In 2008, Susanna Scott (left), having had the third of her three kids, jumped from a career in marketing to start BritMums and create a space for parent bloggers to network and share ideas. A highly successful blogger in her own right with A Modern Mother ranked in the UK’s Top 10 Family Travel blogs, Susanna, alongside her business partner and BritMums Creative Director Jennifer Howze, has developed BritMums into a powerful network of over 8,000 social influencers, and a home for over 15,000 blogs.
This Mother’s Day, ParcelHero® are celebrating the wonder of Mums, so what better than a sit down with Susannah Scott to get the lowdown on BritMums? As we speak Susanna is busy curating this year’s BritMums Live! a two-day social media and blogger extravaganza on 19-20 June. The event also includes The BiBs (Brilliance in Blogging) Awards night.
What was the inspiration for setting up BritMums?
I was one of the UK’s first Mum bloggers back in 2007. It was a really small community back then, there were only a handful of us at it. I have lived here 20 years but with my US background and close ties with the innovations in Silicon Valley, I decided to put together a group where Mums (and Dads) could talk, share opportunities and inspirations.
What role did motherhood have in your decision to change career path?
Like so many Mums, having kids meant taking a time-out from my career so it was a huge factor. When I took time off with our third child, social media really started taking off. I remember my husband mentioning this thing called LinkedIn. I started getting involved and saw the huge power and potential. The whole thing has grown from there.
How did you and Jennifer find each other?
Jennifer was at Times Online and had her own blog, so she was part of the community. She got in touch to interview me. We both are US ex-pats with a strong sense of entrepreneurship and we hit it off. Like many mother’s we wanted something that fitted round our childcare schedules, dropping off in the morning, going into London for some meetings, coming back for the school pick up. We are no different to other Mums who need to balance work and kids.
When did you realise BritMums could become a successful business?
We started as a really small operation, a hobby that has grown into a business. We certainly we weren’t sure how it was going to develop. One of the key moments were when brands started contacting us, wanting to work with our growing army of influencers. Then we realised this could really turn into something.
What challenges have you had to overcome?
Like any young business, we have made mistakes along the way and learnt from them. Initially I’d say we dived in ‘eyes wide shut’ and really had no idea how to run a business, so it has been a huge learning curve and looking back there are definitely things I would do differently. It is lovely to have a hobby turn into a business but luck, timing and a lot of hard work have to come together. As an entrepreneur, you need to be utterly invested in the business. It’s my baby.
Why do you think Mums have embraced online so enthusiastically?
The internet is perfect place for a budding entrepreneurial Mum. Blogging simply couldn’t exist before then and there is almost no barrier to entry. Blogging offers a place to have a voice and a platform, and it’s a great jumping off point for other things. We have Mums writing books and starring in TV adverts, it’s a really exciting time for bloggers. For some Mums it’s just pin money but on the back of an interesting engaging blog or e-publishing, the money can start to trickle, then roll in.
How do British Mums rank for entrepreneurial spirit?
Really highly! I’ve been really impressed with British Mums embracing new technology and coming up with interesting entrepreneurial ideas. I think women, especially Mums are very receptive to opportunities. Particularly those who have been working before, taken a time-out for kids and then want to get back into work with different requirements. They probably have got their kids past the nappy stage and have some time to invest.
What do you do for your members?
We provide support and advice, help Mums research their ideas, champion innovative, high-quality and ethical blogging, connect bloggers to others in the community, help them get their voices out there and show how social platforms can market a business or project. Blogs are little brands in themselves. For example, it is becoming almost an automatic requirement for your social following and networks to be part of what a publisher or a funding source will look at.
What can we expect at this year’s BritMums Live!
We’re looking forward to our biggest and best BritMums Live! yet. There will be 700 attendees, a really great collection of guest speakers including Carol Smillie coming to talk about diarydoll, over 50 sessions, an exhibitors village, over 100 speakers talking about how to blog, how to market your business, how to do everything from SEO to accounting. It’s a great opportunity to dive in, get involved and get inspired. I’d be amazed if people didn’t leave with loads of ideas.
What makes a good blog?
Find your voice, then go find an audience, enjoy what you are doing and have something to say. Write from the heart and find your niche – finding your own unique voice is what will make your blog different. That takes a while by the way. Then if it makes sense, specialise. My blog now focuses almost exclusively on travel.
What tips would you give a budding Mum entrepreneur?
If you like what you are doing, and believe in what you are doing, you will probably do it well. Find your voice first, don’t chase the money straight away, establish the platform and the voice. Then figure out how to monetize it. And if you believe in it, keep going. There were a couple of stages where Jennifer and I almost gave up. Determination is a great asset.