Monday Mumpreneur with Lynn Watt
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 the lovely Lynn. When I came to live in the 'middle of nowhere' back in 2006, little did I realise that I would be surrounded by inspiring multi-talented mumpreneurs everywhere I turn.
It's wonderful to find these amazing women all running businesses and in Lynn's case running two businesses. Enjoy her story
Name: Lynn Watt
The website for my self-catering holiday let, Birchlea Lodge, shows the accommodation with photos, links to activities and attractions in the area and an availability calendar.
I like to think its a one-stop shop so people can see not only why Birchlea is a good choice for a holiday but also to attract them to the area as a whole. Dumfries & Galloway is such a beautiful part of Scotland with a wide choice of things to do and places to explore, I hope my website will show potential visitors how to make the most of what is on offer.
How many children do you have?
Phoebe (14) and Finlay (11)
Where do you live?
Kippford, nr Dalbeattie, Scotland
PC or Mac?
PC plus my trusty Blackberry!
Tell us about your business
Birchlea Lodge is a self-catering Norwegian-style log cabin which I run as a holiday let throughout the year. It’s in a beautiful little site in my home village of Kippford and offers a relaxing home-from-home for anyone who wants a break in a pretty coastal village.
South West Scotland has such a lot to offer – wilderness, forest, coastline, historic towns and villages, outdoor activities, all of it easily accessible – that I find it very easy to market the lodge as a base for a great family holiday, a break for a couple, groups of friends or we often have extended families.
Many of our customers comprise 3 generations - mum & dad, children and grandparents getting together somewhere fun and a little bit different.
After running Birchlea for nearly 4 years, I have also recently started managing the property next door for another owner, which is an exciting development with hopes to expand into a third lodge later this year.
What motivated you to become a mumpreneur?
I actually have 2 businesses – apart from the holiday let I also work as a freelance editor, primarily on health science textbooks. I decided to leave the publishers who employed me and work from home as a freelance editor in 2004 when my youngest child was starting school. I found working in an office, even part-time, too restrictive. The children weren’t happy in afterschool clubs and it was easier to work my hours around their school day if I worked for myself.
Then five years ago we moved to the seaside village where I spent my childhood holidays. As my husband was also now working partly from home, there was no need to stay in the city. I continued editing freelance and in time took over Birchlea Lodge from another mumpreneur – my mum, who had originally set it up! I was already used to working for myself, and running a holiday business in a place where I myself had such happy holidays seemed the natural way to go.
The lodge is very well appointed and I knew it wouldn’t be difficult to attract clients. We keep it equipped to a standard that we would expect for a holiday let ourselves, and it’s in a great position. I found writing and maintaining the website for it – and for the new lodge I now manage – very enjoyable and as I am passionate about the local area and tourism in SW Scotland, the advertising/marketing side fell into place quite easily.
What’s been your biggest challenge in business?
With the holiday business, getting the balance of advertising has been tricky – I know I overspent on that in the first couple of years.
And with 2 very different businesses, it has been juggling the time I spend on each.
How have you overcome it?
Monitoring the response I get from advertising & marketing and recognising what is of value.
For time, I prioritise each week depending on the work I have. There’s always a day for the holiday business paperwork, but I always try & answer lodge enquiries very quickly. My Blackberry helps!
What’s been your proudest business moment?
For Birchlea Lodge it’s every time a client leaves an appreciative comment in our visitor’s book!
For my editing, I was very proud to work on a multi-volume neurology series for several years.
What’s your catchphrase or favourite quote?
Um..I can’t think of anything, sorry!!
What do you do to relax or nurture yourself?
I like running with some friends so we can natter at the same time, and sailing in the summer.
What was the last treat you bought for yourself?
A cashmere cardigan – was a bit expensive but I reckon it will last!
Tulips – I like their bright colours and they shapes they make as bend over in the vase
What one piece of advice would you like to give to a new mumpreneurs?
Have confidence in yourself and whatever you are providing – whether it’s a product or service – make it the best you can and how you would like it yourself. If that makes sense. But don’t be afraid to ask for advice from anywhere that seems relevant. I didn’t know much at all about running a holiday let beforehand but am constantly picking up tips from others in the same business. Take the chance to go on any training courses or attend networking meetings, etc, in your area of business.
Fancy featuring as one of our amazing mums? 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.