It can be really lonely being a sole trader or leading a small business, and that’s where small business coaching can make a big difference.

The small business coaching I offer, I think, is pretty different to what’s available generally. However, I know that the support and advice I offer my clients, when followed, generates real results. This part of the blog is an extension of this – of the way I operate and the things I feel are valuable to you.

Here you’ll find tips linked to running your small business and helping it thrive, and you’ll also be able to read about small businesses who are completely nailing it out there. Many of whom I coach. And I’m very proud to be associated with.

Small business coaching can make a huge difference, however you’re looking to grow your business. Just because you’re master of your own destiny, it doesn’t mean you have to go it alone.

Instagram stickers you might not use (and why you should)

Have you used Instagram stickers? These can be such a great way to add something extra to your Instagram Story and, actually, encourage engagement too. And that’s what today’s Small & Supercharged Podcast is all about.

In addition to Instagram stickers, I’m also going to talk about GIFs, which can be great things to add to your Instagram Stories, to make them more fun or relatable, or just to add an extra dimension.

Instagram stickers, GIFs and more that you might not use…

In today’s Small & Supercharged Podcast, I talk about Instagram stickers that you might not use, the great things about GIFs, and what you can link to from Stories. Here are the show notes from episode 22, Instagram Stickers you might not know about or use…

  • I talk about GIFS. I love a GIF. I talk about the kind of GIFs you can use, when and why you could use them, and why you need to keep on brand when adding them.
  • The Product Tag. I talk about how the Product Tag works, when it’s useful for brands (especially those with under 10k followers). The Product Tag allows people to move from Instagram to your website without having to go to the link in your bio and embark on a rather clunky process. If you have over 10k followers (and a business account) you can have swipe up (which is also good!), but the product tag can provide more information in a shorter amount of time.
  • The Countdown Sticker. This is a great way to show how much time you have until a launch, event or something else. The Countdown Sticker automatically updates too, so you don’t need to worry that someone looking in 12 hours will be receiving out of date information.
  • The Poll Sticker. This is not a new thing, but it’s still great. It’s a really good way to get feedback on any question you like (that has two possible answers!). You could ask people what colour they prefer in a piece of clothing, for example, which can be useful and great for engagement. You can also change the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to words of your choice. Don’t forget, you can share the results of the poll, which can help you with your content creation and, also, shows that you value the opinion of your fans.
  • The Questions Sticker. This is good for lots of different things. Make sure you guide them with the sticker – sometimes being really broad, like ‘Ask Me A Question’ can be a bit wide, depending on your audience. Try and make it easy for them to ask a question. You can use the Questions Sticker for so many reasons – what’s your favourite event, share a winter must have, etc. Use these instead of Polls when you have more than one possible answer.
  • Links. Not quite a sticker but (maybe) even better. We talk about what you can use this for. If you have over 10k followers, you can link to a URL, and then swipe up to a page on your or any other website. If you don’t have over 10k followers, you can add a link to an IGTV video, which can be a good way to get it under the noses of your following.

Don’t use the same stickers each time as people will just switch off… and you don’t want that. It can turn something that should be engaging and fun into an annoyance.

So here are six ‘functions’ you can add over your Instagram Stories. Go off, have a play, and I would LOVE you to tag me if you give them a spin. I’m @rheafreemanpr on Instagram, as always!

Rhea Freeman Newsletter
learning on a budget with rhea freeman

Continual learning is something I am a huge advocate of. But not just the kind of learning that goes on via courses, coaching and workshops. Don’t get me wrong, I do all three of these, but I’m also a big advocate of learning when you have zero budget. The great thing is that there are lots of ways to learn on a budget. Even if that budget is zero. And by putting in the work and learning, you’ll not only be able to deepen your understanding and increase your knowledge, you’ll be up-skilling to make yourself a more ‘valuable’ addition to anyone’s team. Even if you’re the only one on that team.

Learning on a budget – how to learn on a budget and why you should look into it!

I’ve actually written a blog about how to learn on a budget before… and I produce a lot of content to help people learn for free. This podcast is just one example. Of course, this podcast isn’t about what I do that you can use, but the variety of resources available to help you learn on a budget. Even if your budget is non existent! Show notes for episode 18 – Learning on a budget…

  • We talk about the variety of learning options out there- from resources that are free to thousands of pounds.
  • I talk about when I learn (walking the dog, in the car, etc!)
  • We discuss overwhelm and how it’s important to pick the people you want to learn from and focus in on them.
  • How you need to pick a few people you really rate and trust, so you don’t get overwhelmed and procrastinate.
  • We talk about podcasts and the value that these can bring. I also recommend Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger Podcast and Amy Porterfield’s Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. And I also talk about the problems I had when I listened to too many.
  • Moving through to a low cost paid for option, I talk about the value of audiobooks and how I use Audible. I really do like Audible – I wrote a blog about my Audible obsession a little while ago.
  • We talk about books and a little hack I have on Amazon where you can pick up books for much less than the new price. I’ve actually picked up books for a penny (I have to add postage, obviously!), but these can still be a lot less than the new price.
  • I talk about blogs and how these can provide a great free resource of tips and information. You can subscribe to people’s mailing lists too, so you get that information into your inbox.
  • Video – there’s a surprise – yes, video is a great way to learn. YouTube is a fountain of free how to videos (and, you know, baby monkeys riding on pigs). I use YouTube a lot actually, especially for more visual things.
  • How membership groups can be really, really useful. I also talk about the Small & Supercharged Mastermind group and how group coaching can work and deliver really good results for a good price.
  • We discuss paid for online courses. I talk about the courses I’ve done online, particularly with Fiona Humberstone, and how these go a lot deeper into subjects and are usually better produced and more structured than free content.
  • ‘Live’ events, like workshops, talks and seminars, can vary hugely in price, but are a great way to learn. Websites like EventBrite can be a good way to find workshops and events near you.
  • We talk about low cost courses, like the ones provided by providers like Udemy. These are generally much lower value and run by people who aren’t brands in their own right. But if you have something specific to learn, Udemy might be perfect for you.
  • And we finish by talking about the main differences between free and paid for content. Not just the cost…
Subscribe to the Small & Supercharged podcast on iTunes
branding and new business from kirsty fleetwood from fleetwood and foxgrove.

Today we’re talking about one of my loves- branding. I love it. Who doesn’t?! So when I met Kirsty from Fleetwood & Foxgrove at TEDxTelford and we had a chat about her business and branding, I knew I had to get her on the podcast to talk about branding her new business! This is a really interesting podcast, talking about what branding really is, how it’s more than logo deep, picking colours and fonts, and a lot more.

Branding for small businesses with Kirsty Fleetwood

Have you ever wondered about branding? Feel a bit lost when it comes to your own brand identity? Or are you at the beginning of your journey and not sure where to go? Well today’s podcast is perfect. In this podcast all about branding for small businesses with Kirsty Fleetwood from Fleetwood & Foxgrove, we talk about it all. Here are the show notes for episode 17…

  • We find out about about Kirsty’s background, why she decided to develop a scarf brand, what she does for her ‘day job’.
  • How she developed the name for the brand and also how the colours, logo and branding developed.
  • We talk about Kirsty’s connection to branding and how her husband has a graphic design business, so that made the process easier.
  • How being British is a really important piece of the Fleetwood & Foxgrove brand.
  • The importance of finding likeminded brands that support your brand and ethos to work with.
  • How branding on paper and online translates over to show stands and customer experience.
  • Why it’s important to have brand guidelines, whether it’s a list of 10 points or a whole book, and how these should carry through into your stand, your packaging, and everything else.
  • The idea behind making the tradestand a reflection of the family home. With the name, colours, and even the designs, there’s a really strong connection to Kirsty’s family.
  • Why great packaging matters, and how each Fleetwood & Foxgrove parcel is wrapped like a present. We also talked about how you can reuse some elements of packaging too.
  • We talk about social media and the way branding and brand guidelines filter over into this, particularly Instagram.
  • We talk about being able to preview your Instagram content (using things like Later) to help make sure your grid shares the feel you want to it.
  • We talk about the Field and Silk range and the differences.
  • The designs of the silk scarves and the development process involved in this from Kirsty’s point of view.
  • How the design of the silks differs to the Field range, but how the smaller points are also consider, like how a leather tab works really well with the Field range, but wouldn’t work with a silk.
  • The minor details that can really elevate a brand, like talking in third or first person. This doesn’t matter, but making sure you’re consistent does.
  • Why repetition really matters to help emphasis the brand and ethos at each opportunity.
  • How a big brand document might work really well for a corporate business, but how, for a start up, it doesn’t have to be.
  • Why it’s important to do your best to get everything as you’d like, but sometimes you won’t be able to get the exact colour matching on something like this, and how this shouldn’t hold you up.
  • The importance of analytics and how to use these in a range of different ways.

A big thank you to Kirsty for chatting to me on today’s Small & Supercharged Podcast – here are all the links to find out more…

Fleetwood & Foxgrove website

Fleetwood & Foxgrove on Instagram

Fleetwood & Foxgrove on Facebook

5 ways to get organised fro 2019Can you believe that this time next week Christmas will be over? And we’ll be cruising towards 2019?! I know, I know. I can not believe how quickly this year has gone. But what a new year means is a new chance to get organised. To make sure that 2019 is the best ever. So here are five ways to get organised for 2019… well, five things I’m going to do anyway…

5 ways to get organised for 2019

Plan

Planning is essential when it comes to being organised for 2019. If you can get your hands on one of those big year to view planners, do. This allows you to plot campaigns, see what shows and events you’re going to, etc. If you know when you have an event or launch you need to promote, you can work backwards and forwards and start planning in photoshoots, graphics, teaser campaigns, emails, social media, promotions, etc. This also means that it won’t come as such a shock when you think ‘oh no, I’ve got x next week and I haven’t done any prep!’

Write it down

Hands up, I need to do this more. I have this rather stupid belief that I can remember everything. But I can’t. I can’t even remember where I left the car keys. The good thing is I do write down/send myself emails/add things to my calendar for work. But I could be better. Sending myself an email does feel a bit sad. Writing things down is actually a really important thing when it comes to goal setting too. And it makes perfect sense. For me, if I’ve written something down, the chances of me remembering it are much greater as I am reminded of it because it’s in front of me, I get the satisfaction of crossing it through. And I can also plan my time better and work out when to schedule work.

Tidy

I HATE having a messy desk but especially when things get busy (like December), it becomes a complete state with things I need to look at and file… but don’t have the time to. Being able to see what’s on your desk or in your workspace (rather than piles of magazines/letters/envelopes and more) will make you feel better and make it much easier to stay organised.

Treat work and ‘life’ as one

When I try and keep things separate, I drop the ball. If I’m doing something like getting the car serviced, that falls in the ‘life’ category, I also need to be mindful that I can’t be off seeing a client that day because I have no transport. Equally if I have an appointment for work, I can’t also be taking the children to a swimming lesson. Being self employed, the lines get blurred anyway. I can’t bend the laws of time and space, that’s why this is important!

Goal set

I know this sounds like stating the obvious but if you want to be organised, you need to know why you’re doing it. If you want to increase your sales by x, you need to formulate a plan to get there, write it down, and plot. If you know what you’re really aiming at (either small goals or big HUGE ones that scare you!), you’ll know what you’e planning for, what events you need to attend or want to be at, what timetable you need to adhere to for a product launch, etc. See what I mean?

A few things you might like to check out…

There are lots of tools you can use to do the above. I’ve recently bought myself a Media Diary that has key awareness dates in, which will be really useful for planning social media in particular. I still have the rather big job of adding all the industry specific dates in, but that’s fine – I’d rather do that now than when I need to know! You don’t need to buy a Media Diary at all – you can take to Google and research awareness days and other days of note. It’ll take you a while but it’s very doable if you have the time. For me at the moment I felt buying the diary was a better plan, but I do also appreciate that a lot of the things in it aren’t relevant to me or my clients.

When it comes to writing it down, ANY excuse to buy new notebooks I’m there! I was recently given a BEAUTIFUL Martha Brook notebook by a lovely friend, but you can pick some stunners up from places like Paperchase, Sainsbury’s… and I’ve seen some beauties in TK Maxx/Homesense too. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a nice notebook – you can use printer paper and a bulldog clip if it works for you!

And when it comes to writing, I have a LOT of Pilot V Pen Fountain Pens in all the colours of the rainbow. There’s something rather nostalgic about a fountain pen, and I really love the colours. My faves are pink, peacock green and purple. They brighten up even the most boring notes!

5 easy ways to use Instagram Stories

In this episode, we’re talking about Kylie Jenner, augmented reality… and how all this matters to your business! This is a solo show, so we’ll be hanging out for the next few minutes. I hope you enjoy it. So, without further ado… shall we have a chat about Kylie Jenner’s Face Filter, augmented reality… and why I’m very excited about both!

Have a listen here…

 

Let’s talk about Kylie Jenner, augmented reality and why Face Filters could rock your business

Show notes for the Small & Supercharged Podcast – Episode 4 – augmented reality, Face Filters and Kylie Jenner… what you’ll hear in this podcast episode…

  • What augmented reality is and how you’ve (probably) already used it.
  • How Kylie Jenner’s Face Filter didn’t just make me look a whole lot more polished, it also signalled the start of new applications for this function inside an app.
  • How powerful Instagram really is and how many users it has.
  • How the Face Filter and its application connects to real life sales.
  • How filters could help to bridge the gap between the online and in store shopping experience.
  • How augmented reality could make shopping from home even more realistic and useful than going to a shop.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Small & Supercharged Podcast so you don’t miss an episode! You can find it on iTunes, Spotify and Podcast Player – just search ‘Small & Supercharged Podcast’ or my name. Another perk of having a weird name!!

This week we’re having a solo Small & Supercharged Podcast episode with me – and it’s all about social media scaremongering… and why it drives me mad!

Have a listen here!

Social media scaremongering – and why it drives me mad!

Show notes for the Small & Supercharged Podcast – Episode 2 – Social media scaremongering… what you’ll hear in today’s episode…

  • I recorded this episode as I wanted to talk about something that really annoys me –  scaremongering connected to social media algorithms. I see so much of this.
  • Every time a new update is announced on any social media platform, you see all the messages popping up about how it’s the end of the world. You read how Facebook’s dead and how Twitter is dead and how Instagram is dead and how everything is dying and dead because of this algorithm change. I want to tell you why these changes are not a cause for you to panic.
  • The main thing we need to realise here is that these are not our platforms, we have the absolute luxury and privilege to use these platforms for free, yet we can pay to advertise.
  • When some of these algorithm changes happen, it means that perhaps we need to pay to play a bit more.
  • When Facebook announced that they were changing the way that posts for businesses were displayed in the newsfeed, you would have thought that Facebook had announced they were coming to live in all your houses.
  • We’re so lucky that we get the opportunity to be part of these platforms, to be part of this. We don’t have control over it and that’s why it’s really important to grow our following in different ways, which is a subject for numerous other podcasts, but it maybe it should make us think about how vulnerable some businesses are to these changes that we cannot control.
  • The algorithm works on a series of things that we don’t know everything about. People don’t reveal the in-depth elements of that algorithm. All you can do, and I really believe this, is do your best work. Look at the response, adjust accordingly and go again. Rinse and repeat.
  • If you have a post and you put it out there and nothing happens and it’s rubbish, it doesn’t necessarily mean that an algorithm is screwing you over. It could mean your post is rubbish. It could also mean you’ve placed it at the wrong time of day. It could also mean that maybe the imagery isn’t as strong. It could perhaps mean the title isn’t getting people engaged. There are loads of different reasons and one of the best ones I heard was just your content isn’t that good?
  • The other thing I think it’s really important to think about when these big social media giants announce these changes, think about why they’re doing it. A lot people will say it’s to make money. But think about it even harder, Facebook has got over 2 billion people using it. If the Facebook community is getting really bored and detached from the newsfeed and they don’t want to click on the apps – we all have a problem!
  • If Facebook didn’t protect its community, it would hurt us all. If people did leave Facebook on mass, it would hurt us all when magazines were really the only way of getting your message out there, which was a while ago.
  • If you are putting out rubbish content, it’s going to hurt anyway, but you need to look at your content. Don’t blame any of the social media platforms, when you put out rubbish content and it does badly, that’s on you. You need to address what you’re doing. You need to do the research, do the legwork. You need to look at what your audience actually care about and you need to create content around that. There’s going to be loads of ways you can do this.
  • Make sure that you are thinking about your customer and you’re creating content that works for them.
  •  It should not all be sell, sell, sell, sell, sell. Social media has got the word social in it for a reason. It’s important to you. Respect your audience, you speak to them, you talk to them, you actually care what they’ve got to say.
  • I know some people who don’t have websites and have everything running through their Facebook page. Please don’t do this. If you do this, look at ways to make sure you are putting your eggs in more baskets. Get yourself a website, start growing your email list.

Thanks so much for tuning into this week’s episode of the Small & Supercharged Podcast – don’t forget to subscribe!

I’m a teeny tiny bit excited about this – welcome to the Small & Supercharged Podcast – episode 1…

Yep, the Small & Supercharged Podcast has officially launched! Named after the Small & Supercharged Facebook group (the group I set up to help support small businesses, particularly in the equestrian and rural sector), this podcast is going to be embody the group. It’s going to talk about PR, marketing, websites and social media (of course!), but also interview a range of business owners about their skills and knowledge too. The aim of the podcast is to be a real hub for small business. To help business owners feel a whole lot less alone, more informed and ready for whatever challenges their business life brings.

And, of course, for people who want to join the Small & Supercharged Facebook page and feel more of that community love and support, please accept this as an invitation to join the group… just please fill in the questions!

So, without further ado – here’s episode 1, enjoy!

 

If you liked the Small & Supercharged Podcast (and I’m kind of hoping you did!), the please consider popping over to iTunes and subscribing. And if you’d like to leave a review and rating I would be SO grateful. Thank you.

The Fish Hotel BroadwayThere are going to be a few blogs about Hiho Silver’s amazing Style, Skills & Silver event, because I’m still buzzing from it. Last Thursday (6th September) was the day of the event we’d been working towards for a while. And I say we because it really was a we. The event was the brainchild of Hiho’s Queen Bee, Emma Warren, but the two workshops that were held were a huge team effort, that I will tell you about in more detail soon. Today, we’re focusing on the beautiful venue – The Fish Hotel, Broadway.

The Fish Hotel, Broadway

Based on the Farncombe Estate, The Fish Hotel is a real hidden gem. And it is properly hidden too! You clamber up a hill called Fish Hill (and it’s a serious hill with some quite surprising bends!), before taking a left down a long drive. The Estate is massive and contains three amazing venues/hotels – there’s The Fish Hotel, Dormy House and Foxhill Manor. As you turn off the main road, you are taken down an incredibly long drive. It would have been useful if I’d measured the length of the drive but this thought only dawned on me as I started to write the paragraph. The thing is, the length of the drive isn’t the thing you remember. It’s the view. I headed to the venue with Ruth (Dressage Anywhere) and as I’d been there before, I wittered on about the view for most of the drive down the drive. I’ve seen the view before but it was no less impressive second time around. Worcestershire stretches out beneath you and it’s just a sight to behold. I took a picture when I went for a recce, but it doesn’t do it justice. The scale can’t be appreciated in a picture. The entrance is impressive and sets the tone for everything else.

Springfield House

The Fish is made up of a few different areas. The Hook is the restaurant were we had a very nice pizza for dinner the night before, Springfield House is where we held Style, Skills & Silver, we stayed in the Coach House (I think). They also have a number of other buildings in the grounds, including some stunning shepherd huts by Blackdown Shepherd Huts that people can stay in too. It’s clearly a big place, but the careful design of it all means it all feels rather private and lovely. There’s also a lot of greenery – when we walked up from the restaurant the night before (we didn’t stop setting up until gone 9pm so dinner was quite late), it was lovely – tree lined, beautifully lit… heavenly.

Springfield House has quite a different vibe to the restaurant but it’s absolutely lovely too. It manages to strike the mix of modern, cosy, funky, quirky and practical. And that’s quite a combination! We had four rooms in total on two different floors. The first floor was where we held the workshops – the space and the light were lovely and worked so well with the practical workshops. Up a level we had a lovely lounge where we met at the beginning and end of the day, and the room next door where we had lunch and chatted too. The rooms were lovely and having the space over the two floors worked so well with the way the day ran.

Where we stayed

The night before I stayed in the Coach House. I shared a twin room with Ruth and it was the most beautiful room. Lovely fresh white bed linen, Galaxy hot chocolate (yes, I’m very easily bought!), a huge bathroom with lovely toiletries. Everything was beautiful. But like with Springfield House, it was beautiful but very cosy and comfy too. There was a handwritten welcome note, really lovely blankets on the bed, a wooden book with ‘All you need to know’ written on it including all the important things you needed to know, like how the wifi worked. The decor was so pretty, but so comfy. I couldn’t fault it.

Breakfast was included but as I made my way down I got summoned by Sophie and Harriet, who were also staying in the same building, to have a look at their room and give opinions on what to wear. I say summoned. Sophie shouted out the window and I decided I’d rather spend time with them than eating. I felt a little nervous anyway and the last thing I need when feeling a bit nervous is food! Their room was as lovely as ours. It was a slightly different design. It had a little hall and a gorgeous outside terrace space with a glimpse of the stunning view I have spent a lot of this blog wittering on about.

This isn’t a TripAdvisor review – I mean, why be conventional?! But I wanted to explain a bit about the venue as it was really special. It’s not your average hotel, or conference room, or meeting place. It’s way more special than that. I’m looking for an excuse to return as soon as I can!

Find out more about The Fish Hotel here…

To see more about the event, see Karen & Clan and Sophie Callahan’s vlogs.

How to mute someone on InstagramIn May 2018, Instagram announced the introduction of the mute feature. In the last month, Instagram has announced some ginormous changes, granted, but this one, I think, is an important one. First, I’m going to tell you how to mute someone on Instagram, and then we’ll chat about why…

How to mute someone on Instagram

I believe there are two ways to do this: one from an image in your feed and one from their profile. Both seem to work in a similar way- tap the three dots, select ‘Mute’ and Bob’s your Uncle. It’ll give you the option to mute just the posts on the main feed or the posts AND story. And it really is just a few taps away. From the reading I have done, these people will be completely unaware on their new muted status too… so that’s a win,

The other thing is, it’s really, really easy to unmute. Just visit the profile, tap the three dots on the right next to their name and select unmute. You can unmute stories, posts or both. It’s really very easy.

Why would you want to mute someone on Instagram? Why wouldn’t you just unfollow?

This is a very, very fair question and I have been giving it a lot of thought.

Instagram has said that mute has been introduced to allow people to personalise their feed more, to see the content that they want. And before you think ‘well, I’ll just unfollow’, don’t forget that Facebook has offered the ‘unfollow’ option for a long old time now… and lots of people use it. Mute might be new to Instagram, but to social media it isn’t.

I think that, in today’s social media and digital world, unfollowing someone is like a virtual slap in the face and being told that they don’t want to be your friend anymore. It’s a bold statement. Realistically, it’s a click, but people take it really badly and it’s used as a gauge for someone’s like/dislike of you… sad but true…

So – a few reasons why you might want to mute someone on Instagram:

  • Maybe your friend is doing something seasonal you have no interest in and although you love them, you just don’t want to see all the images of something you have no interest in.
  • Maybe people are posting too much and it’s drowning out the content from friends and family members you really, really want to see.
  • Maybe you follow a large number of people because they’re clients or even potential clients and even though you like to keep in touch and see some of their pics, you don’t want to see all of their pics.
  • Maybe you like their Stories but not their posts. Or visa versa.
  • Maybe you’re trying to become less addicted to your phone and Instagram feed and want to give yourself less to be distracted by
  • Maybe you’re suffering with a horrible case of comparisonitis – you know it’s your issue but you need a bit of space away from everyone’s shiny Instagram feeds…

I kind of think I see muting someone as a ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ thing. What your friend/the person you’re following is posting is not wrong, and you don’t like them any less as a person (you’d probably unfollow in both these cases), but you just don’t see their content in the same way as before. You’re still able to go and visit their profile and like/comment away whenever you like, so it’s not so much a ‘go away’, more a way to give yourself a little bit of mental space.

I know there are conflicting views on the mute feature – personally I can really see where it can add value. But I do also agree with the fact that you shouldn’t follow people just for the sake of following them… and then mute them. If you want to build genuine engagement on a genuine account, when a follow from you actually means something, use mute wisely. And if you don’t want to build this kind of account, I’m not so sure that social media is the place for you to hang out… because the ‘social’ part is really important!

Are you on Instagram? I’m @rheafreemanpr – come and share your views on ‘Mute’ over there…there’s a Tip Tuesday post all about it.

My new obsession with AudibleIf you follow me on Instagram (and if you don’t, I’d love you to follow me here!), then you may have seen my Stories. I take most of them when I’m walking the dog, when my mind ‘idles’ a bit… and usually between me getting myself all organised and ready and listening to my latest audiobook… completely fuelled by Audible.

What’s Audible?

Audible is one way to listen to audiobooks. You can also buy them from places like iTunes, and I did hear of another system the other day that condenses books into audio format… which I need to research. Obviously you could just buy CDs, but I download everything to my iPhone because it barely leaves my side, so it makes the most sense. The reason I went for Audible was, actually, price. Initially I wanted to listen to the Dorie Clark’s Entrepreneurial You because it had been recommended to me. I was going to buy the actual book, but then I saw an Audible free trial and decided that it would be worth giving it a spin… and that was it! I started off with Dorie Clark’s book (which is really good by the way!), then downloaded Denise Duffield-Thomas’s updated ‘Lucky Bitch’, which I will review shortly too. I actually cancelled Audible after the free trial, but quickly reinstated it and paid for the subscription.

Is Audible expensive?

I pay £7.99 a month and that allows me to download one book a month. I thought that was a bit steep when some of the books I was downloading cost less to buy, but it’s actually a very different animal and, in all honestly, I was just being tight. I realised this when I went to look for Denise’s book. The options for me where really Audible, buy it from Audible as a one off or iTunes. And getting a monthly subscription from Amazon was by far the cheapest way. The package I’m on allows me to download one book a month, but I can (and have!) bought extra credits, so when I went to Badminton Horse Trials, I bought three extra credits (I think that was the cheapest way!) and downloaded Carrie Green’s She Means Business (I’ve reviewed She Means Business here) for the car journey to listen to.

Do you download books you’ve already read? Isn’t that weird?

Yes I do. And yes it probably is. I wouldn’t download a book I disliked or a book I read recently. I also own ‘Lucky Bitch’ but this is the updated version. In addition, you’ll often find that the authors ad lib a bit on an audiobook – Gary Vee does this a lot and I love it. Also, it kind on sinks in in a different way when you’re listening, well I think it does, and much like reading a book a second time, you absorb a bit more… and you take different things from it. I know of people who read the same book each year and, each time, they get something else. So while it might be weird, I think you can absorb more the second time around. Well, I find I do.

Audible helps me multitask

I feel like this is a promotion for Audible and it really, really isn’t – it’s more of a way to telling you how amazing audio can be and how it can help you and your learning. Another thing I love about Audible and, actually, any form of audio based learning, is that you can multitask. As I said, you’ll usually see me on Instagram Stories walking the dog, listening to an audiobook or a podcast. The slightly vexing thing is that some books feature exercises that require a pen and paper, and that IS more challenging, but the exercise still sinks in… and you can always rewind. I’m also a big fan of audiobooks in the car. This not only helps me learn, but I’m a chronic channel hopper when I’m listening to the radio, and I don’t channel hop with an audiobook, I mean, that would defeat the object, wouldn’t it?!

So yes, I am a bit obsessed with Audible…

…and I would urge you to give it or audiobooks or podcasts in general a spin. A lot of people state that a lack of time is what stops them from reading or learning as much as they would like. And I get that. I do try and read and do courses too, but it can be like trying to crowbar something else into a bursting schedule. What audio does, for me at least, is allows me to do two things at once. Yes, it might mean I need to replay sections or even listen to the whole audiobook again, but I don’t see that as a bad thing.

If you don’t have the budget for audiobooks, I’d definitely suggest podcasts. These are free, easy to access and some are absolutely superb. I mentioned them in my cheap ways to learn blog too…