Small business update – Yvonne Donald

Let’s say a big hello to Yvonne Donald from delicious cake company, Kake and Cupkakery. Yvonne’s first interview was in September 2012, and we had catch-ups in in October 2013 and then November 2014, January 2016 and January 2017. I’m so pleased to see Yvonne still going strong: this is where she wanted to be by now, “After all this time I finally realise my main priority is to see Kake and Cupkakery grow and flourish whether that’s online, through a store front or both. So for the year ahead I want this to be my main focus as I see Kake and Cupkakery as a brand which I would like to become stronger within the local community and Birmingham as a whole. I want to have more of a presence amongst the wedding market as I still have a little concept that I haven’t given my full attention to. And maybe look into having an app, as we all have mobiles and I think an app alongside my website might be a good idea to save customers even more time and have ease of access for ordering.. So if any fellow small techy businesses reading this can help with this, I would love to hear from you: I’m happy to give you cake …” Lots of lovely aims there, so let’s see how she’s getting on!

Hello, Yvonne, it’s lovely to chat with you again. Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
Hello! I think I can safely say it’s been a good year. Am I where I thought I would be? It’s a big yes and a little no. I’m still operating from home in my registered kitchen but a big yes regarding the business overall, as last year I wanted the business to grow and flourish and I feel that it has due to the volume of orders I am receiving.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

Well I didn’t look into the app, I basically didn’t have the time to, as I built a new website. I’ve taken a another tiny step into the wedding market as I’m getting commissions for a few more wedding cakes every year, it’s not my primary market like some cake makers but I feel I’m an all-rounder so I’m keeping one foot in the wedding camp.

The beginning of 2017 I bought a biz planner that made me take a good look at my biz from the inside out and one area which I wanted to get right was my branding, I know I have focused on this before with little tweaks here and there but this planner really made me think, as I really wanted a strong look to make me stand out in what is a very competitive market. Rebranding became an even clearer goal as in march 2017 I was chosen as Theo Paphitis (previous dragon on Dragons’ Den) #SBS (small business Sunday) winner on twitter. I had entered this many years ago and basically you tweet Theo your business and his fave 6 he retweets on a Monday. I decided to enter for the first time in years and won (wooo hooo). I got to go to a #SBS event with other winners who come from many other industries, and even got to meet him [see a photo of Yyonne and Theo on her Instagram).

My #SBS win and rebrand I feel has really helped boost my business, The decision to invest and get the job done properly to have a clear brand identity was the best decision ever, I now have a new logo, brand colours, specific fonts, brand patterns and a new website. Both of these (#SBS/rebrand) have helped propel me on to the coveted page 1 on Google for my specific search terms so I’m getting noticed on the web, resulting in increased orders.

I also took the plunge and entered the most intimidating cake competition ever, which is Cake International: people come from all over the world to enter. There are a number of categories and I entered the wedding cake category and pushed myself by using royal icing which is a medium not used that often but is creeping back in vogue. I didn’t place, but I haven’t let that deter me as the competition was fierce and standards extremely high plus it would help if I read the competition schedule properly. (Roll on November).

I also now have help with my admin regarding the everyday recording of figures etc.. I do use an accountant but my sister is kindly helping me and freeing up more of my operating time for baking, planning etc .… so she’s not exactly my first employee but kind of is.

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

This year I have learnt me time and work life balance are so very important. This area has improved a lot for me. I still continue to schedule in down time and actually managed to fit in a holiday and went alone, which was a huge personal goal of mine and I would definitely recommend. But also being much stricter with myself and allocating specific days and times for the business to operate as well as a (no compromise) day off has made me feel much calmer less frantic and more in control and more organised.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Challenge yourself often as that’s how we grow, being judged by your peers can be tough but entering competitions etc.. within your industry or outside of your industry can be very exciting and rewarding.

Don’t underestimate you’re “ME” time. If you’re not functioning 100%, your business will suffer and we are our businesses.

Your business is more than just a name or a logo: going through the design process really helped me clearly identify who my market is, so every now and then take time to do a little audit on who you are selling to, is it a good fit, are your prices right, are your products right?

Studying your social media analytics can be a great way to instantly see who is connecting with you as well who your social media is reaching.

Don’t be scared of change as it can work wonders.

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

Bigger and better that hopefully I can seriously make a move to work full-time in the business. This business is self-evolving – I plan but things never go to plan so I set myself small goals.

Within the next year ideally I want or rather need a bigger space to work, so I think for this year I either need to think of extending or looking for a separate kitchen/workshop space, but I will continue to seek out opportunities and increase sales even more.

I’m so pleased Yvonne’s been able to take some me time this year and even a holiday – a big step for a small business owner! Sometimes running your own business does take over a bit, and that’s fine, as long as it’s only sometimes. It’s so important to have space and time for you. As usual, I can’t wait to find out what Yvonne gets up to in the next year!

Twitter @Cupkakery
Phone: 07837 876604

Tags: ,

Complicated or complex?

DictionariesThis one was suggested by Neil Langley posting on my main Troublesome Pairs post.

So what is the difference between complex and complicated? Is there one?

The answer is that their meanings overlap. The main dictionaries in the US and UK (Oxford, Merriam-Webster, etc.) define complex using the word complicated, so the adjective complex means made up of many different parts, or complicated. Complicated means consisting of many interconnecting parts, or intricate. So very similar.

The noun complication moves on to describe something that makes something complicated, a complex state (there we go again) and in medical terminology, a disease or condition that is secondary to the main one but makes it worse.

Complex as a noun can mean a few more things – an interlinked system (the military-industrial complex), and then Oxford links but Merriam-Webster lists separately, a group of interlinked buildings. It also has a meaning in psychology of a group of emotionally significant but repressed ideas which cause an abnormal kind of behaviour or an abnormal state (a persecution complex), and by extension, a more pop-psych preoccupation or exaggerated reaction (I have a complex about spiders). There’s a chemical meaning to do with connections, too.

So the nouns vary, but if you’re describing something made up of lots of different things that might be a bit confusing or intricate, it can be complicated OR complex.

Having done some rooting about, I did discover this Washington Post resource claiming to delineate a difference.

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.


Tags: , , ,

Small business chat update – Amelia Wilson

Small business chat update – Amelia Wilson

It’s time for a chat with Amelia Wilson of The Editing Shop who offers copyediting, translation review and localisation services. We first met Amelia in November 2014,and had our first update in January 2016 and then in January 2017. When I asked her then where she wanted to be in a year’s time, she replied “My course will have launched! I hope to have increased and diversified my revenue streams, and to have continued to grow my audience via my blog and newsletter”. Let’s see whether those exciting things, or indeed other things, have happened …

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

No – and I’m noticing the consistency of this answer to this question! I love to plan and set goals and challenges, and meeting them is important, but I also love that working independently means being able to adapt and grow and say yes to new and unexpected opportunities that crop up along the way.

I’m involved in new, but related, areas of the industry, and even spent six weeks working in Italy teaching English to non-native children. I’m finding that my interests are diversifying, and my skills are growing and changing alongside them. To me, that’s the definition and the beauty of the freedom that comes from running our own businesses.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

What’s stayed the same are my core offerings – I still provide copyediting, translation review and localisation services, and I’m still really happy with my branding, which I put a lot of time into changing and getting just right last year. I love the work I do and I feel happy with how my business is represented and the personality it has.

A big goal for me was increasing my revenue streams, and that’s become more important as I’ve realised how effective it is. It’s sort of like spreading a wider safety under my business; if one area slows down, I know that all my eggs aren’t in the same basket, and I have other income streams to smooth over any dips in client work. This has been really helpful in avoiding the whole “feast and famine” side effect of self-employment, which is something I’m sure we’ve all been through!

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

I’ve grown in confidence in business in general, and in diversifying in particular. I think when you start, you put so much energy and focus into doing one thing really well, and I feel that I’ve got that nailed down. Having my core services as a base, I now feel better able to build, grow, and see what I can add that’s different. I don’t have to stay in one lane in my business, and I’m getting better at blending in new interests without worrying that it will detract from other things.

I don’t want to jump ahead and pinpoint anything I wish I’d known; I’m really enjoying the journey and I think that we can all read the best advice, but for it to really sink in I think it has to come from experience as you go along, as you make mistakes, and as you celebrate successes.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Say yes and figure it out later! Don’t hesitate to diverge or branch out just because it’s not necessarily something you planned to be doing. The best experiences and the best lessons – and the most fun – come right at the edge of your comfort zone.

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

Personally, I’d like to invest in professional development in the areas that are taking my interest, and find ways to blend this into my business and my services and products. I love that deep learning about my own interests can be rewarding not only to me, in terms of growing my business, but also to my clients and the community I serve. It’s the biggest privilege of self-employment.

In a year’s time, hopefully I’ll have had the opportunity to dig deep, expand my knowledge, and find ways to reflect my growing skillset in my business.

I completely agree with Amelia’s point about diversifying. Like her, I’m not just an editor, in fact, a lot of the time I’m doing more transcription than anything else right now, and, indeed, when I branched out into that area originally, I was very much at the edge of my comfort zone (or back in a very old audio-typing one!). I have customers around the world and in different fields, plus a small income from my books, which helps keep things safe and even.

Amelia’s website is The Editing Shop and you can find her on Twitter @editingshop.

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. 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. 

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 24, 2018 in Business, Small Business Chat


Tags: ,

How do I know when Track Changes is turned on? Word 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016

This article quickly explains how you know when track changes is turned on.

Do also read these articles to find out more about track changes: what Track Changes is, why we use it and where to find it, and how to customise Track Changes to suit our own preferences and learned how to work with a document that has Tracked Changes.

We turn on track changes to make sure that whoever else is using the document can see what changes (additions, deletions, moving text) we have made in the text. If you are working with an editor, they will typically turn track changes on so you can see what they have suggested. When my clients send me back amendments to a text they’re working on, I ask them to turn track changes on so I can see easily what they have done to the document.

How do I know when track changes is turned on in Word 2007 and Word 2010?

Word 2007 and Word 2010 look a bit different from later versions.

When track changes is turned on, you will see the button highlighted in orange:

This means that every change you make will be displayed in Word and other people will be able to see them if they have the correct view in their version of Word.

If the button is white, like the rest of the area, track changes it not turned on.

How do I know when track changes is turned on in Word 2013 and Word 2016?

Word 2013 and Word 2017 look different and the highlighting is more difficult to see, in my opinion.

When track changes is turned on, you will see the button highlighted in blue-grey:

This means that every change you make to the document will be displayed in Word and other people will be able to see them if they have the correct view in their version of Word.

When track changes is off, the button will be white, like the rest of the area.

If you want highlighting to be in a different colour, you will need to change the theme, and that’s for another article!

This article has taught you how to check whether you have track changes turned on in your Word document. See the links below for more track changes articles.

If you have found this article useful, please share or “like” it using the buttons below, or leave me a comment to tell me what you think. Thank you!

This is part of my series on how to avoid time-consuming “short cuts” and use Word in the right way to maximise your time and improve the look of your documents.

Please note, these hints work with versions of Microsoft Word currently in use – Word 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016 all for PC. Mac compatible versions of Word should have similar options. Always save a copy of your document before manipulating it. I bear no responsibility for any pickles you might get yourself into!

Relevant articles on this website

Track changes 1 – why use it, where can you find it, what can you do with it?

Track changes 2 – customising Track Changes

Track changes 3 – working with a document with tracked changes

How do I accept one reviewer’s changes?

Why are my tracked changes changing colour?



Tags: , , , , , , ,

Small business chat update – Jane Badger

Small business chat update – Jane Badger

Hello this morning to Jane Badger from Jane Badger proofreading and editing (and she’s a writer, too!). Jane’s been with the interview series for a while now: we first chatted in November 2013 and updated for the first time in December 2014 when she’d gone full time with her editing work. After another update in January 2016 , we caught up most recently in February 2017, and at that point, this is where she wanted to be by now: “I’m hoping to have some local clients. The SfEP courses I did were really worthwhile, and my plan is to work on upgrading to advanced membership through doing more training courses, looking in particular at developing my editing skills. I will get the rights back to Heroines on Horseback, my book on pony books, later this year, so am investigating how I’m going to proceed with that. Whatever I do, it will be a steep learning curve, so I’m looking forward to that. The Society of Authors runs workshops on e-book publishing, so I’m planning on doing one of those.” Let’s see how she’s getting on …

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

I do have some local clients, though there’s still more work to be done there.

I have done some of the training towards Professional membership of the SfEP (and passed the copy-editing exam, to my relief), but still need to do another course. I have an editing course run by the Publishing Training Centre in my sights. That is the one thing I need to do to upgrade as I have all the other requirements.

I was slightly side-tracked as I also did practical and theory exams in singing. They went well, thankfully, and I shan’t have to do any more music theory unless I find a sudden deep, burning desire to do so and can persuade my singing teacher that it will not be agony for us both. On balance, I think I’ll stick to the practical side.

I went to the Society of Authors workshop on e-book publishing, which was excellent – I can highly recommend. I also did one of their social media workshops, which was also very well worth doing, as it focused on doing things from an author’s point of view.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I have even more corporate work, which wasn’t quite the plan, but I’m going with it for the moment while I sort out the publishing side.

I’ve started up a local branch of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, which has been really good. It’s got me out of the house, for one thing, I’ve met some lovely people, and have learned a lot about both proofreading and self-publishing.

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

I’ve learned a lot on how to produce an e-book, and the differences between producing one that is fiction and one that is non-fiction (basically – pictures. The more pictures you have, the more Amazon charge you to upload, with a corresponding effect on your profit margin. I’m still experimenting with this). That and the cover are the last things I need to sort out with Heroines on Horseback, and then it’s off to beta readers with it to test out how it works on various devices.

I outsourced the design of my new pony book encyclopaedia website. I’m glad I did this, as design is not one of my strengths, but the project has not been problem-free. I’m still waiting for a major glitch to be worked out, as my plan was (and is) to launch the new website and the new version of Heroines on Horseback at the same time.

On the blogging front, I learned that a Buzzfeed-type blog post that I wrote in ten minutes managed 4,000 views in a couple of days. The carefully crafted post I did on railway women and horses, which took weeks to research, has 2,500 views. I guess I’ve learned that a balance of things is a good idea! And that all the years of research I’ve done into the horse does mean that I can pull something together very quickly. And that doing so does seem to produce something people want to read.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Don’t be afraid to try something new, having thought out the implications.

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

I hope I’ll have managed to get Heroines on Horseback back out into the world, and the new website, too! It’s frustrating to be so close but have to rely on other people to achieve what I want. But balanced against that is the fact that the end result will be much better than anything I could have done on my own.

I’m also hoping that I’ll have been able to focus on new writing. My plan for this year is to do less corporate and editing work for other people and carve out more time for me to write. It’s so very easy to do stuff for other people which pays within weeks rather than spend the time doing my own stuff, the payoff for which is months, if not years, down the line!

So, I’m hoping that I will have an income stream from my books, have a sensible plan to develop it further, and have acquired a couple more clients.

I love Jane’s sensible Top Tip – do it, but think about it first, in essence. And I can empathise with her blog post findings – one of my most popular posts is still the very first one I jotted down to remind myself how to sort something out! I did go back and add more text and screenshots, but it’s funny how something I did for myself ended up helping thousands of other people! I do hope that this time next year I can share links on where to buy the new Heroines on Horseback (it’s a great book – I have an original copy): good luck to Jane with that final push!.

Find Jane’s website at

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. 

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 10, 2018 in Business, Small Business Chat


Tags: ,

Hassock or cassock?

Hassock or cassock?

Inspired by a good friend sharing a photo of her husband and their son in matching church choir garb, in this article I’m covering a bit of an ecclesiastical theme. Now I’m wondering if everywhere around the world even has both of these things – maybe some non-UK people will let me know in the comments …

A cassock (a word which probably comes from Turkish, through Italian and French: thank you, Oxford Dictionaries) is a long article of clothing which is worn by some members of the Christian clergy and members of church choirs (not all wear them, but you’ll recognise it when you see it).

A hassock is a little cushion that you kneel on in church: you find them in the pews and choir stalls, often decorated in tapestry by church members. Interestingly, in America it also refers to a footstool – so does this indeed mean other countries don’t have the classic hassocks in their churches? The second meaning is a clump of grass or other plants found in marshy ground – I always thought that was a tussock and now I feel another Troublesome Pair coming on …

So, don’t get your hassocks and cassocks mixed up, or you might be insufficiently clad and kneeling on something far less comfortable than it should be.

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

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 8, 2018 in Errors, Language use, Troublesome pairs



How do I move text using my Navigation pane in Word? How do I reorder the headings?

If you have set up Headings styles in your Word document, you can use the Navigation pane to move sections around the document without having to use cut-and-paste and endless scrolling. This article tells you how.


Note that this only works if you have applied headings styles to your document, i.e. marked your headings as Heading 1, Heading 2, etc. (see information on how to do this here).

How do I access the Navigation pane?

Please see this article with screen shots if you need help viewing the Navigation pane:

Press Control-F


View tab, tick the box next to Navigation Pane Show

How do I use the Navigation pane to move text?

You can use the Navigation pane to move all of the text under one heading. If you choose a heading with sub-headings, all of the text in the sub-headed sections will also move.

First, click on the heading for the text you want to move:

You can see that you will navigate to that heading in the document itself.

Then keep left mouse button clicked down and drag the heading up or down the list of headings (it will scroll automatically if you reach the top or bottom). A black line will appear at the insertion point:

When you’ve got the heading where you want it, let go of the mouse button to drop it into position. The whole of the text under that heading (including the text under any sub-headings) will have now moved:

This article has taught you how to move text under headings using the Navigation pane in Word. I hope you’ve found this article useful. Do please add a comment or use the sharing buttons below if you have found it useful or interesting. Thank you!

Other useful articles on this blog

Applying Heading Styles

How to Access the Navigation Pane

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 31, 2018 in Word, Writing


Tags: , , , ,