Our Featured Mumpreneur is Hannah Nolan of Why Weight Ireland
We want to regularly showcase a Mumpreneur who has already been through the process of setting up in business and has successfully overcome a lot of the challenges that are faced while juggling growing a business, looking after a home and raising children.
When did you start your business and why?
I started my business in November 2011 and launched March 2012.
After being made redundant some 2 years earlier I felt there was very little available to me which would fit around my 2 young children (age 1½ and 2 ½ at the time) so I started to look at alternative options.
Having lost almost 8 stone I decided to draw on my personal experience and retrain as a Personal Trainer and launch my own weight loss and fitness company as this would both fit around the children and give me a job as a way to earn money.
It allowed me to work in an area that I was absolutely passionate about and help others to achieve their goals – instead of attempting to struggle to barely survive working the normal 9 – 5!
What is your role within your business?
The easier question might be what isn’t my role in the business lol! I take complete control of the running of the business.
Mostly taking care of all my online members to help support them through their journey via personal emails.
I draw up personal fitness plans for each member and manage the online community page, update the Facebook page. I write blogs for the webpage and update the site on an ongoing basis.
For the Studio I run I teach all of the fitness classes and take clients for personal training sessions.
What do you like doing most in your business?
I enjoy lots of aspects of the business.
With the online business I enjoy the personal interaction I have with members, creating a bond with them and seeing the transformation in people as they go through their weight loss journey – I love seeing people hit personal goals, it’s lovely to be involved and get that sense of achievement.
I also love getting things “done”. There is no better feeling than when I have a whole list of things to do and have ticked every single thing off – pressing that send button on the final fitness plan of the day is one of my favourite things to do!
In the Fitness Studio my favourite thing to do is teach! I especially love the busy classes which are buzzing with lots of energy.
What do you like doing least in your business?
I dislike knowing that I have a lot of work to do when I’m tired. Even though I enjoy my work, knowing that I have to do it sometimes take the shine off it.
How many people do you work with in your business?
At the moment just me on the online business (although I do have a company who help with any technical issues on the website etc who I contact with anything I can’t deal with in relation to the site.)
For the studio I have just employed a second fitness instructor to cover fitness classes and set up some new classes.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
When I had the kids and wanted to lose weight and get in shape I found it a struggle as did not feel I had any support.
I couldn’t get out to weigh-ins or meetings as by the time my husband had returned from work and kids were in bed it was often too late to take the half hour drive to a meeting.
I did lose the weight but it was tough and it then struck me that there must be other mums and business people who did not have time to go to the traditional weight loss clubs so an online programme seemed to be a gap in the market in Ireland.
I also wanted to combine the Weight loss with exercise so that it was a complete package with weight loss and fitness which I think a lot of other groups lack.
What is the best thing about being a mumpreneur?
The best thing about being a mumpreneur is being able to fit around my children.
I work from home with the online business so even when I am working I can still spend time with the children. I can also organise my time so we can have days out as a family.
If the kids are sick I can drop everything to look after them without having to report in to anyone, or feel guilty for calling in sick!
What is the worst thing about being a mumpreneur?
The worst thing would be similar to the best thing.
Sometimes working from home can be a challenge with the kids around if there is a lot of work to be done, it can be distracting having the kids there and they don’t always understand that mummy has to work.
Also if I am sick I can’t call in sick because I run the business – without me, there is no business so I can only take very limited time off.
Even if I’m sick there is still a minimal amount of work that has to be done so that can be frustrating – and if I’m out sick I don’t get paid!
What is your biggest challenge juggling family life with running a business?
The biggest challenge is just keeping everything organised. If I miss 1 or 2 days without putting a wash on, or cleaning the house it very quickly can get into a mess and that can really get on top of me.
What business training did you have before or since you started your business?
I didn’t have any business training before I started my business. I took a Cute Honey Lite course after I had already been in business for some time.
How has this helped you with growing your business?
As my business was already in full flow, many of the topics covered had already been implemented however I probably could’ve benefited from taking this course before I set up my business as would’ve learned a little quicker, rather than finding out on my own.
I have not take any specific business training courses so have grown the business myself without any help from training.
Have you received financial help in setting up in business? If yes from whom? E.g. – bank, investor, etc.
As I was made redundant and unemployed for 2 years before I decided to set up my business I applied and was approved for an Enterprise Grant which allowed me to set up my business whilst keeping a percentage of my previous job-seekers allowance to help financially.
This is only a small amount but has helped to cover the bills and feed the children.
I have not take any loans out from the bank, all the money invested in the business has been done on a pay–as-I–go basis i.e. money earned from teaching fitness classes and online business re-injected into the business.
How important do you see networking to help your business?
Networking is important in my business.
Face-to-face contact with potential clients is vital – as it is much easier to get across what Why Weight Ireland is all about when I am there in person as proof of the results!
What Social Media networks do you use to promote your business and how effective have they been?
Do you think there is enough support for mothers who are also business people?
I’m not sure. I am lucky to have received a small bit of financial support from the Enterprise Grant but other than that I wouldn’t really say I feel supported in any way by an external source – other than my husband who is very supportive I’d say I am on my own!
What are the biggest challenges facing you right now?
Making the business bigger and continuing to grow whilst maintaining the good reputation I have built up.
Time management is also a big challenge for me right now – there are a lot of different avenues I want to explore but simply don’t have the money or time.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!
What advice would you give to other mothers who are thinking about starting a business?
Do some training before you set up your business to save you a lot of time trying to learn as you go, it is much easier if you already have an idea of what you need to do.
Don’t expect to be working “normal” hours. You will be able to fit work around your children, but you may also be working until the small hours of the morning sometimes.
Plan, PLAN, PLAN! Planning is more important than anything, it makes it so much easier to fit everything in if it is organised and written down in some sort of schedule or plan.
Also don’t put things off. Try and get everything done as and when it comes in rather than letting work build up.
Getting work done little and often definitely works better as having it done out of the way is ultimately much less stressful than having a mountain of work that becomes overwhelming.
Now that you have read Hannah’s story, go visit her website for more information on weight loss and maintaining it; www.whyweightireland.ie