Get Inspired by Successful Business Women of Bournemouth: Joanne Dewberry
Celebrating local women that have taken control of their work/life balance and started a business after having kids
I met Joanne at a local networking group she co-hosts called Lemur LinkUp , a monthly event held very conveniently at a soft play centre so the little ones can run riot while the mums talk business. Joanne immediately came across as someone that really cares about helping other women in business and as I knew she is a successful business owner and blogger, I decided I had to get an interview with her!
And here it is, my interview with Joanne and a glimpse into her life as a business owner and mum of three…
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business
I’m a 30 something coffee lover living in rural Dorset with my long suffering partner and our three children, Charlie (10), Megan (9) and Olive (6) and our two cats George and Alice. Alongside writing a UK Small Business blog www.JoanneDewberry.co.uk I am also owner, designer and creator at Charlie Moo’s specialising in handmade fabric party bags.
I wrote a book in 2012 about turning a craft hobby into a small business Crafting a Successful Small Business and I’m also a Sage Business Expert. In 2010 I was named Dorset Business Mother of the Year which is probably my most treasured small business award. I co host with Kara Guppy (ChelseaMamma.co.uk ) and Jackie Richmond (Lemur Landings) a networking group for parents in business in Poole, Dorset.
In my spare time *insert lol emoji* I like to binge watch crime dramas.
2. What motivated you to start your business?
I was disheartened by party bags, Charlie, had received at parties. Not only did the contents break straight away, they were generally age inappropriate and/or made of plastic. One party he received near enough a whole bag of chocolate. It became a slightly stressful experience. Charlie would wonder out of the party tightly clutching a plastic bag in his hand, after the Health and Safety Police had a rummage he’d be left in most cases with a balloon and bubbles. I took the plunge to build and start up my website after Megan was born in August 2008. I became very adept at typing with one finger whilst breast feeding at 2am. I now sew all the fabric bags myself too! Family is very much at the heart of Charlie Moo’s all my gang have a role to play.
I can still be a full time parent as well as a business woman
I started writing my small business blog to help encourage other mums to start a business and impart some of my knowledge to the masses. I soon realised once the children started school that having both and e-commerce shop and a blog provided me with a fully flexible working environment that means I can still be a full time parent as well as a business woman.
3. What do you love best about running your own business / being your own boss?
I love being able to take all the school holidays off! Having 7 weeks in the summer to chill, hang out with the children and reassess my small business goals is the ultimate luxury. I know many people can’t do this but at the moment I feel it’s fundamental to both my role as mother and small business owner.
Having 7 weeks in the summer to chill, hang out with the children and reassess my small business goals is the ultimate luxury
I also love that as my main role is still full time mum, I get to try different things out. I always talk about how even though this will be my 9th year in business I’m just setting the foundations. It won’t be long until all 3 children don’t need me anymore and I won’t have the opportunities to experiment anymore within my business. I’ve been able to try diverse aspects from social media management, which I actually don’t really enjoy, to talking at events which I always find really scary to writing which I love. Things I’d never written down in a formal business plan.
4. How do you try to maintain a work/life balance?
Work life balance means something different to everyone and it’s not a one size fits all terminology. For me being able to attend school events and collect the children from school most days whilst working hours that suit me are what I deem work life balance. Most of the time this works well that doesn’t mean that I sometimes have to miss out on trips or events as I have no childcare. As much as possible now the children are at school I work school hours, as quite frankly after driving them to all their activities and the nightly go to bed argument I don’t want to sit down and work, but I used to and know many small businesses that do.
For me being able to attend school events and collect the children from school most days whilst working hours that suit me are what I deem work life balance.
Being organised in your everyday life can really help you to spread your time wisely. From little things like preparing meals in advance or using a slow cooker. For more tips check out 7 life hacks for busy working parents: https://joannedewberry.co.uk/time-management-9/life-hacks/
5. What encouragement would you give to anyone reading this who is thinking about starting their own business but perhaps afraid to take the leap?
Do it! I think once you take the plunge everything else will start slipping into place. Until you try you won’t know if it’s feasible really. Plus you can get stuck in that what if situation (what if it doesn’t work, what if I can’t juggle everything, what if I can’t afford it) when most of the time none of that really matters and most what if’s are in your mind.
Having a group of people you can turn to and they to you is in my mind vital in small business.
From the very beginning I would recommend networking. Find local small business networking groups and meet other people in the same situation as you. Building a network both on and offline will be one of the most important things you do. Not only does this provide you with a safe haven to ask questions and market research, rant and cry. When you work alone you can go days, weeks without speaking to people and this is where loneliness, self doubt and depression can set in. Having a group of people you can turn to and they to you is in my mind vital in small business.
Thanks Joanne, what an inspiring interview and packed with tips too!
If you want to find out more about Joanne and her business and blog, I’ve got all the links you need right here: