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What should I write in my first blog post?

What should I write in my first blog post?

Over the years on this blog I’ve shared all sorts of advice about how to set up your blog, the advantages of blogging, top tips for newbies at blogging, etc. But a client asked me a very good question recently: “What should I write my first blog post about?”

Now, it’s very tempting to write your first blog post about yourself, introducing yourself and your expertise. You want your readers to trust you, right?

Well, I think more than that, you want your blog posts to help you to be FOUND.

My first blog post on this blog was this one: Introduction (on 14 October 2009). How many hits has that had? Not many. In fact, I didn’t have many hits at all those first few years – because I was just talking about myself and what I did, yes, sharing loads of keywords, but not really talking about what I could do to help people.

On 6 November 2011, I had a terrible problem with a Word document. It was sent to me by someone else and all the comment balloons were teeny-tiny and unreadable. I found out what to do to sort it out and thought, “Hm, I’d better make a note of what I did”. So I created a new blog post, called it What to do if your comment boxes go tiny in Word, and at that point, I just wrote a list of the steps I’d taken. None of the fancy screen shots that festoon this and other posts nowadays.

But what happened? People had always been searching that question, and now they started to find my blog. People STILL find that article and find it helpful today! Just today, at the time of typing this, 41 of the views of my blog  have been of that post. Over 23,000 views in the last 365 days. It’s consistently in the top 10 of viewed posts. Still.

So if you want to start blogging for your business, your recipes, your book reviews, I recommend that you start your blog with an informative, useful post that will help people (buy a greenhouse / cook a nice meal / find a new book to read).

Where should all the stuff saying how trustworthy, knowledgeable and generally amazing you are go? In your About Me page. If someone finds something useful on your blog, they might well click on that, have a look and even get in touch to order services or products from you.


In this article I’ve shared my ideas and experience around what to write in your first blog post. If you’ve found this useful, please share using the buttons below, or leave me a comment!

Other useful articles on this blog

Top tips for newbie bloggers

10 reasons to start a blog

10 reasons NOT to write a blog

Top 10 blogging sins

Scheduling blog posts and keeping going

Five ways to drive and increase engagement with your blog

How to keep people engaged with your blog

 

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2018 in Blogging, Business

 

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Small business chat update – Tammy Ditmore

Small business chat update – Tammy Ditmore

Welcome back to Small Business Chat Saturday! I’ve had a bit of a hiatus over the Festive Period here in the UK, as my site visits go down and it doesn’t seem fair to give an interviewee less exposure just because they’ve come to the top of the list at a time when everyone else is busy! So we’re back today with Tammy Ditmore, who has an editing business with an inspired name – eDITMORE Editorial Services! We first met Tammy in June 2012, and had update chats in June 2013, August 2014, September 2015 and most recently, November 2016. Of course I take a special interest in other editors’ lives and work, and I was interested to see how things panned out this year, as Tammy’s resolution last time we spoke was this: I really hesitate to answer this question. I am once again reconsidering what kinds of clients I really want to work with and how to attract those clients. So let’s just say that I hope I will continue to be busy and continue to have opportunities to do work that I enjoy.” Read on to find out how she’s been getting on.

Hello again, Tammy, and a wave from over the ocean! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Hello! Not exactly. I have had fewer clients this year than in years past, and my calendar for the coming months is uncomfortably light at the moment [as of late November].

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I’ve still got many of my long-time clients, but I have had fewer big projects this year. Part of that has been my own making; I scheduled more vacation breaks this year than I normally do because I had some opportunities to travel that I simply couldn’t turn down. But I also had to take off time unexpectedly to help my mother, who lives in another state. I had to turn away some potential clients for a while, and I wound up giving discounts to some other clients because I was not able to finish their work as quickly as I had expected. Now that I’m home and in a more stable place, I’ve had fewer projects for the past month or so than I typically do.

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

That I can’t always meet my promised turnaround times. Sometimes things come up that take precedence over work, and if I don’t leave myself some margins, I’m going to let someone down. I think I’m also learning that my “passive” marketing activities over the past few years apparently were working better than I thought. I spent less time this year updating my blog, being active in editorial discussion groups, going to conferences, teaching online courses, etc., and I’ve had fewer clients this year too. I have had few true dry spells in the past seven years, but I seem to be in one right now, and I have to believe it’s because I let those things slide too much.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Don’t forget to keep marketing your business!

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

If things stay slow in the new year, I will be making some concentrated efforts to contact past clients, and some new publishers, businesses, etc. I’m not panicking (yet) because I have some good ideas about which bushes to start shaking. In fact, I’m not too sad about having a little extra time to catch my breath during the holiday season–I just don’t want this slower work pace to last for too long!

I know myself how tricky unexpected events can be for the freelancer. I had an operation this last year, the worst of it being when it got postponed at fairly short notice after I’d told my regular clients when I wouldn’t be available. Right in the middle of all that, I gained two wonderful new prospective clients who I didn’t want to lose – I just had to be honest about things and give people longer deadlines than usual – and that was much easier for me because I did have some time to plan things out a little bit. That marketing that goes on in the background is important, and so is the community of editors – of course I offered to add Tammy to my list of recommended editors on my Links page on this site when I heard she was in a low patch, and hopefully that will send some enquiries her way. I love the way our community looks out for each other and I hope things will be more predictable for both of us over the coming year.

 

 

Tammy’s website is at www.editmore.com and you can of course contact her by email. She’s based in California.

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 January 6, 2018 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Liz Dexter

Small business chat update – Liz Dexter

It’s that time of the year when I review my own business. Although it looks like I did it in January this year, so it’s not a full year away – oops. But this is the quietest weekend of the year on the blog so it seems unfair to feature anyone else!  I added myself into the interview series back in December 2011, then  December 2012, December 2013, December 2014, January 2016.and January 2017.  Last year, these were my plans for the year: “I will still be running, I will have done the Birmingham Marathon and I will have supported running club mates through the training, too. I will have volunteered at parkrun or junior parkrun 100 times (you don’t get a special t-shirt for that but it’s so cool to say you’ve done it. I will have finished my self-mentoring guide to editing careers and also a transcription version. I will have continued to maintain a good work-life balance and have most weekends fully off. I will continue to work as transcriber to the ghostwriter stars and will see lots of my books on the shelves but often not be able to point them out as I’m not allowed to talk about them! I will have written up my research such that I can provide a copy to people who want it at the Iris Murdoch conference in September.” Did I achieve them all? Read on to find out …

Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

I will still be running, I will have done the Birmingham Marathon and I will have supported running club mates through the training, too. – Yes, done! I did the Birmingham Marathon and wrote a report about it on my personal blog (read it here).

I will have volunteered at parkrun or junior parkrun 100 times (you don’t get a special t-shirt for that but it’s so cool to say you’ve done it). Yes – I did this on 16 September and had a bit of a celebration.

I will have finished my self-mentoring guide to editing careers and also a transcription version. No – not yet done! Carried over to next year …

I will have continued to maintain a good work-life balance and have most weekends fully off. Yes – I did a bit less work this year and fitted it into the weeks. I had more evenings and weekends free. I did earn a bit less, but not too much. I felt better for it.

I will continue to work as transcriber to the ghostwriter stars and will see lots of my books on the shelves but often not be able to point them out as I’m not allowed to talk about them! – Yes – I saw 4 books I’d worked on in Foyles the other day!

I will have written up my research such that I can provide a copy to people who want it at the Iris Murdoch conference in September. – Yes, I got it all written up and attended the conference where I sold out of copies (read my report of the conference and see photos of me with my book here).

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

Not much has changed in my work life. I have a few more regular clients and a new one or two. I lost one magazine editing job when the agency I work for lost the contract, and also one big transcription job I used to enjoy doing, but gained a new academic transcription client and am just starting my 3rd project with her, worked with a dream client I would never have dreamed of working with, and gained a new magazine to work on.

In my personal life, I’ve taken a course in being a Level 1 Endurance official (which covers cross-country and road races) and am looking forward to getting my practical sessions in through the year so I can qualify. .

I’ve finished my research on Iris Murdoch after SEVEN YEARS and have filled the gap by starting a readalong of all 26 of her novels (read about it here). I am not doing any more academic work!

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

Things have stayed fairly solid. I wish I’d known at the beginning of the year exactly when a surgical procedure I was going to have was going to happen, so I could have planned better, but I did what I could and my clients were very understanding. I wish I’d known how recovery from that would have gone, too, but it’s all good!

Any more hints and tips for people?

Look after your mental and physical health as well as your work life. Cherish the people you care about and spend time with them. Be open to new friendships, whatever your age and life stage. Be honest and open with your clients and they will trust you and be flexible.

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

I will still be running, I will have done the Manchester Marathon in April and will continue to support runners. By the end of the year, I will have qualified as a Level 1 Endurance Official.

I will have finished my self-mentoring guide to editing careers and also a transcription version.

I will have continued to maintain a good work-life balance and have most weekends fully off.

You can find me here, of course, and also on my books website and my book reviews one for more personal stuff. Happy New Year!

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. 

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2017 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Jennifer Martin

Small business chat update – Jennifer Martin

It’s catch-up time from over the ocean with Jennifer Martin, from Zest Business Consulting. Jennifer started chatting with us in September 2014, and has contributed updates in October 2015 and October 2016. At that point, these were her plans: “I will definitely continue to offer leadership and employee training, speak to large groups, and travel all around the world teaching people in business how to spread more love in the world through the work they do and the companies they work for/ or own, starting with their own self-love and then taking the concept out through every interaction and each person they interact with. I’ve got a couple of ideas for websites I might explore that will help people connect more with one another so everyone can feel like a part of a community or family of like-minded people. I will launch my Enlightened Entrepreneurs Retreats and My Enlightened Leaders Club and finish my book, Loving Your Business to Wealth – An Enlightened Leader’s Guide to Spreading More Love in the World. And lastly I will have a ton of fun in everything that I do and allow everyday to be filled with gratitude.” How did she get on …

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

Yes and no.

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

I have continued coaching business owners, and speaking to groups, I’ve also taught entrepreneurship and personal development classes, and have worked on my book, but most of my travel has been US-based rather than overseas.

One of the biggest changes in my life is that I went from being a single person to being in a committed relationship.  So, my priorities changed a bit. I never completed my book or launched my Enlightened Leadership programs, although I did launch two new businesses: Miracle Manifestation Groups (www.MiracleManifestationGroups.com) and Cruise to Business Success, which allows me to do what I love AND make money.

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

This year I had a chance to remind myself that we all have choices and it’s okay if personal desires come before business expansion.

Any more hints and tips for people? 

Well, now I’d say, follow your heart’s desire and allow yourself the freedom to continue to evolve and allow your business to follow suit.

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

Well, I have to stick with staying focused on having fun. My new motto is “Who says you can’t mix business and pleasure?” so all my work is now centered around my joy factor and making a positive impact on the world. I hope to complete my book Loving Your Business to Wealth in 2018 and continue speaking, training, mentoring, and having fun traveling to interesting places. 2018 as my year of YES! I’m saying yes to any opportunities that allow my light to shine and allow me to have fun while making a great living.

All sounds good to me. I love this: “it’s okay if personal desires come before business expansion” – I have had moments where my own business has threatened to overwhelm me and I’ve always dialled it back and said no to a few more people when that’s happened, because I cherish being able to spend time with people and do my volunteering and sport as well as work. The fact that a good balance is essential comes through in so many of these interviews, doesn’t it!

Email Jennifer

And finally, Jennifer’s free guidebook

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 December 16, 2017 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Karen White

Small business chat update – Karen White

Welcome to another Small Business Update, and it’s a bit different this time, as Karen White, ELT editorial project manager from White Ink Limited. has made a big decision and kindly shared her story with us. I love sharing all sorts of freelance paths and I think some of us might be a little envious of this one! Karen’s been talking to Libro about her business since March 2014, and gave us an update in June 2015 and then August 2016, when her plan by now was:  “I hope that by this time next year, the third ELT Freelancers’ Awayday will have been a huge success, and that the fourth one is in the pipeline. I hope the industry will have settled down a bit, with plenty of work for everyone who needs/wants it. I hope I’m still remembering to put my desk into the stand position!” So, what happened next?

Hello, Karen. Well, you’ve got some big news for us, haven’t you! First of all, though, are you (at the moment) where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Yes, in that the third ELT Freelancers’ Awayday was a great success, with participants coming from as far afield as Canada, Greece and Spain, as well all parts of the UK. The fourth Awayday will be held at the end of January 2018 and we’ll be adding on a day of practical workshops the day before as well. (Full details here.)

Work-wise, this year has been as productive as ever for White Ink, and it seems that there is plenty of work to go around the ELT freelance community, which is good news.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

In some ways, nothing has changed. Interesting work offers continue to come in, and I still enjoy running my busy White Ink Facebook page, which continues to be somewhere freelancers can come to ask questions, discuss hot topics, find work opportunities, share tips and post the occasional photo. With my ELT Teacher 2 Writer colleagues I’m continuing to help writers get training and get published.

In other ways, everything has changed! My husband and I have decided to leave work behind and do some travelling in 2018. A number of friends have been diagnosed with serious illnesses in the last year and we realise that if we wait any longer, it might be too late to do the travelling we’ve always talked about. So, on March 16th we’ll be getting on a plane to Australia where we’ll spend a few weeks shopping for a motorhome, then plan to set off on a Big Lap. Whether we complete a lap or not, it will be an adventure! (We’ll be blogging about it here: https://thewhitewayround.wordpress.com)

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

I’ve learned that it’s good to have trusted colleagues. Although the White Ink Facebook page is just a page, it’s become a lot more than that to me and the ELT freelance community, so I was reluctant to simply close it down when I finish work at the end of the year. Fortunately, I’m leaving it in the capable hands of two fellow freelancers who I’ve known for many years. They will rebrand it and give it their own personality, and I’m sure I’ll stay tuned to it, but I’m happy to leave it with them because I know they will carry it forward.

I’m also learning that planning a big trip takes a lot of work. My husband has already finished work and has applied for visas, booked accommodation and started planning our route, but there’s still a lot to do in preparation for letting the house out, etc.

Any more hints and tips for people? 

There is more to life than work. Although I realise that not everyone can up sticks and head off to the other side of the world (and not everyone wants to of course), I think it’s worth taking a step back from time to time to assess your priorities and see if you can make any work-life balance changes before getting to the point when you say ‘I wish I’d done x, y and z’ and it’s too late to do anything about it.

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

On a beach in Australia!

Isn’t she brave! What an exciting thing to do! But it’s true that there IS more to life than work. I’m training to be an endurance (cross country and road race) official at the moment, which means lots of time outside, wearing gaiters and clutching a clipboard, pen that writes in the wet and whistle, a real antidote to sitting at a desk. Good luck to Karen and her husband and let’s all follow their blog!

You can visit Karen’s new blog and her Facebook page for White Ink Limited. She has a new database for ELT freelancers and runs ELT Teacher 2 Writer with colleagues.

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 December 9, 2017 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Pat Wilkes

Small business chat update – Pat Wilkes

It’s Small Business Chat update time (a bit late today, sorry!) Let’s see how Pat Wilkes from gift company Starlight Keepsakes and Gifts, (formerly Starlight Gifts by Pat) who we first met back in June 2013, then in August 2014, August 2015 and September 2016, at which point this was where she wanted to be now: “I really hope I’m in a similar position as I am now good work life balance and the business holding its own, still stocking shops and doing the odd event. Of course it would be wonderful to have more sales, as most small businesses must be thinking. Look forward to speaking to you next year.” How nice – I love that my interviewees look forward to doing these updates!

Hello again, Pat! So, are you where you thought you would be a year ago?

Hard one as I had hoped to be earning a bigger revenue but due to the financial climate this has not been possible – but most small businesses are in a similar position.

What has changed?

A couple of the shops I had stocked have closed which was a shame, but that’s the ups and downs of business. So I have had to think of other ways of getting my gifts out into the world. I have opened an Etsy shop for quieter times in the year and have just secured another stockist. I am also making new ranges which so far have been selling quite well. I haven’t been able to do events this year due to health issues and hope this will improve in the near future. I am also hoping to start up my workshops again which I do enjoy, especially seeing people’s faces when they produce something handmade that they did not think they could do.

What has stayed the same?

I am still doing two days at my day job, I still work longer hours producing stock just because I love making and enjoy every minute of it. I still stock a couple of shops and still love meeting customers and hearing what they like and what they think about what I do.

What have you learned?

Not to waste time trying to please everyone, it is impossible and I have accepted that what I love to make is not everyone’s cup of tea. Let your business head rule your hear,t something I find hard to do but I am learning that I need to have a better business head on in order to make my business a success.

What do you wish you had known a year ago?

I wish I had known that health issues would have stopped me getting out to events and been able to put energy into investigating more online sales.
It would have been nice to predict that sales would have been lower this year than last, just due to the financial climate.

Hints and Tips
I think I may have said this last year but get a good work life balance, make time to rest and recharge the batteries.

Adapt and change what you make if things are not working so that you don’t become stale. Artists and makers need to keep things fresh but still staying within their own style.

Where do you see yourself in a year’s time?

Hopefully still working my part time day job but doing workshops and continuing to stock shops and to be trying new things and of course improving my work all the time and learning.

It sounds like Pat is doing all the right things, keeping it diverse and trying new channels to sell through, too. Hopefully sales will pick up next year.

You can visit Pat’s website at www.starlightgiftsbypat.co.uk and view her products, or visit her Instagram and Facebook page. Here’s her Etsy Shop. Click to email Pat, too!

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. 

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2017 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Alison Mead

Small business chat update – Alison Mead

Hello and it’s catch-up time with Aly Mead  from Silicon Bullet. One of my original interviewees from 2011, we  caught up with her in August 2012 and again in September 2013. She had to skip a year for personal reasons in 2014 but came back in October 2015, and October 2016. At that point, here’s what she wanted to be doing by now:I’d be very happy in the next year to continue my trend from the last year. Primarily I’m looking for more people who are looking for something a bit different in life who might want a Forever Living business like my own, whether you just want to join and do it your own way, or if you need more hands-on coaching and support. I have already booked some experiences for next year, like seeing Johnny Peacock in the Para Athletics in London next July. I plan to make sure I always have something great like that to look forward to!” Let’s see how Aly is doing now …

Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Yes, I feel I am where I expected to be in my business. We have made some fantastic memories this year as a family, and I have 6 new team members on board with my Forever Business who all found me through my blog. I continue to share my expertise in bookkeeping with Sage and Xero and I’ve had some lovely new clients this last year in this side of my business too.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

My children are growing up fast, and as of January my youngest learned to drive and bought her own car. I am now not needed as a school run Mum, which has opened up my options for business networking and working, as I am not longer tied to school hours. I found at first I was a bit lost not being needed so much by the children, so I joined a networking organisation, 4 Networking, which gives you the chance to help run local meetings and really up your profile locally in business in return for membership benefits to cover the costs. The group is national and I’ve met some fabulous people both in person and online in the 4 Networking community.

I have also in the last month joined another network marketing business to promote the products alongside my Forever Living business. The new business is Magnetix Wellness, which is jewellery and other products which have magnets in them. As it has the same target market as the Forever Living products, I find it easiest to promote. It’s a fantastic feeling when you are able to help people with your products.

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

I’m learning I can’t do everything that people tell me I should be doing in my business. I am picking and choosing which advice to follow and which I leave to one side. You can’t necessarily be constantly blogging, a whizz at social media, and super organised following up all networking contacts all the time, especially when you run in effect four businesses and local networking meetings. I do like to be busy though!

Any more hints and tips for people?

Only promise to do what you really have time for and follow through – don’t let people down but remember this is your business. If you are constantly doing things in your business you don’t enjoy doing, you are not being true to yourself. You can always outsource if that job needs doing (like the bookkeeping – which is the bit I love but I know others don’t so much!) so you can stick to what you are good at and what you enjoy. There are so many virtual assistants, business coaches, social media experts, bookkeepers, etc., out on the business networking circuit that you are sure to find someone you can work with at a price you can afford.

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

We have no big plans for change or growth at Silicon Bullet – so more of the same. I hope to continue to grow my Forever team, enjoy my new market in magnetic jewellery, and find more businesses who need my help and support with their bookkeeping. I plan to continue being involved in 4 Networking and I’m building a network of excellent business referrers through that group: I love helping others by putting them in touch with customers or collaborators who can help their business. We launched a meeting in Towcester a couple of weeks ago, and also plan to launch an evening meeting in Milton Keynes in the new year to go alongside the Milton Keynes lunch meeting and the Olney breakfast meeting I already help run.

Wow – Aly is certainly keeping busy, although I know myself that having more than one job focus is a good way to keep interested and motivated, and also the different areas tend to balance one another out in terms of busy spells and lulls. Networking is a great way to build your business, and I’ve even written a book that talks about it, I think I’ll allow myself to promote myself there, too! Good luck to Aly juggling your four businesses and helping others juggle theirs!

Alison Mead Forever Living Distributor and Mentor www.siliconforever.co.uk Tel – 07966 399 209 Facebook – www.facebook.com/siliconbulletforever Twitter – www.twitter.com/weebly_one I don’t have a specific link for Magnetix as I’m tending to promote that face to face at events and not online

Nervous of networking? Don’t be – you’ll be made really welcome at relaxed friendly 4Networking #4Nworks https://www.4networking.biz/?ref=40465

Silicon Bullet website

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 November 25, 2017 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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