Business Profile – Michelle Westgarth-Graham – The Happy Token Company

Firstly, Please tell us about your Business…

I own The Happy Token Company which provides House systems to schools, and Happy Token systems to parents. Happy Tokens are a self designed behavior and development systems I came up with to better parent my children with a combination of ages and abilities. Based on a ton of research and development I have designed a tool that encourages the very best of child and parent and encourages nurture and positivity.

How many children do you have?  Tell us about them…

I have 5 children from age 19 to just turned seven. Both my oldest and my youngest are girls with three boys in the middle. I love being a mum and I love having a large family. My oldest son has diagnosed additional needs which just adds to the mix and makes each day interesting. From that I have developed a local Parent Support Group and a school support group and I sit on a Panel for Parent Participation with the local Trust. I am a busy lady but I wouldn’t change it.  

Was your business inspired either directly or indirectly by your children or family?

My business was wholly inspired by my oldest son. Pre diagnosis I could tell my son was different and needed an alternative approach to parenting. Although Happy Tokens came about looking for a way to incorporate all aspects of the parenting I wanted to adopt, it was my son who made me look at using the unique Sad Tokens in the system. Facing challenges, acknowledging when a child feels they have failed and exploring and addressing that are fairly major foundations to the system that I would not have thought about if it were not for my son.

What is your biggest productivity struggle?

Owning your own business is difficult in that you have to be a Jack of all trades. I have to know about accounting, PR, marketing, customer service, legislation, networking and so on. This means that I have to constantly research things I want or need to do to ensure business thrives. As yet I don’t have the income to delegate jobs so its keeping plates spinning and things ticking over that takes the time rather than developing and improving products.

What are your favourite tools that help you with organisation, time management, productivity?

The best thing for organisation, time management and productivity, that i have found, is also the very worst for all those things because its my phone! My business couldn’t run as efficiently without it. I deal with all my orders, publicity, customer service and research on it. The only thing it doesn’t do is make the orders up for me. I also have alarms, reminders and calendars buzzing and alerting me to things I must get done both in my family and work life. But equally i can loose hours researching something and not realise. My phone provides a bit of downtime too but to my family it does seem like I’m on it all the time.

And what about Productivity tools for the home?

I have a calendar in the kitchen which has my life on it. Should it ever be misplaced chaos would descend I’m sure of it. It details where everyone should be at anyone time, meal plans, ideas, notes. I simply couldn’t live without it. To be honest I’m old fashioned and i like a pen and paper -so while i do use the calendar on my phone my kitchen calendar is the master copy and includes more info.

How does being organised help you day to day?

My son cannot abide change. It causes no end of distress which seeps into all of us and has a negative effect. So being organized is a must. To be fair with seven in a house and a dog it would be chaos if i weren’t naturally organised and the I do love rising to that challenge. Thats not to say we are regimented – we still have down days which are slightly more relaxed.

To contact Michelle:

twitter handle: @happytokens

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