2013 December

Don't forget YOU this festive season!

12 16 2013

These past few weeks have been CRAZY!  Our home has had a few little ‘niggles’ to fix: plumbing problems, faulty oven, broken kettle, doors sticking.  My car has needed some TLC: winter servicing, a leaky injection fix (whatever that means?) and now a scratch to repair (the hubby was driving!).  Louis has been poorly for most of the past month: as well as the seasonal cough and cold, we’ve nursed him through a tummy bug, croup and ear infection.  Oh, and of course there has been the manic rush to get Christmas cards written, the house decorated festively and Christmas presents for friends and family bought and wrapped.  Any spare energy I have left has been used to nurture the little baby swelling my tummy.  I. am. exhausted.  

Over the past few weeks I’ve been in tears on too many occasions to count.  I have been busy but I kept reminding myself that it’s the same for everyone at this time of the year?!  I didn’t want to complain but the saltwater welling in my eyes gave me away.  The problem was, there was no balance.  I am happy to work hard, to fix what needs fixing, to get swept away in the seasonal madness and, above all, to put my baby first when he needs me… I just wanted a little bit of me thrown into the mix too.

Rather than just keep going I decided to treat myself.  I’m not talking 5* spa breaks and champagne dinners here.  I know, for me, it’s the simple things that make me feel like me again – simple things like candles, time to read a magazine and pretty pinkies!  I’ve ordered myself some Butter London nail lacquer (Rosie Lee – it’s sparkly, of course!) and I’m taking a day-off on Wednesday.  A day without to-do lists, phone calls to make, commitments to keep.  A day (or at least while Louis is in nursery) of freedom to feel like Emma again.  I’ve earned it.

What are you doing for you this Christmas?  What little treat can you indulge yourself with?

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There's a little gift under the Christmas tree for you!

12 12 2013

Can you believe 2014 is only days away?  If you’re ready to make 2014 your year, I have something special for you today.  (Resolution list-makers need not apply).

Are you ready to let go of those little habits that keep you stuck?

Are you ready to set your sights on the prize… the prize being your dreams realised?

Are you ready to be brave, to step out of your comfort zone?

I’ve created a Big Picture Planner for you.  You can download it for free – click here.  

The goal planner will:

– Encourage you to dream BIG

– Walk you through the steps to understanding your bigger purpose and intentions

– Break down your goals into actionable steps to get you striding into 2014 with gumption! 

Your side of the deal is to set aside time to work your way through the planner.  This is sacred time to set out your goals and intentions for the year ahead – make an occasion of it by lighting a few candles, pouring yourself a drink and taking the time to focus on you.

It is time for you to sparkle…

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The lesson in starting before you're ready...

12 11 2013

Just over a month ago, my digital home – this place – became my full-time gig… or as full-time as it gets combined with my other role as mummy.  Here is where my heart lies, my passion.  For so long I’ve had the entrepreneurial bug, craving the freedom that self-employment brings BUT I held back.  I wasn’t ready to go it alone.  

My life has changed so much in the past five years: meeting and marrying my husband, relocating, welcoming a baby boy into our little clan, and now preparing for another arrival in April.  It turns out my work-style needed to change and move with the times too.  Did I feel ready?  Heck, no.  Circumstances, though, gave me the push to take the leap.

And in the month that has been, already I’ve learned a big lesson.  I realised I could have waited for the perfect timing forever: I could have waited until I had built up a bigger tribe of customers, I could have waited until my babies are older, I could have waited until I’d got just a little bit more money saved as a “cushion”.  I could have waited… and waited.  Only in taking the leap have I seen the mindset shift in being fully committed to something.

That commitment has also brought with it much more clarity and a fresh perspective.  I’m not only committed to my business but crystal clear on who I want to help: if you’re a good girl who’s ready to nurture your own dreams and start-up your own passionate business, I’m talking to you.  If you’re a mummy who’s decided that the time is now to make your entrepreneurial dreams happen, you’re my girl.  

To mark this fresh start, you might notice that things are looking a little different around here.  I wanted to make my online space feel more like me and what I’m about.  I hope you like the new look…  Take some time to have a little look around, get on the list – The Glitterati, and let me know what you think.

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Behind the Scenes: Lisa Comfort of Sew Over It

12 10 2013

What was a side-earner became a labour of love for Lisa Comfort, founder of Sew Over It.  Today, Lisa shares a peek behind the scenes of her business, the London-based sewing cafe which hosts classes, parties and shares tips and inspiration for wannabe sewers. The Red Hot Woman Award‘s One to Watch spills the beans….

Tell me a bit about your business, including how you went from business idea to ‘open for business’…
I own a sewing café in Clapham, London. We offer over 30 different  sewing classes, have a fabric and haberdashery shop and sell our own patterns and kits.  The idea came to me whilst I was still working in the bridal couture industry. I was teaching sewing to earn some extra money and realised I loved teaching more than my day job. I spent the next six months planning how a sewing teaching business could work, from marketing plans, cash flow forecasts and the rest. I then spent another few months finding the right property before launching in May 2011.
[Tweet “”I was teaching sewing to earn some extra money and realised I loved teaching more than my day job” @sewoverit via @emmagwillim”]
 
Describe your typical day/week schedule.
I now only spend three days a week at the shop as opposed to six the first year! When I am at the shop I usually teach in the morning. I like to teach our beginner classes and pass on my passion for sewing to those testing it out for the first time. After lunch I have meetings or develop new classes with my team. When I am not at the shop I am usually working from home, visiting wholesalers or running events. We have started running events in major retail stores such as Selfridges, River Island, H&M, Miss Selfridge and more recently, Gap.
 
How do you plan and organise your time?  What are your biggest challenges with this?  What tips can you offer?
Compartmentalising my week into shop and teaching days and days working from home helps me stay organised. When I am at the shop I cannot do admin and the business side of things – I do this when I am working from home. I try to make sure I have one day a week when I don’t have meetings and can be at home so I can get all the serious stuff done. But most weeks I have to be pretty flexible as events and other bits pop up and so I end up working late or at weekends.
[Tweet “”Compartmentalising my week into shop and teaching days and days working from home helps me stay organised” @sewoverit via @emmagwillim”]
 
What are your essential office tools?
My computer!
 
Are there any websites or apps that you’d recommend to other entrepreneurial women?
I use Google products a lot. Google Analytics is great for seeing peaks in activity and finding out where and why people are coming to our site. I also use Google Alerts. Then of course Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, which we couldn’t do without!
 
Describe your workspace and how it integrates with your working style.  How does it motivate/focus your work?
At home I have a very calming space. I work from our spare bedroom. The room is painted pale greys and blues which I find really relaxing. I also have to make sure the space I work in isn’t cluttered as I cant concentrate with mess around me.
 
What book has most inspired you?
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini as this made me realise how strong women can be. If I am having a bad day, it helps me put things in perspective and pick myself back up.
 
What’s your typical working lunch?
I often work through lunch and sometimes even skip eating which is a bad habit. I try not to as I notice my energy levels dip and, when you work as much as I do, it is important to feed the body and mind!
 
And how do you switch off once the working day is done?
A glass of wine and a good film or boxset usually does it. Otherwise my new yoga class does the trick!
 
What makes your life sparkle?
Feeling lucky every time I walk into my shop and I think, I created this. Seeing happy customers and happy staff. That really makes it feel all worthwhile.
[Tweet “”I feel lucky every time I walk into my shop and I think, I created this. Seeing happy customers and happy staff -that really makes it feel all worthwhile” @sewoverit via @emmagwillim”]
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The Entrepreneurial Cocktail: Part one

12 02 2013

Today, I’m talking business and cocktails, oh my!  

I’m thrilled to be asked by Hilary Rushford of Dean Street Society to take part in the Happy Hour Dialogues – conversations with super-talented entrepreneurial ladies celebrating the launch of Hilary’s book, The 4-part Entrepreneurial Cocktail.  I count Hilary as one of my most respected mentors (in fact, I’ve dubbed her my ‘entrepreneurial big sister’) so I can’t wait to get my mitts on her book when it launches on 17th December.  It will be my Christmas pressie to me!

Let’s get this entrepreneurial party started with a little motivational talk… What is it that motivates you?

I’ve confessed before my inner geek… I was fascinated by entrepreneurship way back when I was in primary school.  My friend and I would play ‘businesses’.  We’d carry our plastic briefcases to each others homes and set up our makeshift office: one week we’d be selling luxury holidays, the next property, the next homemade ‘perfume’.  Yes, we did the usual things too, like riding our bikes, having tea parties, playing at the park, BUT playing businesses was my favourite.  And here lies a clue to what motivates me…  

The kick I got out of our geeky little role play back in the 80’s is still the same kick I get out of having my own business today.  I feel I’m creating something that is me, putting a little bit of myself out there in the world.  It turns out that I prize being authentic highly…  

The authentic me is a little geeky, yes.  I’m also reflective, introverted, nurturing – traits that don’t suit the rules of big business too well.  The authentic me now knows that I want to help other people feel the same way – to discover their inner sparkle.  The grown-up me wants to support women who are juggling motherhood to nurture their dreams as well as their family.  Only through entrepreneurship could I mix all of these individual parts to my own unique cocktail.  

So, on days when the ideas just won’t flow, when I’m procrastinating to avoid stepping out of my comfort zone, when I’m worrying about sustaining an income for me and my family, I think of my little plastic briefcase and remind myself what my 8-year old self already knew: my entrepreneurial motivation and my raison d’être is to share the real me with the world.  That, and some really nice stationery.

You can pre-order your copy of Hilary’s book, The 4-part Entrepreneurial Cocktail.  Click here to view more details

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