Vanessa Taylor says that running her MamaBabyBliss Franchise in Nottingham gives her the flexibility that she needs to fit around her family life.
Vanessa Taylor runs her MamaBabyBliss franchise in Nottingham and tells us about her business:
I was a primary school teacher for 20 years, specialising in children with individual needs. I have done yoga for 20 years and trained to teach yoga to children which I did at the school I worked in and at after school clubs. I had seen that you could train in Baby Yoga, so did some research and came across the MamaBabyBliss Website . I loved the philosophies behind the work and spoke to Justina Perry, the founder, and was immediately hooked and booked onto the training. I can still remember, literally feeling like skipping out of the first day of training, thinking, this is what I was meant to do. I was so excited and inspired. How amazing to have a job that I knew I was going to love so much. The rest, as they say, is history.
I absolutely love the flexibility of being self-employed. It has meant that as my children prepared to fly the nest I have been there before and after school on most days. Even teenagers really need you as a mum, for a whole host of different needs and challenges that change as they get older. They have pressures of exams etc. so I love just being able to be there for them, and now when my son comes home for visits from University, I can schedule time out when he is home to spend quality time with him. Choosing when I work my hours has meant that I can look back and have no regrets. I know I have always been there for them, at crisis times, to attend school meetings, university visits and interviews. I can choose to work later in the evening if needs be to catch up if I have taken time out in the day. The beauty of this work is that it grows with your family. When my daughter goes to University full time, I can work full time as much as possible when they are both away, and then schedule more time out to enjoy them when they are home. There are few jobs that enable this flexibility. It fits perfectly around your chosen lifestyle.
I teach my classes at 2 different venues in my area, which are 20 minutes to half an hour drive away. I used to teach 3 minutes away, but demand came more from my current venues so I went with where the need was. My admin work, emails etc I do at home, or out and about. That is also the beauty of modern technology. In my role as trainer for the company, I occasionally train elsewhere e.g. Hitchin, Manchester, to enable recruitment in a variety of areas around the UK. My role has also progressed to be a trainer for the NHS work that MamaBabyBliss does, my role has taken me all over the country, which I have loved. Bournemouth, Manchester, Leeds. This has been great timing for me personally as my children are flying the nest.
When I set up in Nottingham, I did invest a significant amount in advertising to get the MamaBabyBliss name out there and known. I read that with marketing and advertising, people often need to see a brand 3 times initially before they react. So I advertised in local papers/ magazines and left flyers and posters in places frequented by new families. Social media is a key, free form of advertising that we use constantly as that is what our target market really use. A year into the business, I no longer had to advertise as all new clients were from word of mouth or our website. It's great having such a good website as the majority of people use Google to find the classes they want. Also, once established, because our classes are of such a high standard, the mums do the talking for us and advertise what we do to others. As soon as I had become well known and established in the region, I was invited to speak on local radio and local TV did a feature on us, which was more fabulous free advertising.
Being self-employed and loving the work, in this day and age of 24/7 access to emails /social media etc, it can become quite constant and you can find yourself not switching off . However, in the field that we are in, based on pampering and nurturing, we do have to make an effort to practise what we preach and take time out to look after ourselves.
The beauty of this work is the flexibility and you can work the hours you choose. Being a trainer and director of the company as well as running my own classes still, I work approximately 4 days a week.
You do need a fair amount of equipment, so I chose a car with good storage, which becomes my travelling office! However I am lucky because my venues do let me store some of my equipment there. That said, some of our teacher have managed on tubes and public transport, amazingly.
I chose MamaBabyBliss, having had no previous business background, so I felt I needed the support offered. The standard of training is exemplary. It really bothers me how little time training is offered elsewhere, especially when dealing with pregnant women and precious babies. The support is amazing. You have an operations manual that covers all the knowledge and practical information you need. You have constant support and peer support during training, then support from all teachers once qualified. Any questions are very quickly answered by one of our experienced teachers. We call it the MamaBabyBliss family! We also have ongoing CPD training, and an annual conference which is a great way to keep everything alive, keep standards high and share ideas with other teachers.
Because we are in the business of changing people’s lives. The testimonials we can receive about how our classes have helped during the birth or how we have made a real difference to women’s maternity leaves , literally bring tears to my eyes at times. This is making a real difference. The job satisfaction is I am sure, like no other. The opportunity to take the role as far as it fits with your circumstances and family is fabulous. I quickly realised that I couldn’t keep up with demand, so I needed to enrol other teachers in my area. (Previous mums from my classes who loved everything about MamaBabyBliss ) I became a regional support teacher. Because of the success of my region, I became a trainer and teacher mentor for the whole company. Then more recently, due to support work we have been offering in hospitals, I have been training staff within the NHS in our techniques. I was also appointed Company Director. All this in just 6 years with no previous business experience. MamaBabyBliss really is a successful, easily followed business model. I have, however, put a lot of effort into it all and it is definitely a case of what you put in, you get back.
The business model is a simple and effective one. It works. If you follow the curriculum as it is designed, you have readymade clients for 3 years! Our clients love MamaBabyBliss and all it stands for. The key thing is to stick to the structure of what we offer. I have simply done this from day 1 and it works! I worked really hard at building the brand in Nottingham as it hadn’t quite reached there yet, so I needed to get it known in the market. I did this by investing in advertising in the early days and literally talking about what I did, everywhere I went and attending every parent and baby event, group etc that I could find! It is definitely a case of what you put in to your business in terms of effort, energy and motivation, you get back and reap the rewards of your hard work. The main secret ingredient of success, I believe is to love what you do and be good at it! My clients tell me that my love of my work and my passion for it is infectious and it is this passion and excitment that they buy into. With my initial hard work and investment, 6 years in, I no longer need to advertise as I have clients returning with second and third babies and the clients do my advertising for me. Having spread the bliss of what we do across Nottingham and by enrolling other teachers, MamaBabyBliss is now the key service here when parents are looking for wellbeing classes for pregnancy and new motherhood. I love what I do. It’s a real win /win situation!
I went into this work with and open mind, not necessarily expecting to make money in the first year as is well known when you start any new business. So I was actually pleasantly surprised with how quickly I was able to make money from this 'work' that I absolutely loved. I was working part time as a primary school teacher when I changed roles and have been able to match the earnings I had then. There is not the stability of an employed job, but for me the flexibility and job satisfaction and therefore quality of life outweighs that. Within this work there are so many ways of increasing your income as required, e.g. daddy workshops, birth preparation workshops, pamper treatments, all in addition to our full curriculum of classes that we provide from 0 to age 3. As MamaBabyBliss has expanded in such a short time, during the 6 years I have been with the company, I have been able to take on further roles within the company too. There are loads of options and opportunities for those teachers really committed to our mission of pampering and nurturing all women and changing the face of maternal health, wellbeing and provision in the UK. Seeing the way we change lives on such a huge scale is worth its weight in gold and money too!
A fantastic course which I have thoroughly enjoyed. Amazing teaching by both Justina and Vanessa. I can't wait to start my journey.Louise o Keefe