Please tell us a bit about the nature of your business...
My business is all about getting children playing! Through social media I am able to share realistic play ideas for parents, carers and educators to use with their babies and young children. As an Early Years Specialist, I am able to share my knowledge and passion for play and young child development through daily live videos and photos. I also wrote and created playPROMPTS which are packs of activity cards for those days when we're feeling exhausted but need to keep the kids entertained!
What inspired you to start your business?
I am an Early Years Specialist, but it was only when I had my little boy that my passion was reignited and I was able to put all my experience and understanding from years of teaching into practice. I quickly realised how lovely but long a day at home with your baby can be so I turned to play to get through the day. I wanted to help others in the same boat, because those days can be tough.
What was the most challenging aspect of building your business in the beginning?
That I never intended for it to be a business. I still struggle to admit that it is. My main aim is to get more babies and children playing.
As the business has grown, I have had to learn on the job and teach myself so many new skills. Running a small business means that you have to wear many hats, which is difficult when you feel completely out of your depth.
If you were to launch your business again, would you do anything differently?
No, I don't think I would to be honest. I did it with the intention of inspiring and encouraging others to play and that still lies at the heart of everything I do.
I have made a few mistakes a long the way and I have no doubt I will make more, but my goodness I have learnt so much. I wouldn't have it any other way!
What keeps you motivated?
When I receive a message or photo from a follower who tells me that I have inspired them or given them the confidence to set up play for their baby or young child. How wonderful is that? Some days, I find going Live every weekday can be stressful and time consuming but my goodness it's worth it when I hear that I have helped someone.
How do you balance work and family life?
I must admit I find this tricky, as running a business on social media can be constant and round the clock. I love it, I really do but sometimes it is good to put my phone down and focus on family time. And it's often these moments when I'm focused on my family that I come up with new ideas! I try really hard to work a lot less at the weekend, this is my time with my little boy who's not going to be little forever.
What’s your proudest business moment?
For me it has to be when I walked into the Lego office to do some work with them. That was an opportunity I could never have imagined would happen to me. I had to pinch myself. Yes I was absolutely petrified and completely out of my comfort zone, but I am so proud of myself for doing it.
What’s been your most successful form of marketing and/ or brand awareness?
I am primarily on Instagram and Facebook and this is where my target audience spend their time so that has really helped me. In the past I worried that I should be on all platforms but I am only one person and can only do so much. I made a decision to stick to those two. I would rather do less and do them well than try to do it all badly. Going Live has really helped me to spread my message about the importance of play.
Do you have any positive habits or routines that you feel have attributed to your success?
I truly believe sleep is so so important. I know as parents, we don't get a lot but I have always prioritised sleep or naps. I know what I'm like, if I'm exhausted I will sit at my laptop but won't produce anything worthwhile. For the sake of a ten minute nap, it can make a huge difference to my energy, my focus, my concentration and my self confidence. Even now, if I will always aim to be in bed by 10pm every night, otherwise it will effect me the following day. I need my energy to be the best for my son and my best for my business.
What's your favourite business app/ tool/ book/ podcast etc?
I have discovered a love for podcasts since starting a business. There are so many brilliant ones out there. I love listening to Nicky Raby, Janet Murray and Guy Raz.
I also think it's important to choose carefully what you see on social media. Now I have tailored my feed so that inspiring people, articles and images take my attention rather than accounts that can sometimes have a negative effect on my mood. I love to be inspired so that's what I want to see and read when I scroll first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
What advice would you give to new entrepreneurs just starting out?
Go for it!
As long as it's something you're passionate about, because trust me you are going to live and breathe it for as long as you want to do it! It has to be your everything. I feel honoured to do something I am so passionate about. I feel like this is what I was meant to do!
If you want to get in touch or see more of Claire's venture, head over to her website or social media:
Instagram @play.hooray and @playprompts
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