Parents in Business Magazine

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ISSUE 12 • APRIL 2021

IN CONVERSATION WITH

Grace Trowbridge Founder of Simply Noir

Top tips for building confidence in your child

6 Inspirational parents who started a business during the pandemic BRAND VOICE Should you be speaking up more as a business 1


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CONTENTS ISSUE 12

www.parentsinbiz.co.uk

APRIL 2021

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Parents in Business

CONFIDENCE

magazine is available

Top tips for building confidence in your child

6 BOOK REVIEW How to raise entrepreneurial kids

8 IN CONVERSATION Grace Trowbridge, Simply Noir

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SPECIAL FEATURE

BRAND VOICE

6 Inspirational parents who started a business during the pandemic

Should you be speaking up more as a business

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FAMILY

IN CONVERSATION

Children and social media

Samantha Francis, Positive Parenting and Relationship Specialist

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SOCIAL CAUSE SPOTLIGHT

DIRECTORY

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Laura Rana founder of Khushi Kantha

PARENTING

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Helping parents to get their kids "talking, thinking and feeling." Cover image photo credit Agata Tiny Toes Photography www.tinytoesbyaggi.com

in digital and print.

Parents In Business directory members

SOCIAL MEDIA 5 Steps to transforming your social media pages

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CONTRIBUTORS SALIHAH AGBAJE, FOUNDER AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT SPOKEN WORLD PRODUCTIONS

Salihah is the founder and creative director at Spoken World Productions, a theatre in education organisation for children that specialises in providing physical and virtual Drama, movement and mindfulness workshops to enhance confidence, creativity and much, much more. www.spokenworldproductions.com

SHONA CHAMBERS, MARKETING CONSULTANT Shona Chambers is a Marketing Consultant and owner of Shona Chambers Marketing, a Marketing Agency based in Nunhead near Peckham. Specialising in helping Small Business Owners and Freelancers with their Marketing. *Photo credit Portrayed Photography www.shonachambersmarketing.co.uk

AMY DOWNES, CONTENT PLANNING WIZARD Amy Downes is the Content Planning Wizard. A mum of two boys under 5 (yes, it's chaos!), the social media coach is an expert at planning your posts to growing your audience, and she's sharing the tricks you need to wave a magic wand over your social media pages. www.contentplanningwizard.com

YOLANDA SISSING, FOUNDER OF SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANY PINKLEAF SOCIAL Yolanda Sissing is a former journalist now founder of the social media company PinkLeaf Social. Born in South Africa and living in the UK, Yolanda has had her fair share of challenging stereotypes wrongfully attached to a particular version of who she is or who she is supposed to be. She hasn’t always worked in Social Media, but she has always had a passion for storytelling. Yoland is a serial volunteer, conscious parent, public speaker, budding pianist and a terrible cook. www.pinkleafsocial.co.uk

KAVIN WADHAR, FOUNDER OF KIDCOACHAPP Kavin left an FTSE100 corporate role to pursue his passion. He has built KidCoachApp, which provides parents with hundreds of guided conversations for parents to get their kids talking, thinking and feeling - and building skills they will need to thrive. He lives in North London with his wife and 2 young children. www.kidcoach.app

RUBBI BHOGAL-WOOD, SOCIAL MEDIA EDUCATOR Rubbi Bhogal-Wood is a social media educator and founder of Wild & Form Digital. With 20+ years of sales & marketing experience under her belt, working for the likes of Microsoft and Facebook partners, Rubbi knows social media and is the go-to expert educator in this field. With a no jargon approach, Rubbi is known for her down-to-earth, solid social media advice that empowers audiences to grow their company, strengthen their school brand, or support their child in their social media habits. She works primarily with clients in the small business and education sectors. www.wildandformdigital.com

BHAVINI LAKHANI , GRAPHIC DESIGNER Bhavini is an independent graphic designer specialising in branding and design for print, and is a mum of 2. She’s based in Milton Keynes, with a client base that spans global brands such as Conti Espresso, Barclaycard and British Gas, as well as local businesses across the UK. www.b81designs.com

Do you like what we do? Why not become a guest contributor. Let’s collaborate contact bridget@parentsinbiz.co.uk Magazine designed by B81 Designs www.b81designs.com Disclaimer views expressed in the articles are those strictly of the authors. Every effort is made to ensure that all information given is correct but Parents in Biz limited accepts no liability for inaccuracies, errors or omissions that may occur or their consequences. This publication is copyright and may not be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form without written permission from the publisher. Copyright includes (and not limited to) the content syndication of the RSS feed of this publication. The content and images used in any of the articles of this publication. The Parents in Business Magazine logo and any of its derivatives.

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EDITOR’S WELCOME Welcome to the 12th issue of the Parents in Business Magazine. Family, inspiration and business are the focus of this issue. Shona Chambers reviews the book How to raise entrepreneurial kids. Kavin Wadhar and Salihah Agbaje have both written articles that cover children and their wellbeing. A recent report revealed that many families are navigating the rapidly changing digital world with little discussion or openness. Rubbi Bhogal-Wood, a Social Media Educator, covers children and social media. There’s never a perfect time to start a business, but even if there were, starting a business in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic probably wouldn’t qualify. Our special feature covers 6 inspirational parents who started a business during the pandemic.

This is the goal of Laura Rana, Founder of Khushi Kantha. ‘Khushi Kantha’ means ‘Happy Blanket.’ Read about this social cause on page 26. We have articles covering social media, brand activism, and so much more. Whether you are thinking of starting a business or own a business, the Parents in Business Magazine offers the best advice to support you on your business journey.

We have interviews with Grace Trowbridge, Founder of Simply Noir, and Samantha Francis, a Positive Parenting and Relationship Specialist. For many business people, achieving a profit is the main objective. However, some businesses have the main target to achieve a goal that benefits society.

Happy reading

Bridget

Bridget Daley Editor

www.parentsinbiz.co.uk

We are a Work for Good Partner and give a proportion of proceeds to charity.

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Top Tips For Building Confidence in Your Child The minds of children have been compared to sponges for a very good reason. Soaking up information and demonstrations in record time is a skill that you’ll have noticed most children have down as an art form. They are able to regurgitate that impression you do so well of your mother in law, (mastered when you thought there was nobody else looking). They’re able to tell you what pizza order with all the trimmings and toppings you should place, and they certainly know how hard to push your buttons, there’s no doubt about that. However, taking that boldness out into the world is another story. Directing that colourful personality in the right direction so that it can create a positive impact within society can be a challenge, especially when the child comes up against other bold personalities and relationship dynamics in school and social settings. Learning how to interact with others, bold or otherwise, is an important learning curve for any child. It takes time to learn how to balance the emotions of creating friendships that work and accepting there will be some that don’t. It takes patience to understand how to have conversations and the framework that comes with that (some adults are still learning that listening is an integral part of that framework!). How about the general understanding of turn taking and not just waiting your turn but ensuring you actually take your turn and not just let it pass you by. Why is this important? Because it is not the aspiration of many parents for their children to be overlooked. Waiting in line without being assertive enough to step forward and actually take your turn before somebody else does require some level of confidence. Being overlooked can be an unwelcome feeling that leads to low self

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esteem at any age but will be a naturally occurring circumstance for many, all because they are not comfortable tapping into their confidence. So, how do we encourage confidence in children? Working with children for over 10 years has brought a myriad of personalities to our attention. This past year placed us in a position where we have been able to observe personalities from alternative angles, as we expanded our services to include Drama and Performing Arts sessions via Zoom. We learned that even a screen won’t conceal low self esteem. Confidence is like a muscle that can be built up through activity, and there are different ways to look at confidence, according to Professor Steve Peters, author of The Chimp Paradox and My Hidden Chimp. In both books about mind management, Professor Peters breaks down our

complex grey matter and explains how our emotions (also known as our chimp) can sometimes overpower our logical thinking. However, when we learn how to manage our emotions, life situations are handled much more easily. The consultant psychiatrist, who specialises in assisting athletes to optimise their performance, goes on to explain that in order for us to feel confident, we need not brainwash ourselves into believing we can do something that we actually cannot do. Rather, we should place confidence in our ability of trying to do that thing well, which is far more attainable. It also helps that should the end result be a disappointing one, there will be a valid consolation-the best effort was made, and one should find it easier to try again to get an even better outcome next time. If we have to apply this in everyday scenarios for stimulating confidence in children, we


can help them to place more emphasis on the actual attempt being made at sports day, for instance, and not the outcome. Deciding to try their best at the egg and spoon race and competing against others, with the mindset of giving nothing less than their best effort, is where confidence should be placed. This is because nobody can guarantee a win, one can, however, be confident that they will try their best. If confidence is placed in the end result, the focus shifts to the fact that others may be disappointed, and there’s a possibility of a less than favourable outcome. The child then operates from a place of fear without considering the fact that they could actually enjoy racing and possibly do a great job at it

too! Therefore, remind your child to try their best to be the best version of themselves and have a good time doing so.

Model confidence We know without the shadow of a doubt that children mimic what they see. Phrases, attitudes and behaviours are all learned, and the first school is the home. Demonstrate confidence in your daily responsibilities, even if you have to fake it! Ensure you model confidence in your transactions and allow your children to be aware of how to respond from a place of strength when dealing with situations that crop up.

Praise perseverance Giving up can often be the easiest option when given the choice, so encourage and praise

perseverance. Children require cheerleaders in their grown-ups, and recognising determination even for the smallest task gives a huge boost to their dopamine levels, releasing the happy hormone and providing a surge to keep going.

Are you proud? My bonus tip is to remind the child to look inwardly and ask, ‘did I make myself proud?’ This is incredibly important for the journey towards building confidence which lives side by side with self-esteem. Building up a good understanding of self-worth means a child should learn how to acknowledge their own achievements and feel a sense of joy from within when they have met or even superseded their own expectations. Salihah Agbaje Founder and Creative Director at Spoken World Productions www.spokenworldproductions.com

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Book Review

How to Raise Entrepreneurial Kids' By Jodie Cook and Daniel Priestly Living as we are through this unsettled time, where nothing that we knew is now the same, those of us who work for ourselves may feel that we made the right choice all along. Whilst corporations struggled to adjust, providing online support for thousands of employees, for entrepreneurs, things just got more interesting. Many small business owners could pivot quickly to service their clients online, while others launched new products and services to serve a captive at-home market. For those of you who are self-employed, have you always been entrepreneurial? Did someone teach you the skills you might need to be so? Or did you learn the hard way? In ‘How to raise Entrepreneurial Kids’, Jodie describes how it came out during a meeting of 12 fellow entrepreneurs, 11 of them had parents, like hers, who had developed their own businesses whilst their children were young. She felt astounded by this at the time. But it illustrated her own life

experience that children first learn at home. This book is packed with ideas for people who want to raise their children to design their own futures. It contains case studies from famous entrepreneurs like Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Jo Malone, Oprah. As well as ways you can encourage children to be more creative, to take more responsibility for their own direction, and to learn that if you can think it up, you can probably create a business from it.

Reading it, I found myself thinking of Ken Robinsons famous TED talk about whether schools are killing creativity. Following the traditional model, children learn, then go on work experience, and are focused still on obtaining a degree and following a linear path. Jodie and Daniel provide any parent who wants a different path for their child a wealth of direction and suggestions for how to access that. Shona Chambers Freelance Marketing Consultant www.shonachambersmarketing.co.uk

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COLLABORATE WITH US Become a guest contributor and showcase your expertise amongst the Parents in Business Magazine readers in the UK and beyond Contact us info@parentsinbiz.co.uk

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In Conversation with

Grace Trowbridge, Founder of Simply Noir

Grace Trowbridge. Originally from SW London, but now residing in Hampshire. Is a mother to two children aged 4 & 1. Before launching a business, She had a successful career as a Sales and marketing manager within the Leisure Sector. 8


Tell us about your business journey.

How do your values show up in the work you do?

I launched Simply Noir last August. We are an online marketplace supporting black-owned independent businesses in the UK. Our mission is to boost the profile of black businesses and make shopping with them more accessible and convenient. Our website brings a diverse range of high-quality niche products together under the same roof, making it much easier for consumers to find distinctive and elegant products.

In every part of our business practices, I would like to think that our values are transparent. We value our customers, our vendors, our planet and our community. This is all reflected in the work we do. We only partner with brands that hold the same values and ethos as us. We give back to community causes and charities on a monthly basis, and last year, we raised over £1,000 to help feed families nationwide.

We also support black businesses by running business workshops and mentoring sessions to help them not only survive but continue their growth when the pandemic is over. Black businesses are statistically more likely to struggle, with a key element being access to funding and business support, which is why our platform is extremely important.

How did you get started in business?

I’m always of the firm belief that if you have an idea and a passion, you should always try and see this through. I never like to live with any regrets.

I actually launched my very first business about 3 years ago whilst on maternity leave with my son. I’m always of the firm belief that if you have an idea and a passion, you should always try and see this through. I never like to live with any regrets.

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What are some challenges you faced early on, and how did you overcome them? I think the biggest challenge is running a business alongside being a mum to 2 small kids. There is simply not enough time in the day, and I often feel a pang of guilt if I’m not spending enough time with the kids. To overcome this, I try to organise my schedule as much as I can to fit around the kid's nursery hours, and I keep my working hours to a minimum at the weekend. Another major challenge is not having access to huge budgets to invest in brand awareness campaigns or business systems. I, therefore, have to prioritise what areas within the business are of urgent need.

Do you have a self-care routine? Yes, I do try hard to implement a routine. I also make sure that I log out of my emails, and social media accounts every evening before bed. I'm trying to set healthy boundaries, this not only clears my head it also helps me mentally.

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How do you keep yourself motivated? I set small, measurable goals/targets each day which I then review at the end of each week. I’m also part of some great business membership groups, which is fantastic to help keep me focused and motivated. This also ensures I am accountable.

How do you manage your time between family and business? I try my best to be as organised as possible with my time. Once the kids get home from nursery in the evening, that is my time to switch off and spend time with them. I do, however, use the time after the kids are in bed to catch up on emails etc. I also try to spend quality family time at

the weekend. We are very much an outdoorsy family. So we love nothing more than exploring beautiful Hampshire.


What have been your proudest moments? Having my business recognised by Jacquline Gold, CEO of Ann Summers, early this year. Receiving this feedback from someone that is so inspirational was a really proud and wow moment for me. ‘I really loved your passion and determination to develop a platform and community for black-owned UK

businesses. Cole and Halle are adorable too! Your beautiful online marketplace captured my eye, and I see great potential in your business, showcasing talented black artisans and designers. It was a no-brainer that Simply Noir had to be selected as one of my top three 2020 #WOW winners. Just fabulous!’

Who or what inspires you? My kids, are my biggest inspiration. www.simplynoir.co.uk Image photo credit Agata Tiny Toes Photography www.tinytoesbyaggi.com


Helping Parents to Get Their Kids "Talking, Thinking And Feeling". My name is Kavin Wadhar, and I am a dad of two young kids. I am married and live in London with my wonderful wife, Emma. Just like all parents, we have a very busy life (even before the Covid-19 situation!) – juggling work, home, kids etc. It always feels like the kids are growing up too fast, and before long, they will be lost to “big” school and social media! Have you noticed though the occasional “moments” in the day where for just five minutes, you have the opportunity to have a focused and meaningful discussion with one of your kids? Perhaps during dinner, or bedtime, or the school run? But all too often, this moment comes and goes, spent in transactional talk like “How was school?”, “What did you eat for lunch?” “Have you done your homework?” etc. I felt like these were moments lost, and I really wanted to do something to help us parents better capture and use them productively to bond with and develop our kids. That’s why I quit my FTSE 100 corporate job in educational publishing to start KidCoachApp (www.kidcoach.app). You see, I had written several questions to use with my own kids that also develop really important skills like communication and

critical thinking and resilience. For example: “How would you describe a computer to an alien?” “How would you estimate the number of iPads in the UK?” "What do you find easy now that was once quite hard?" I found they were a great way to use five minutes here and there to create coaching moments that my kids will never forget - and create lifelong memories in the process. The really great thing about these questions is they focus on the skills that will really matter for our kids in the future – so called “social”, “cognitive”, and “emotional skills – or as I call them ", talking, thinking and feeling skills". There is plenty written about how important these are for kids to learn, alongside the traditional academic subjects learned at school – see, for example, the most ever TED talk viewed by Sir Ken Robinson. As we shared the approach with some other parents, they told us how helpful they were as a source of inspiration, which led to better use of family time at home and more rounded kids. So I thought I would write even more questions and develop an App to make this approach accessible for many more parents around the world.

The KidCoachApp helps parents to get their kids talking, thinking and feeling because we have HUNDREDS of conversation starters specifically aligned to these key skills. To share a few more examples with you as freebies: “What leader do you admire and why?” “Which is the best charity to donate to?” “What are 10 different emotions you can feel?” With each of these questions, we have a fuller conversation card, with guidance for parents and prompts for the kids, to take conversations deeper and make learnings sticky. Throughout the app development, we have worked closely with many education experts (e.g. from the University of Cambridge and Philosophy for Children programmes) and parenting experts (e.g. Sue Atkins, who has worked with the BBC. Disney)… and will continue to do so! It’s worth also saying - kids love these conversations too. Common feedback is “It makes my brain grow”, “I enjoy being asked my opinion,” and “This is fun!”


If you are interested in taking a look, you can get started for free. Anyone can start a two week free trial (no card details needed) which takes less than a minute. Just search for the “KidCoachApp” in either the Apple or Android app stores.

download the “KidCoachApp” or visit our website for more info - www.KidCoach.app.

I really hope this inspires you to take five minutes every day to have skill-building conversations with your kids. If you would like a bit of stimulation, please

Kavin Wadhar

I hope that you have a great conversation with your child today!

Founder of KidCoachApp www.kidcoach.app

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Parents Who Started a Business During the Pandemic Richard and Claudia Bramble, Founders of Bramble Dining

babysitters as well as deciding if one of you will be the designated driver or get a taxi home. With this in mind and with Richard’s experience of running professional kitchens and front of house staff, it made perfect sense to pursue a career in the catering industry, specialising in private dining.

Tell us about the products and services you offer?

What inspired you to start a business during such a challenging time? We started Bramble Dining as we wanted to have the best work/life balance. As parents to two young children, we felt it was the best time to break away from working for other people and be our own boss and building our own future. Little did we realise what the next twelve months had in store for us and the rest of the world! As a couple, we have always enjoyed going out to restaurants and being with friends and family, and we have seen first hand how the dynamics changed once we had our firstborn. All of a sudden, you have to organise

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We are a catering company which specialises in private dining, providing each party with a private, professional chef to cook for you in your home. More and more people are opting for using a private chef within their home instead of going out, and you can see why, even more so in the current climate. We also offer wedding and event catering and have catered for a handful of intimate weddings when restrictions have allowed, and now we are planning celebrations with brides and grooms-to-be for the second half of 2021, and we already have weddings booked for 2022. We believe we are all ready for a celebration after being separated from so many of our loved ones.

How did you manage the juggle during that time? It hasn’t always been easy, but we have remained a team throughout. Richard’s experience in professional kitchens has always been based around structure, and he has brought the same way of working to the business. We both have designated roles within the company, and we ensure the work is based around the children, this has included many a late-night working whist the children are sleeping! Balancing family life and our own business has been a learning curve but a challenge that we relished. We are doing this for our family. www.brambledining.com


SPECIAL FEATURE Naomi Black, Founder of Fired Crafts

What inspired you to start a business during such a challenging time? All throughout the pandemic, the 3 very different lockdowns we have gone through. My daughter has always been my inspiration in setting up Fired Crafts. At just 3, she took these changes in her stride, she very quickly adapted to the new world around her and wasn’t phased. When a 3-yearold at the time was getting on with life and loving the changes to routine and daily activities, I thought, why not. We could have waited until the world went back to normal, it would have certainly made it easier, I’m sure. But we didn’t know when that would be, and thought is there really ever a ‘good’ time to start

a new business. Art and crafts have always been something that I have thoroughly loved and have spent many hours of my life dabbling in. So I wanted to see if we could share that with anyone else who was stuck at home during the pandemic, struggling with ideas to fill the endless days and honestly see if anyone was interested? All throughout it, my daughter has continued to be fearless, even though it may be with a bit of naivety, it has been something I have been so proud of and wanted to show her my own bravery. She has now been with me every step of the way, has helped with deliveries, wants to help with glaze and firing and loves to help fill up the paints. I just hope that she will see Mummy working as something to look up to in the future. Starting her own business as her own aspiration maybe and that even at the hardest times, she can do anything she wants. My last job was in graduate recruitment. I told everyone I interviewed that it was important to be in a job you love as it is the largest part of your life. I can now live by that mantra and can honestly say I love my job, which makes life much easier.

Tell us about the products and services you offer? We are a mobile paint your own pottery business based in Solihull. We specialise in baby hand and footprints and party packages but have a wide range of pottery to choose from to cater for all ages. All of our pottery kit options come with the tools needed to get creative with and instructions on getting the best results. Included in the cost of any of our pottery piece is not only the pottery, underglaze paints, brushes, sponges and palette but delivery, collection and return if local to Solihull – plus the very important glaze and firing of your pieces for that perfect glossy finish. We honestly care so much about what we do and have been amazed by all of the pieces that have come back through our doors. The abilities of all ages have been unbelievable, and some pieces have been so special for personal reasons that we have been so honoured to have been trusted to help them. We believe Fired Crafts paint your own pottery options is a fun activity for the whole family, where you get to spend time creating precious memories to treasure forever.

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Parents Who Started a Business During the Pandemic How did you manage the juggle during that time? Juggling childcare with a new start-up business certainly was tricky. It did mean longer days, working at night to build my website, understand the beast that is social media and setting everything up legally with my accounts and HMRC. But when we had nothing else to do initially, why not. During the first lockdown, we had 3 months of gorgeous weather which certainly helped entertain my daughter and give me time to work at the same time – we would pretend to play shop, as my workshop has a hatch, have the radio playing and watch her put on shows whilst glazing at the same time. It was all still so novel that starting Fired Crafts felt like it was the new change that the world was going through. It made it more enjoyable. Before we knew it, she was back at nursery, and we started to find our groove with café and baby group events and birthday parties. I was finding my feet with the seasonal peaks of pottery, too and loving the learning curve. But Lockdown 3 hit me hard! Our daughter was now at school, so homeschooling was a very real thing! Trying to get any work done during the day when she had 4

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Teams lessons to attend each day and homework was almost impossible. Our internet did not cope either! We were lucky, though, to allow me a little more time during my busier periods to not affect our offering, my husband took days off, and my in-laws very kindly helped too. I was fortunate to have had that support network to rely on for the business and my own sanity. Fired Crafts did need to take a bit of a back seat during lockdown 3, unfortunately. I underestimated the amount of time homeschooling and the business required, so our priorities changed for a little while. But feel that it frankly is one of the perks of being selfemployed. You get the freedom to choose your own priorities to help yourself get through it.family life and our own business has been a learning curve but a challenge that we relished. We are doing this for our family. www.firedcrafts.com

Liz Barnes, Managing Director, SwetWipes Ltd

What inspired you to start a business during such a challenging time? As a parent of 2 children aged 8 and 11 (at the time), I found the demands of holding down a full-time job (as a medical rep) really difficult, especially with the amount of overnight stays and international travel we were expected to do. Being employed meant I had no control over my diary, so I had to employ a nanny, dog walker and a cleaner because I literally had no time on my hands at all, I could be away for 3 or 4 nights at a time. I would often be working 12-hour days and was completely exhausted. I had previously been selfemployed and loved the flexibility and autonomy of working for


SPECIAL FEATURE myself. After 3 years of struggling to be a full-time working mum (and spending £000’s on domestic help), I started to think about launching another product and starting a new company.

Tell us about the products and services you offer? SwetWipes Ltd runs www. freshwipes.co.uk, which provide extra-large, full-body antibacterial and biodegradable wipes for use whenever you can’t shower or bath. Primarily the product was invented for busy sporting types such as cyclists who commute to work or runners who wanted to run during their lunch break with no access to showers, but our launch coincided with Lockdown V1, so I had to change tac. Everyone was suddenly at home with full access to a shower, so my original target market was not buying. Slowly, over time I got approached by disabled and elderly people who called our wipes an absolute godsend. Then the staycation craze of summer 2020 gave me full access to the UK camping market who also loved our wipes as an easy way to keep clean when communal showers were shut.

How did you manage the juggle during that time? Juggling starting the business with working full time was really hard at first. The concept was first thought of in late 2019, but production and receipt of goods coincided exactly with lockdown during late March 2020. It was really hard initially as I was working full time as a medical rep, managing both kids, a dog and a busy household and trying to establish a new product at the same time. When the lockdown happened, All of a sudden, both children were at home, and I found that I was suddenly a cook, cleaner and substitute teacher too! I’m sure many working parents can relate to this. I didn’t leave full-time employment until October 2020 to concentrate solely on www. freshwipes.co.uk, and it was the best move I ever made. Now I’m in full control of how, when and where I work. The dog walker and nanny have both gone, and life seems a little more relaxed. To any parents out there that are thinking of starting their own businesses, I would say do it! www.freshwipes.co.uk

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Parents Who Started a Business During the Pandemic Kayleigh Johnstone, Director COZ PR

What inspired you to start a business during such a challenging time? I started my own business because I felt I had no other option. Now I know it was what I was meant to do all along. When the pandemic hit, I worked at a PR agency specialising in the travel industry, one of the worst sectors affected by COVID. I received my termination on the Saturday before the first lockdown officially began. I went from a regular 25 hours a week to nothing overnight, and it came as a complete shock. It actually hit me really hard – that plus the announcement that schools would be closed sent me into a complete panic.

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At the time, my children were five and seven years old, and I was concerned about the impact the situation would have on them. My daughter had only been in Reception for six months, as well as the loss of income for our family. I spent the weekend considering my options, which felt extremely limited. I realised pretty quickly that if I was going to do what I loved and make it work around our family life, I would have to start my own business. It also felt like a hugely inspirational time for potential entrepreneurs. There was a real online culture of upskilling, retraining and pivoting, with an enormous amount of help offered to those making the leap. I completed some extremely high-value courses and joined membership groups for a period that gave me exposure to potential clients.

Tell us about the products and services you offer? Having spent years working in business strategy and PR roles, I combined the two to start COZ PR, an agency offering Virtual Public Relations Assistance (VPRA) to PR agencies. I am personally fully booked with an incredible client roster, so we are now expanding our pool of recommended VA’s with PR skills. Later this year, we

are also launching a training and mentoring programme for VA’s who want to upskill in PR and are in the process of developing consultancy packages to help small PR agencies with their business strategies, SOP’s, pricing and recruitment.

How did you manage the juggle during that time? I was extremely fortunate that my husband, who was working full time at home at this point, was supportive of me launching my own agency and was willing and able to support us while I slowly built my business at the same time as home-schooling. During the first lockdown, I home-schooled both children in the morning and worked on my business in the afternoon, taking courses, refreshing my SEO and social media skills, and building my website. It was in September when my business really took off. The children were back at school, and I invested most of my time in marketing my services, with the result that I found myself fully booked. I increased my rates and brought in freelancers to help with the workload. I was still fully booked. It felt like life was starting to return to normal as the second lockdown hit, this time with a full client roster to service and two


SPECIAL FEATURE children to teach. My husband and I were very lucky in that we were both still home-based and able to divide and conquer, with me undertaking the home-schooling while he handled the meals and PE, giving me a much needed child-free two hours in the middle of the day. Despite that, it was an almost impossible task to do my work while successfully home-schooling the kids. In school years 1 and 3, respectively, they still needed a lot of interaction and encouragement. I think one morning, I counted 57 interruptions before lunch! My fantastic mum stepped in and took over the teaching of my youngest over Facetime. That, plus their amazing school introducing Zoom lessons, allowed us to muddle through. It was a huge juggle and not easy for anyone, least of all the children. Having the flexibility of my own business to set my hours, work evenings and weekends if I needed to, not plan any calls in the mornings when the children needed more attention, it was crucial to get us through it. I had never planned on entrepreneurship, but a year later and I wouldn’t want to do anything else. My agency is thriving, I work with my dream clients every day, my income has tripled, and I have been able to

grow my team. I’ve learned that there is always a path through adversity, even if it isn’t the one you had planned to take. www.cozpr.com

Michelle Begy, Managing Director and Founder of Ignite Dating

dating found that database matching was not providing the success that they were looking for or simply looking to be more prescriptive as to what they were looking for in a partner. As a result, Ignite Dating was born. I had started building the business in 2019, ready for its launch in January 2020, unbeknown to us at the time that the world was due to be locked down in a pandemic. The launch of a new dating agency as we were entering a pandemic should have been a recipe for disaster, but through our commitment and sheer dedication, the company has flourished, achieving exponential growth and turning over six figures in its first year, even with the unprecedented challenges brought by the pandemic.

Tell us about the products and services you offer?

What inspired you to start a business during such a challenging time? After working with one of the UK’s largest introduction agencies, I realised that the dating world was going through another transition. Educated and successful people, were growing bored of labour-intensive online

Ignite Dating is an elite matchmaking and introductions agency specialising in handselected personal introductions to help our clients find a life partner who shares the same values, lifestyle, and aspirations as them.

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Parents Who Started a Business During the Pandemic Using a unique combination of Myers-Briggs personality profiling, experienced matchmakers, intuition and our extensive private network, we work closely with busy professionals across the UK to provide a dating journey that leaves them feeling confident, energised and safe.

How did you manage the juggle during that time? Nobody knew what to expect when the country entered its first lockdown. Most of us imagined we would be under strict guidelines for a couple of weeks, and then we would be able to head back to normality. Yet, here we are over a year later, still juggling the impact that the pandemic is having on our everyday lives and our businesses. Being a parent and running a business is always going to be a difficult task. After all, they are two very important roles within your life, and often we feel guilty that we are not giving enough of ourselves to each part. Add to the mix building a new business during a pandemic and a son facing his GCSE year, and it is easy to see why a lot of businesses have crumbled under the strain as business owners struggle to grow their businesses and balance homeschooling

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and all the other commitments that being a parent entailed. Thankfully, Ignite Dating was built on a solid foundation of empowerment and support, and it has been one of our biggest driving factors during the pandemic as we not only established the Ignite Dating brand but also managed to roll out three successful franchises across the country. Through our franchisee network, we offer women a business venture that is truly their own, allowing them to fit work seamlessly around their personal life to give them time to focus on their children or give them a more balanced work and social life, something that can prove quite difficult when employed or when dealing with the challenges brought about by the pandemic. Through our flexibility and comprehensive training, we have helped parents to build a successful business during a pandemic with expertise, knowledge and support every step of the way. Coming out of the pandemic, I think we can expect to see a huge shift in people’s perception of what a normal working life looks like. The situation over the last year has opened people’s eyes to the fact that it is possible to work in a multitude of different ways, and as such, we think working

from home and flexible working hours that fit around family commitments are to be expected. Ignite Dating offers parents the opportunity to successfully balance working from home and family commitments, along with a very appealing income and a business that makes a difference to peoples lives. www.ignitedating.co.uk

Jamie Baird, Founder of Steeps One Shot

What inspired you to start a business during such a challenging time? My business as a Personal Trainer completely fell off the cliff when lockdown happened. I really


SPECIAL FEATURE enjoy the face to face contact with clients & zoom didn't really work for all of them and also me, I felt it to be a bit soulless. Don't get me wrong, I was training a handful of people but not enough to sustain the same level of income. Steeps One Shot was very much a side hustle, I was mainly doing it for myself and to give to a few clients as well. The whole Covid-19 pandemic really changed the landscape, people seemed to be much more aware of their own health and immunity, and sales really started to pick up. Everyone is using the word "pivot" I had to pivot, like so many others. In fact, it was a good kick up the backside for me to take Steeps One Shot to the next level and really see if there actually was a business. If the pandemic hadn't happened, I would still be training and Steeps One Shot would still be my side hustle.

Tell us about the products and services you offer? Steeps One Shot is a fiery blend of seven raw, natural, sustainablysourced organic ingredients – turmeric, ginger, chilli, garlic, onion and horseradish. All lovingly peeled, chopped and infused (steeped) for 12 weeks in Apple Cider Vinegar. It’s a powerful once-a-day gut-friendly wellness shot that gets your

metabolism and digestion firing on all cylinders. And the natural anti-inflammatory properties of all the raw ingredients takes the heat off your immune system, helping to keep those nasty bugs at bay. It's the one shot your body needs. I first stumbled across the recipe while researching gut health as the whole area fascinated me. My first thoughts were, "this is just what I need". I cycle year-round in all weathers, I'm in and out of air-conditioned gyms constantly. I am self-employed, so If I do not work, I don't get paid, it's as simple as that. I need to stay in tiptop condition so I can do my job, and this recipe seemed the perfect easy-to-take solution, stacked to the rafters with superfood ingredients. I'm not a big fan of shoving supplements down my neck as I am pretty sure they go straight through a lot of people and just give you expensive pee, plus you really don't know what they are made of. What better way to get all these great nutrients into your body in one shot. As I mentioned, Steeps One Shot is made from seven natural, real food ingredients. No additives, nasties, no chemicals or preservatives. I steep the ginger, turmeric, chilli, horseradish, onion and garlic in apple cider

vinegar for 12 weeks and the flavours and the goodness from all the ingredients infuse into the apple cider vinegar, giving the final product a really deep, powerful flavour. It was really important to me to source the best ingredients I could, and 96% is organic, except the horseradish. I use glass bottles that can be reused and also olive oil pourers in the top of the bottles, so it's easy to pour - as trying to pour 10ml at a time is quite difficult

How did you manage the juggle during that time? To be honest, I am a bit of a doer, I just got on and did it, I had to. I didn't really have a choice. A lot of my work is done before the kids are up and after the kids have gone to bed. I get up super early before the 3 kids are up and get a lot of emails written or answered then. I have to say it is a challenge, but you have to do what you have to do at the end of the day. I do find it hard at times I have my good days and not so good days, but you know what, it's worth it. You have to be persistent and consistent. I totally believe in the product and what it can do, and that drives me forward. www.steepsoneshot.com

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Children and Social Media A recent report revealed that many families are navigating the rapidly changing digital world with little discussion or openness. With concerns about excessive use of social on children’s wellbeing heightened during the pandemic, I want to share and explore some ways in which you can regain control over social and help your child to use it in intentional ways that are great for theirs – and your soul. A healthy and successful adoption of social media by your child is predominately based on the dialogue you have as a parent or carer with them. Many parents understandably find this pathway daunting. From fears around lack of social media knowledge, concerns about online safety, exposure to inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and more, it can feel like you don’t have any control or any definitive answers. Surrounding all of this uncertainty, though, is one powerful constant, and that’s you. As their parent, you have this wonderful and life-changing opportunity to guide them through the digital world that is their here and now, not just the future. You have the potential to help them become safe, responsible, kind humans on social media and beyond. Our ethics, our values, our beings as humans are not separated between digital and analogue. And it’s along this journey where I come in as the guide for both parents and children. The starting point to help your child experience a fulfilling and intentional social media journey

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is your willingness to open up the dialogue around the subject when they start to vocalise or demonstrate a desire to have greater access to social. For many parents, though, the first step is often the hardest. That’s because they have to admit they lack the knowledge to have a confident chat with their child. Equally, children are resistant to

wanting to discuss their online behaviour because they feel their parents don’t ‘get it’. In a survey conducted by Digital Parenting, 54% of the parents they interviewed admitted they were not aware of what their children are doing online. And over half have never actively sought advice about their children’s online behaviour.


Thankfully, there are many tools, resources, and advisors out there who can help you get social media savvy on how each channel works. Plus, as experienced adults, you have what young children lack - the ability to think critically and interrogate information presented on screen. Imagine the wonderful, positive impact you could have empowering your child to explore social media if they can match their tech knowledge with your critical, worldly thinking. Educating yourself on social media is a game-changer for your relationship and family.

Alongside doing the homework when you decide to have the ‘digital chat,’ it’s worth following these tips:

• Do it in a relaxed, comfortable time and space and have everyone in the family present. • Remove any distractions or devices. • Set the tone of the chat as a judgement-free space. Social media bashing won’t get you very far. • Create a set of simple, family social media/tech rules together. Grab big pieces of paper, coloured pens, stickers and let your children write up the rules you decide on together. • Think about the physical rules such as what times of the day you can use social and for how long; permitted channel access; a cut-off time before bed; where to store the family devices, e.g. a family tech box located in a shared living space; tech-free activities you can do together. • Consider spiritual, heart-led pledges such as being kind and empowering when on social, sharing news about wonderful content or accounts you discover.

Overall, be mindful of dictating to your children. Making them a part of the collaborative decision vastly increases the chances of it succeeding. And don’t worry if you or someone in the family messes up. Call it out, acknowledge it, and refer back to the family pledge to get you or your child back on track. No-one is perfect, and it’s all about the supportive nature. Even with an effective family pledge in place, it’s still important to be alert to signs that something might not be going well with your child’s experience on social. Be aware of changes in behaviour, unusual signs of anger or frustration, perhaps they are quieter or more reserved than normal. Lean on your instincts and come back to demonstrating that you’re ready and open to listen to them. As we do our best to navigate our family lives through and beyond lockdown, social media will continue to play a big part in it. Rather than fighting against it, embrace the strengths that lie within it for you and your children. Commit to doing the research and start those open conversations. There are lots of resources out there. If you’d like tailored advice or one to one chat book in for a Parent Power Hour. Rubbi Bhogal-Wood Social Media Educator www.wildandformdigital.com

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SOCIAL CAUSE SPOTLIGHT Laura Rana Founder of Khushi Kantha I’m setting up Khushi Kantha alongside my ‘24/7 job’ as the mother of 21-month old half-British, half-Bangladeshi (and 100% cheeky!) twin daughters, Opi and Mahi, and my ‘day job’ helping organisations who are doing brilliant things in the UK and around the world measure, communicate and enhance their impacts.

I have fourteen years’ experience in the international development and humanitarian sectors. My work with organisations like Save the Children, the British Red Cross and War Child UK has taken me to nearly thirty countries, from Sierra Leone to Mongolia, and Iraq to Paraguay…but Bangladesh remains my favourite place in the world!

Khushi Kantha in a nutshell Khushi Kantha makes sustainable, multi-purpose baby blankets with a vibrant ‘stand out’ factor, hand-stitched from reclaimed and ethically-sourced cotton and embroidered with empowerment by mothers in Bangladesh. As practical as they are pretty, a Khushi Kantha makes the perfect gift. Besides being used as a blanket, Khushi Kanthas can function as pram liners, sun shades or mini playmats while out and about….and even act as makeshift changing mats when the need arises!

What does Khushi Kantha mean? ‘Kantha’ (which translates as “stitched cloth”) refers to the Bengali tradition of repurposing old cotton saris to create ultrasoft, multi-layered blankets, especially for babies.

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The traditional embroidery stitch that is applied over the top is known as the ‘Kantha stitch. ‘Kantha’ can also simply mean ‘blanket’. ‘Khushi’ is the Bengali word for ‘happy’ – so ‘Khushi Kantha’ means ‘Happy Blanket.’

Why do we call them ‘happy blankets’? • A Khushi Kantha is multi-purpose - our blankets can be used for just about every task on a parent’s daily to-do list, which means you can buy less and buy better. • A Khushi Kantha is handmade with love - each blanket takes up to 20 hours to hand-stitch. • A Khushi Kantha creates opportunities for mothers in Bangladesh to provide for their children with dignity. • A Khushi Kantha strengthens the fabric of the community - we’ll be reinvesting profits back into the communities we’re partnering with. • A Khushi Kantha is made to last - Instilled with the strength and spirit of the mothers who create them, our blankets are designed to withstand the daily wear-and-tear of life with a little one.


What inspired you to start Khushi Kantha? I was inspired to start Khushi Kantha by the birth of my halfBritish, half-Bangladeshi twin daughters in July 2019, and my first-hand experience of working on the humanitarian response to the Rohingya refugee crisis while I was pregnant with them. During the year I spent working in the coastal town of Cox’s Bazar in South-Eastern Bangladesh, I got to know some mothers from the host communities and learned how it impacted their lives. With so many hundreds of thousands of refugees settling nearby and bringing all sorts of additional struggles to their daily lives in the form of falling wage rates, rising food prices and depleted natural resources, surely they would be resentful?!

Their compassion humbled me. When I arrived at the home of one mother, despite struggling to provide for her own children, she told me she had shared some of her vegetables with the refugees, as she had heard that children were not being provided with enough during food distributions in the camps. I first moved to Bangladesh over a decade ago, and I’ve lived there on and off ever since. I’ve been endlessly overwhelmed by the resilience and generosity of Bangladeshi mothers living below the poverty line. I’ve always wanted to use everything I’ve experienced and learned from my experience of living and working with extremely poor women in Bangladesh to start my own social enterprise.

When I became pregnant, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the opportunities my daughters would have and how unfair it was that the mothers all around me wouldn’t be able to give their own children everything they deserved. I came home to London determined to do something to create opportunities for Bangladeshi mothers to provide for their children with dignity – but I wasn’t sure how I was going to go about it. When my daughters were born, they were given a large collection of traditional Banglaseshi ‘kantha’ blankets.

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SOCIAL CAUSE SPOTLIGHT I was a bit overwhelmed to receive so many and wondered what we were going to do with them all! But I quickly realised their numerous uses: from swaddling the girls as tiny newborns to functioning as pram liners, sun shades, mini playmats or even makeshift changing mats while out and about.

They washed really well and dried quickly – and their vibrant colours and traditional ‘kantha’ stitching were drawing compliments wherever we went! I saw that there could be a market for them….and the idea for ‘Khushi Kantha’ was born! I’d been excited to travel to Bangladesh in May last year to introduce my daughters to their Bangladeshi family members and set up production.

Then COVID-19 happened – and like the rest of the world, my plans had to change. I knew I had to start testing the market asap - the last thing I want to do is raise expectations among the mothers who will create our blankets that I won’t be able to meet if Khushi Kantha can’t find any customers! I created a first, limited-edition collection of blankets with support from an incredible group of volunteer stitchers from my local community to start testing the market. They received the seal of approval from local Kantha expert Surjeet Hussain, and we conducted safety testing before selling them through an online auction. The funds raised enabled me to keep going and start figuring out how to establish production in Bangladesh. We’ve recently confirmed our fabric sourcing approach and had some beautiful samples made, so we’re all set to get going on our first ‘made in Bangladesh’ collection as soon as we have enough pre-orders. We’re launching a crowdfunding campaign on 22nd April (International Mother Earth Day) with the aim of raising £10,000 (the equivalent of 200 pre-orders at £50 each).

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What is your mission? All mothers want the best for their children – and will use every resource they have to offer them the future they deserve. Motherhood is the most rewarding job in the world – but it’s also the hardest. Every day brings new challenges. For some, these challenges include being able to meet basic needs like food, clothing and education. Khushi Kantha aims to create opportunities for mothers in Bangladesh to provide for their children with dignity. Our children will inherit the planet – we want to pass it down to them in the best state possible. Khushi Kantha promotes the circular economy – we want to promote a shift from ‘take-make-waste’ to ‘reclaim-repurpose-reuse’. I want to use the collaborative power of a global community of mothers to build better futures for the next generation. I quickly realised that if I wanted to empower Bangladeshi mothers to use their existing skills to generate sustainable incomes, I couldn’t rely on ‘pity purchases’. I had to offer something that I’d be able to sell at scale. Over the fourteen years I’ve spent living and working in Bangladesh and other similar contexts, I’ve seen many well-meaning initiatives that didn’t manage to get off the

ground properly because there weren’t enough people who wanted to buy what they were selling. I want the mothers Khushi Kantha is partnering with to be able to provide for their children month in, month out. Predictability of income is a crucial factor determining whether parents make the kind of decisions that really matter in the long-term – like sending children to school rather than out to work. This is why Khushi Kantha is reworking the Kantha technique in order to meet global hygiene and safety standards, and why our designs represent a cultural fusion of ‘East meets West’ while retaining the design principles of reclaim-repurpose-reuse and bringing the cultural heritage of Bangladesh to a wider audience. We don’t use second-hand saris, as per the traditional approach. Our blankets are created from six layers of 100% cotton fabric: the outside layers are made from ethically-produced traditional handloom fabric, and we use deadstock cotton fabric from the Bangladeshi garments sector for the insides of our blankets. Laura Rana Khushi Kantha ww.khushikantha.com

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5 STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES Every client I work with, every business owner who attends a training session with me and every member of my Facebook group, The Content Planning Wizards, highlights the same two issues: - Lack of time to create a content plan for their business pages. - Lack of confidence in knowing what to put out there. As a social media manager, I have learned the best process to follow to make content planning less time-consuming and less daunting. Here are five simple steps you can take to wave a magic wand over your social media pages:

#1

Review your business goals It’s that time of year when we realise, we’ve forgotten the business goals we set, so now is a good time to remind ourselves of them. Make a note of how social media can fit into those targets for the year: it is vital you align your social media plans with your business goals to help you achieve them. It may be as simple as a commitment to posting every day; showing up consistently it’s the easiest way to make sure your ideal client is getting to know, like and trust you. But you may like to take this further, by planning in themes and campaigns.

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One of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given is to create four themes that relate to your business and plan your content along each of those. For example, mental health awareness is important to me and, as such, is one of the four themes I have in my content.

#2

Nail your ideal client and your number one product This task must be completed before you even think about writing content; you need to be clear about who your customers are and what you have to offer them. It can be tempting to post about all the products you offer for all people, but the old saying applies here: ‘In trying to

please everyone, you end up pleasing no-one.’ I was asked recently how do you know who your ideal client is. Well, it’s the people that most often buy from you. For me, that is parents who run their own business; I know they are pushed for time and that I can make a difference. Similarly, when deciding your number one product, consider what makes the most profit and what takes the least time, but also consider what you enjoy doing most – your passion for it will come across to customers and on social media.


#3

Overcome your fears about showing up online Whatever is stopping you from sharing yourself online, you need to get over it… You need to identify the issues and decide a way to solve them. Whether it’s not having time, not knowing what to write, or being scared of getting a negative reaction, there will be a tried and tested solution out there and other people who have been through the same thing. The goal of my Facebook group is to help you overcome those worries. I will be there to hold your hand and offer advice; it’s like having a social media manager in your pocket!

#4

Brainstorm post ideas Even with over ten years of experience in Journalism, Marketing and PR, I regularly get hit by writer’s block: My first tip is to download an app called Otter. You can speak into your phone while the app is running, and it will transcribe your thoughts, you will never forget an idea again! The next step is to find a time when you know you are going to be feeling positive and creative. Then grab a pen, a pack of post-it notes and a timer and spend 15 minutes writing down as many ideas as you can. Think about: • Your ideal client, what is on their mind at the moment? • Your number one product, how can it help them?

• National Awareness Days to highlight. • Personal or business events taking place.

#5

Pull it all into a plan (Hint – start with National Awareness Days) Some people like to use Trello for Content Planning, others put their posts straight into the scheduling app, but I personally prefer good-old Excel, that is why I’ve developed my Content Planning Spellbook. Once you have pulled your post ideas into a plan, you can either schedule them ahead of time (I use Facebook Creator for Facebook, Planoly for Instagram, Tweetdeck for Twitter and Hootsuite for LinkedIn) or post as you go along. I recommend scheduling because it allows you to focus on what you do best: running your business. I love this quote, “An hour of planning saves hours of doing.” Try to remember this next time you sit down to plan your social media. And, of course, feel free to get in touch with me or join my group if you need some help! Amy Downes Content Planning Wizard www.contentplanningwizard.com

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Should you be speaking up more as a business? The last year and certainly events in recent months have left me wondering … does activism have a place in business? I’ve seen this managed successfully by some of the bigger brands and dismally by others. Brands like Dove, Nike and Heineken, for instance, have taken a public stance on social issues from politics, gender, racism and, in the case of HSBC, even Brexit. 2020 is arguably the year of the 21st Century for global activism, and honestly, it seems to be a great thing.

But what does Brand Activism mean, and does it have a place in business? Brand activism is the term used when a brand looks to have an effect on a social, economic, environmental or political issue. It isn’t a new concept, however, with the rise of conscious consumerism, companies are noticing that by stepping away from the fence, they can broaden their reach and drive sales.

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Nearer to home, in the wake of Marcus Rashford’s child poverty campaign, smaller independent businesses were galvanised to provide free school meals to struggling families last year. It led to overwhelming consumer support for participating restaurants & charities during lockdown. According to Sprout Social, 70% of consumers feel it’s important for brands to take a stand on public issues, a sentiment that’s

grown 6% from 2017. Believe me when I say that I’m not advocating that businesses should all grab their megaphones and publicly share their views on issues. Instead, can you share your values in a way that is effective and that will bring about real change? Consumers can see through activism that is performative. Brand activism needs to be authentic, and businesses need to ensure they are not ‘purpose


washing’ or ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ of a cause that appears popular and trendy. The odd comment, like or share on your social media does not translate as brand activism.

4. Research. Research. Research.

Think about the key social issues you care about and how it fits or does not fit with your stated corporate values. Involve colleagues, co-workers and, if you are a sole trader, your friends and influencers in discussions to make sure your internal values are aligned to your public statements.

Understand the complexities. Team up with a charity or not-for-profit organisation, work with them to understand the complexities that exist surrounding the issues you are compassionate about. By doing so, you’re able to identify which area within the cause you want to channel your activism. This can focus your attention and help you to define your area of impact. Don’t forget to be strategic in your approach and identify the potential risks. Do your research so that you are clear about the factors that will impact your ability to facilitate change. Anticipate mistakes and put in place feedback facilities so that you can quickly respond. Keep doing this so that your approach evolves along with your business practices.

2. Define your purpose

5. Show some results

Do not try and tackle everything at once, you’re bound to drop the ball. Start by choosing one cause you’d like to focus on, and from there, you can then expand as you gain credibility.

Turn your purpose into action. Empower Others, Not Yourself! Remember that business activism around social change is not about gaining press coverage or increasing profits. The impetus should be influencing change for your wider community and the world at large.

My advice to business is to make sure that your business values align with the purpose and causes you support. It is not an easy thing to address, but here are some strategic steps to explore beforehand:

1. Start internally

3. Air your dirty laundry In other words, be authentic. Admit when you’ve been wrong in the past. It’s better to reflect on when you’ve done wrong and have a plan to change than to cover it up with performative activism.

One way you can do this is to work with people of influence, people of extensive knowledge in the area staff, colleagues, board members,

associates, partners, consumers - ensuring you come together with aligned values and share a commonality in what you’re trying to achieve. Again, brand activism may not be for everyone, but statistics have found that when consumers think a brand has a strong purpose, they are 4.1 times more likely to trust the company. When brand activism is done well, it becomes a genuine and authentic extension of the company culture and business values not only advocated by leadership teams but wider employees too. I personally think that activism does have a place in business. It helps to attract talent, attract partnerships, attract investment and attract sales. For it to be sustainable, it requires a real commitment from the top down to infuse the essence of the cause into every facet of the organisation, including marketing. It is a powerful way to channel anger, hurt and frustration. It empowers every part of the organisation to do their part in making right, even in a small way, some of the horrible injustices of this world. Yolanda Sissing Founder of PinkLeaf Social www.pinkleafsocial.co.uk

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In Conversation with Samantha Francis, a Positive Parenting and Relationship Specialist

Samanatha Francis is a Positive Parentsing and Relationship Specialist. Her career has taken many routes from working in law to education to get to where she is. She is a mother to two girls aged 9 and 13, and it was after the traumatic birth of her first child that she found her calling in supporting mums. 34


How did you get to where you are now? I have taken many career routes and have experience in law, healthcare and education; however, I did not feel I could support women in the way I truly desired to, so my journey took me into holistic health as a Reiki Master Teacher. After a very traumatic pregnancy and birth experience with my eldest child, before I knew it, I was helping women to heal from the inside out and on a deeper level. I noticed my clients were mums who felt very lost on their motherhood journey, and I started to counsel and support them to assist them in becoming the mothers they dreamed of being. I trained as a coach and qualified in positive parenting. I have never looked back, as seeing mums experience their dream parenting and relationships is a profound pleasure.

How do you manage your time between family and business? I have a ritual of masculine and feminine actions that I do every day. It is extremely important for me to do these as I believe it is important to have a to-do list and have a to-be list. I organise my time from the night before, so I have an idea of what needs to happen, but I always take care of my energy levels and wellness, too as being a single mum, it is so easy to get burnt

out and drained from everyone pulling on your energy. I tend to work more in the early mornings and later in the evenings when the kids are asleep however, I allow myself the flexibility of my schedule throughout the day as in mum life, you have to expect the unexpected!

What was the last thing you did that made you really proud? I hit my best period in my business during the pandemic. This was massive for me as I walked away from my job and allowed myself to go full time into my business. This was scary, as everything in the world felt upside down and chaotic. I was also facing my own insecurities and inner saboteur but committed to myself and saw the results. Luckily I had the right support to help me through the days where I struggled, but I look back now and see how far myself and my business has come in the space of 11 months. I am incredibly proud of myself and the women I have served along the way.

generation to generation. The pressure women and mothers are under is immense and has created overwhelming anxiety for mothers in general.

Who or what inspires you? I am always inspired by any woman willing to stand up for her truth and allow herself to break the norm, and invite wealth and happiness into her world. Any woman who knows it is her birthright to be happy and wealthy and knows that she can have it and inspire others to do so too. I work with mentors who are fully in their power to inspire and expand me to my fullest capability so I can serve my clients for their highest good too.

What is the biggest pain point that you have been dealing with in your business these days? I serve women with the pain point of ‘mum guilt’ or feeling like they are a ‘bad mum’. For me, this is an important issue to address as it has plagued women for centuries and passed down from

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PARENTS IN BUSINESS DIRECTORY

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Vee Roberts Insight2marketing

Shannon Reed Mockingbird Makes

Michelle Molyneux MJM Virtual Solutions

Insight2marketing is a Full-Service brand & Marketing agency led by Vee Roberts, an award-winning Brand & Marketing Coach.

Shannon of Mockingbird Makes, and I mindfully Make beautiful bespoke hand knitted crocheted or embroidered handicrafts, co-creating alongside my clients (partners, really). Mockingbird Makes have been called "sunshine in product form" that have a 'huge feel-good factor.'

Your everyday virtual admin solution providing personal assistant support to conquer general admin tasks, so consultants and small business can focus on growing their business.

What you'll find

Research

Services offered Strategic Planning Campaign Design and Implementation Brand Development Web Design Leaflet Distribution

Handmade keyrings Handmade cardigans Handmade hats

Social Media Management and Event Services

Handmade sunshine products and more

www.insight2marketing.com

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ MockingbirdMakesCo

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Services offered General administration Proofreading and editing Virtual personal assistant www.mjmvirtualsolutions.com


Louise Worsley Worsley Training

Nadene Martin Format Services Limited

Bhavini Lakhani B81 Designs

Worsley Training is run by Louise Worsley, a professional teacher with an instinctive ability to make learning First Aid memorable and enjoyable. She has over fifteen years of hands-on First Aid experience, both as a global expedition leader and as a parent.

Format Services is a Virtual Assistant Company taking care of all of your administration needs. Offer various services which can support you to grow your business, and you can view them further in the Services section. There are many benefits of outsourcing your administration, and this is something that we can discuss further as every business is unique.

Bhavini, is a Milton Keynes-based graphic designer with a shed-load of passion and the experience to match. She loves working with clients of all shapes and sizes, from the likes of Barclaycard and British Gas to business-to-business start-ups.

Some of the courses offered Baby and Child First Aid Paediatric First Aid Mini Life-Savers (first aid for primary school children) Teen-Aiders (First aid for teenagers & secondary school children) Basic Life Support with Defibrillator First Aid Training So many other courses are on offer so be sure to check out the website. Notebooks and planners

Services offered Email Management Transcription Project management

Services offered Branding Marketing material design Business stationary design Advertising design www.b81designs.com

Venue Bookings And so much more be sure to check out Nadene's website www.formatservices.co.uk

www.worsleytraining.co.uk

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