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Stepping Out

Why You Should Start Blogging

By | Business, Going for Promotion, Going it Alone, Personal Brand, Personal Brand, Personal Development, Stepping Out, Stepping Up, Uncategorized | No Comments

 

Does the thought of starting a blog cross you mind but it just feels too technical and complicated so you put off doing anything at all.

If you want to get noticed, be seen and get your message out there, one way is to start a blog. You don’t have to be massively technical as there’s lots of advice. Just google or search on YouTube.

Before you jump into starting a blog its worth taking a step back and asking yourself why you want to blog?. If its just about getting your voice out there, there are other means ways such as; podcasting, tweeting, instagram stories, Facebook live, vlogging.

Assuming for now its blogging;

What’s your why?

  1. Earn money from blogging. Do you want to be a full-time blogger and earn make money from affiliates and sponsored posts? There’s an army of full-time and part-time mummy bloggers, travel bloggers and fashion bloggers etc. doing really well.
  2. You don’t have an exact long term plan but just want to get your message out there and start building your profile. It’s perfectly ok to have this approach too especially as some of the best known blogs started this way.
  3. It’s a way to get more publicity for your business, attract clients and build a community.

 

3 Very Simple Technical Steps To Start a Blog

 

  1. You will needs a platform. I did my research and chose WordPress for my blogging platform as it’s more flexible than free ones. I love things to look nice but don’t have the time or skills to create a pretty blog. If that’s you find someone to help you with creating the initial look and feel HOWEVER then I strongly suggest you learn how to add posts and make changes yourself. You need to be updating content on a regular basis for google to rank you in the first one or two pages.
  2. Choose a domain name. Many coaches, therapists, solo-preneurs as I did initially hide behind the business name. The reality is clients will remember your name first and then your business name so you may as well start with your name and then a tagname to describe what you do.
  3. A host is where your site sits lives on a server so others can find your site on the internet. I did my research and chose Siteground.

 

For More Inspiration

Read The Million Dollar Blog by Natasha Courtenay-Smith

 

Check out Seth Godin, he has one of the most popular blogs and believes blogging is about passion and not monetisation. Love his approach and clarity on his brand values and goals.

 

Copyblogger.com has lots of hints and tricks about writing content. Especially if you are new to writing and need some ideas to get going

 

To get started download the 5 Day Personal Brand Challenge to help you figure out your blogging voice.

 

 

 

 

 

7 Lessons I Learnt Working For Myself

By | Going it Alone, Personal Brand, Stepping Out | No Comments

 

As more and more of us are tempted by the lure of working for ourselves and with ‘plug-and-play’ technology the reality is you no longer need huge piles of cash to start a business. According to the Harvard Business Review the number of self-employed will rise to 23 million in 2017.

I was never lured by the corner cubicle and only flirted with the idea of leaning in for a fleeting moment. Once I’d made the leap to work for myself not for one second have I been tempted to go back to being an employee. I’m officially and happily unemployable. However, the reality of self-employment has been an emotional rollercoaster ride of stress, self-doubt and sleepless nights.

Working for myself has been the equivalent of being in therapy – in a good way. Its forced me to look at and work on myself from every perceivable angle. By far the biggest lessons came from the mistakes and hiccups along the way.

Taking rejection personally

The reality is at the beginning you will get more no’s and less yes’s. One that sticks out was a verbal ‘yes’ from a major TV channel to pilot one of my workshops. I remember leaving their offices feeling elated and texting or calling just about everyone I knew by the time I’d reached the tube station. Despite chasing up for several weeks it came to nothing, I was crushed for months. Only to find out that the person who had said yes had resigned a few weeks later and had made me a promise they couldn’t deliver on.

A ‘no’ can happen for all sorts of reasons. Today I just treat it as feedback and either tweak my offering or just move on very quickly.  If someone unsubscribes from my newsletter that’s good it means they are not the right audience for me but it also means that the other 99% who don’t unsubscribe are interested and vested in hearing from me.

Perfectionism

According to Nicola Mendelsohn Facebook’s VP for Europe ‘Done is better than perfect”.  I couldn’t agree more. The sweeping blitz of social media is a huge opportunity to build your business. The biggest challenge I’ve had is waiting to post and share things until everything looked perfect. The perfect tweet, Instagram picture, blog, Snapchat, Facebook etc. This for a long time translated into nothing happening at all.

 

Taking the plunge has meant saying no to all-round perfection and being very selective and focusing. With social media I just focus on two or three channels and have a system. On Facebook rather than create a fresh new perfect post each time I’ve created a process. I use the same graphics and headings every week such as Monday Motivation, Soulful Sunday, Shout Out Friday and vary the content each time.

But most crucially for me perfection isn’t just about the perfect image but the values and message behind what I am expressing with my audience.  To quote Paul Klee “One eye sees, the other feels”.

Impatient

It is so easy to feel things are moving too slowly because they always do.  I have a love hate relationship with my impatient side. My love for being impatient means that I make things happen quickly and get on with it. The down side is when things happen too slowly which they always do and then the anxiety and stress kicks in. Especially when you look around and have that FOMO (fear on missing out) feeling too. Who knows how long someone has been working away to get to there?  And it’s a complete waste of energy to compare yourself to others anyway. One way to keep this in check is to compare where you were a year ago, six months ago and three months ago and then celebrate your progress and the small wins.

Feeling isolated and not sharing

Working for yourself can soon become a lonely experience.  I know to my detriment I can so easily become absorbed with working on my business that I start refusing all invitations, going to the gym and even meeting friends. Not great as I’m a bit extrovert (ish) and then end up feeling alone and disconnected.

My saviour has been having a ‘tribe’ or groups that I trust and feel connected with that serves more than one purpose. This has really worked for me and has been life changing.  The community is a great place to dip in with the banter, learn from each other and share wins.

As I have little time to network I’ve initially focused on building relationships online before meeting up. Another online community to support others who are in the same boat is ‘The Next Chapter Work and Life Hub’.

Not working on raising your profile and missing out on opportunities

It’s taken years for me to put my name in front of my business. Waiting for the right time to do it; until the book is written, the perfect website, more testimonials, landing the celebrity endorsement? A huge mistake to not have done this years ago.

Rather than wait for those perfect moments you have to create them by just doing it. It will never be a perfect time to pitch an idea, speak at an event or make a high profile connection with a thought leader. Instead priortise what you stand for, who your audience is and your ultimate visibility goal. Working on building an authentic personal brand is an ongoing process. Your personal brand isn’t just what people see but how you make them feel. It’s about your core values. To learn more take the 5 day Personal brand challenge.

 

Is Your Personal Brand Archetype The Girl Next Door or The Rebel

By | Going for Promotion, Going it Alone, Personal Brand, Personal Development, Stepping Out, Stepping Up | 2 Comments

A question I get asked a lot by clients when it comes to personal branding is how can I come across as a leader? With authority? As my BIG thing is authenticity vs spammy fake branding we usually spend time digging deeper into their personality, brand archetype and the natural vibe they give off.
The ‘girl next door’ brand can be a hugely successful brand, think Jennifer Aniston. As much the Ruler/Authoritarian brand we associate with someone like Angela Merkel.

But what are archetypes?
Often described as the ‘software’ of the soul they can give your brand a clear meaning and positioning. The idea of archetypes originates from the work of the well-known psychologist Carl Jung who described archetypes as universal collective patterns of the unconscious.
By understanding what your archetype is you can evoke the qualities of the archetype in your work and build a distinctive game changing personal brand. Madonna, with her changing hairstyles and lifestyles, is the eternal rebel. Oprah invokes the sage archetype as someone who, through her various media channels and products, is associated with wisdom.
Regardless of culture or language, Jung believed everyone shares and understands these themes because they are an undercurrent to all humanity. An archetype is sparked by your behaviour in your mind and the minds of others. Another way to look at archetypes is how we make others feel.
Why are we so loyal to a certain brand and immediately drawn to a new one?
It’s because subconsciously we have forged a connection with the brand’s archetype i.e. how that brand makes you feel.

By understanding your own archetype you can build trust with your audience, be distinctive and impact others.
We all evoke archetypes in our work all the times and it is possible to have more than one archetype. Most of us are likely to gravitate to just a few.

Here is a summary:
The Caregiver: Helping and protecting from harm

The Creator: The artist and dreamer

The Explorer: Seeker and wanderer

The Heroine: Warrior or fighter

The Innocent: The dreamer or romantic

The Jester: Plays the fool but has an important message

The Lover: Idealistic dreamer

The Magician: Transform situations

The Ordinary Girl: Connects with others

The Rebel: Rule breaker

The Ruler: Leader

The Sage: The teacher, helping others to understand

Kick start your personal brand with the 5 Day Personal Brand Challenge

 

 

How To Know When To Leave Your Job

By | Stepping Out, Stepping Up, Uncategorized | No Comments

After years of exams, school, college, university all going to plan most of us find ourselves in some form of career.

For some, the career route was mapped years ago maybe with lots of nudging by well-meaning parents. Others like me who entered the Tech industry when it was booming in the 90s fell into a sector on the rise and for a long time soared on the success, and had a lot of fun.

Until one day I looked around the office at my future 20 years down the line and had a sinking feeling that I definitely didn’t want to retire doing this job for the rest of my life. It took a lot longer to quit and I actually started working on my side-hustle a few years before actually taking the leap.

The five signs that it’s time to change career are as follows:

Self-sabotage

The tech sector has always had a challenge retaining and attracting female talent so it was pretty easy to switch companies. In my last two jobs although I was enthusiastic about the role initially after three months I was day dreaming of life beyond the IT sector.

Although I diligently showed up every day my heart was elsewhere and I was faking my enthusiasm. I wasn’t making an effort with my appearance, not that anyone would notice but it was how I was feeling inside apathetic and bored. In other’s I’ve seen scenarios of not caring being played out by missing targets, arriving late at meetings, calling off sick. Unconsciously its wanting out and allowing yourself to drop the ball on one too many occasions.

Toxic culture

A toxic culture can manifest itself in many ways. One such would be somewhere there is routine discrimination, backstabbing nastiness generally or against you or your team and senior management team just don’t care. There is no point reporting this to HR as the culture is one of protecting a selected high performing in group who have a lot of clout.

There are also subtle examples of toxic cultures. A client of mine a high flying completer finisher Marketing Director who landed a fabulous job with a well-known consultancy soon realised that the company had a culture where it was OK to waste time and money on half-finished ideas and projects. She would be asked to research and present a paper to the board only to discover that a day before the deadline the board was no longer interested in that initiative. Everyone else was OK with this but she started to feel isolated and not relevant. The culture was toxic to her personality and preferred working style.

Feeling at odds with your life purpose

You just don’t feel what your company is doing is meaningful or aligned to your personal values and its beginning to grate. You constantly start to question the purpose behind what you are doing. You may even be really good at what you do bit you also know that deep down you have so much more to give. Not having a feeling of connection with something you are doing day in day is painful. Eventually there is a feeling of despondency, frustration and boredom.

Your boss is a bully

My very last boss before I decided to go it alone, described himself as a philanthropist who had set up a charitable foundation and talked at length at interview about how the corporate job was a tool for helping poor underprivileged children with educational opportunities. At the time I thought this was great as I was developing a deep interest in these areas and it felt as if things were coming together. I was now going to be working for someone who also had similar interests. Everything felt aligned; our career aspirations and our deeper values.

Two weeks into the job I realised my boss had major challenges around personal boundaries. As I was packing to leave for the evening my boss called a team meeting. We all stayed late and it soon became obvious that this happened on a regular basis. With little notice, just as we were about to leave, he would call a meeting. It was about control and mind games. When approaching him with a question, his body language was dismissive and abrupt. He gave me no guidance on tasks and then criticised me and made me feel incompetent. I was out of there before my trial period ended on my terms.

Stressed, miserable and moody

Have you ever got on the train or in your car on a Monday morning and wanted to turn around and head straight back home as you just can’t face going into work. Or you are working all hours and that includes emails in the evenings after work and weekends. Feeling depressed, stressed and moody is becoming the norm then something needs to change.

Especially if there is no light at the end of the tunnel. If the more you give, the more they take and there is no appreciation or give – it’s time to quit!

How to leave and afterwards

Once you decide to leave I recommend the ‘elegant exit’. If you want to go it alone and start your own business I would start working on your side-hustle straight away. Researching what you want to do, maybe start a blog, take a course. The day you do hand in your notice you walk straight into day 1 of your new business. Psychologically it makes a big difference to walk away with a plan of action. Just make sure you have enough savings (between 6 to 12 months to fall back on)

If you decide to quit because you’ve had enough and need to take some time out in between the next job. Once you resign there may be an initial feeling of elation and relief, this is usually followed by a slump.

It is common to feel scared, angry and isolated after some time. Once you are ready start looking for your next role but be prepared for worst case scenario that it will take a lot longer.

Choose the company of positive friends and family who support you as you seek your next venture. If you want to make big career/life changes but just don’t know what you it is you want to do hiring a coach is a great investment.

Could You Work For Yourself?

By | Business, Stepping Out, Stepping Up | No Comments

For some its just a fleeting fly by night thought parked away for years down the line. For others its a much louder voice that just wont go away. Should you step up and aim for the next step in the corporate ladder OR do you dream of self-employment but are too nervous to make that leap? There are many examples of free spirits who have quit corporate life and now make a great living from a beech hut in Thailand or people who claim to have figured out how to make millions by working just a few hours a week….yes that one is a bit steep! For most of us giving up the day job is scary and for good reason. Security, life priorities, attitude to risk, paying the rent/mortgage, food on the table…

The majority of those who do make the leap from employee to self-employment (and that includes myself) despite the unpredictable income would never go back to being an employee. It’s making that initial leap which is the hardest bit. The day you return the company car, hand back the mobile and laptop and say good bye to the monthly salary and pension is naturally daunting.

But working for yourself is on the rise. According to the Harvard Business Review the number of self-employed will rise to 23 million in 2017. With ‘plug-and-play’ technology you no longer need huge piles of cash to start a business. However, self-employment isn’t for everyone.

7 questions to help you decide if you should consider quitting and starting your own business or keep climbing the corporate ladder.

1) How much of a perfectionist are you?

Running your own business means that not everything can always be a 100% perfect. You have to make a choice of which bits need to be 100% perfect and which you are willing to let go of. Spending months on the perfect logo and website design is a complete waste of time and you can always amend as you go along. However, all customer experience of your product or service must be 100% perfect. Too much perfection of every aspect of your business means no revenue coming in. How much can you let go of perfection?

2) Are you willing to get comfortable selling?

Building your profile and self-promotion are important either way. But you have to get out there both face to face and on social media to sell your ideas, product and services. It’s your name and reputation at the front of everything. It will take time and effort and some discomfort to develop your selling style.

3) Can you handle a lot of rejection?

You will get more no’s and less yes’s especially at the beginning as you fine tune your market and offering. Rejection isn’t personal but it is feedback and you need a lot of resilience to pick yourself up and carry on.

4) Do you have enough savings?

To feel safe have at least 12 months of savings set aside. Worst case scenario things take a little longer then you had hoped or anticipated. It is stressful enough getting a new thing going without worrying about the roof over your head, bills and food.

5) Can you live with uncertainty?

Customers change their minds at the last minute, decisions get delayed and contracts get cancelled. There are no real guarantees and the smart thing to do when you work for yourself is to spread the risk. The market and opportunity can change overnight as we all discovered in 2008.

6) Are you willing to let go of procrastination and fail?

Procrastination in the guise of research, over analysis are time wasters. If you take too long making a decision, by the time you decide to go for it the market will have changed and the opportunity lost. If you have a great idea get it out there, test it and tweak it. It’s a lot better to fail quickly with minimal spend and effort, tweak and try again.

7) Do you have a sense of urgency?

With no one imposing deadlines you need huge amounts of self-discipline and motivation to keep things moving at a pace and focusing on prioritising and doing the right things. Taking daily actions that move you forward towards your goal.

All seven points are equally important whether you decide to stay and climb the corporate ladder or step out and do your own thing. You need to work on all of them. The emphasis and shift will differ. Download FREE From Dreaming to Doing online course to help you figure out your next move.

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Kickstart Your 5am Dream Business

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Do you dream of quitting your job? Following your heart and starting your own business, have the freedom of being your own boss and connecting again to your creative side. You’ve probably worked hard to get to where you are today. Years of studying, exams, long hours, managing work relationships and a salary which now gives you a fairly good lifestyle. But there is that heavy sinking feeling of gloom when you look around the office and picture yourself doing the same job with a slightly better title ten, twenty years down the line. So one plan is to coast along and have a more fulfilling hobby outside work. Thing is it’s not enough and you know it.

Then what’s stopping you? You are absolutely terrified of not having the security and stability of a regular income. What if the business failed? You may even have commitments, people who depend on your salary.  There are countless success stories of entrepreneurs quitting their jobs and going for it.  But you are not a risk taker and not that person. Having no money is way too scary.

So what if you could start your business first and then leave your job? How is that possible when you have a full-time job? The answer is 5am and here are seven steps to how and why this is one of the most powerful times of the day for manifesting that dream lifestyle.

  • 5am equals goal time. Got goals for your new business? Well, you should. And there’s no better time to review them and plan for them and do your goal tasks than first thing. You should have one major business goal you want to accomplish this week. And every morning, you should decide what one thing you can do today to move yourself further towards that goal. And then, if possible, do that first thing in the morning
  • Creativity guru Julia Cameron who wrote The Artists Way invented an exercise called ‘Morning Pages’ which involves writing three sides of papers of whatever is on your mind. Without analysing or being logical about it. Writing about whatever’s on your mind: petty worries, soaring plans, angry tirades. The pages must be done first thing as soon as you wake up at 5. “You’re trying to catch yourself before your ego’s defences are in place.”
  • If exercise is your thing combine with a business style podcast, you can get fit, burn calories and gain expert advice with ideas for your business. There are so many amazing podcast series out there full of great advice from PR for SMEs, setting up an online health business, earning passive income through e-courses.
  • Create a vision board. This is a fabulously fun activity and it is something you can keep working on. Browse through magazines, newspapers and the internet to find images that resonate with your dream lifestyle. Only use those images that make you feel excited. The pictures can be stuck on a thick paper or poster board. Scribble inspiring quotations and have a photo of yourself in the centre of the board too. 5am is the perfect time to work on this.
  • As you shift from an employee mindset to an entrepreneurial mindset connect with your emotional relationship with money. Do you believe you deserve to be rich? What is your money blueprint – is it healthy or do you self-sabotage. How can you attract money if you don’t respect what it can do for you. Get in touch with your relationship with money and if you have ‘money scarcity’ program start working on it now!
  • Hire a coach, someone who can support you emotionally and practically as you make this transition. There is no point having a grand plan when irrational fear and issues will self-sabotage. A good coach will also help you figure out your sweet spot, i.e. what your passionate about + what you can be the best in the world at + what can make the amount of money your desire. 5am is a great time to work on your coaching exercises.

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