Monday Mumpreneur with Jen Stanbrook

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.

For many of us - it's the thought of returning to work after we've had our baby - that prompts us to set up our own business.  Not the easiest of options, but a real chance to create the work-life balance we crave.  This week's mumpreneur has been on a journey to discover not only how to do this, but wants to inspire other mums to do something new . . .

Your name: Jen Stanbrook

Your website: (blog) (baby signing website)

Brief description:

The blog is an extension of my classes showcasing baby signing but also giving lots of information on what it’s like to be a franchise/business owner and a mum. You will even find me singing on there!

Our TinyTalk website details all of our local classes, profiles us as Teachers telling why we became TinyTalk teachers, and shows lots of lovely local signing babies.

How many children do you have?  Ella is 7, Ruby is 5

Where do you live?   Notttingham, Notts UK

PC or Mac?  PC. My laptop and I are joined at the hip!

Tell us about your business

I teach families and babies how to use baby sign language to enable babies to communicate before they can speak. I bought a TinyTalk franchise in 2007 and set up some new classes on the East side of Nottingham.

Later that year another existing Nottingham franchise came up for sale so I went into partnership with another teacher and we bought that one as well. Earlier this year I sold the initial business to concentrate on the bigger second business.

I am trained to deliver Organisation Training too where I teach nurseries and other childcare professionals how to use baby sign language.

We’ve also developed the business to run Toddler classes where we focus on developing language, communication and sharing skills!

Each term we see around 120 families enrolling in our classes as well as delivering private weekly sessions to day nurseries.

A few months ago I started blogging about baby signing and what it’s like to run a franchise business. I really enjoy sharing my knowledge and hope that I will inspire other mums to go out and do something new.

What motivated you to become a mumpreneur?

Believe it or not it was the Post Natal Depression following my second baby that prompted me to change career. I’d been working in IT before that and couldn’t face returning to all the office politics. I had always taken a keen interest in TinyTalk and its franchise opportunity so it seemed like the right time to go for it!

What’s been your biggest challenge in business?

Finding and maintaining the right balance between work and home. When my second daughter was tiny she used to come with me when I ran my classes, and the first was at nursery. All my admin, prep and lots of marketing was done in the evenings. As the children grew older and started school and preschool I could fit in more during the day, but I found the business growing quite a bit and so I needed that time to run classes. It’s only now that both are at school that I have more time in the day but I still find I tend to fill it up with challenges and opportunities, so I still have lots to do in the evenings. I get so excited about new ventures and ideas that I use any free time for them and then find I don’t have enough time for the usual things! It’s a constant battle!

How have you overcome it?

Really by trying to be aware of my nature and make sure I don’t take on too much. Easier said than done!

What’s been your proudest business moment?

Seeing the business grow, particularly this year. Once I sold my initial franchise (and my partner did the same with her franchise) we were both able to focus on our South Nottingham business and it’s gone from strength to strength. In 4 years it’s grown 150% which feels like a huge achievement given the current economic climate.

What’s your catchphrase or favourite quote?

‘Baby Signing gives you a window into your baby’s world’

What do you do to relax or nurture yourself?

I shop! Online or in the flesh it always helps me unwind.

What was the last treat you bought for yourself?

A gorgeous pair of furry winter boots.

Favourite colour:  Definitely pink, often with a few sparkles

Favourite flowers: Lilies

What one piece of advice would you like to give to a new mumpreneur?

Believe in yourself and don’t undersell yourself. Women have a tendency to underplay their skills and attributes but always appear confident. You won’t come across as arrogant just self assured and that’s very appealing.

Fancy featuring as one of our amazing mumpreneurs? Drop me an email over on the contact page - and I’ll be in touch.   Or let me know in a comment below.  And remember to drop by every Monday to welcome our latest profiled mum.