Inspiration from playHOORAY!

Today's IWD Q&A comes from playHOORAY! Founder, Claire Russell. Claire is an early years specialist and mum to two little people. playHOORAY! was born when Claire decided to stay off a little longer after her first maternity leave. She started sharing play activities online and it grew from there.


Q What inspired you to leave teaching?

I actually never planned to leave teaching to start a business. I was on maternity leave and wasn’t ready to leave my baby so decided to be at home with him a little longer and return later when I was ready. In the meantime I started sharing play activities online and quickly built a community and just never returned!


Q How do you juggle running a successful business with being a mum?
It’s tricky! I have a wonderfully supportive husband and we share everything, childcare, housework etc so that really makes a difference when someone is cheering you on and helping to make it happen! Secondly I’d say, I’ve come to realise I cannot do it all. When spinning a lot of plates sometimes you have to let a couple slip otherwise I end up giving myself a hard time which certainly doesn’t help! I’m doing my best and that’s the best I can do!


Q What advice would you give other entrepreneurs looking to make the big first step to leaving a FT job to set up their dream business?
Oooh I’m not sure in the best to answer this one. I would definitely suggest testing your idea and running it on the side before giving up work, I’ve been going for five years and only just started taking a very small income from it. I have reinvested every penny I have made back into the business to help it grow.


Q What’s next for playHOORAY!?
I have lots of big plans for playHOORAY! particularly bringing our wonderful community of parents to life offering more services to help and support! However I have also just had a baby and now with us in and out of lockdown some of my plans have had to go on pause for now but plan to pick them back up again as soon as I feel I can dedicate time and head space for it!


Q Any top tips for surviving more time at home (thanks to covid) with pre-schoolers?
Yes, go easy on yourself and on them! It’s so hard, incredibly hard so it’s about doing what you can! If you can get outside everyday, that makes a huge difference! To me it’s like hitting the reset button and works wonders when we’re all feeling stale and tired. And then remember, try not to compare you, your kids or your home life to anyone else. Do what’s best for you and your family!


Q Anything else you want to mention?
The playHOORAY! Handbook is now out to order and everyone is welcome to join the playHOORAY! community here:


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