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“Work out who your ideal client is”

I interviewed Louise Brogan about being a parent and a business owner

I asked parent-business owners to tell me a bit about what they do. First up, Louise Brogan. Louise is an Award-Winning Business Advisor, listed in the 2018 Top 50 Business Advisors in the UK for Enterprise Nation, Local Marketer of the Year 2017 for Local Women, and in the Small Business Saturday Top 100 Small Businesses for 2017. Louise runs the Social Bee Academy – a monthly membership site for small business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals. She has her own podcast that you can listen to here, runs workshops and events across Northern Ireland, and offers one-to-one coaching sessions.

Tell me about what you do.

I help entrepreneurs and professionals to understand how to market themselves and their business online. My website is at: www.socialbeeni.com

The Social Bee logo

What advice would you give to parents thinking of starting their own business?

Work out who your ideal client is, what you are going to sell and make sure there is a market for your business first. If you are risk averse like me, then hold off on investing in your business until you know you will make money at it.

If you had a time machine and could go back to meet yourself when you were first starting out, what present would you give your younger self?

The knowledge about how much people will pay for your services. No one shares this information easily, and you are shooting in the dark making up prices!

Did you end up with more or less time with your kids as a result of setting up your own business? And do you work with them around?

In the first two years, I worked around them a lot, in terms of working at night when they were in bed. Now I work while they are at school and catch up on a few emails/posts in the evenings, but nothing like at the start.

Do you feel that you’re passing on any particular values or skills to your kids by working for yourself?

My dad had his own business  – I think it’s partly in the blood. Being your own boss, being confident about your skills and ability are traits I would like to pass to my own children.

What are the advantages / disadvantages when turning a ‘passion’ into a business?

A passion won’t pay the bills. IF you love your hobby and try to turn that into a business, you will lose the love you had for it in the first place. I would suggest keeping your hobby as a hobby, and create a business out of something else!

Thinking about how NOT to set up your own business, what are the biggest mistakes a parent business owner could make?

Taking financial risks. Throwing money at something without working out if you actually have a business. Ignoring your children while checking your social media updates.

What are the most important skills a parent needs when setting up their own business?

Flexibility, the ability to work when you can. The ability to switch the business off so you can spend time with your children. I recommend sitting down to dinner/tea with them every night.

What about infrastructure, when you first started out? What space / equipment / help did you need?

Laptop, phone, that’s it.

What do you love most about your business?

The people I work with. Taking something that I understand, and being able to explain that to someone in a way that they get it, without patronising them. Having emails from my clients and customers singing from the rooftop about how I have helped them.

To find out more about Louise’s work, take a look at her website.

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