At home business ideas for mums and dads

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Information & Advice

WrittenbyJenny Scotton13/08/2011

At home business ideas for mums and dads

Want ideas for starting up your own new business? Read these business tips from Parenting Club mum and Apprentice finalist Saira Khan

Looking for jobs for mums? Boots Parenting Club has produced a host of mums and dads who have created innovative baby products now selling on

Read this guide for setting up a business and find out how you could become a "mumpreneur" (or "dadpreneur") like Apprentice finalist Saira Khan.

Mum and Parenting Club member Saira Khan turned a passion for skin care into a business.

"There's no way to learn how to be an entrepreneur," says Saira Khan. "You just have to get out there and do it."

Business confidence: Apprentice finalist

Saira Khan

Saira is a famous TV face, thanks to her star role on The Apprentice where her motor-mouthed feats of business brilliance propelled her into the final of the first series – and a six month job placement with Alan Sugar.

"It was The Apprentice that gave me the confidence to believe in my own abilities," reveals Saira. "I'd never set up a business before but I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Why help somebody else make millions when I can do it myself?"

At home business: gaps in the market

After hearing her friends' concerns about finding skin care products to use on their children's sensitive skin, Saira realised she had spotted a gap in the market.

"I chose to set up a baby skin care business because skin is something I know a lot about," she says. "I was born with really sensitive skin. From the age of five I had to use ointments and I couldn't use the same products as my brothers and sisters. When you have sensitive skin, you start learning about formulations and ingredients. By the time I was 18 I was an expert in what petroleum is and what parabens are! I was very passionate about it."

Business opportunities for mums

Miamoo travel gift pack

She set up her skin care brand, Miamoo in 2006. It was named after her niece Miya who, when she was a toddler, was nicknamed "Miamoo" in the family. "She's a lovely little girl who encapsulated everything I wanted the brand to be," Saira says. "I started at the kitchen table at home, choosing designs, bottles and lids."

Saira found a chemist to devise the formulations and manufacturers to make up samples which she then pitched to retailers including Boots. "You have to be 100 percent committed to making every single decision," she says. "And you'll make plenty of mistakes along the way. Although I knew a lot about skin care, I knew nothing about the industry. I didn't know any manufacturers. I'd never made a formulation. The internet is a great place to start to find contacts."

The Miamoo range now contains seven products and a travel kit. It launched in Boots this summer.

Setting up your business

"I was lucky that I was able to keep earning while I was setting up my business," she says. "I'd definitely suggest that's a good thing to do, if you can." She puts her products to good use at home, using them on her son Zacariah, three. "I was paranoid he would inherit my sensitive skin but he seems to be fine," she says.

She asked Lord Sugar what he thought of the brand and he said he was really proud of her.

Saira loves the freedom running your own business brings. "If you're a mum, it's perfect," she says. "You're much more in control over your own life. If I want to pick Zac up from nursery at 3pm, I can just go and do that!"

Guide to setting up your own business

Miamoo Baba Oil 125ml

Saira's guide to setting up your own business:

  • It really helps to have had a background working for a big company. If you are currently working in business, try to learn about as many different areas as possible, such as marketing, finance and PR.
  • "You have to know your product inside out and live and breathe it," says Saira. "Just having a desire to make money isn't a good enough reason to set up a business. Ultimately, you have to sell your brand and get others to buy into it."
  • Go out and speak to other people in the industry. "I met with skin care manufacturers from the UK and anyone else that could help me," says Saira.
  • Make use of your friends and family. "If you're setting up a business, they can be incredibly supportive," says Saira. "At every single stage, I was asking mine about the brand names, the pricing, what they thought of the smells. I even set up a focus group using about 15 mums at the nursery where my friend took her child. I made some tea and coffee and asked what they thought. This kind of feedback is great – and it doesn't cost you a penny!"
  • There are no quick solutions. "It took me six years to get to this point and there were some very scary moments along the way," says Saira. "The idea of making millions overnight is great but it doesn't happen very often."
  • Be honest about how much time you can commit. "You don't switch off. For women, if you have a family, it's something that can take over, so be realistic about what you can achieve," says Saira.
  • It takes a lot of money to set up a business. "While you're in the process of setting it up, you aren't going to be earning anything. Keep your job for as long as possible," says Saira. "Keep your overheads low. I have made the mistake of investing in expensive items I didn't really need, such as stationery. But you won't believe how much free help is available if you ask for it."

Read more like this:
How Parenting Club dad Jim invented a product
How Parenting Club mum Cara started a business at home
Visit our baby blog

Related categories:
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