A mum who set up a successful home-based business while looking after her four young children is developing a mentoring programme for other mothers who want to go into business.
Farnaz Khan, 30, set up eResponse Media Ltd and competition website www.PrizeBoom.com four years ago and now turns over £300k while still working from home.
She originally set up the company because she couldn’t find a paid job which gave her the flexibility to look after her children – two sons and two daughters ranging in age from 11 to one.
Her hard work was rewarded when she scooped the Yorkshire Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2010 award and was also a finalist in the Asian Women of Achievements Entrepreneur of the Year 2010 & also Asian Business Development Network Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2010.
Her success came after she built an innovative free to use competition website www.PrizeBoom.com to generate fresh leads for advertisers. The site is now one of the UK’s leading free competition sites with more than a million users – a figure set to double in the next 12 months.
She is now developing a mentoring programme for other young mothers who are interested in starting their own businesses rather than going into employment.
She said: “Business is challenging but the rewards can be fantastic. It isn’t expensive to set up a business from home and it certainly can be a more flexible alternative to paid employment.
“I have never looked back since starting my business. I’m not saying it’s easy – there are bad times as well as good, but I’ve achieved success and I know other young mums can do it too.
“I want to help put something back so I’m developing my own mentoring programme for mums in the same position I was in a few years ago. Maybe they’ve got an idea for a business but don’t know how to turn a dream into a reality. I can help them.”
Farnaz has had to overcome plenty of barriers to succeed. Brought up by strict Muslim parents, she was encouraged to become a home maker rather than pursue her own career
But a strong work ethic saw her take a Saturday job at a fashion store at the tender age of 14 – without telling her parents.
She said: “My first day was going so well until the late afternoon when my mum came charging in, and dragged me out of the shop. One of my younger brothers had let the cat out the bag and told her I had a job. I was mortified.”
It was an inauspicious start to what would become a glittering work career. Farnaz later left school without formal qualifications and started to sell double glazing for a living. She had a natural talent for sales but after marrying at age 18 her career ambitions were temporarily placed on hold when her first daughter came along.
Farnaz said: “Before the arrival of my daughter, I took a job selling double glazing. I was the MD’s little star. I started to work my way through the phone book and was able to make endless appointments.
“I did really well and had found something I excelled at - selling. I left that company when they relocated and then gained more valuable sales and financial experience at the Abbey National & Insure.co.uk.”
But despite being highly ambitious and driven her career goals were once again put on hold by some worrying news.
“My eldest son was born with a kidney condition which later required surgery. Later my second son was diagnosed with the same condition.
“It bought a lot into perspective for me. Work was, and still is, a passion but the most important thing in my life is my children and family. I needed to find something that would fit and allow me to have the work life balance I craved.
“I knew I wanted to do something online that would complement my background in finance and so I came up with the idea of sourcing fresh business leads for other firms.
“My first client was an insurance litigation firm and in the first year they saw a 25% increase in turnover.
“My next big client was a loan company. The campaign I devised for them saw one in three leads converted. I was finding that I was able to successfully supply consumer leads to businesses and the quality of the lead was so good, the conversion rate was high.”
“I knew I had developed a winning formula by providing leads that converted for my clients on a pay per lead basis, these were leads that outperformed any mailing list, and were hot off the press, exclusively generated for the clients so you could image how well these converted.
“In 2006 I launched Eresponse Media Ltd. I soon signed up clients like Ipsos Mori, and ran campaigns for Ladbrokes, RSPB and many others and built a reputation for supplying quality, bespoke and easy to convert leads.
“Eresponse Media has a reach of 20 million in the UK, that’s more than 1 in 5 people in the UK and also reaches millions internationally through strategic partnerships that I have developed with media partners by offering ways to monetize their web space by generating engaging content running Prizeboom offers to generate revenue.”
Farnaz sources her leads through her competition website PrizeBoom.com via permission based marketing and as a result can supply real time bespoke leads in an instant. Users can win cash, cars, holidays and gadgets – all for free.
Farnaz added: “I’m delighted with how the business is evolving and I have finally achieved the work life balance I need. I can enjoy my time with my kids and see them whenever I want and at the same time wake up in the morning looking forward to tackling the challenges of running a successful business.
“In hindsight, my strict background has been the making of me. It fired my ambition and kept me focused during my teens. My mother has been a huge inspiration. She runs her own business and was one of the first in her generation to do that. She and the rest of my family have been incredibly supportive throughout.
“As for the future, my goal is world domination. I’d love to sit on the panel of Dragons Den and help other entrepreneurs realise their dreams.
“I’ll always encourage those with an idea to follow their dream and passion. If you believe in something, you can make it happen. I’m the perfect example of someone who’s done just that coming from a non academic background and am now looking forward to what the future has to hold for me and my family.”
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