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Monthly Archives: October 2017

Small business chat update – Annabelle Beckwith

Small business chat update – Annabelle Beckwith

Here’s a lovely update with my friend Annabelle Beckwith of the consultancy, learning and development organisation, Yara Journeys. I’ve known Anna since our very first day at university, and now here we are, both running our own businesses, me working on my own and interacting with almost all of my clients remotely, Anna out there interacting, training, facilitating and helping people to grow. I first interviewed Anna in 2012 and again in May 2013, September 2014 and February 2016. Her goal has always been to keep growing personally and in her business, and she’s also been working on side projects such as books and online materials. Let’s see how she’s doing now …

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

Yes and no: I’m still writing and delivering training programmes and travelling the world, but I’m now focused on productising my knowledge. I’m writing a book and setting up a branch of my website to sell training products and business games and scenarios

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I’ve grown a LOT in the last year in a personal development sense. I’ve realised that there’s more I can do if I just push myself out of my comfort zone a bit, so that’s what I’m doing. I’ve also realised that I don’t want to grow a huge company which I them have to ‘manage’ – I enjoy working with a range of colleagues and associates from project to project, so I’m going to carry on doing that, rather than succumb to the pressure of being an employer.

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

I’ve learned a lot about mindset and about finding one’s purpose and following that, rather than trying to plan life to the nth degree (and it never plays out that way anyway) In some respects I wish I’d figured this out years ago – on the other hand, if I’d come across the people and information and learning that have come my way this year, I’d have missed them because I wouldn’t have been ready to learn, if that makes sense!

Any more hints and tips for people?

INVEST in your own personal development. And do it properly – not just a few piecemeal workshops here and there or freebies from the local business enterprise agency. Invest in YOU because that’s who’s driving your freelance business!

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

I’ll still be writing and delivering programmes and travelling – but I’d like to be speaking at more events…and of course my book will be finished and my online business will be up and running

It’s always a difficult decision when you get good and well-known and then you need to choose how to grow. I’m like Annabelle, I don’t want to become an employer, and I don’t even contract work out or work in partnerships and collaborations myself – although, to be fair, that’s easier to manage when you’re in the training and development field than editing and transcription. I’m sure Anna’s chosen the right path, and I’m looking forward to seeing how she develops her new materials.

The Yara Journeys website can be found at www.yara-journeys.com . Anna can be contacted via email.

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 October 14, 2017 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Susannah Davda #smallbusiness

Small business chat update – Susannah Davda #smallbusiness

Welcome to the second update from shoe guru Susannah Davda from The Shoe Consultant. What does being a Shoe Consultant mean? Susannah explains: “I help people to start shoe brands in a strategic way. I also work on research, development and range planning projects for established footwear brands and retailers”. She joined in June 2015, and I interviewed her again in August 2016, this was where she wanted to be by now: “I’d like to take on more consultancy clients, grow my other services, and be taking a salary”. Lee’s see how she’s doing now!

Hello Susannah! So, are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Yes, pretty much. I’ve gained additional consultancy clients and taken on some exciting new projects. The B2B side of The Shoe Consultant is really the focus of most of my time at the moment. Regarding salary, I’m in a position to pay myself but have adopted the strategy of investing profits back into the business first. In a few months’ time, I’ll put myself on the payroll.

Sounds good. What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I’m busier than ever. Since my son started nursery in January, my workload has expanded to fill the available time and then some! I still have the same focused approach. I only work with shoe-related things, and always keep the company mission in mind: shoes should be comfortable and beautiful.

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

That persistence pays off when it come to late payments from clients. If somebody is late paying according to the due date on the invoice, don’t let it go. Just calmly explain to them that as detailed on the gov.uk website, you’ll be charging daily interest on the money owed. I had no idea I could even charge interest until an accountant friend of mine told me.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Take time away from your desk to think. Some of my best business planning is done away from my desk. Running or going for a walk is good for gaining a little perspective.

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

I would like to be in a position to be more selective about the projects I choose to work on.

I can certainly back up the idea that going for a run is good for business – it clears the head and things you’ve been mulling over can suddenly work themselves out – a bit like sleeping on a problem. It’s also good for us desk-bound people, too!

You can find The Shoe Consultant online here: www.shoeconsultant.co.uk and on Twitter and email. You can buy her new Shoe Shopping Kit on Amazon here.

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 October 7, 2017 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Mink or minke?

This Troublesome Pair was suggested to me by my friend Julia quite a while ago – thank you! I’m always open to suggestions! Oh, and do you like the new picture for these posts – now I have managed to capture all my new editions in all their glory?

So, two animal words (and I feel some more coming on, now I’ve thought of these).

A mink is a semi-aquatic carnivore which is a bit like a stoat, and is unfortunately bred for its fur. It has Eurasian and North American variants, and the word is used to describe the fur, too. I’m sad now, thinking about poor fur-farmed animals. Moving on, no arguing about the plural, because it can be mink OR minks! Shocking!

A minke is a type of whale – a rorqual whale in fact. It’s grey on top and white underneath, and apparently the name only originates from the 1930s. A rorqual whale is a baleen whale which has pleated skin on its underneath, and the group includes fin, blue and humpback whales. A baleen whale is one of the ones with the whalebone sieve in its mouth to filter food. I’m going to stop there …

You can find more troublesome pairs here, and here’s the index to them all!

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2017 in Errors, Language use

 

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Desk bikes – the Tour de Your House

Desk bikes – the Tour de Your House

My friend and colleague Laura Ripper talks about her desk bike in this interesting article.

Laura Ripper | Proofreading and copy-editing

Last Wednesday was National Fitness Day in the UK.

Keeping fit’s a doddle if you work from home, isn’t it? You start the day with yoga. Go swimming at lunchtime. On sunny days you put down your pen (or keyboard) and head to the hills for a long walk – because you’re your own boss and you can do what you want.

Hmm.

It’s not always easy to find time to exercise when you’ve got a business to run.

You might rather keep working on something you’re really enjoying. There’s only you to get the work done, so sometimes you need to keep going to meet all your deadlines. And there isn’t always enough time to go to the gym and be there to sort out [insert home repair job of your choice]. Today, for example, the plumber’s here in the morning and the electrician’s coming in the afternoon. (Stop…

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Posted by on October 3, 2017 in Uncategorized