Hannah Martin is founder of a successful website, Talented Ladies Club, with daily business advice and inspiration to help you grow a business you love. Here she gives some top business advice to all those ‘talented ladies and gents’ out there who are running childminding businesses.
When you hear the word ‘entrepreneur’ you probably don’t picture someone changing nappies, wiping sticky fingers and picking children up from school.
And yet, as a childminder that’s exactly what you are – you’re a business owner. And while your day-to-day life may look very different from Richard Branson’s, you can just as proudly call yourself an entrepreneur.
Of course, as a childminder, caring for children is just one aspect of your business. Like every other business owner you also need to juggle other tasks, such as admin, accounting and marketing. And to help you, here are four tips for growing a sustainable business that fits you and your life.
1) Do the maths
Don’t wait until the January self-assessment deadline is looming large before you look at your numbers.
Keeping on top of your finances throughout the year will not just avoid any last minute panic, but you’ll be able to spot any unnecessary expenses, and generally keep in control of your incomings and outgoings.
2) Be SMART with goals
When you work for yourself it’s easy to find yourself caught up in the day to day running of your business, and lose sight of where your business is going; and whether it’s even the kind of business you even want to run.
This is where SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely) goals come in. By setting yourself clear goals, you can keep track of your business’ progress, tweak it where necessary and celebrate any important milestones – keeping you motivated and confident.
3) Who’s looking after YOU?
In a business where you may spend all day caring for the wellbeing of others, it’s very easy to forget to make sure that you’re okay. But if you don’t take the time to care for your own needs, you’ll soon run out of steam.
To avoid becoming exhausted, resentful and even unwell, you need to make sure you get enough:
- Quality sleep – take time to unwind before bedtime, ban electronics from the bedroom and sleep in a cool, dark room.
- Healthy food – you will be making sure your children eat healthily – but include yourself in meal planning! Eat a balanced diet, and avoid the temptation of snacking on sugary treats. Drink plenty of water too.
- Exercise – join in with the children’s physical activity and build in some regular (fun) exercise for when your mindees go home. Swimming, jogging, dance or Zumba classes, yoga are all great ways of boosting your energy levels.
- Me-time – make time every week to do things you love just because. It could be reading, walking, the cinema, calling a friend… the important thing is to make time for YOU.
4) Stay in touch
It can be lonely working for yourself, so find ways to keep in touch with friends, family and other like-minded entrepreneurs.
Joining or building a local network of other small business owners (especially other childminders) can make a big difference to how you feel. We all have down days when it all feels too hard to carry on, and having people who understand and can remind you of why you started your business can help to lift you up and re-energise you.
It’s also fantastic to have a network of supportive people you can recommend (and them you) and swap skills and ideas with.
For more ideas and inspiration, go to Talented Ladies Club.