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How starting a small business is just like having a baby!

Have you ever sat there, a few years in after swapping your career for full time parenting, and wondered if you could start up your own business?

You are at a point of complete and utter frustration.  Your kids mean the world to you but you need something to stimulate you.  Something that makes you feel like a bright, sparky, intelligent, fun woman who is not just ‘mum’.  Something that has meaning and purpose that doesn’t revolve around school runs, solving the “what’s for tea?” question, and picking up endless clothes and toys that have been stuffed in places even Santa would struggle to find.

You’ve considered going back to work but along with the question of childcare and school holidays, it doesn’t feel like a world you want to go back to.  Somewhere along the line, you’ve enjoyed the freedom of not having a boss, been relieved to not be part of office politics and quite frankly, corporate life just doesn’t have an appeal anymore.

So then you toy with being your own boss.  Could that hobby that everyone says you are so fabulous at turn into a business?  Could your design skills, computer genius, love of organisation or whatever makes your heart skip a beat, become a fully fledged (I can really make money doing this) project?

Then along comes Negative Nancy.  She’s that voice that keeps chipping away at your enthusiasm and confidence telling you it cannot possibly work until finally you shelf the idea and carry on in a vicious circle of frustration with your current situation and feelings.

Yet, the fact that you are a mother means that actually, you are in a better situation than you think.  You have your experience to draw on.  Let me explain.

Remember when your baby was due?  Do you remember the overwhelming number of choices and options around ‘baby stuff’?  Then eventually you discovered that a lot of it was not really necessary, either for your child or bank balance.  You may also have overthought your child’s future and all the ‘what ifs’ until you ended up questioning your decisions and abilities as a parent (and human being).

As your child grew older, you started to realize that their development and needs evolve.  You adapted and got new products, information, services etc. as needed.  It’s a series of different steps which, if you got everything that was ever needed at the very beginning, you would be bankrupt and a crying mess in the corner of a room!

Starting a new business is no different.  There is no end of information, misinformation, people and companies competing for your money with the latest app, product or service.

The only difference is with a baby, there is no going back!  BUT you got through it and if you can get through the toughest job is the world, then starting a business is going to be a breeze!

There is a lot of information and noise around getting a new business up and running which can sometimes overwhelm and prevent you from actually starting up.  So with that in mind, myself and Carli Wall (owner of Synergy Business Support) have developed BUSINESS STARTUP: KNOWLEDGE, CONFIDENCE, SUCCESS that will simplify the process by giving you the knowledge you actually need and the strategies to build your confidence.

We want to give you what you really need to know.  No frills, no unnecessary extras, no complicated jargon.  Just what you need to get you up and running.  Nothing more, nothing less.

So:

·  If that little voice in your head is still wondering, “what if I started my business?”

·  Or you still feel a little flutter of excitement at the thought of turning your ideas into a business.

·  If the thought of being your own boss makes your heart sing.

·  You hear regret in your voice when you talk about how you gave up on your dream ideas.

·  If you keep telling yourself that you would rather try something, rather than do nothing.

Then say ‘YES’ to you and join us for BUSINESS STARTUP: KNOWLEDGE, CONFIDENCE, SUCCESS.

Because we love action takers, until the 18th April only, you can grab yourself a £10 discount.  Just enter EARLYBIRD into the ‘redeem coupon’ box on the booking form to get your discount.

Click on the link below to learn more about BUSINESS STARTUP: KNOWLEDGE, CONFIDENCE, SUCCESS and book your spot.
https://growwithmk.com/businessstartup-knowledge-confidence-success/

If you have any questions about the event, please do drop us a line at info@growwithmk.com or carli@synergysupport.co.uk.

We look forward to seeing you soon,
Michelle & Carli

Why I won’t apologize for going AWOL on social media.

 


So I have been silent for quite a while and taken a long hiatus from social media, choosing to reflect on the direction I want my business to go and working behind the scenes.   The polite thing to have done was to say something and let you know I was going temporarily silent especially when you have elected to follow me.  The truth is, I didn’t actually know exactly ‘why’ I needed to escape, just that I had an absolute need to ‘get out’ of social media.   What exactly would I say to people when I didn’t know my reason?  I had to work it out.  And I’m not so conceited to think many would have noticed anyway.

And it’s fine not to.  No, really, it’s ok.  I get that there are zillions of posts, that social media becomes white noise with so many things vying for your attention.  I get that my posts may not be relevant, engaging, appropriate, or whatever it is that you need right now.  Neither do I like, follow, engage, or comment constantly even if I have read and enjoyed something for a few seconds.

But I’ll be honest, its bloody hard work trying to ‘get it right’, to make the appropriate noise, create the engagement you ‘think’ might be wanted, needed or interesting.  And when it’s a ‘group’ and you are the only one talking, it gets a bit embarrassing and you wonder if you are a bore!  It’s soul sucking, time consuming, energy draining and, at times, made me completely doubt myself as a human being.

Yet it has been a good learning curve and I am now okay with saying, social media is not for me.  It is not the way I want to go.   Social media, for me, lacks the type of connection I want to have with people – I prefer face to face, good old honest conversations with a bit of fun thrown in. Conversations that allow all concerned to have genuine connections, a conversation with flow, a meeting that engages human interaction of body language, sound, real time meaning and the opportunity to query directly rather than stare at words and wonder if meaning has been misinterpreted.

 

I am sure that there are many marketing strategists and business consultants that would say I am committing business suicide.  Well, I’ve never been that great at doing things just because I am told that’s the way things are done!  For me, if feels like the most genuine stand I have taken in a while.

Why?

Because:

  • With face to face, I can be 100% committed to the individual and their needs in real time.
  •  I remember a time when we lived without social media.
  • If my 12 year old tells me she thinks that 80% of social media is negative and only 20% is positive, then why would I continue to prioritize this as my main communication method?
  • There is too much abuse and exploitation of people and animals that can be posted and viewed without censorship because it suits the financial pockets of the corporations such as Facebook.  Why would I build my business on those foundations?
  • It’s just so time consuming in the most wrong ways.  I want to spend hours solving your problems not algorithms.
  • I don’t need to be popular with 1,000’s.  I want to work with 1’000’s.
  • It’s not my bag baby!

So there you have it.  My explanation for my silence.  I do apologize to you for not letting you know I was taking time out, but I don’t apologize for wanting to be authentic to both you and myself.

Now I am not for one minute saying social media is a completely immoral, or ignoring the great things that have been achieved by groups, allowing voices to be heard and important issues to be pushed to the forefront.

I’m not saying that I will be completely absent from social media, there is a time and place for it.

And I’m definitely not going to pretend to be good at it.  There are people (and I admire them greatly) that are pure social media brilliance.  It’s just that I’m not one of them and I’m just hunky dory with that.

My time is now going to be spent at what I am good at and what I enjoy.  And in no particular order, that is; helping you find solutions to your emotional needs, writing; creating enjoyable spaces for you to immerse yourself in a bit of self discovery; having adventures; damn good food and wine!

Like just like most things in life, you have choices.  Social media isn’t an important choice for me.  You are.

So if you are ready to get real and want to work with me, check out my current offer – it won’t be around for long.

You will see me now and again on facebook and instagram and my blogs can be read here.

Why trusting the process is important.

There are times in your life when it just feels like the universe is conspiring to constantly kick you in the teeth.  That no matter what you do, it’s a 1 step forward, 2 steps back kind of feeling.  It can feel really hard to stay positive and keep moving forward.  Now it may not feel like it at the point of pain, but things will improve and I always say, trust the process.  In others words, things have a way of working out.  You just can’t see it yet.  Nor can you believe that things will improve.

Now this may seem like an empty and meaningless thing to say especially if you are currently in a stressful situation at the moment.  It is however a carefully constructed comment.

‘Trust’ (in this context) implies that you have the capacity to believe in your own abilities and for self-conviction.

‘the process’ means that there is a structure and therefore, a progression of things that will produce an outcome.

In plain English: you have been in stressful situations before, have come through them and have the capacity to know, or find out, what you need to do to get though it!

Now I say this with genuine love, not with a ‘just get over yourself’ attitude.  Nor am I saying it to be light and fluffy (I’m pretty crap at light and fluffy).  I am also saying it because I use it myself and if you 100% allow yourself to acknowledge this simple mantra, it will help you’ll come through the other side.

My take on the process is something like this;

  1. Event/situation occurs
  2. You react to the above by going through your default emotion/response e.g. can be anger, fear, angst, tears, logic, detachment (you get the picture).
  3. Next comes your ‘go to’ Generally, this is the let off steam moment where you chat (or rant) to a friend or professional about said situation.
  4. This is followed by going ‘shopping’, so getting the resources and information you need to improve or resolve the situation.
  5. Finally, you take action and implement what is needed to get your resolution.

Sound familiar?  I bet you have been there quite a few times in your life because the only certainly in life is that it’s never going to play ball all the time.

And that’s where the trust part comes into play.  You know that you’ve been there before – might be different circumstances, but it’s still been a stinker.  But after the initial reaction, you have managed to deal with stuff and move on.

You really have got this girlfriend!

So, yes, it can be messy.  Yes, it’s so ok to have a hissy fit, sob or shout and scream.  As long as you then take a moment to breath, then calmly remind yourself, to trust in the process.  You may not see the wood for the trees, but it is there and you will get through to the other side.

And when you get there, celebrate.  Accept the journey you have been on.  Embrace what you have learnt.  Acknowledge the awesome person it has helped you become.

Liking my take on life?  Then feel free to sign up for the occasional newsletter or join my Facebook group.

 

Photo by Tamara Menzi on Unsplash

How grocery shopping can reduce your overwhelm.

I don’t know about you but there have been times when I have not felt like I can cope with my feelings.  Occasions when the sense of overwhelm, quite simply, overwhelms.

The mind goes into overdrive and problems become insurmountable. You see more obstacles than solutions.  Your angst causes you to wake up in the middle of the night, tossing and turning, unable to sleep.  You feel out of control.

And as much as you tell yourself that you should be grateful for XYZ in your life; that other people are doing it tough; that you should write down your feelings; do some meditation or any of the ‘positive’ actions that you think you ‘should’ or ‘ought’ to do.  You just can’t.  Quite frankly the thought of being positive makes you angry.  All that hippy, happy stuff just ain’t going to cut the mustard as far as you are concerned.  It can go take a running jump into that pile of ‘stuff’ you keep looking at and put off doing.

And do you know what, I hear you.  As much as I will advocate all of the above positive stuff because it really does work (and there are many studies showing their effectiveness), there are times when it’s ok to have your ‘moment’ and stick two fingers up at positivity.  There will be times, when you are not wanting to be all joy, light and Ms Gratitude.  And there are times when actually, doing all the gratitude and mindfulness means that you are avoiding dealing directly with what’s going on in your life.  You actually, at some point, need to D.E.A.L with it.

There said it.  Ignore the light and fluffy and get down and dirty.

Take a deep breath and sit in that maelstrom of emotion, obstacles and problems. Welcome them in.

And observe them.  Really observe them.  Then disengage from them.

Imagine for a moment that you are in a supermarket and that your thoughts and feelings are products on a shelf.  Take one (feeling) off the shelf and examine it like you are looking at the ingredients of a food item.  See what’s in it.  Do you need to ‘buy’ it?  What will it do for you?  Will it nourish you or not?  It is a necessary item?  Really disconnect yourself from the feeling and treat it dispassionately as an inanimate object that you need to make a simple decision on, just like your supermarket shopping.  Do I need it or not?

By adopting this process, you are acknowledging and accepting the feeling or situation but what is important is that you are taking the power away from it and putting yourself back in control.  You are not trying to deny or avoid its existence which can end up being more damaging.  Once you are back in control and owning the situation, you can start to see solutions a lot more clearly which further reduces the sense of overwhelm and loss of control.

Just like doing your grocery shop, when you search the product information, you are gaining the factual information you need to inform your decision making.  When you view your emotions as a product, you are looking at the content in a more detached way.

And there is not a scented candle or gratitude journal in sight!!

 

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5 simple things you can do to create stress free school holidays

Ah, the school holidays.  For me, it’s about not having a repetitive routine, enjoying lazy days and later nights, relaxing the rules and enjoying some quality time with kids, friends and family.  My aim is always to have a stress free school holiday.

Every family does their school holidays differently but I have noticed that there are some mums that are ‘over doers’ which can generate guilt, stress, financial burden and a far from relaxing time.

I call them the ‘entertainer’ – the mum that fills every waking moment with activities, play dates, visits and collapses exhausted by the end of the holidays, grateful that school has begun again and wondering why she has no real memory of the blur that has been the school holiday.  Neither does she feel like she has achieved anything for either herself or for any project that she has going on in the background.  She tells herself that all this sacrifice and self-denial is what being a ‘mum’ is about.  She experiences guilt when a bit of resentment creeps in.  Then she carries on ‘over doing’ for everyone else to compensate for the guilt.  And so, the treadmill carries on.

Does this sound like something you have experienced?

Is there a bit of the above that resonates and you are squirming a little?

Are you telling yourself that this sounds just a little bit familiar?

It’s totally fine to want to give your children the world but that doesn’t mean that a) you have to or b) that it’s healthy to do so.

There is a way off the treadmill that not only gives you time for yourself, but also enables you to create memories that you remember as well as contributing positively to your children’s developmental skills.

And here’s how (and why!)

  1. Allowing a child to be bored and to figure out how to entertain themselves is crucial to their self- esteem and problem-solving skills. Now I’m not talking leaving them to their own devices 24/7 but the odd couple of hours here and there is just grand.  For younger children, have a box of games/ideas prepared and then when you decide that they need to self-entertain, there is something for them to go and select.  Encourage older children to ‘find’ something they want to do.  My kids will probably roll their eyes at this one but my favourite stock phrase was: “you have a room and garden full of toys and games, if you cannot find something among that lot, then maybe you need to consider giving them to charity so that someone else can use them?”  Worked every time!
  1. Turn routine tasks into a game. For example, everyone has to eat so do homemade pizzas and get the children involved with making dough (if you are brave enough!), cutting up vegetables and preparing all the toppings.  See who can come up with the best face or pizza combination.  Dog walks can become adventure/nature trails – building a camp or finding different plants etc.  Entertainment and tasks all done in one go!  Plus, your children are learning to take responsibility and contribute to the household tasks.
  1. Give your children a budget for activities so that they learn the cost of things and how to manage money. It’s never to early to set your children up for good spending habits.  Make sure they allow for the peripheries as well.  So, if they want a day out to a theme park, are they going to want to eat food there or buy souvenirs? – they need to factor this in and decide if they want a packed lunch instead to allow for another activity.  For younger children, write up a list of costs related to their selections and for older children, encourage them to go off and do the research and bring their findings to you.
  1. Sit down as a family before the holidays and discuss what all of you want to do. If you need some time for yourself or to devote to a project/work, say so.  This helps everyone see that they are individuals with their own needs and encourages cooperation and empathy.  By having this discussion, everyone is aware of each other’s wants and needs and these can all be factored in accordingly.  Drawing up a plan also helps give a visual representation of where time is being spent so that everyone can see and appreciate that they are being accommodated.
  1. Remember that downtime is as important as being active. Your kids work hard at school and their brains and bodies need time to switch off.  If they don’t learn this now then how will they learn to relax when they are adults?  It doesn’t have to mean endless (or mindless) TV time but a great film here or there is a great wind down.  Encourage reading, doing jigsaws or whatever your child likes to do as a way of relaxing.

Holidays are a great way to connect with your children and do not have to cost the earth or be an endless cycle of stimulus.  The holidays are about family and as you are part of that family, this means you can also kick back and relax or take time out for you.

And if like me, you are not very inventive at coming up with new games or adventures, there are plenty of books or websites to help you along.

So, make a decision now to make the school holidays something you look forward to, guilt free and fun all round!

If you have found this useful and would love more strategies on how to create a life outside of being ‘mum’, check out my book, Beyond the school gate – When being mum is not enough.

Otherwise, sign up for the occasional newsletter or pop over and say ‘hi’ on Facebook or Instagram.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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