In just over a year, Carla Lett has got married, had a baby, handed in her notice and set up her own website which she hopes will be the biggest baby, preschool and toddler directory in the UK.
Carla lives in Lytham St Annes near Blackpool. Before setting up her website, MyBump2Baby, she was an accountant. She was off sick before her maternity leave started as a result of placenta previa. The whole experience of pregnancy and maternity leave had made her rethink what she wanted. She had originally thought accountancy would offer her flexibility, but she became less confident about this as things in the profession were changing so fast. She considered setting up on her own as an accountant, but then thought if she was going to work for herself then she would like to do something that was “more me”.
During her maternity leave, she wrote some articles about placenta previa and early births [her son was born seven weeks early] to help other parents and got good feedback.
When George was two months old she started taking him to baby classes and looked on Google for other similar events, but many were out of date.
Carla decided to add a directory to her blog site, including events such as fitness classes for mums and bonfire nights, with all listings being searchable on Google. She realised that the idea had business potential and invested some of her wedding money.
The directory launched formally in October and now has over 5,000 listings across the country.
Cutting down administration
As the listings were growing and becoming unmanageable, Carla and her husband, who is an IT expert, researched how they could make the directory better than other similar websites.
To cut down on administration, they created a system that means people posting listings can log on and edit their own events so the information is up to date. They also worked to ensure their area-based listings came up high in the search engine ranking through indexing their pages and adding adwords. Posting is free, but those adding events can pay £4.99 a month to have their event featured more prominently and shared on social media. Carla also does reviews and reports on days out and includes key words to push them up the Google rankings. The content drives traffic to the site.
Carla works around George, who goes to his grandmother one and a bit days a week, and says she is often working on the site until midnight, although she says she doesn’t consider it a job. She also works weekends when her husband is around. He is in charge of the IT issues on the site while she deals with content and strategy.
Carla is also able to take George, who is now 11 months old, to work with her on the days out she reviews. In the next few months she is looking to create 200 town pages with dedicated adverts and is looking to hire a self employed salesperson to do so.
She writes: “I can’t help but feel a little excited about my future for 2017. I have finally found something that I absolutely love doing… a hobby I have been seeking for a number of years… and the whole time the hobby I was searching for was right in front of me.”