Thursday, 3 February 2011

Don't know where to start? You need Joanne!

Since I entered the world of Twitter I have met some fabulous and inspiring ladies, Joanne is definitely one of the top ladies on my list. She is everyone's cheerleader and always has "a virtual" smile on her face.
She offers really good value business services in social media and pr and when you see how successful she is doing it for herself then you will definitely want to give her a try!

I asked Joanne to guest blog for us and tell us all how she got about starting her business, and here she is. Over to Joanne!
Monica x

Unless you are mega rich or working a full time paid job funding your small business idea can be a real headache. For myself and other budding mumpreneurs - and I’m mainly thinking in terms of those who are full time mums with small children at home with them under 5, this can be the make or break factor when proceeding with a business idea.

So how did I get started??

Well as crazy as it sounds my initial ideas formulated during the end of my pregnancy with Megan, Charlie had not long turned one and I had enjoyed the first year of motherhood but was in need of brain stimulation. So what was my plan?? I bought £56.65 of wooden fillers from a friend who ran a shop and sold them at school fetes and village carnivals. Daddy Moo and Charlie would come along help me set up and come back towards the end and help me pack up.

I did this for 2 reasons:-

To gage interest in the fillers
Generate money I needed to drive Charlie Moo’s forward

I actually sold products at Ferndown Carnival 2 weeks before my due date. Once Megan was born (August 2008) I started working on my website … well what else do you do at 3am up breastfeeding. So now I had a website ( through which to sell but this doesn’t happen over night so I still needed to do local events. I would take Megan with me as newborns tend to sleep most of the day and Charlie and Daddy Moo would enjoy sometime together. But I still needed more capital to invest in things such as branding and my business identity.

I replied to a media request in January 2009 for Take a Break about career changes after children. I was paid £150 and generated National Media coverage for Charlie Moo’s. I had my first 100 bags made for me by a local crafter. These sold really well and quickly so I started making them myself. At this point I had a product, a website, a brand but I needed to take it one step further.

I joined the Prince’s Trust Business Mentor Scheme in April 2009, a four day intensive course at the end of which I received a fabulous business mentor and support for 2 years. I also benefited from a £200 ‘will it work grant’ where I made up x amount of pre-filled bags which I send out to businesses as samples and I sold at events.

I became an expert in PR and marketing via social media and ultimately have saved myself a lot of money. 2.5 years later I still haven’t needed to seek larger investments. Sometimes I have to wait to pursue new ideas as Charlie Moo’s funds itself, which I’m really proud of as I have not risked my families finances nor taken out loans etc … Now with the skills I have learned I'm keen to teach and share with other mums looking at taking the step forward into becoming self-employed business owners.
You can find lots of useful advice, tips and cases studies on my blog and low cost services from me. So pop along and say 'hello'.

Joanne Dewberry

Dorset Business Mum of the Year
Highly Commended PR Comp 2009
Future 100 Young Entrepreneurs 2009
TGF Best Rated Awards 2009
Langtry Manor Best Green Business Finalist 2010
Nominated MADS Blog Awards 2010
Short Listed Make your Mark in the Markets 2010
Short Listed mumsandworking Awards Best Parent 2010, and

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