I have started A LOT of at home businesses. Some great. Think, mother of four rivals Richard Branson (okay not quite) some plain awful, think, mother of four ends up with 40 wedding dresses stuck in her spare room. I'll explain that later.
I won't lie, I'm a bit of 'Del Boy' open my coat, sell you watches in the school playground, type.
I'm forever seeking ideas for new ventures. I'm not the sort to buy into franchises or the like, but rather, sit on the sofa, an idea pops into my head and before I know it I've bought 500 umbrellas from China, and just figure I'll check out the weather forecast later.
In light of this, I thought to give a quick run through of some of my many 'I'm not working 9-5 for nobody' ideas.
So, some that may or may not inspire the Branson in you are:
A vintage crockery hire company. This was successful and is still running! I thought best to start with a positive, knowing what's to follow...
Two mothers, sat with tea in one hand and a nappy bag in the other, we came up with idea and the next weekend were out haggling with car booters to grab our tea cups and sugar tongs and off we skipped into the big wide (crazy/bizarre) world of weddings. We sweet talked wedding venues to let us do display tables with our 'summer cream tea' theme, at their open events, and that first summer we bagged 9 bookings. Result.
Next, a retro, vintage clothes seller on eBay.
I loved this. I love clothes, I love charity shops, and it was great selling to young women who although loved vintage togs, would rather sip a Star Bucks than be seen in Oxfam. It supported charities too which was lovely chicken soup for the soul.
I did it for about a year until secondhand prices became more expensive where I was living, than if I'd shopped at Radleys. I couldn't longer keep saving towards that speed boat.
And then there was making individual, rustic wedding guest books.
This was great, until the realisation that although enthusiastic, my crafty wears weren't actually good enough to sell. To anyone.
The penny dropped after I had bought 1 million sequins and a glue gun, oh and saw half of Etsy are selling the exact same thing. Only better.
On to, a second hand wedding dress business.
So, with this one I was pretty convinced I was in the realms of Dragons Den. I was set to become the next face of 'business women of the year'.
The idea was to showcase dresses all in one place (my spare room which I transformed into a rather gorgeous dressing room) so that brides with a restricted budget could view all the dresses in one go and replicate that special day you choose 'the one'. Great right?! Wrong.
I began my venture when my 4th daughter was 3 weeks old. Insane.
But she slept like a bear would hibernate, so I forgot about the part where she would actually 'grow' and stop rivalling my longest sleep stint of 12 hours.
I had 60 women drop off their dresses in 2 days and lots of brides waving their cash. The speed boat was back on.
That was until my quite anxious 3 year old really wasn't ok with the numerous amount of people coming in and out of 'her' house. That, and I was running after brides with a crying child saying 'shhhhh' as the baby was sleeping in the next room.
The party was over right there.
I've also had 'Branson' moments when I've decided to study to be a personal trainer (*splutter* sorry I just choked on some Betty Crocker mixture) a poet, a children's author, a childminder and an accountant. Until I remembered I don't like figures. Or maths.
Of course true mother style, I came to this conclusion after being delivered a 50 tonne parcel containing all my AAT literature for the next 3 years.
So what did I learn from all this?
My husband is very, very patient.
To do what I love! Not what I think is just a great idea, you need to be passionate about it or it will most likely end in 'I'm out'.
I mean I can never really be passionate about guest books.
Research! I decided to sell ice pole holders (yes they are a thing) after making my daughters a prototype.
Aside from the fact I can't sow very well, if I had simply typed in 'ice pole holder' into the power that is Google, I would of seen you can buy them, £1.99 for 5 from Wilkinsons.
Another realisation is to be realistic on what you can actually fit into your life!
I have 4 young girls, my day consists of them, cooking, the house, being a taxi and washing. And it's busier than when I worked 3 jobs at once.
Any new business will take long nights and hard work, but if you have customers waiting the other end for goods they have paid for, you need to make sure you can deliver. I can't, I've learnt, and it makes my stress levels sore more than a toddler who had the peppa pig spoon for their dinner rather than the Dora one. Serious tension right there.
Lastly though, give it a good old bash. Take that idea, think it through, then run with it like a mum running out the school gates after dropping all her children there. With enthusiasm.
No one built their empire first time, right?