Author Archive

Woman V’s Woman

I am not a feminist, nor am I a traditionalist. I believe that many of our foremothers fought so hard for equality that we do them a great injustice by then fighting to be anything other than equal to men.

Recently, I have realised that actually many of our battles are not with the opposite sex, but are in fact with each other. It saddens me that sisterhood doesn’t always exist and that many of the pressures we face are placed upon us by fellow females.

Stop, Collaborate and Listen!

One of the 4Networking Directors, Tim Johnson, caused a little bit of an outcry not that long ago when he announced to members that one man bands do not work. Now I can understand why his members were initially upset, after all most networking groups are built upon one man bands. Yet what Tim actually meant was that most one man bands will always, at best, struggle. However, if business owners are open minded and look at collaborating, then their potential for success and longevity massively increases.

Needing Inspiration?

I was having a chat with a good friend the other day and we were discussing things that really inspire us when we are in need of a little motivation. Naturally, most people are motivated to keep working for one or all of the following; their family, money, status, professional satisfaction etc but when times are tough and you are feeling low and demotivated, how do you get re-inspired?

I have gone through a period of needing motivation and inspiration and during that time, these are some of the ways that I re-energised myself, it’s like giving yourself a kick up the backside.

With a little help from my friends …

So if you have read some of my blog posts before, especially on my own site, you will have no doubt realised that there have been many occasions in my life where times have been tough and I have been left reeling. However, I am a strong believer in no matter what life deals you, if you get knocked down, you dust yourself off and bounce right back again, but this time not only stronger but also smarter because you learn from that episode in your life.

I know so many people who have gone through all kinds of challenges within their lives and they still keep fighting and smiling. So, why is it that when people receive knocks and obstacles within their business lives, they often crumble at the first sign of difficulty? Having gone through personal and professional difficulties, I believe I know the answer.

Are you a busy fool?

Do you run around here there and everywhere, mobile phone in one hand, documents in the other? Do you hear yourself telling everyone you are ‘too busy’ to do something or that you ‘haven’t got enough hours in the day’? Are you working from morning til night, and even on weekends?

If this all sounds like you, I don’t think you are alone. I’m not sure if its down to the economy and people being desperate to survive, or if it is a competitive thing that has got out of control, but more and more I see people just like this, people who leave you feeling exhausted after just a few minutes in conversation with them.

If this is you, do you really feel, at the end of your 16 hour day, that you are achieving? My view is that people like this are busy fools, people who convince themselves they are really busy but in actual fact are just avoiding making time for the things they really should be doing.

I have known people who spend the week plodding along in the office, making regular cuppa’s, going for a stroll and then they moan that they have to work all weekend. It’s like a form of self flagellation. Instead of knuckling down and methodically working through their ‘to do’ list, they prefer to work all hours so that they can tell people how busy they are.

But surely it has the opposite effect? People wont think ‘wow you’re busy’ but are far more likely to think, ‘you haven’t got time for me’. In a business sense this can be very damaging as potential clients may perceive you are at capacity and then decide to go elsewhere.

At times we can all be busy fools, I know I have run around like a headless chicken convincing myself that I didn’t have time to stop and think about what I really needed to do next, it becomes a hamster wheel that is very difficult to get off. The most important thing is recognising this and addressing it before it damages your business and maybe even your personal life.

So how can you stop being a busy fool and become more productive? Here are a few ideas:

No Regrets

A nurse (Bronnie Ware) who spent her career caring for the terminally ill has compiled a list of the top 5 regrets people have on their death beds. The top regret was:

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

Wow this really hit a chord with me and made me think. As someone who has only recently realised that I had been living my life in the expectation of others, this is certainly not a regret I would want to take to my death bed.

I am sure that both men and women feel pressured to live a life that is ‘expected’ of them from time to time, however my personal view is that in general, women are often under far greater pressure to do this than men.

There’s an ‘ugly frog’ in the room

Having a brainstorming meeting with my good friend Michelle Dalley (www.creatingmedia.co.uk), she asked me what my ‘ugly frog’ was? I had never before heard this expression and Michelle explained that in business everyone has their own ugly frog, something that sits in the corner of the room that you don’t want to face or deal with. For many, its paperwork, you know you have to do it but you will do anything you can to avoid facing it.

Mine is without doubt making sales calls, I love meeting people face to face and am happy to do this all day long but I will do everything possible to avoid making a cold call.

So how do we embrace this and turn our ugly frog into a handsome prince?

Your Personal Brand

Whether it’s a life long ambition or where the pathway of fate has led you, deciding to become self employed is extremely daunting. OK, we all know that losing a regular income is possibly the most frightening part of it, and probably what separates the risk takers from the risk adverse, but deciding to become self employed has many more implications, for example it may challenge how you perceive and present yourself.

If you have long worked in a corporate environment, you will quickly realise that the same rules no longer apply. If you market yourself and your business at a local networking group using corporate jargon such as ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’ or ‘hitting the ground running’ you will immediate lack authenticity and personality, making people immediately opt out of buying from you.

Being yourself …

What comes to mind when someone mentions authenticity? Genuine,  credible, real, dependable are just some adjectives that you may first think of, all of them are admirable adjectives and no doubt ones that we would hope to be associated with ourselves. We all have the possibility to create our own image and yet some spend so much time on creating a ‘front’ in order to hide their authentic selves, that this becomes almost a full time job especially when they have a different ‘mask’ for each different social setting.

How do you feel when you partner comes to a work party with you? Is it difficult for you to merge your work and home persona or are you totally at ease in this situation?

Are you Compliant?

5 Top Tips for ensuring you are compliant when becoming self employed.

Becoming self employed is not only a very exciting time, but it can also be extremely daunting. Often, when starting out, people are not compliant simply due to a lack of understanding, at d2 Accounting, we have found that lots of new businesses tend to not be aware of their obligations when starting out.

It is important to remember and acknowledge that most business owners start out because they have an interest and / or expertise in a particular field, its important to accept your strengths and weaknesses and seek advice where you lack knowledge. If you are in any doubt at all about your obligations when becoming self employed, please speak to a professional sooner rather than later as they will be able to help and guide you, ensuring you avoid costly mistakes.