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.

Small & Supercharged Podcast Ep 4 – how Kylie Jenner’s Face Filter changed the game

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!!

Small & Supercharged Podcast Ep 2 – Social Media Scaremongering

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!

The Small & Supercharged Podcast is here!

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.

Hiho Silver #styleskillsandsilver Instameet at The Fish Hotel, Broadway

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 Instagram (and why you might want to)

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.

Behind… my new obsession with Audible… and how I’m using it to upskill

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…

Seven ways to use Instagram Stories

Seven ways to use Instagram StoriesYou might have realised that I’m a big fan of Instagram Stories (hop on over to my Instagram if you’re yet to!), but the good news is that they’re not JUST fun. In fact, they can provide a great way to connect with your audience. I was asked about Instagram Stories a little while ago in one of the Facebook Live sessions, so decided that it would be a good opportunity to talk about them and different ways to use Instagram Stories.

Seven ways to Instagram Stories

Depending on the nature of your business, blog or Instagram account, you can choose to use your Instagram Stories in a number of ways…here are seven ways to use Instagram Stories that you might find useful…

  • Document. Unlike your main feed images that are more than likely well thought through and carefully composed with a key point or message, Instagram Stories don’t need to be. They can be used to document what you’re up to in your day. Yes, you want to have a point to the Story, but it doesn’t have to be as specific as a main feed image.
  • Behind the scenes. Stories are a great way to show what goes on behind the scenes at where you work. It could be the creation of a product, getting ready for a show, packaging, personalisation… the list goes on.
  • Events. Instagram Stories provide the perfect place to put show and event content up. This kind of falls into the document category, but still.
  • Interviews. You can use Instagram Stories to record micro interviews with people. Brand ambassador? Customer? Team member… if they have something concise to stay, use Stories.
  • Poll. Yep – you can use Instagram Stories to ask an opinion and then integrate a poll into the Story that people can vote on.
  • Promotion. Promote a blog post using Stories. You can take an image of it on the screen, add an image or a graphic you’ve created, or even make a short video. It’s up to you. You could also use Stories to promote a specific hashtag on competition. Honestly, there’s SO much scope.
  • Share a thought. Instagram Stories can be the perfect place to share a thought. I do this a LOT.. usually when I’m walking the dog or waiting for my children to wake up from a car ride. It’s a nice way to connect with your audience authentically and let your personality come out.

And this is JUST the surface of it all and a few ideas. I use my own Instagram Stories for all of the above and more. I’ve showcased products for competitions through Stories, shared client posts. shown press clippings (with permission) and lots more.

How do you use Instagram Stories? What do you think of the ways to use Instagram Stories listed above? I’d love to know. And if you’d like to see my Instagram Stories in action, please do come and follow my Instagram at @rheafreemanpr

Can you repost professional photographs on social media?

Can you repost professional photographs on social media?

Quote image by Sophie Callahan Photography.

In a fairly recently Monday Q and A on my Facebook page, I received a variation of this question: ‘can you repost professional photographs on social media?’. Now, I want to put this into context a little. The person who posted was asking about a rider that they sponsor. The rider had added what was clearly a professionally taken image to their social media media. So does that mean that the company can repost it? Well no, not necessarily.

Can you repost professional photographs on social media?

If I was giving a one word answer, that would be no. If, in the case above, a rider has posted a professional picture on social media, this doesn’t mean you can automatically. Even if the rider has asked permission for the photographer and this has been granted, this doesn’t automatically mean you can…

So, first of all, your rider might not have the proper permission. Many people buy prints and take pics of the prints and then post these. This isn’t right. Often, photographers will provide social media images (that can be purchased for not much money) that CAN be used on social media. Some photographers add this in a package when someone buys a print. They all don’t but some do.

Now, even if the above has been done properly, that does not mean that you as a business can repost without permission. I mean, people do, let’s be honest about this, but you need to reach out to the photographer and get their written permission for this. Some may request further payment… you don’t have to pay this. But if you decide not to pay it, do NOT repost the image. Please. It’s not good. Many photographers are happy, if the image has been purchased correctly and you credit it to let you use it on your social media. I did speak to a few photographers about this and they agreed.

What about sharing a picture?

Sharing an image from the original source is a bit different. If the photographer has posted the image and you share direct, then technically there shouldn’t be an issue here (as long as you SHARE the image, you don’t screenshot or save the image and then post as your own). Some photographers do explain on their page that they do not want this done, and some confirm that they’re happy if images are shared but no saved and posted. Respect this.

Sharing and reposting are very very different animals. Sharing and retweeting show the original source clearly… reposting should (if you use the correct apps) but doesn’t in the same way. You also move the image from the photographer (or rider’s) feed to your own and post it natively there.

If a rider has shared an image from a photographer with a watermark across it… don’t share it. Again, USUALLY, when an image has been purchased properly, the watermark is removed. This isn’t always the case for social media images but generally it is.

And what if the photograph is really good?

It doesn’t matter how good it is. If it doubt (any doubt!) always ask. Always.

Are photographers just being mean?

Sometimes you’ll find a really grumpy photographer, just like you’ll find really grumpy INSERT ANY OTHER PROFESSION HERE. But this? No, this is their livelihood. And as far as I’m aware, not that many banks take goodwill in lieu of a mortgage payment. Of course, if the image has already been purchased once (important point!), it’s to promote the rider, they sponsor the rider, or various other situations, you’re more than likely to get a ‘yes, no problem’ response. But if you don’t ask… well… you could really annoy a photographer and could be charged too.

Behind… the filters we apply

the filters we applyThis ‘behind…’ is a bit different to normal. I usually go behind the scenes of a campaign, competition or product launch. Now, fear not, I’ll be going back there next week, but today I want to talk about the filters we apply. No, not to our social media pics. The filters we apply to our lives and the events that happen to us.

Filters?

Yes. Filters. You can call them frames if you like – lots of people do. Basically, it’s the way you view something. Exciting or scary? Hard work or challenging? Get it? Now, if we explore the filters idea (because, you know, I like social media!), then I think it becomes clear…

Let’s talk about filters

Imagine you take a picture (well, no need to imagine, I’m sure you take a lot of pictures!) and now let’s think of the filter you apply before you show the world.

Let’s look at Instagram’s filters… I’m just going to pick a few to illustrate. Don’t be a filter snob here. I might not mention the ones you like… it’s OK… and if I mention the ones below and you disagree with my assessment, that’s fine too. I’m all about the metaphor!

So, we start with no filter. In Instagram terms (and real life), this is what it is. There’s nothing added or taken away to give a different feel, thought, look or opinion. The picture here is a dandelion.

Now, Clarendon… this makes everything pop, makes it all more vibrant (well, on the image I’m messing around with it does). This has made the image brighter – it looks sunnier than before, everything looks lush, green, rosy and spring like. So maybe, if we flip around to our own filters, Clarendon is an optimistic filter than makes everything look a little ‘better’ than it is.

Reyes… the image I’m using now has lost its vibrancy. The yellow dandelions, the green grass… they feel less than they should be in this context. It’s almost like the image has been subdued in some way. Flipping to the life filter, this could be a filter that makes things look less ‘shiny’. Maybe a really exciting opportunity becomes great or ‘ok’.

X-Pro II… the drama! The colours have become deeper, so has the road surface in the image… it feels dramatic and exaggerated. I don’t dislike what it’s done to the dandelion image, but if you have your X-Pro II filter on in real life, it could be good or bad.

See where I’m going with this?

So, what do filters have to do with anything? How do the filters we apply change anything?

They change how we view things. The filter doesn’t have to change the thing we’re seeing, but it’ll change how we feel about it all. The story we create around it. The picture here, the one of dandelions. What do you see? A weed? A flower? Something yellow? Food? A life line for bees? It’s all of these things, depending on how you view it.

Take a situation. I’m going to use public speaking. So, you get invited to speak somewhere. Now what. Are you scared? Excited? Fearing ridicule? What are you thinking? It’s actually completely up to us BUT it can also change the outcome of this kind of event. It’s a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy. My amazing friend, Emma Warren, made me think about this the other day. She asked me how I was feeling about my TEDx talk. I said I was nervous. That I was not good at public speaking. She suggested that each time that thought entered my head I did a physical thing and repeated a basic mantra to change how I viewed it. To change my filter. To switch nerves into excitement. I only did this a couple of times and I felt the worry lift. And then I didn’t think of the disaster scenario again, that was connected to my anxiety. I was still a little anxious – I mean – public speaking is not something I do lots of – but I wasn’t scared. I was kind of excited. If I’d had the wrong filter in place, I wouldn’t have been.

I like the filter analogy. I’m sure it’s been used before (so I’m not saying it’s my idea, I just haven’t seen it myself), but I usually see it referred to as framing. I always understood the concept, but when I was walking the dog, pondering life, listening to an audiobook and saw that the verges were lined with dandelions, everything started to fit together. Weed or flower? Food or decoration? It depends what filter you apply. This depends on your pre-sets (you can tell I work with a lot of photographers, can’t you?!), but it also means that YOU CAN CHANGE IT.

I hasten to add that I am no mindset coach and I’m no expert in psychology, far from it, this is very much my take on it, based on my own thoughts.

Do you apply filters to certain scenarios? Are you aware of the filters you’re applying? I’d love to know.

How to… dress for a TEDx talk… well, what I’m doing anyway!

How to dress for a TEDx talkAs you may have seen in a previous post, I’m a speaker at TEDx Malvern later this month. I’m completely honoured and excited to have been asked and actually can’t wait to give my talk. I mean, any form of public speaking, especially something like TEDx, does get the heart pumping a bit faster and give the tummy butterflies a work out, but I really am excited about it.

Why does how to dress for a TEDx talk matter?

Bizarrely, the bit that has caused me the most ‘discomfort’ is what I am planning to wear. I know. Does it even matter? Well, yes, the more I have delved into this area, the more I really believe it does. So much so, that I have ‘recruited’ a ‘Glam Squad’ to help me dress for my TEDx talk, and will be putting together a fair amount of content around the subject. Yes, I’ll be looking at how to dress for a TEDx talk, but I’m hoping that the insight that I can produce (well, the Glam Squad can!) will help anyone who is planning to do something that’s a bit more public than they’re used to. If it’s public speaking, attending an event, meeting new people, networking – whatever, what you wear matters. But not just on a superficial level. It’s actually about the way it makes you feel, and that’s something I am really focusing on for my TEDx talk, and one of the things that has been at the front on my mind when deciding how to dress for my TEDx talk.

Meet the ‘Glam Squad’

I titled our Facebook Messenger chat ‘Glam Squad’ and it’s stuck (for me anyway!!) but I wanted to introduce you to two ladies who have been a massive massive help in helping me put together outfit ideas. The first is Karen McConnell (of KA Equestrian and Karen & Clan), and the second is Sophie Callahan (of, well, Sophie Callahan!).

About Karen 

Karen is a mum of two, she’s horsey, she has a dog, she’s a Toggi blogger and has really exceptional taste in clothes. Both of Karen’s blogs show this. Her equestrian style is best showcased through KA Equestrian, and the clothes she wears when not on the yard are showcased through her lifestyle blog, Karen & Clan. Karen’s style, for me at least, ticks a lot of boxes. It always looks well thought through and everything just works. The clothing is practical (OK, unless she’s off out somewhere swanky, then it’s full on glamour!) and by that I mean she can actually walk, play with the kids and move about when wearing it. I see many, many gorgeous outfits and clothes on my travels but, for me, it has to be practical. I always like to feel that I can be ‘useful’ if needed, and if I’m wearing something I can barely move it, I’ll struggle to drive, let alone anything else! Comfort is a word that makes me think of pyjamas and hoodies, but when I say comfortable here, I mean it as an extension of the above. Comfort is a big deal in my world. If I wear a top that’s an inch too short, I will spend the whole time pulling it down. The same applies with every other item of clothing too – I’ll fiddle and faff with it constantly. This isn’t sit on the sofa comfort, it’s more a smart comfort. I feel Karen does this so well.

About Sophie

Sophie is an absolute diamond too, and I’ve always loved the way she dresses. She’s best known for her photography – well, I say best known, she’s also very well known as an equestrian and country lifestyle blogger and vlogger!

There are many similarities between Sophie and Karen’s overall style vibe in many ways – practical as well as pretty. Sophie tends to wear jeans a lot (same as me!) and she has curves that she freely admits/blogs about. Since having my children, I’m more conscious then ever about certain areas, mainly my stomach, so having Sophie’s knowledge of how to dress curves well is a huge help to me. If you saw Sophie’s blog last year about what she was wearing for HOYS, you’ll find out a lot more about her style, and you’ll see why I wanted her as part of the Glam Squad too.

Both these ladies have been a HUGE help. They have dealt with me sending pics of things I’ve seen and liked at various times of the day and night, chatted through colours and ideas, accepted my many (many) quirks and been very accepting on the areas I want to hide/not draw attention to. I am going to go into this in more detail in the blogs to follow. And I see the irony that I am quite literally highlighting the areas I want to hide, but what I’ve come to realise is that we all have these quirks. I think both Karen and Sophie’s figures are fab- enviable in fact – but both have areas that they’re not as confident about. And they address this by being careful about the clothing that they pick. I tend to huff and puff, get cross about it all and revert to something that has tent like qualities. Sure, this hides a lot of issues, but creates another in that it increases my overall mass by a huge amount. Which is not what anyone really wants to do!

What was the brief?

I spoke to Sophie and Karen about helping me when I first found out about the talk. They’re both clients and friends and I respect their opinion. We also have a relationship that means they can tell me that I’m wrong and be completely honest. And that’s what I need. I need people whose opinion I trust and I can be honest with. Because I have pretty strong opinions too.

I’m not sure either of them realised just how ‘quirky’ I could be when it comes to what I wear.

So, the TEDx talk will be filmed, I’ll be speaking against a black background, and it will be in front of an audience of people, on a stage. That’s the easy bit.

As for how to dress for the TEDx talk… the girls had some criteria to work with…

  • I’m tall – 6ft tall in fact, and although this is something I clearly can not change, it’s not something I’m hugely comfortable with. Some styles and cuts elongate and make you look taller, that was something to avoid.
  • My stomach – yep – I’m not sure I was that thrilled with my whole stomach area before, but after having twins it’s certainly not an area I’m very pleased with. OK, that sounds harsh, it looked after two tiny humans for nine months, so I can’t be too cross at it, but it’s not toned or flat. Again, I’m OK with this day to day, but I wouldn’t want anything to particularly draw attention to this area. So they had to contend with that too.
  • I’m pale. I have pale skin, darkish hair, and I am not confident when it comes to the application of make up. So the colours picked need to work with what I affectionately refer to as a ‘pasty’ complexion.
  • Jeans. I made it very clear from very early on that I was planning to wear jeans. I can do dresses (just!), I can do skirts, but I am 100% more confident if I’m wearing jeans. Maybe it’s something to do with being useful? They’re dark and smart and skinny in appearance. But they were pretty much a non negotiable.

See, I bet you thought the ladies had an easy time, didn’t you?

I’ll be creating a variety of different content over the next few weeks to show you how I’m dressing for my TEDx talk and why, some of the lovely products I’ve borrowed, what I’ve bought and more. I have some gorgeous pieces to show you and I think you’ll love them too. So here’s to our little journey about how to dress for a TEDx talk!