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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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Student at risk of plagiarism 2: What do you do when the editor risks changing too much of the text?

text with tracked changesPlagiarism involves passing someone else’s work off as your own. There are two kinds of plagiarism: there’s plagiarism done by the student when they don’t reference or credit a quotation or theory and are therefore effectively using someone else’s work without credit (which I’ve written about here). The second kind of plagiarism, which we’re talking about here, is where an editor has done so much work on a student text that they’re almost a second author, and the student is then at risk of passing the editor’s work off as their own.

I have written this series of articles for editors who are working with documents produced by students: an essay, thesis, dissertation or article, for example.

Let’s have a look at the levels of change an editor might make when working with student materials and how to tell when the editor is at risk of plagiarism from the level of work they’re doing on the text.

Usually when working on student essays, dissertations and theses, I will come across issues with the language and writing:

  • Uses capitals and hyphens inconsistently
  • Uses British and American spellings (or British s and (Oxford) z spellings) inconsistently
  • Uses inverted commas for quotations and scare quotes inconsistently
  • Uses the wrong tenses
  • Uses the wrong agreements (he have, they has)
  • Includes typos (form/from)
  • Has a sentence structure which is confused BUT I can tell they understand what they’re writing about and have made a good attempt to write that in English (English is not the first language of most of my student clients)

There’s an accompanying issue with the reference list or bibliography, so a minor issue would be:

  • Some mistakes and inconsistencies in the bibliography, where I’m not changing more than about one in ten entries in a major way (turning book titles into italics, etc.) or one in five in a minor way (full stops after initials, making spacing of initials consistent)

In these cases I will (with Track Changes turned on, of course!) and make it all consistent and amend the tense, agreement, typo or sentence.

And, if I find

  • A theory or term which is not explained
  • A sentence which can be taken in one of two ways, and it’s not clear what it means
  • A sentence or paragraph which is jumbled or confused and I can’t make it out

I will leave the sentence and add a comment explaining that the term needs to be explained, what the ambiguous sentence could mean or that I can’t understand it and the student needs to rewrite it.

And if there’s

  • A reference that’s missing publisher or place, journal volume, etc. information

I will add a note that the student needs to check and add the relevant information

It’s probably worth mentioning here that I offer to re-check up to 10% of the total word count after rewrites; this feels fair to my student clients and I’ve never had anyone ask me to re-check anything like that amount of text.

But what if it’s more major changes and the resulting risk of plagiarism?

More major issues would include

  • Confused use of terms which clearly show a lack of understanding of the subject (this sounds nebulous but jumps out in real-life examples, none of which I can obviously show you!)
  • Garbled results which don’t make sense
  • Many sentences which aren’t at all clear or, if I can guess the meaning, would need a complete rewrite to make them at all clear – and I start having to do that
  • A completely chaotic bibliography with no attempt to make it consistent or match it to the style guide which needs work on almost every entry

If any (or all) of these are present in the text, and I’m making a lot of comments on the text, plus a lot of the changes in the above sections, I will get to a certain point (usually 1,000-2,000 words in), have a look at what I’ve done, and make a judgement as to whether I’m risking changing too much.

It’s all done in Tracked Changes so surely I’m not writing it for them!

Yes, we do everything in Tracked Changes as standard, and I have standard text which asks the client to examine all changes and decide if they accept or reject them. However, there is an “Accept All Changes” button and with the best editor will in the world, some students will just press that. How much of the work then is theirs?

What do I do if I find I’m doing too much on a text?

I want to highlight here that this is often not the student’s intentional fault. This applies to referencing, too, and it’s often to do with the learning they’ve received in their home country, the pressures of having to write in their non-first language, and pressures from home around getting this UK or US degree and bringing that knowledge home. But I believe we have a duty to help the student not plagiarise. In the case of referencing, this will get caught by software used by the universities such as TurnItIn. In the case of our work, it might not be so detectable, although a supervisor presented with perfect English by a student who struggles to write in English may be suspicious. We want to help our clients and make sure they don’t get accused of something they didn’t intend to do.

Sending feedback to the student and their supervisor

It’s at this point that my articles on the two kinds of plagiarism coincide. if you’re following along with this series in real time, I’ve already written about what to feed back to the student and their supervisor and how to do it, so as to avoid making you wait for the punchline by doing it the other way round.

So to find out my good practice in contacting students and their supervisors over the risk of plagiarism, please see this article.

Related posts on this blog:

Student at risk of plagiarism 1: What do you do when a text isn’t referenced properly?

Student at risk of plagiarism 3: Sending feedback to your student client and their supervisor

Plagiarism in business texts

On plagiarism

How to quote sources without plagiarising

Referencing for academic writing

Choosing a proofreader – student edition

My terms and conditions

Why has my proofreader not edited my bibliography?

On (not) crossing the line

 

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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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Student at risk of plagiarism 1: What to do when the student hasn’t referenced their text correctly

text with tracked changesPlagiarism is the act of passing someone else’s work off as your own. There are two kinds of plagiarism in student work: one is plagiarism done directly by a student, where they fail to reference or credit a quotation or theory and are effectively using someone else’s work without credit. The second kind of plagiarism is where an editor has done so much work on a student text that they’re almost a second author, and the student is then at risk of passing the editor’s work off as their own.

This article is written for editors who are working with student texts, whether that’s essays, dissertations, theses or articles for publication.

Let’s have a look at the levels of risk of plagiarism and an example of good practice when working with student materials when the editor is at risk of plagiarism from the level of work they’re doing on the text.

Often when working on student essays, dissertations and theses, I will come across a small example of a risk of plagiarism. This could include

  • A statement such as “researchers have found that” before an assertion, without a reference to who has found this information
  • A reference not being included after a quotation, where most of the quotations are referenced correctly
  • What is clearly a direct quotation which has not been placed in inverted commas, even if it’s got a reference after it, but this is an anomaly in an otherwise well-referenced document
  • What is clearly a direct quotation which has not been placed in inverted commas AND it hasn’t got a reference after it, but this is an anomaly in an otherwise well-referenced document

I count these as minor infringements and I will just mark these up with a comment asking the student to provide the reference, add inverted commas or rewrite the sentences in their own words.

I should mention here that I offer to re-check up to 10% of the total word count after rewrites; this feels fair to my student clients and I’ve never had anyone ask me to re-check as much as that: if it happens, it’s usually about 1%.

Red flags in referencing

Unfortunately, I do come across student texts (and this is not limited to students: have encountered web text and even books lifted from other sources without reference) where the following occurs:

  • What is clearly a direct quotation which has not been placed in inverted commas, even if it’s got a reference after it, happening multiple times
  • What is clearly a direct quotation which has not been placed in inverted commas AND it hasn’t got a reference after it, and this is happening multiple times, even pages and pages worth of direct quotations from other sources
  • A section in a different colour or font where no attempt has been made to hide this has come from elsewhere
  • A section where the client has either added a comment or put it in a particular colour and asked me to rewrite what is clearly a direct quote from elsewhere (this is thankfully rare)

How do I tell when something’s a direct quote that the student hasn’t either referenced or written themselves?

  • The standard of English changes, sometimes subtly, sometimes very obviously
  • The type of English changes (US to UK, s to z spellings, and vice versa)
  • Referencing within that section is markedly different to that within the student’s own work
  • It’s in a different colour or font

How do I check if text is not written by the student?

Google is my friend here? I take a sentence, pop it in Google and see where it came from. My suspicion that it’s someone else’s text are usually correct.

Sending feedback to the student and their supervisor

I try to be kind here. The student may be under a lot of pressure, or may not have understood how to do referencing. I will guide them to ask their supervisor or any support they have in the department or their university library.

It’s at this point that my articles on the two kinds of plagiarism coincide. if you’re following along with this series in real time, I’ve already written about what to feed back to the student and their supervisor and how to do it, so as to avoid making you wait for the punchline by doing it the other way round.

So to find out my good practice in contacting students and their supervisors over the risk of plagiarism, please see this article.

Related posts on this blog:

Student at risk of plagiarism 2: What do you do when the editor is at risk of changing too much?

Student at risk of plagiarism 3: Sending feedback to your student client and their supervisor

Plagiarism in business texts

On plagiarism

How to quote sources without plagiarising

Referencing for academic writing

Choosing a proofreader – student edition

My terms and conditions

Why has my proofreader not edited my bibliography?

On (not) crossing the line

 

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