A nice cup of tea…

I’ve just finished a lovely cup of tea.

The perfect temperature, perfect sweetness and the right amount of milk. My preferred blend is Earl Grey. I’m not a purist though as I have mine with milk…I know, I know…!

I used to have the occasional hot chocolate when I worked in my last job. It was convenient as we had a Costa Coffee cafe on-site. Now though I drink tea. A lot of tea. It’s the way that I break up my day, stepping away from my laptop and between calls and clients, going through the ritual of brewing up a cuppa.

I noticed today, that many of my daily habits have changed, and my beverage choice is a small element of that. Since taking the leap to become self-employed, my routine is different. I have various alarms set for reminders to share posts on Instagram and twitter. I have daily targets to increase my followers and levels of interaction across my various social media accounts. I spend time on Facebook but with a different agenda than before. I have to think about my personal visibility in a very different way now, something I didn’t think about at all whilst in a job. I am constantly thinking about my messaging and ways of doing business and creating my own opportunities. In a job, someone else directs our work and measures our progress and targets. Now it’s all on me. Whilst this is a challenge it’s also incredibly exciting.

So yes, I now drink a lot of tea; but I’m having a great time whilst doing it…

Reminder of our upcoming event:

9th November, London, “Starting Up! Problems and Solutions” – tickets and info here: http://bit.ly/2dTEaf6

Oh and those social media accounts I referred to:

@13Rhythms on twitter, Instagram and Facebook

 

 

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That time already?!

So I didn’t blog last week.

I feel really bad about it. I was conscious of the fact that it was Tuesday morning, then Tuesday afternoon, then Tuesday evening, and I hadn’t blogged. I hadn’t even started.

It’s not to say that I wasn’t busy. I had loads going on. Mostly I was doing final promotion for the event that I held on the 20th October, “Monetise Your Passion” and doing the last parts of the event planning and preparation for that.

puppy

I allowed other tasks to get in the way of something that I had committed to. I fully thought that I would able to fit in my blogging and somehow it just didn’t work out that way. Well not “somehow” – I just didn’t get around to completing it – I didn’t give myself enough time.

This blog entry is partly about me admitting that as a business owner, I have times when I don’t get it all completely right. I think that’s OK, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I guess the secondary purpose for me writing it is to encourage myself and my readers to consider the importance of time management and good business related habits. So much of what I do is dictated by clients and other variables, that I felt good to commit to the discipline of posting one blog a week. I had done pretty well in maintaining this promise to myself and felt comfortable about the quite rigid nature of this deadline. “Tuesday is 13 blog day” became the introduction to my posts as I shared them on social media. Then last week I didn’t. Sigh.

But business is all about making mistakes, recognising what went wrong and thinking about and most importantly, implementing, problem solving strategies to ensure that we can stop the same from happening again. Not blogging isn’t a huge issue in the scheme of running a business. However, I suspect that those that read this blog noticed that there wasn’t one last week . With that being said, not maintaining our own patterns can be assumed to indicate other unfavourable business practices. This isn’t the case of course – not blogging was due to preparation for my first event as 13 Rhythms, and time spent with clients. However, what is true and what our customers might think can be two different things. Perception is a key thing in business.

So today’s one week and one day late blog is dedicated to those of us who sometimes slip up in trying to do the right thing…who don’t always make it, but are trying!

Good luck!

“Just Wait…”

Yesterday I was invited to join a podcast to speak about 13 and the events I have coming up later this month, in November and December. It was my first time being “interviewed” and speaking about not just my business, but a little bit about how I came to be developing 13 Rhythms. I think I underestimate the importance of my personal story and how others might relate to it…Maybe that’s a topic for a future blog…?

The producers of the podcast forwarded the list of questions in advance as well as asking me to pick a song that reflected my entrepreneurial journey so far. This was quite difficult, as it’s not something I’d thought of before, but I came up with a song. My choice was “Just Wait” by Incisive featuring Shakka.

incisive

Shakka (left and upside down, Incisive on the right)

As I listened to the song lyrics I was struck by how relevant they are to the process of starting-up and running your own business. The song speaks of Incisive’s continual push to be able to do music as his full time pursuit and achieve a certain level of success with it. Despite being well known on the live music scene and producing and releasing albums I suspect that many of our readers haven’t heard of either of them. I think is something they would like to change.

But listening to the song with a new perspective presented me with lots of food for thought and inspired today’s blog. Some of the stand-out lyrics for me were:

“You move ‘cos you tell your legs to move…”

Being self-employed is about being self-propelling. Absolutely – your motivation has to come from you now that you’re taking this journey.

“Yeah I’m on my grind, even when I’m skygazing or playing Playstation or farting around on Facebook…”

I find that entrepreneurs and those who are self-employed are often thinking about the next thing they want to do in their business, or a new idea they have, even in their downtime. This is something I’m sure many can identify with.

 

“None of these things are ever set in stone.”

I find this line to be very relevant – our business idea and our overall vision for our lives with our businesses remains the solid foundation of what we do on a day to day basis, but there is a need to be adaptable about how we go about developing our business, as the needs of our customers and environments change.

“When I play my hand then I’m all in”

This one is self-explanatory, right? If we’re about this journey we have to fully commit to it, even it’s it’s not our full time business.

My favourite line of all?

“There’s only plan A, plan B is doing plan A.”

I LOVE this line. I interpret it as even if we change our initial actions towards achieving our business goals – plan A – we are simply taking a new approach to achieving our business goals – plan B – and not changing our plans altogether – Plan A. I hope I’ve made this comment make sense? It’s my favourite line and it makes complete sense to me! Ort it can be interpreted as being single minded and fixed completely on your goal – no deviating. Both work for me.

Do you have a song that relates to your entrepreneurial journey? Share your thoughts. You can listen to an shorter version of my song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAg1kWDYxW4.

The full song including Shakka’s verse is available on iTunes:

My podcast is being edited and will be available for next week’s blog. I’m a tiny bit excited…!

Have a great week!

 

 

 

Taking the Plunge…

Presenting our products or services to potential customers can feel pretty nerve-wracking. It’s essentially us displaying a part of ourselves to “the world” in the hope that they think we are as good as we think we are. We may have taken time to train and hone our skills, having observed Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 Hour Rule” resulting in us being very good at our “something”.

When we choose to take the opportunity to let others see our “something” this is where the understandable nervousness comes in. We worry about the quality, about the response we’ll receive, about whether people will think us authentic and believable as a product or service provider.

malc

The good news is, these feelings are normal – how could we not feel apprehensive about this process? There’s even more good news though as we remember the following things:

  • Taking your skills to the market is an essential part of the business start-up process. It will give you the opportunity to have controlled exposure to customers and to gather their feedback.
  • Feedback is one of the most important factors in your business.  Positive comments help you to know what you should continue doing – this can help to shape your eventual product launch or let you know what services to start with. Feedback that provides you with “areas of development” is equally, if not more, important, as it is this information that forms the basis of the changes and adaptations to your original idea, keeping you in line with the needs of your target customer.
  • Letting yourself feel the nerves and doing it anyway will be an activity that will be repeated over and over again in your business journey. You may as well do it now and start getting used to it!

Nerves aren’t a bad thing – it’s nerves that stop us from acting and making moves in our business that are damaging. So breathe deeply, wear a smile, believe in yourself and expose your skills to the world…!

Good luck.

running-stairs

 

 

“There’s too much to do!”

During a meeting with a client this week, a lesson came into sharp focus.

Often entrepreneurs have an idea of what they have to do to get their businesses off the ground, it’s just that they believe they have to do it ALL. Many of us are great at lots of things, but we aren’t good at everything – and that’s OK! The secret to our success can be linked to the power of our network – those people that bring skills, experience, expertise and support for our endeavours and help us stay on target.

missed-target

Ask for help!

Get support!

Delegate!

Start to think about the tasks that are your speciality – and delegate the others. Consider stepping out of your comfort zone to tackle some of the business related tasks that aren’t your favourite things to do, but at the same time, be strategic about when and why you should outsource particular activities. Doing this can free your time to focus on other crucial activities.

It’s also important to not feel guilty about what you aren’t doing. I’ve felt it personally, and observed it in others, that as we concentrate on one task, our minds travel to all the other things we aren’t focusing on in that moment, and then the guilt comes. Delegation, paying someone else or bartering services with others are all good ways to free yourself from the guilt of not being Superman or Wonderwoman as you start up. It’s all too easy to feel bad, or “less than”, or disorganised when we look at the vast array of tasks required to get our businesses off the ground. Consider buying in services – this can be a sound investment, and will give you time to focus on other tasks, as well as giving your business expertise that you may not have.

 

Be kind to yourself: don’t feel bad about having help and don’t feel bad about needing help. Don’t punish yourself for not being able to do everything on your start-up journey. See having support as your team of employees or colleagues. The start-up journey as a sole trader or self-employed person can be solitary, but it needn’t be a lonely.

 

nubilt-helping-hand-program
Remember to book your Early Bird tickets for our event on the 20th October to help you make money from your creative skills, hobbies and interests

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/monetise-your-passion-creative-skills-start-up-event-tickets-27506961061

Good luck!

“Are you doing the right thing?!”

“Aren’t you worried about not having a job?”

“How will you survive?”

“What about money?”

“Don’t you want to have nice things?”

“How will you deal with being broke all the time?”

“Why not just wait until next year?”

“Look at the economy!”

“I can’t help you if you need money. Just saying.”

“Do you think anyone would want your product?”

“Why not go on Dragon’s Den first?”

“You want commercial premises? That’s sooooooo much money!”

“I think you shouldn’t do this.”

“You can get so much cheap stuff from the Poundshop now though.”

“Why not get two jobs if you want extra money?”

“It’s too hard to start a business these days.”

“I think you’re good but don’t think anyone will pay for it.”

doubt-and-fear

 

How many of you have heard these statements from friends and family? I’m sure you have other comments you could add to this list! What’s difficult is that people think they are being helpful. They think that they are showing compassion and consideration for the person that expresses a desire to develop an idea they have into a business. They are sure that their advice is exactly what is needed to help their friend not make a big costly mistake.

This is what’s so hard. How do you tell someone that they aren’t being supportive when they think this is EXACTLY what they are being? How do we ask them to be supportive in ways that we need rather than speaking negativity onto our plans before we’ve even got going? It’s very important for us to have people that are supportive of our endeavours, but as we start our entrepreneurial journey it has to be the “right” type of support.

We have to be discerning about who we receive support from and take note of how they give it. Work with and listen to people that encourage you take a chance on yourself, your skills and abilities. Let them see that you love that they care about you, but you need to do this entrepreneurial thing. Tell them that as much as it’s scary to them, it’s scary to you too, but not enough to stop you from trying. Thank them for their love, and tell them that maybe you will need their practical support in the future, a bag of food shopping, a car ride somewhere, access to their network, a big hug! – but that right now you need constructive support and not a projection of their fears onto you.

It sounds harsh, but it’s from a place of love. If they love you, they’ll understand.

For an interactive and practical workshop to help you take the next step into creating your business, click her to book your ticket:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/monetise-your-passion-creative-skills-start-up-event-tickets-27506961061?aff=es2

good-enough

Yes! Yes you are…

Good luck!

Cost. Price. Value.

Cost.

Price.

Value.

It can be difficult to know the difference between these three things when we run our businesses. They each have their own definition and it’s important that as business owners we are clear on the impact of each and that we communicate this to our customers.

“The amount that has to be paid or spent to obtain a product or service.”
“The amount expected, required or given in payment for a product or service.”
“The regard that a product or service is thought to deserve; the importance, worth or usefulness of something.”

When we price our services we are essentially placing a cost on our value. Our price might be considered too low for the value we offer. The price someone is willing to pay for the cost of our service may not fully represent its value.

Confused?!

When we think about our pricing policy for our products or service we have to consider all three elements here. It’s important that we devise costs that include all elements that have gone into getting your product or service to your customer. For those of us running our own businesses, often we would do what we do for free because we love it so much! However, this would make your business a hobby rather than a business, so it’s important to take a sound and rational approach to your pricing policy.

Value is something that we build into our businesses in implicit and explicit ways. It’s in the service we provide and the feelings that our customers and clients get from interacting with us. It’s in the recommendations made about us and the amount of repeat business we receive. Think  about the ways that you can add value to the way you deliver your service that will encourage others to feel that you offer a valuable experience when spending money with you.

For those able to attend, we’re holding an event in London on the 20th October to find out how you can turn your hobby into something that you can be paid for, getting practical hints, tips and start-up pointers. For tickets click here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/monetise-your-passion-creative-skills-start-up-event-tickets-27506961061

Feel free to share this link with anyone you think would find this helpful to their start-up journey…

As always, good luck!