LEAVING your career to start a family can be daunting but for this mum-of-two it turned out to be a shortcut to success.
Jo Bevilacqua, 33, came up with the idea of launching her own beauty salon with on-site childcare while pregnant with her second child and it now makes a tidy £368,000 a year.
The business owner from Peterborough admits that the road to her dream career was a bumpy one.
Jo was working in nursery care when she had her first daughter Alana, now aged nine.
She told the Sun Online: “It was a fairly low paid job, I started to loose my motivation and I didn’t see the point of looking after someone else’s children while missing out on some important time with my own kid, so I resigned.”
Between having her first and second child, she helped her husband Adam with his carpentry business.
Her lightbulb moment came when she got pregnant with her youngest daughter Lottie.
She said: “I put on weight and I felt rubbish. I was also fed up having my hair done at home under the kitchen sink, with my two-year-old hanging off my leg.
“But asking someone to look after my kids just to have my hair or nails done seemed selfish. That’s how the idea was born and eight months later I was opening the salon.”
Jo set up Serenity Loves back in 2012 and since then the business has gone from strength to strength.
Jo started the company with just £60,000 – that included £20,000 of her own life savings and £40,000 from a private investor.
Now in its sixth year of trading, the salon is turning almost £370,000 a year compared to £160,000 in year one.
Serenity Loves also employs nine members of staff and Jo is currently scouting for locations for a second shop.
So what makes her business a success? The biggest selling point of the salon is, of course, the kids’ playroom.
Children are being looked after by qualified, CRB registered professionals at the cost of £1.50 for 30 minutes or £2.99 for an hour.
The playroom is kitted out with a full range of toys, a DVD player and games console for older kids.
Meanwhile, mums can get their hair or nails done in peace, with their children nearby.
Jo said: “My aim is to give mums some time back for themselves ”
“Customer care is at the forefront of everything that we do. It’s not just about cutting hair, it’s about the whole experience.”
Jo’s tips on how to run a successful business while being a mum
JO says having her own business makes her a better mum. Here are her tips:
- Remember what you’re doing this for: They’ll be many tough times and you’ll need to remember what and who you’re doing this for. Create a motivational board with pictures of your kids or whatever is motivating you to kickstart your own business and look at it each time you’re in doubt.
- Do a business plan: When you have a family to support, you need to work twice as hard. So make sure you have a solid business plan, believe in your idea, and keep on top of your finances.
- Use your friends: We forget that some of our friends are experts in their own field. Jo’s best friend became her HR advisor while another friend helped her out with marketing. They both gave her their advice for free when she started before becoming full-time employees.
- Build contacts and atrong support network: When Jo started she didn’t know any other mums with a business of the same scale. She advises young mothers to network through conferences, forums or workshops to get some useful tips but also build contacts and new friends. Launching a business can be a lonely experience.
- Find the right team and trust them: If you want to grow your business, you’ll need to learn to delegate. Spend some money in training your staff and make sure you trust your team.Find more tips from Jo and more information about events for working mums on The Unique Mumpreneur .
“For a lot of the mums it is the first time they have left their children with anyone bar their family, so their trust is very important to us.”
Being her own boss comes with its challenges but Jo thinks it also made her a better mother and mentor.
She now runs a blog called The Unique Mumpreneur to coach other mothers looking to kickstart their own business.
She said: “I feel like I am a better example for my daughters by being both a successful business owner and a mum.
“The salon also gives me much more flexibility than a 9-to-5 job, so I can schedule my workload around my daughter’s diaries and spend more quality time with them.”
According to insurance provider Simply Business, make-up artists and beauticians are the third fastest rising female owned business in the UK, growing by 35 per cent between 2016 to 2017.
Earlier this year, we revealed how a mum-of-two’s quest to spend more time with kids is now a £130k a year award-winning beauty shop.
The Sun Online also spoke to a dad-of-two who quit banking job to set up children’s hairdressers and it makes £650,000 a year.
Bored of your job? Angela Castleton, from Middlesborough, also told us about how she chomps on Cadbury’s chocolate for a living – here’s what it’s like.