Alli Price from Motivating Mum began her business based on her skills as a life coach, but quickly found it took her in a different direction. Here's her story...
What were you doing when you decided to create your own business?
After travelling overseas for about five years and approximately 28 countries, I knew I had to start working again – well, as something other than a waitress or bartender!
What inspired you to start the business? When did you officially start it?
I knew I wanted to help people as, after working in hotels and as a production manager (making commercials for Target etc), I was so sick of working for big companies - having to pretend like I cared about making them more money! It was at this time I decided to train to be a life coach and have my own coaching practice, which later evolved into Motivating Mum.
What was your start-up cost? How did you acquire the money and what did you use it for?
My start-up cost was about $700 for a website and business cards – I paid my web designer off as I couldn’t even afford to pay the lump sum!
What was the biggest obstacle?
In the beginning, the biggest obstacle was finding mums to coach. At that stage I had no idea networking really existed for anyone other than corporates and couldn’t afford advertising. I would basically be in play centres asking mums I was in conversation with what they did for work in the hope they would ask me back and I could let them know!
How did you rise above the tough days? Those days when people said no, things fell through or someone said they didn’t ``get it’’.
Luckily for me I was trained as a coach, so I was well prepared for dealing with all those things. Plus I’m one of those people who completely believes in the journey and that things happen for a reason and use these experiences as a learning experience.
How long did it take for your business to become profitable?
Ba ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
What do you love most about being your own boss? What is the downside?
I love getting up when I want, staying in my pyjamas if I want (and yes, I do it), I love watching Dr Phil while I work, I love being in control of where the business is going and not having to negotiate with anyone, I love being able to create from the ground up and say ‘this is mine’, I love being at home for my kids.
Downsides would be so insignificant for me they’re not worth mentioning, I simply love what I do.
How have you been using social media to grow your business?
I most definitely have! It’s free and my target market use it! I use social media to connect with them, help them, promote what I do, develop cross-promotional relationships with other biz mums and pick up great business ideas I can use for Motivating Mum.
How have you been using public relations to grow your business? What strategies have you used?
I have sent out a couple of press releases (including following up on them) and have been covered a couple of times as a result, but not in any major way.
Who are your entrepreneurial role models? What's so inspiring about them?
Laura Tenison, the founder of JoJo Maman Bebe in the UK, has been a big inspiration for me – she built her business completely herself, takes care of her staff, spoke at little events like mine and is just so generous with her time and energy even though she’s become very successful.
How have you acquired the skills and knowledge you have to make your business successful?
I initially trained as a life coach before starting the business and then everything else I have learned from there has been in the business sessions I run – from the presenters and the mums in business! Going to my events has been my eternal little fountain of learning and it is amazing the breadth of information I now possess. Google has also been fabulous – anything I don’t know, I Google.
What's the best piece of business advice you ever received?
Making money shouldn’t be the initial focus of the business – it should be on the service or product you deliver. For example, the aim of my business is to help mums. If I do this well, then the money should follow.
What is your favourite product/service that you offer?
I love, love the phone mentoring. It’s amazing how much mums can get from just 30 minutes of being able to talk through their challenges or difficulties with another person – especially when at home alone a lot. It gives mums the opportunity to get out of their own head and get some perspective on their business.
Also, as it’s on the phone, mums stuck at home with kids or isolated geographically have as much opportunity to access it as city mums.
Your three tips for aspiring entrepreneurs:
1. Write down your priorities and why you’re starting a business i.e. is it for flexibility, money etc? Then pop them somewhere you can see them and review regularly. Many mums start out running a business wanting to be with their kids and then find they lose track of their ‘whys’ and end up running a business 24/7.
2. Social media is great for reaching your target market but make sure you research, not only how to use them, but the etiquette on using them. You can do more harm than good to your fledgling business by jumping in without checking the rules first.
3. Get out and network! You might feel like you don’t have the time or energy but networking is amazing for:
- Getting clientele/customers
- Generating word-of-mouth via people you meet
- Finding recommendations of good suppliers
- Learning more tips for your business
- Being inspired by what others are doing to get good ideas for your business
- Gaining motivation and inspiration by getting out of the house and interacting with interesting people
What are your three tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?