In the next in our series about working Mums, we meet Alison Davis – a Mum who quit London life and and her career to move to the country and run her own children’s entertainment business. We hear about how she manages to do both and her advice for Mums thinking of doing the same…
So Alison, tell us about your business…
Two years ago I started my own children’s entertainment business – Pop Tots, an interactive and bespoke baby and toddler class, as well as offering entertainment for birthday parties.
What made you go it alone?
After a very successful career in the travel industry we left London for life in the country and I was a stay at home Mum for 2 years. I had swapped planning meetings, managing large accounts and networking events, for baby groups, and potty training!
It was an adjustment that I found very hard and although I got into the swing of being a SAHM, I started looking for part-time work once my daughter started play-school, only to find that once I paid my nursery fees I wouldn’t be left with much to show for it.
So I decided to take the plunge and host my own baby and toddler group – but with a difference, no sitting in a circle singing twinkle twinkle little star! I wanted Pop Music, energy, a chance for kids to run around and have fun, as well as the parents; fortunately it has proven very popular and grown and grown.
What were the greatest challenges at the start?
I was constantly thinking how should I split my time? How do I still give my daughter the attention she needs, how do I give everything to my new business? It was a struggle, it still is. #mumsguilt will never go away and I know everyone feels it and wonders – are we doing the right thing?
How do you find flexible working?
Flexible?! I’m not sure such a thing exists; I feel that it is just a constant juggling act between being a Mum (good day and bad days) and being a business owner (good days and bad days). I really wish that I could give 100% to both…but it’s so difficult.
So how did you come across Another Number?
As a busy Mum and business owner I am always looking for any great tools to help me in my crazy chaos world that they call flexible working.
A couple of month’s ago I found Another Number and it really has made it much easier for me to switch off. It’s really simple to use and offers me the chance to have another number on the same handset as my personal phone whilst being managed separately.
What do you like about Another Number? Which is your favourite feature?
- I love knowing if it’s a personal or work call
- I have set a different voicemail greeting for my work calls so they sound professional
- There is a text reply to my inbound text messages when I’m not working so nobody feels ignored (just like an email out of office)
As I am always on the go, for me the best feature is that when people leave a message it is transcribed into text so I can read it as I don’t always have time to listen. Genius! No more having to take calls whilst trying to find a quiet corner at soft play whilst also trying to keep an eye on your little one, or wondering if I’ve missed a really important business opportunity
When I then have time I can sit down with my phone when I can completely focus and go through my messages and get back to people in a more professional manner.
Has Another Number helped with your work-life balance at all?
Another Number has helped me switch off work for a while so I can focus on my family whilst still being in touch and being able to manage my calls when it suits me #incontrol!
Any advice for Mums thinking of doing the same as you?
Starting your own business whilst raising your family is tough so be open to try things that may help and listen to how other people have managed it. As hard as it is, going alone and doing something that you love that fits around your family is amazing.
Flexible, juggling, organised chaos – what ever want to call it, we are all amazing with such skills – so yes you can do It. GO FOR IT!