Your Name and Age:
Rachel Jeffries 32.
Tell us about your family:
I am a full time mummy to two beautiful daughters, Emily 12 and Harriet’s just about to turn 4. We live in Dorset with our dog Daisy. In 2007 our world was turned upside down when my husband passed away very suddenly from an aggressive virus, he went from having flu like symptoms to having a fit and being in intensive care to brain dead in less than 24 hours. My youngest was only just 8 months old.
I used to be a civil servant processing people’s claims for benefit; I am on a career break from the Department for Work and Pensions due back in Sept 2011. I really did not plan on having my own business but the opportunity found me and I thought why not. I’ve nothing to lose if it fails but everything to gain when I succeed. So much has happened in the last few years that I knew I did not want to go back into the office environment having the daily pressures of meeting targets and appraisals etc. My priorities have changed since becoming a widow at 29, family is very important to me. I have lost a lot of confidence and working from home allows me to move forward in my own time, I have been able to join networking groups for mums and interact with other small businesses via social networking and meet some amazing people along the way. I need to be there for my children, but I know I need to regain my confidence and keep my brain active.
When did you launch?
I bought www.TotsAndTiddlersToys.com in June 2009 and what a year it has been! The website had been trading for a while but very low key and had been in limbo for several months just running itself as the owner decided she wanted to go back into teaching following her maternity leave, she missed the interaction too much. So I had the basis of a business but injected lots of life too it, completely redesigning the logo and website and the products I stock – a massive learning curve!
How did you get started?
I went with the initial website just to get used to things and gradually my confidence grew. I began to make changes and within doing so I doubled the hits straight away which encouraged me to follow my instincts and make more changes.
What research did you do before launching?
Because www.TotsAndTiddlersToys.com had already launched and was generating sales I did a lot of research in what colors mean and what sort of sites they should be used for – it was fascinating I never knew all this existed but it makes sense!
How have you funded the business?
Personnel money which was limited, meaning at times progress can be slow to get me to my final goal. But from talking to other mums in businesses this is a common theme.
How do you promote your business?
I promote my business by doing lots of local events within the community, word of mouth, simple ads in shop windows promoting the toy party plan side of the business I launched in late September. I have a few paid ads but not much because I don’t have the budget and I also use social networking sites. Joining networking groups such as my local one www.networkingmummiesdorset.co.uk has also been invaluable as mums will support mums and in my line of business there is always a child’s party or birthday going on.
What has worked best?
Word of mouth generally as it’s still a bit early to tell how my paid adverts are performing as they have not been running long.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
The amount of work you have to do but luckily I am not afraid of hard work!!
How do you fit in work with the family?
Many late nights are spent sat at the computer, that is one of the great things about running your own business you can choose the hours to work to fit in with your family’s needs. I am able to work around my children.
If you have a flexible working business opportunity, please explain briefly what you offer and how people find out more.
I am in the process of setting up a party plan opportunity and already been approached by local mums, I know it’s the perfect way to move the business forward. It’s also a great confidence boost for me that mums want to be involved with www.TotsAndTiddlersToys.com so watch this space!
Your website link:
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