Lynne Newbould runs the Little Kickers franchise for Northampton and Rugby with her husband Antony. They were recently ranked as the No. 7 Little Kickers franchise in the world and 4th in the UK, with over 450 children attending their classes every week. Lynne gives us an insight into her journey as a self-employed mother of two.
1) Why did you decide to work for yourself?
When our daughter was 2 years old, we had the usual juggle of work and childcare. Antony was working away/overnight often, and we wanted to find work that would be flexible and fit around children. Working for myself seemed to tick all the boxes.
2) How did you choose what to do?
As a parent I used to take our daughter to various classes and activities. At our music class one day, I realised she was the only child running around the outside of the hall, whilst everyone else was engaged in the activity. It prompted me to try and find an active class, one where she could run and use up all that excess energy. Both myself and Antony have a sports and business management background and are huge football fans, so Little Kickers seemed a great option for all.
3) How do you juggle being a mum and a business owner?
Some days well, other days it can be a challenge. Working from home has positives and negatives. The phone rings all times including weekends and early mornings; emails are constant and we need to reply within 24 hours – so the office is never officially closed. We often discuss work over the dinner table, whilst walking the dog, on the school run. The children are very accepting that ‘mummy is working’ means quiet time. On a positive, I can drop into school assemblies at short notice and both of us are home for breakfast/bedtimes every day.
4) What do you love about being self-employed?
The greatest outcome is being able to show our children that work effort = success. They are able to see us enjoying our work and taking pride in what we do. It is definitely a family business – the children help out! They attend classes and help sort equipment.
5) What are the worst bits about it?
Initially when it was just me at home, it could be quite isolating. Sometimes I wished for another adult to ‘bounce ideas off’. Thankfully the dog provided some good conversation in those early years!
6) What would you do differently if you had your time again?
Nothing! Setting up Little Kickers has been the best decision. It has enabled us to completely change our family set-up. 5 years ago (when our son was born) we opted to run the business together and Antony gave up his full-time job. We are now both 50:50 in the business and also jointly there for the children.
7) What advice would you give to mums thinking about starting their own business?
Make sure you have a support network. Being a franchise business, we have great support from the Little Kickers head office and other franchisees. Be prepared for small setbacks, learn from early mistakes and make decisions based on what is best for you.
Lynne and Antony run Little Kickers classes across Northampton, Daventry and Rugby and are about to launch more classes midweek, taking them up to 39 classes per week. Find out more at www.littlekickers.co.uk.