June sees my wonderful business and fourth child, Mrs Mummypenny turn nine years old. I have a business the same age as my youngest child and I am incredibly proud of what I have achieved, the people I have helped and the financial success of my business.
But it hasn’t always been plain sailing. I have made more than my fair share of mistakes. I have tried so many things that haven’t worked. But on balance my commercial sense has shone through and those mistakes become learnings and I move onto bigger and better things.
Here are my nine biggest learnings in business
Always Trust Your Gut/Heart
I have definitely learnt this one the hard way. There are many business decisions I have made in the past where i have listened to £££ signs and not followed my heart or my gut.
A few years ago I was scammed out of more than £2000. My gut said to me this woman is lying, but she pulled on my triggers, she got my trust, became my friend, and before I knew it that money was gone. Always listen to your gut.
In 2020 my heart said write a book! So I did and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Consolidating all of my financial guidance and life story into a book was therapeutic and also a brilliant resource for just £10 to those who need a helping hand with their money.
Build a Trusted Network
This is a tricky one in business as how do you know who to trust? Particularly when you are starting out. Generally a face to face meet up is a good indication of a relationship that is going to work both ways. I remember meeting Faith Archer – Much More With Less way back in the day, the early days of both of our websites. I knew the moment I met her that she was a goodun. And we have since done so much work together over the years. We recommend each other for work and she has done some wonderfully helpful things for me like being a first reader of my book The Money guide to Transform Your Life.
Pete Matthew of Meaningful Money was another guiding light and collaborator whom as soon as I met him (a fellow Penzance, Cornwall person) I warmed to him, his generous and friendly demeanour. We will both do whatever is required to promote each others work/projects and meet up for coffee every time I’m at home
I also have so much help from my network of business contacts from previous or those who I have met during Mrs Mummypenny Years. Sometimes it is who you know and not what you know.
Be a nice person
This flows on the from the trusted network, but generally in business you will go further and be more successful if you are a genuine and nice person. Don’t stab others in the back, don’t get involved in cliques and get drawn into arguments or competitive behaviour.
I have attended so many in person events over the years, and always love chatting and meeting new people (That Aldi Christmas show is always incredible!), I make friends, connections, be nice and memorable. You never know what that meeting might turn into.
One of the nicest people I have met recently in my world is Mr Money Jar – Timi Merriman-Johnson, I had the pleasure of interviewing him on my podcast – Mrs Mummypenny Talks – Do What You Love and I appeared on his Instagram Interview Series. He is a warm, genuine person who is doing incredibly well in the money world as he should. Also both of us are on the other end of a DM for any advice and guidance.
Something that I have spoken at length about with Pete Matthew, who has run his Meaningful Money website, podcast and video series for more than 10 years is the importance of consistency. Publish blog content every week, post to Instagram every day, present that YouTube video or podcast week in week out. Send out a news letter every week and stay in contact with your closest followers in your Facebook Groups.
And keep it going for years and you will reap the benefits. I have more than 1000 pieces of content on Mrs Mummypenny from the nine years of running it, I have written about every subject under the sun consistently every single week.
Say yes and take a risk
There will be some curveballs that come your way and you will think, hmm should I do this. They might fill you with fear and dread but you just never know where they might lead you in the future.
In early 2022 Radio 4 Today program asked me to do a cost of living live Q&A. An editor from The Mirror heard me on air and emailed asking me to contribute to an article. This then evolved into being asked to be part of their cost of living panel and writing a weekly article for the newspaper and taking part in regular Facebook Live interviews! This arrangement is still going strong five months later. Of course the thought of writing an actual weekly column for a national newspaper filled me with dread from the beginning, but I said yes and relished the opportunity.
Have strong morals and rules from the beginning
This is a really important one to establish from the start of your business. Create a list of missions, objectives, whatever you want to call them. And a list of things that you will always say no to. For example, I have never, and will never work with a high interest loan provider or buy now pay later company, despite having thousands of pounds offered to me to work with them.
I also only work closely with brands like PensionBee, Zopa Bank, American Express, Norton, Samsung where I actually use their products or services. I have personal experience of the brand that I trust and am more than happy to recommend what they do to my readers.
Be Open to Change
The path of business twists and turns as the years pass. Nine years ago Facebook was where all the social media was at, it was easy to grow and get engagement, then it turned to Instagram and now its Tiktok. You need to ne ahead of the changes.
Personally I am unsure as to the future of the blog, and written content, so have always been keen to have other channels to reach my followers including a strong email list, social media with high follow number and great engagement, a podcast and YouTube.
Cash is King
A very hard lesson here that I have learnt from many times, and it often comes back to bite me, is that its mega important to keep a strong balance of cash available in your business, for those emergencies that inevitably come along. This is very similar to the emergency fund you should have in place for personal finance, the same applies to the business.
Keep on top of your invoice process and chase up late invoices. Never agree to terms over 30 days, I always ask to amend them to 30 if they are set at 60, I have never been turned down.
Use an accounting tool to keep on top of the paperwork, I use Freeagent which comes free with my Business bank account with Mettle.
Learn from the Best
Its totally fine to be inspired and to learn from those in your world who you are impressed by. I adore the content from friends like Bola Sol (check out her wonderful TikTok here) and learning from her has changed up my Insta with more Reels!
My writing is ten times better thanks to friends like Rebecca Megson-Smith/Ridley Writes and Faith Archer who I challenge myself to write as beautifully as they do.
I have learnt my easy going interview style from incredible interviewers such at Louis Theroux, Jessie Ware and Fearne Cotton, by listening to their wonderful Podcasts.
So there you go, my BIG nine learnings of nine wonderful years in Mrs Mummypenny Business.