This week I interviewed work at home dad Rob McDougall from Cuddle Mummy Love. After leaving behind the fast paced life of a film and TV producer, Rob started up a home based business with wife Monique. In this interview he shares some fantastic tips for work at home parents.
Tell us a little about the person behind the business?
I’m Rob. I’m a loyal husband to Monique and father of two beautiful young boys Oliver and Jackson. I love travel, photography, racing cars, playing soccer and tennis and having a laugh. I have been immersed in Film and TV Production for the past 17 years working on everything from TV commercials and documentaries to full length Feature Films in a variety of production roles.
And now a little about the business itself?
Cuddle Mummy Love is a family business that was formed after the creation of a brand new and unique range of greeting cards that I originally made with my sons for their mother. The card range is known as the Hand Print Cards and provide a way that enables the user to create a painted print such as a hand or foot on the inside of the card using a wet wipe soaked with child friendly paint. Each card pack also includes a cleaning wipe to remove any excess paint for easy cleanup. They provide a fun and creative way to involve children in the card giving process.
The result is a beautiful and personal print that says far more than just words can say with every card being unique and becoming an everlasting keepsake.
How did you come up with your business name?
Cuddle Mummy Love is such a sweet and thoughtful name, and strongly represents who we are and what we are all about. It does have an interesting origin though. Our son Oliver, at the age of 3, coined the phrase influenced by a special bedtime story: “When I Feel Loved” by Trace Moroney. Each time ‘Ollie’ saw a picture of a heart in the story he would warmly remark “…heart for cuddle mummy love.” With such warmth and sincerity in Oliver’s words, we could not go past such a beautiful phrase when deciding on a name for our business, as it captured the sentiment we wanted the cards to express so well. With the discovery and creation of the Hand Paint Cards, came a unique name and business, and Cuddle Mummy Love was born.
What made you want to begin a work at home business and how did you get started?
Our family was the inspiration. I had worked for years and many long hours making movies. Although it is an industry that I enjoy being a part of, it was at the sacrifice of crucial family time. We discovered a cool idea for a range of greeting cards and wanted to do something for ourselves that would also benefit others. The chance of creating the unique cards was an opportunity for both of us to achieve these goals and work on something together.
What inspires you to keep your business going?
The cards are a great way to encourage families to come closer together, which is something that is sorely needed in these busy times. We have an overwhelming desire to make a difference in peoples’ lives and this is a big driving force for us through the cards.We love to see the amazing responses and feedback we get from people who have received the cards as a gift who have been truly touched. The people in the industry, and more specifically small businesses really are a wonderful group to be surrounded by with a common drive. We are constantly and pleasantly surprised with not only the calibre of the people we meet but also the support and pleasant nature of the people we have come across. We plan to be in business for a while and value the relationships and friendships we are building along the way. We love helping others and enjoy the opportunity to give back what we have received in support and advice.
How do you advertise your business and which methods have proven more successful?
Mainly through social media and the internet. We have also recently exhibited at a national buyers show, which, by default, is a great way of self-promotion in showing our range. Another method soon will be in magazines that focus on our particular industry. Newsagents and gift stores are always on the lookout for something unique so a lot of it is by direct contact or references.
How do you juggle your family and your work at home business? Any tips for other home based women entrepreneurs?
It is without doubt a tough task. The flexibility is a wonderful advantage as you definitely see more of your family. However, the flip side is you never really leave work either. It is hard to switch off and create a divide between work and family time so try to create limits. There are many distractions when working from home, which makes it hard to focus even if you are disciplined so be clear on your goals for each day and week. You need to be diligent with planning your time; take control of it to become more effective and efficient with the time you have and try to limit interruptions. Schedule your time. Start at 12months and work backwards to a month, week and day, but allow free time too. You need to work out what works best for your own family. Every business and situation is different. What works for someone else may not work for you.
And finally, what advice would you give to anyone wanting to start a home based business?
- Do your research first. Set goals and thoroughly plan. Understand the reasons you are starting your own business. Write it down. Why are you doing it? What will your life look like in detail? Make it compelling. It is worth taking the time for this to use as reference to reinvigorate and motivate yourself to keep going because you are reminded of why you started in the first place.
- You need to find what time of day you are most efficient. For some WAHP that time is early morning, for others it is after the children have gone to bed.
- Fail fast. If you wait for everything to be perfect, you will unlikely get anywhere. If you can validate your assumptions quickly you will sooner learn what to change and you’ll adapt quicker.
- Surround yourself with great people. Invest the time to connect with others and learn to accept help from willing friends and family.
- Wisdom and great ideas can come from anywhere and anyone, so be open to receiving them, and also to accepting help.
- Network. Research the different resources online such as Support a WAHP and get involved. The best support we have had is from people in other industries, with similar ambitions for their own lives. When working from home your network is crucial since you spend so much time alone.
- Get a mentor, coaches, strategic partnerships or accountability partners. They are seriously valuable resources to link with and should never be underestimated.
- Be genuine, sincere and act with integrity.