Monday Mumpreneur with Ann Williams-Maughan
Every Monday we feature a mumpreneur who’s ready and willing to open up their lives to us. They share with us their motivation, challenges and proudest moments in business and they also tell us how they take time to nurture themselves. It’s lovely to have them here at Mums Got A Business and we hope you enjoy connecting with them too.
I'm delighted to introduce you to our mumpreneur this week - we go a long way back. I met Ann when I first came online in 2007. We kept bumping into each other in the many forums we visited. She quickly became a supportive online friend.
Ann runs a business that parents love and benefit from and she is a fab networker. I love Ann's networking philosophy - it's all about what she can give, rather than what she can get. Please give her a warm welcome.
Your name: Ann Williams-Maughan
Your website: www.educationtakeaway.com
E-commerce website selling learning resoures for primary school children.
How many children do you have?
Shannon who is 14 years old.
Where do you live?
Bishop Auckland Co. Durham
PC or Mac? PC
Tell us about your business
Education Takeaway provide learning resources to help and encourage parents to get involved in their child’s education. Simple resources like games, flashcards, posters and workbooks that reiterate what children are learning in school. We stock Jolly Phonics which is a reading scheme used in many schools in the UK. Also great games from Orchard Toys that help children learn things like “how to tell the time and understanding money.”
What motivated you to become a mumpreneur?
My father and his father before him were in business, so I suppose it runs in the family. But I never really had any aspirations to follow in their footsteps until I was married with a family of my own. I returned to full time work when Shannon was just 12 weeks old. I had to rely on my parents and in-laws to do a lot of the child-minding. It wasn’t until Shannon started nursery at around 3 when I made the decision to ask to reduce my working week. So with more time on my hands I wanted to do something to replace some of the income I had lost but knew I needed to be there for Shannon.
When Shannon started school and brought home a Story Sack that had a great game in that she loved, but wasn’t available on my High Street, my mind went into overtime. I contacted the supplier of the game and after a conversation that went something like “Are you a party plan business?” To which I replied, “No but if it gets me some discount I could be” The seed was well and truly planted. Ebay was on the tip of everyone’s tongue, so I dabbled for a few years but always felt I wanted to take it further and managed to secure funding to help towards having a website developed. At this point I didn’t really have a business name or business plan for that matter. Fast forward a few more years and the site is still not generating enough for me to leave my part time work, but things are afoot.
What’s been your biggest challenge in business?
Running a business while taking care of family and working part time. Marketing and advertising has always been a big challenge, I’ve spent lots of money buying advertising space in these magazines that promise thousands of readers only to be very disappointed with the return.
How have you overcome it?
So turning to things like Facebook and Twitter have been much more beneficial. I don’t mean sales wise, I’m talking learning from other people, joining groups, getting ideas from reading blogs and signing up to webinars. Face to face networking has also been very beneficial for me, in terms of growing my confidence and learning from others. I now co-run 2 ladies networking groups in my area and love connecting like-minded people. For me networking isn’t what I can take but what I can give.
What’s been your proudest business moment?
Being shortlisted for an award a few years ago. It was quite funny really as I thought it was going to be some lavish affair like the Oscars, how wrong I was. So wasn’t too disappointed when I didn’t win.
What’s your catchphrase or favourite quote?
Fail to plan, plan to fail. Of course I’ve learned the hard way as I had no idea about a business plan when I started up.
What do you do to relax or nurture yourself?
I love walking in beautiful countryside, reading and spending time with my lovely family and friends. I also like sequence dancing.
What was the last treat you bought for yourself?
A spa day voucher, still to be redeemed.
Freesias because they remind me of my grandmother.
What one piece of advice would you like to give to a new mumpreneurs?
Surround yourself with like-minded people.
Fancy featuring as one of our amazing mums or dads? Drop me an email over on the contact page and I’ll be in touch. And remember to drop by every Monday to welcome our latest profiled mum.
Really nice to meet you, Ann!
I love this line in your interview and your philosophy …
“For me networking isn’t what I can take but what I can give.” If more mumpreneurs adopt your way of thinking, we’ll see lots more wonderful success stories online. 🙂
In the past, like you, I’ve spent far too much money on paid advertising venues. It’s simply not worth the investment. To me, pouring dollars into print advertising, in particular, is like throwing mud against the wall and hoping some of it will stick. The time invested in social media marketing is a much better approach and it doesn’t cost a penny.
Wishing you buckets full of profits and all the joys in life!
Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur recently posted..Two Ears and One Mouth – Do the Math
I love that about Ann – she really is a giver!
And I’ve found that most really great networkers are – just like yourself 😉
It feels so right investing time into social media marketing and I love that it not only reaps rewards for my business, but I can make such wonderful friends there too – now you won’t get that with a paid ad lol.
So very nice to meet you! I too love your line focusing on giving in networking that Melanie points out. That is such a lovely state of being. I wonder if you could create a product that would help parents teach that to young children? I think your audience would love it! For preschool children right now there is so much emphasis on teaching school related skills that sometimes fostering great values might get the short end of the attention. Giving is such a wondrous thing and young children take to it like ducks to water. It’s always nice when we can set up opportunities for that to happen.
Also you might want to meet our friend Jeff Wise (http://www.myfamilyexercise.com) as he has a wonderful game oriented exercise program for young children. His goal is to help parents and children with great nutrition and fun exercise, so kids are healthy and in good shape. Heather, Helen and Melanie all know Jeff too and his program looks outstanding. Maybe there is a good joint venture there for you and Jeff that would benefit many parents and young children on both sides of the pond.
Columbia Jones recently posted..Homework and Study Systems – How Tired Student Athletes Can Find Extra Energy to Get It All Done
Thanks for your words of encouragement ladies, they really do mean alot. I’ll take a look at that website Columbia.