Monday Mumpreneur with Suzie Grogan
They share with us their motivation, their challenges and their proudest moments in business and they also tell us how they take time to nurture themselves.
If you’re looking for inspiration, then our featured business mums show you what’s possible. Our message is “If we can do it ~ then so can you!”
Name: Suzie Grogan
www.suziegrogan.co.uk is my new site which showcases my writing and research business. It offers examples of the articles I have had published, research undertaken and promotes the two book projects I am currently working on, one of which – an anthology of mental health guest posts from my blog and creative writing on the subject of mental health issues – has just been accepted by a small independent publisher.
No wriggling out of writing was the blog I started 18 months ago to get me writing again. I had been made redundant and decided that was the time to go freelance and take a chance… It has developed into a page where I write on a wide variety of topics, including parenting, physical and especially mental health, women’s issues, John Keats and reviews of books. I couldn’t believe how many people wanted to read what I had written and it has given me a lot of confidence.
How many children do you have?
James is just 21 and Evie is 17
Where do you live? Wellington, Somerset UK (though I was born and brought up in London and it still feels like ‘home’.)
PC or Mac? PC
Tell us about your business
I am a freelance writer, researcher and administrator. I write for family and social history magazines, voluntary sector publications, an online news site focusing on women’s issues and an online magazine covering a wide range of health and beauty topics. I have recently had an anthology of mental health writings based on guest posts from my blog accepted by a small independent publisher. I like to think I can write on most subjects – my research skills mean I can support all sorts of projects and publications.
As a professional researcher I work in the fields of social exclusion, skills and the labour market and undertake evaluations for voluntary sector projects.
I also work as a freelance administrator for two charities working to support psychotherapists and counsellors.
What motivated you to become a mumpreneur?
In 2006 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and following successful treatment suffered bouts of depression and anxiety. I worked for the mental health charity Mind for two years but was then made redundant. Then came the big re-evaluation! The recession had limited my employment options so I thought ‘go for it’. The children were teenagers so were rapidly becoming much more independent and although I was keen to go back to University, the cancer had radically altered our financial situation – my husband worked in the public sector and I had to have an income. I had always wanted to focus on writing and had realised that working for myself was the best option, combining my professional skills as a researcher with my ‘novice’ status as writer.
What’s been your biggest challenge in business?
Organising my time and working alone at home. Procrastination is the enemy of an effective mumpreneur! My daughter calls it ‘titting about’ - the temptations of social media, fridge and kettle are hard to resist and it is sometimes difficult to stick to the ‘to do’ list. My working day can spread from 8am to midnight which frustrates family and can leave me drained.
How have you overcome it?
As a ‘virtual’ administrator I have to be able to work efficiently on my own initiative so I work hard on that part of my personality which likes to leave things until tomorrow. My husband is a project manager and I have taken his advice on structuring my week to include blocks of time for admin, writing and research and the timetable limits my working day to end at 9.30pm. It isn’t always possible to stick to it but if I do I feel much better for it.
What’s been your proudest business moment?
The publication of my first paid article in a national magazine. Showing it to my mum was a great moment but to be honest no-one took me seriously as a ‘writer’ until a few more had found their way into print!
What’s your catchphrase or favourite quote?
What do you do to relax or nurture yourself?
Not enough to be honest. But I really enjoy putting on the headphones, listening to bird sounds or rainfall and losing myself in a book. I am a big reader. As a writer it is vital to read as widely as possible so it is also a relaxing way to work.
What was the last treat you bought for yourself?
Some Clarins make-up and skin care products. Running my own business from home it is tempting to slob about in jeans and jumper all the time. I was never one for bothering with skincare but as I get older I am realising how important it is as a business person to feel like one.
Purple. No wriggling out of writing has a purple feel and it appeals to the gothic side of my nature.
Daffodils and narcissus. The smell of spring flowers always lifts my mood and the yellow is sunshine in a vase.
What one piece of advice would you like to give to a new mumpreneur?
Do your research. There are more and more people, many of them mums at home who are looking for business opportunities. This means you have to be original and sure there is a gap in the market you are well placed to fill. If you want to get into the sort of business that requires investment in equipment you could find yourself losing money if there is someone who has already established a similar business in your local area.
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.