This week for my Mums in Business series I am super excited to be featuring Debbie the mum boss and brainchild of debbiedooodah; a business to help other businesses be the best that they can be. I was bowled over to be interviewing Debbie, she has one of hell story to tell which has it highs and it low points, all of which have helped and contributed to the success of debbiedooodah today. So if you’re an entrepreneur looking for success or can simply relate to hiding from being on your phone in front of your children, read on…..
Tell me a little bit about you, your background and debbiedooodah?
Hi, I’m Debbie Clarke and my business is called debbiedooodah (with 3 ooo’s)! I work with smart creative entrepreneurs who want to learn the tools to market their business online and get the confidence to go out there and be visible. Quite simply I help businesses to make more money and have more clarity & confidence!
It’s my passion to help women create sustainable business that means that don’t have to rely on tax credits or partners to keep themselves and their businesses afloat.
I also guest lecture on digital marketing at 4 universities, co-host the podcast Women Who Create, run the Blue Stockings Society for entrepreneurial women and run the Indie Freedom Seekers membership programme.
Apart from that I have a lovely daughter Robin who is 10, and I’m just moving into my first ever home with a mortgage with my partner. I’m finally getting grown up, just before I hit my 40’s!
Oh and I’m a cancer survivor!
What were your motivations for setting up Debbiedooodah?
I had cancer when Robin was just 1 and I was a single mum at the time, so that was really difficult. When I went back to work I started up a new social enterprise with a friend with £750k funding from our local council. Once we’d got that up off the ground and running I started to get a little bored, so my friend suggested I use my skills to go and set up another very similar social enterprise in Camden.
She knew from my experience that life is too short to be doing things that aren’t floating your boat.
Freelancing in Camden gave me access to other businesses that could do with my help. So I started managing the social media and PR for a charity in Camden alongside setting up the social enterprise and from there my first business Heard Media was set up.
It was all a little bit of being in the right place and the right time and grabbing the opportunities. I wanted to create a business that gave me the freedom to spend time with Robin, and do work that was varied and interesting.
How do you balance the business around family and childcare?
Well that is a tricky one. I’ve been running my business since 2013 so have got into the swing of things. I try and create clear boundaries of when I’m online and available to my clients. I hardly ever work at the weekends, and try not to do work when Robin comes home from school (although that sometimes does get a bit blurry).
She’s pretty vigilant at catching me on the phone, so I try and put it away, although it is very addictive! My phone is also on silent all the time (so God help people trying to call me) as the notifications are constant, so that helps me concentrate on being with Robin and my partner Aidan.
I’m lucky that Robin’s dad has her 3 evenings a week, so that gives me time to network or work later in the evening if I have to.
I think being clear on why you set up your business in the first place. And also being clear on your vision, so you are able to say no to things that might be taking you in the wrong direction.
We can end up taking too much on when we first start our business, which can negatively effect the time we have to spend with our loved ones.
There is a fear that if you say no to things, you are saying no to money. But I’ve learned that if my intention is clear and I say no to the wrong things, the right opportunities do come along. I’m a big law of attraction believer!
Since setting up the business what’s been your biggest success to date?
Oh goodness, there are quite a few, so it’s hard to choose! Being asked to lecture at university was really exciting for me, having over 1000 women in the Blue Stockings is fabulous, being a full-time coach and not having to supplement that income with running other businesses marketing is great and starting the podcast is mega fun.
But the biggest success is just that I am still here all these years later, doing what I love. And able support other women to create their dream business and have the confidence to go for it. This is the thing that that makes me most proud. I’ve coached around 150 business since I started – that’s worth a round of applause I’m sure!
What’s your top tip for Mums who are thinking about setting up their own business?
Trust your instincts.
Don’t let fear hold you back. It’s just your brain trying to protect you and keep you safe from the lions and tigers out there. However, there are no lions and tigers out there. So say thank you to your brain for trying to protect you and go for it anyway!
Thank you so much Debbie for letting me interview you and feature you and your business on my blog. You can find out more about this fantastic business by following Debbie on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.
If you like what you’re reading and would love to be part of my Mums in Business series then just drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in the series: Wonder Adventures, The Mindset Mum and JimJams Spreads.