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Want to know how to change your career with your own home business ideas? Financial journalist, Katie Morley meets three entrepreneurs running their own successful businesses.
If a pay rise isn’t forthcoming, or you’re thinking about a career change, starting your own business could be a recipe for success Self-employment isn’t for everybody – there are many pros and cons to consider – but for these three successful entrepreneurs, launching a business from home was the start of a brand new, lucrative chapter in their lives.
Pip Murray, founder, Pip & Nut
Pip Murray has gone from making jars of homemade peanut butter in her kitchen to seeing sales of her product soar into the millions.
“I came up with the idea for Pip & Nut through my love of running. I loved to eat peanut butter on toast after training as it’s naturally high in protein and good for muscles.
About four years ago, I noticed most supermarket peanut butters contained palm oil and sugar. Palm oil production is a major cause of deforestation, and palm oil is high in saturated fats. I decided to make my own range without these ingredients.
When I started out, I was working at The Science Museum in London as a producer in children’s theatre, and I knew hardly anything about the peanut butter industry. At first I made batches of 100 jars, selling them at a market in London, asking for feedback and repeating the process. It took me around two years to get it ready to sell in shops. My big break came when Sainsbury’s agreed to stock the brand.
Now, in our first year of trading we’re stocked in more than 2,300 stores in the UK and Ireland, and are projected to hit sales in excess of £3m.
My advice to anyone launching a product is that you need to be able to say - hand-on-heart – it’s better than your rivals. It’s also worth refining your recipe, product or service over time, making your brand really stand out.”
Steph Douglas, founder, Don’t Buy Her Flowers
Being showered with flowers after the birth of her son planted the seed of a successful business opportunity for Steph Douglas:
“I founded Don’t Buy Her Flowers in November 2014 from home, initially aimed at the ‘gifts for new mums’ market. My moment of inspiration was on the sofa, surrounded by eight bunches of flowers after having my son, Buster. Feeling weepy and overwhelmed, it struck me as bonkers that the go-to gift for new mums was another thing to care for when you’re doing more caring than you’ve ever done in your life.
“I went back to my job in communications, but started work on a business plan for my website, which offers thoughtful alternatives to flowers.
For the first nine months I did everything, from dealing with enquiries to checking stock levels, myself – then we took on packers and customer support. Now, in our second year, we’re experiencing triple digit growth, I’ve appointed my brother as head of operations and we’re moving the business out of the house.
“I would really recommend starting a business from home. I couldn’t have afforded to do it, and probably wouldn’t have made that initial leap, if I’d tried to find business premises straight away. It felt a lot less risky being at home and not having to find that additional expense every month.”
Ricky Willis, editor and founder, Skint Dad
After getting into £40,000 of debt, writing a blog about family finances and tips for saving money set Ricky Willis on a path towards a successful business
“In mid-2013, my wife Naomi and were working full time, but due to rising childcare and commuting costs we decided that, to save money, I would leave my job to become a stay-at-home-dad.
“We were slightly better off but existing debt we’d accrued over a number of years finally caught up with us. We were in £40,000 worth of debt, there was just £6 in the bank and we were haemorrhaging money.
“As we started taking control of the situation, I launched a blog called Skint Dad, writing about the situation we were going through and the steps we were taking to rectify it. The blog resonated with people in similar situations and, within just a couple of months, there were thousands of people visiting our site.
“What started as a hobby soon turned into self-employment, then a limited company and now a fully-fledged business, making money through multiple income streams. We’re expanding, having started another website, and hope to launch more in the future.
“We’ve been able to use what was a terrible time in our lives and turn it into something that can help support our family for years to come.”