Tell us about your business.
My business is web design and e-commerce consulting. The work is varied and there is a process which includes sales, meetings with clients, drafting up proposals, agreeing a contract, planning out what the website has to achieve, design, implentation and getting the website live. Different websites have different objectives and goals so I could be working on speed optimisation, build landing pages or SEO among many other tasks.
How many hours a week do you work?
Before children I worked about 30 hours a week, with children about 15 to 20 hours. Currently I am on maternity leave with my 2nd child.
How are you managing the business while you are on maternity leave?
It’s meant that I’ve brought on more people to help run my business while I’m not there. I’ve found other people who I trust to take on some of my work. I am using my keeping in touch days to help manage the workload I’m giving to others.
Can you give any tips to parents on how to manage your work around the kids?
When my second baby gets older and I return to work, I will get childcare for 2 to 3 days a week. You need to have time set aside to work without children. I try and reduce the work load before the school holidays. You also need to acccount for the fact that it costs you to work if you’re paying for childcare. That’s why it’s really important to focus on work when you’ve child free time and children when you’ve got chidren. Otherwise you ‘re going to get stressed out.
Why did you become self employed?
To manage my family life better and I really enjoy the work.
How did you manage the transition between being employed and owning your own business?
I started doing sites free for people and realised there was a demand for it. Then I started doing paid websites on the side while still in full time employment. My first website was for my partner and then I did one for my sister, a singer. My first paid one was for my buggy fit teacher. It was one of the most straightforward one I’ve ever done and I learned so much while I was doing it
I didn’t want to give up my job until I’d built up my business a little bit. I gave myself 3 months and gave myself a back up plan to go back to work if it didn’t work out. I didn’t leave my full time job until I had 2 or 3 jobs lined up. I had a plan and since then it’s just grown. I do have worries if I’ll have enough money but than something else comes in. But you have to be comfortable with that risk.
How do you market your business?
To be honest, not very well! I have my own website that desperately needs an update. Much of my work comes from recommendations through word of mouth. I receive a lot of referrals through networking. There are many online network and facebook groups for local entrepreneurs, women in business and local moms. I do get lots of clients through facebook. I have both facebook and twitter accounts.
What are the best and worst things about your job?
I like creating something that’s better, if that makes any sense. I want to make websites successful in what they are intended to do such as driving conversions into sales. I also like the technical stuff. I like coding and working out how to make certain things happen. I like websites to look really good as well. I also like working with my clients and people in general and thinking up ideas with them.
Sometimes it can get frustrating if there are delays in the project which are beyond your control.
How did you see your business developing in the future?
The risk is that there is lot of solo web designers out there which is great but I wants to develop into a business that will make other businesses sucessful. Something I already do is not leaving the clients once the initial website is done but providing ongoing support. This is a personal service which focus on making updates, dealing with any problems that may arise and providing security such as online hackers.
Check out gillyfleur.com to find out more about the Gillyfleur Web Design.