1) Maxine, what’s your story? How did you become an entrepreneur – What hats did you wear before creating your business?
I started my business in Dec 2016 after I decided I wanted to help parent/child focused businesses with their digital marketing. I’ve been in digital marketing for a long time working with various industries and when I had my daughter in 2014 I got to know and see a lot of parent/child focused business that didn’t know much about digital marketing and had often launched with no marketing experience. I love these businesses so for me it was a no brainer. I was in my corporate role when I started my business working 32 hours a week and I had Friday’s off with my daughter so I did the business in the evenings mostly, which wasn’t always easy I’ll be honest but I knew how much it meant to me and my husband is incredibly supportive so together we made it all come true and since October this year I now do the business full time.
2) Who are your role models and why?
I don’t have any specific ones because I value all the lovely business owners I meet through my work, through communities and I feel each and every one is a role model to me. Seeing them do their business, what they learn, their advice, how they manage parenting and being a business owner, it’s all so inspiring and amazing.
3) How would people closest to you describe you in 3 words?
Oooh what a good question. I’ll ask them, hang on…so I got back motivated, kind and passionate – that’s nice.
4) What is your favourite entrepreneurial brand? Why?
I wouldn’t describe it as a brand but more a community and that is Doing it for the Kids – which was created by a freelance graphic designer, Frankie Tortora earlier this year and it’s amazing. She has created a community for freelancing and self employed parents to come together and share their highs, their lows and everything in between and I think this is so powerful. She’s a lovely lady and incredibly modest and I don’t think she knows just what she has done and created. I first “met” Frankie online not long after I launched and she has been such a support to me since I launched my business and a friend. Anyone entering this world where we want to have work that works or flex appeal and needs some reassuring virtual hugs, guidance, advice, support, cup of tea buddies then this is the group for you, without question.
5) Who would be your dream contact in the business world? Hmmm, that is a really good question. I think I’d quite like a nice cup of tea and biscuit with Reese Witherspoon actually because not only is she a brilliant actress ( I’m a huge film buff) but she is a mum to three children and she launched her own business called Draper James all based on her passion of being a southerner inspired by her grandparents. So I wouldn’t mind picking her brains about her passions, business advice and that lovely southern style.
6) What was a recent funny incident with your child (Ava)?
I took her to the nurse the other day to have her flu vaccine, which she was a star for and after a few days of being a total minx I did worry how it would go. Anyway, the nurse let her choose two stickers, which she held onto and then in the car she decided that I should wear them and she stuck them on as I got her in the car seat, then she laughed and when “boobie stickers mummy!” She stuck them right where the nipples sit on my top – well, moments like this are what’s it’s all about. Our little comedian who’s been making us chuckle since 2014.
7) What are you reading right now?
I have just started reading The Supermum Myth by Anya Hayes and Dr Rachel Andrew and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in properly as I think the “Supermum” mentality is something we need to get rid of. I think with Social Media now it’s so easy to see other people and think they have the better life, they’re a better mum, they have their stuff together and then feel bad about yourself, but no one is perfect, we all make mistakes, none of us are born parents – we become parents and then learn what that means. I know for a fact I put way too much pressure on myself to be what I think should be “the perfect mum” so I’m hoping this book will help me shake that right off.
8) What is your biggest learning from starting your own business? What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur?
The pressure – I learnt a lot about the amount of pressure I was putting on myself and it wasn’t good. You need to take that off now. When you start your own business, unless you’ve done it before and have some idea, it is all completely new and you are going to learn all the time, again, like parenting, make mistakes, think you’re not going enough, worry about competition and really there is no need, you are you, you’re doing what you’re doing and stay focused on that. Don’t put the pressure on because otherwise the enjoyment and reasons you started this in the first place fade away. Also, give yourself a break, you must switch off and set expectations for yourself and others from the start. Don’t be checking emails past midnight, don’t always be on and on your phone, you will burn out. Recognise you need help and ask for it, take a break from the business and come back refreshed and stronger.
9) What is your childcare & work arrangement like at the moment? Was it a challenge while you were starting out?
My daughter started nursery when I went back to work in 2015 and she did two days there and two days with my nan and then we had Friday’s together and that was the childcare situation when I launched the business. I was working during Monday-Thursday in my corporate role and then did the business in the evenings, so my childcare was always fine. Leading up to October 30 free hours come into play and she had to go
a third day to qualify so we decided to put her in on a Friday, which meant I then had a whole day on the business. I felt guilty, as this had always been our day and it won’t be long till she starts school however the time I could use to build the business would mean the quicker I could leave the corporate role and do the business full time meaning if I wanted any day of the week with her I could. She is still in nursery three days and with my nan for two as I think it’s important they get as much time with Ava as possible, but having the flexibility to now have whatever time with her is so valuable.
10) Where do you hope to be in a year with your business?
Just still loving what I have already started this year and helping these fabulous business get bigger and bolder in digital marketing so more and more parents know who they are. Working my way and showing our daughter that work can be what you make it.