Jody Allan from Stay At Home Mum is the mastermind behind Australia’s largest parenting social media following. With 469, 000, Facebook followers, 760, 000 unique visitors a month and 6 million page views she sits down and shares her story with us.
How Did You Start?
It was really by accident. It was never meant to be a business. I’d been saving to build the house. I had just had two babies in a year and was made redundant. My husband and I were living off $50/wk grocery shopping for four years. My friend chipped me about it and I got really upset. We were doing it to get ahead, not to be tight with money. I decided to put it on the internet – different ways how I’ve saved money and I was really looking for other ways I could save money at home. I thought Stay At Home Mum was a good name and I didn’t have a website.
It was just a Facebook status on “How I Turned 500g mince into 3kg” and “How I went through all my filing cabinets to save money” I just shared tips on how I saved money and asked people to share theirs. 10,000 followers in a month and it just didn’t stop.
What did you have when you started?
Nothing. I had no money to start a business – all I had was time. I haven’t had to put a cent in. It’s been self-sufficient from day one. I had no money to do a website. When I enquired about setting one up, everyone hung up on me. One guy took my number, had a look and said my Facebook fans had gone up 500 in half an hour. He called Jody and said, “Get your butt into my office.” And he did my website for free and I paid him back two months later. but as soon as I got bigger they were the first things to go. So I can concentrate on what I’m good at.
It’s really important to know what you’re bad at. That’s your strength: to know what you’re bad at – and get someone else to do it.
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In the second year, I got a letter from a lady who wrote to me and said if it wasn’t for your website, I’d be homeless. And we’ve kept in touch, she worked for me for a little while and now she’s got her own home, she’s got a full-time job, she’s a single mum with three kids.
Getting that letter was a way of knowing I was doing the right thing, for the right reasons. I don’t give a crap about anything else.
How long did it take to create your success?
I didn’t take a wage for the first three years. I invested everything back into the business. I only took a wage because my husband came on board. I’m reinvesting all the time. I have all these ideas. It grows like a monster in my head.
My husband wanted a boat so I bought him one and he’s happy. We lived on $50/wk and we’re still fairly frugal but I do have Tim Tams and wine these days.
Advice for stay at home mums aspiring to be savvy like yourself?
Don’t worry about being frightened – just start. Even if you don’t have all the information all the details, just go for it. You don’t have anything to lose. I’ve never thought of myself as a good writer. I’m just a dag from Gympie – and if I can do it, anyone can. I’m not the sharpest crayon in the pack – but I just gave it a go.
1. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. Just give it a go
2. Make loads of mistakes. I make mistakes every day. It’s the best thing about being in business.
3. Don’t try and please everyone. Just try and please yourself. That was one big mistake I made. People complaining and you think ‘oh I’ll have to change it’ If you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing. I get criticised for things but I don’t care.
4. Write from the heart. My first ebook was a twenty-six-page cookbook full of spelling mistakes, half of it didn’t make sense. I just spoke from the heart and still sold 50,000 copies.
5. You don’t have to speak perfection. Pick images that speak to you. Write exactly what you think – it doesn’t matter what others think. People don’t want perfection. Mums want to hear from other mums. An online mothers group. Cup of tea and come and have a chat.