How long are you willing to stick with your business idea before you give up?
Even though it took Esther Radnor two years to start making money with her business she stuck it out because of her passion.
Esther started her business from her North London apartment after the birth of her eldest son. She knew that she wanted to start a business but she lacked many of the skills necessary. In an effort to scratch her own itch, she started Mum Plus Business. Her business offers mums flexible and practical career choices.
In the following interview, Esther shares how she started her business, the challenges, and the ways she is making money with Mum Plus Business.
Success Harbor: What were you doing prior to starting Mum Plus Business?
Esther Radnor: After completing my degree in Communication Science I worked in PR in the city. When I became a mum I didn’t want to return to a full time job and decided to start my own business. This would enable me to develop myself whilst also being able to set my own hours and work flexibly.
Success Harbor: How did you get the idea for Mum Plus Business?
Esther Radnor: Whilst I was on maternity leave from my first son I decided that I wanted to start my own business. Although I had experience in PR and Marketing I felt that I lacked some of the skills necessary. I needed someone to supplement what I knew and also to provide support where necessary for my start-up. There wasn’t such a service out there that would connect mums in order to start a business together which led me to start Mum Plus Business.
I noticed that there were so many mothers in a similar position to myself. Mothers that wanted to work and develop themselves but not being able to find suitable work that would give them the flexibility they needed. Mum Plus Business offers a free collaborate program helping members to exchange skills, find support or a business partner. The site also offers a wealth of free business advice and a job board dedicated to flexible work opportunities.
Success Harbor: What were your goals when you started your business?
Esther Radnor: To create a service that could make a real difference to the lives of mothers. Offering every mother the chance to develop themselves and their careers without having to compromise on precious time with their family.
Success Harbor: What were the biggest challenges early on?
Esther Radnor: The biggest challenge initially was to get people to the website. You start off with this beautiful site, ‘your baby’ and expect the traffic to come to you. I had to build the visitors and social media following through partnerships with other supportive organisations, social media marketing and Search Engine Optimization.
Success Harbor: How did you get your first customers?
Esther Radnor: Our first customers found us through social media and Google. It was a fantastic feeling to get our first customers. It took a few years of hard work and dedication until we finally had our first paying clients. It is often that during this time entrepreneurs give up and think that they are never going to make it work. Staying determined is so important!
Success Harbor: People would not stick with a business for multiple years without paying customers. Why did you not give up?
Esther Radnor: I didn’t give up because I am so passionate about what I am doing. I have always loved what I am doing and although I didn’t have paying customers during those first few years I could see the business growing in terms of audience and partnerships which I knew would eventually lead me to a profitable business too.
Success Harbor: How long did it take you to start earning money through advertising, job listings, sponsorship and consultancy services?
Esther Radnor: 2 years.
Success Harbor: What were the most effective ways to market your business early on?
Esther Radnor: When we just launched the website we got in touch with the local council who helped us promote Mum Plus Business to the local community. Through our local council we formed partnerships with leading national organisations including Jobcentre Plus and Universities who referred people to our website.
Success Harbor: How do you identify the right partnerships for your business and how do you make those connections?
Esther Radnor: We are always looking to work with other supportive organisations that could benefit our audience. We make the connections through attending networking events, contacts from other organisations that we already work in partnership with or simply contacting them via email.
Success Harbor: What are the most effective marketing channels today?
Esther Radnor: These days we get most of our traffic through Social Media and the search engines. Building up your social media following and learning about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) have been the most effective ways to attract traffic to our site.
Success Harbor: What is your business model?
Esther Radnor: The vast majority of our services are free as we do not feel it is effective to charge mothers who are trying to develop their flexible career with additional costs. Our model is to create a large vibrant community by offering a wide variety of services. Our community can then benefit from more specialized services or we can charge external companies money to offer their services or advertise with us.
Success Harbor: How do you make money?
Esther Radnor: We make most of our money through the following channels: advertising, job listings, sponsorship and consultancy services.
Success Harbor: What is the biggest mistake that you have made Mum Plus Business?
Esther Radnor: Not learning about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and building more partnerships from the start. I think we all have a habit of concentrating on our strengths and sometimes this should be directed to our weaknesses.
Success Harbor: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Esther Radnor: When you are working on something that you are so passionate about it can be easy to get distracted from the bigger picture and develop ‘tunnel vision’. Take time to plan and sit back to look at what it is that you are trying to achieve. By planning on a regular basis you make sure that you are staying on the right track to develop your business.
Success Harbor: What are some of your favorite books that have helped your business?
Esther Radnor: The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries.
Success Harbor: If you could train someone to be a successful entrepreneur what would be the first thing you’d teach them?
Esther Radnor: How to be able to sell well. There are so many skills that are important as an entrepreneur including Marketing, PR and the ability to stay determined but being able to sell well is critical. You need to be able to sell your ideas to potential customers, investors or employees. You need to be able to sell you vision, ideas and the importance of the values that you promote. Aside from this you need to be able to sell you products or services.
Success Harbor: How can people connect with you or find out more about Mum Plus Business?
Esther Radnor: You can find out more at www.mumplusbusiness.co.uk and follow us @MumPlusBusiness and Facebook.com/mumplusbusiness.