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Your Working Mum Questions Answered By Retail Guru Wendy Hallett MBE

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Your Working Mum Questions Answered By Retail Guru Wendy Hallett MBE

Your Working Mum Questions Answered By Retail Guru Wendy Hallett MBE

Missed our QA with inspiring businesswoman Wendy Hallett? Find all the expert advice she shared here

The idea of starting and setting up a business when you have a baby is daunting ndash; but do-able. And thats what Wendy Halley MBE addressed in Facebooks Working Mums Club QA.

I think it’s very stressful to try and focus on work related things while caring for babies or young children. Even now when my children are teenagers, I find it stressful. My advice would be to try and obtain some family/friend support so that you have free time to focus on coming up with ideas.

I didn’t read books about business, and tend not to now. I found the best place for advice was from people already running businesses

Doing something like this can be quite lonely so it’s worth considering whether you’re the sort of person who loves total control and therefore wants ownership and for it just to be you, or whether you want to do your business in a partnership.

I agree that once you’re in a company and have built your own reputation, the power to negotiate is much more in your court. However, it’s still worth at interview stage exploring different possibilities even if you end up accepting a full-time role with the understanding that there will be a review once you’re established. Use examples in an interview of women you’re aware of who have made this flexible arrangement work and how they’ve been successful.

Use examples in an interview of women you’re aware of who have made this flexible arrangement work and how they’ve been successful

Present yourself as a flexible person, and not somebody that would want hard and fast rules about how this will work ndash; explain you know the impetus will be on you to make this work, that it’s down to you as well as (if not more) than the employer. As an aside, timewisejobs.co.uk is an excellent site for part-time roles.

Another excellent way of promoting your business is entering awards. I did this and it was a great way of getting my business known in the fashion industry. Everywoman runs a number of different awards for all sizes of businesses ndash; no fee to enter. Any of the social media is good, too, and bloggers are so important ndash; we use them a lot in the fashion world. You send the gifts and they’ll blog about them if they want to.

You setting boundaries about leaving on time while illustrating you don’t expect to be treated differently

Don’t underestimate how challenging it will be and I certainly found it easier not to allow myself to be distracted thinking about my baby. If flexible or part-time working is what you want, I wouldn’t give up on it. The better you are at your job, and not how many hours you put in, the more indispensable you’ll seem.

In terms of your first day, prep the night before ndash; so get your outfit ready, and leave more time than you need to get everything prepared in the morning. Don’t forget to eat breakfast!

Less is more ndash; don’t put too much in, as people just get bored reading it. And some people say don’t include personal stuff, but an interesting fact (like ‘I do paragliding’) can give an insight into the sort of person you are, e.g. you like taking risks. Although admittedly it’s unlikely you’ve spent much time paragliding when you’ve just had your baby!

One thing that may be worth considering is if there’s anybody else in your company that may want to share a job. Then you’re going in with the complete solution to offer.

When putting your case together, think about the practicalities ndash; who will do what, how will you handover, will you be contactable on the days you’re not in. But also the advantages ndash; a wider skill base, holiday cover, different approaches, and so on. I think the company absolutely gets more for their money.

Your Working Mum Questions Answered By Retail Guru Wendy Hallett MBEWendy answering your questions at MB HQ

Q: After having my baby 18 months ago, I havent gone back to work because I just dont think I can afford the childcare. Id really like to, and am aware that the longer I wait, the harder it could be to go back into the workplace.

A positive move, and an area that WBC has campaigned for, is the (up to) 2,000 childcare support that comes into play in the autumn. It’s a start but not enough. What’s a good idea is thinking about another mum you know who wants to go back to work ndash; could you both go part time and help each other with childcare?

As soon as you’ve read an email, you automatically switch into work mode and feel you need to reply

For me, one of the most stressful things when my children were small was trying to deal with work things at the same time as being there for them. Make sure you’re disciplined in not sending an email is good, so perhaps write a reply in a draft so it’s out of your head and ready to send the next day.

Sometimes getting involved in different charities and looking at how you can link your business in while doing good also can open up new avenues. I’ve done a lot with the Retail Trust, which has given me great contacts and a good profile.

You could develop your product categories or where you sell. My business is based around concessions, so maybe look at department store opportunities.

Your Working Mum Questions Answered By Retail Guru Wendy Hallett MBE

Chances are your beauty routine is prioritised somewhere underneath finalising that playdate and remembering to buy wipes. So, take the stress out with these product recommendations. The best part? The fans of these beauty buys may be famous, but they definitely wont break the bank. Happy shopping!

Your Working Mum Questions Answered By Retail Guru Wendy Hallett MBE

The converted party girl and columnist releases her book on becoming a mum

Your Working Mum Questions Answered By Retail Guru Wendy Hallett MBE

Looking For More Support To Get Your Business Idea Off The Ground? Some New Government Funding Could Help…

We met Minister for Women Nicky Morgan to talk about the governments £1million funding to help small start-ups get access to fast broadband, as well as find out how a course in London is helping mums get their businesses up and running

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