Introducing the Coffee Work Sleep Creative Community

Working on your own can get lonely, and living your business life online can leave you craving some face to face time with people that just get it. Trying to find ‘your tribe’ or just other people choosing the path of self employment or business owning can be so difficult – let alone making your business profitable and finding customers and clients. This is where networking is needed.

When I say the word ‘networking’ it gets very different reactions.

I don’t know about you but I struggle at traditional, more corporate style networking events and sessions. The structures and time pressures and salesy vibes just cause my anxiety levels to shoot sky high. Yet I love making connections and collaborating with other businesses, so going to these events seemed to be a, for want of a better term, a necessary evil. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing bad about these events, per se, I just don’t think they are often set up with creative introverts in mind.

This led me to to take steps to set up my own networking group. I chatted the idea with a few fellow self employed friends to check whether I was being crazy and also whether it was something they’d find useful to join. Thankfully the people I talked it over with were just as keen as me, so with a glass of wine in hand one evening earlier this year I set up our Facebook group. From then it’s grown wonderfully organically with friends referring friends – there’s been no need to push or hard sell it to anybody.

The ethos behind Coffee Work Sleep Creatives is simple, we are a female only group, we believe in community over competition, we value authenticity and we are definitely not ‘hustling’ #girlbosses. It’s a group for female creatives that work for themselves or by themselves that live in the Preston area and the North West of England in general.

Each month we meet together to ‘network’ which basically means having chats over coffee, sometimes based on a relevant theme. The collaborations and contacts made from these sessions are not pressured and are completely organic, and this is something I love and want to continue to foster. We’ve had two fantastic meet ups so far in one of my favorite independent coffee shops, Townhouse Coffee and Brew Bar, you can read my write up of it here – The Best Independent Coffee Shops in Preston: Townhouse Coffee and Brew Bar

Instead of hearing from me tell you about it, after all of course I’m going to say how much I love it – I set it up! I’ll let you hear what a few of our members think about our online community and the meet up events –

Amy from Northern Dough Co – When you start up or run your own business (most often from home) the first thing you miss from office life is your colleagues. For me, this group provides a fantastic support network of ‘virtual colleagues’ to bounce ideas off, share experience with, and seek solidarity from when it’s most needed, whether in person at the meet ups, or knowing you can pose a question any time of the day on the group. It’s such a great resource, as well as a lovely way to make new like-minded friends. 

Leanne from The Lancashire Hypnobirthing Co – On a personal level, I’ve found it’s really helped my confidence. I’m quite an introvert and not usually found in big groups. The meet-ups are so friendly, relaxed and open. I really look forward to them. As a small business, it’s been invaluable to have such incredible, business savvy women around me to bounce ideas off, collaborate with and grow friendships with (the latter i’m really grateful for.) – I love it!

Christina from Fish 2 Photography – I enjoy meeting up with other small business in the local area. It’s great to have the ability to learn from and help each other with confidence, business and our dreams.

Emma from Isabella and Us – I loved the relax feel of the meet up. I was so nervous about coming as I’m not overly confident but everyone was super lovely! And I left feeling super inspired having met some lovely ladies.

Leona from Marsh Mill Interiors – I’ve not managed to get to a meet up yet, as I’ve always had a job on at the time. However, I’m really excited to be able to make the next one. The small business community is all about helping each other up. We are the backbone of modern society. 

Emma-Marie from  Mrsrawlinson.com– Finally a meet-up in Lancashire tailored to creative and lovely women who are running a business. It’s such a fantastic group for many reasons whether that’s to gain additional expertise to strengthen your brand or purely to feel less alone and more together thanks to the community vibe. 

The members group is currently free to join and based on Facebook. It’s a virtual group where you can ask even the silliest question, get business advice, network and make new friends. At the moment our meetings are members only, so once you’re in the group you’ll get access to tickets for the events. If you’d like more information about this group then please get in touch.

 

 

Request to join by clicking the image below

cws creatives members

You can find us on social media here – Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

 

A huge thank you to Christina, Fish 2 Photography,  for photographing our most recent event and letting me showcase the photos in this post.

morganaIntroducing the Coffee Work Sleep Creative Community
read more

Are you at information and influence overload?

Sometimes my brain is like an internet browser with too many tabs open. It’s buzzing with ideas, to do lists, projects as well as family things – what I need to get in the next food shop and when swim training is. Not only that, it can end up full of conflicting messages and ideas, it’s like I absorb information and other people’s feelings and internalise them, turning them over and over in my head like a pebble in my hand. I’m taking on so much information from so many different spheres that it ends up impacting on my mental health. When we reach this information overload it means we aren’t giving ourselves time or space to process what we are consuming. We are just not meant to process the level of information thrown at us on a daily basis. It’s not just the level of information either it’s being mindful of where it’s coming from too. It’s the news apps, the Facebook comment threads, the podcasts, the blog posts, the Instagram captions, we can end up feeling overwhelmed from being endlessly marketed too and shouted at.

When this is at its worst it can impact your mood, your resilience levels and relationships. Let me share an example. I know if first thing in the morning while I scrolling on Facebook I can easily fall down the rabbit hole of a thousand heated comment threads. This can then causes me to end up feeling cross and very distracted. If I then wake my children up and have breakfast with them while I’m in that mindset, they then pick up on my bad mood and act out. Not the ideal way to start the day! Something so little can have a huge impact.

I recognise that my sense of overload is partly due to my personality type, as an introvert, or more specifically an INFJ, I am prone to internalise and carry other people’s feelings, yet I think that dismissing this as just a personality thing would be rash. From talking to friends, especially those with a strong social media presence, personally or professionally, they too admit they can end up in this kind of space too. It goes beyond personality type -it might just look and feel different or be triggered by other influences. 

When I’ve reached peak information and influence overload I have to ask myself questions about what I’m letting speak into my life and then set clear boundaries to build up my resilience levels.

Let’s start with those questions,

 

Who or what is influencing me?

What I am allowing to take up too much space in my life?

Is it necessary? Can I do without it, or even just step back from it for a while?

 

Why not grab a piece of paper, ask yourself these questions, and write down your answers, transfer it all from your head and out there onto the paper. Then reflect on it and set yourself some boundaries. 

When you are setting boundaries in general it would be easy to have a knee jerk reaction and for example choose to stop reading the news because it upsets you, or not listen to that friend who has called you out on something you don’t want to face. To just cut everything out. Let me be clear for a moment, I’m not advocating cutting ourselves off entirely or only surrounding ourselves with ‘yes men’ – the people or influences that only affirm our world view and don’t challenge us. The last thing we all need is an echo chamber that is cut off from diversity of thought. It’s about that magic word, balance. Not ending up in an echo chamber is a whole other blog post in itself, but just be careful and keep this in mind when you re-evaluate what influences you.

Points to consider

Are we letting people influence and speak into our lives that haven’t earned the position to do so?

With social media playing such a huge role in our lives we are subject to more and more opinion and perspective. This can quickly become overwhelming and even mean we lose a sense of ourselves. Let’s use Instagram as an example. I know when I’ve let Instagram take up too much space in my life when I have unanswered text messages from friends yet all the messages in my Instagram DM folder are replied to. When I want to garner the opinion of people I don’t know over the friends that truly know me and can speak into my life with context. Instagram and the people on it aren’t the crux of the problem, it’s the amount of space and influence I’ve given it.

 

Are you giving space to a person or voice that’s not good for you, whether online or offline.

Is this leaving you feeling deflated, confused and end up questioning yourself.

There are many ways of addressing this, maybe it’s something simple like having an unfollow spree on social media. Ask yourself, does this account spark joy or make me feel crap? It’s not a value judgement on that person or account, this is about you. It might be something we step back from and pick up again when we’re feeling more resilient or in focus. I have friends that delete certain social media apps from their phones when the influence on their lives from spending too much time on them is negative. I appreciate that this is simpler to handle when it’s an online issue, it’s far more complex when it’s a ‘real life’ or ‘offline’ friendship or relationship. 

 

Could it be the sheer volume of information we are trying to consume?

If that’s the case for me then I set myself boundaries by limiting my time on social media, cutting down the podcasts I listen to, stop watching that all consuming box set and being more mindful of who I give my time to. I make sure I have time to really switch off and recharge, these ways are really helpful to me.

 

I hope that if you’ve been feeling distracted or feeling like you’re lost in information overload that this has been a useful post for you to read. Do let me know if you take the time to work through the questions, and work on the boundaries you may feel you need to set for yourself at this moment. If this is something you’d like to talk through more then feel free to leave a comment or get in touch.

 

how to break out of information overload

morganaAre you at information and influence overload?
read more

Helen shares BabyLoved’s Start Up Story

I am such a fan of this lady and her business! I’ve known Helen for just over a year after meeting through my old business, Little and Fierce kids, and since then we’ve become great friends. In this interview you’ll get to know about the wonderful event she runs and how she started it all off. I’ve been to BabyLoved as a stall holder and as a customer and each time I come away with a smile on my face and lots of goodies too!

 

 Hi, I’m Helen. I’m actually a teacher by profession and have been teaching secondary Physical Education for the last 11 years. I’m really into my fitness and have a love for both squats and sweets in equal measures.

 

Tell us a little bit about your business

BabyLoved is a local premium pop up event for parents in Preston, Lancashire.  It has been going for 1.5 years now and specialises in showcasing the best local independent businesses, along with super services available to families with little ones.  There’s also ‘Perfect Preloved’ items on offer at a fraction of the original cost, along with our on site barista and quality cakey refreshments.

 

Once you had the idea for BabyLoved how did you go about turning it into a reality?

I was super fortunate to have the help of a friend when setting up BabyLoved.  Between us, we would meet up to discuss our plan of action, divide up the jobs and then we begun being more active on social media.  It really just snowballed from there. 

 

What’s been the hardest part of your life as a start up business so far and how do you overcome those kinds of hurdles?

The hardest thing for me as an events business is knowing that people will attend!  I’ve worked really hard on incentives, and what started out as a problem is now a ‘selling point’.  I offer free goody bags for all advance purchased tickets as an incentive. All the items sourced for the goody bags are from other like minded bigger brands who want to get their product out there.  If you’re wanting a ticket (and your free goody bag of treats), you can reserve one here (use discount code CWS25 for 25% off).  Here’s where you can catch all the latest event info too.

 

I run on black coffee and chocolate biscuits when I’m working, what couldn’t you live without? 

Flat whites and protein bars all the way.  Oh, and a quality fringe trim so I can see my screen!

 

When running a business these days, especially when you sell online, you need to build a strong social media presence, which is your favourite platform and do you have any tips for running it?

My personal fave is Instagram as I love the visual appeal of all the squares coming together.  This is a great platform for connecting with many of the other local businesses I work with.  Facebook is where my main attendee base comes from, so I like to rock both of these social media platforms.  I’m always looking for ways to work better on there. I’ve really enjoyed using the survey/poll functions on FB and Insta and have found its yielded some useful info which I have acted upon.

What’s been the best part of running BabyLoved so far? Has there been a ‘pinch yourself to check it’s real’ kind of moment for you?

The best part about running Babyloved has genuinely been speaking with attendees and local business stall holders on the day.  Making links and planning for the future with them on the day, is really exciting. I’ve made some really lovely online pals too and connected with old friends from childhood which has been really sweet.   I also really love that I’m able to support the Preston Womens’ Refuge through organising a collection of essential items for women and families fleeing domestic violence. It’s super to be able to put my organisational skills to good use and facilitate this collection for them.

 

Has being a parent influenced the way your business works? 

Being a parent has 100% made me prioritise and be really strict on what I will and won’t spend time on with BabyLoved.  Sometimes things aren’t as ‘finished’ or as ‘polished’ as I would like but I just roll with it as there’s often more pressing matters to deal with when small people need their Babyccinnos 😉

 

What’s currently your favourite aspect of your business? And your least..!

I would say my favourite part is connecting with other like minded folk for coffees and passing it off as a ‘business meeting’!  The least fun part is before an event and I’m needing ticket sales to reach a magic number in order for my heart rate to return to a normal level.

 

 

What’s in store for BabyLoved?

WELL, I’ve got some plans for the not-so-distant future to collaborate with a larger super stylish event!  It’s still in planning stages so I can’t share the details just yet but I’m really excited about it and it’s a giant step for BabyLoved. I’m also planning a small re-brand to keep the BabyLoved brigade in events. Currently BabyLoved is aimed at 0-4 but I’m hoping the age range can expand a little to meet the needs of the attendees and their  troops of ‘growing up’ people.

 

Whether practical or inspirational, what is your top piece advice for anyone out there wanting to take that leap and start their own business?

I would say ‘remember who you’re doing this for’.  You’re not in competition with all the fabulous insta-brands out there so don’t compare your insides with their outsides.  Use these brands for inspiration and aspiration but keep your reality-check-radar on. For me it’s about remembering that I have family and friends to enjoy, I’m a part-timer in business and a part timer in my actual teaching role.   I have to remember that my 1 hour or 1 days work for BabyLoved each week can’t be compared to another person’s full time job.

 

*************

The next BabyLoved event is taking place on 13.5.18 at Hoghton Village Hall PR5 0SG. Top tip – from personal experience I recommend you come prepared and bring cash with you ready to get some fab goodies! Tickets are available to purchase at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/babyloved-preston-13518-tickets-45448313128 and I’ve a special discount code for my readers to get 25% off their ticket price – CWS25

 

I’m also excited to share that Helen has tickets for you guys to win – one for you and one for a friend!

Enter below to be in with a chance..

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

(full terms and conditions can be found below)

GOOD LUCK!

 

Find out more about BabyLoved

TICKETS

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

 

 

Want to read more inspiring Start Up Stories? Just click on the image below 

Start Up Stories a series of interviews with parents that started up their own businesses

 

Giveaway terms and conditions – 

UK entries only

The prize is –
2 x complimentary tickets to the 13.05.2018 BabyLoved event
2 x BabyLoved goody bags
2 x cupcakes

(for one winner)
For more information about the event- BabyLoved
Giveaway ends 6/05/2018 at 11.59pm
When the winner is announced they will have 48 hours to get in contact, if they do not then another winner will be drawn
The winner’s details will then be given to the Babyloved organiser in order for the prize to be arranged

morganaHelen shares BabyLoved’s Start Up Story
read more

Gemma, founder of Premier Drama Academy shares her Start Up Story

I’m excited to share Gemma’s story of starting up her drama academy, I’ve seen it grow from strength to strength and loved getting to know how it all started and how she manages running it alongside her busy family life. Gemma is so passionate and it shines through every area of her business, I hope you find this feature as interesting and inspiring as I did.

Hello, my name is Gemma. I live in Lancashire with my daughters and Hubby. I have been in the theatre from a young age, qualified as a Drama and English teacher, had babies and decided that I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted to be there for my children and not have to miss assemblies, sports days etc.

 

 

Tell us a little bit about your business

Premier Drama Academy is a stage school which helps children to realise their potential, not only on a performance basis but also helps them boost their confidence through classes in various subjects such as Musical Theatre, Drama, Ballet, Jazz, Cheerleading and much more.

Once you had the idea how did you go about turning it into a reality?

I found it so important to speak to other businesses; some are really approachable and are more than happy to help. Other business owners have been through it all, they know what works, what doesn’t and where to turn or who to turn to. Their advice can be invaluable.

What’s been the hardest part of your life as a start up business so far and how do you overcome those kinds of hurdles?

I think the hardest thing for me is not feeling guilty when I give myself some time off. It is so important to look after yourself as well as run a successful business. Allow yourself some me time, timetable your day and stick to your breaks. Do not feel guilty for making yourself a brew and watching a cheeky episode of ‘Hawaii 50’ (my guilty pleasure)

I run on black coffee and chocolate biscuits when I’m working, what couldn’t you live without?

Peace!! I love my children to death but seriously, I like the quiet. When I’m in the zone and need to focus, I have to switch the telly off and just concentrate. Jasmine tea always helps too.

These days any business needs a strong social media presence, which is your favourite platform and do you have any tips for running it?

I’m going to let you into a secret; I’m not too great when it comes to social media. I use facebook and Instagram a lot and I get feedback and traffic through there, however my mission this year is to become more media social savvy.

What is the best part of running your own business? Has there been a ‘pinch yourself to check it’s real’ kind of moment for you?

Apart from being able to be there for my girls and hubby, I’d have to say that it is watching my pupils flourish and grow in confidence. There is nothing more amazing than watching a shy, introverted child blossom week after week and knowing that what they have learned in class has helped them get there and will help them throughout their lives.
I am so lucky that I get ‘pinch yourself moments’ quite regularly. Watching the children perform makes me emotional and makes me so grateful that I started my business. We are a big family and they all make me extremely proud.

 

Has being a parent influenced the way your business works?

Oh gosh, definitely. I treat my pupils how I would like my girls to be treated and the same goes with the parents. I question myself: would I, as a parent, be happy about this? Would my girls love this?
We are all a family and I think that has come from the fact that I understand family life, issues that arise and the everyday slog of driving your kids here, there and everywhere to every club, fad and whim they have decided on that week.

You’ve gone from being a ‘one girl band’ kind of business to taking on new team members. How has it been sharing your ‘business baby’ with someone else?

I am, and have always been, a little bit of a control freak. It is something that I am working on and employing new staff has been enlightening. Who knew that somebody could do the job as well as I would have wanted?
It is scary because this business is my baby but it’s so important to have an amazing team around you. I have come to realise that I can’t do all of this by myself and to make Premier Drama Academy the best it can be, I have to delegate and rely on my teachers who are also part of our family and are amazing at what they do. It’s been a big learning curve and one I am so glad that I have had to do in order to boost the business.

What’s your current favourite aspect of your business? Running a class? Overseeing the whole academy?

I love to teach obviously but I also like to go into classes that I don’t teach and see how far the pupils have come.
I can’t really say that I have a favourite part as I love it all but when I see the children performing all together, it makes me emotional and nothing can beat it. It makes me realise that, for me, Premier Drama Academy, was the right business to pour my heart and soul into.

Got any new classes or projects in the pipeline?

Well, we do have some fantastic classes; our newest being cheerleading. We also run a preschool ballet class now as well as our other classes in dance, including pop, ballet and tap, musical theatre and drama.

Whether practical or inspirational, what is your top piece advice for anyone out there wanting to take that leap and start their own business?

Do it. Yes it can be a scary prospect but isn’t it better to say that you have tried, rather than always thinking ‘what if?’
You have nothing to lose. Take baby steps and you’ll get there. If you have a passion for something and it makes you happy to go to work every day, then why not?
Life is too short to be unhappy. Go for it and enjoy what you do x

*******

I hope you enjoyed reading Gemma’s story, if you have any questions feel free to ask below. You can find out more about Gemma’s drama academy here –

Website / Facebook / Instagram 

 

Want to read more inspiring Start Up Stories? Just click on the image below 

Start Up Stories a series of interviews with parents that started up there own businesses

morganaGemma, founder of Premier Drama Academy shares her Start Up Story
read more

You are the expert – respect your value!

I don’t really understand why I do it but I rarely appreciate the knowledge or experience I have. I’m quick to downplay any value I have by throwing up a name of someone better than me or highlighting an area I don’t know much about. This kind of attitude is crippling and stifles both my creativity and productivity. For my work (and in my social circles) I talk to a lot of fellow self employed women from different creative industries and this is something I see raise it’s ugly head time and time again. I’m definitely not alone in it. Too often we don’t value ourselves, our knowledge and our experience.

Let’s be honest, realistically there will ALWAYS be someone you perceive as ‘better’ than you, and funnily enough, it actually doesn’t really matter if they are better than you or not. The point is by shining your light on them you are taking it off yourself. You are not valuing your own expertise and knowledge, and you’re believing that their story and knowledge is greater than yours and what you have to offer just isn’t enough. 

I want you to look at this from another perspective, no matter where you are up to in your business or in your life there will also be people behind you. When I say ‘behind’ I’m referring to people with less knowledge and experience than you in a particular field. To that person you might even be the person they think is better than them. Crazy, eh?

No matter where we are on this perceived ladder of ‘success’ we all have something to offer in our field of expertise. 

By focusing on what we don’t know or can’t do (yet) we are missing the value in what we DO know and CAN do. My husband has given me many pep talks over the years when I get in this kind of funk. He will remind me that I know way more about social media and running an online business or blog than lots of people. When you are in a circle of friends who are in a similar industry to you, you can easily forget that the knowledge you all have isn’t what the general public have. Sure an ‘expert’ in social media marketing will know but maybe someone starting up a creative business that’s just opened up an Instagram account won’t.

Value your skill set, you’ve worked hard for it!

I’m not saying we should operate on a level of puffed up importance, sharing all our knowledge proudly to all those around us or even to pretend we have all the answers when we don’t. These attitudes help no one and most people see through that kind of BS these days, thankfully! I’m talking about owning what you do know, and not only should you be valuing this knowledge you have, you also need to believe in your capabilities.

This can be hard though, especially if we’re on the precipice of a big change. Far too often we wait and make excuses, we need to dot every proverbial i and cross every t before we feel ‘ready’. To read one more book, get that extra qualification, to have every eventuality mapped out, to fine tune the business plan again. 

“We have found that women in particular often to seem to feel that until they have the complete solution they can’t start, and it holds them back from taking the first step.” –Sophie Cornish and Holly Tucker*

Sometimes we are waiting for someone else to come in and tell us what we should do, to make it happen or to fix it for us. Often the advice we get given isn’t even relevant to us, maybe we try it and it fails to fit , it’s like a square peg in a round hole. Maybe we’ve listened to a podcast on how to get a six figure salary from our business yet we actually just want a business that’s profitable and allows us to take off the summer holidays with our kids – not one where we have to work around the clock to ‘succeed’. The advice isn’t wrong it’s just not for you.

When we take a step back and review often we have the answers, we know what resonates with us. When I was a young mum I’d sometimes feel uncertain about my decisions and be given a whole load of conflicting, but well meaning advice. When I stopped doubting myself I usually found I knew what was right for me and my baby, this applies to running a business too. It’s a mix of knowledge, experience and some instinct thrown in for good measure too.

So if you’ve done your research, you’ve worked hard and are valuing your capabilities and experience there is really no stopping you. It’s not the magic formula for success, spoiler alert – there isn’t one, but it does stand you in strong stead. Whether it’s applying for that job you desperately want but are worried you don’t tick all the boxes, or starting your business that you’ve kept putting off because you’re nervous, you’ve got the knowledge, and the capabilities for it so take that leap.

If you can relate to these words and valuing your knowledge and skills is something you struggle with then I’d encourage you to spend some time focusing on what you do know and can do. You might need to chat to a close friend about it and get their insight. If you’re a blogger look at what you know now compared to when you started out, if you are a photographer look at photos you took when you started and compare them to a recent shoot.

Remember you are the expert in your own field, value that and value yourself.

 

                                 Pin for later:

 

 

(*Founders of Not On The High Street, this quote is taken from their book, ‘Build a business from your kitchen table’)

Featured photo by R Swain Photography

morganaYou are the expert – respect your value!
read more

The balance of hustle and rest

A lot has been said about being a hustler when you are self employed. You only have to type the word hustle into Pinterest and you will bring up so many motivational phrases and memes all about hustling. It seems particularly synonymous with women in business with so many of these pins being pink and bearing hashtags like girlboss. I’ll admit I even had Good Things Come To Those Who Hustle up on my wall to give me that kick of motivation. It felt good to say I worked hard, to justify putting so much time and effort into my businesses. When you start up a business it becomes your baby, everything you do has to revolve around its needs, whatever the hour of the day. This is especially true when you’re a one (wo)man band. There’s no one to delegate to, no tech team to call on when your site is down and you’ve got customers messaging you while you are trying to put your kids to sleep. In retail no one sleeps, you can never be off. People expect your service to be 24/7 and I definitely didn’t want to disappoint them and lose any customers. Surely this level of hustle can’t be sustainable though.

To ‘hustle’ is not a bad thing it just can’t be your permanent state of working.

If we are working every hour, never relenting or taking time out and reflecting we would all soon burn out. I’ve seen it happen, I’ve experienced it. You cannot live in the hustle, especially not when you have children. We may have the same hours in our day as Beyoncé but we certainly  don’t have her army of staff! It’s about being realistic as well as being kind to yourself and those around you. We can have periods of hustle but it can’t be our default mode of working. When I fall into the trap of hustle the rest of my life suffers, the house is a mess, I don’t know what’s going on in the lives of my kids and I can’t focus on anything else. Sure, times like this can be a necessity but they are not a sustainable way of running a business or of living. 

Seasons of hustle and rest

When you are running a business or have any kind of self employed profession that’s established (ie not in that early or pre – start up stage) it’s about finding your rhythm of working. You’ve had that hustle season of setting things up and now it’s about ensuring it’s a sustainable way of making your living. This can take many forms and will even be unique to your and your situation. Everyday might be different or you might have a consistent working day with set hours

How to find your rhythm of working

Take some time to think over what your ideal working week (or start with day if that’s easier) would look like.

Add in your non-negotiable commitments, for me this would be the school run and the kid’s activities and commitments. My work has to work around my family, that’s one of the main reasons that I’m self employed.

Add in the time/day you have work consistently booked in, for example working for a client each Tuesday morning.

Do you want to set time aside for exercise, for hobbies and down time?

When do you do your best work? Are you a night owl or a morning person? Consider this when you are planning your work day and week. I am terrible after 8pm, I always have been. I never even pulled all nighters when I was at uni, it’s like my brain switches off in the evening. Instead I use this time to recharge and only use it for work when I have no choice.

Throw out the 9-5 mentality if it doesn’t work for you. You might be able to work heavily and hard for the first four days in your week and then set aside one day for you, to recharge and be creative. I work 9.30-2.30 each day to fit around my family commitments. Each day is different depending on my commitments. It’s up to me to set the boundaries and ensure I have the work to hit my targets.

Value yourself, you are your business

Ultimately you need to make your work, work for you. You are your source of income, if you hustle and burn out you risk your livelihood as well as your health. We all have periods of hustle but don’t let it be your default work mode. Set a working week that gets things done but is sustainable in the long term. Giving the time needed to generate income, keep up your creativity and professional development.

I’d love your thoughts on this

What do you think of our obsession with hustling?

                         Pin for later –

hustle and rest
morganaThe balance of hustle and rest
read more

Emma the founder of online store, Mrs Rawlinson shares her Start Up Story

I first met Emma in a Facebook group a few months ago, it then turned out we had mutual friends in real life and ended up meeting in person at the most recent BabyLoved shopping event. She is just as lovely as I expected that she’d be. Emma’s store, Mrs Rawlinson, has the most gorgeous gifts for new mums (and us old mums too!), from gift boxes bursting with luxury goodies, to sleep mist and teething jewellery. It’s a must if you’re looking for a gift for a new mum or a mum that deserves a little treat. I enjoyed finding out how Emma started her business and learning more about how she runs it. Enjoy!

 

I’m Emma, a down-to-earth mum of two with a love of unique products to help women through pregnancy, birth and new parent life.

 

Tell us a little bit about your business

When I became pregnant with my second, my first-born was just 9 months ( I know, I know, what was I thinking?). Having kids in quick succession meant that i needed to sail through pregnancy and once baby was born, heal fast so I could be the best version of me for my children. 

However, when you become a new parent, it’s always baby that comes first. The sleepsuits, the comforters, the baby bath are all gifted for your new bundle of joy. Yet, quite often, as the body and brain goes through indescribable stress and emotional turmoil, it’s the mums that require the little pick-me-ups.

I manically Googled a number of products and potions. It really frustrated me that quality products made with mums in mind weren’t available in one place online in the UK. 

Soon after giving birth I decided to do something about that. Little did I know it would be so well received. 

At Mrsrawlinson.com you can find everything you need from anti-morning sickness sweets to breast milk enhancing herbal tea. There’s also a selection of unique and beautiful gifts for your friends and family, all of which place new mums front of mind. 

 

Once you had your business idea how did you go about turning it into a reality?

I talked to a number of small businesses whose samples really impressed me. This was quite tricky as I didn’t have a website, or a brand, or any sort of financial support. However, once I had those initial conversations, everyone was quick to agree it was a great idea and so I placed some orders, became a stockist and carried out a bit of a soft launch. I’m now trying to find some time to take it further and help the thousands of women across the UK access beautiful products and gifts.

What’s been the hardest part of your life as a start up business so far and how do you overcome those kinds of hurdles?

Wow there are many; time, finances, children being sick but I’d say the main one for me is the tendency to compare. Every person I speak to who has done a similar thing, whether they are huge sellers or small makers got a little side-tracked with comparing themselves to established businesses or influential social media personalities. Sitting there scrolling though social media and giving yourself a hard time for not having as many followers or boxes of orders piled high is just not conducive. Keeping things real and bringing my focus back to why I did this in the first place is the only way I’ll be successful.

I run on black coffee and chocolate biscuits when I’m working, what couldn’t you live without? 

Well I’m still up during the night thanks to my little one so it’s definitely not sleep. I think I’d go crazy if I stayed within four walls so the one thing I couldn’t live without would be fresh air. 

When running a business these days, especially when you sell online, you need to build a strong social media presence, which is your favourite platform and do you have any tips for running it?

I was late to the Instagram party but I love visually stylised things and so this platform is perfect for me and the products I sell. I feel that it has become a little crowded and using the stories feature will help small businesses to get seen and bring a brand to life.

 

What is the best part of running your own business? Has there been a ‘pinch yourself to check it’s real’ kind of moment for you?

As I’m so new to this, I can hand on heart say I’m not expecting to make a a lot of profit, my intention is simply to ease others through new parenthood without any fluffiness. When I receive messages from mums who have loved the products and they have made life a little easier for them, I do a little happy dance.

Has being a parent influenced the way your business works? 

Massively. Being a mum has changed nearly every aspect of my life. I resigned from my PR and Marketing role at an agency to allow myself more time with my children but I felt the need to challenge myself to launch and run a small business too. I have a very good memory of how I felt during pregnancy and of course all the savageness that comes with new mumhood.

Running a business as a ‘one girl band’ means you have to be, and do, everything from managing your budget and accounts, being the buyer, being good at sales, as well as being the IT department! What do you do to manage your time and what tips do you have for avoiding being overwhelmed?

Get some experienced, lovely and most importantly real people around you. I count myself extremely lucky to have met and connected with some new friends. Regular coffees and gins with people who have done this all before keep you grounded and ensure you aren’t driving yourself to exhaustion. Big up here to my wingwoman, Erin at Pops and Ozzy and Amy Cheadle of the Northern Dough Company. 

 

What’s been your favourite item or range that you’ve stocked so far and why?

Oh eeeek too hard. They are all essentials for different reasons. Pregnancy bon bons for morning sickness, healing bath tea for recovery from birth and sleep mist for the insomnia. 

Got any plans for new boxes or products in the pipeline?

Absolutely. I will be growing the collections to offer much more for pregnancy related issues, post-birth healing and also a special edit for breast feeding mums. 

 

Whether practical or inspirational, what is your top piece advice for anyone out there wanting to take that leap and start their own business or even start up an online store?

Whatever the idea, good ones tend be based on what you enjoy, what people will buy and something that improves on what’s already available. Don’t attack it without a strategic plan though or you’ll soon feel overwhelmed. 

*************

I’m super excited that Emma has given us a couple of her lovely gifts for a giveaway, her award-winning hair elixir by Evolve Beauty  AND the Chocolate Society’s blonde chocolate and crushed espresso bean bar.

Enter below to be in with a chance of winning these lovely treats

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

(full terms and conditions can be found below)

GOOD LUCK!

 

Have a browse around Emma’s store

mrsrawlinson.com

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

 

 

Want to read more inspiring Start Up Stories? Just click on the image below 

Start Up Stories a series of interviews with parents that started up there own businesses

 

Giveaway terms and conditions – 

UK entries only
The prize is –
1 x Award-winning hair elixir by Evolve Beauty to help repair the postpartum hormonal hair. Made with Moroccan organic Argan oil, organic Baobab and Tahitian Monoi.
1 x The Chocolate Society’s blonde chocolate and crushed espresso bean bar.
See them here –MrsRawlinson 
Giveaway ends 18/03/2018 at 11.59pm
When the winner is announced they will have 48 hours to get in contact, if they do not then another winner will be drawn
Anyone that does not complete the compulsory entry will be disqualified
The prize will be sent out to the winner by MrsRawlinson

morganaEmma the founder of online store, Mrs Rawlinson shares her Start Up Story
read more