Article By: Jen Stanbrook
A little over 7 years ago I sat in a Post Natal session run by Health Visitors with my 6 week old baby on my knee, and listened to our local TinyTalk Baby Signing teacher discuss the benefits of using baby sign language. It would alleviate our frustrations, help my baby to communicate before she could speak and I could get out of the house and meet lots of new mums just like me. It all sounded great, and I joined there and then!
At the time I didn’t know it, but that morning would change our lives significantly!
We had a great time learning to baby sign both at the group and at home and signing became a regular part of our daily routine. Fast forward a few years and Baby Number 2 was born. Before maternity leave, I was working as a part-time Project Co-ordinator for a multi-national IT outsourcing company but office politics, a large nursery bill and some post natal depression meant that I wasn’t desperate to return. But what would I do instead; I knew I didn’t want to be a full time stay at home mum, so I started looking at other options.
I’d followed TinyTalk over the years and knew our local class leader. Could I do what she did? I could sing, I could sign, and I was quite organised. Would that be enough? Well I thought it was worth exploring the idea and started talking to the company. For them, it seemed I had the skills and qualities they were looking for, and several months later I joined the group as a new Franchisee on the East of Nottingham. Just one term later my local class leader in the South of Nottingham decided to sell her franchise so I bought up that ongoing business in conjunction with another TinyTalk teacher.
Being part of a franchise organisation has great benefits particularly when you are first starting out; lots of support, training and experience from others were all part of the attraction for me. Of course there are sometimes downsides such as having to follow certain guidelines and rules on how to run your business (can also be positive too when you are looking for direction), but I’m happy to accept those as part of the package. I recently sold my initial franchise on to a new TinyTalk Teacher, which now gives me time to concentrate and focus more on the second. It’s an exciting time!
The experience overall has been extremely positive and I still love what I do over 4 years later. To begin with there were many late nights at the computer, hours spent creating props and notices, days trawling toddler groups chatting to mums, and lots of distributing leaflets and posters. Of course when everything is new it takes so much longer, but as time went on I
became adept at many of the tasks and so freed up some time. I love the excitement and anticipation of a new term of classes, and I get a huge buzz from getting to know families and hearing their stories as the babies develop and grow. Knowing that I’ve helped parents and babies understand each other is incredibly rewarding and a real honour.
My baby signing classes run in South Nottingham for both Babies and Toddlers and our website www.tinytalk.co.uk/catherineandjen hold lots of useful information on baby signing and class details. You can email me at email@example.com. Recently I’ve started to write a blog about running a baby signing business called Sign and the City, www.signandthecity1.blogspot.com, which I hope will be useful to other mums who are starting out in business. Why not take a look and let us know what you love about baby signing?
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