5 Reasons not to fear freelancing June 12th, 2013
Freelancing offers you many opportunities, but it can also spur on a lot of doubt. Many permanent workers doubt a freelancing career path, even though it’s what they want to do.
The common fear that arises when making the decision to go freelance is that you aren’t guaranteed the security that a permanent job offers as well as the stable income. But on the contrary, how do you know that your permanent job is secured, and that you won’t be retrenched?
Freelancing is not as ‘dark’ as you think it may be. There is a bright side to it all. Follow the points below and ease your mind about going freelance.
Why you should not fear freelancing
Flexible working hours
Freelancing allows flexible working hours and you will therefore, not be committed to a 9-5 job. You are able to work when and where you want – at any given time. Yes, the hours in the beginning are going to be tougher than what you experience with your permanent job, but it will get better once you have established yourself.
You are your own boss
This brings us to the next point – you get to be your own boss. Being your own boss will require dedication and perseverance but if you are serious about freelancing, this should not be a problem.
Varied work experience
Due to the fact that you will be working on many different projects and assignments, you will be exposed to a variety of skills, business cultures and up-to-date news on the industry, resulting in an attractive CV. This is very attractive to clients as it proves that you are an expert in your industry and increase your chance of being hired.
Setting up is easy
Individuals are often not certain of the exact steps to take when they want to start freelancing. However setting yourself up in the freelance world is easy. You will have two options: either you will freelance through an umbrella company, or through your own limited company.
Freelancing through an umbrella company: all it takes is a quick registration with an umbrella company of your choice and they will assist you with everything.
Freelancing through a limited company: register with a reputable accounting firm and they will help you set up your limited company. The best part is that it is quick, free and easy.
Not as risky as you think
You may think that moving from a permanent job to freelance is risky, but this doesn’t have to be the case. You should consider a slow transition. It’s wise to start off in the freelancing industry while still being permanently employed. This will keep money in your pocket while you build up your clientele.
Another option is to save up money before starting your freelancing career; this will ensure that you have adequate funds to support yourself for the first few months of freelancing
The Nation’s ‘Most Deserving’ Business June 7th, 2013
Each year Motors.co.uk searches the length and breadth of the UK looking for the nation’s unsung heroes to find the one that most deserves to win a car. This year’s campaign is slightly different, they are looking to find the ‘Most Deserving’ Business. And instead of winning a car, the ‘most deserving’ business will win a van. The amazing prize this year consists of a Ford Transit Van worth £6995 including full tax and MOT, a re-designed business logo applied to the van and £3000 in cash to help a deserving business expand and grow.
Motors.co.uk first launched the ‘Most Deserving’ award in 2011. Their first campaign resulted in David Moorhead, from the University of Bedfordshire, being named ‘Most Deserving Student’ and winning a Renault Twingo car plus £1000 to donate to his University. The judges decided that David was ‘Most Deserving’ because he overcame dyslexia and dyspraxia to obtain a degree, a PGCE and a PhD, and is now an ambassador for his University.
The second ‘Most Deserving’ campaign resulted in Caroline Rutley-Frayne being named as ‘Most Deserving Local Hero’. Despite a tragic car accident where she was permanently disabled and sadly lost her husband, Caroline volunteers at a local hospital, cares for her daughter and raises funds for the local air ambulance. Her positive attitude and recovery from such a devastating incident were recognised by the ‘Most Deserving’ award. Caroline was awarded a Ford Focus worth £10,000 plus a £2500 donation to the Devon Air Ambulance Trust.
The Motors.co.uk campaign aims to recognise those who strive to achieve more for themselves and others – sometimes in the face of great adversity. This year’s campaign in no different. The three finalists will find out on Monday 10th June who has the ‘Most Deserving Business’ and who will be the lucky winner driving away the Ford Transit Van. The finalists have all overcome adversity to build businesses: ranging from a ‘Catcafe’ where you can enjoy a drink and a cuddle with a cat; to ‘Fizzpop Science’ which are inspirational science workshops for children.
How to Use Your Business Skills to Support Local Causes May 23rd, 2013
The demands of setting up a small business single-handedly means that many ‘Mumpreneurs’ have become a tour de force in their own right – handling anything from the monthly accounts to putting together a last-minute sales pitch, while still fitting enough time in for the school run and a quick coffee-catch up with their nearest and dearest.
It’s exactly this kind of dynamism, and broad range of skills, that mothers in business can use to help support and develop local charities – particularly those that have made a direct impact on their lives.
Small business owners are already making a contribution to the community by creating a new business or service, and it seems logical that you would extend this to working alongside local charities – especially if they reflect the values which you are trying to promote.
Here are just a few ways in which ‘Mumpreneurs’ can use their business skills to support local causes:
Volunteer your services to your charity of choice
While larger charities may have dedicated departments for marketing, fundraising etc, others may only have a few members of staff and may require someone with specialist business acumen to help drive the charity forward. Volunteering your services, which could be anything from helping a charity forge links with the local business community to helping with a charity’s social media presence, may help to give a local charity, whether that is Charities Hertfordshire or any other part of the UK, much needed direction.
Organise fundraising events
Raising money for local causes is probably easier than many people imagine and can involve events such as an annual community fun day, with activities for children, stalls selling local produce etc, or something more low-key such as a series of tea parties held across the community.
As mums in business will already be honing their organisational skills on a daily basis to ensure that their businesses are running like a well-oiled machine – these skills can readily be transferred to managing key aspects of a charity event.
These events can also have cross-promotional benefits. As an example, you could ask the charity concerned if they are prepared to let you be listed as the event sponsor, in return for the services you have volunteered, or you could act as event compère and introduce some of the work your business carries out in the local area.
Mumpreneur Reaps the Benefits – profile of Anna Seager May 21st, 2013
I recently read an article about how “mumpreneurs” might be the answer to our struggling economy (http://news.sky.com/story/1065411/mumpreneurs-could-be-lifeline-to-recovery).
Whilst I don’t particularly like the term “mumpreneur” (I am sure lots will disagree, but personally, I find it a bit patronising) the story did make me think about all those mums who are busy juggling kids/home chores/business/being a wife etc etc – so they can work in a free range, flexible way and be there for their family.
This is exactly why I chose to set up my own business – for flexibility. Admittedly, there are some days where I do think “wouldn’t life be so much easier if I just went to work for someone else 3 or 4 days a week, collected my pay cheque and slept well because I didn’t have a “to do list” of a million things that kept my brain whirring away at night”! However, there are many more days where I am so happy I’m my own boss and have the flexibility to make my own choices.
[viralpullquote ]I am so happy I’m my own boss and have the flexibility to make my own choices[/viralpullquote].
For example, a few weeks ago, I chose to take the afternoon off and go and cheer on my daughter’s hockey team in their County Cup hockey final. Today, I am taking the whole day off to go and see my dad, who is undergoing rigorous chemotherapy at the moment.
Having this kind of flexibility, is the reason I chose to go the mumpreneur route and not to get a job. I see friends of mine, who are employed, missing out on their kids’ special events, time and time again because they can’t get the time off, but I don’t have to answer to anyone, and this allows me to watch my kids grow up as well as having a strong sense of self-worth as I am making a significant contribution to the family income.
For me, another benefit of being a mumpreneur is that the business has grown with my children. When I started out, my children were still quite young – 3 and 5, so the hours I could put into it were quite limited. Slowly and steadily, as they have grown and the Mummy hours have eased off, I have been able to put more time into Little Crab Designs and have gone from earning a bit of pocket money to earning a substantial income, whilst doing something I love and still being able to be there for my children (now 10 and 12).
So if you’re reading this, at home with little ones, wondering how you are ever going to be able to go back to work – think about going down the mumpreneur route. It was the best decision I ever made and who knows? – You could even be part of the revolution that is going to turn our fragile economy around!?
Anna Seager – founder of Little Crab Designs – nursery wall art specialists
If you liked this article – do check out my blog – charting the ups and downs of running a small business round a family.
Get Set for Summer with Thinking Slimmer May 15th, 2013
A few months ago, I hosted a competition on Motivating Mum, looking for some bloggers to take part in a challenge with Thinking Slimmer. The bloggers committed to lose some weight using a Slimpod and to come back and blog about their progress each week.
The lucky winners have now each been presented with a Slimpod and some fitness gear, and over the next few weeks they are going to be sharing their journeys with the Slimpod, and noticing the little differences that it makes to their lives, which add up over time to a great big change.
Every Friday for the next few weeks I will be publishing a post with comments, links to blogs. and hopefully success stories from our lucky Slimpod users. We will all be supporting and helping each other, and hopefully inspiring you to lose a bit of weight for the summer, or change some of your bad habits, if that is your goal.
If you would like to be part of the group of Slimpodders who will be contributing to this weekly post, and helping each other to lose weight, then please come and join us. Pop over to Thinking Slimmer now and choose a Slimpod – use the code MOTIVATE15 to receive a 15% discount off anything you buy.
Then please come back to this site and register to be a Thinking Slimmer blogger here. You will be sent a reminder each week, to either blog about your journey on your own site and send me the link, or to email me your comments to be included in my weekly post. Each week I hope you will visit, leave comments on the other participants’ blogs and on this one, and share all of your progress on social media.
Positive thinking and Group support are very important when you are trying to lose weight and change habits – I hope that with this weekly support group we will inspire each other to work towards our goals.
The Slimpod will help you to lose weight and the blog group will support you [viralpullquote background_color="#c9788b" border_color="#e5123c" ]The Slimpod will help you to lose weight and the blog group will support you[/viralpullquote]
A bit more about Slimpods and Thinking Slimmer
Slimpod is the ground-breaking weight loss programme that’s the talk of the internet. You listen to a special 10-minute recording for 10 minutes a day and as you relax its soothing voice gently retunes your mind to have a new relationship with food and exercise.
Within a few weeks thousands of Slimpod users find they’re eating less, feeling full quicker, making better choices and becoming more active – the perfect lifestyle change for lasting weight loss.
It’s not a diet and there’s no calorie counting, no shakes, pills or special foods – and no willpower needed. The powerful unconscious mind nudges you in the right direction.
Slimpods have been used and endorsed by a senior NHS consultant, who reported the effects to be “profound and positively life-changing.”
You can see the full range of Slimpods at ThinkingSlimmer.com and read success stories and testimonials.
Please come and join us as we Get Set for Summer with Thinking Slimmer
10 ways to create a Buzz about your Business May 14th, 2013
by Kate Miranda of Mumpreneur Marketing
Want to get more people talking about your business? A great way to generate hype around your business is to create something new, unique and packed with energy.
Here are a few tips on how to create a buzzing word-of-mouth campaign to promote your business. Read the rest of this entry »
Something for the Weekend May 4th, 2013
Happy Saturday to you all… if you’re like many small business mums, then Saturday is a day for family rather than business. You may be taxiing the children around their various sports activities, or you may be doing a supermarket run, spring clean or any of the chores and errands that didn’t get completed during the working week..
What I hope you will get is a little bit of time to yourself, to grab a cup of tea or coffee and sit down for just a short time. Because the weekend is a good time to catch up on reading and learn a few tricks that you can then use in your business during the week. So here are a few nuggets from the web this week.
Profile of Anne Davies of Room to Grow April 12th, 2013
Anne Davies has recently joined our Motivating Mum network and has just completed her first year as owner/Director running Room to Grow, an online business selling children’s beds, furniture and accessories from nursery to teens.
How to Get Un-SAD! April 1st, 2013
How much are you affected by the change of seasons? Living the continually fast pace of modern life means that there is sometimes no allowance made for our bodies and minds to respond to the natural shifts in daylight patterns and temperature. As mammals we are naturally responsive to the changes in the amount of natural light and it has a profound effect on our biology. Working with our bodies and nature, rather than against, can immensely improve our well-being – and consequently improve our productivity and home-life.
In the UK we seem to be very aware of the weather patterns – and the delayed spring of this year is certainly taking it’s toll on the well-being of many! Although we are getting the lighter mornings and evenings – it is still too cold to venture outside for long (unless you want to get stuck under a snowdrift!).
Certainly in our family we are all very much lacking the ‘energy and vitality’ which would be provided by the warmer spring weather – so my thoughts are turning for ideas on how to ‘jump start’ the spring energy…
- The further you live from the equator, the more you are affected by the change in seasons. Therefore by my reckoning, if circumstances allow, a dose of sunshine from nearer to the equator could be just the ‘jump start’ we need! Virgin Holidays have some deals for short breaks to Dubai (temperature today 27C – need I say more?) where hotels like Atlantis The Palm have their own waterpark, endless swimming pools and an aquarium – perfect for keeping the kids entertained whilst giving you the chance to soak up the sun!
- If getting nearer the equator isn’t in the budget at the moment, then make the equator come to you! Think about where you spend the most time – your home office? Your kitchen? Make sure that room is as light as possible – keep the curtains open and turn on the lights. You’ll be amazed what a difference it makes.
- Get outside – the old saying ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing’ holds very true at the moment. Get wrapped up and get outside for at least half an hour a day. Wrap the kids up and get them outside as well – to the park or for a walk in the woods.
- If you’re feeling a bit cooped up because of the weather then make it your aim to get out and socialise. There may be ‘co-working’ events held locally where freelancers/home-workers can meet up and work together. Or look for local networking events to meet like minded people whilst doing business at the same time.
- Think about your diet and exercise – if you’ve been eating what you shouldn’t to combat the winter blues then adjusting your diet to include more fruit and veg and less sugary foods may make the world of difference. And if it’s too icy to get outside to exercise then maybe adjust your exercise routine to include exercise classes (another good socialising opportunity!) or working out in a gym.
- It’s tempting to mainline on coffee to boost your spirits but unfortunately caffeine can leave you feeling low and sluggish later on. Swap the odd cup for a herbal tea or decaff.
You can’t change the natural biorhythm of life and how your body and mind respond to it. But you can certainly learn to recognise when you have got out of balance with this biorhythm, do your best to counteract the pressures of modern life that cause this imbalance – then enjoy the entirely natural high of a body and mind in tune with nature.
Where is Spring? March 21st, 2013
Do you have a spring in your step?
It would be very difficult for me to choose my favourite season. It’s great to go out crunching leaves in autumn, wearing a cosy jumper, curling up on the settee with curtains drawn, watching T.V. in the evening. I like crisp frost of winter on the grass and the pinch I feel on my ears and cheeks when I come back into the warm. I like late evening sat in the summer sun, I like breakfast sat outside in the sunshine. I like a stolen moment enjoying a cup of tea sat outside with a magazine. Read the rest of this entry »
Mumpreneur Profile: Wendy Shand of Tots to Travel March 11th, 2013
Wendy Shand is a long time supporter of Motivating Mum. Her business is Tots to Travel, a holiday company specialising in villa rentals for families with small children. I caught up with Wendy a few weeks ago…
What prompted you to start Tots to Travel?
It all started when we had a very difficult holiday in the south west of France with our two small children (2.5 years and 8 months). Needing a holiday more than ever before we opted for a beautiful holiday home but then discovered that it is really hard work being somewhere where children are not catered for.
The crunch came when my eldest fell into an unenclosed pool. Thinking about the kit, safety, planning and booking, I came to the conclusion that there had to be an easier way to holiday with kids; where a family could have a proper break for the whole family. So I created www.totstotravel.co.uk which is a stylish villa website aimed at families with under-fives. We carefully visit and select every single villa and put it through a stringent check and ensure that all pools have some sort of safety barrier to give parents peace of mind.
We also guarantee that every holiday property has our Tots Essential Kit Guarantee which is a minimum of 20 items that means that mum and dads can travel.
You’ve been in business for 7 years now. Was it difficult for you to start up a business back then?
Actually the first bit was fairly straightforward and logical, I think the stage of growing a business to achieve scale, growing the team and finding investment whilst still holding onto the original values of the business is much trickier. The learning curve is pretty much a vertical line!
What has changed for mums in business since then?
Plenty has changed!
There is now an entire infrastructure that supports mums setting up for themselves, including networks of mums supporting each other and sharing their challenges. Moreover there is an entire range of ancillary industries to support them. More importantly, the businesses that support mums in business understand the very specific challenges that mums in business have and can advise in such a way to make the whole process easier.
Do you think that travelling with children is more easy now than it was when your children were little?
Definitely! 8 years ago I Googled ‘family friendly holidays’ and nothing came up…now you can travel with just hand luggage and arrive at the door of your holiday villa in under 4 hours and find everything you need waiting for you. I speak to plenty of parents who say “if only I had known about www.totstotravel.co.uk when my children were little!”
What would be your advice to a family planning to travel on holiday with babies or toddlers for the first time this year?
Good question! Now there is so much choice and it can be a bit overwhelming. First of all it’s important to start the process early in the year because availability becomes a challenge and flight prices just go up, giving you less choice and making the holiday more expensive.
And secondly, with a baby or toddlers in tow, try not to skimp on the accommodation, as it is likely that you will spend quite a lot of time in your hotel room or villa what with nap times and early bedtimes.
I also speak to plenty of mums and dads who are fearful of going overseas on holiday. I would say, be brave and go for it!
Has your business been affected by the economic downturn at all? If so what have you done to reduce these effects?
Definitely, and I would be fascinated to talk to any business owner that denies that the economy has had some effect on their business. Overall families are still going away, but they are not going away for as long or to the bigger more luxy houses…and the patterns are harder to find. The economy has changed and it is important to deliver excellent customer service and to ensure that you deliver value and remain unique within the market.
For our part we have managed our costs very carefully and moved from an outsourced model to having our team in the same office. This means that we have gained efficiencies and synergies that are helping to build growth. We’re also continuing to drive innovation, an example of this is our Tots Essential Kit Guarantee which helps to give our customers peace of mind when they book, and looking for ways to use technology to drive our growth. It’s a continuing learning curve and there has been no room to rest on our laurels.
Most of the years that we have been in business have been within a recession so I am hoping that it will have been an excellent grounding for the future!
If you were starting up in business afresh right now, what would be the first things you would do?
Oooh good question! I would look at the size of the market, who’s already in it and figure out how to do it better and differently. I’d be looking at a new business a lot more critically and using data to back up our thinking. There are still plenty of opportunities out there and it’s a question of looking at established industries and figuring out whether there is room to be disruptive!
and finally – what is your favourite Social Media platform and how do you use it?
My favourite is Pinterest and I find it completely absorbing! So far we’re not seeing it as a big traffic generator but I am learning how to do it better and the key is creating your own material rather than just pinning other peoples and then linking that to your site. It’s a really important platform, particularly if you are in a business that is highly visual like ours or that your target market is women.
Tips on Funding your Easter Getaway February 28th, 2013
It seems a long time ago that we were enjoying time off over Christmas and New Year. Getting back into the routine of work is never easy and the first two months of 2013 have been a struggle to say the least. Half term came and went in the blink of an eye, and now we are charging down to an early Easter. Whether you’re seeing loved ones, spending quality time with the kids or fitting in a quick getaway, enjoying yourself is a luxury gladly received.
However, we all want to do something worthwhile and fulfilling with our time and more often than not this involves spending money on long weekends away, pricey activities or expensive days out. According to Tesco Bank Clubcard Credit Card, families are on the hunt for free entertainment during the school holidays. Nearly one in three of parents surveyed say they are still feeling the financial impact from Christmas. A further 35 per cent also revealed they would spend under £50 during half-term.
Nevertheless, it is still possible to earn a bit of extra cash outside of work to fund any costly excursions. While these suggestions sound like work, probably the last thing on your mind during half-term, you can get the whole family involved and have some fun while doing so too.
- Home daycare.
The same survey revealed that nearly a quarter of parents surveyed would take time off work to look after the kids, leaving the rest having to manage their work and home life. So let your social circle know that you’re willing and available to look after their children. This also allows your own youngsters to have fun with friends.
Not only is this a great way of entertaining the kids, it can also be a useful money-spinner. Everyone appreciates homemade goodies and several will be willing to splash the cash on something lovingly made.
- Sell your clothes for cash.
As the kids grow up and the latest fashion trends continue to change, you’re sure to be left with a wardrobe full of clothes that don’t fit or flatter anymore. This doesn’t have to be a painful exercise, though, as free collection services and instant valuations make it a trouble-free experience.
- House cleaning.
So this last option may not sound like a lot of fun, but for only a couple of hours a day you could end up with a substantial wad of cash in your back pocket. With many people not having the time or energy to make their house look spick and span, this is a great opportunity to make some much-needed money. You may be surprised at how in demand you are.
Although some of these ideas don’t sound like fun, your whole family will greatly appreciate the lengths you have gone to ensure an enjoyable Easter holiday.
Nominate your Ideal School Governor and win a Kindle Fire February 8th, 2013
Who is your Ultimate School Governor?
From Lord Sugar to Barack Obama, whoever your ultimate school governor is we want to know!
Education charity ‘SGOSS – Governors for Schools’ has launched a new campaign which highlights the personal benefits of volunteering in a quest to help fill 30,000 school governor vacancies across England.
School governors are the largest group of volunteers in education. They support and challenge the Head Teacher, set the strategic direction for the school and monitor and evaluate progress. As members of the school’s governing body, governors have the opportunity to significantly develop their skills and competencies.
A report carried out by The City of London showed that 67% of school governor volunteers had improved influencing and negotiation skills compared with 43% of the total sample. 71% of school governors reported a skills gain in team working in comparison to 43% of the total sample. Volunteers also reported that taking on the role of school governor was extremely useful for developing hard business skills, such as an increased business awareness and financial skills like planning and budgets.
SGOSS have also launched a new short film this week, “We’re the people…” which follows four volunteers in their workplace and shows how they use their skills to support children, education and schools.
SGOSS CEO Liz McSheehy says: “There is a common misconception that school governors are just parents of children at a school. We wanted to showcase that this volunteer opportunity is all-inclusive and a vital part of school improvement. Becoming a school governor allows a broad range of people to enact real change in education as well as enabling people to develop practical business skills.”
To find out more information about the campaign or to volunteer as a schools governor visit
You could win a Kindle Fire
All we would like you to do is leave a comment below saying who would be your ultimate school governor and why. then log into the Rafflecopter widget below and follow instructions for further entries.
Feb Fast: Giving up Alcohol for Charity February 1st, 2013
Six years ago on the other side of the world a group of Australians in their thirties were at a BBQ opening another bottle of wine with their friends when they decided the Christmas festivities had taken their toll. They decided to give up alcohol for the month of February and donate the money they would have spent to charity. This idea has grown into a national event. ‘Feb Fast’ has become a very successful national charity raising money for alcohol support services and charities. Read the rest of this entry »
Put Yourself First in 2013 January 24th, 2013
As business mums, working mums or even just mums in general, how many of us are guilty of putting ourselves to the back of the queue when it comes to taking care of ourselves? We care for our husbands and partners, our children, our clients and customers, our bosses, our work colleagues and subordinates. And who takes care of us? Who indeed?
Like many home business owners I have been shockingly bad at looking after myself recently, particularly over the last two years since I started running Motivating Mum. Somehow it’s just more appealing to come online, write my blog and talk to you lot, than it is to go and take exercise, prepare healthy food in sensible quantities, and give myself sufficient rest between home and work duties. I bet some of you know exactly how I feel.
So when I was approached by Sandra at Thinking Slimmer and asked to find ten business owners for a project which involves putting yourself higher up on your To Do list, I thought it was an excellent idea.
Basically I am looking for ten people who each have their own blog or social media channel, who are prepared to follow the guidance of the Thinking Slimmer team for a number of weeks and blog about their progress. This will hopefully include some weight loss, and may include some other lifestyle changes as well.
If you don’t know what Thinking Slimmer is all about, take a look at their website here, then if you feel that you could put yourself higher up on your to do list, with the help of the Thinking Slimmer team, then please leave a comment below with a link to your blog, before 31st January 2013. At that point we will choose 10 participants in the Thinking Slimmer project and get the project underway.
To be eligible for this project you should be:
- Over 18 and resident in the UK
- Have a certain amount of surplus weight (at least one dress size) that you would like to lose.
- Ready and willing to follow a programme guided by the Thinking Slimmer team, instead of any other weight loss method you may be following.
- Ready, willing and able to blog about your progress regularly and to share updates (including photos) on social media
The ten successful participants will
- receive a Slimpod of their choice from Thinking Slimmer
- receive a two piece exercise outfit from Jenni Faulkner at Debenhams
- Be expected to talk publicly about the project and their results on their blog and social media
- allow before and after photos of them to be used in advertising by Thinking Slimmer
- Be given links to a Thinking Slimmer Rafflecopter giveaway which they can run on their blog
In addition to this, the ten successful participants will form a support group who will look after each other while we all go through this transformation process. And, if we are successful as a group, there is the possibility of some kind of big treat day for us all at the end….
So who is with me on this? Please leave a comment, with some basic information about you and a link to your blog (use the commentluv feature for the link….)
All Great Goals Need A Cunning Plan January 22nd, 2013
We all have different business aspirations for this year. Maybe you’d like to launch a new product; expand your customer base; or get your social media campaign ramped up a gear? We also will have a few things in our personal life we’d like to aim for, maybe home improvements; moving house; getting fitter; dressing better; or trying to save money.
I’m very good at thinking of all the things I’d like to be better at, have more time for or just plain want! What I’m not so good at is achieving those things. However this quote struck a chord:
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
French writer (1900 – 1944)
If you think about the goals you have achieved in life so far, they normally had a plan behind them to achieve it. For example a successful family holiday is not achieved through just turning up at the airport and hoping you can get on a flight to somewhere nice for a good price! In our house a holiday is months in the planning: where to go; has it got all the facilities we need; how to get there for the best price; what to pack; who looks after the animals whilst we’re away; where to park the car; how to get to the airport; etc. Every eventuality is planned for. Another good example is a wedding – just one day of your life but everything is planned in minute detail: from your underwear to the seating plan!
Why can’t this be extended to other plans in life – business or personal? Take one of the aspirations for your business mentioned above, improving your social media campaign. Try planning this down to the finest detail (as you would a holiday or your wedding) – from deciding what your aim is with your campaign, to how exactly this is going to be timetabled into your daily schedule. Breaking big ideas down to small steps makes them more achievable. Planning each step into your life will mean that your goal is achieved.
The same goes for your personal goals. For example, trying to save money: how exactly are you going to achieve this? Think about every area of your life where savings could be made: switching energy providers; using voucher codes when shopping online; having a meal planner based around special offers at supermarkets; shopping for presents in the sales, etc. Plan exactly when you’re going to switch energy providers, which purchases you need to make online to benefit from the codes and when the sales are so that you can plan a Christmas shopping trip. That way the dates are in your diary, the plan is made – and your goal of saving money will be achieved!
Equally planning would help you achieve your aspiration of ‘dressing better’. Think how you would like to dress in an ideal world – plan your outfits, can they be achieved on your budget? Create a mood board for all your outfit ideas. Could you invest in a few key pieces to improve your overall look without breaking the bank? If so, which key pieces are you going to buy? How will they fit in with your existing wardrobe? Plan down to the finest detail – some people even take photos of themselves in every conceivable outfit in their wardrobe so they can see at a glance what they’d like to wear that day.
Planning costs nothing, could save you money, and will certainly help you achieve your objectives.
Goals with a plan are wishes that will come true…
Happy January – Spring is Coming! January 14th, 2013
The newspapers and press are full of dismal January stories, and facebook is full of dismal weather and snow (or lack of it). Innocent drinks have a poster campaign that we need to “Beat January” (by using their product of course), and of course to add insult to injury it’s Christmas credit card bill and tax return season. So no wonder everybody is feeling gloomy and down.
And yet, somehow, I just don’t get it.
I am definitely a SAD sufferer – don’t anybody talk to me in November when the clocks first go back, the nights get so long and the last of the warm weather disappears. At that time of year I get seriously down, and reach for hot drinks and comfort food. I would honestly hibernate if it were possible for humans to do such a thing. Read the rest of this entry »
5 Ways to Get Organised in the New Year December 18th, 2012
I don’t know about you but I am finding myself rushing about like a headless chicken this month. Business tasks have to be done and completed before I shut up for the holidays. Then I have to make sure that the children are sent to school with all that they need for each different thing that they are doing, and ferried to the right activities, parties and concerts after school. Of course I also have to make sure that our family Christmas is planned and sorted behind the scenes, so that nobody is even aware that anything has happened until Santa visits on Christmas Eve.
I’m sure I’m not the only small business mum feeling a bit overwhelmed at this time of year. I have very nearly dropped a few balls already, and I am cursing myself (as usual) for not being a bit more organised, in my home life and in my work schedule and routines.
So when I do get a minute to sit down, you will find me at this time of year, making a start on my New Years Resolutions, reading up on some ways that other business owners get organised, so that I can hopefully pick up a few tips. Here are some of my favourites:
- How to Organize and Simplify Your Business Lifestyle – Under30CEO ….. set up some filters that automatically organize and send messages like bank statements, bills, and other regular emails to designated folders that you create. Businesses will always be more productive this way.
- DivineCaroline – Organize Your Business – And Your Life – DivineCaroline … Organize your hard copies. Organize your contacts. Most computers today come with software (such as Microsoft Outlook) that makes it easy to organize your contacts. It’s Monday morning and you’re reviewing your calendar.
- Organize Your Workspace for Maximum Productivity – Gina Trapani – Harvard Business Review http://blogs.harvardbusiness.org/trapani/2009/06/organize-your-workspace-for-ma.html …As you pilot your way through the business day, your workspace is your cockpit. If you can’t see the gauges or reach the controls quickly and efficiently, you’re in trouble.
- Organise Now …Step #1: Toss out most of your mail Business people tend to get a lot of unsolicited mail (electronically and hard …
- How to Organize Your Small Business Records – For Dummies Dealing with the paperwork is a large part of running a small business. The following table suggests essential file drawers to label in an actual file cabinet or two …
Would you describe yourself as organised? What do you do to hold yourself together? Or what are you planning to do better in 2013?
How to get Your Business Buzzing in 2013 December 14th, 2012
At this time of year as a Mum in business it is very easy to lose focus on the direction of your business. There are so many other pulls on your attention: nativity plays, Christmas parties, shopping, food preparation… to name but a few! I have certainly been guilty in the last couple of weeks of putting business thoughts on the backburner.
Unbelievably though we are only two weeks away from welcoming in a whole new year! 2013 may not be an easy year financially for any of us – rising fuel prices, energy prices and cuts to child benefit are definitely on my mind. So it is more important than ever that our businesses move into 2013 buzzing – and for that to happen the ideas and planning need to start now! What can you be doing now in the remaining days of 2012 that will bring success to your business in 2013?
Whenever I’m feeling stale and short of the ‘buzz’ myself– too many things to do, not enough enthusiasm – I make sure that I create an hour of ‘me-time’ doing something I enjoy. This can be anything from a brisk walk across frosty fields, a game of bingo at www.galabingo.com, or a long hot bath. This is never a wasted hour because I come back to work refreshed and enthusiastic about carrying the business forward. When you’re out Christmas shopping, on-line playing games or simply reading a magazine, take note of how other companies grab your attention – what tactics do they use?
How can you create a buzz for your business? The short answer to that is by inspiring people, engaging them and getting them talking about the products or services your business offers.
Here are some ways you could grab people’s attention in the New Year:
- Press release: write a press release for local papers about something interesting e.g. an exciting competition you’re running, customer success stories or new advice on your business area. You could also contact your local Chamber of Commerce and ask them how they can help you publicise your business.
- Free samples: will get people talking about your business. They don’t have to cost you much to make either, for example if you sell cupcakes you could go to your local farmers market and give out mini-fairy cakes as tasters.
Cake always gets my attention!
- Host a free workshop: that teaches a new skill. This is a fantastic way of reaching potential customers. For example a hairdresser could teach local mothers how to plait their daughter’s hair, or a gardener could hold a workshop on how to take cuttings.
- Hold a free seminar: showing off your expertise on a tricky subject. For example the gardener could talk about identifying different soil types, or a florist could talk about wedding flowers. This is a great way to become known as an ‘expert’ in your field.
- Produce a free guide: so that potential new customers have something to remember you by. For example, a beautician could produce a pamphlet about how to get your body ready for the beach, or a personal trainer could write an e-book about ways to get fit in the New Year.
- Volunteering your time: creates its own community buzz. If you’re a VA you could produce the newsletter for your local charity, or if you run a dog walking business you could help out at the local dog rescue home.
These are just six ways to get your business buzzing in 2013, there are hundreds more. Get inspired and start 2013 with a buzz!
Calling all Mumpreneurs: Get Creative this Christmas December 5th, 2012
By Kate Miranda, Director, Mumpreneur Marketing.
The countdown to Christmas has begun. For many of us Christmas is a frenzied infusion of family, friends, presents, excessive food and alcohol, plenty of cheer and special memories. For mums, it’s multitasking taken to the max with the ever expanding ‘to do’ list. Have you found the perfect present for your husband’s visiting second cousin? What about his wife? Pass the wine, please!
The bizarre thing is, once the chaos of Christmas day has passed, it is often followed by a sudden and almost dull calm. The kids are occupied with new toys and gadgets. Dad seems content to potter and recuperate. These are the moments we have to seize for ourselves. Seize some time and space to think and create. Unleash your inner mumpreneur.
Mums by nature are creative beasts – I mean beauties. We have occasional moments of inspired brilliance and the lucky mums have more frequent moments of brilliance. Many mums who act on these moments become successful mumpreneurs by transforming their ideas into businesses.
If you are thinking about starting your own business or contemplating how to grow your mumpreneur business in 2013, use the Christmas break to get creative. Use the mental break from the daily machinations of work to think laterally. Brainstorm business ideas with friends or random relatives. Most will relish being involved.
Nothing saps your creative spirit like churlish children, cleaning or the cold so take time out to visit a place that inspires you, like your favourite gallery or cafe. Somewhere you can get headspace. Use this time and space to come up with creative ideas that will help you connect with more customers. If you haven’t changed your tagline in a while, come up with a new one. It’s great to keep things fresh. Brainstorm taglines and slogans with friends. Think of an idea for a PR campaign or competition idea you could run with a local media partner.
Go viral. Challenge yourself to come up with a viral campaign or a new product. Here are some great examples to help you get started. The tone of a viral campaign can be either funny (Meet Doug Pitt. The Second Most Famous Pitt in His Family), or funny and terrifying (Extremely Scary Ghost Elevator Prank in Brazil), or funny with a serious message (check out Vinnie Jones for the British Heart Foundation). Originality is what will create an impact. It won’t cost you anything but your creativity and time to make a video on your phone and upload it onto YouTube, which is now the second biggest search engine next to Google with more than two billion views a day.
If you are looking for a place to start, why not use the number 2013. How can you hang a campaign off these numbers? 2013 is the year of the Snake and the United Nations has declared 2013 the International Year of Quinoa, a super food high in protein and gluten-free. If you are in the nutrition, diet or fitness industry, get creative with Quinoa recipes for your customers.
Bouncing off current affairs stories can also be an effective way to increase brand awareness. If you deal in fair trade products respond to the Starbucks greed on a grand scale story by launching an email or viral campaign around the word fair. We pay our fair share. We play fair etc.
If you are planning to throw a bit of creative marketing into the Christmas mix this year be sure to have fun. Be imaginative. Get carried away with possibilities.
If you are looking for creative marketing ideas, contact Kate Miranda or try one of her DIY marketing workshops designed for business mums who do their own marketing. firstname.lastname@example.org
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