FROM parents who juggle childcare and work to those wanting a challenge once their kids have grown up, running a business is an attractive option.
But how many of us would actually take that leap from having a bright idea to turning it into a successful business?
These women have – and are now reaping the rewards at a time when The Sun has teamed up with Camelot to offer budding entrepreneurs a boost by giving away 50 grants of £5,000.
Yasmin Harisha and Lydia Hawken talked to mums making money from businesses they set up at their kitchen tables.
‘You really can live your best life…you can do whatever you want to’
RUNNING her business out of the spare room while homeschooling kids Freddie, eight, and Frankie, five, with electrician husband Simon, 44, left Camille Plews tearing her hair out.
So the 36-year-old business coach from Redcar, North Yorks, moved her work into the family’s caravan on the driveway.
Camille Plews moved her work into the family’s caravan at the start of lockdown[/caption]
Camille says: “My husband was furloughed from his job last March and the house was just so noisy with the kids. I needed some headspace.
We already had the caravan, so I decided to get it out, park it on the driveway and use it as an office.
We live on the corner of our estate, so I often see people walking past. They always give me a wave. I’m now known as the “caravan lady”.
Before having kids, I’d thrived while working in the HR department of a recruitment company.
But going back after 18 months’ maternity leave in 2014, I just didn’t feel the same. My priorities had changed.
In 2014, I launched a boutique clothing business as a side-hustle.
Although it gave me the freedom to quit my job in 2015 and work from home, it was still taking up too much of my time.
I was pregnant with Frankie and after my maternity leave was finished, I realised I didn’t want to be putting my children into daycare for eight hours a day.
So in December 2019, I hired a business coach who advised me to shift to mentoring and coaching entrepreneurs on how to get sales leads.
Shortly before the first lockdown, I went ahead with the plan to help people grow their own businesses. I now cover everything from social media to expanding their community and client base, while raising their profiles.
I’ve had clients with new businesses who are turning over nothing and don’t know how to find their customers. Within six months of working with me, they’re earning £10,000 a month.
I’ve helped almost 2,000 businesses throughout the lockdown.
Now the successful ‘caravan lady’ has helped almost 2,000 businesses through lockdown[/caption]
I have a “seize the moment” attitude with life that I pass on to my clients. I always encourage them to make the leap because it isn’t going to kill them.
You don’t have to be stuck in life – but a lot of people are. Many of us are just living for the weekend but it doesn’t have to be like that.
You really can live your best life. You can do whatever it is that you want to do.
In the past year, my business has made £10,000 a month – and £20,000 in some months.
Many of us are just living for the weekend but it doesn’t have to be like that.
Although everything is going really well, I want to pay off our £90,000 mortgage so we never need worry about being kicked out of the house.
We’re also treating ourselves to a holiday to Greece in the October half-term.”
WIN: £5,000 business booster
IT could be you! Have you got a big idea for a small business?
The Sun and Camelot have teamed up to give 50 kitchen- table entrepreneurs the helping hand they need to launch their business dream.
We will be giving away £250,000 to help small start-ups, with every business we select getting a £5,000 grant.
Our bumper business booster giveaway offers 25 grants of £5,000 for existing micro-businesses, plus 25 £5,000 grants for start-ups.
To enter, visit thesun.co.uk/kitchentable and fill in the entry form by May 22. Our panel of experts will choose the winners and grants will be allocated in June and July.
- Find hints and tips at thesun.co.uk/kitchentable.
‘I started up £35m lash firm when my three sons left home’
JULIE BUTLER signed up to a lash extension course in 2008 after sons David and Jamie, now 32, and Dan, 30, had flown the nest.
She then set up her own company, LashBase, which has turned over £35million.
I felt totally lost when the boys moved out and I wanted to try something new.
I signed up for courses in waxing, facials, nails and massage in 2008 but I had a real talent for lash extensions.
I began working from home and within weeks, I had more clients than I had time to see.
Back then, there weren’t very many places that you could buy your supplies from.
I invested £1,000 of my own money to set up LashBase and spent every evening researching and trying out hundreds of new lashes.
It would cost me around £20 to £25 to make a kit, which included lashes, tweezers and eye pads.
I started selling them for around £50 each in March 2009. For two years, I would make £900 a month from the kits.
Then, in 2011, Tony – who used to own a record shop – came on board to launch the website.
Suddenly we were getting orders from all over the world.
Over the past 13 years, LashBase has turned over £35million and we’ve branched out into tints, serums and strip lashes.
I set up LashBase because I felt like I was losing my sons and I’m proud to say it’s come full-circle.
All three of them now work for the company and I see them every day. I never thought I’d be starting my own business in my forties.
I’d tell other stay-at-home mums that it’s never too late to start your dream career.”
Karren’s tips for mothers
MUMS are some of the hardest- working business owners out there, says The Apprentice mentor and Sun columnist Karren Brady.
“They are determined, patient and skilled at multi-tasking. Many mothers are great communicators too, which is crucial to success.”
Here Karren offers her tips for working mums:
TAILOR YOUR SCHEDULE: Who says you need to work 9-5? Manage your time effectively so you still have plenty of time to be a mum. Be realistic about the limitations on your time and don’t overload yourself.
NEGOTIATE: Don’t shy away from asking for that discount you need and don’t accept a bad deal if you know your product or service is worth more. Never settle for their first offer.
LEAN ON OTHER PARENTS: There are many networking groups on social media where you can pick up great tips, advice and even contacts from other parents who are juggling family life with owning a business.
BE CLEAR AND DECISIVE: You are the boss, so you call the shots. Know what you want and have the confidence to ask for it. Determination is key.
TAKE A RISK: The real winners in business are those who take a chance on what they are passionate about. Identify a gap in the market and go for it. But always remember who your customer is and what is important to them.
‘We turned tenner into £100k with bows’
AMY BURNS set up children’s bow company The Bowtique with friend Hayley Willis, 40, in 2014 and it has now turned over £100,000.
Hayley lives with her husband Westley, 44, who runs a printing company, and their sons Sebastian, 13, and Drew, 11, in Upminster, Essex. Amy lives in Romford with Ollie, 44, who works in events, and their daughters Amelie, 15, and Isabella, 11.
Amy, 36, says: “I was working part-time in a beauty salon in 2013 when I began making hair bows for my daughters. I bought a metre of ribbon on eBay for £10 and made several.
We instantly clicked and decided to join forces to create our company.
But everything changed when we got a Facebook message from a Chinese wholesaler.
We’d never heard of people seling English products to China.
Despite people always telling us you could get really cheap bows made in China, it was important to us for each Bowtique bow to have the “Made in England” branding.
It turns out that was a big selling point in the Asian market. They placed an order worth £1,000, which in hindsight isn’t huge but it was giant at the time.
These days we work with just one wholesaler, in Taiwan, who buys up to 5,000 bows from us each month.
When we went into lockdown last March, we gifted our surplus stock to children of NHS workers and families who were shielding.
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We closed the website for a few weeks but customers kept messaging us to ask when we were going to reopen. We ended up selling thousands of bows in the summer.
Although 2020 as a whole was our biggest challenge, we’ve still got a yearly turnover of £100,000.
Hayley hand-sews each and every bow, while I finish them off and focus on the business side of things. We couldn’t do it without each other.”
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