Fab guest post and profile from Donna Pinnell

 I have always worked, since I was an office junior at 16, I have loved the challenge of working and obviously this has supported my shopping habit over the years.  When I had my daughter in 2005, work took a back seat and whilst still working part time, having something that fitted around my family was most important (the mommy gene suddenly took over the shopping one)

I have worked a P.A, Buyer,(general dogsbody), HR Assistant and dabbled in sales but have to admit I was never going to be sales person of the month but when I came across Phoenix Trading,  I fell in love with the products and signed up to be a Trader within the week. I still have my “day” job but Phoenix fits perfectly around both work and my family, as you can do as little or as much as you want with your Phoenix business, it is entirely up to you! This blog is not a Phoenix sales pitch, far from it, the product sells itself, I just need to turn up with stock and smile alot (and even I can do that).

Phoenix Trading offer support and advice and the network of traders are there to offer guidance and even stock swapping if you need something urgently! They are the No 1 direct selling card company and this is amazing when, at the beginning of the year, I hadnt even heard of them! This goes to show how much scope there is for new traders! You have to like the product and be proud of it, you can’t sell anything which you don’t believe in but once you have seen the cards and accessories, you cant help but fall in love with them!
Unlike many franchises which involve significant initial investment, becoming an independent trader does not cost an arm and a leg. £45 will get you started, and you can also choose to buy one of three subsidised introductory stock packs from as little as £50.  I think this is one of the main advantages of Phoenix Trading as most of us don’t have large amounts of money to start. Have a look at the website and decide for yourself!  www.phoenix-trading.co.uk/web/donnapinnell Please note that I am an Independent Phoenix Trader and the views expressed here are my own and I am not speaking on behalf of Phoenix Trading Ltd. Phoenix has opened up lots of opportunities for me from both a professional and personal perspective. I have met some fantastic people and expanded on being able to provide cards into launching a gifts website www.littlelilypad.co.uk . Phoenix is a fantastic opportunity if you are looking for an additional income and if you are not, its a great place to find quality gorgeous cards and accessories at brilliant prices, perfect for moms on a budget! I am happily looking forward to continuing to build my Phoenix business around my family and life, what more can a girl ask for?
Please note that I am an Independent Phoenix Trader and the views expressed here are my own and I am not speaking on behalf of Phoenix Trading Ltd.


Family firendly franchises abound and are perfect for SAHM (stay at home mums) It can be a popular and lucrative option among stay-at-home  parents to buy a baby-related franchise. I bought a Tiny Talk baby-signing franchise when my son was just nine months’ old. I had rung to book Frankie and myself into our local class only to find out that the classes were all full and that the franchise was soon to be sold. I am experienced at signing, a confident singer and used to training groups and so immediately thought, ‘Oh, this could be for me!’ I was interviewed and approved, then trained by the company, set up with equipment and lesson plans and then you’re off and running.

Running my own franchise was interesting and I earned a good income. There were over 100 mums (and one or two dads) out there running Tiny Talk franchises; we would chat online or at regional and national conferences, it was a real community of support. I was able to take my son along to the classes I taught and I met lots of other local mums and their babies who have remained friends. I only worked one morning a week baby signing, yet I made enough money to keep my car on the road and pay for all my son’s activities. What’s more, it integrated me into our local community and I was able to contribute financially. When I sold up due to baby number two, I made a healthy profit. Plus, I got a great maternity allowance as a result of my very part-time working (this only happens if you pay your voluntary national insurance contributions, though).

During that time, I built up new skills in running a business and these will stand me in good stead when I eventually venture back out into the workplace. Running my own baby business made me feel stimulated, proud and balanced.

There’s a whole family of baby- and children-linked franchises – Tumble Tots, Jo Jingles and Socatots, to name a few – so ponder a while, it could be perfect for your current lifestyle. I worked at my franchise for three years and I loved it.

If you want to earn money in a way that fits with being a full-time parent then buying and running a franchise could work for you. Most websites have contact details where you can express an interest in the franchise, along with FAQs.

Jo Jingles

Music classes for babies and pre-schoolers.

01494 778989


Monkey Music

Music and percussion classes for under-fi ves.

01582 766464


Musical Minis

Fun music group for babies and toddlers.

020 8868 0001



Football coaching programme for under-fi ves.

0113 244 2005



Baby signing classes.

01483 301444


Tumble Tots

Baby and toddler gymnastics.

0121 585 7003



Fun, creative yoga classes for kids aged two to seven.


 For all the information you could possibly want about franchises on one site with lots of tips, ideas and franchise opportunities, check out www.whichfranchise.com.

P>S I hvae not been paid by TinyTalk or approached by them to sing their praises they just are a fab company to work for.


Thanks to the super savvy Antonia Chitty for this great advice

Want to run your own business?

Starting a business can seem expensive, but can be done on next to nothing. If you want to start your own business but are on a budget, here are some pointers from Antonia Chitty of Family Friendly Working, to get you going:

  1. If you’re clear about your needs and skills it is going to be easier to find the right business for you.List your priorities such as earning money, or finding work that lets you stay home with your children. Write down your skills, and ask others what they think you’re good at.
  2. Look at your family budget, How much might you need to bring in each week or month? Think about the hours you can devote to working. Be realistic if you plan to work around the kids, as children may not understand “mummy’s working”.  Knowing the hours you can work and your target income can help you be clear about what you need to achieve.
  3. Pick your business idea. If you need a business that will generate an income quickly, start up a service. Look at low cost start up ideas like dog walking or cleaning. However small your start-up budget, don’t skimp on business insurance.
  4. Party plan and direct sales opportunities often come with a small start up investment. Pick your opportunity carefully: don’t just base your choice on a low fee. Look for products that you know people in you area will buy – and ideally go for items that encourage repeat purchases rather than one-offs. Watch out for discounts on sign up fees as you may be able to start up for less at certain times of year.
  5. If you have some time and want to retrain, contact your local college. Find out about which courses are funded, as this may affect your choice. The college may also be able to help you find out how to get help with the cost of childcare.
  6. Check out schemes that allow you to earn while you learn. There are various initiatives to encourage adults into teaching, for example, that allow you to train while working.
  7. If you are starting a business, research the market first. Will people buy your product or service? Is it unique enough to be appealing? This is really important and will save you from investing in launching a business then finding no-one will buy.
  8. Prepare a business plan. Set out aims and objectives, and the steps to take to achieve your goals so you know what you need to achieve. Pop into a local Enterprise Agency for free advice.
  9. Work out how you will promote and market your business. Visit www.prbasics.co.uk for a free promotion plan and low cost PR ideas and resources.
  10. Register as self employed. You have 3 months to let the Inland Revenue know you have started a business, or you could end up with a £100 fine.
  11. Keep good records. It is easier to note down every item of expenditure from the start than to have to deal with a pile of receipts when your tax return is due in. You can claim many of your business costs against tax too. The Inland Revenue can also send an advisor to your house, free of charge, to explain how to claim back your expenses against tax and what you can claim for.
  12. Make the most of every customer. From day one, start a customer database so you can send them offers. It is easier to get existing customers to buy again than to find new ones.
  13. Watch out for your work-life balance. Business can easily take over. Have a finish time each day, put your work away, and make some time to relax.

If you’re serious about starting a business, Antonia Chitty has lots of advice for you:

  • Visit www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk for business ideas and events, and to get inspired by other parents with businesses
  • Buy Start a Family-Friendly Business: 23 brilliant business ideas for mums (and how to tell which is right for you) which Antonia has co-authored with Helen Lindop. Released 15th September.
  • Check out www.themumpreneurguide.co.uk for a book specially designed for mums who want to start a family friendly business. It covers issues from business planning to childcare, finances to setting aside time for you.

A brilliant guest post by the fab Helen Lindop

Many mums are starting businesses so they can spend time with their children while they are little, but still have an income. That income could be anything from a few pounds to put towards the Christmas budget to a full-time income or more. But most choose to run a part-time business until their children start school, and sometimes longer.

For some mums, getting their business idea is easy. It’s what they have always wanted to do, a chance to turn their passion into a means of earning an income. But what if you’re stuck for ideas?

A good place to start is by thinking about what you can give to your business and what you want from it.  How many hours a week can you spend on your business? And when will these hours be – weekends, evenings or when the children are at school? If you don’t have any time during office hours without children around, it would be difficult to run a business that needed you to spend time on the phone to clients, for example. How much money are you aiming to earn? With all this in mind, you’ll be able to drop the business ideas that sound great but that won’t work for you.

As you’re a mum you’ll probably be short of time, energy and business experience.  This makes franchises, party plans and direct selling attractive options. These can work well, but they aren’t for everyone and you need to research them carefully before you part with your money and time. Direct selling schemes and party plans can give you useful skills and the confidence to move on to your own business later, though.

Do you have a skill that lends itself well to freelancing, such as web design, graphic design, marketing or writing? If so, you could offer your services to companies who need an extra pair of hands for a big project, or small companies that don’t need to employ someone with these skills on a permanent basis.  If these appeal to you but you don’t have the right background, you could take a course and do some work free-of-charge to build up your skills and experience.

Still stuck? Look at your talents, skills, interests and passions.  Look a little deeper, so instead of thinking ‘I’m good at cooking’, think about why you like cooking – is it because you like seeing people enjoying your food? Do you love to create something that looks and tastes wonderful? Is it because you like to explore other cultures through their food?  Or are you good at cooking, but don’t enjoy it enough do it all day? All of these can give you useful clues. Don’t be afraid to discard ideas that would make a good business but that don’t grab you. 

Now you know more about your talents and passions look around for opportunities to use them. Read magazines, newspapers and websites, listen to friends – what problems do people have that you can solve? You don’t have to invest lots of money in inventing an ingenious new product, sometimes all people want is someone to take care of their pets while they are on holiday!

If you decide what you want from a business, look at the talents and interests you have to offer, listen to what people want and then add a sprinkle of creativity, you’ll have a recipe for a great business.

Helen Lindop is the owner of www.businessplusbaby.com, a website dedicated to helping mums of babies and toddlers start their own businesses. Her book ‘Start a Family Friendly Business: 23 Brilliant Business Ideas for Mums’ (co-written with Antonia Chitty) is out on 15th September. On 15th September Helen and Antonia will be giving away useful bonuses for mums who are starting a business. To find out how to get hold of the bonuses, sign up to Helen’s newsletter.


This book is just fab for any mum thinking about running her own business. It touches on everything and presents it in a myriad of interesting ways.

mum ultrapreneur

 There is an engrossing fictional story that is easy to relate to of a new mum grappling with a baby and a business idea and all the blocks she over comes on the way.

There are lots of  very inspirational case studies of a whole host of successful  mums and their business ideas and tips.

There is a great ection for you to begin your plan and to really focus on how you can grow a business.

The book isn’t just practical it is wise, emotive, inspiring and gritty too. It doe not pretend there won’t be blocks but it encourages you to look for your inner wisdom and external support. It’s essential message is you need to sparkle to succeed.

This is a wondeful book to get you started down the route of becoming a mumpreneur. it is well worth a read!

Mumultrapreneur is written by Susan Odev and Mark Weeks, published by Bookshaker and costs £12  The accompanying website is  www.mum-ultrapreneur.com