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Monthly Archives: May 2016

Small business chat update – Anastasia Bird

Small business chat update – Anastasia Bird

Welcome to another Small Business Update – today a quick chat with Anastasia Bird, now running Virtual Bird, previously of Jellybean Gifts, who had had a sudden change of direction last time we spoke to her in April 2015 (our previous chats were in March 2014 and March 2013). This time last year, all she hoped for in the year ahead was that it would be … “The same! It’s idyllic,” which is a lovely thing to hear, isn’t it!

Hello again, Anastasia! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Yep! Only more successful, turning a decent profit, I now have 4 staff that work under the Virtual Bird name, my first E-Book was published late last year and that’s taken off really well. It couldn’t be better really!

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

Nothing specific, things are growing as expected but nothing of note that has changed or stayed the same other than growth.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

I’ve learned A LOT, different techniques, time management and stuff that improves my way of working.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Reach out if you need help, you can grow your business even if you need a kick in the right direction.

BONUS NEW QUESTION: What question would YOU like to ask other small business owners?

What’s the hardest part about running your business?

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

Well, on exactly this date in a years time I’ll be getting married!! So in the meantime I guess just keep growing as Virtual Bird has been growing so far!

I’m so glad to see that Anastasia’s change of direction has paid off – she took an issue with her physical ability to do her old job and capitalised on the organisational abilities that she’d picked up while doing it. Fair play to her – and best of luck with the wedding planning, too!

Anastasia’s new website for Virtual Bird is at www.virtualbird.co.uk and you can also find her on Twitter and Facebook. You can find the link to her e-book at the bottom of her web page.

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2016 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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How do I flip a column in Excel 2007, 2010 and 2013?

In this article, I’m going to explain how to flip a column in Excel 2007, 2010 or 2013 (using screen shots from Excel 2013). Flip a column is what I searched for – you might have asked how to reverse a column or put a column in reverse order.

Note: I was a bit surprised by the solution to this one, but I’ve asked the experts and it is the only way to do this. If you have a better and simpler way (that doesn’t involve macros or coding) please pop a comment on this article or contact me!

Why would I want to put a column in reverse order?

I’m doing my accounts at the moment. I have a spreadsheet of my bank transactions which runs from the newest at the top to the oldest at the bottom. My list of invoices runs from the oldest at the top to the newest at the bottom. If I want to compare them, I want them to both be the same way around, but I need the bank transactions to be in exactly the same order, just the other way around.

Will using Data > Sort flip my column?

The usual way to change the order of columns in Excel is to use the Data > Sort function. However, if you sort by transaction date, it won’t necessarily sort it into the same order the other way around.

For example, we have a set of bank transactions which I’ve named in alphabetical order down the client column to make it easier to see what happens next:

1 spreadsheet

If I highlight all of the columns, go to the Data tab and choose to sort by date, older to newer, I get this result, which is NOT in exact reverse order:

1a spreadsheet sorted by date

So, what’s the solution? I was a bit surprised when I searched and searched for the answer, but it is the only way to do it …

So, how do I flip my columns so they’re in exact reverse order?

To do this, we need to create an extra column to sort by, and then reverse sort by that rather than date or any other column.

First, create a new column called sort and fill it with numbers from 1 to whatever your total number of rows is:

2 sort column

Expert tip: rather than typing these numbers manually, if you have a lot of rows, and to avoid errors, you can create a quick formula to insert the numbers automatically. Type 1 in the first row then the formula you can see below in the next row, where you get the F2 by clicking on the cell containing the 1:

2a sort column

Then, copy the cell with the formula (right-click, copy), highlight the rest of that column down to the last row and right-click, paste. This will give you the same effect. Note, though, when you sort by this column, the numbers will turn into rows of #####, BUT the sort will still work OK.

Once you have your additional Sort column, you are ready to reverse your columns.

Highlight all of the data and, in the Data Tab, choose Sort:

4 sort data

In the Sort Dialog Box, choose to sort by the Sort column, and from Largest to Smallest (i.e. the reverse order to its current order):

5 sort data

Press OK and hooray – your spreadsheet is sorted into exact reverse order. Just delete the now-redundant Sort column (highlight, right-click, delete):

7 delete sort column

and here’s your bank transactions in reverse order – you have flipped the column!

6 data sorted

This article has explained the (slightly surprising) way to flip the columns in an excel 2007, 2010 or 2013 spreadsheet, not using data sort, but another message. If you need to reverse the order of your columns exactly, then this is the way to do it.

If you’ve found this article helpful or if you have a better solution, please do post a comment below, and if you think others would find it useful, please share it using the sharing buttons below the article. Thank you!

Other useful posts on Excel on this blog:

How to view two workbooks side by side in Excel 2007 and 2010

How to view two pages of a workbook at the same time

How do I print the column headings on every sheet in Excel?

How to print the column and row numbers/ letters and gridlines

Freezing rows and columns in Excel – and freezing both at the same time

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2016 in Excel, Short cuts

 

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Small business chat update – Kath Kilburn

Small business chat update – Kath Kilburn

It’s Small Business Update – and today we’re chatting to Kath Kilburn from wool shop from Three Bags Full, who has been running her wool shop business for a while but has had an up and down time of it recently with her bricks-and-mortar shop. We first met Kath in June 2014, and updated in May 2015, when things were looking very uncertain – in fact, I wasn’t sure I was going to get an update at all this year, and am very pleased to hear that Kath is persisting with the business. These were her thoughts this time last year: “Well, I hope that in a year’s time we’ll be back in our old location welcoming customers old and new; we’re currently waiting to hear the terms and conditions the new owners of our old building will offer returning traders. So, for us it’s make or break time – next year we could be back in business and enjoying a boom time or we could be operating online only or we could be retired. At the moment we really can’t call it. We’re living in interesting times.” Let’s see how she’s getting on …

Hello again, Kath. So, are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

No, sadly, we’re not at all where we thought we would be. We thought we’d now be settling into our old building after its refurbishment. However, the new owners have brought in new terms and conditions, such as mandatory 7 day opening, (impossible for cash-strapped sole traders!), which have made it impossible for many of the original traders to return. So as the lease on our interim premises ends this month, we’ve closed the doors and are currently trading mostly online.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

Our way of trading has changed to mostly online, altho’ we’ll have a table in the Old Bank foyer the first Saturday of each month and will continue to attend craft fairs with knitted garments etc. I did float the idea of selling locally on a party-plan basis but didn’t get a massive response. I might suggest that again when the winter approaches – I think it could be fun. What’s stayed the same is our commitment to offering a great and speedy service to all our customers with exemplary customer care.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

If I’d known from the start that we couldn’t return to The Piece Hall then I’d have taken different premises during the refurbishment period. We went into The Old Bank thinking it was somewhere the business could tick over while the refurb took place. It’s certainly a beautiful building, but it’s not best placed for long-term success or building up a clientele, as it still looks like a bank from the outside. More generally, the whole process of having a shop has opened my eyes to many things connected to the psychology of buying – the main one being that people seem to really like the idea of getting a bargain when there’s a short-term promotion on, even tho’ that bargain might cost more than another shop’s constant price. I’ll never understand that!

Any more hints and tips for people?

Try to position your shop where you can attract both tourists and locals. We have a loyal band of local customers but we’ve really missed the tourist trade this last couple of years. Wool’s such a specialist, minority interest that you need a really big customer base to make it work. Also, make sure you remember during the more remunerative colder months that trade will probably be very slow during the summer and allow for that financially.

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

At the moment it’s really difficult to say. We’ll be doing some SEO work on the website to make it more visible and adjusting the lines we have on offer and see how it goes from there. Watch this space!

There’s nothing I can do except wish Kath the best of luck and urge you all to share details of her online shop. I really hope she manages to keep things going, but her persistence so far strongly suggests that she will. Good luck, Kath!

You can find Kath’s website at www.threebagsfulluk.com and call her on 07941133155 or email her if you want to get in touch, and read her e-book, “So You’d Like to Open a Wool Shop…“.

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2016 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Glossaries for transcription: What, why, when and how?

Glossaries for transcription: What, why, when and how?

It’s sometimes useful for and sometimes imposed upon a transcriber to use a glossary. What is a glossary, why would you use one, when should you use one and how do you use one?

What is a transcription glossary?

In my opinion, a good transcriber is an accurate transcriber. They look things up rather than sticking down the first thing they (think they) hear. When I’m transcribing, I always have some kind of reference resource open, whether that’s Google, the subject’s website, Wikipedia or something specific like discogs for looking up band and album information.

A glossary is a list of technical or subject-specific words or phrases which appear regularly in (usually a long series of) transcriptions. It helps you to avoid having to look things up more than once. The glossary acts as a reference for you, so you need only look up, say, the place the subject was born or the names of her children once, note them down, then have them to hand when they crop up again. It’s like a style sheet in many ways.

You might also be given a glossary as part of a corporate transcription project – this will happen where (usually) a company requires you to use certain specific terminology or acronyms in your transcription. I always ask for one of these at the start of a big corporate project, as it saves annoying the company by (for example), typing Park Run throughout the transcription rather than parkrun [that’s a completely invented example; I’ve never transcribed anything about parkrun].

Why should I use a transcription glossary?

As I said above, a good transcriber will look stuff up. If you’ve got a series of transcriptions, for example a set of interviews for a ghostwriter, a set of lectures about a particular topic or a set of tester interviews for a cosmetics company, it makes sense to keep a note of specific or technical terms and phrases. For example, if someone’s made a number of YouTube films, having a list of them is easier than looking it up each time.

Using the glossary will save time, as instead of looking up your subject’s children’s names three times, you’ll look it up once, note it down once, then cast your eyes over your glossary next time.

Of course, as I also mention above, you might be asked to use a glossary (or word list, or list of terms) by your client – usually a corporate client.

When should I use a transcription glossary?

There’s no point in putting together a glossary for a one-off interview or other transcription job. These are some examples of when I’ve used glossaries [these are disguised due to NDAs]

  • working for a ghostwriter writing a book about an entertainer – place of birth, film-making colleagues and YouTube video titles were all checked and written down
  • working for a marketing agency testing lipsticks with a panel – lipstick colour names, technical terms to do with lipsticks and general cosmetics terms
  • working for a student researching attitudes to perfumes – technical perfume terms, companies making perfumes and perfume names
  • working for a financial company taking down lectures and discussions, I was given a list of technical terms and acronyms to use

How do I put together a transcription glossary?

I have a Word document open alongside the one in which I’m typing my transcription. As I look up a name or term, I pop it on the list. I will usually divide up the list by people, places, albums, etc.

I then keep both documents open, so I can see the glossary as I’m typing, which means I can just flick my eyes across to the glossary when the interviewee says “Mytholmroyd”, I know how to spell it or indeed what they’re saying [apologies to anyone from there].

This article has explained what a transcription glossary is and when, why and how you might find one useful in your work as a transcriber.

If you’ve found this article useful, please do comment below – I always love to hear from my readers! There are sharing buttons there, too, so you can share this on whatever social media platforms you use. Thank you!

Other useful articles on this blog

How do you start a career in transcription? – are you suited for it?

The professional transcriber – the technology you need

10 top tips for transcribers – what every new transcriber needs to know

Why do you need human transcribers, anyway? – I explain why!

Keyboards, ergonomics and RSI – the risks and keeping safe

Transcribing multiple voices – hints to make it easier

Why do transcribers charge by the audio minute? – explains it all

My book, Quick Guide to your Career in Transcription is available in print and online

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2016 in Business, Transcription, Word

 

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Small business chat update – Mel Carpenter

Small business chat update – Mel Carpenter

We’re welcoming the always energetic Mel Carpenter back to the blog today – she is an exercise and fitness guru with her current businesses being Cardio Central, The Health Carpenter, The Mummy Trainer and B3 Boot Camp. We first met Mel in February 2013 and then updated in February 2014 and March 2015. At that point, her goal for the next year was, “I hope for my husband to be working for the businesses we have full time (he still has a day job at the moment and that’s tough) and to be the go to company for brands, for all things fitness!” Fitness is a trend-led business area in many ways, and Mel is constantly having to keep up and readjust her plans, so let’s see what she’s been up to in the past year!

Hello, again, Mel! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago (I bet you’re not – in a good way!)?

No! Life is constantly changing for me and I tend to go with the flow if the diversion feels right. I’m a great believer in gut instinct and its served me well so far!

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I’m no longer a trainer for the Clubbercise Brand but I am still quite involved with them. I still teach classes and I still run the printing company that my husband and I launched when we last spoke (it’s doing really well still)!

I’m currently working on my own fitness concept, I launched it a few weeks ago and have had resounding success! I’m now working on turning the class into a teacher-training programme.

I also write a fitness column for my local paper and have been featured in several high-profile fitness publications, both online and in print!

My blog, The Health Carpenter is doing pretty well, although I don’t blog as often as I should and I’m in the process of shaping another blog called The Mummy Trainer.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

How much studying I was going to be doing! I am finally training to be a PT (my exam is in June) but I am now a Pre/Post Natal Specialist, a Children’s Fitness Instructor and a Gym Instructor (passed my exam on Saturday)!

I’ve also learnt to have more faith in my abilities as an instructor and a creator of programs. The programme I launched a couple of weeks ago was simple in its format but took elements of different programmes/experience that I’ve gained in the Fitness Industry, it’s going really well, I couldn’t be happier!

Any more hints and tips for people?

Try, try and try again! If we were successful at everything we tried the first time, the world would be a pretty boring place with no challenges! Don’t be scared to do something that scares you!

BONUS NEW QUESTION: What question would YOU like to ask other small business owners?

What motivated you/kept you going when things seemed too difficult to continue?

I think everyone should ask themselves that question as I think the answer makes you realize how hard you are willing to work to reach your goals!

I wish someone had asked me that a few years ago, it wasn’t until I had my children that I realised that everything I do, I do for them!

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

With a Teacher Training programme that’s up and running and providing me with an income! I’m still planning on opening that studio and I would love for it to be next year as I turn 40!

I love Mel’s updates, she’s always so busy looking at new ventures and helping others and her family. Her business development is a real contrast to some of the more fixed work areas – like mine – but it’s ALWAYS good to keep looking at what you and others are offering and making sure you’re staying current, or optimising your work flow (I’ve recently started working with a couple more ghostwriters, which gives me large chunks of work with longer deadlines and more control over my days). We wish Mel every success in the year she works up to turning 40 – I wonder what she’ll be doing this time next year!

All those websites …

www.cardiocentral.co.uk
www.thehealthcarpenter.co.uk
www.themummytrainer.co.uk
www.b3bootcamp.co.uk

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2016 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Nicole Y. Adams

Small business chat update – Nicole Y. Adams

Welcome to another Small Business Update, this time with Nicole Y. Adams of NYA Communications, who works primarily in editing and translating PR and marketing materials. We first met Nicole in November 2012 and then had updates in December 2013 and January 2015. At that point, when asked where she wanted to be in a year’s time, she replied “I’m not expecting any major changes. I’m perfectly happy with where my business is at the moment, and I’m hoping to continue in the same vein”. It’s always lovely to hear from overseas friends, and Nicole’s our furthest away from Libro Towers, being based in Australia. Let’s hear how she’s doing …

Hello again, Nicole. So, are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Yes, absolutely. Nothing has changed. I’m still enjoying the freelance life and am grateful for it every day. I’m blessed with a solid client base, I love my clients and the variety of my work, and I find it very fulfilling.

Hooray! What has changed and what has stayed the same?

Come to think of it, one thing has changed: I removed myself completely from social media (for professional purposes) more than a year ago and haven’t looked back. I was never a natural social media user and always found that, among certain circles at least, it is full of idle chit-chat and the same topics are being rehashed time and time again. I was getting quite bored by a handful of characters in my industry just blowing their own trumpet over the various social media all the time, plus I kept seeing a lot of self-promotion and open ridiculing of clients, and I have absolutely no time for that.

Oh, and I’ve taken up baking! 😉

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

I wish I hadn’t jumped on the social media bandwagon just because it was the ‘in’ thing to do at the time. I should have listened to my gut instinct and stayed away from it, as I’m a very private person and certainly no extrovert. I much prefer personal connections with fellow professionals and one-on-one conversations.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Pretty much the same as last year. Be yourself and stay true to your own nature – and make sure your business reflects that. Don’t force yourself to engage in things you may, deep down, consider silly or against your nature (social media perhaps?), but be bold enough to pull the plug and do what you feel is right for you and your business, not what people around you tell you you should do, no matter how loud they may shout! And look after yourself: try to make time for an activity each day that you enjoy, be it exercise, yoga, meditation or arts and crafts, and stay healthy!

BONUS NEW QUESTION: What question would YOU like to ask other small business owners?

How do you manage to maintain a healthy work/life balance? Do you have any secret tips, or links to articles or videos you can recommend?

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

In exactly the same place! 😉

This was so interesting. My social media presence does come and go a bit, and I’d certainly run a mile from any places where clients were being ridiculed – my main social media rule is, “Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t be happy shouting in the middle of your local town centre,” and maybe I’d better add to that, “or in front of your biggest client”! I’m pleased that Nicole has reached such a happy and balanced place in her freelance career, and is confident enough not to do things she doesn’t want to, and I hope things continue to run in that vein for her!

You can visit Nicole’s redesigned website at www.nyacommunications.com and you can of course email her. She’s on LinkedIn, and has a Facebook page.

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2016 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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12 things I learned from the Great Computer Crash of April 2016

deskI have automated back-ups that keep a copy of my work every day. I have a system in place for if my computer fails. I thought I had it all covered, and I almost did – but this is what I learned when my hard drive suddenly crashed in somewhat epic fashion one week last month, followed by another, more catastrophic crash of the cobbled-together system I was working on while plucking up the courage to move to my new computer. I thought it might help other people – do share your tips in the comments!

1. Check your back-ups are working

It’s great to have back-ups running, but do check periodically that they are running.

2. If you have two back-up systems, one immediately accessible, one not, it is the accessible one that will fail

Therefore, be prepared to have a short time without your data before whoever it is that can access your back-up can do so.

3. Have a reserve computer of some kind

Don’t assume you will be able to use your computer after a crash. I had my laptop as my reserve; I would now be using my old computer as a reserve, if I hadn’t broken in.

4. If you have a reserve computer, run maintenance on it every few weeks

That way, when you come to use it in a panic (see 5), it won’t be wanting to do 5,000,000 updates and will have a wi-fi connection that works more quickly than wading through mud.

5. Crashes aren’t predictable but you can predict one thing …

They won’t happen when you have three weeks with not much work on. They will come when you have a busy week. If it crashes twice, that will be in two busy weeks and might make you miss a theatre trip.

6. There is no good time to move to a new computer, but do it as soon as you can

If you get a new computer but you’re baulking on swapping over to it, make yourself do it as soon as you can. Doing that “one last thing” before I moved over was when my second and worse crash – the one that lost data – happened.

7. Always be ahead with your work deadlines

This saved me, just. I lost two half-days but was able to salvage my work. I will even more strive to work ahead of myself.

8. Don’t get so hyper-vigilant that you stress yourself out

I had a separate special folder for all the work I’d done since the crash, on an external hard drive, for far too long, out of fear. That’s the same fear that stopped me moving to the new computer.

9. If you have to upgrade to Windows 10, it’s easier to do on a whole new machine

One positive: I ended up on Windows 10 by default, as my new computer has it. Much less stressful than having to do an upgrade on your current computer.

10. Keep a list of what software you use regularly

Not everything you’ve downloaded, but when setting up a new computer or restoring things from a crash, you might well need this in order to get going quickly.

11. Keep all your access codes, software licences etc. in one handy, easy to find place

I’m not suggesting you write down all your passwords – you can use a system like LastPass if that’s feasible for you, but all those codes and licences, etc. might be needed when reconstituting your computer – keep them somewhere sensible, like a special folder in your email.

12. Have a disaster plan; review the plan; keep everything for the plan up to date

It will happen to you: don’t think it won’t. Keep reviewing that plan. For example, I’m reviewing how I back up my files, although I have contracts in place that don’t allow me to store data in The Cloud.

These are the things I learned. Anything particularly helpful there? Anything to add? I’d love it if you popped your words of wisdom into a comment.

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Business, Errors, Organisation

 

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