to work. It is valuable and insightful information since I feel a bit lost in the world of employment. Thanks.
- The motivating mum website gives articles, inspiration and a sense of community that encourages me to continue being a self employed mum!
- On this site there is so much info all in one place, its ideal. I am going to tell everyone on my fb and twitter about it, its so helpful. Thank you
- It’s a great and easily accessible all round support group for Mums!
- I definitely need motivating most days and after reading your blog I can do it with a spring in my step!!! (Either that or I carry on reading LOL)
- It’s very informative and interesting site, always up to date, my favourite is the article and features
Have you Missed Out on Mentoring? April 2nd, 2011
by Alli Price
For those of you who don’t know, March has been Mummy Mentoring Month at Motivating Mum, both in the UK and Australia. Throughout March, some very successful mums in business have been offering mentoring sessions for charity, and many of them are continuing to be business mentors for Motivating Mum even though the mentoring festival has finished.
You would think the sessions would be flying off the shelves – imagine only £20 to get 30 mins of support and advice from someone who has not only been there done that, but done it well – but they haven’t been. In fact, I would categorise the sales as slow at best.
Following everyone’s initial enthusiastic response at the launch of the festival I was puzzled as to why the sessions weren’t selling like hotcakes until I got a query ‘Which mum is offering a mentoring session that works in the same field as me?’ This was the problem! Mums were looking for a mentor that ran a business in the same Industry. Some were even looking for a mentor that was on the same trajectory. And why wouldn’t they? When you’re new to business you’re not even aware of all the opportunities available to you until someone tells you or you learn it through experience.
So, here’s what I’ve learned about mentoring that I’m passing on to you:
Finding a mentor isn’t simply about finding someone who does what you do, a few years further down the track. It’s about working out what you need and finding the person you feel can best help you with that. For example, your weak point may be marketing. Now in any industry, marketing is the same. It’s all about identifying your target market and the best way to access them. So why not look for someone you feel has done an amazing job marketing their business?
Or get even more specific – do you need someone that has done an amazing job of marketing on a low budget? Or maybe utilised social media in a fab way? Then look for those people.
Further, it isn’t always best to approach someone in your industry. Many people are giving and generous with their time and energies but if they have an amazing idea then they’re more likely to keep it for themselves. Someone in a different, or better yet, a complementary industry may not only be great for brainstorming but may have perspectives on your industry overlooked by those within it.
The sharing of contacts may also be inhibited. If you’re a green business and get mentoring from someone in a complementary field you may end up working together, cross promoting and sharing contacts that would be mutually beneficial. Mentoring by someone within your area of business may only mean you get the contacts they are willing to share.
Lastly, the mentor you have doesn’t have to be someone that is super successful. They can simply be someone that has done something really well like time management, copywriting, networking etc and you’d like to learn about that skill also. You may even be able to offer a skill swap back and mentor them on something you’re particularly great at.
So, if you’re looking to get some clarity on your target market and develop your unique selling point, why not go to the mum that makes cloth nappies that does it really well? Nervous about networking? Ask the accountant you always see flitting about the room swapping business cards left, right and centre. Want to expand internationally? Set up a coffee date with the mum in business that sends her pushchair accessories all over the world.
Whoever you decide to go with or whoever you work with in the future, remember they don’t just sell a skincare range or coach mums, they offer a whole range of skills and experiences that transcend industry – as do you.
Cheers! Alli x
Alli Price is the founder of Motivating Mum, a website and events service offering support and advice to Mumpreneurs (or those wanting to be), and now runs our sister site in her native Australia. She provides networking lunches, brainstorm sessions, phone mentoring, articles and features, an online forum and more. She also runs the Biz Mums Blogging Carnival. W: www.motivatingmum.com T: @motivatingmum F: Motivating Mum
This blog is one of 45 featured in my ebook Motivating Business Mums – now available from Brightword publishing.
For hints, tips and a daily inspirational blog post from Motivating Mum please sign up for a Daily Dose of Motivation
Am I really a Motivating Mum? October 15th, 2010
I first came across the advert offering the job at Motivating Mum in the summer. I’d never heard of the site before, but something attracted my curiosity. I went and had a look, and sent off an email to Alli, asking for more information about the job.
My first reaction when I looked around the site was – how could I advise successful mumpreneurs? After all my business interests although many and varied, have never amounted to much. I run a very small home-based business, following an established model. I haven’t created anything nor is my business ever really likely to take over the world. I’m not even big in Cambridge terms – not one of their up and coming stars, running a huge team and breaking all sales records. I’m just me, doing my little business thing, earning some pocket money and being mummy.
However, despite all these doubts, I went on holiday with the idea of Motivating Mum firmly stuck in my head and it refused to go away. And the more I thought about it, the more positive my thoughts became.
Firstly – it’s not the successful mumpreneurs that need my advice. They are on the website as mentors dispensing their own advice. The range of mentors is amazing and I think I may well be paying for a few sessions myself before I go much further – what a fantastic resource.
But those are not the mums who need my advice and support – it’s those who are just about to start out, or trying to figure out how to grow, how to market and how to fit it all in with their life. It’s those of us who have the little businesses or the little ideas that need support to take things further. I talk to my friends who run businesses all the time and help them whenever I can. So of course I can do the job…
Secondly, my business aims were never to make a million, nor to invent something new and original. In my own life plan, I am a mum first, and the business is there in order to keep my brain occupied, give me a social life and make pocket money for the family – in that order. So in terms of my own business model I am a successful mumpreneur, and a very happy one at that. I can certainly share my happiness and what I think are the keys to it with everyone.
Thirdly this business plays to all my strengths – I’m addicted to my computer and love to chat, network, drink coffee and do lunch. And I always fancied having my own website and blog, but never really got around to starting it. Which makes this the ideal opportunity for me.
By the time I came back from holiday, I was completely fired up. Plus I had completely altered my view of myself as a work at home mum. This isn’t just my little business and I’m not just mummy – this is my life exactly the way that I planned it. After that it was just a little matter of convincing Alli (much easier once I had convinced myself) and here I am.
So a big wave to all you motivated mums out there, however big or small your businesses or plans. I am one of you, and I intend to do my best.
Lunch with Saira Khan – Update from Motivating Mum in Chiswick October 7th, 2010
Thank you to those who attended our networking lunch with Saira Khan today. What a great buzz of ideas and energy as everyone gathered and chatted about what they do or would like to do. Saira was lovely and extremely generous with her time and advice. She engaged us with her no nonsense account of what she has learned in building her own business Miamoo. Here are some of the top tips we took away:
Spend Wisely – it is very easy to get caught up in the excitement of starting up your own company and spend aimlessly to begin. Choose carefully what you throw money at and limit spending until you have some orders to support it. This also ties into how you invest in advertising – why pay for expensive ads up front when leafleting or networking can get you the start you need.
Bounce Back – working for yourself means being resilient. You will get setbacks, there is no doubt about that. The trick is to be able to bounce back and use the experience to make yourself stronger than before.
Embrace the Freedom – running your own business is hard work but the rewards are worth it. If you are doing something that you are passionate about and enjoy, how nice it feels to get up in the morning and set your own agenda for the day!
W4 Motivating Mum has lots more ideas up our sleeve for interesting and rewarding events for you. Please keep your eye on the events page on www.motivatingmum.co.uk and sign up for the monthly newsletter if you want to be kept informed.
Goodbye Alli, Hello Debbie September 25th, 2010
So that’s it, Alli Price has left the country for good, and I’m left holding the baby (by which I mean Motivating Mum, not the real baby – of course she took her daughters with her!) I hope that regular users of this site and readers of this blog will bear with me while I fumble around & get myself sorted out in my new job.
Apologies for the gap between the last blog and this, but hopefully normal service will now be resumed (or what passes for normal with me, anyway).
Alli is going to be a really hard act to follow. I only met her a few times and yet I was struck by her energy and enthusiasm and boundless optimism. I really wish her all the best as she heads home to Australia with her family. Of course I’ll be keeping in touch with her as she sets up Motivating Mum in Oz, and I’ll be updating you all on here.
So who exactly is Debbie, I hear you ask. Well you can read a bit more about me on About this Mum and on the home page, so I won’t repeat it all here. But let’s just say that I think I’m every bit as friendly, happy and approachable as Alli (on a good day anyway). I’m a bit disorganised and scatterbrained and apt to get a bit stressed sometimes, but I guess that makes me just an ordinary mum.
I’m really looking forward to getting to know you all, and helping you out in any way I can. Many of you will be reading this because of some previous contact you’ve had with Alli, and many more will be current friends of hers. But apart from those very few of you who I met at the Wimbledon Networking lunch a couple of weeks ago (great event by the way), I don’t know anyone – yet.
I would really love it if anyone who reads this could find a way to say hello & introduce yourselves, just so I know who I’m blogging to. You can leave a comment on here if you like, or stop by and say hello at the forum. I’m also tweeting madly as @motivatingmumuk, or you could find me on the Facebook page. Or if you prefer you could always email me directly, or even text or phone me.
I’d particularly love to hear your stories as to how Motivating Mum has helped you and your business. I’m sure Alli will be dropping by to read this, and I‘d love to send her off with a big thank you and some more testimonials of all the hard work she’s put in over the years. Plus it will give me a good idea of exactly what I’ve let myself in for, and what I’ve got to live up to.
A Lesson in Business Delivered with the Groceries June 18th, 2010
So usually I am a Sainsburys or Tesco girl for the mix of price and service, and the loyalty cards. I love Waitrose but tend to think of them as a little expensive, however, the other day I got a voucher offering £15 off my first online order. I made sure to use it as the offer felt like a good sized amount and it meant the groceries wouldn’t be anywhere near as expensive as what I felt they usually were.
Ordering was no different to the other supermarkets, however, delivery was where Ocado really came into their own. I got a free text reminding me of the impending delivery and any substitutions that had been made, the delivery docket also outlined the use by dates of all the products, all groceries were delivered in colour-coded bags for freezer, fridge and cupboard and the bags contained a sample of gourmet tea and a flyer documenting further services offered by Ocado. One of which I will take advantage of in the future.
I was left floored. Not only had Ocado got me to order from them when I was sure I never would, they impressed me so much with their service that I would go back again. And what had I learned?
- That you need to understand what barriers there are to people not buying from you/using your service and develop offers that address this.
- That you need to look at every point of contact with your clients and work out the best ways to impress at each stage.
- That you need to engage in dialogue with my clients and see where you can improve.
- That you need to look at your competitors and see what you can do better or differently.
- That you can charge more for something, if you offer amazing service. Also, don’t you think people talk more about the amazing service they got, as opposed to the cheap price?
- That the little touches can make a huge difference!
What I Learned from Laura Tenison February 9th, 2010