The Business & The Baby is a series of guest blog posts - from awesome mamas who have successfully started up in business after being on maternity leave.
This month, Jenette Hardy shares her journey to launching her business during maternity leave with her second child.
Tell us a bit about your business...
Hardy Soft Play Hire is an events entertainment company that is here to help you to simply create memorable events and experiences. We hire soft play equipment, bouncy castles, inflatable slides and mascots, and we also provide fun foods and glitter tattoos to a wide range of events.
What made you want to start the business on maternity leave?
I had been self employed owning a cafe bar before my son was born and then got a 'proper' job after my maternity. The regular pay was great but I was uninspired and bored.
When I was pregnant with my daughter I saw the opportunity to hire good quality soft play equipment for preschool events in the area after my mum hired some substandard equipment for an event she was organising. I thought my upcoming maternity leave would be a great opportunity to start the business and grow it.
How did you go about starting up your business whilst looking after your child(ren)?
I had 9 months maternity leave after my daughter was born which gave me the opportunity to work on building the business around nap times and play dates. My mum was on hand to help with childcare when I had bookings which was invaluable. When the business got busier my husband reduced his hours at work so he was able to help with the bookings at a weekend.
What were the biggest challenges you faced during this time and how did you overcome them?
My work colleagues didn't take my idea seriously and thought it was just a hobby to stop me from getting bored. This was very frustrating, but it just made me more determined to make it work and get out of there. If I hadn't had my mum there to help with childcare I wouldn't have been able to get the business up and running.
Have you got any tips for other new mums who are thinking of starting up a business?
Do it! Yes it can be really hard work and time consuming , but you can do it! the rewards are worth it. Take the first step and then the second. You don't need to know all of the answers or exactly where the business is going and how all the details are going to work. Building a business is a gradual thing.
All the businesses I know have started in once place and developed and changed and built on what they have learned. Sometimes the end product is completely different from where you first started, as your business becomes your child and you nurture and develop it and see what it can achieve.
Jenette is a wife and mum of a 5 year old son and 4 year old daughter. She lives in the beautiful village of Dent in south Cumbria where she was born and raised. After moving away to University, travelling and working abroad, and getting married, Jenette moved back to her village and into her childhood home (her actually childhood home not just the village!)