This week’s mumpreneur profile is a complaining cow who found her niche and turned her blog into a buisiness. I just love the name of this blog! So this week I give you Helen Dewdney, the Complaining Cow.
Tell me a bit about your business
I am Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow, consumer blogger and author of Amazon bestseller
I regularly appear in the media, much of which is paid and the rest good for marketing. Free advertising!
I give commentary on consumer rights and retail stories as well as providing advice to consumers. I appear on BBC Breakfast, Radio 2, 4 and 5 and a host of independent, local radio and printed press. I also provide consultancy to companies and speak at conferences.
So my work is quite varied – I do and say what I like in the consumer world and that frankly has got to be the best thing about running your own business?!
What inspired you to start your own business?
I was a stay at home mum enjoying being at home with my son and was undertaking some children’s services consultancy work and I was doing the Complaining Cow blog as a hobby just writing about how I had got refund and redress for faulty goods and poor service. But as the popularity of the blog grew I realised that people needed to know their consumer rights so I developed it further into posts and pages with laws and tips for complaining effectively. As I got called upon to speak and write for the media I also realised that there was a need for a book to empower people to complain effectively for themselves and realised that I was filling a gap in the market.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Keeping at it and believing in it. When it is not making money or just beginning to, it is hard for others to see why you are doing it and indeed yourself along with doing the washing, cleaning and cooking etc! That and getting distracted by social media!!!
What have you learnt about yourself since you became self employed?
I don’t want to go back to any other kind of employment! I was working as a self employed consultant alongside the start of the hobby and whilst there are stresses whether you work for someone else or yourself the stresses are different, the challenges are different and although I enjoyed managing staff, I enjoying working for myself a lot more! I do miss the company and enjoy going out to do more media stuff and having more meetings now and working with organisations to get that contact.
What is the best thing about being your own boss?
Being able to work the hours you want and not being answerable to anyone else and working to your own plan in your own time. Then there is being able to say what you want to who you want without someone telling you that you can’t/shouldn’t say that! Being able to take on what you like when.
What jobs within your business would you love to delegate to somebody else if you could?
None at the moment but that of course is an issue in itself as you grow you should delegate, so what I would delegate if the business grew I don’t know. Probably the boring admin that goes with the books oh and the accounts! Yes bookwork first thing to go!
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring ‘mumpreneur’ what would it be?
Keep believing in yourself, it may well be a while before you make money but that ground work will stand you in good stead and provide integrity and a track record.
Also I would say never underestimate branding. Spend a good deal of time on this – get it wrong at the start and it will be hard to rectify it at a later date. It doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. I asked friends on Facebook for a name and then asked people to vote. Then I went to Fivesquids.com and got a fantastic logo for a fiver! People comment positively on the name and logo all the time. It cost very little but is one hell of a way to help make me stand out and be remembered!