Jules Brooke of Handle Your Own PR is this month MIB (Mum In Business)
A DIY PR website for small businesses that explains how to get free publicity. We offer DIY PR packages, coaching, media release writing and media contact lists as well as oodles of free advice!
What inspired you to start your own business?
I had just had my first child and was working for graphic design companies that offered little flexibility and long hours. I wanted to do something that could offer me income and flexibility so set up my little PR company, Handle Communications. We quickly started focusing on the parenting/Mumpreneur space and worked with lots of clever women who often had new products or services that were very innovative and newsworthy. We also found that once the GFC hit, many of these great businesses couldn’t afford to pay an agency to do the PR for them, and from that the idea for www.handleyourownpr.com.au was born. The idea was to empower small businesses to do their own PR, offering the advice they needed as well as a media release writing service and selling media contact lists. Since then the website has gone through at least 3 major design and website changes and we now offer PR Coaching, DIY PR packages and lots more media contact lists.
Why did you decide to be a Mumpreneur?
It was more a case of ‘needs must’. My son was the most important factor in starting out on my own, and then 4 years later he was joined by twin brothers and with the three of them, it was a necessity. I wanted to be able to attend school functions and those lovely days at childcare and primary school where parents can be involved, but I also love business and don’t want to give it up. Working for myself ticked all the boxes!
What do you enjoy most about working for yourself and/or working from home?
I love almost all of it! Now my boys are a bit older I enjoy being able to work without having to get all dressed up – although I do have a lot of meetings with clients and business associates so that does get me out of the house and into the ‘real world’ I also love being able to take holidays when it suits the kids and I (like during the school holidays), being able to look after them if they are home sick from school and perhaps most importantly, working the hours that suit me.
What, if anything, do you miss about office life?
Probably the camaraderie that comes with working in a team…oh and the regular pay cheque!
How much time do you spend on your business?
I’m kind of always ‘switched on’ with the business but my hours are quite erratic and are very much dictated by the amount of work I have on. I would say it probably ends up being 30-40 hours a week but that may include Sundays and evenings. I really enjoy
How do you achieve a work/life balance working from home and/or running your own business
I have a great work/life balance! As above, I get to be with the kids when possible but also have some fabulous clients to work with and an online business that means I can work on it at any time. I get to go out to meet with other small business owners through networking events and also via talks I do on DIY PR.
What challenges/issues do you face running your own business?
Motivation is always a good topic for discussion when it comes to the challenges I face running my own business. Especially when it’s at home! But as long as there is plenty of work to do, it is easy to stay motivated. The financial ‘ups and downs’ of being a small business owner is another challenge. The income isn’t guaranteed, you really have to work at it, and as a single Mum that makes it particularly crucial. There are also technological challenges when running a web based business that sometimes get the better of me!
What tips/advice would you give to mums out there wishing to start their own business?
Do it! I have no regrets at all and am constantly encouraging my friends and colleagues to try it. The freedom it gives and the lifestyle it affords make all the challenges worth while.
Where is your favourite place to go with your baby or toddler/children?
The park. We have a great one that is near us in Melbourne’s inner west. The park and the beach are great fun for the kids and have the added benefit of exhausting them!
What advice would you give your ‘toddler’ self?
Stop plucking the hair off that teddy! No, really I would say that there is a great life ahead of you so enjoy your childhood and know that there are lots of adventures to be had in your future.
MIB (Mum In Business) is a regular feature on Babies&Toddlers.com
Each month we feature a mumpreneur who runs her own business from home. If you are a WFHM (Working From Home Mum) and are interested in being featured then email firstname.lastname@example.org