Introducing Bhavini from B81 Designs

Juggling parenting and being their own boss, meet Bhavini from B81 Designs

 

I’m Bhavini and I’m a dessert loving, coffee obsessed graphic designer. I’ve been in the design industry for the last 14 years and the last 7 of them have been self employed.

I live in Milton Keynes with my husband and 2 girls (aged 5 and 8). I grew up in MK and then lived in London for a while, but moved back to MK when my eldest was due to start school

I run my business around my kids which means I work term time only and gives me a really great work/family balance.

Tell us about your business baby

My business baby was born out of redundancy. As my maternity leave was coming to an end in 2011, I wasn’t able to work as flexibly as I had hoped to and my role at work was changed. I took the redundancy package and haven’t really looked back!

The initial idea was to freelance whilst looking for a more flexible and part time job closer to home but that job never came about. After freelancing for about 6 months I realised that it was so much better than being employed especially where my little one was concerned.

I have a love for branding and all things design for print so that’s what my business focuses on – branding, brochures, advertising, business stationery and large format print.

What’s your why?

I have a few different whys. The first why is the complete flexibility that comes with being self employed. I can make sure I’m at every school drop off/pick up, I can take time off at the drop of a hat if one of my girls is sick and I can go to every school assembly the girls are taking part in. And to me, being there for all that is really important. I love that I can manage my time in the best way for me and my family.

Secondly is the option to say no. Working for myself means that I can choose which clients I want to work with, and which projects I want to take on. In every job I had, there was always a project that had to be done that I didn’t have any passion for, or a client that wasn’t easy to work with. I don’t have those issues any more which means that I love every single project I work on, and my clients are all so fabulous!

And the last why…because I absolutely love love love what I do!

What do you find the hardest bit about doing the juggle?

For me, one of the hardest parts of the juggle is realising that I can’t do everything myself where the business is concerned! I can’t do the accounts, and build a new website, and put together a marketing strategy etc because all of that takes away time from me doing what I enjoy doing – the design work!

The other main thing I struggle with is making sure I know how to sell myself and my business – not just at networking events, but anywhere really. I struggle to let people know what I do!!

Who’s in your support network?

I’m really lucky to have a very supportive husband – he’s been behind the whole self employed thing right from the start, even when I wasn’t so sure about it. My parents also live in Milton Keynes – they’re about 7 minutes across town!! They’re always there to lend a hand with childcare if I have an event to go to, or have a huge workload on.

I’ve also made some great connections via online groups such as Freelance Heroes, Digital Dreamers Playground and Mama Tribe. Groups like these are vital to keep me sane, regardless of where I am in my self employment journey.

If only you knew then what you know now…

If only I knew that I should value my time and services, and should always be charging what I’m worth. Just because one person tells me my (very cheap) prices are too expensive, it doesn’t make it true!

What’s your favourite inspiration quote?

 

AND

“I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really really hard. Don’t call my lucky. Call me a badass.” Shonda Rhimes

The second one is one of my favourites and reminds me that I work hard to have the life I do. People always tell me I’m lucky to work from home, or I’m lucky I don’t have to go to work every day etc. but it’s not luck, it’s hard work!

Find out more about B81 Designs here:

 

Follow on Social Media here:

Introducing Pip from Social Pip

Juggling parenting and being their own boss, meet Pip from Social Pip

 

Hi I’m Pip, I live in the fabulous market town of Hitchin in Hertfordshire which is full of thriving independent businesses, if you’ve never visited you really must. I moved here from London with my husband and daughter (who was less than 1 year old at the time) in 2008 and since then we’ve acquired a dog, an extension and another child who is now 9!! Before my London life as a recruitment consultant I was a secondary school teacher in Cornwall for 6 years, back then I never envisaged doing anything other than teaching and living in Cornwall forever, isn’t it funny how life doesn’t pan out the way you think it will?!

 

Tell us about your business baby

Social Pip was born out of an obsession and a flippant comment from my husband in 2012. I had been toying with the idea of returning to teaching to ease the issue of school holiday childcare but soon realised that the logistics and cost issues would still exist on the days I potentially would be working. ‘I really need a flexible, work from home job that fits perfectly around the kids,’ I joked to my husband while simultaneously tweeting from my Blackberry (ah the days when I could multi-task, how I miss you!) to which he retorted, ‘Well you’re clearly obsessed with social media and get how it should work for businesses, why don’t you turn your obsession into a business that would fit round the kids.”

Over the last 7 years Social Pip has changed from simply offering social media management to include 1-2-1 training, social media mentoring and most recently workshops. The one thing that has never altered is my mission to simplify social media for small businesses, to help them find a workable but effective social media presence using authentic and engaging content.

What’s your why?

Well of course my children were and still are my ‘why’ BUT I also needed to do something for me. I needed to keep the old grey matter ticking over (even if it has turned me into a social media geek!); I wanted to be able to contribute to life as a family in a monetary way and can still remember how good it felt being able to pay for some After School Art Classes and I wanted to get my haircut or buy myself some new shoes without having to ask for money or dip into the joint account.

What do you find the hardest bit about doing the juggle?

The guilt! There’s always something to feel guilty about, whether it’s that you’re not devoting enough time to the children; neglecting domestic chores; doing too much work or not enough work; haven’t spent quality time with the husband; rushing a coffee with friends because you’ve got a pile of work waiting at home but if you don’t meet them you’ll also feel guilty! The guilt is real!

Who’s in your support network?

My husband for starters, despite the fact that he isn’t on social media and isn’t its biggest fan he’s definitely my first port of call for business issues and ideas and helps with school holiday childcare too so that I can work, albeit at reduced hours, while the kids are home.

I’ve also met some fabulous people online who I totally count in my support network (some I’ve met in real life and it’s totally magical when that happens) and one in particular, who I have met several times IRL, I know I can call on with all manner of questions, issues and moments of self doubt at pretty much most hours of the day! I actually fondly refer to him as my ‘social media husband’ (yes my actual, real husband is cool with that) because he is THAT special but you might know him as ‘BizPaul‘!

 

If only you knew then what you know now…

The magical work/life balance everyone talks about just isn’t attainable when you have children and a business because when you think you’ve got it sussed something changes.

 

What’s your favourite inspiration quote?

 

Find out more about Social Pip here:

 

Follow on Social Media here:

Introducing Stephanie from Little Observationist

Juggling parenting and being their own boss, meet Stephanie from Little Observationist

 

Hello! I’m Steph. I’m a freelance social media strategist and content creator. I also have an Etsy shop where I sell photography prints. Home is in southwest London where I live near the river with my husband Jorge, 2-year-old daughter Emilia and our lazy cat Oakley. Some of my favourite things apart from spending time with family and friends are a perfect cup of tea with the teeniest dash of sugar, a hot bath with a great book, wandering around London with my camera and travel to somewhere I’ve never been before.

 

Tell us about your business baby

I’ve been a social media strategist since 2012, working full time in an office setting, which helped me to build an amazing foundation to take the leap into freelancing in 2018. The organisation I worked for those six years before I went solo are still a client, and I still enjoy the work we do together.

My clients now are mostly small businesses across a range of industries and there are many ways we work together. I create highly customised social media strategies, offer social media audits, set up new social media profiles, hold one-to-one training sessions, do some photography projects, write, edit and curate content, provide analytics, and many other things that small businesses don’t have the time or – in such a quickly changing digital landscape – sometimes also the knowledge of best practices, to do themselves.

The work that resonates with me the most has been with individual artists and small visual arts companies, study abroad and travel businesses and a charity I’ve now joined that advocates for inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I’d also love to start doing more work with small businesses run by parents that focus on children.

As a side project, I also have an Etsy shop under the same name where I sell photography prints. (http://www.littleobservationist.etsy.com)

What’s your why?

I come from a family of entrepreneurs who value hard work and support small businesses. Helping creative and innovative people reach goals and succeed is the reason I became a freelancer. I want to help those who deserve to stand out from the crowd share their stories and make themselves more easily found by the audiences they want to connect with the most.

 

What do you find the hardest bit about doing the juggle?

Being able to strike a balance between work and family life is definitely the most difficult part, as I’m sure it is for most parents who own a business. As much as I try to be in the moment with whatever I’m doing at any given time, since I’m a freelancer, I’m always on mentally – brainstorming ideas for clients, thinking about my next Instagram post, considering analytics and more. I switch from work mode to mum mode in .5 seconds when my husband brings our 2-year-old home after nursery. There’s no commute or time for a break in between to ease the transition. It’s also difficult, after she’s gone to bed, not to go back to finishing what I was doing, but sometimes evening work is inevitable.

Who’s in your support network?

My husband has been very supportive of my work, understanding when I have to put some hours in in the evenings or bring my laptop on holidays. I have several friends who also freelance and we occasionally work together at a cafe or kitchen table. I’m also part of several very supportive Facebook groups full of creative entrepreneurs and freelancers both locally and around the world.

 

If only you knew then what you know now…

Sometimes you have to take a leap into the unknown to achieve things you never thought possible because they were out of your comfort zone. Life has a way of working things out when you take a calculated risk.

 

What’s your favourite inspiration quote?

 

 

Find out more about Little Observationist here:

 

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Introducing Ingrid from Dec + Dash Legal Consulting

Juggling parenting and being their own boss, meet Ingrid from Dec + Dash Legal Consulting

 

Hello, I’m Ingrid. I’m a wife, mum of two young (and energetic) boys, lawyer and founder of Dec + Dash Legal Consulting. My husband and I are from Australia and we came over to the UK on a two year working holiday visa. Six years, a sponsorship, a new business and two babies later, we’re still here and loving our life! I love being part of this supportive, inclusive and positive community of small business owners trying to create something outside the norm.

 

Tell us about your business baby

Prior to starting my legal consulting business, I spent almost 10 years working as a commercial lawyer in courts, law firms and in house. I love the law (#lawnerd) and I love finding solutions to make things work better.

After having my second child, I struggled to find a way to parent the way I wanted whilst still working in a field I love. As the same time, I was finding so many people, parents especially, who were running amazing businesses but getting stuck with their contracts, agreements, policies and the myriad of other legal considerations that come with starting a business.

I started Dec + Dash Legal Consulting in order to make legal compliance straight-forward, accessible and easy to understand so business owners can feel confident that they’re doing all the right things and can focus on the stuff that gives them joy.

 

What’s your why?

I’m not sure if it’s allowed, but I have two whys. The first is definitely my family. It’s important to me to spend quality time with my husband and children, and to be present for them as much as I can be. I don’t want to work so much and so hard that my children only see an exhausted, unhappy mum.

My second why is other mums like me. I know what it feels like to love motherhood, and to also love having a career. It thrills me when I am able to help women with the legal stuff in their business, so they can focus on doing and creating their incredible, life-changing, much-needed ideas, products and services.

 

What do you find the hardest bit about doing the juggle?

I often find it very challenging to switch off from work and be present with my family. I frequently feel a pressure to be on and available any time of the day, night or weekend. This is something I’m working on every day, and doing little things like turning off my notifications in the evenings and on weekends, and limiting my use of social media during “mum time”, is really helping with this.

 

Who’s in your support network?

My husband David is definitely my biggest supporter. Often when I don’t feel very confident or lose sight of my achievements, it’s David who is shouting about the great things I have done or created. He’s also always easing my mum-guilt when I feel that I’m not giving my children enough, and reminding me of all our little parenting wins.

Next is most definitely the parent-business-owner community that I feel so lucky to be a part of. Communities like Maxine’s Digital Dreamers Playground, Doing It For The Kids and Mama Tribe are just some of the places where I feel completely supported. Everyone is so willing to share their knowledge, expertise and experience, no question is ever too silly, and we put #womensupportingwomen into action every day. I know for sure that I wouldn’t be where I am without this community and the wonderful people in it.

 

If only you knew then what you know now…

When I started my business, I thought I had to do everything on my own. I thought I had to learn every aspect (including marketing, accounting, building a website, social media marketing, etc) and master these things myself. I now know that there are *so* many brilliant and talented people who live and breathe these things, and I would much rather rely on my community of actual experts, than to try (unsuccessfully) to wear all the hats all the time. My motto whenever possible is “let the experts, expert” 🙂

 

What’s your favourite inspiration quote?

It’s my constant reminder that the good things come and go, the bad things come and go, so I try not to hold too tightly to either. It also helps me when I’m over-thinking things, to remember that nothing lasts forever and whatever is bothering me now will most likely be completely forgotten a month from now.

Find out more about Dec + Dash Legal Consulting here:

 

Follow on Social Media here:

Introducing Sam from CeCe and Me

Juggling parenting and being their own boss, meet Sam from CeCe & Me

 

My name is Sam and I live in Southfields, a lovely family-friendly spot in SW London, with my husband and two girls Cecily (age 9) and Meredith (age 7). My business name is based on the nicknames they had a toddlers, purely because they were the catalyst to make it happen … more on this later!

I don’t get a lot of time to myself but I do love a good book, a walk in the countryside, an evening with friends, a chilled glass of sauvignon blanc (always a bottle in the fridge) and dark chocolate, my perfect weekend would involve them all!

 

Tell us about your business baby

I knew I wanted to work for myself and to work flexibly around my children’s hectic schedules and the demands of family life. One of the parental responsibilities I found utterly frustrating was taking my toddlers to buy new shoes, and this provided the inspiration to achieve my goal.

I set about developing an idea to make children’s shoe fitting a more relaxed and enjoyable experience for all involved, alongside training as a shoe fitter. My solution is firstly about convenience, bringing my expertise to the places families hang out, such as playgroups and cafes, or at home. Secondly it’s about confidence, providing trusted advice and guidance, with a carefully selected range of quality shoes to ensure everyone walks away happy.

 

 

What’s your why?

My mantra is relaxed parents and happy little feet. Ill-fitting shoes in childhood can lead to a lifetime of problems, not only with our feet but with our body’s alignment and posture. Educating parents and helping them make confident decisions about their children’s footwear lies at the heart of the business.

CeCe & Me has provided me with the flexibility I was seeking and so much more. I love my delightful little customers (and the big ones too!), the sense of community, learning new skills, the challenges and the inspiring business owners I have met. Running your own business can be hard, unrelenting and sometimes lonely but for me the highs definitely outweigh the lows.

I am convinced there are other areas where a mobile children’s shoe fitting service would be a welcome addition to the community and my new mission is to build a network of CeCe & Me children’s shoe fitters. If the idea of joining this crew appeals to you, I would love to have a chat.

 

 

What do you find the hardest bit about doing the juggle?

That feeling of never being on top of everything! I don’t think it’s at all unique to running your own business, it’s just a fact of family life! There is always a niggle at the back of my mind about something I haven’t done, a ball that’s about to drop, whether it be family or business related. So I guess, for me, the hardest bit is never being able to completely switch off.

 

Who’s in your support network?

My Dad has been my greatest supporter and cheerleader from the start of this journey. He’s the wisest person I know and helps me see things more clearly.

I also have the most amazing network of local business buddies, some I have known for years and some I have met recently. Just seeing the effort everyone puts into turning their dream into a reality is an inspiration. I am a firm believer in collaboration and the fantastic results that can be achieved with mutual support.

 

If only you knew then what you know now…

I can do it… we all have the potential to turn our dreams into reality, don’t let self-doubt get in the way, don’t worry about what other people are doing or what they think, just be true to yourself.

 

What’s your favourite inspiration quote?

Find out more about CeCe & Me here:

 

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