Interview with Founder & CEO of Mums Enterprise, Lindsey Fish
Lindsey Fish found her passion and love for events at the tender age of 16 when she completed an apprenticeship for a start-up exhibition organiser in 2000-2002 instead of going down the traditional further education route. She worked her way up the corporate ladder moving from event focused roles into marketing led roles to spread her wings and complete her CIM Marketing Diploma in 2007.
Lindsey has been nominated for Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014 and her first event business was nominated for Most Promising New Business at local business awards. With over 18 years’ experience in events, she is now dedicated to running Mums Enterprise Ltd and is the driving-force behind the business which organises the Mums Enterprise Roadshow, the UK’s only child-friendly flexible work and business show with its online offering becoming ever more comprehensive.
Lindsey is mum to 4-year-old Molly and had her second daughter Rosie in June 2017.
Describe a typical day for you?
I have a 4-year-old daughter Molly who is in nursery five days a week and I had a baby back in June, Rosie, who I also put in nursery for three days a week. They are both in for school hours 9 am-3 pm, so on a day when they are both in, I set up work in my kitchen with just my laptop, note pad, landline and mobile by my side. I usually think about the mini goals for the day when I drive the kids to nursery so when I sit down I write down my mini to-do list, I also have tasks set for me in Asana. So I pick out the things to prioritise that I must do to that day and start getting on with it.
Work is very varied and as you can imagine with organising events, there is a lot to it. Coordinating the floor plans and liaising with venues and suppliers, sales for exhibition stands and sponsorship, marketing and campaigns, social media, planning, press activity and design work and jobs. At the moment, selling stand space and sponsorship is very important as if we don’t have the exhibitors, we don’t have a show.
They are key to helping our audience of mums on a mission make a change, start a new opportunity or growing their business so that is a huge pressure and focus for us. And of course that is what we need to cover our costs, as the show is free for visitors.
After working during the school hours, I have a break when I have the kids to do all mummy things like cooking, baths, playing and then when they are in bed I set up camp again, usually every week night in the kitchen and start working again, just as I was doing in the daytime. The Mums Enterprise team are all mums, and we all work flexibly so we often have Skype’s, emails and phone calls in the evenings too. Whatever we need to do to keep going and #shootforthemoon.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
For me it has to be our rate of growth and exhibitor retention levels as well as the fact that our events actually really do help people and change lives.
In 2016 we had just 200 visitors across two local events in Hertfordshire, we then switched the business model, made the shows free to attend and went to bigger regions and as a result, had almost 4,000 attendees at our events last year. Now in 2018 we are going to Olympia! That in itself is an organiser’s dream and we anticipate an audience of over 10,500 -I mean that to me is awesome!
It’s all about helping mums gain confidence and find new opportunities and grow and the fact that we get amazing comments, and visitors come back year after year is just brilliant. Our aim is to help change the work or business lives of mums for the better forever. Another achievement I am so proud of is the fact that exhibitors have kept coming back and re-booking.
We still have companies who were with us at our first events in 2016. I mean how amazing is that, and the fact many exhibitors do not do any other events, or are new to events means we have awesome, amazing and unique exhibitors that can be found no where else.
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
Honestly!! I don’t have a handbag!! How bad is that. If we go out I use the baby bag for my purse and phone!
What are your ambitions in life?
I have quite a few of these. I am a very driven person and the theme of ‘Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land amongst the stars’ really resonates with me. I live that every day. So ambitions are many. A huge huge driver for me is to look after my parents. We had such an amazing life growing up and then their business went bust and they had to retrain into new jobs quite late on in life, which I think is just amazing.
I want to make sure I can give them back the quality of life they had when I was growing up and I want to make sure they are OK and can retire when that time comes without worry. I want to look after them. My dad has always been the one to tell me ‘I can do it’ and to ‘just keep going’.
Then of course there is my own family of course! I want to show my daughters that they can do anything they want in life if they try hard enough. But also that nothing comes easy, you have to work for it and that failure is ok so long as they can pick themselves back up again and say they tried their best.
I want Mums Enterprise to be a well-respected brand and I want it to the number one brandmums think of when they are facing a work or business challenge, need or dilemma. I want to help as many mums as I can feel fulfilled in work and family life.
We say we are going to the moon and taking thousands of mums with us and I really mean that. I want to be able to leave a mark on the world and do my ‘little’ bit to help change it. There was an Ebay report out back in 2014 which predicted that the Mum Economy would be worth 9.2 billion by 2020, I want to prove that with Mums Enterprise in existence we helped far surpass this prediction.
I have many more ambitions but I could type all day 🙂
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
That nothing happens as quickly as you would like. You can have big dreams and goals yes of course, but they are not going to happen over night. I really don’t think there is such thing as an overnight success. Even the ‘overnight successes’ worked for years before they ‘were known’. So it takes years not weeks or months so I think that is something everybody should know. That if they don’t see results right away, to keep the faith and keep going. It will come if they believe it will and think positive.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Well I would like to be a confident and well-respected business-woman because of the work of Mums Enterprise. I want to be able to stand in front of people and be confident speaking to them not as an ego trip but because I am a credible person, my business has been successful, I have helped others through my work and I would like to be able to share my experiences.
I am not the best public speaker and up to only a year or so ago I used to get panic attacks so I would definitely like to be confident speaking to a crowd and do it in a fun, inspiring way. I would also like to give back to the youth of today and champion apprenticeships and help kids make the tough decisions about life after school and college.
University doesn’t have to be the only way and I want to help them make the right choices for themselves and ensure they have the information they need to do that.
What advice would you give a budding mum in business?
If you have an idea, or many – write it down. Get it on paper and the thoughts from your head so then you can start to make sense of them. Then start writing up a more professional business plan to structure everything properly. And DO RESEARCH, test your ideas, do an online survey, ask people in the street and really find out if there is a need for what you intend to offer or sell. And if the results come back to say that no, people wouldn’t buy it or use it then have a re-think. Find out what people’s challenges are around your idea and brainstorm solutions.
What do you wish you’d known about motherhood before having kids?
That having a child means you are at somebody’s beck and call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and it’s a non-stop job. I never expected it to be so demanding. I personally think being a mum is the hardest job in the world but the reward is unconditional love, fun and a warm fuzzy feeling. Oh and that a caesarean blimin well hurts and isn’t an easy option at all!
Finally, happiness is…
Being fulfilled – this to me means having a passion and then doing something to live it. My passion is events, I love the work I am doing and I feel very lucky and fulfilled doing it, which makes me happy.
Having freedom. This means being able to make my own choices, being independent and doing things I enjoy. This makes me happy.
Enjoying your family and friends – life is short, and can be taken away at any moment without warning. Happiness is not taking that for granted, realising and showing your love for others, being loyal and caring and being there for other people is important. Being a good friend, daughter, sister and mother makes me happy.