As most of you know, I'm really passionate about supporting local business and independent traders. I have been this way since my first 'real' job in a small funky hairdressing salon in Hastings Old Town. I was surrounded by unique and interesting business and socialised with lots of self employed people... on top of being hard hard work, it was brilliant fun. I felt fulfilled.
Fast forward 15 years - I had two wonderful sons and numerous jobs in that time but nothing seemed to scratch the itch for me. I worked in a few supermarkets, flirted with clerical work, I worked in a small card making factory and lastly focussed on visual merchandising. I enjoyed all of my roles as an employee but nothing felt as good as when I was amongst the people building their own businesses how they wanted.
In June 2014 I decided to take the plunge and launch my own business. This was a massive step for me and has been a lot of hard work, however it's all worth it. I can finally say i'm scratching that itch and it feels sooooo good!
Having had my blog about local business for a few years now and always being ready and willing to support other local people, I wondered as a WAHM (Work At Home Mum, is becoming the 'in' term for self employed mothers) what support specifically for me there would be in my local area. Is there anything that would nurture, support and advise a newly self employed full time mum? Well, the answer was a resounding YES.
This is where Louise of Supermum Surrey comes in!
I asked Louise a few questions about her business, which supports local mums who are working on their own businesses. Here's what she said...
Tell us a little about yourself! What did you do before life at Supermum Surrey?
Before Supermum Surrey I worked as a weekend contract supervisor for meals on wheels, responsible for feeding over 500 elderly and vunerable people in the Croydon borough. I still hold this position, although I now work less hours. I have 2 children aged 12 and 15 months, along with Supermum Surrey they keep me very busy!
What inspired you to set up Supermum Surrey?
I noticed that more and more women were setting up small and work from home businesses but finding it increasingly hard to advertise affordably. It all started out as a hobby, I found I really enjoyed sharing local news and events and could see my Facebook page becoming a popular and useful tool to not only small businesses but potential customers too.
Do you find juggling business and family a challenge?
Yes as any parent knows bringing up children and working from home is challenging! I do try to keep to a routine but this isn’t always possible.
Have you had a positive reception from local business?
I've had lovely feedback, the Facebook page is full of kind reviews, also the endorsements we received to win the New Business Award was overwhelming and I felt so proud.
Tell us three goals you'd like to achieve in 2015.
2015 starts with the launch of the Supermum Discount Card. Businesses in and around Surrey can register an offer for free and be listed in our directory. The discount card is 12.99 for the year with £2 per card sold going to the Stripey Stork; they collect pre-loved baby items (equipment, clothes, furniture, and toys) and distribute them to families in need in the Reigate & Banstead Borough. Ran by a group of local mums, Stripey Stork are committed to seeing valuable resources being re-used in the community. We are nearly set to start accepting other counties! Supermum Kent, Sussex and London all coming in 2015!
And lastly, Trifle or Christmas Pudding?
Neither! Since having my daughter I have put on a whopping 2 stone!
After looking through Louise's site, which is extremely easy to navigate and clear to use, as a customer, I am SUPER impressed... see what I did there? *tumbleweed* The directory of local businesses looks brilliant - with a clear star review and comments rating system. I find information like this vital when looking for local services. The whole feel of the site encourages the 'word of mouth' vibe that local business is so dependent on. Real life recomendations from people using local services are like gold dust, Supermum Surrey has it nailed. On top of this, there is a comprehensive list of venues in the area and a brilliant blog to check out.
As a subscriber, (£4.99 per month/£49.99 annually) you get many great advantages:
*Your own address and webpage displayed at surrey.supermum.org/yourbusiness. Display your business logo, cover image, description, product photos, links to your social media and website, contact info.
*Supermum Starter Pack with sellers guide, customer review template, small business tips and tricks guide.
*A 5 star rating system that allows your customers to rate you and leave reviews. The Supermum with the most amount of 5 star ratings by the last day of the month will be crowned "Supermum of the month." You will be rewarded with front page advertising for 1 whole month.
These are great benefits for anyone building their own business. Louise is approachable and has a great support team, she knows where working mums are coming from as she is one herself, she feels the ups, downs, stresses and strains of working for yourself as she is doing it too. To have such a great network coming together for mums to support mums and businesses to hold hands is just fantastic. It's everything that my blog supports, which is why I had to write this post.
In summary, Supermum Surrey is a brilliant idea which is working fantastically. As you have read, there is a lot in store for 2015 from Louise, all i can say is watch out world - the Supermum is coming!
You can have a look for yourself or find out more via the Supermum Surrey web page, Facebook page, Twitter page and Pinterest page.
Disclaimer: These thoughts are solely mine, I recieved no payment for writing this blog.
Who is Julie?
30 something, mother of two gorgeous boys, lover of one gorgeous husband, perpetually living in a dream world full of wine, chocolate and artsy crafty things.