Lessons I learnt in 2019

The things I’m going to learn from in 2019

 

For me, before I can move forward and look at what I want to happen I have to look back. Reflection is really important because if we don’t reflect on what’s gone on how will we know where we want to go?

2019 was quite a big year for me to reflect on because it was a real mix. A lot happened and also nothing happened. It’s been a strange one. It’s another year where I’ve learnt a lot about myself and my business.

I read a fabulous email from brilliant coach Ray Dodd in my inbox last week, she was also reflecting on the year and reading her email I felt like I could have written it myself. There were so many similarities. I wondered whether this was actually what Ray had felt herself or whether she was telling me personally what I needed to read, some home truths in fact. It was that spooky. I felt like I was reading the wake up calls I needed but also it was drumming home what others had said to me for a long time. So thank you Ray for writing your email because it landed in my inbox at the right time.

I’ve seen lots of posts already 7 days into the New Year about the “New Year, New Me”, “My Best Nine” and so on. I thought I’d share the things I discovered and the things 2019 has taught me. I made a lot of mistakes in 2019, some of which had even carried themselves over from 2018 in fact – yep old habits take a while and if left without help they just get bigger and bigger and take over.

The thing about mistakes is that they’re not failings, they’re things to be learnt from and I am grateful for that.

Here’s mine.

1. I broke promises to myself

This is something my husband always always tells me not to do, the golden rule I should keep with myself and I didn’t do it. Several times over the last year I said “I will make sure I get out the house and do a class so I get fit”. “I’ll have a nice lunch”, “I won’t be a slave to my desk” Did I do any of those? Nope. I broke every single one.

 

2. Old corporate habits still die hard
I recognised that old corporate habits do indeed take time to shake. I am still working on that and what I realised most of all this year is that they won’t actually get better unless I make it happen. Saying you want to break free from a bad habit isn’t enough. Action is needed. I wasn’t taken action enough to break these habits. I was still being a slave to my desk, thinking I had to be there solidly between 9 and 2.30 to be working hard. Ridiculous. I wanted to work for myself for freedom, was I allowing myself any? Not a jot.

 

3. Chopped and changed too much

When I first launched this business I had a great time. I was in my element helping so many lovely fellow small business owners with such a variety of offerings. Having never been a business owner before I was then working out what worked for me, for clients and what didn’t. However, what happened was I was falling into a trap of doing this too much, chopping and changing trying to find the right fit. I’m all for tweaking, I’m all for developing and changing but for the right reasons and looking back mine wasn’t for the right reasons mine was because of some serious beliefs, or lack of.

 

4. Letting Comparison, Self Doubt and Lack of Belief take charge
These are huge barriers for me. I first noticed them appearing in early 2018 and they’ve since caused me a lot of problems. They’ve stopped me being consistent with what I was doing. They stopped me from showing up in the ways that feel right to me. These things caused me to chop and change, to go for things when I shouldn’t have, to switch when I should have stayed. I was living on a yo-yo. I didn’t quite realise the hold it was having over me until I sat down over Christmas and dissected it all. Shit.

 

 

5. Not living what I teach
I think we can all be guilty of this, especially in the service based business arena. It’s a trap that can so easily be fallen into. You can be so passionate about helping others, giving the right support they need and say the things that will help them, but what do you say to yourself? Nothing but negative and harmful words. I was doing this. I wasn’t treating myself like my best client. I was being so negative towards what I was doing and not being my best friend. I was starting to stop putting into practice what I help others to do. It was falling away like when the people disappear in Marvel’s Infinity War (not seen it do, if you don’t care to see it Google it 😉). Mostly because of what was happening in point 4. Damn it.

 

6. Who’s helping me? 

I love helping people, I’m passionate about it, it’s why I have my business, why I do what I do. But, like I said above, when you focus so much on that, who helps you? I was drowning this year because I kept de-prioritising myself. Every single day. Not just in my business but at home too “I can’t do that because I’m not important, there’s more important things than me” – what the F was I saying? I would never ever want to hear a client talk that way about themselves. Just thinking of someone saying that to themselves makes my heart ache and I want to reach out and give a big cuddle. Yet I was doing this to myself. I know now more than ever, that I need help too and that’s okay. I can’t do all the things and I don’t want to either.

🥰 Reflect, Be Honest and most of all Kind 🥰

If you’re ready to start planning and thinking about this new year, this new decade ahead then I recommend the first step being reflection. To think about where you want to go, think about where you’ve been and what’s happened. Here’s some steps to guide you through.

  1. How did I feel in 2019?
  2. What worked for me in my business in 2019 and what didn’t?
  3. What would I change if I could?
  4. Did anything come up that didn’t before? If so what was it and the reasons why it did?
  5. What are 5 tips I would give to myself if I was a client, customer or friend?

Lordy, that’s a lot of learnings.

 

Yes it is and they’re pretty big ones aren’t they?

What I have also learnt is that things do take time. I won’t wake up tomorrow having learnt these lessons and be a “brand new me” and I don’t need to be. But what I do need to do and want to do is start taking action with what I’ve learnt. 

Being a business owner and your own boss is a mammoth journey and I feel with a new mindset, a new set of priorities, a new set of beliefs and the right support system around me I can make 2020 a brand new start, for me and for my business. 

What about you?

What have you learnt from in 2019 that can shape your 2020?

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How to take time off from your business at Christmas

Switching off this Christmas?

We now have three weeks to go until Christmas and while I am so ready for the break (bring it).

For Christmas I like to have a proper break, proper shut down and time off. It’s probably the one time of the year I really wholeheartedly do it (unless I’m on holiday in another country and then I’m also pretty good).

I come off Social Media for the whole time. That’s right no Insta, no Facebook, nothing Social Media for Biz at all. I want time off.

Now I know that this isn’t possible for all businesses and some business owners I know are worried about taking a break from social for so long and what effect it might have on their business “success”. But if you can do it, do it, you will thank yourself later.

Case Study in point – I did it last Christmas like I said. I put a post up saying I was coming off until the New Year. I logged out. But what happened in that time when I was off grid?

When I came back, had I lost followers? I think I lost 5 who probably weren’t my people/potential clients anyway.

Did my business kickstart again in Jan? Of course it did.

Did I struggle for work because I’d been off grid? Nope.

Did I feel guilty? Nope, because I was having time with my family, time for me, time away from it all.

My Christmas Leave was on my signature from the start of Nov, all my clients had been told, my out of office was on my emails also stating I wouldn’t be checking my emails while I’m off either. I returned and all was fine in the world of Digital Bon Bons. Your world will be fine too.

🎄LAST CHRISTMAS…a phone free version 🎄

 

Last Christmas, I took a break from my phone
And the very next day, I felt so relieved
This year, to continue those feels
I’m doing it extra special.

Last Christmas, I took a break from my phone
And the very next day, I felt so relieved
This year, to continue those feels
I’m doing it extra special.

Once bitten, twice shy
I kept my distance
But you tried to catch my eye
Tell me Insta
Do you recognise me?
It’s been 3 weeks it doesn’t surprise me

(Merry Christmas) I logged out and you vented
Hey look here I’ve logged off and I meant it.
Now I know what a fool I’ve been
I’m shutting down for Christmas

you won’t see me again
(until January 😉)

Last Christmas, I took a break from my phone
And the very next day, I felt so relieved
This year, to continue those feels
I’m doing it extra special.

 

Lyrics influenced and inspired by the most awesome and overplayed Christmas classic – Last Christmas by George Michael

Ways you can let people know you are off for Christmas

EMAIL YOUR CLIENTS – If you haven’t done this yet, email your clients if your time off over Christmas will affect the work you do for them. Tell them that you’ve already thought ahead (they love that) and you’re going to get it done on x,y,z instead so everything will be up to date still and you’ll be back in touch when you return in January.

IF YOU AREN’T CHECKING YOUR EMAILS TELL THEM THIS – Also let clients know that you won’t be checking your emails over Christmas either. If you need to provide an “urgent” contact situation because of the work you do, do this but give boundaries on what is urgent.

CHRISTMAS DELIVERY BANNERS & CLOSING DATES – If you are a product business ensure that you have the Christmas last orders dates up for your customers and also notices if you too are closing over the Christmas period, a lot of small indies do. Make sure they are clear on your website and also add some text to your delivery page to so that if they do order and want to check info it’s there as well.

UPDATE YOUR ORDER CONFIRMATIONS – Depending on your e-commerce platform you could look at updating your order confirmations to include a specific Christmas message, i.e thanks for their order as we are closed over Christmas this will be processed and dispatch on X when we return in the New Year. People love being kept in the loop and this is a way you can keep people in the know up front.

ADD YOUR HOLIDAYS TO YOUR SIGNATURE – Yep get them on there now if they aren’t already and then as it gets closer bring them further to the top of your signature.

PREP YOUR OUT OF OFFICE – Make sure you have this ready to go when your time off arrives. I also put on here that I won’t be checking emails so people know not to expect a reply until I return in January. 

ADD IT TO YOUR BIO – We know people don’t always see things no matter how many times you talk about it, write about it, video about it. We are in an all consuming world. So you can always put extra touches like adding to your bio in Instagram that “HQ is closed and you’ll be back on XX in Jan 2020. This account won’t be checked in the meantime” – whatever wording floats your boat.

It’s your choice

This is the thing that is really important to remember.

IT IS YOUR CHOICE.

It’s up to you whether you want a complete break, whether you want to stay working, whether you want to check Social Media or your emails. It’s up to you, it’s your business, it’s your life. I think the key is being comfortable and happy with the decision that you make and then keeping that promise to yourself. My husband always says “never a break a promise to yourself” and he’s right, so if I decide to come off that’s exactly what I do and I keep it. The benefits for me personally are too good not too, but you’ve got to decide what you want to do and whatever you do decide…

Looking for one to one support with your marketing in 2020?

I am looking for ambitious female service based business owners to work with. I want to help you over 6 weeks create marketing goals for your business, a strategy and plan to support those goals so you can feel in control of your marketing – no more winging it – we want feeling it!

Interested in what that could look like for you?

Series 2 – Episode 11 The Juggle is Real Podcast: The Power of Community

Now I have a confession – this episode was actually recorded about 6 months ago. Frankie’s little girl is now a year old and time has certainly flown.

The reason this episode is getting shared now is because I wanted to intentionally save this lady for last. Frankie holds a very special place in my heart because she was the first person I ever connected with via Instagram. She has been so integral to my business journey and I am honoured to call her a friend. To me Frankie IS COMMUNITY. She is everything that that word means and she embodies it. She is completely generous with her time, her passion and her mission of letting every self employed parent know they are never alone – ever.

In this episode we talk about the power of community and what Frankie has created with Doing it for the Kids certainly has power. It’s grown in the last few years from a blog sharing freelancing and self employed parent stories to a highly engaged Facebook community, to real life meet ups with biscuits and hugs PLUS a podcast too, where her and Steve Folland answer a question from the community each week.  Frankie does all of this for FREE I might add…FREE.

We talk about her journey with Doing it for the Kids and why community is so important. We hope you enjoy the episode.

There is another reason why I saved her until the last. I wanted her to be my last ever guest. The podcast is ending. This is the last episode. So excuse the mention of “next episode” in the recording because there won’t be one this time. It finishes with me and my pal.

I have thoroughly enjoyed hosting this podcast. I created it because I wanted to have conversations with other jugglers like me, to learn from them and their insight and hopefully make someone listening at home know that they aren’t alone in how they feel at any point.

THANK YOU to everyone who has supported it, who has listened, shared and enjoyed the episodes. I really do, truly, value your time and support. It hasn’t been an easy decision to make and I am sad to bring it to a close.

Listen to the episode here:

"The power of community" with Frankie from Doing it for the Kids

The Juggle is Real - Series 2, Episode 11

Find out more about Frankie and Doing it for the Kids here:

 

Frankie’s Graphic Design: https://francescatortora.com/

Doing it for the Kids: http://www.doingitforthekids.net/

 

If you enjoyed the episode why not share it to Pinterest so others can discover it too? I always love discovering new podcasts to listen too.
While you’re there if you fancy following me too, you’ll see all the latest content that I’ll be sharing.

Series 2 – Episode 10 The Juggle is Real Podcast: Why joy is an essential not a desirable

Wow – what an episode. I am thrilled to be talking to Tamu, owner of Three Sixty.

Tamu lives for joy. She reached a point in her life when she realised it’s not about the “shoulds” anymore and that life is for joy. Tamu owns lifestyle brand Three Sixty. It’s aimed at busy women in their late 30’s and 40’s that want to simplify life and create space for everyday joy. Joy through acceptance and working on ourselves.

I first saw Tamu speak at the Doing it for the Kids meet up earlier this year and I knew I wanted to talk to her more about joy, how we don’t give it the attention it deserves and also it made me reflect on how many “shoulds” I am still doing. 

We cover so much in this episode – judgement loops, being conditioned, being a company of one, self employed life and more. Honestly all the good things!

It’s been an absolute pleasure to discuss all things joy with Tamu. She is such an inspiration – honestly I felt mesmerised the whole episode.

We hope you enjoy it too.

Listen to the episode here:

"Why Joy is an essential, not a desirable" with Tamu from Three Sixty

The Juggle is Real - Series 2, Episode 10

Find out more about Tamu & Three Sixty here:

 

Visit: https://www.livethreesixty.com/

If you enjoyed the episode why not share it to Pinterest so others can discover it too? I always love discovering new podcasts to listen too.
While you’re there if you fancy following me too, you’ll see all the latest content that I’ll be sharing.

Introducing Bhavini from B81 Designs

Juggling parenting and being their own boss, meet Bhavini from B81 Designs

 

I’m Bhavini and I’m a dessert loving, coffee obsessed graphic designer. I’ve been in the design industry for the last 14 years and the last 7 of them have been self employed.

I live in Milton Keynes with my husband and 2 girls (aged 5 and 8). I grew up in MK and then lived in London for a while, but moved back to MK when my eldest was due to start school

I run my business around my kids which means I work term time only and gives me a really great work/family balance.

Tell us about your business baby

My business baby was born out of redundancy. As my maternity leave was coming to an end in 2011, I wasn’t able to work as flexibly as I had hoped to and my role at work was changed. I took the redundancy package and haven’t really looked back!

The initial idea was to freelance whilst looking for a more flexible and part time job closer to home but that job never came about. After freelancing for about 6 months I realised that it was so much better than being employed especially where my little one was concerned.

I have a love for branding and all things design for print so that’s what my business focuses on – branding, brochures, advertising, business stationery and large format print.

What’s your why?

I have a few different whys. The first why is the complete flexibility that comes with being self employed. I can make sure I’m at every school drop off/pick up, I can take time off at the drop of a hat if one of my girls is sick and I can go to every school assembly the girls are taking part in. And to me, being there for all that is really important. I love that I can manage my time in the best way for me and my family.

Secondly is the option to say no. Working for myself means that I can choose which clients I want to work with, and which projects I want to take on. In every job I had, there was always a project that had to be done that I didn’t have any passion for, or a client that wasn’t easy to work with. I don’t have those issues any more which means that I love every single project I work on, and my clients are all so fabulous!

And the last why…because I absolutely love love love what I do!

What do you find the hardest bit about doing the juggle?

For me, one of the hardest parts of the juggle is realising that I can’t do everything myself where the business is concerned! I can’t do the accounts, and build a new website, and put together a marketing strategy etc because all of that takes away time from me doing what I enjoy doing – the design work!

The other main thing I struggle with is making sure I know how to sell myself and my business – not just at networking events, but anywhere really. I struggle to let people know what I do!!

Who’s in your support network?

I’m really lucky to have a very supportive husband – he’s been behind the whole self employed thing right from the start, even when I wasn’t so sure about it. My parents also live in Milton Keynes – they’re about 7 minutes across town!! They’re always there to lend a hand with childcare if I have an event to go to, or have a huge workload on.

I’ve also made some great connections via online groups such as Freelance Heroes, Digital Dreamers Playground and Mama Tribe. Groups like these are vital to keep me sane, regardless of where I am in my self employment journey.

If only you knew then what you know now…

If only I knew that I should value my time and services, and should always be charging what I’m worth. Just because one person tells me my (very cheap) prices are too expensive, it doesn’t make it true!

What’s your favourite inspiration quote?

 

AND

“I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really really hard. Don’t call my lucky. Call me a badass.” Shonda Rhimes

The second one is one of my favourites and reminds me that I work hard to have the life I do. People always tell me I’m lucky to work from home, or I’m lucky I don’t have to go to work every day etc. but it’s not luck, it’s hard work!

Find out more about B81 Designs here:

 

Follow on Social Media here:

Series 2 – Episode 9 The Juggle is Real Podcast: The P’s of Stepping it up a Gear

Steve Folland is a freelance, he runs Being Freelance where he connects with other freelancers, shares their stories, it’s got it’s own podcast. He has the Being Freelance Community on Facebook and he has also recently joined forces with Frankie from Doing it for the Kids on the DIFTK Podcast – talking about freelancing and parenting (it’s brilliant). Steve is such a force in the freelance community for his words of wisdom, his guidance and advice but also how he brings us altogether to truly know you are never alone in this.

In this episode we talk about stepping your business up a gear and using Steve’s numerous years of knowledge, experiences and also insight from the numerous freelancers he has spoken to over the years he share’s his favourite “P’s” for doing this. The things that you can focus on to step your business up to the level you want it to be. There’s no reasoning behind the fact they all start with P but it does make them easier to remember – ha ha. 

Are you ready to step up with the P’s?

We hope you enjoy the episode.

Listen to the episode here:

"The P's of stepping it up a gear" with Steve Folland of Being Freelance

The Juggle is Real - Series 2, Episode 9

Find out more about Steve & Being Freelance here:

 

Visit: https://www.beingfreelance.com/

If you enjoyed the episode why not share it to Pinterest so others can discover it too? I always love discovering new podcasts to listen too.
While you’re there if you fancy following me too, you’ll see all the latest content that I’ll be sharing.