Name of Business: Motherhood Diaries Global Magazine for Parents (www.motherhooddiaries.com)
Your Name and Age: Leyla Preston, 32 years old
Tell us about your family: I am married (13 years) and have two busy boys – Aron (3 years old) and Aidan (21 months old)
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
I was working towards my law career right before I found out I was pregnant with my eldest son. My pregnancy was the perfect excuse to quit my job at a City of London law firm because I hated how competitive and corporate it was, and I probably would have never seen my children if I had gone back to my old job.
When did you launch? I actually launched the online magazine in May 2013, but I have been blogging since June 2010.
How did you get started? I have always wanted to own my own successful business after looking up to my dad who has his own successful design engineering business. I always said to myself that if I ever get pregnant, I would quit my job and have my husband support me for a while until I get my business off the ground. I set up a blog of my son’s pregnancy in the last months of my employment (circa June 2010) and a Law Consultancy (www.llawconsultancy.co.uk) to keep my feet in the legal industry. The blog grew through recommendations from my friends and family and I took some time off from L Law Consultancy as I didn’t have the capacity to work on it as much as I could. So, I finally launched the magazine in May 2013, two years after I set up my blog.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business?
Being able to sing to my own tune and pick my own hours (which is barely a few hours in the day at the moment!) But, most importantly, I love how I can create such a personal relationship with my readers and my clients and not have to answer to someone higher up than me. I have always had a problem with working to someone else’s goals (and pocket!), but most of all, I have found it difficult to see how cutthroat and corporate some businesses behave. I vowed, when I started my business, I would always keep to my original plan and never sway from that, which is to offer great quality factual and real opinionated content for free to parents from around the globe on the topics of preconception, pregnancy, labour/birth and parenting. And, as it’s my business, I am free to keep to that mantra without someone telling me something different.
What’s the thing you least enjoy about running your own business?
The biggest constraint by far has been time. Managing two boys and a new business requires efficiency and enough time to work on both without neglecting the other. But, because my boys come first, I only end up getting about two hours in the day to work on my business, and that sometimes means two hours spread through the day! Doesn’t help speed the process of growing my business along… so, I do not enjoy the stress that comes with knowing that if I had 8 hours a day to work on my business (or more) then I would be much further along in my business plan than I am now.
What has worked well about your business?
Some of the major parenting sites are starting to come off as quite corporate and generic now, with a lot of advertising pushed down our throats. I have found that gentle advertising, but keeping the main objective of the magazine a free resource site to parents has worked well in my favour. Also, I am a social media fanatic and I work on my own social media accounts. This means I can post whatever I read on the internet on my affiliated social media accounts which I believe are relevant to the current pregnancy and parenting issues in the UK today. I keep a virtual open door policy to everyone who has any questions or comments and I always welcome parents and parents-to-be to write from the heart about their wealth of knowledge and experience. I only ever make very minor edits to their work to make their posts readable. A lot of them are actually fantastic writers because they write from the heart and they are talking about their own experiences.
I have made a lot! I made the very naive mistake of going with a Californian-based website design company whom I knew nothing about (and who ended up outsourcing their work to a company in India), but they quoted cheaper to build websites than other web companies. They ran off with £800 of my money and only produced a very basic site after 9 months of chasing. I then employed very local website designers who completed the work in 3 months for a similar price.
How do you fit in work with the family? Is your partner supportive of your business?
I fit in my work around my children and my partner works long hours, so I find that the time I sacrifice for my business is with my husband and not my children. It is virtually impossible to work on anything during the day, so I either get up early in the morning before the kids wake up or I stay up late and crash out at night. I have done both in the past and I suffered from exhaustion twice last year.
Are you working towards a financial goal for your business?
I plan to further monetise the site through other channels, so that I can put the money back into refurbishing the website. I also plan to print a quarterly newsletter to subscribers for a small fee.
Would you ever give up your business to do something else?
No, I have worked too hard to give up my business now. But, I have other business ideas that I am looking to work on when I am able to hire someone to run the magazine for me, but this is in my ten year plan and not something I can think about in the immediate future.
Do you have an exit strategy?
If the business, doesn’t work in the long run, I will always have my law career to fall back on when the children are older. I am glad that I started a business after finishing my studies and gaining my qualifications because that means I am always able to fall back onto something else should my magazine fail.
Have you had your ‘I’ve made it’ moment? Tell us about it. If not when do you think it will come?
Not yet, but I’m slowly seeing that light at the end of the tunnel. I only started monetising the site in November, so it has been a slow, but steady site. I think I will feel like ‘I’ve made it’, when I can safely secure ongoing paid work from brands who wish to advertise in the magazine.
Where do you hope to be in five years’ time?
I would like to have hired at least two part-time employees to work on the most important sections of the website, i.e. the general running of the site and managing the social media accounts.
If you have a flexible working business opportunity, please explain briefly what you offer and how people find out more.
If there are any interns/beginners/volunteers out there who are looking for online work experience, especially in running a parenting magazine, are parents/parents-to-be themselves who would like to work in social media, or can produce high quality content related to pregnancy and parenting, then I am offering work experience in return for advertising and marketing their businesses/blogs/work in the magazine, through all the affiliated social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn), with the promise of paid work when the magazine becomes more established. Please email email@example.com or fill out this online form for more information: http://motherhooddiaries.com/motherhood-diaries-author-and-contributor-form/
Your website link: www.motherhooddiaries.com
Discount for Family Friendly Working readers: For all advertorials all Family Friendly Working readers will enjoy a 50% discount offer until the end of March 2014. These will cost just £70 (or £90 if written by me). You will still receive full advertising benefit of your advertorial being published in the magazine, circulated via all the affiliated social media sites (i.e. Facebook page, Facebook group, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest) and posted to hundreds of subscribers in our weekly email newsletter.