Mom Entrepreneur: Victoria Dixon
Enhance-Me offers a range of personalized Magical portraits that make a very unique keepsake or a wonderful gift. Having had over ten years experience using a variety of different computer programs and effects I am able to take everyday photos and transform them into fantastic, enchanting works of art. I am providing a unique and beautiful way to add something completely different to a photograph. I am able to add a little bit of magic to make a beautiful personal gift for a friend or family member. I work to achieve an as photo realistic effect as possible – Sometimes photographs just don’t capture the magic you feel they should. I just pulled a lot of my skills together – web design, creativity and photography and ‘Enhance-Me’ was born
What inspired you to start your business?
I had not been working for some time due to having had a baby boy who was born still eight months into my pregnancy at the beginning of 2004. I was then advised I couldn’t work during my following pregnancy and when Milly was eventually born I knew I really wanted to find something that would allow me to work from home whilst caring for her. I really didn’t like the idea of returning to work full time and missing out on her early years whilst working to pay someone else to look after her. It had taken us so long to have the child we longed for that I didn’t want to miss out on anything!
How long have you been in business?
I set up my business in February 2006 – so almost 5 years!
What did you do in your past work life?
I have turned my hand to a variety of different positions, from bar work to being an Apprentice Jeweller. My main job was in Administration but having studied a Degree in Art & Design I felt that this really quashed my creative juices! I had been a Mum for 15 months before I launched my business.
Describe your ideal workday
I say goodbye to my husband who is on his way out to work. Then find something to occupy my two children, my 2 year old Robbie and my 5 year old daughter, Milly, whilst I shower and dress. I get the children togged up and head to the kitchen to have breakfast together. Afterwards I check my emails while they play, I am grateful for their independent nature! I take Milly to nursery for 9.30am, when I return home I give Robbie his milk and get him down for his morning nap……hoping to get at least a couple of hours to work in! I am lucky in that my daughter going to nursery coincides with my son’s naptime (for now!) so I have two hrs every weekday morning I can devote to my business in term time. Mostly I work in the evenings though when my children are in bed, this means that apart from checking emails through the day and taking a few phone calls I am able to be Mum for the day and run the business at night. I love that my business enables me to remain at home with my children and not miss out on their early years while still contributing to our household income.
What have been some of your major successes?
Not only was the business featured in the October issue of Prima Baby magazine 2009 but has now been featured in two books! Mum Ultrapreneur: 8 Essential Secrets to Starting, Running and Building a Successful Mum-Based Business by Susan Odev and Working 5 to 9: How to Start a Successful Business in Your Spare Time by Emma Jones. Enhance-me has also been reviewed by a number of trendy online parenting blogs and websites including the Opinionated Parent Blog, Mommies with Style, Classy Mommy and was also featured in the popular Tot Trends Weekly Ezine, on BT Tradespace and in Enterprise Nation. I have also been nominated for the ‘Best Online Business’ at the Mumpreneur Awards – The Mumpreneur Conference and Awards is an event which supports and celebrates mums in business www.themumpreneurconfrence.co.uk.
What have been some of your major challenges?
My most challenging period of time is always the approach to Christmas. In the two weeks leading up to the festive season I receive in the region of 200 orders! I always panic slightly at the prospect of trying to juggle so much work with caring for my children, but with the help of my husband, parents-in-law and many late nights, I manage. My order intake increases every year in the approach to Christmas but I am gradually finding ways of coping with it.
I also found it a big challenge when my son Robbie was born. I was in hospital for four weeks and as I had to leave with no warning I had to try to contact customers through my husband and a hospital internet hub, which was really fiddly and frustrating!
When you are a Mum running a business these are things that you almost learn to expect but simply cannot prepare for.
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
Remembering why I did this – trying to make the most of the time we can spend together as a family. Also the fact that I love what I do helps!
Do you have a motivational quote?
I love this quote – “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
If there was one piece of advice you could give to your children about running a successful business, what would it be?
Be passionate about what you do – that way it won’t seem like a battle!
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
If I were to be completely honest I would probably have to say – do you ever find a balance? Children are so unpredictable – I think it’s impossible to find a balance between the two because there is never any way of predicting whether the children will sleep well. And all chaos breaks out in the approach to Christmas every year – at my busiest I had almost 200 orders come through the business in the 3 weeks leading up to Christmas! To some extent I think there must be some equilibrium somewhere because I always manage to get the work done – to meet deadlines and keep the business running successfully!
Do you have a favorite business tool and/or resource?
I find Twitter and Facebook useful for promoting my business – I think social media is invaluable to a small business when it is used properly.
What is next for your business?
My daughter begins school after the summer this year so that will allow me more time if my son still naps. If by then he has dropped his nap I will have less time for a while until he begins nursery after summer 2011. I am hoping to have a go at running my business full time for a while to see what I can do with it when I am able to devote more time to it.
I have a number of things in motion that I am currently working on involving themes etc that I can’t mention yet (lips sealed!) – I hope to either participate or advertise in the Scottish Baby Show at some point. I want to attend the Mumpreneur Conference this year – I feel networking is so important. New competitions and various promotional events. I also have two new products/services that I am hoping to launch this year that I am very optimistic about!
Give us your two cents sales pitch.
Are you looking for something completely different? A personlised gift that will stand out from others – UNIQUE GIFTS & KEEPSAKES: Beautiful Personalised Custom Portraits created from your photographs, a perfect gift for any occasion!
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