A tale of Gabrielle Bernstein, a massive zit and the flying girl.
In this episode we’ll cover how to create plans that inspire and excite you – and how to increase your chances of actually achieving your goals!
CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR COPY OF MY 2016 ACTION PLANNER
My first proper job – well the first job I actually wanted – was working for a skincare company in marketing. It was amazing!
The only problem was my boss was a bit of a cow. I don’t think she liked me very much. I am not going to blame her entirely because, aged 22 I think I was quite a pain in the butt! I did work hard but I clearly had some kind of issue with authority. Not much has changed, apparently!
My boss and I didn’t really see eye to eye.
I remember after one particularly difficult meeting, she called me into her office. I knew something was up. It sure was. She said to me that she thought it might be a good idea for me to create a work persona which would be in stark contrast to my normal home personality.
She thought I needed a more professional version of myself which I brought to the office and therefore left behind the slightly overly enthusiastic me who is a bit like a bounding kangaroo in a field full of sheep. I think what she was trying to say was I was too silly, not very sensible, constantly challenge the status quo. I’m got the not so subtle impression that she found me rather irritating and that I she wanted me to get on with doing what I was told!
Surprisingly, I didn’t really take to that suggestion.
I did mull it over for while but, all things considered I didn’t think it was a good idea.
15 years later having I can safely say having split personality is not something to aspire to. I can’t see it playing out well. Or contributing to your health and wellbeing, can you?
Imagine how exhausting it would be to lead a dual life! Surely, you’d be better off channelling that energy into growing your business.
Since that awkward meeting, I’ve refused to be anything but myself. OK, it has taken some courage to get to this point, but now that I’m here I wouldn’t change it for the world. I like being me. It’s a lot easier than trying to be someone else. And I’m pretty good at doing it. Better, in fact than anyone else.
Do you do you?
If you have a personal band, don’t keep yourself separate? Whether you’re a fashion designer, a jewelry maker, someone who makes perfume, someone who teaches people how to ride a unicycle. Whatever your business, put yourself and your true authentic self into your brand.
know it can be hard to be yourself in business. The idea of creating a personal brand and going all out embracing your personality can seem really scary. Instead of going full monty, it’s easier to create a watered down, more palatable, slightly grey version of ourselves in our business. After all you wouldn’t want to put anyone off would you?
It seems like a scary thing to do, right?
Having made the decision to stick to just the one personality, and having thought of all the things I’d like to tell my boss (but obviously didn’t actually tell her) I left that job and went on to work in lots more places that seemed to appreciate me rather more.
When I started my own businesses I knew being true to yourself was the key, but sure enough, as per usual, the doubts started to set in
Maybe people didn’t want a 100% me. Maybe they wanted a sanitized version of me. A me who had been dipped in antibacterial hand wash, if you like. So rather than be myself I would look around me at everyone else, and see what they were doing. That was when I came down with a severe case of comparisonitis.
You know what it’s like. You look around and we see what everybody else is doing and kinda freak out. You think to yourself, I can’t possibly be myself because nobody else is doing it that way.
For example, in a sea of business coaches who all flounce around wearing fancy things and high heels showcasing their super fancy luxury lives and telling people how they can too live these kind of luxury boutique traveling experiences. I started to wonder – do I need to be like them?
Well, that is so not me, it’s hilarious.
I have nice things and I lead my life the way I want to but I’m not going to ponce around in Laboutins when I like wearing sneakers and being a bit of a homebody.
Being yourself means you don’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. There’s only one of you, so it would be a big waste of time.
If you are going to be yourself you need to be your whole self. Not just a tiny piece of yourself that people will find paltivable. Yes its scary and yes no one else is doing it the way you are doing it but that’s the point.
In a sea of sameness a really simple way to stand out is to be yourself.
How can we be different?
I’m sure you’ve probably wondered about niches and USPs and brand philosophy.
It doesn’t necessarily need to be that complicated. Instead, take time to embrace your story, your experiences, the things you believe in, what you stand for, and the way you work. These are the things that make you different.
Then you can apply your approach as a kind of lens over the way you do things. Everything which you is filtered through this lens meaning that it’s different to the way anyone else works.
You are completely unique. Oh yeah.
I am reminded of a song by Chesney Hawks from the early 1990s….I think Chesney had it right, when he sang “I am the one and only nobody I’d rather be”. (You’ll have to listen to the podcast to hear it!)
Good ol Ches. I think he was wise beyond his years! He understood the importance of being yourself.
Rather than looking at other people trying to emulate them, worrying that we are not as successful as they are perhaps or we are taking a different path. I think we have got to do it our own way.
Nobody has lived your life. By digging into your own experiences and ideas, you’ll uncover what makes you different.
I’ve got this awesome client called Jessi Frey who helps entrepreneurs find their voice and unleash the rockstar within. She is from Finland and used to be in a rock band. I am not talking about a pop band with a rock twist; more like industrial metal! Jessi and her band toured the world and now that she’s an entrepreneur, Jessi is embracing the rock star aspect of her persona and bringing it into her work. I love how authentic she’s being. And nobody else could copy her, even if they tried!
Everyone has an angle you just need to uncover it
Sometimes it can be the thing that scares you most, the thing you are trying to put off or sweep under the carpet. I really want to know what they thing is for you!
Come over the my Facebook group, Little Voice. Big Business, or send me an email and tell me if there is something about the way you work and the thing that you do in which you are considering bringing into your business.
When I come across a brand or a business which seems truly unique and feels like part of the person I am working with I know that that is a much more enjoyable experience as the client. It feels honest, open and true instead of corporate and bland. I know that lots of people feel the same way.
I am also reminded of my good friend Kimra Luna. She’s a true punk, entrepreneurial genius and founder of the Freedom Hackers. The way she does business is completely true to herself. She brings that punk element in to what she is doing, from her videos, to the name of her group The Freedom Hackers. Everything she does has kind of a punk vibe to it.
Imagine if it was a pretence! If she was only like that at weekends? Can you imagine? And then she was all twin set and pearls when it came to talking to her clients. That would be ridiculous.
Another good example is copy writer Nikki Ellidge Brown. I saw her speaking at an event recently and she’s got this 1950s vibe about her. She reminded me of the character Bewitched and I half expected her to start wiggling her nose. It felt quite girly, stylish, the way she presented herself, and her whole brand felt very true to her own personal style. I think she did a really great job. It worked with her vibe. It was true to her and I think that was really key.
Don’t go comparing yourself to others. Think about what makes you special.
If you get stuck send me a message and I’ll see if I can help you. No more greige, no more blending into the background, no more split personalities, no more listening to my ex boss!
Really use what makes you special and bring it into your business cause when you do that things will really start to come together. I promise you that your business will start to stand out in the crowd.
IF you get stuck and you need a hand to identify your uniqueness, why not book in for a session with me and I’ll help you work it out!
Little Voice Big Business presents…Kids Rule! What happened when Jacob dropped by to share his 7 year old wisdom with us grown up entrepreneurs. Who knew football and the X Factor could be so inspiring?!
The power of positivity and how an upbeat vibe will help perk up your business.
Over in the Actionista Academy, my mastermind community, we’ve been talking a lot about positivity and the role it plays in achieving success.
I know running a business is not always easy. Far from being a gentle incline towards riches and success; it’s a crazy squiggly line. Running a business is like a roller coaster which has gone off the rails. There are highs and lows, twists and turns, loop the loops. There are moments where you wish you were wearing a crash helmet. There are moments when you don’t feel like you are moving and are going up a never ending slope.
The thing with being a solopreneur, is that you’re responsible for motivating yourself. There’s no boss chasing you up or setting you deadlines or incentivising you. It has to come from you; from within.
It can be lonely at times and when things go wrong it is very difficult to pick yourself up. In my opinion it’s the ability to pick yourself up and stay positive no matter what happens that means the difference between success and failure.
I’m not talking about blind optimism where you are upbeat no matter what happens, and blindly into situations without paying attention to the risks. This is the kind of positivity you need to pick yourself up, day after day, and just get on with it.
I know it’s hard to always feel upbeat.
Sometimes I feel a little under the weather or just really exhausted and perhaps cracking on is the last thing I really want to do, but you can’t just not do it. Not when your business is you.
Positivity is closely linked with resilience. It’s the ability to pick yourself up when something has gone wrong. It’s about getting your game face when things aren’t panning out as anticipated. And just getting on with it!
Presenting a positive sunny outlook to the rest of the world is so important. Even if you are down in the dumps feeling sorry for yourself, or feeling desperate because business isn’t going the way you want it to. You have to stay positive. Because, positivity attracts positivity.
If you are buzzing with excitement and energy for what you are doing then other people will be drawn to you.
They will want to hang out with you. They will want to work with you. Your charisma will be catching!
But if only the other you hand you feel all negative you’re all like “I can’t do it, business sucks, its really difficult blah blah blah” … people will run a mile.
A while back I had the worlds worst week.
It was a Sunday in June and on the same day I broke my foot. I was playing football with some dads while Jacob was paying with his friends. It got a bit competitive so I decided to have a shot on goal, so I did and my foot kinda crunched and that was it. Game over.
And then, later on, having got back from the hospital in plaster, we found out that our cat, Woody had been run over.
Jacob was distraught. I was hopping around. It was really a bad day.
After I had a cry, and felt sorry for myself and Woody for a few hours, I had to pick myself up, hop along, and get on with it. I had to sort Jacob out, get him to school in a taxi each morning and serve my clients, from the sofa!
Things do go wrong, but it’s how you deal with it that matters. You might loose file. A client says no. You send an email and people unsubscribe. You put a deal out and no one goes for it.
But, you’re not going to give up!
You’re going to put a smile on your face and present a positive and energized version of you to the world and people are going to believe that everything is going fine. You’re going to continue taking action. And just press on.
I don’t want to hear that you have given up because things go to difficult. That you couldn’t face it. That your first bash at running a business was not a blinding success and therefore you decided to go back to work. Nonsense!
When business is not going brilliantly, you don’t just jack it all in. You know when to pivot and make changes. You don’t get down in the dumps and feel sorry for yourself and get all moany.
I am not having it! Its not acceptable behaviour!
Instead, when things go wrong, you’re going to call on your network of positive people.
If you don’t have a network to keep you on track – you can come and join the Actionista Academy and I’ll give you the encouragement and support you need to get through the tough times.
If one more person tells me they made a Facebook ad and nobody clicked on it, so they’re going to jack it all in… I think I’ll scream! If it doesn’t work, change the ads!
Nobody puts something out there once and expects it to work first time around. It never happens. There are always going to be improvements you could make to improve your impact.
And let’s say something does go wrong. You can’t have a tantrum. …. well maybe just a small one! You’ve gotta crack on and get it done.
Game faces on, people.
I think that each of us has something that we can do to build up our positive energy. Whether it’s jumping up and down, going for a run, or eating some chocolate. Talk to your friends, talk to your mom or talk to people who understand. Whatever you need to do to stay positive it will have a big impact on your business.
Great stuff will start to happen if you truly believe it. Step one is feeling like that. Step two is actually showing other people that you feel like that.
TAKE POSITIVE ACTION
A small challenge could be putting something positive out there on social media everyday. Not boasting or going on about how amazingly successful you are. Don’t tell any lies. Just say something each day. For example, I had a great meeting just now or I have just been on a trip to this event. Show people that great things are happening to you and people will really start to believe you are on a roll. Then they will tell their friends. Continue to take positive action. Feel positive. Do positive things. Share positive vibes with the people around you.
I promise you that positive stuff will happen for you and your business. If you get a moment come over to my Facebook group Little Voice Big Business and tell me how you’ve been getting on getting all positive and perky!
Today we are going to be talking sales conversations. Learning to sell in a way that feels comfortable and not at all icky, is so important to the success of your business. If you shy away from selling, you won’t make any money. Simple as that.
In this episode I’m going to teach you how to have sales conversations – without breaking a sweat.
I used to be really scared of selling – but then I got over myself, learned some amazing techniques and now I’m pretty darn good at it, if I do say so myself.
And now – I’m going to show you how to do it to. And like I said – this really give your business the boost it needs.
Rather than giving you a blow by blow account of this episode, I’ve made you sales conversation script – for you to use when talking to a potential client. I hope you find it as life changing as many of my clients have!
It’s time to take action and turn your idea into reality
NO MORE EXCUSES!
This episode of Little Voice Big Business is all about starting up. It’s inspired by a friend of mine who has had an awesome idea for a new business but has done nothing with it. It’s such a shame that she hasn’t taken action and started to explore her idea and see if its got legs!
It got me to thinking that there must be lots of people out there with ideas that will remain just that unless we take the first step.
I know sometimes that the prospect of starting a business can feel like the most insurmountable overwhelming, off putting challenge. Every ounce of your being is pulling you towards stating where you are in your comfort zone, saying, don’t bother! Stay safe! Don’t do it! You might fall! It wont work!
So, what do we do? We do nothing.
I am not going to say the future of the global economy depends on us but it kinda does. It is up to us to innovate and to constantly be challenging the ways things are and to see if our businesses can change the way that we live and help other people.
It makes me really sad that we are held back by our fears and not knowing where to start and that is going to prevent us from living a better life.
Working for yourself has so many advantages. You create the kind of life you dream of. There is no limit on the kind of income you can earn. You are the master of your destiny.
So, if you have an idea. Don’t just sit on it, on the sofa. Take action and make it happen.
If you’re thinking, yes that’s all very well, but where do I start? Don’t worry. I’ve created a plan to help you get the ball rolling. To get your copy of Sofa to Start Up; a 21 day guide to getting your start up started, all you need to do is click below. No more dithering. No more doubts. Time to take the first step.
I used to hide behind my business. Oh yes. You couldn’t have spotted me even with a human size magnifying glass and some very strong varifocals. But, the thing is, if you’re invisible, your business will be too!
This episode of Little Voice Big Business is all about visibility.
I know what it’s like to get your head down and keep on making stuff; I love nothing more than spending hours fiddling with my website, making social media images, writing books, recording podcasts. But then, I’m done making, and the time comes to putting all that stuff out there into the big wide world, that’s when we freeze, and errrr go back to making more stuff!
Putting our work out there makes us vulnerable. We’re inviting comments. We’re inviting people to critique our work. Some people will hire us and some people will hate us. But putting yourself out there and being visible is the only way to grow your business.
Put it this way…. if you create a secret business. you are highly unlikely to get discovered.
Visibility is the only way forward, if you want to grow your business.
For many of us being visible is scary. I know it was for me.
I used to hide behind my business. I used to create a brand and then hide. I would have a small photo on my about page. Then I would sit back, feeling all safe and cosseted behind the front I’d created and just hope things would fall into my lap. It was a slow process, believe me!
But, since I made the decision to be more visible in my business, things are starting to happen.
What did I do?
I created a personal brand, with my website as my name, I launched my podcast. I started to connect with my people. I am talking to you, my people, about my work, sharing my point of view. Now I invite comments, instead of hiding behind dark glasses and a hoodie.
It does make me vulnerable. Some people are going to like what I do and find it interesting and other people are going to think I’m an idiot! And you know what; that’s actually fine. (I never thought I’d say that!)
Before we let it all hang out, it’s time to put on our big girl knickers and some kind of magical body cream which gives us thick skin and we are going to take a step each day to put ourselves out there.
Over in the Actionista Academy we are holding a visibility challenge where each day I am encouraging people to do one thing to become more visible. #hearmeroar.
What can you do to get visible?
I believe you only need to do what you’re comfortable doing. If you hate being on video, don’t do it! Don’t do anything you don’t want to do.
I’m sure you have a method of communication or a medium that you like. Do the thing that you enjoy doing and do it consistently; a little bit each day.
The more you seem to be enjoying what you do and the more you show people you’re good at what you do by sharing your successes, having a point of view, the more people are going to start to respect you. From there, you’ll start getting people coming to you and asking if they can work with you.
Lets assume that nobody really knows you other than your inner circle. They don’t know you from Adam! They’ve got no idea what you do for a living and they don’t know why they should care. It is up to you to make yourself more visible; to be seen by the right people and by right people- I mean your potential customers and clients!
The first step is to understand who these people are and where they are hanging out. I don’t see the point in being visible in the wrong places. If your customers would not be caught dead using Linkendin then there is really no effort to be on Linkendin.
Next we are going to craft your core message. This is the thing you want to be famous for. Whether it is the view of the world, an opinion. methodology, a way of working, or a niche we need to decide what the core message is. The thing that you want people to understand when they engage with you.
Let’s say I am a dog groomer. I don’t do just any grooming of any dogs. Oh no! I am one of those people that paints dogs in different colors and creates a work of art. That’s my speciality and I do it for competitions but I also do it for pop stars and fashion cautious dog owners.
The nature of what I do means it is well suited to visual forms of social media. It also means my audience would expect to see me in certain places. Therefore, I am going to focus on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. I would like to do periscope at some point but I don’t have time just yet. I’ve decided that I want to be famous for dying dogs different colors and I want to get noticed by fashion conscience individuals.
So, to get noticed, I’m going to take consistent action on these platforms. I am going to commit to posting photos on Instagram every day of my work, my workshop and also relevant dog accessories that I like and that I think my potential audience would be interested in. I am also going to create some boards on pinterest recreating specific looks for dogs and I am going to build a community on Facebook for people who like dying their dogs and having their dogs styled.
Keep it up
It’s no good starting off all enthusiastic in the first week waving my arms around determined to be seen and get known by everyone. It’s great to be enthusiastic and come at it all guns blazing, but it has to be sustainable. Don’t peak too soon and then drop off the face of the earth.
I would you rather take a more considerate approach. That is the key to visibility. Ensuring that you are being seen often. Not just everywhere for 5 mins.
If I went mad and made 10 podcast episodes in the first week and then got bored, and didn’t get round it to doing any more, it would be a big shame. Yes it was tempting, but much better to create content on a regular basis so people get used to seeing you and hearing from you. And keep on continuously adding value.
Its about being active and taking action sharing and building communities amongst your people all the time. I want you to commit to doing some things on a regular basis.
If you write a blog you would hopefully publish one piece a week. You would be posting to Instagram once a day and you would also be on Facebook a little bit each day. Do not disappear off the face of the earth. You will be instantly forgettable.
You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with a huge amount of work to do. Little and often is the key.
Be Authentic. I think it is a good idea to be open and honest about the way you work. I am not saying warts and all but injecting some humour and personality is a good thing.
People want to get to know you. When you are out there online chatting to people you are being yourself and they are able to connect with you and that is the most important thing. People connect with people. They want to get to know you and your work. Then they are going to be more likely to hire you.
I know it can feel a little bit uncomfortable the idea of putting ourselves out there. It is exposing and can make us feel a bit vulnerable. But if you went into running a business because you wanted to stay closed away and not chat with anyone or engage with anyone then you are in the wrong job! In fact you probably ought to go get a job!
The success of your business will come down to how visible you are and how much people are able to see you and engage with you, communicate with you and eventually hire you.
I’m going to show you how boundaries will bulletproof your sanity and your business. And share with you what happened in my business when I didn’t have any!
What do I mean by boundaries?
In the world of business and potently else where in our personal lives. It is not like the boundaries in 50 Shades of Grey. The boundaries I am talking about are the limits and structures we put into place around us when we are running our business. Not just to keep us sane, but to keep us safe, protect us from being taken advantage of and to also enable us to do business more effectively and make more money – which is ultimately why we’re here.
The kind of things I am talking about are
- setting time limits
- being very clear about your pricing
- having clear working hours
- having times we you are not going to answer calls
- being clear about the kind of work you are going to deliver and the kind of work you are not.
These are all boundaries you can put in place clearly and lay them out for your clients so they understand how they are going to work.
So why is it hard to set boundaries in the first place?
It sounds simple but setting these kind of boundaries can be tricky. It is something I often struggle with because I want to please people. I want to do a good and I want people to be happy because of that it makes it tricky to put boundaries in place to stop me from over delivering and getting involved in things I shouldn’t be getting involved in.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE ANY BOUNDARIES?
I see it time and time again with my clients where a lack of boundaries ends up in a snow balling situation/disaster which can easily be prevented.
I am not going to preach to you and tell you that I am perfect in this area, however I have had a number of experiences myself where I have learnt the hard way.
THE TALE OF DOROTHY AND THE WEBSITE
The story starts out a few years ago when I was first starting out my coaching practice. I was keen to grow my client base and I was doing ok. I had a client who I will call Dorothy.
Dorothy and I had been working together for a while and things were going pretty well. We had had a few sessions and we were working on streamlining some of her business processes and marketing methods as well as improving her website to help save her time and improve the customer experience. Together we worked on a brief for a web designer who was going to go make some changes for her website.
However, when it came to finding a web designer, there was a problem finding someone locally who was on budget. Dorothy didn’t want to spend the kind of money that was required to get the website done properly.
At this point the first set of alarm bells should’ve been ringing. She wanted all kinds of changes but couldn’t afford them. In hindsight what I should’ve done at this point was walk away or provide her with some recommendations for some reliable people and suggest she get in touch, but I did not do that. That was a foolish mistake.
Instead, I offered to help.
I do have some experience in building websites and managing web design projects. But it is so not my idea of fun and it strays way beyond my job description as a business consultant. However, I decided that I wanted to help Dorothy and blur these boundaries. I don’t want our work together to be wasted so I was going to sort it out for her. I promised to find her a freelance web designer and help manage the project.
I got the designer involved and gave Dorothy a price for the work. A fixed price. (mistake #2).
Unfortunately, once the work had started, it became clear that this website was not built in the normal way. It had been coded from scratch, by someone who clearly hadn’t done a very good job. It was a huge mess and it wasn’t something that could be easily altered.
To save time, we decided we would build it from scratch, paste in the text, add in a theme and it would be more straight forward.
The project snowballed. There were hundreds and hundreds of pages, that had previously been hidden and now needed to be included. The work went on and on, and on.
Soon, my time / budget as the project manager had been completely used up.
Here’s where I made another mistake. Instead of going back and saying I can’t carry on with this and asking Dorothy to increase the budget, I sat tight. I didn’t want to let Dorothy down so off I toddled and carried on working.
Meanwhile, in the background, I was neglecting my other clients, because I was so focused on this one project which I was essentially running for free. Madness.
I was making one mistake after another. I didn’t want to let her down. I didn’t want to talk away from the project. I wanted to see the job through. And so it continued week after week.
Until the money ran out completely. The web designer needed to be paid more money, because she’s now working for free on the web design project from hell.
So, what did I do? Did we down tools? Did we insist on an increased budget? Did we hell.
I paid the designer from my project management fee, so she could continue working. I didn’t want to let the designer down because I know she needs the money and I didn’t want to let the client down.
And this is where it gets even more ridiculous!
Eventually the money runs out and I am actually paying the designer out of my own money, not the money I have been paid from the project. I am now making a loss on the project.
And still it continues. And the client is still not happy. This project is the bane of my life. It causes me sleepless nights.
The boundaries are so far gone, they’ve basically disintegrated.
Finally, after months and months. The website is finished. You’d think that would be where it ends. I did too. I thanked the client for the opportunity and handed the project over to the client and the web designer to co-ordinate the launch between them. Phew.
Thankfully I get to take a weekend break in the countryside to recover.
While I’m away, they work on moving the files across to the main domain. Surely nothing else can go wrong.
Oh yes it can! Somehow, at some point during that process all the files get deleted. Something has gone wrong either with the hosting company, or the web designer or the client made some kind of mistake. We’ll never quite know what happened.
The client calls me on the phone, in tears. I’m meant to be relaxing. I’m in a field. I don’t even have wifi. There’s not a lot I can do, and by this point, I had finally stopped caring.
And still, I carry on. I call the hosting company and try to resolve it. They promise to try to recover the files, even though they reckon the client should have had a back up system in place. My holiday is in tatters, and it feels like, no matter what I do the client will never be happy – and that right now, she actually hates me.
I wonder if this could get any worse!
Eventually the site does gets save, and goes live, but still the client is still not happy.
Now, I am getting aggressive emails from Dorothy. I just want to move on and get back to coaching. But I can’t because I’m getting daily emails telling me that I’ve ruined Dorothy’s life and business.
So, to try to salvage the situation and I gave her 50% of the money back.
I am so far out of pocket at this point – it’s not even funny. I reckon I must have lost at least $2000 on this project, and not been paid a penny for all the work I’ve done over the past months.
Despite all this she still hates me. And yes, I do see her from time to time. And she blanks me!
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS SORRY TALE?
You can see from my little story, how a lack of boundaries can escalate.
Not only did I have a hellish few months I ended up doing work so far away from my expertise. I ended up working for free, using my own money to fund the project and then giving my client her money back . T
I made so many mistakes and it all stemmed from a lack of boundaries… and the fact that I had no cojones!
I was just desperate to do the right thing for my client. I was desperate to please her. I wanted her to like me and that was a big mistake.
My clients don’t need to like me they need to respect me. I do struggle with this because I do want people to like me. I can’t help it. Life is much more fun when the people around you that like you!
WHAT SHOULD I HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY?
Looking back, the first thing I should have done is to be very clear about the kind of work that I do and the kind of work that I don’t do.
Always have terms and conditions when you work with someone. Make it really clear on how you’re going to work together.
Make it clear on what you are and are not going to do.
Don’t give a fixed price on a project that has no limit. Make it clear on how many amends and changes they get and after a certain point how much more you charge.
These are things I now know and implement. However at that point it was early on. I was felling maybe a little bit insecure. I wanted people to rate what I was doing. I wanted people to recommend me but all that happened was I ended up busting my balls for somebody who was never going to be happy or appreciate the work that I did!
Today we are going to be talking about the joys and challenges of working from home. How to work from home, get loads done, without getting distracted or losing the plot – and boy are there a lot of distractions!
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Ahhh. Working from home! A topic I know quite a lot about. And I know it’s something many of you are going to relate to as well.
How to work from home, get a lot done, not get distracted and be comfortable. It is an interesting one because I know there are so many distractions and that we can struggle to stay focused or indeed to stop focusing on work when our working day is over. I’ve been giving this some thought and I have discussed it with my work buddy, Jessie the cat.
Jessie spends her days snoozing on the sofa in the other room while I’m working; she’s like my little business partner. I’ve actually got to the point where I have become a crazy cat lady who talks to their cat and has been known to ask her for advice. Yes – I talk to my cat. I think this is one of the side effects of working from home by yourself. It has the potential to send you round the bend.
I think there is a lot we can do to help us focus on our work, get more done and also stay healthy in our bodies and minds.
GET SOME SPACE
It’s really important to have a dedicated space when you are working from home. Not everyone has the luxury of having their own office in their house but if you can find a little corner of your house which is just for you – that will work.
If it gives you a sense of separation from say the kitchen table and it will provide you with a place to keep your stuff.
If you are storing your business things all over the house you won’t be very productive.
DON’T WORK IN BED
You need to set some boundaries for yourself… I ought to too!
I have been known on occasion to work from bed. Sometimes when it gets a little chilly and instead of putting the heating on I get all snuggly in bed with my lap top. It’s probably one of the worst working from home faux pas!
First of all it is bad for your posture. According to experts… bed is for sleeping and other activities not related to running your business! By working in bed it blurs the boundaries, plus if you are someone who likes to have a little snack occasionally you will end up with crumbs in your bed.
EVEN A TINY SPACE IS BETTER THAN NOTHING
Lets say you end up under the stairs in a little desk and people are bustling past you all day, it may not be the most peaceful option, but it may be your only option.
In that situation I suggest buying some noise cancelling headphones so you can listen to some relaxing music or at least block out some of that noise.
TRAIN YOUR FAMILY!
I have set up a system where if I am working from home where I do clients calls and some times they overlap when Jacob is here. We have a system where he passes me notes. They’re pretty funny….
It is important to let people in your family know what you are up to – so they can support you by offering to tidy up (in exchange for a ridiculously long list of expensive items – see above)
LOOK AFTER YOUR BODY
When you work from home there’s a temptation to neglect certain aspects of your health because you are so focused on the success of your business. I know I’m pretty terrible at this sometimes!
Having a good chair is a really important thing. If you care about yourself at all you will get yourself a decent chair! If you are sitting with bad posture it is going to end up coming back to haunt you.
No sitting on the sofa with your legs curled under you with your laptop balanced on your knee. (I do that!)
Making an effort to get up and move about every hour or so is the recommendation from health professionals.
I know we are not all going to do that. I have a very clever method which means I do this on a regular basis. It kills two birds with one stone. I drink a lot of water and then I have to get up and go pee. I am either filling up my drink or going to the toilet – ha ha!
Ahhh housework! Do you ever get the feeling that when you work from home, people in our family (who shall remain nameless) think that we’ve become a PA to the family and that you can therefore simultaneously work on your business but also do all the jobs under the sun?!
Everyone has different attitudes towards house work. Its really not my favorite thing. I want the house to look nice and I don’t want my office to be based in a pig sty. But I’m not a tidy freak or anything. A big mess mess does bug me though. I ruins my work flow. But when I’m working from home, I’ve learnt to let some of it go. It has to wait until end of the day.
Everyone has their own approach to housework and their own boundaries and I think it is up to us to select our battles. But, don’t spend the whole day doing laundry because you wont get any work done!
HAVE SOME STANDARDS
Getting dressed is a good idea. Wearing your pyjamas or lounge wear is a slippery slope. I prefer to dress like I’m going to work. Not in a suit or anything, but in actual clothes! If you just roll down the stairs in your pyjamas and start work, I think it could make you feel depressed.
I try to have healthy snacks in the house. I’m a snacker, I admit it. But especially when work isn’t going particular well that day, if I’ve got a house stock full of chocolate I would end up with a butt the size of a house! They’d probably have to winch me out.
GET OUT THE HOUSE
It is also a good idea to try and get out of the house on a regular basis. There are plenty of places you can go like co-working spaces.
Have you tried going to a jelly? It’s a thing where people get together to co work for a morning or afternoon. It is a great way to meet people in your area.
I try to go to networking events as well as conferences for a change of scene. Pretty extreme example, but I flew all the way to Dallas for a conference this year. It was amazing. I made some friends for life, loads of business contacts and I loved it. I think I am going to make an effort to go to at least one big conference a year to network, meet new peeps and get all buzzy.
If you sat in the same room with just your laptop week after week you could end up going a little bit bonkers.
Only Facebook and emails at certain times a day to avoid getting distracted.
Constantly being disturbed by pings you wont get your work done. Plus, just because you use social media doesn’t mean you should be available 24/7 (Note to self: must try harder!)
When you work from home the lines become blurred between work and home life. If you left the office and came home it would feel like a clean cut and you would know home at last time to relax and wind down in between. But, when you don’t have that journey between office and home you end up kind of blurring the lines and work just continues.
When I am thinking about work constantly and it is in my thoughts way into the evening and then when I go to bed it is really difficult to sleep. So, having some down time to relax and unwind and not think about work is really important for me.
REASONS I LOVE WORKING FROM HOME
- I love working from home – I get to work how I want, when I want.
- Being able to take Jacob to school and pick him up is very important to me – even if he so doesn’t appreciate it.
- I am not great at working for other people. I like to be the boss.And working for myself from home is the ultimate freedom.
- I love being able to work in cafes if I want to.
- Although I try to sit properly at my desk I like that I can work in the kitchen or on the sofa and half watch Homes Under The Hammer – if I want to.
- I never have to commute and have to stand with my face in someone’s armpit on the tube.
- Working from home can sound a bit mundane but it also means you have the freedom to travel. If you can work from home you can work anywhere. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
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