Sunday, February 6, 2011

Why every Mumprenuer needs a Virtual Assistant

We are delighted to have the very talented Lisa Dunn of Hexagon VA running our Dumfries & Galloway network. She offers services that every mumpreneur should which I am sure I will be needing very soon!!
Lisa tells us all about the services she provides.

“And what do you do?”

So it goes at every party, networking event, social occasion or even family gathering.

“I’m a VA.”

“Oh.” (polite bafflement) “Em, so what’s that then?”

“A Virtual Assistant. You know, like a Personal Assistant, but I work from home and offer administrative and business support online.”

“Oh, I see, how, er, interesting.”

It really isn’t that strange these days to be working from home, but not all of us are good at making beautiful things to sell, or delivering motivational speeches! Personally, I’m very organised and am never happier than when making life simpler for people, so I work from home as a VA. For lots of reasons, my best career move has been setting up my own business to help other business mums.

So why would a mumpreneur need a VA? Well…

What do you find the most bother in your business? Maybe you keep double booking yourself, or leaving your diary behind. Your VA can make sure that your diary is always up to date with online diary management that can be accessed from your smart phone.

Perhaps you can’t keep track of your clients. You go to a networking event, then lose the contact details of potential clients, wasting the money you have laid out. Maybe it takes ages for you to send the same email to lots of different people, and following up leads becomes a nightmare. VAs are particularly good at making use of customer relationship management (CRM) software to help you convert leads to clients, and keep your existing clients in touch with what you are doing.

Maybe you find it hard to use social media. Facebook, Twitter and blogging are so important these days for getting your message out to your potential clients, but so difficult to get around to doing. Your VA can write and schedule your status updates, tweets and blog posts so you don’t even have to think about them, especially if you are so modest you find it hard to tell the world how wonderful you and your products are!

So, are all VAs the same? Not at all! Most VAs have core skills that they offer such as the diary management and CRM mentioned above, but one VA is unlikely to be offering every service you require. However, commonly, your VA will be able to recommend other providers for services she does not offer. It is worth chatting over your requirements with a VA to get the best advice.

If you find that you are spending too much time on your business and not in your business, you should consider working with a VA who can help you restore that precious work-life balance, and work with you to take your business to the next level. Why spend ages on tasks you hate when you could be doing what you love, and went into business to do? Do what you do best, and outsource the rest!

Most importantly here is Lisa's website

Business Spotlight on Cochrane Cottage

We were delighted when Cochrane Cottage joined our Glasgow meeting and we got to taste some of the delicious products. So we got some business tips from Carol-Anne who runs Cochrane Cottage.

Is your business full time or do you work elsewhere too? Myself & my husband are pretty much full time

Has your business aims changed over the years/months? if so what has changed? We try to drive the business but due to recent opportunities that have come our way and we have grasped , we are finding that the business is driving us ....although we strive to re-address the balance every single day . Our Growth at the moment is exponential .

How do you market your business? The usual ways - Web-site , networking , direct selling at events , throught outlets , tasting sessions , charity events . We try not to say "no" to even the smallest events if we are available would be surprised what can come out of these wee events . Life is about being in the right place at the right time and you never know when that will happen .

What is your greatest business achievement so far? People contacting us to get work, be involved with Cochrane Cottage - it is a 2 way street now . It has taken us a lot of hard work to get to this point but there is always more to do

How do you juggle business and family life? It is difficult but we try to have particular days when we don't work but it doesn't always turn out like that . Of course the family is involved and sometimes I don't know what we would have done without their help but it will get better - I hope !

What are your plans for your business in the next few years? There are financial goals and targets but I'd really like to get some recognition for our branding , the innovative nature of our products - great taste without the FAT or the calories and of course the products themselves .

Do you have any advice that you would like to share with fellow mumpreneurs starting out or growing their business? Keep it simple , do your reasearch and where you start is not always where you finish . We are only 1 year old but I am increadibly proud of what we have achieved in a year . Always remember that every business , no matter how big , was only 1 year old once .And finally be very careful about devoting time to activities which distract you from your goal - time is one of your most valuable commodities - that doesn't mean that you can't take time to experiment . In fact I would encourage it - that is how you learn.

Check out the mouth watering products at

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What to do when someone copies your business or ideas?

We posted an article about 6 months ago on how to protect your designs and website for being copied.

Just revisiting this topic, as we have many new members who have joined us since then.

It can be frustrating when you set up a business and work really hard to make it a success for someone to come along and copy your words and ideas. This is never easy but competition can be healthy - it makes you work even harder. However it can be annoying when the people who are copying our ideas are industry colleagues.

Behind the scenes we regularly advise members on how they can protect their ideas, from everything to how they present at trade shows to networking their business.

So here is a great article that I have found which is worth a read -

"Many may imitate what you are doing, in fact they could outright copy, what they can’t have is the essence of the idea, the passion that has kept you awake at night with excitement at the thought of launching a new business idea. They can’t copy the integrity that has formulated the plan … nor understand everything that whirrrs and cogs behind it nor the commitment that your family and team have made to you to ensure it is successful

Howard Schultz, the Chairman of Starbucks states in his book ‘The Starbucks Experience’

“We have no patent on anything we do and anything we do can be copied by anyone else. But you can’t copy the heart and the soul and the conscience of the company.”

-Howard Schultz, Chairman of Starbucks"

Read the full article here  

Unfortunately it isn't a case of IF your ideas get copied but more like WHEN they do. Remember too that the person copying you will also become a victim of copying too ....

A quote one of our mumpreneurs used is from McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc "My attitude was that competition can try to steal my plans and copy my style but they can't read my mind: so I'll leave them a mile behind"

Be yourself. There is something that you can do better than any other. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that.
If you’re in our network then remember that alliances are extremely beneficial. Building good relationships with other network members can actually boost your business success.

Saturday, January 1, 2011 offers advertising opportunities for Scottish Mumpreneurs

Delighted to bring you yet another opportunity for Scottish Mumprenuers Network members. We have been speaking with Tracey Bartlett of new national wedding directory
She is offering advertising opportunities to our members - so make sure you get in touch quoting Scottish Mumpreneur Network/Wedding and Baby to benefit from the latest discounts.

Here is what Tracey had to say about her new site -

My Hubby and I married on 15th October 2009, not our first wedding, but definitely our last. Because of this, we only invited our four daughters to the ceremony and celebration meal, it was glorious!! I have done the big white wedding, although nice (and expensive) it was lovely to experience a low key celebration which concentrated on what we as a family wanted. We were very fortunate to meet the lovely Myleene Klass whilst on honeymoon in Windsor that night. After ages watching her filming in our hotel courtyard we went and sipped champagne, a real treat and a perfect end to our wedding day. It was a simple quiet day that ended with a big bang.....eureka moment that is! It The idea was planted to one day branch into wedding planning (watch this space) but in the meantime I vowed to plough my spare energies into the wedding website my husband developed for me. Since this day it has grown immensely and I am very grateful for the time and help my husband has assisted me.

The WithBellsOn wedding information website aim is to bring brides and their local businesses together, connecting those who have wedding services to those who need wedding services.

 I hope both the information and directory provided in WithBellsOn will help engaged couples get the information and services they require to make their day run smoothly, whether it is their first, second, third, forth.....I personally wish all engaged couples the very best of luck with planning for their special day and hope their future is bright, with many smiles and only tears of joy.

So, if you are getting married please come to for all your wedding information needs, we have some beautiful jewellery! If you are a business owner and wish to advertise your business to all the engaged couples out there, then please come and find more information here...
Email -!/profile.php?id=1052174911

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Award winning Scottish Mumpreneurs

Entering awards can be daunting for Mumpreneurs but two of our Glasgow Network Mumpreneurs have got it spot on.

M.T O'Donnell of successfully won the The Best Supplier Website at The Bridal Magazines Awards, beating off big companies like Confetti.

The award ceremony takes place in 2011 so we will be interviewing M.T after the awards, to get the low down on what life is like as an award winning business.

Glasgow Girls Wedding Guide

Irene McNamee of made it to the shortlist for Best Stationery Supplier and
Louise Graham of also made the shortlist for Accessory Supplier of the Year. Both ladies are also in the Glasgow network.



Wedding and Baby Bespoke Accessories
 Alison Tinlin of has also successfully made it to the final of Wedding Ideas Magazine Awards 2011. Alison has been shortlisted as one of 5 top wedding planners in the UK. Winners will be announced at the ceremony on the 14th Jan 2011. So we wish her all the best.

Plans and Presents
Also celebrating earlier in the year was Edinburgh Scottish Mumprenuer Anna Louise Simpson of . Anna Louise scooped the Best Start Up at the Mumpreneur Awards 2010.
Mama Tea at Mumpreneur Awards

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Scottish Mumpreneur Network speaks with

We as you know at Scottish Mumpreneur Network I am always working hard to get our members special discounts. This one comes from the wonderful

"The premier blog and directory resource for weddings in the North of the UK and the wider web. A double daily dose of wedding inspiration, supplier showcases, real and celebrity weddings, giveaways and more!"

"Currently adding Featured Suppliers to the Brides Up North directory. Quote Scottish Mumpreneurs for preferable rates!"

I have been speaking with the team behind this site and rest assured they are fab. In fact you will see my business on there next week.

Please contact them direct at for your special rates.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wedding & Vintage Headband maker Louise at talks to SMN

Wedding and Baby launched in Jan 2009 and is now gaining recognition from wedding industry experts for providing a range of vintage inspired headbands, combs, tiaras and jewellery. Wedding and Baby was also shortlisted in The Bridal Magazine Awards for Best Accessory supplier of the year 2010.
Rhinestone Rose hair comb

In the beginning, Louise Graham decided to build her business by working with extremely talented designers to establish her business. This decision was purely due to her time commitments being limited as she cared for her young son. However as a Product designer to trade (having graduated from Napier University Edinburgh with a BSc Hons in Industrial Design) it wasn’t long before Louise’s creativity was bursting to get hands on again – so she launched her own range of tiaras, headbands and jewellery in Sept 2009. Around this time she also gained recognition from X – Factor contestants, which resulted in her designs being worn to the premiere of Shrek 3D in June 2010.

Clam Headband

Within a year and a half in business Wedding and Baby have launched a wholesale option, allowing the designs to be available to try on in bridal boutiques throughout the country. Already within a month of setting this up Louise has stockists eager to stock her designs.

Louise focuses on vintage inspired pieces with a twist. Her work is renowned for being more than just a wear once accessory. In fact many of her designs can be converted into a brooch and worn again. As well as the website, Louise offers appointments in Glasgow for bespoke orders.

Vintage Wedding feather fascinator with bird cage veil

The Spring/Summer 2011 collection is causing a stir with the media. As always Vintage is the essence of the collection, although this season sees more fabric and feathers along with the usual rhinestones. You can be sure to see Louise’s designs gracing Bridal magazines and Wedding T.V programmes throughout 2011.

What makes Wedding and Baby so unique is that Louise becomes part of the style team. She instinctively uses her design qualifications to create a headpiece that will suit the bride, the dress and the ceremony. Cuddles are a regular occurrence from brides who are blown away by their breath taking bridal accessories.

 What’s more Louise keeps in touch with most brides long after the big day and is always delighted to see the baby photo’s that follow!

To have your dream wedding tiara, headband, comb, fascinator, birdecage veil or jewellery created for you make sure you contact Wedding and Baby.!/pages/Wedding-and-Baby/52939309408

Twitter @weddingandbaby

Vintage Cuff Bracelet