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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

 

Wyke Farms: Please change your mind on your Superlight Cheese!

Reblogging from my Adventures in Reading, Writing and Working from home blog to leverage the bigger audience for this blog. This is a plea to bring back the only cheese I could eat on my cholesterol-beating regime, which has now been discontinued. Please click through to the article, like, share, etc. Thank you!

Adventures in reading, writing and working from home

Wyke Farms Superlight Cheese Wyke Farms Superlight Cheese

Way back when I discovered I had high cholesterol and became determined to get it down using diet rather than drugs, my friend Gill went to the Good Food Show and came back with some SuperLight cheese by small producer Wyke Farms. Hooray – created for a family member who had high cholesterol himself, this cheese had only 1.5% saturated fat. And.

And.

AND

AND

it tasted really nice. Like proper cheddar. Because it was proper cheddar. Cheese you would want to cut a slice off and actually eat (but would melt nicely on toast or on top of your pasta, too). I wrote about it in my book. I wrote about it in this blog.

First of all, I could get it from a few places locally. Then it narrowed down. But hey, it was OK, because I could still get it direct from…

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Posted by on November 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Small business chat update – Sarah Goode

mugs Welcome to another Small Business Update, this time with the lovely Sarah Goode of Pookledo, who makes lovely, unusual jewellery. Sarah’s been having a very exciting year – although she hasn’t yet got the shop she was talking about when we met her in August last year, when she said, “We’ve put in an offer for a small shop so, all being well, in a year’s time I’ll be working full time for myself,” she has taken the big step of leaving her day job and going full-time with her business (gratifyingly, she’s been reading and talking about my book on the subject, and even photographed it on her jewellery stall – see the first pic on this page!) and she’s been taking full advantage of this new freedom, attending lots of fairs and planning on how to expand her business. Let’s see how she’s getting on …

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

Not quite! The shop we are buying is still “subject to contract” due to different legal issues with the vendors, so I’m still not in the property. However, I am working for myself full time now. I handed my notice in at the bead warehouse in the summer and started working for myself full time in July. I now have a regular stall on Coalville indoor market every Friday selling my handmade jewellery and doing costume jewellery repairs, which is proving to be an interesting experience, and I’ve also started booking jewellery parties in people homes. I’m still selling online and at craft fairs but I’m also booking stalls at more festivals and larger events.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

What has changed is that I can dedicate more of my day to making custom orders, which is brilliant. However the time I spend working is pretty much the same. Due to the extra time spent marketing and advertising, more custom orders are coming in, so I still seem to have a full order book. This is a good thing, though, as I always have some work to be doing that I know will be going to a good home where it will be appreciated

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

I learned that I took the leap at the just the right time. I’d been building up the business for a number of years and it’s given me a solid base to work on, both with the skills that I have, the network of friends and business contacts.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Make sure that you have a solid foundation to build on. It may seem right to just take a leap of faith, but without the structure to my business that I have built up whilst working for myself part time, I wouldn’t be able to do the job I am doing now, and loving every minute of it.

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

Hopefully we will happily be trading in our own business premises but until then, I’ll be travelling to different venues, making contacts, and meeting lots of lovely people.

It just shows how many different ways there are to start a business, doesn’t it – last week we met a lady who leapt straight into it, and here’s Sarah doing what I did, building her business part time until she’s ready to fly, knowing she has the safety net of knowing what she’s doing and having regular customers and a good idea of what people like. The regular stall in Coalville and the new party idea should both give a nice structure, and let’s hope that Sarah’s in that shop this time next year!

You can find Sarah’s Pookledo jewellery online at www.pookledo.com and on her Facebook page, read her blog and visit her Etsy shop for more goodies.

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 September 27, 2014 in Business, Small Business Chat, Uncategorized

 

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Small business chat – Jenny Woodberry

mugsWelcome to another brand new small business chat, and I’m delighted to welcome Jenny Woodberry, who’s building up her business Miss Fighting Fit, going straight into entrepreneurship as she was finishing her education, and providing a good role model as a young woman who’s interested in being strong, fit and healthy. Unlike some of my older interviewees (and me!), Jenny was able to make a quick move into her new endeavour, and had the energy to run it alongside what must be a pretty demanding day job. With no worries to hold her back, she’s just gone for it, and is doing well so far, while recognising the need for a healthy work/life balance, too.

Hello, Jenny! What’s your business called?

The two sides of my business are called Miss Fighting Fit / Fighting Fit Kitchen

When did you set it up?

I set up the business in February 2014.

What made you decide to set up your own business and what made you decide to go into this particular business area?

I had developed a keen interest in nutrition, fitness and a healthy lifestyle over the last year and after completing my nutrition course decided to offer personal nutrition plans to my fellow fitness enthusiasts to share my knowledge with other people who were aiming at living a healthier lifestyle. From there i have written plans for all kinds of people with all kinds of goals! In the last couple of months I launched Fighting Fit Kitchen, as my daytime job involves working in the kitchen at top Falmouth restaurant Oliver’s and I have ALWAYS had a passion for cooking! People would comment on Miss Fighting Fit’s food photographs and i realised that there was a real gap in the market for convenient food that was healthy and nutritious!

Had you run your own business before?

No, i hadn’t really thought about it either!

How did you do it? Did you launch full-time, start off with a part-time or full-time job to keep you going … ?

I didn’t really think too much about it, I just had the idea and ran with it, and I think that really worked for me. A friend of mine had just launched a fitness business very quickly and suggested I just go for it and I’m so glad I did. I kept my part-time job in the restaurant and spent my spare time writing nutrition plans for people. Now on my days off work I am in the kitchen again but on my own terms and cooking healthy menus for my customers! It’s hard work but i love it!

What do you wish someone had told you before you started?

That setting up a business as a nutritionist means that you are considered to be the food police! People hide treats from me all the time! Haha!

What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?

To keep going and remember to take time for yourself. It’s always difficult at first and each time I have progressed Miss Fighting Fit it has taken a few months to get into a comfortable work/life balance – but it always happens in the end!

What do you wish you’d done differently?

Nothing really: I feel like everything so far has gone according to plan and worked out well!

What are you glad you did?

I’m glad that I went ahead and started!

What’s your top business tip?

I have three!

1) Be Brave! If you are unhappy or your current career/lifestyle isn’t what you want to do then make the change and get on track to a better future – there’s always time to change if it means doing what you love!

2) Make time for yourself. Whether its 30 minutes with a book of choice or a nice hot bath, it’s important to take the time to turn your business head ‘OFF’. I spent the first few months of Miss Fighting Fit feeling run down and unwell because I didn’t realise that it was OK to say no to work and that it was important to take care of myself as well as my customers!

3) Make friends! Honestly the best thing you can do to boost your business profile and customer base is be friendly! The nicer you are and the more people you go out and meet, the more likely people are to want to support you!

How has it gone since you started? Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?

When I first started, I was just writing nutrition plans for people and posting healthy recipes on Facebook. Now I operate Fighting Fit Kitchen too, which supplies healthy ready meals on a weekly basis. I have also given nutritional talks at events and worked with CJ’s Bootycamp to give advice and guidance. I am just about to launch Fighting Fit Dining Experience, offering a pop up style restaurant experience where diners can relax knowing that everything they are given is healthy and nutritious!

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

I have so many plans for the future, it’s fantastic! Potentially i would love my own restaurant and to collaborate with more fitness professionals and set up Fighting Fit HQ – a place for fitness, health, well-being and tasty food! I am also really interested in studying food as medicine, as I strongly believe that our diets have the power to cure so many ailments and illnesses!

I love Jenny’s point about people thinking she’s the food police (in error, I’m sure). I get people telling me they’re worried about making spelling and grammar errors when they’re replying to my social media posts or commenting on blog posts – and just like I encourage people to express themselves, I’m sure Jenny would rather people discussed good nutrition with her, or left it out of the equation sometimes, rather than fearing her sharp eye! She’s got great plans for the future and bags of energy, so I’m sure we’ll all looking forward to seeing what she gets up to in the upcoming year. Good luck!

Miss Fighting Fit can be found on Facebook, as can Fighting Fit Kitchen. You can also get in touch with Jenny 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 September 13, 2014 in Business, Small Business Chat, Uncategorized

 

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Small business chat update – Julia Walton

mugs Welcome to another Small Business Update, and I’m sorry it’s a bit late but I had commitments to clients and had committed the terrible blogger’s sin of not scheduling in advance. Today we’re catching up with Julia Walton from J. Walton Restoration  who we first met in July 2013. When I asked her then where she wanted to be now, she replied “Hopefully contentedly plodding along much as I am now (maybe with a bit more money coming in, though). I can only do as much as I can so don’t want to increase my workload too much. I’d rather enjoy my work and do it well: I might as well be doing something different and have a job that pays more money if I’m not going to enjoy myself”. That sounded like a good plan to me, so let’s find out how she’s been getting on …

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

I don’t feel things have changed that much in the past year as much as I’d hoped. I’m still working on increasing my client base. I have some things in the pipeline and am hoping for some good feedback on a large job I have coming in soon.
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
One big change which actually occurred this summer is that I’m breaking up a working relationship with a joiner I’ve been working with. I’m taking a chance of dropping the client because the work really doesn’t suit my skills. This way I’m giving myself more time to devote to work that will stretch and improve my skills.

What have you learned? 

I’ve learned that taking on a job that’s not really in my field just because it pays is not always a good experience. By stepping outside my comfort zone I’ve learned new skills and how to transfer the skills I have, but on a couple of occasions I’ve really regretted not trusting my initial instincts and have wasted a lot of time worrying over jobs I shouldn’t have started.
 
What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
About a year ago I took on a client that was pretty toxic. If I could go back in time I’d definitely make sure I told myself not to be so trusting and set a very short limit on working with outstanding payments!
Any more hints and tips for people?
Take time to assess each and every job before saying yes. Even if it’s from a client you deal with all the time, if the job is not what you feel comfortable doing just say no rather than worry about it after you’re committed. Remember to give the customer what they want, nothing more and definitely nothing less, if you can’t do that then don’t take on the job.

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
I’m really not sure. Permanent workshop space is an issue and I think that’s something I need to look at, however relocation back to the north of England is niggling away at the back of my mind, we’ll see.

It looks like some good lessons learned there. It is often a few years in to a business that a) you start to look more carefully about which clients and opportunities to say yes to, and b) you start to explore diversifying and looking at new areas to grow into – but as Julia comments, it is vitally important to make sure that you assess those opportunities and check whether it’s something that you want to do again. I wonder where Julia will be in another year’s time – both with her business and her location! I’m looking forward to finding out!
You can find Julia online at www.juliawalton.co.uk and email her if you want to discuss any restoration or other work.

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 30, 2014 in Business, Small Business Chat, Uncategorized

 

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Small business chat update – Tammy Ditmore

mugs Welcome to another Small Business Update, and it gives me great pleasure to publish my second update post with fellow editor Tammy Ditmore of eDitmore Editorial Services. We first met Tammy back in June 2012, and read about her growth and achievements in June 2013. At that point, here’s where she was thinking she’d be by now: “I’m not quite sure, actually. I feel I’ve taken initial steps in several different directions that may pay long-term benefits. I’m hoping to remain flexible enough to pursue the best opportunities that come along—let the business grow more organically, to use a bit of jargon. Even though I’m not quite sure what eDitmore Editorial Services might look like in a year, I feel confident that I’m on a good path and am looking forward to what this next year will bring.” So, where is she and how’s she doing? 

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

Well, a year ago I didn’t want to predict where I would be, so I have to say that, yes, I’m right there! Seriously, my business has continued to be steady, and I continue to gain clients from expected and unexpected places. I am usually booked several weeks in advance, even though I’m not doing a lot of active marketing, which is good. The downside is that I’m often overbooked, and I wind up working long, frantic hours to finish everything by the clients’ deadlines.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I think for the most part things are pretty much the same. I’m still thrilled to get to work on a wide variety of projects. This year I added some new clients, including working on a federal grant application for the first time. I also got a chance to speak to several groups about editing, and I enjoyed that experience very much and discovered I would like to do more of that in the future.

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

I recognized earlier this year that the majority of my clients have come from word-of-mouth referrals from friends, co-workers, and clients. So I feel if I keep pleasing my clients, then my stream of work will probably stay steady. A lesson I have been learning, and continually re-learning, is that I can’t do everything. There is always more to learn, more people I could talk to, more social networks I could join; there are better ways of recruiting clients, better computer apps and programs that might make my life easier, more productive habits I could adopt. But I find myself getting so wrapped up in trying to make everything better that I actually make it harder on myself just to do the work that is in front of me.

Any more hints and tips for people?

I was really surprised this year when I stepped back and analyzed where my clients had originally come from and saw how many of them were from personal contacts. (I wrote a blog post about my findings if anyone is interested.) Since then, my advice to any independent business owner is to tell everyone you know what you’re doing and ask them to keep you in mind if they hear of anyone looking for the kinds of services you offer. Some of my favorite clients have found me from what I would have considered very unlikely sources.

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

Probably in about the same place as I am today. I recently stepped back and took stock of my current family and life responsibilities, and I realized I just need to focus right now on keeping my business steady so that I have the time and energy to take care of these other obligations. I do have some dreams for expanding into other areas at some point, but I don’t think this will be the year for that. Admitting that I needed to take a step back — or at least not try to move forward — was hard at first, but it’s given me a greater sense of peace and helped me focus on what’s most important to me right now. I believe there are seasons to life, and I don’t want to miss this particular season by trying so hard to launch myself into the next one.

Tammy’s only about 18 months “behind” me on the freelance editing journey, so I always find her updates very interesting. I urge you to go and read her post about where she’s found her clients – very interesting. It was at about the point Tammy’s at that I took stock, too – I recommended some clients transferred over to colleagues as the way they needed me to work and I wanted to work didn’t gel any more, and I have a much more relaxed and flexible life now, with slightly (but not much) less income but much more time. I wrote about how to achieve that balance here. Update: Tammy wrote a lovely blog post of her own about the process of doing these interviews!

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

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 23, 2014 in Business, Small Business Chat, Uncategorized

 

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Introducing my new business titles: Running a Successful Business After the Start-up Phase and Your Guide to Starting and Building your Business

Liz with her new books

Liz with her new books

It’s time to tell the world: I have two new books out, and I’m pleased to share the news with my readers and subscribers.

Running a Successful Business After the Start-up Phase: Who are you Calling Mature?” is a look at what happens next. Following on from “How I Survived my First Year of Full-Time Self-Employment: Going it Alone at 40“, it shares what I’ve learned about optimising your customer base (including saying no to prospective new business), optimising your income, keeping that vital work-life balance, and blogging and the use of social media to build awareness and grow your business. It’s had some good feedback both personally and on its Amazon review page and I’m really pleased to be able to help people further along their journey through the wonderful world of self-employment and running a small business.

You can buy the print or e-book version from Amazon – you can go straight to Amazon UK, or see the book’s web page for links to the other international Amazons, and buy in different formats including pdf and for Kobo at Smashwords.

I decided to put “Your Guide to Starting and Building your Business” together to offer a low-cost option for people who want to read both books. It’s on e-book only at the moment, and is an omnibus made up for “How I Survived my First Year of Full-Time Self-Employment” and “Running a Successful Business after the Start-up Phase” which takes you right through from how to decide whether to go self-employed, taking the first steps, perhaps while working in a day job, setting up your business, getting your first customers, working out which customers to continue working with, using blogging and social media platforms and getting your life back while running a successful business. I really do write this blog and these books to help people, so I’m really pleased to be able to put this package together at a decent price, and it’s so great when I hear how I have helped people!

You can buy the e-book only omnibus from Amazon UK and other versions of Amazon (see list of links), and for all e-book formats, from Smashwords.

Thank you to everyone who’s supported me in my writing efforts – I’m so glad when I hear how I’ve helped people, and hope that I can continue to do so for many years to come. Watch this space for my new venture – an editors’ version of the two books and a workbook to go with both sets of books, based on the mentoring I’ve been doing with some industry colleagues this year.

If you’re interested in how I got to this point, do pop over to my Adventures in Reading, Writing and Working From Home blog, where I talk more personally about writing the books and choosing (and tweaking) their titles.

And you can find info on all of my books on the Liz Broomfield Books website!

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2014 in Business, Ebooks, Uncategorized, Writing

 

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