We recently had the pleasure of meeting Penny Othen, founder of ScooterSlingz Ltd and designer of the innovative ScooterSlingz scooter bag and we thought we’d quiz her on what it’s like to own a business alongside looking after a family…
1. Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Penny Othen, proud mum to 2 gorgeous girls, founder of ScooterSlingz Ltd and designer of the innovative ScooterSlingz scooter bag. I also work as a freelance marketing consultant and social media manager.
2. What is it that you love most about your work?
The flexibility! A good work/life balance is such a gift and makes such a difference to family life. My previous job was in a global brand management role for a large multinational and involved long hours in the office and lots of travel. I went back part time after my first daughter was born but found it tough going and decided to take a career break when my second daughter was born. I had intended to return to work when my youngest went to school but have been able to make things work with the freelance work I do alongside my business which is amazing.
3. What strengths or personal attributes do you think have really helped you to get started?
Perseverance and being able to take the long view! Starting your own business is amazingly hard work and often with very little return for the long hours at the start. I thought about stopping on several occasions but now I’m glad I persevered! Every business suffers setbacks but if you believe in your idea/business, you keep thrashing at it and don’t give up.
4. How have you managed set backs / challenges along the way?
Trying to stay positive! It is such a rollercoaster setting up a business and getting it off the ground. Some days are amazing and it’s easy to be positive and some days I feel like giving up – I think that’s normal! Networking and support groups are an amazing resource for people like me.
5. What is your formula / top tips for a successful work / life balance?
I think different people’s idea of a good work/life balance vary so much. Most people know when they have it right for them. For me it means being able to be there for my children, on school trips, at pick up/drop off time, being able to find time to do fun stuff with my family without constantly worrying that I should be working but having enough on outside of family to be stimulating and to bring in a reasonable income!
As a freelancer and business owner it’s really hard to get it just right – either things seem quiet and you are looking for more or there’s too much on and you’re wondering how on earth you can get everything done!
When I’m busy I work in the evenings once the kids are in bed but I don’t like doing it, I find it hard to sleep when I go to bed with a busy mind! I’ve turned down work a few times in order to not tip the balance too far from what is right for me but of course this has a financial impact.
The right balance is very subjective and depends on lots of different factors in people’s lives and personalities. I wish there was a formula!
6. What advice would you give to a woman looking to set up a business?
Do plenty of research up front, ask for feedback from everyone you know and take that feedback on board, take any help and support offered along the way, prepare for the long haul and go for it!