Based on her personal experience of struggling to juggle life as a businesswoman, a mother, and keep up with the day to day running of the home, Kezia Luckett found her gap in the market. Mummy's Maid provides a variety of household services from looking after children to cleaning the home, but unlike other housekeeper businesses, they offer short-term contracts starting from as little as two hours. We caught up with Kezia to hear her experience of being a 'mumpreneur'.
Q: What inspired you to start a household services business?
A: What inspired me to set up the business was two experiences. Firstly my own experience during and after giving birth to my children I suffered with complications and I needed short term household help and none of the companies I contacted were able to offer this. Secondly, I had a conversation with a friend who was a single mum and was talking about the lack of work available for Mums who still wanted the flexibility of picking and dropping off children at school and from that the idea of Mummy’s Maid was formed.
Q: How easy was it to transform your idea into a business?
A: Not as easy as I originally thought. I spent a huge amount of time researching and gathering information before I did anything. I visited my local business link for advice and spoke to local entrepreneurs to gain insight as to some of the mistakes they felt they had made along the way. In total I think it took 5 months from having the idea to being open for business
Q: What are the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
A: The main one was working out how to raise awareness of what it is we do and how we differ from other companies without spending a huge amount of money on advertising. The learning curve was very steep and quite expensive at the beginning.
Q: If you could start-up all over again, would you change anything?
A: Yes I would. Initially I spent a lot of money on the exciting stuff leaflets, posters, brochures, website etc and quickly over a period of time the services we offered changed as we responded to our client’s needs and these items quickly became out of date.
Q: What are your thoughts on starting a business during the recession?
A: I think it is a wonderful opportunity, if I can make a business successful in a recession how great will it be when we come out of the recession
Q: Did you have previous experience of starting a business or a mentor to guide you? How do you think this affected your start-up experience?
A: I had no experience of starting a business or mentor although I have sought the help from a mentor now. As previously mentioned I spoke to and grilled many local entrepreneurs in my area who were involved in different line of business, mostly over coffee and cake about their experience of setting up, local knowledge, business knowledge, all of which helped me to avoid some of the pitfalls of setting up
Q: Mummy’s Maid involves your clients placing a lot of trust in your employees. What measures do you take to create this trust?
A: As a mum I know what would I would want in a stranger if I was inviting them into my home to look after either my children or clean my possessions and that is what I look for in my employees. I Iook for individuals who very quickly put me at ease, who are easy to talk to and can relate to all types of people, and have an understanding of what’s important to me about my children and home. These are more personality traits but from a security point of view all of our ladies have an enhanced CRB check done by us, we ask for two references as well as them having a face to face interview with us.
Q: What do you enjoy about being an entrepreneur?
A: The challenge. It’s not been easy and I definitely have my highs and lows but every milestone and challenge we overcome and reach gets us one step closer to my ultimate goal of running and owning a nationwide business within the next 5 years.
Q: What are the disadvantages to being an entrepreneur?
A: No guarantees!!
Q: How do you find the balance between family life as well as running your own business?
A: I have an incredibly supportive husband and mother in law who help out tremendously. I also have learnt excellent time management skills and learnt to delegate.
Q: Why do you think Mummy’s Maid appeals to people?
A: I think there are many reasons that Mummy’s Maid appeals to people. In the recession not everyone can afford or needs a full time nanny, cleaner, personal assistant, laundry service every week and with Mummy’s Maid they can have the flexibility to use us as and when they need to without any lengthy contracts as each contract is a minimum of two hours long. Most of our maids are mums themselves and understand the juggling act that is motherhood which helps put our clients at ease.
Q: What is the single most important thing you can do to be successful in business?
A: Don’t give up
Q: Entrepreneurship –skill, luck, or a bit of both?
A: I think it helps to gain the skills needed to run a business, but if you don’t have all of them you can always hire individuals who do. With regards to Luck, I am not so sure about this; I think sheer determination and drive might often be mistaken for luck as people often look at the results of someone’s labour rather than the hard work and determination done to get those results.
Q: What three pieces of advice would you give to other ‘mumpreneurs’?
A: - Research your business idea before you spend any money
- Celebrate your successes however small or large they are
- Ensure that you still make quality time for your children and husband/partner