For most new mums, the question of if and when they go back to work is a big one. Many of us don’t have a choice, and it can heart-wrenching to leave our newfound bundles of joy in someone else’s care while we go to a place we would rather not be, working in a job we’d rather not be doing. Caroline Ashworth explains how she overcame this dilemma by setting up her own business so she could take new baby Alfie to work with her.
Nearly two years ago, Caroline was a successful restaurant manager. After being effectively forced out of her job when she fell pregnant, she re-trained and founded pre-school activity business Jittabugs which gives parents the chance to experience the whole gamut of yoga, massage, signing and physical play with their babies. In just a year, Jittabugs now has 9 franchises being run in England and Scotland, and has received a ‘Highly Commended’ certificate from Mums in Business for achievements to date.
The fact that Caroline started Jittabugs when her baby was just 6 months old
makes this even more impressive. And you’re certainly not alone if you are wondering how she managed it. For Caroline, it seems it was more a question of motivation than anything else. “I think it helped that I had already run a theatre school of my own,” Caroline tells us, “but the key was my baby boy. I wanted to make him proud of his mummy”.
For most mums, the idea of setting up their own business is a truly daunting one, and is something that many dismiss as impractical or beyond their means. But there is plenty of advice available for anyone looking to start out on their own – The Business Link and Chamber of Commerce are both great places to go as a first port of call. They run some excellent free seminars and one-to-one sessions in and around the UK that will take you through the main questions you need to consider when deciding if being your own boss is indeed the right thing for you.
And if money is the big obstacle for you, they can advise you on the best institutions to approach for funding. Caroline received a £3,000 loan from her local council to start Jittabugs, for example.
If starting from scratch is just a bit too big a step, then a franchise might be the perfect compromise for you. For an up-front fee, you effectively buy an ‘off the peg’ business with existing branding, training and systems. The great thing about a franchise is that you know the business works, and having belief that your business can succeed is absolutely critical to it’s success, no matter what it is.
And is it worth it? “I must admit I don’t enjoy doing admin in the evenings,” says Caroline, “But being my own boss and being able to spend time with my boy and see all the other babies each week makes it so rewarding”. And it sounds like you can make a good living from it too. You can work as many or as few hours as you want, making £40 profit per hour-long session. Caroline estimates that once they are up and running, Jittabugs mumpreneurs can earn £1,600 a month whilst working only 12 hours a week.
To find out more about the Jittabugs franchise opportunity, you can contact Caroline on 01200 44 26 23 or visit www.jittabugs.com. You can also qualify for a massive £500 discount on your Jittabugs franchise if you quote “Family Friendly Working“.