Our Featured Mumpreneur this time is Johann Callaghan of Therapeutic Healing, she is also one of our Mumpreneur Experts
When did you start your business and why?
When I found myself unemployed and extremely difficult to get work while being a mum, I started Therapeutic Healing and launched my brand of skincare range LEAH Aromatherapy Skincare in March 2013.
It was the right timing for me for my current situation. I feel the type of work chose me after spending much time doing self healing, finding out about myself and felt it appropriate to share and empower people to do the same.
What is your role within your business?
At the moment, I am a sole trader.
I run all aspects of the business including accounts, marketing & social media, sales, the therapies, cleaning and all other duties.
What do you like doing most in your business?
I love giving treatments, especially energy treatments because I’m getting a treatment myself every time.
I love making my creams & lotions and mixing with the essential oils. Ah, the aromas are amazing.
What do you like doing least in your business?
That’s easy, the accounts! I’d rather clean the fridge.
How many people do you work within your business?
I do the therapy work and my husband does a couple of days in the shop.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
Well it was through a synchronicity of events. I decided to retire after working 17 years in the same company, have a baby and move to Athy, all in the same year.
We lost our baby at full term. I never felt so alone and abandoned by the universe. A few months later, I had to get another job.
Still feeling desperate, I found a weekly circle by chance for self development and spirituality. I also took a night course in holistic massage, purely to do something completely different to computers which was all I ever did. 3 years later, we had Leah.
The following December, my husband and I where made redundant within two weeks of each other.
I created hand made gifts that year, consisting of bath salts with essential oils, body oils & lip balms.
Then I had a light bulb moment which was the beginning of my business.
What is the best thing about being a mumpreneur?
Leah helps me out in the shop usually on a Sunday when Daddy goes out golfing. The customers love her. There is a lot of freedom being a mumpreneur.
What is the worst thing about being a mumpreneur?
In the beginning, I was emotionally caught up with feelings of all sorts. Guilt, anger, blame; kids need routine otherwise they don’t know what’s going on, effecting their safety and security.
Accepting self responsibility is huge, that way you don’t blame and you become empowered and it helps to see things that matter more clearly.
I did find it very difficult to be disciplined in the mornings and self sabotaged myself.
There are so many aspects of the business you do yourself and it can be very overwhelming while still working on being positive and keeping a positive environment at home.
It’s a lot of work.
What is your biggest challenge juggling family life with running a business?
It’s very important to my family to have a family day. On Tuesday’s we just ‘BE’ together.
I do not take appointments for that day.
What business training did you have before or since you started your business?
I have completed numerous courses mainly with OBUS Health & Wellness and I do continuous professional development courses & workshops in the area of holistic well-being.
On the business end, I have completed workshops with Kildare Leader Partnership and still continuing to do such courses in the areas of marketing, social media, bookkeeping etc.
How has this helped you with growing your business?
Knowledge is power. I have become more confident and driven by passion.
Also, meeting people and networking is very important. These people are all like minded people and do share their experiences and information.
Have you received financial help in setting up in business? If yes from whom? E.g – bank, investor, etc.
No. However I am in the process of applying for the Enterprise Support Grant (ESG).
I found it very difficult getting this information and it was not very forthcoming.
How important do you see networking to help your business?
You won’t survive without it. It can be done in many ways but absolutely vital. Customers/clients will not come looking for you.
You need to let your customers know you exist either directly or through tiered networking and social media.
What Social Media networks do you use to promote your business and how effective have they been?
I can reach my target audience, engage with them and grow my fan base.
With the current technology and the number of users, social media is instant and reaches a huge audience.
I am continually learning more in order to get the maximum benefit.
Do you think there is enough support for mothers who are also business people?
There is support for people in general setting up small businesses but not specifically for mum entrepreneurs.
In fact I don’t know of any in Ireland except for Mairead Kelly’s Mumpreneur Support Network.
What are the biggest challenges facing you right now?
I am coming to the end of my Back to Work allowance which means I will have no other income support.
My husband is unemployed at the moment currently looking for work.
Now that Leah is in preschool year, I am sure my morning routine will be more productive and we have the opportunity for some more change.
I have a few ideas that I am waiting to come into form.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Believe in yourself, don’t focus on the lack of money or customers.
Be proactive, acknowledge your fears and move forward. Enjoy your work.
What advice would you give to other mothers who are thinking about starting a business?
A strong support from home for me was the most important element. Everyone has to work on that.
Expect to make mistakes in the first year. They are your friends. Note them, learn from them and grow.
See what other similar business are doing. Get support from local groups, go to networking events, learn to delegate your work, advertise, advertise, advertise.
Dedicate a routine time/day to be wholly present with your family. Have fun!