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Category Archives: Small Business Chat

Small business chat update – Sara from Sara’s Parlour

Small business chat update – Sara from Sara’s Parlour

Welcome to the first update from Sara, a friend of a friend, who runs Sara’s Parlour Face Painting, which offers face painting and other art services in the West Midlands and beyond. I first interviewed Sara in June 2017 so we’re long overdue a catch-up (and that’s entirely my fault) and I’m glad to see things are going so well. Last time, this was where Sara wanted to be in a year’s time: “Full time, potentially with at least one paid worker in the office so I can work on being creative!”

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

Yes things are on the up.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I’ve continued to grow my corporate client base. I still don’t have an assistant – but I’m hoping to this will change shortly. I am busier than ever!

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

Sometimes you need to make a change before you get snowed under. It’s always worth looking for what business help and advice there is out there.

Any more hints and tips for people?

If you want to run your own business it has to be a labour of love. Expect long hours – so make sure its something you really love to do!

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

Expanding what we offer with more party services and I hope to have expanded into mural making as I have an illustration degree

I very much agree with doing what you love – even though my job is a lot less creative, I still enjoy very much being in on the process of creation at the text level. Do have a look at Sara’s origin story in her first interview (ever start a business by accident? I sort of did that, too!) and click on a link below to see the marvellous work Sara does, and I’ll be looking forward to her follow-up interview next year!

Sara’s Parlour
Tel: 07964 081 325

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 September 14, 2019 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Kathy Ennis

Small business chat update – Kathy Ennis

Catching up with one of last year’s interviews, today we’re chatting to Kathy Ennis, from LittlePiggy. She focuses on helping small and micro-businesses develop, including social media, marketing, branding and business planning. Kathy joined us in May 2012 and we updated her story in July 2013, August 2014 and February 2016April 2017 and April 2018. At that point, this was Kathy’s plan for the year: “Well, I hope to be living beside the sea by that time. As far as the business is concerned, I just want things to tick along the way they are at the moment as it’s all so lovely at the moment..” Let’s see what happened next …

Hello again, Kathy! So, are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago? Are you in fact by the sea?

Well, I am by the sea. I moved to Old Hunstanton in Norfolk last November. It’s a lovely place and I feel so privileged to be able to call it home.

I hoped to minimise the disruption to my business but there have been a few hiccups. Whenever I have moved before it has always been within a defined geographical area, which meant I carried my network with me – you know what they say “your network is your net worth”. This move was a complete upping of sticks, so I am having to start a lot of things from scratch; that can’t but have an impact on business.

I am lucky to still be working with a few of my clients in London, and I do work online with others – but my big push for the coming year is to build a client base in and around my new home.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

As I said previously, the house move has had a big impact and caused quite a few changes. I have also been working on honing my offer and my customer profile which means I am working with clients in a slightly different way. I must say, the use of platforms like Zoom has started to really transform the way I work.

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

Rather than learned, I am learning to take time out to really appreciate my surroundings.

I live a 3 minute walk from one of the most beautiful beaches / coastlines in England; I also have marvellous country walks on my doorstep. There’s more to life than work and, sometimes, you can over-do/over-think stuff; taking time out is essential.

Any more hints and tips for people?

I am able to structure my workload and appreciate my surroundings because I know exactly what I am offering and who I am offering it to. I have a plan for my business that allows me to get things done and not worry about what’s next – because I know what’s next.

So, my biggest tip is to get a plan – not a business plan, but a plan for your business. I use a method I developed where it can all be done on one sheet of paper. If anyone wants to know more they can book a Discovery Call with me on https://calendly.com/littlepiggyuk/discoverycall

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

More established in my local area, working with clients face to face but with more emphasis online. Working fewer hours and days per week- all the things I have remodelled my business to allow me to do.

I’m fortunate in that none of my work is location-based, so I could work anywhere in the world as long as I have broadband and a decent keyboard. And the nature of my work means most of my clients now are regulars or by recommendation, so I don’t need that local network so much, although I certainly engaged with it at the beginning to build my confidence and experience, and also help others. But it must be so hard to build that up again! I have also adjusted my working hours – I very rarely work weekends now, and that allows me more down time, or time for my hobbies of running and athletics officiating. I wish Kathy all the best in building her networks locally, and am happy she can get out into marvellous natural environments so quickly and easily now (jealous? me?).

Website: https://littlepiggy.ltd/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LittlePiggyUK/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kathyennis

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathyennis

Email: kathy@littlepiggy.ltd

You can find the website for Kathy’s book here, and order it from Amazon.

Phone: 07815951585

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 August 3, 2019 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Mel Bridger (was Carpenter)

Small business chat update – Mel Bridger (was Carpenter)

I’ve let these interviews slide for a couple of weeks, sorry – real life intervened in the shape of an ultramarathon and a family celebration. But now let’s say another hello to Mel Bridger (was Carpenter), a busy exercise and fitness guru who is always updating and pivoting and refining her business models. You can find her at The Mummy Trainer and she also runs a printing company with her husband. We first met Mel in February 2013 and updated in February 2014, March 2015, May 2016 and July 2017. At that point, here was where she wanted to be in a year – and knowing Mel, so much will have changed in two years! “Still studying, still working and still striving to be the best that I can be!”

Hello, again, Mel! So, are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward two years ago?

Well, I now have a very successful Multi Format Fitness Organisation called Beatz Fitness (originally a clothing line, we loved the name so much, we used it for everything!) that I run with my husband. We have 140 active instructors in the UK and Ireland and thousands of people take part in Beatz classes every week!

I also ran the first Social Media Marketing and Networking Event for Fitness Instructors (FINE – Fitness Instructors Networking Event) on 1 June 2019 and I will be running Quarterly Masterminds in addition to that (the first is on 28 September 2019).

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

My ethos is still the same, my drive has increased I feel! I’m moving more into theory-based tutoring, coaching and public speaking and focusing less on the actual delivery of physical classes.

I also get booked for workshops at events outside of the Fitness Industry (I specialise in Video for Social Media) and I’m working on my first book (which has changed titles and topics so many times)!

Wow – exciting times! What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known two years ago?

That I’m capable of so much more than I give myself credit for – I wish I’d had the confidence to push forward with a few products sooner but then I also believe that there is a time and a place for everything.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Never ever stop learning – Whether that be a course, attending an event, networking, reading a new type of book or podcast, education is important for you to survive as a solopreneur/entrepreneur

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

Who knows? Maybe I’ll finally have that studio I’ve been talking about for years! I’d like to move more into training brands and business coaching within the Fitness Industry, I’ve been doing this a long time now, it’s time to pass more of this knowledge on!

Wow, Mel is certainly a force to be reckoned with, so who knows indeed! I’ve loved seeing her growth and if it’s possible to have more drive and confidence,she’s done that! Good luck for the next stage!

Beatz: www.beatz.fit

www.themummytrainer.co.uk

Info@themummytrainer.co.uk

www.themummytrainer.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 July 27, 2019 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Amelia Wilson

Small business chat update – Amelia Wilson

Hello again to the lovely Amelia Wilson of The Editing Shop who provides copyediting, translation review and localisation services. Amelia joined the interview series in November 2014,and had our first update in January 2016, January 2017 and February 2018. When I asked her then where she wanted to be in a year’s time, she replied “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.” I loved this, and I was looking forward to finding out how Amelia has got on with this.

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.

Hello again, Amelia, and it’s lovely to have you back (the delay is entirely down to me!) Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Yes and no! It’s been a really interesting year for me, I’ve had lots of opportunities to work alongside some brilliant people in hugely different industries to mine. I joined a small group based in California and took on the role of remote content manager for a team focused on technical consulting. I got to travel lots, met some incredible people, attended some fascinating conferences, felt very out my depth at some of them (!) and learned a lot about an industry that was never on my radar before.

To answer your question, I’ve definitely developed my interests and learned a whole lot which was my goal last year, but not in the areas I necessarily planned to!

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

It’s been a big change for me working as part of a group, and having colleagues again. I love the social aspect; freelancing can be a lonely business and I’ve met some lovely and very inspirational people that it was a privilege to work alongside. Some of my workload has diversified – I’ve taken on more of a managerial role, helping the team develop content, rather than just editing after the fact. My skills have grown as well as my confidence. What’s stayed the same is my own client work: I still provide editorial and localisation services to my regular clients, just from lots of different time zones!

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

That even when you’re busy, you have to plan for your business growth. It’s a much repeated lesson, but (for me anyway) wisdom has to come from experience, and from failing and planning to do better because of it. Giving attention to your business, marketing, products, plans, etc. can be really hard when you’re distracted with new opportunities, clients, projects, and work. On a busy schedule, it’s difficult to find the time to devote to that type of planning, and without the urgency of financial stress (ever the strong motivator!) I definitely let it slip.

I don’t regret where I spent my time and the amazing opportunities I am able to pursue, but I do feel like I’ve invested a lot in a different type of work this year, and that I’ve fallen behind a little in focusing on what I really love about my own business. I’m getting back to basics: figuring out how to blend together all the things I’ve learned and enjoy and to design the business services, products, and lifestyle I want. That’s what it’s all about!

Any more hints and tips for people?

I’ve learned that it’s a really fine balance between being open to opportunity and willing to adapt, and knowing yourself, your business and your goals and being firm in their pursuit. If you can get that perfect balance, the ability to dive headfirst into the unknown, while anchored in your own truth and business vision, I think you’re well on your way to achieving anything. And I’d like to hear how you managed it! I’m still getting there.

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

I love being part of a team, so I’m hoping to continue working with the colleagues and friends I’ve made this year. It accelerates my learning, which I really enjoy. I’m hoping to put some of the skills I’ve gained to use within my own business, in ways I can’t put my finger on just yet! As my confidence has grown, I’ve learned to almost enjoy networking, so I’d like to join some UK-based groups and attend more conferences and business events.

Contact details

My website doesn’t exist anymore (yet another overhaul, trying to figure out want I want to achieve with it, because clients don’t come from there for me so it needs a solid reason for existing), but I am on Twitter at @editingshop and LinkedIn.

The last one was a bit of a shock: I constantly get enquiries via my website and use it to keep my SEO up and position myself as an expert, so I’d like to learn more about why people decide not to have websites in a considered way. Better update my links page, too! I love how Amelia struck out in this whole new direction: very brave and inspiring as it’s easy to sink into the comfort of the known!

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 July 6, 2019 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Stevie Maiden

Small business chat update – Stevie Maiden

I’m playing catch-up now after having a sad lapse with these posts last year. I do get messages from people saying they enjoy them – do share or comment or comment on my social media shares if you like them! So it’s hello again to Stevie Maiden from Maidens Fayre. When we first met Stevie in June 2013, she ran a small business Facebook group and was building up her jams, chutneys and pickles business. Updates in July 2014 , 2015 and 2016 she shared the ups and downs of life at fairs and shows while she tried to achieve that delicate work-life balance. In 2017 things weren’t looking great and I wasn’t sure she’d still be going by now, to be honest. But hooray! Back then, Stevie said of the upcoming year, “I really hope I get my enthusiasm back and if not, I really hope to sell the business as a going concern”.

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

I’m in a much better place now. My passion for my business reignited,

That’s great news! What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I’m working smarter instead of harder.

Now, I choose my events more carefully and don’t take everything that’s offered to me. It makes for more peace of mind.

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

That the government was going to change my pensionable age and I’d need to keep going for another 7 years!

I’ve learned that by changing my diet completely, I can manage the pain better

Any more hints and tips?

You’ll find you have new competition all the time. Don’t be frightened of it. If you’re good then people will remember and you’ll be invited back

Where do you see yourself in another year?

Talking to you?

In all honesty, I have no plans to change whats happening. See what comes first, death or retirement I’ll just keep plodding on, I expect. In all honesty, I have no big plans. I’ll just plod on until the end, I expect

To be honest, a lot of us can feel like that some of the time at least, can’t we – and I love when people are honest enough to talk about it! I’m glad Stevie’s still going and we’ll keep plodding through this series a bit longer!

You can find Stevie online on the Maidens Fayre Facebook page and get in touch with her there.

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 June 29, 2019 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Shelly Terry

Small business chat update – Shelly Terry

Hello again to Shelly Terry, who previously ran a hand-made card company, but now runs social media management and strategy and coaching company, Sheldon & Co. We first met Shelly back in in February 2013,  and updated with her in March 2014, February 2015, April 2016, May 2017. and May 2018. Then, Shelly’s plan for the coming year was this: “We are moving house, so I envisage I will be working out of a new office space that is far tidier and more organised than my current one. I also hope to have some larger clients on books, as my daughter will have 15 hours of pre-school so I will have a lot more time to invest in my exciting new business!” How’s she doing now? Let’s find out …

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

Yes! But far more has changed on top of that! The move went well, and my new office space is a bright and lovely spare room – the light makes making videos great, and the dedicated space is great. It is not as tidy as I’d like though! Pinterest worth it is not!

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

So my social media business is well underway, and has grown far more than I had thought it could. I have some great clients I work with, and I also do website work and design work, which has been a wonderful addition to the business.

My greetings card business has been essentially archived, and the website was taken down over Christmas. I have a few clients that I honour orders for over Christmas, but other than that, Evelyn Mae has closed down.

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

I wish I would have realised that I should have addressed Evelyn Mae sooner. I either needed to have closed down sooner, or invested some money and bought better equipment. I hadn’t realised I had stagnated in that business for so long.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Pencil in reflective time monthly. We get so overwhelmed and consumed with ‘working’ , we forget that looking at the bigger picture is part of that work too, and we NEED to take that time.

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

So this time next year I will have expanded my social media agency and taken on a regular staff member to help with elements of the business. I will have extra time as my daughter starts school this September, so I plan to have more time to learn, to read, and to better my overall business, as well as taken on extra clients. I also will have launched a social media course online that will help those people who can’t afford, or don’t need a social media manager, which is a really exciting project I am working on at the moment!

Exciting times, and what a good idea to offer a course for people who don’t need Shelly’s central services, something that will broaden her appeal and bring her extra exposure as well as clients. Best of luck for the next year, Shelly!

WEB LINKS

www.sheldonandco.co.uk/linktree

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 June 22, 2019 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Jane Badger

Small business chat update – Jane Badger

Sorry it’s coffee time with a slightly delayed update with Jane Badger from Jane Badger proofreading and editing. Fellow-editor AND pony book fan Jane’s been with the interview series since November 2013 and we updated for the first time in December 2014, January 2016, February 2017, and February 2018 – the slight slippage this time has been down to me and the fact that we wanted to wait until a certain exciting book link was live. In 2018, this was Jane’s plan: 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.”

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

In a slightly different place! My own book, “Heroines on Horseback – the Pony Book in Children’s Literature” is now (at last) on pre-order, and I’ve started up a new business re-publishing pony books. The idea behind this has been the same as producing my own book: having a separate income stream to editing and proofreading.

The plan to develop publishing further wasn’t one I’d initially thought of taking. This has been a massive learning curve. I can proofread, so that’s a huge help, but I’ve also had to negotiate contracts, design covers, and do marketing.

That is helped by the fact my new pony books website is finally out there, and I’m slowly migrating all the information on the old site over to it. It’s mobile-friendly and vastly more up to date, and has also managed to take my new publishing venture in its stride. The website has had a difficult birth, but was certainly worth it once it arrived.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I’m still working for my existing clients, and have another regular one I really enjoy working with. I now feel I have a rather better work balance, which is good business sense as if one element goes bung, I do still have the others. I compartmentalise so that when I’m proofreading or editing I’m proofreading or editing, and I have dedicated publishing time.

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

I have learned how to publish. There is a lot of help out there: the trick is in finding, amongst all the noise, the things that are helpful to you.

Don’t be afraid to ask. I have found that the things that have been really useful have come about because I approached someone with a question on something quite different.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Don’t be afraid to leap in another direction, but do your research before you do, and be realistic. If you don’t have expertise in a particular area, either get yourself trained or buy in expertise. Talk to people who do know what they’re doing. I know I lack PR and marketing expertise, so this was one thing I made sure I budgeted to buy in. Rhiannon of Garnet PR got all sorts of coverage I’d never have been able to, and she also helped me out a lot with my social media and improving that.

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

I’m hoping that I will have (finally) upgraded my membership of the Society of Editors and Proofreaders, having done the necessary training. I’m also planning to have got a solid base of books out there available as both eBooks and paperback books. I’m only just starting the paperback process, and that’s another learning curve. I’d like to have found myself some time for writing, which has been a casualty of all this!

Or if not writing, having some free time. Doing nothing very much.

I’ve been ridiculously excited about the pony book republishing project and as soon as I’ve got some space in my reading schedule and TBR shelf I’m going to be snapping up some of those paperbacks and sharing about them over on my personal blog. This is such an exciting move for Jane. I thought I was being brave, branching out into transcription about seven years ago!!

website: www.janebadgerbooks.co.uk
eBooks page: https://janebadgerbooks.co.uk/ebooks-from-jane-badger-books/
pre-order for Heroines on Horseback: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07S2ZSKNN
professional: www.janebadger.com

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 June 15, 2019 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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