entrepreneurship

My one big learning from running a business… so far

02 16 2014

I worked in the corporate world for eleven years.  It was all I’d known of my professional life, except for a short spell of freelancing.  I was part of a team, I was managed, I was a manager.  My working life was shared with people.

Fast-forward to this evening.  I’m sat at my desk in my home office, just me and my laptop and a cup of tea.  Were it not for the company of Jake Bugg playing in the background, you could hear a pin drop.

I like to work this way.  Actually, I LOVE it.  I can spend hours happily ‘in the zone’, as my hubby calls it.  I do my best work this way.  But, it has its pitfalls and there was one biggie holding me back.

This past week I ran my first live webinar, The 4 Secrets of Successful Working Mummies.  I’d had this on my plan since last October – four months ago!! – but I kept putting it off.  It was new and daunting and well out of my comfort zone so it got shunted down the priority list, week after week.  As I mentioned recently, I’ve been working with a business coach and, during my coaching session on the 14th January, I committed to hosting the webinar less than a month later.  And guess what?  I made it happen.  And guess what else?  It wasn’t close to being as nerve-wracking as I thought.  I actually enjoyed it. 

As I treated myself to a bubble bath later that evening, I reflected on how the webinar had gone and asked myself what had stopped me doing it sooner.  The simple answer was fear.  I was worried about what people would think.  I knew my content inside and out.  I was confident that I was sharing great value with people BUT I had no-one to reassure me.  I realised that I missed the input that I would have had if I’d been part of a team.  A senior manager to make suggestions and revisions.  Peers to encourage and motivate.  And the simple truth is I was putting off facing into these fears because I could.

It’s not the first time in my career I’ve done something that pushed my limits.  In fact, it doesn’t compare to some of the fear-inducing situations I’ve faced BUT I couldn’t shy away before.  It was my job, my responsibility and I was accountable.  Bingo!  The light went off: I hadn’t been holding myself accountable.

I looked at the other non-movers on my to-do list and recognised the same pattern.  If something was new territory or a little bit scary, I was avoiding it.  With no senior bod to report to, I was letting myself avoid things.  

Decision time.  I realised I had a choice.  I could scratch the ‘scary’ things from my plans completely OR I could face them head on and see where they lead me, personally and professionally.  If you know me at all, there was no decision to be made… I’m all about overcoming the mental blocks and hurdles to design a life and business that sparkles.  So, watch this space.  In the words of the song, from now on every day I’m hustlin’

Now it’s your turn.  What are you putting off?  I’d love for you to share in the comments below what one thing you’ve been avoiding and why… AND what action you can take to make it happen. 

P.S. Don’t you just LOVE this mug by Ashley Brooke Designs in the picture?  I think I need to treat myself to this little beaut as a daily reminder…

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New mum anxiety: one year on

02 09 2014

Let me give it to you straight.

I’m a lucky girl. I have a beautiful family. I’m doing work that I LOVE. My life is full of special people who support and encourage me. I know I’m blessed.

BUT…

Even with so much to be thankful for, this time last year was a low-point.

I’d quietly been struggling with new mum anxiety since Louis’ birth, unable to share with the happy mums I was meeting, and I’d isolated myself. I was negotiating a part-time return to my pre-maternity corporate role while my confidence was at rock-bottom. I felt removed from the true me. I motored through the routine of my day-to-day and had little interest in doing anything more.

My passion is encouraging women to discover and LIVE their sparkle… yet, my own sparkle was waning.

It turns out I wasn’t alone.

I needed role models. I needed mentors to look up to. I was looking for examples of women who’d made the adjustment into motherhood yet still had an identity that was authentic to them… Their sparkle.

I decided to extend an invitation to women I admired – I asked them to share their secrets, their tips and their honest accounts of the challenges they face.  I was inspired.

I began to share some of these inspiring accounts in my Secrets of my Success series.  And I have other gems lined up for this year.  The more I shared my story with women and, in return, they shared with me, the more I realised that there were common threads. Common challenges. Common worries. Common traits of success.

So I decided to put together a free “class” where I’ll be sharing The 4 Secrets of Successful Working Mummies.

If you’d like to learn the 4 “success sappers” to avoid, as well as the success traits of these women, click HERE to register for your spot.

The details:

Tuesday 11th February @ 7.30pm GMT

RESERVE MY SPOT NOW

 

Image: {1}

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Tips to prepare your business for big life adjustments… like a baby!

01 15 2014

In the months leading up to the birth of my son, I read any book, blog or discussion forum that shared insights from other working mums on how to ‘babyproof’ a business.  I still have my scribbled notes and my hopeful and idealistic ‘plan’ of how I might manage the age-old work/family juggle.  Knowing what I know now, when it comes to newborns, the rules are: there aren’t any rules.  Now, with the arrival of Baby Two imminent, I am reminding myself of the lessons I learned the first-time round.  

This week I’m sharing my tips on preparing your business for big life adjustments over on Design Sponge:  click over to read my post here

If you’re preparing to take a break from your business, I’d love to know what steps you’re taking to ‘baby proof’!  Let me know in the Comments below…

 

 

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Re-discovering my inner sparkle: part one

03 19 2013

What is the thing that makes you light up? Feel alive? What is it at your core that is uniquely you – your ‘inner sparkle’ as I call it?

It took a fair bit of soul-searching and course correction over my working life, but I got clear on what makes me feel alight: nurturing people to awaken to their unique potential. Of that I have no question, but as I mentioned last week, I’m being ‘nudged’ into taking a new direction for this.  And I promised to listen to the nudges.

I’ve been giving myself the time and space to re-connect to my inner sparkle.  This week I’m refreshing an exercise I’ve done before by taking a trip down memory lane… And exposing my inner geek!

If you need to remember what it’s like to live your inner sparkle, spend some time with a child.  One minute it’s pure joy, the next temper tantrums.  I adore the pure self-expression!  If you can reconnect with that childlike part of yourself, can you remember the things that brought you joy? What did you love to do? What were you good at? What are you doing in your happiest memories?

I’ve been reflecting a little on these questions myself and memories started flowing of my childlike self:

  • The typical girl, I loved my dolls! One Christmas I became the proud “mummy” to twins and spent my play-time proudly wheeling the twins around in my green Silver Cross double pram.  I moved onwards and upwards to become ‘mummy’ to a baby boy (a Tiny Tears doll named Stefan). I remember being at school and counting down the hours until I could get home to care of baby Stefan.  I’d change him, give him bottles of water (testing the temperature on my wrist, of course!), and feed him baby food (aka: crushed digestive biscuits with water). I was devoted.
  • Not quite so typical was my love of playing businesses with my sister and my friend, Sally. We raided the local agent’s summer sun brochures when we set up our own Travel Agency, we ran an Estate Agency and, my favourite, we managed a hotel.  Santa brought us all a briefcase one year and we’d proudly walk to each others house to play at our latest enterprise carrying our briefcases – empty apart for a pencil and jotter.  
  • I remember staying at my friend Joanna’s house regularly on Friday evenings after our swimming lesson and her parents allowed us to watch Dynasty.  I was mesmerised by the glamour of it all – the clothes, the offices, the power.  It was my first insight into strong, power-dressing business women and I was smitten.  
  • My love of words started early.  I can still feel the pride when my teacher Mrs Edgington praised my spelling and reading ability.  I remember a supply teacher reading fiction to us and being so caught up in the imaginary world of Mrs Frisby & The Rats of NIMH. I must have idled away hours with my head in books.  And then my love turned to playing with words, expressing them in my own way through the joy of writing.
  • The new school year was magical to me because it marked the time for new stationery.  Oh, how I loved starting a new notebook, using my new pen and my ‘best handwriting’ to begin.  I was a perfectionist at backing my school books, ironing out the bubbles with my new, shatterproof ruler.  And don’t get me started on the fun of picking files, dividers and plastic wallets. I loved the freshness, the neatness, how organised everything looked.

 

I took some time to reflect on these memories and started to look for the threads that run through to my adulthood.  What is it about these times that brought me joy or when I felt at such ease that reflect the authentic me, my inner sparkle?  

The twins and Stefan: Front and centre for me is being a nurturer.  I love to look after people and this shows up in so many ways – from the biggies such as trying to be a good mummy, wife, daughter, sister and friend, to the simple pleasures of enjoying being the hostess.  It’s also true of the work that I’m most passionate about – nurturing people to awaken to, and live, their potential.

Playing businesses: Not quite your average childhood role play but it’s a big indicator to a passion I have to this day – I admire entrepreneurship.  I completely respect people that have the courage and gumption to go out there on their own.  I am fascinated in finding out how people “got there” and love to peek behind the curtain of small, creative enterprises.

The glamour of Dynasty:  A bit of an extension of my interest in entrepreneurship but it’s women in business that gets me interested.  But not just anyone – while I admire women who have made their way up the corporate ladder, those that earn my respect are the ones who have made it as their own boss.  A big value for me is freedom and I look up to women who have the freedom to create work on their terms, NOT by towing the line of a corporate vision.  And, of course, being Dynasty, the glamour had massive appeal!  The clothes, the artfully manicured nails, the lifestyle!

Word play: This one is simple.  I love to write.  It feels natural.  It brings me joy.  It gives me a rare sense of pride.  I love to be creative and writing is just one expression of that.

Stationery geek:  Well, I still get giddy about fresh, new notebooks and I love a ‘nice writer’ (pen), so my love affair with stationery lives on.  But there’s a little more to it.  I love to organise and the nurturer in me likes to help others to do the same.  This can be as simple as the gesture of treating someone to something that I know will make their life easier, to helping someone organise the mental chaos they feel when facing a problem or striving for a goal, by calmly helping them to break it down into manageable chunks.  

 

My inner sparkle, even in those early years, is all about nurturing, the courage of entrepreneurship, glamour, freedom, a passion for writing, and a keen-ness for problem solving and organisation.

 

I’d love to hear from you in the Comments below: 

What were the things that you loved to do as a child?

What were you naturally good at?

Can you see these traits and values living out in your ‘grown up’ life?

 

Next week, I’m going to be taking this a little further in looking at role models.

Image: one

 

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