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Every day is a school day – don’t forget it!

every day is a school dayToday’s Wisdom Wednesday post (well, that’s why it was written but you can read it at any time you fancy!) is all about learning. Hence the ‘Every day is a school day’ title. Because it really, really is.

Every day is a school day

Have you heard this phrase before? There are many like it, but in essence ‘every day is a school day’ means that you learn something new every day. And with the speed that technology is advancing and digital opportunities are opening up, I think this phrase is the most relevant it’s ever been. If you ever hear a true guru/expert speak, or watch how they operate, self development is a huge part of their week. And that can take many forms. It might be working with a coach, attending lectures and seminars or taking part in courses. It might be reading and listening to podcasts. Investing in learning doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Far from it. In the amazing digital world that we live in, we have so much access to good, free knowledge, it can cost zero. But what it can deliver. Well, that can be priceless.

Should you invest in your own learning?

Yes. I could end this paragraph here but that would be a bit of a rubbish one, wouldn’t it? Taking time to learn new things and to try and test them is essential if you want to move your business on. I’m not saying you should throw your life savings at it. In all honestly, you don’t need to. Your investment could be time and zero funds if they’re not available to you. Yes, you do have to look a bit harder and up your ‘crap’ filter settings in your head (I can’t be the only one that has this?!), but you can learn and improve what you do for zero cost. Yes. Zero. There’s a wealth of FREE material out there for whatever business you’re in and whatever skill you’re trying to hone. You will need to put in the legwork and find good sources of information. This can be a bit vexing. Because it’s so easy to get yourself a platform online, it means anyone can. And while there are many (many, many) sources of great information online, there are some people I wouldn’t trust to sit on the toilet the right way around. You need to look out for those. But just keep your spider senses on and listen to what they’re telling you and you should be fine.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t pay to learn either – far from it. As someone who takes part in paid for courses, works with a coach and reads a lot of purchased books, I believe in paying to ‘play’ or at least supplementing your free learning with paid for. I also believe that paid for advice and knowledge (when it is from the right person) is usually better because it’s been pre-filtered, tried and tested… but that’s a whole different blog!

How do you learn?

Well, this depends on you. Some people are visual learners, some learn best through listening to things, it’s completely up to you. You need to find the style that suits you and how you learn. And also, make it fit with your life. A friend of mine embraced podcasts and audiobooks in a big way as the time she spent on the road increased, so she could make the best use of this ‘dead’ time. Personally, I often have a podcast on in the background when I’m working on something a little less creative, and I went through a phase of listening to audiobooks when I walked the dog (something I need to start again!). I also LOVE reading, and proper books at that, so I indulge in a little Amazon based retail therapy more than I would like to admit. And video is a big one too, depending on the skill you’re trying to learn. Have a play around and see what works for you.

 

A Christmas collaboration in action – equestrian prizes galore

Christmas collaboration - equestrian gifts galoreI’m very excited to be able to tell you about a competition I’m participating in – by which I mean, I’m providing a prize for. This amazing Christmas collaboration was arranged and organised by the lovely Becci from Super X Country. It unites a number of businesses, all providing a prize for one lucky winner. It’s a fairly simple competition in terms of the entry mechanism. But more and more I am convinced simple is the best.. you can enter over on Super X Country’s Facebook page.

Who’s the Christmas collaboration between?

The competition is between eight equestrian businesses – each providing a great prize. The lucky person will win a prize worth over £500- how good is that?

So, first up we have Annabel Brocks. I am lucky enough to work for Annabel and own one of her lovely headwarmers and neck warmers, so I can vouch for these products first had. The winner of this competition will win a sumptuous faux fur reversible head warmer. Definitely the most stylish way to stay snug this winter and beyond!

Then we have Super X Country, the brilliant brand created by the ever-so-lovely Becci. Super X Country creates custom cross country sets for riders of all levels, allowing people to get their own colours (and some really fun designs too!) without breaking the bank. In addition, Super X Country also sells gilets, breeches and lots more, all designed with the competitive eventer in mind. As part of this competition, you could win a customer cross country set.

Then there’s me. I’m offering a one hour coaching call. Now, as you know, I coach a lot of equestrian and country businesses, but I can also work with riders looking to develop their social media presence, work with brands, etc. So my bet would be that that’s the kind of advice I’ll be providing in this session, but it will be up to the winner.

Events Through A Lens is offering a shoot worth £150. I’m not 100% sure what this shoot entails, but no doubt it’ll be a great experience and lots of fun too!

LD Equestrian is run by Lydia, again, a bit of a star in my book! She’s developed a range equestrian apparel for the modern equestrian that’s elegant and stylish as much as it is practical. And she’s giving away one snug LD Equestrian hoodie.

Next up we have Caracal Equestrian. Ailsa is the lady behind Caracal and is one of the most creative people I know! She creates (and when I say create, I mean designs and actually makes!) gorgeous show shirts with pops of colour via stunning fabric choices. They’re SO pretty. And there are bespoke options too.

Muzzle & Snout is a fairly new business, headed by the lovely Debra, that handpicks gorgeous gifts and accessories and showcases them. There’s a stunning range of products available to suit all budgets and tastes. For this competition she’s giving a hip flask, unicorn socks and earrings.

Last but my no means least, we have Rico Reins. This company sells, well, reins, but in a HUGE range of lengths, widths and styles. So if you have a teeny Shetland or a HUGE Shire horse, Rico Reins will have the right reins for you! And as part of this competition, Rico is giving away a pair of Bio Grip Reins.

Why is the Christmas collaboration such a good thing?

You probably know my views on how positive collaborations can be, but just to reiterate, I want to use this example. So, here, each of the people above have provided a prize that someone would like to win to make one large prize bundle. So rather than, say, Rico Reins just offering a pair of reins, or Caracal just offering a shirt to their following, they, like I, am offering the same thing but there’s a difference. Everyone is getting exposure to each other’s audiences. So all the brands benefit. But more than that, the AUDIENCE benefits too. I could offer my following a prize of a session with me. They’d like that. But my audience is largely equestrian and country… so they would LOVE to win all of the above too. And I am sure the same applies for all the other brands too. Super X Country’s audience is horse riders, predominantly eventers, so all the above works so well for them too.

And that’s the power of collaboration, whether it’s a Christmas collaboration or any other, EVERYONE should win. And I think this one ticks all those boxes and then some. Well done Becci!

How can you enter this Christmas collaboration to be in with a chance to win?

Simple… pop on over to Super X Country’s Facebook page

Why I have such a low tolerance for BS

Why I have such a low tolerance for BSAnd I don’t mean that British Standard! I’m going to refer to overinflated opinions, general rubbish and fibbing as BS, because it’s a bit nicer than what it stands for…

Why I have such a low tolerance for BS

I must confess that when tact, diplomacy and BS ability were being handed out, I must have been at the cake stand, because I don’t possess any of these qualities in the amount that could be useful. I used to think this was a bad thing, I mean, surely it’s useful when you know someone is talking utter rubbish at you to be able to say ‘oh yes, you’re clearly a genius’. Yeah. I can’t do that. I’ve tried and I sound horribly sarcastic. Or my face shows that I don’t believe any of the words coming from my mouth. It’s a curse. Or is it? Lately, I’ve begun to realise that this incredibly low tolerance for rubbish and my straight talking is actually a massive bonus in what I do now, and something that I am respected for. And that makes me incredibly happy. I should say that I do always try and be mindful of people’s feelings, well, when I feel that they deserve this. If someone rocks up with an ego the size of a small county, I will probably be more direct. That might be a bad thing. But my BS alarm is going off like a mad thing.

Can you have this low tolerance for BS and be a good coach?

I actually think it’s essential! My own coach is very to the point and direct in a nurturing way (yes, they aren’t exclusive!), but she has never once BS’d me. And I have never with my clients. Ever. It makes me unbelievably sad to see the result of some other people’s coaching (that I know others have paid good money for) that is actually harming their business. It really breaks my heart. And I know that sounds really dramatic, but it makes me sad that people are damaging their own businesses so dramatically. Is it because they’re believing their own hype? Is it because their coach didn’t call them out on their own BS? Is it because the coach isn’t experienced in the industry their client is in? It could be any of the above to be honest. However, I can assure you this. If we have a session, everything I tell you will be honest and genuine. If I think you’ve maybe taken a left instead of a right on your journey, I’ll talk to you about it. Even if that means that we aren’t a good fit. Although I have a low tolerance for other people’s BS, mine is non-existent with myself!

Find out more about coaching here

The Flat Lay Challenge – #smallandsuperchargedVIP

Join my free small business group on Facebook to chat and network with likeminded people.

If you’ve been hanging about on Instagram this month (and if you follow me too!), you might have seen me mention the #smallandsuperchargedVIP hashtag, and that’s because of this month’s Small & Supercharged VIP challenge, which is all about flat lays.

I asked the fabulous Rachel Bragg from Sweet-Images Photography to work with me on a resource pack for this month’s Small & Supercharged VIP, because I wanted to create a pack all about flat lays. I LOVE flat lays, both looking at them and trying to create my own, and I know the value that they have (as does Rachel!). Rachel creates flat lays regularly for her own social media and if you follow her on Instagram, you’ll have seen some of these beauties over the last few months. I was delighted that Rachel agreed to be our VIP expert this month, and she created two great instructional videos (and we have a competition running for August too!), and the results have been amazing. We have a lot of content posted in the private VIP group, but we’ve also encouraged members to share on Instagram, using the #smallandsuperchargedVIP, and Rachel will pick the winner at the end of the month.

So – why did we go for flat lays?

I can’t think of one business that a flat lay wouldn’t work for. Not one. Actually, I spoke with Rachel, at length, and we talked through a range of businesses from mechanics to dentists, riding instructors to rural businesses. We couldn’t find one that it wouldn’t work for. They’re also SO useful because we all know that posts with images have much better engagement on social media, but where do you get these images from? Do you buy them? Do you try and bodge your own? DO NOT STEAL THEM (please, don’t!!), but it can get pricey and more. Flat lays are a way to address this. And they’re really good fun too.

Isn’t a flat lay just fun? How does it apply to business?

Yes, flat lays are fun, but they also apply to business. Being able to show your products easily and in a cost effective fashion, or even illustrate your service in a cost effective way, can be HUGELY valuable and generate interest, leads and reach. The images can be used for a range of other applications too, which can see you save on stock image costs at the same time as creating something more personal to you.

How can I learn more about flat lays?

You can obviously have a Google and get inspired, but you can also join the Small & Supercharged VIP community. The challenge aspect runs throughout August, but all members have access to previous resource packs through a password protected area on the website. Membership costs £10pcm (but this will be increasing soon!). Find out lots more here.

And a thank you

I would like to say a massive thank you to Rachel from Sweet-Images Photography. I have thanked Rachel in the group, but I wanted to give her a more public shout out. Rachel has been giving tips to VIP members all month as their flat lay images have appeared in the group, helping to encourage, support and improve the flat lays as the month has gone one. And the results have been amazing. Follow Rachel on her social platforms below, or see the website here.

Rachel’s Facebook

Rachel’s Instagram

Rachel’s Twitter

Why making the right decision isn’t always easy

Why making the right decision isn't always easyMaking the right decision isn’t always easy. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it’s hard. It keeps you up at night. It makes you question what you’re made of. It makes you question lots of your character traits too. So if it’s doing all of these things, if it makes you feel horribly uneasy in your skin, then how do you know it’s right? What if these feelings are actually your gut instinct screaming no? It could be. But I think I might have found a way to help. It still feels horrible, but it allows you to see what the right path is. Having the balls to follow that path, to make that right decision, isn’t quite so easy.

Why do we need to make these kinds of decisions?

I don’t know your situation, but let me tell you about mine. This is a frank and open blog – much like any blog I write, but I know that when I make the decision to publish it (and it will be the right decision because it might help just ONE of you), I’ll feel sick. So stick with me here…

Sometimes we have to make decisions that mix things up. From the outside looking in, it doesn’t necessarily look like we’re making huge decisions, but they feel like seismic shifts and leave us feeling a bit wobbly.

As you’ll know, if you follow my blog or any of my social media platforms, not all that long ago, my business and the work I do made a slight detour. After running a very successful PR, marketing and social media business for longer than I care to admit, and doing a stint in house as marketing manager for one of the largest equestrian product manufacturers in the world, I started to dabble in another kind of service. It was closely related to the work I did and used a lot of the same skills and knowledge, but it focused on helping business owners to help themselves. Now, this doesn’t mean that the people I started coaching. consulting with or mentoring (more about those terms some other day!) HAD to do everything themselves, but for some people it meant that they had the confidence to do all of the above. It meant that they could look at what they wanted to achieve with their businesses and brainstorm with someone who had been there, done it (a number of times) and got a number of free t-shirts too! It allowed people to make any budget work harder. In fact, it meant that people with no budget could learn the skills they needed to put their business on the right course.

It sort of started by accident if truth be told. It felt like a good idea, I knew I could help and I love working with smaller businesses, so it ticked a few boxes. But when the results started to come in from the handful of coaching clients I was working with, more work in this area followed. I was delighted. Having people reach out to me, ask for my help, and being able to work with them, to empower them and create that all important strategy and plan. To be that brainstorming buddy. To be that coach and cheerleader. I loved it. The more work I did, the more work I got. It was brilliant, But being just one person and unable to clone myself was a sticking point as there really are only so many hours in the day. I’m not afraid of hard work. Far from it. It’s currently 22.51 on a Sunday night and I am writing this. I can (and do) work incredibly hard. And I love it. My brain whirls and I see things in an almost Sherlock Holmes ‘mind palace’ kind of way when things connect. I’ll regularly email myself with ideas at stupid o’clock or be inspired by something I see out and about. But I digress. I was already at a normal human’s full capacity when I started working with coaching clients. And now that side of the business was growing and it felt good. It felt right. But something was going to have to give…

But making the right decision is not always easy

In this case, it’s been an incredibly hard decision to make. I ADORE my clients. Some of my PR clients I have worked with for years and years and years. Literally. I have been involved with so much of their business and they have become friends as well as clients. I have been gradually reducing my PR clients when the time was right to focus in on just a handful because, in addition to many of my other beliefs, I also whole heartedly believe that one needs to be a practitioner (as Gary Vee would say!) as well as someone who coaches and consults. Having full PR clients allows me to do this, but in order to serve them correctly I can only have a limited number. And a number that was becoming more and more limited. Add to this the other elements of my life – a house to run, two small children, a slight mentally deficient trailhound, a husband, a father, and, you know, having some kind of life and the need for sleep and continuing professional development, and you can see the issues looming. Well, not so much looming in the distance, more like a flipping wall of issues and noise and stress.

I’ve been wrestling with what to do. What decision to make.

…I’ve known deep down what I WANTED to do. What the right decision was for me. But it felt selfish. It felt disloyal. I felt like a traitor (and that was the actual I word when I was speaking to my coach). These are not qualities I value in a human, let alone myself. I am fiercely loyal. It’s kind of one of my things. But I have a number of other attributes I value too. I HAVE to do my very best and can’t handle being anything that I perceive as below par. I don’t really ‘do’ dropping balls. I would genuinely rather give up sleep than let someone down. Mad, hey? I knew what I needed to do. Of course. Anyone reading this will know the answer. It’s simple. On the surface it’s obvious. If a coaching client came to me with this exact issue I would ask them some questions (the very same questions I have asked myself) and the answers would steer them to the solution. It was staring me in the face. But there was the emotional element that hadn’t been considered in the equation. My feeling about it all. How bad what I needed to do made me feel. But the truth there was only the one solution. It was the RIGHT decision to make. But it still felt horrible. It wasn’t easy.

So if I could offer you one tip about making the right decision

…it would be this. Try and imagine that you are talking to you, but you don’t have the emotional ‘stuff’ that goes on in your mind. Imagine you’re speaking to your best friend and they are in possession of ALL of the facts, but none of the emotion. What do you think they would say? Yep. It’s probably what you don’t want to hear, but it’s probably the right decision. But no one said it would be easy. Did they?

But onto brighter things…

Now I’ve made the decision, have acted on it and have a clear plan, I couldn’t be more excited about what the future has in store, for me, my coaching clients, my VIP members, my Small & Supercharged members and my PR clients. We’re all destined for big things. Let’s plan. Let’s make decisions (even the uneasy ones) for the sake of progress, happiness (and sanity) and if you ever need someone to give you a helpful nudge or someone to share your unease with, I’m really just an email away.

Blogstars – Wiola Grabowska – Aspire Equestrian

In today’s ‘Blogstars’ post, I chat to Wiola Grabowska from Aspire Equestrian. The lovely images in this piece were taken by Christine Dunnington Photography.

 

Why did you started blogging?

I first started blogging in 2007 to share my new freelance coaching journey with friends and family. Most of them lived abroad and since I loved writing and wanted to practice my English language skills, the blog became my way of keeping everyone updated with my various ups and downs.
Over the years I went away from a typical diary format and now focus on growing a blog that you might call a coaching and a curious rider companion!

How do you measure its success?

The blog exists to help riders and coaches out there to ride and teach with horse’s wellness in mind. It is also my way of telling others what we do at Aspire Equestrian Riding Academy and how we do it. I consider it successful every time the post makes someone stop and think or gives them an idea Wiola Grabowskathat starts a chain of improvement in a skill they have battled with for a long time. Emails and messages from the readers as well as readers who become real life clients are my success measures.

Tell us about the post you’ve most enjoyed writing/has been the best received

This one is a funny one for me. Sometimes I spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking up a post. Making sure it is what I want to convey, that it is clear and concise. It, no jokes, takes me hours to put together just to then receive a several hundreds views and no interactions whatsoever.
Then I might be in the middle of a lesson and think oh, this could make a nice quick blog post. Jot something quickly on my phone, put a post together in just about half an hour (editing photos etc), let it fly live thinking it might help a few riders just to be shared everywhere and hitting over 30k views.

To answer this question fully – the posts I most enjoy writing are those that draw from my riders’ or my own experiences, that try to address real, well-lived in issues that we managed to tackle and can now pass a little knowledge on.

How do you promote your blog?

Carefully! 😉 I have a very specific audience in mind that I want to reach so I adjust all my promotion activities to that. I mostly use social media and other blogging platforms to spread the word about each post and have in the past boosted posts on Facebook but have not done it for a long time now.

Any tips you’d like to pass on to first time bloggers/people who are interested in blogging?

Blog with passion for what you write about. Write about the things you would like to read in a way you would like to read. Add photos that make the words in the post come alive and have a clear “why” for every post you write.

Has anything ‘good’ come out of blogging?

I don’t even know where to start here and how to keep it to a few lines! I would totally monopolise Aspire EquestrianRhea’s blog space if I accounted for every amazing opportunity blogging has brought me in the last 10 years!
One of my most memorable blogging “goods” was being invited to learn from Anna Ross for several years. I think it was her mum who read my blog first 😉 I went to spend a day auditing Anna’s lessons almost 10 years ago and have learnt a lot through watching, tagging along and helping on the yards she was based. To this day I tell anyone who wants to listen to go and watch riders and coaches. Just sit, observe and listen. You don’t have to copy everything or teach the same but there is a wealth of knowledge and wisdom out there that can really be learnt by quiet observation and analysis.

Around 2010 I think I was sitting at Cafe Nero in London looking out at crazy amount of snow outside that stopped my teaching (and my income) for days when an email appeared on my screen. It was from a lady in Norway who said she’d been reading my blog and wondered if I would be interested in coming over and running a clinic for their riding club…These were the guys who trained with Andrew Murphy and many top riders and trainers in the world. I said yes of course and then spent weeks wondering what on earth could I teach them they didn’t already know!
I went over to run the weekend clinic once, twice, several times. An experience I will treasure forever that not only taught me a lot but gave me friends for life.

Similar opportunities happened over time, from invitations to run my training weekends to gaining real life, long terms clients who loved what they were reading on the blog. I have been sent products to review from various brands, met some amazing, inspirational people and that’s only the beginning as we have big plans for my little blog!

Thank you Rhea for the opportunity to write for this series!

Where can we find you online?

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aspireequestrian/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AspireAcademy
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aspireequestrianacademy
Website: www.aspireequestrianacademy.com

Do I need a business coach?

Today’s blog is about something close to my heart for two reasons. Firstly, I do an increasing amount of business coaching with a range of clients. And secondly because my business coach is a complete diamond who has helped me take my business to the next level (and will continue to help me). If you’ve asked yourself ‘do I need a business coach’, this blog is just for you.

Coach, mentor or consultant?

When I first started down this path, I couldn’t decided on the correct term. Was I a coach? A mentor? A consultant? I was kind of all of them, but each word made me think of something I didn’t like. Coach – I thought of running faster and jumping higher. Mentor – I was unconvinced. Consultant – I’m not formal enough to be one of those, and I’ve met many ‘consultants’ I didn’t rate at all. If there’s a horrible child in your class at school, no matter how lovely their name is, you’re never going to like that name. I felt the same. I take the point that I use the term PR consultant when I have a limited amount of space. But still. I digress…

As you’ll know, I’ve build up a successful PR and marketing business in the rural and equestrian industry. And I don’t like to blow my own trumpet, but it’s something I’m really proud of. But I work Do I need a business coach?on my own (Ok, I have a little help with my accounts and my husband does my video editing and offers this service to my clients), but you get the idea. But the problem is, I am one of those people. I love helping people. I like helping people achieve more in their businesses. I’m proficient at doing this with minimal budget because I look at things differently (and I’ve been doing this for a while!). I adore social media, love content marketing, am pretty obsessed with video, Facebook Live, collaborations. You get the idea. I knew how many people could benefit from my knowledge and how I could help them. But what ‘name’ would I give myself? I’m kind of a fixer. Yep – I can help you with your social media. I can get into the strategy. I can help you find the right brand ambassador. I can help you with a content marketing plan. I can help you gain clients. I can help you work with magazines. Give me a problem and I will be able to help you fix it OR I will know someone who can. Actually, I’ll teach you how to fix it and present a load of options too. And then we’ll review what you’ve done and we’ll look at the next area for improvement. So after a fair amount of steering by my lovely coach. I decided coach was the best label.

What is business coaching – well, what’s the service I offer about?

I knew what I wanted to do – what I was capable of helping people do – and when I tentatively told the world, I got some clients. Some coaching clients. Theses lovely lot have made huge leaps forward and it is SO exciting to watch. I have one client who secured an article in the local press after one chat (and now knows how to do it again and has the contacts to be in control of her own promotion in that area!). I had one client who launched a business. One who was asked to be a brand ambassador for a company she’s adored for years. One who secured a regular column in a magazine. One who grew their Facebook following massively at minimal cost. You get the idea. So, my advice (and I do appreciate the bias here), is that if you want to improve what you do, reach new people, retain loyalty, or just up-level your business, then yes. Business coaching can be a game changer. If you’re still asking ‘do I need a business coach’ – here’s a look from the other side of the fence.

Do I need a business coach?

I didn’t think I needed a business coach. And if I’d asked myself the ‘do I need a business coach?’ question, I would have said no. And I would have been oh so wrong. My coach helped me to gain clarity. She helped me to be comfortable with the word coach and a whole lot more. And she helps me now with new ideas that get the old grey matter whirling and push me to be better and do more. We’re friends, she knows what makes me tick, and I help her in her business too, so she knows me very, very well. And I’m grateful – oh so grateful – that I have her on my side.

So, if you’re interested in business coaching – I would love to hear from you. Just contact me for an informal email chat. I’d also love to hear if you work with a coach and the difference you feel it’s made to your business. Please leave your comments below. I’d love to see them.

Small business coaching – and why it could help you

If you run a small business, in whatever industry, you’ll feel a pressure. One moment you’re dealing with sales, then marketing, then accounts, then IT, then despatch…and that’s just on a good day! Many small business owners feel pulled in all directions and, at the same time, they’re being bombarded with information. Things they should be doing. Things they could be doing. Especially in terms or PR, marketing and social media. How do you find clarity? Get focus? Get goals? Working a small business coach or mentor, that’s how! And that’s exactly why I do through my small business coaching.

Different areas of business require different areas of expertise, but one essential part is marketing. Nowadays, marketing isn’t just shoving an ad in Yellow Pages and waiting. Oh no. It’s printed media, it’s digital media, it’s collaborations, it’s video, it’s social…the list goes on. You know you need to be doing a combination of the above. You know it’s really important for your business. But your head is so busy with a never ending to-do list and you don’t really know where to start. So what do you do? Lots of people do nothing. And that’s not going to get you anywhere. Start with small steps. There are many sayings that talk about this concept, but it’s true. Now, if you really want help, structure and someone who has your back, working with a small business coach could help you in a big way.

Now, small business coaching, as I see it, isn’t all about cheerleading and telling you everything is going to be fine if you just think really hard. No. I’m afraid it’s not going to cut it. I’m all about action, achievable goals, accountability and NOT spending your life savings/having to sell organs to get all important coverage that will get you in front of your target market. Sound good? It is. I know, that’s a bit arrogant to say, but I’ve worked with a number of small businesses in a range of industries, from equestrian and country to food and recruitment, and ALL have achieved great things. And continue to. How cool is that? Could small business coaching help you?I’m not your average business coach. I’m not your average PR, marketing and social media consultant/coach…or whatever you want to call me. I invest in my clients – I want them to succeed. To win. Why? Because they deserve it and I take their success personally.

But won’t you need a mortgage to work with me? No. No you won’t. I’m not saying that my prices won’t go up, but I really enjoy working with SMEs, and that’s why my charges will always be reasonable. I know I could charge more. I know I could charge a lot more if I’m being 100% honest with you, but I like working with people long term, being part of the team, seeing the growth and development. I’m all about the relationship. Most people have a Skype/FaceTime session a month with follow up notes and then we review, plan and execute month on month on month. And if you ask me a question I don’t know the answer to, I will know someone who will. I’ve run my own business for a number of years too, something I created from nothing that continues to go from strength to strength, so I’m not some 10 year old life coach who hasn’t been there are done it. Of course, I’m not the finished article, NO ONE IS, because systems change and it’s important to grow and develop and evolve. I’d say Facebook was pretty good. But that doesn’t stop Mark and his team building new products and improving it, does it?

My particular strengths are in anything to do with the promotion of your business to your target market. So, that’s PR, marketing, social media, collaborations, working with influencers, video, etc. etc. I’m a bore about social media and why you should be doing it. I’m passionate about working with good people. I could go on…but the chances are you have a to-do list longer than your arm, so I’ll just ask you drop me an email if you’re interested about small business coaching.

How to up-level your business

How to up-level your businessIf you’re looking to ‘up-level’ your business this year, it requires a new kind of dedication, a new kind of skill set and a new kind of attitude. Are you game? Read on to find out how to up-level your business…

Are you ready?

There’s a great saying by someone far wiser than I am that simply states you’ll always get what you’ve always had if you always do what you’ve always done. Simple hey. Of course, there are exceptions, and winning the lottery or someone finding you by pure accident can happen, but would you want to bet your business and its future success on something that might possibly happen? Actually, it’s even less than that. Might possibly happen once in a blue moon? No, I didn’t think so.

How do you up-level your business?

So, how do you up-level? Well first, let’s just think about what the phrase means. It’s to take your business onto another level. To increase and expand what you do. To increase you reach, your engagement. The reason, in my mind at least, that the definition is vague is simply because there are many ways to up-level, but that depends on where you are now and where you want to be along with what you have utilised at the moment. I’m not saying up-levelling is easy, but it starts by having a proper look at what you do now and your current position and then a look at where you want to be. And then it’s a case of exploring new ideas. This could be through working with a coach or mentor to help you plan, perfect and achieve your goals. It could be through doing a lot of extra learning. It could be through dedicating time and resources to previously ignored areas in your business.

How long does it take?

Up-levelling won’t happen overnight. Or it shouldn’t do. It can be a fairly quick process though, or at least, the start of the process can be quick. Changing the way you work, to be more, to offer more, should be a gradual process. An evolution if you will, and you need to learn and adapt as you go, so you’re ready when your business gets there.

I can help (shameless plug alert)

I’ve been working with a number of clients in a one to one coaching capacity, to help them up-level (and continue to up-level) their business and what they do. Having someone who has your back and has the supporting knowledge and resources on hand can make your journey a lot easier. It’s perfectly possible on your own, but having seen pretty miraculous changes in a relatively short space of time from tweaking and adjusting small and large ‘things’, having a coach, a wingman, someone who is on your side (and has made it their mission to learn, research and test the best ways of doing things!), can really help. Have a look at the coaching service here or get in touch if you’re interested.

Why I bought the bag – do you reward yourself enough?

As anyone who follows me on Twitter or Instagram will know, I recently purchased a completely beautiful Fairfax & Favor Windsor Bag. I’ve actually filmed a video about its packaging too (coming soon!). But that’s not the point of this blog – the point of this blog is tell you why I bought the bag…and it’s not just because it’s gorgeous. And my question for you – do you reward yourself enough?

Fairfax & Favor Windsor HandbagI’ve been admiring this particular bag for a while. And I’ve been in need for a new bag as mine fell apart not that long ago, but I still drag it around the place. Anyway, it’s been on my wish list for quite a long time. But why didn’t I just flipping buy the damn thing? Well, that goes a bit deeper.

I don’t buy that many ‘things’ for myself. I have a bit of a vice for business books, and obviously I buy necessary clothes, food, you know – but I don’t ‘spoil’ myself. Well. Ever. And that’s fine. I don’t need to. But this goes a little deeper in that I neither spoil myself nor reward myself when I do well. I’m not saying that each time I make a bit of progress in my business I should buy myself new things – far from it – but I never even say ‘well done’ either. Silly, isn’t it?

But I’m not alone in this. I work with some amazing people who achieve fabulous things in their businesses each day. They revolutionise out of date services and products, they gain new clients, they create new pieces, they work really, really hard. And what do they do when they succeed? They’re onto the next thing, without so much as a celebratory pause. Or even a smile for a job well done.

Let’s flip this around. If you had someone working for you that made the wins that you make in your business, would you just ignore their achievements? I very much doubt it. You’d tell them that they’d done well. You’d congratulate them. You might go out for a drink after work. If it’s a spectacular achievement, you might even given them a bonus. And what do you do when you do something great? How do you reward yourself? Put the kettle on and crack on with the next job? Sound familiar?

So, back to the bag. A client of mine had bought one and sent me a video of it (yes…I do have lovely clients who egg me on to do things!), and one of the lovely bloggers I work with is a big fan of the brand too. Yet still I was on the fence. Did I deserve it? Yep. You read that correctly. Did I deserve the bag?  I work hard, I don’t play hard, I give a lot. With a gentle kick up the backside from my client, and husband, and Harriet (aka A Girl About Country). The bag was purchased and I couldn’t be more delighted. Not only is it a thing of beauty, but it’s a rather lovely reminder of how far I’ve come, and that hard work pays off. All in bag form.

So, my message to you. I’m not saying you need to necessarily buy yourself expensive things every five minutes, or throw parties when you make progress, but do something nice for yourself, to say well done. Self employed people and directors don’t really seem to celebrate their wins. And where’s the fun in that? Treat yourself like you would a team member. Even if it’s just a quiet word with yourself that says ‘job well done’.

Do you reward yourself enough? I’d love to hear how you pat yourself on the back below, or if this blog has made you think that perhaps you need to have a think about it.