Motivation...keep it going

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It's a fact that we all start the New Year with a renewed sense of vigour to achieve more, laugh more, blog more, read more or whatever it may be. My resolutions this year are in fact to be more organised, read more, be more proactive and take my business to a different level by the end of the year.
These all seem achievable right? However, the reality of life, kids, work, family can all take over and your well intended plans and deadlines can get shifted, leaving you feeling a little disheartened and your focus a little cloudy.
As a self employed person, motivation can sometimes waver, as you are constantly trying to grow all aspects of your business from social media to client base. There is only you to do these things and only 24 hours in the day, so what is a girl to do? Well, I can only share how I overcome my motivational hurdles, and here they are:

Working from home
I have worked from home for many years, and I love it. I adore the peace and quiet, the freedom to work without interruptions, choosing my own hours around my family commitments. This way of working can come with some negatives however, in the shape of temptations, to watch T.V, catch up on some household chores, or have the occasional gossip on the phone to my friends. (me.....never)!
To combat these potential problems, I have a designated place to work and I have to be strict with myself. I plan out my day in the diary, even outlining a half hour lunch. Ticking off a to do list is a very rewarding outcome at the end of the day, ensuring you are motivated and self disciplined.

Stay organised
Now this is a massive part of staying motivated. I am not just referring to your actual working methods, but the surroundings you are working in. I'll be honest, last week I had a real cull of admin related mess quite frankly. My office had become a dumping ground for all sorts of bits, shredding, filing, Christmas cards, paper..which was not good for creativity or motivation. Keeping on top of your admin will help you to keep on top of your game.

Get dressed for goodness sake
This is just such a no brainer for me. Why would you not get showered, dressed and looking professional just because you are working from home? You are in effect in an office, so the same rules apply. This is a must to ensure your productivity, motivation and personal development is maintained. Make sure you spritz some nice perfume or aftershave on for good measure, look good and you will feel good, trust me!

Self belief
This is a bit of a sharing moment! Yes, I have times where I lose my ability to recognise my skills and can at times, lose my self confidence.  I am sure that this happens to others who spend a lot of time working alone and constantly pushing themselves. If left, this can have a significant impact on motivation, and in some cases can lead to reduced productivity. How do you pull yourself back? Easy, step out of yourself, look at your achievements and for me, communicate your emotions. I am very fortunate to have a super supportive network around me, and discussing your fears and perceived obstacles can give you right royal kick back to it!

It is a fear for all self employed people to be ill. When you are ill, you feel sorry for yourself and want to melt into the sofa and watch that daytime TV! How can you? Who will manage your clients if you can't? Well, to be honest, I find that the flexibility of working from home helps here. Just being able to reply to emails and queries remotely while sipping your Lemsip can maintain some form of motivation.
Being poorly is no fun, but it happens. Clients will understand, it is just important to keep them well informed and deal with any urgent enquiries. My advice is to eat well, drink plenty of water and exercise as often as you can. I am actually starting an exercise programme from home this week. I want to grow my energy levels and tone up. We know exercise is a great mood lifter and I'm looking to maintain my optimistic outlook so......Watch this space!
These are just a few of the areas to focus on which I feel are very important. Embrace your business, pat yourself on the back now and again and enjoy the journey to success!
What helps motivate you? Drop me a line and share....
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Working from home, it’s not as easy as it sounds…

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So, we have all been there, you are in the office at 8am, you’ve already fought with the alarm clock, battled through the traffic and now you are sat, waiting for the day’s barrage of challenges. Your colleague rings in to say they are ‘working from home’ today and a pang of jealousy jabs you, because the thought of working from home is great, easy, relaxed, but is it? Let’s discuss. Throughout my pre-children career, I worked in numerous offices, ranging from converted barns to concrete jungles. For me, the consistent trait that I found with all offices is the feeling of restriction. Once you are there, you know that it is for at least nine hours, if it is not a happy place, then that is a long time to be miserable!
I am very fortunate now to have the privilege of working from home, because I have my own consultancy and beauty blog, but also, I have two little people to care for. Setting up my own business was the most cost and time effective way for us, as a family, to be able to look after the children, but I also maintain my career. I will be honest; at times I find it difficult to dip in and out of my two personalities, mummy and serious business owner. Forward planning in all areas of my life is essential to ensure that I can maintain professionalism and deadlines. I do not tolerate lateness, and I don’t expect anyone else to. Businesses do not want to know if my children are ill or that I was tired so I couldn’t get their press release to them on time. This is the downside to working from your home office, working for yourself and being mummy, it's all on you!
The scenario I described in the introduction is obviously very different to mine, but the principal of working from home is still the same. It takes a great deal of determination, focus and self-control not to get involved in the more appealing aspects of home working, such as having the TV on in the background or sitting in the lounge with your sandwich. I have made these fatal errors in my early days, time just slips away and you are left feeling deflated for not achieving your goals for the day.
Talking about feelings for a moment; working from home can be a lonely place if you are not happy with your own company, especially if you have left an office environment and starting up on your own. I found it very difficult in the early days to ramp up the motivation to sit upstairs with no office banter or atmosphere. Once I took on some clients, and started making my calls and emails, it is just the best place to be.  The main piece of advice for regular home workers is to set yourself goals for the day, just as you would in the office. There has to be rules, rules about coffee breaks, lunch and definitely no TV or Facebook! 
I have an amazing office space now, away from the family environment, so I can differentiate between them and not feel like I am constantly at work. It is also important to leave your home office area clutter free and organised, just as you would at a workplace. Thinking that home working is easy and relaxed will lead you to an unstable working ethic, and would be a mistake. Yes, the positives outweigh the negatives for me a million to one, but I have trained myself to adapt to a very disciplined way of working. There needs to be structure, to work towards achieving life and career goals and maintaining professionalism.
To conclude, home working does not suit everyone, even if they think it is the easiest option. Depending on what stage you are in your life and career, it can be a very productive and cost effective solution, for individuals and companies alike.
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The changing face of Tesco

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Over the years, Tesco has evolved into a retail giant within the grocery sector. What is their secret? Well, if I had that formula I would be very wealthy! However, from an outsider looking in I have seen the expansion in two main areas, the F&F fashion line and the beauty section.  I can only comment on my own observations and experiences, so here they are.
I remember as little as five to seven years ago, among my friendship group it was unthinkable to purchase items of clothing from Tesco, a supermarket.  Now, there is a completely different opinion and buying ethic when it comes to getting that piece of fashion with your weekly shop.  I think that the fashion store Primark has helped the supermarket clientele to realise that fashion can be fickle and changes constantly.  Trying to keep up with the high end brands would be very expensive and exhausting. One can purchase a high fashion item (or in Primark’s case, several items) at a cheap price. Once it is on, who would know where it came from? Only you! I must say that I have purchased odd bits from Tesco and the TU brand at Sainsbury’s, and I see many other young women doing the same. As I walk through the vast clothing section, there is a wall of jeans, rows of tops, trousers, dresses, shoes and boots, even an exclusive Fifty Shades of Grey lingerie and nightwear section! 
Before I offer my summary on their success, there is another area of the store which has grown immensely over the last few years. If you love beauty, then Tesco has pretty much everything you need under one roof. I did not see the expansion coming if I am entirely honest. In my local superstore, the beauty section went under what I can only describe as a transformation. It is like a beauty store within a store. There are beauty advisers employed to offer advice on the huge range of products on offer. There are the recognised brands such as Barry M, MaxFactor and Bourjois, but with unknown brands included in there to spark your intrigue. The section is a credit to the store and whoever thought of the concept of creating this beauty space, they did good! It is very difficult to please everyone, but Tesco are certainly trying to accomplish this concept. 
 Tesco have made it very easy to gain access to their products, be it clothing or beauty. The online site is very good with clear, high quality imagery along with accurate descriptions of the items. The in-store pay points for both beauty and clothing are within those sections so there is no need to queue with other customers buying their bread and milk. I feel this almost makes you feel you are buying from a separate company. The promotion of the clothing and beauty has hit their targets accurately, well it worked for me and I am quite a snob! I read magazines such as Cosmo and Elle and yes I have purchased items based on their beauty or fashion edits, it happens to the best of us! I would imagine that Tesco do gain a lot of sales from this type of promotion, along with the good old favourite, word of mouth. We know it is the marketing and PR tool of choice and every company wants it.  
There is however, always a slight stigma attached to the after purchase experience for me. Call me a snob, but I just cannot get over that all these wonderful items and brands are in Tesco, a supermarket. My perception is changing the more I see BIG brands appearing alongside the retail guru. For me, it will take time to fully disengage with the perception of Tesco as just a supermarket, along with many others I would imagine, but I think that from where they were, to where they are now is truly astonishing.
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Hopefully she won’t take a Tumble!

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It is a hard pill to swallow as a parent that the television can sometimes have more of an influence over our children than we do.  Is this a bad thing?  Well in certain circumstances yes, in terms of wrong attitudes or poor eating habits being promoted to young minds.  We strive to keep our children watching age specific programmes because we think it is most suitable, however these can at times hinder the progress of little ones, as they do not strive to see what they can grow up to be, only what other children are doing now.  
Celebrity sports programmes have their place in the line-up of programmes, however the new series Tumble has certainly had enough of an impact to encourage the creation of this post!  One can only write of their own experience, and witnessing the transformation of a five year old Princess to Gymnast is astounding.  Of course it isn’t the amazingly sparkly costumes, or fabulous hair and makeup that attracts her to the sport.  It is incredible to see how from just a couple of episodes we have handsprings attempted onto the sofa and a routine to watch, and the enthusiasm to learn more.
So with a gymnastics place booked and the programme on series link, we await to see if the influence of Television can really inspire a generation of future sportsman!
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Time poor, I really understand now!

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Well, this is my first blog.  It would be impossible for me to add up the amount of time I have been researching what to put on my blog.  Reading numerous competitor blogs, millions (ok a slight exaggeration) of websites with advice on where to start and to be honest, it didn’t help me at all.  Fear, that is all it is, fear that I am not doing it right, but from what I have seen, a blog is really a tool to get your experiences, advice and voice out there.  There appears to be no real right or wrong.  So, I have decided to do what I do best and just write how I write, honestly and from experience.  It may not always be about marketing or copywriting and how to gain five million customers (sorry even more exaggeration) but I hope it will be interesting.
So, let’s go back a few years to when I was studying for my marketing degree.   I read phrases like time poor, cash rich or vice versa. Back into the future, it is only now, working for myself and in particular a charity, juggling a little one who keeps interrupting me while playing on the IPad, being the most amazing wife (no comments) and generally fitting everything in that the phrase ‘time poor’ comes into its own.
I decided after having my daughter that I wanted to be self- employed, a freelancer.   I wanted the freedom to choose my own hours, work on projects that inspired me and prove to myself that I could do it.  So far, this has become a reality, and one of my clients is an older peoples’ charity.  Time poor is prevalent throughout this charity, and I am sure many others.  There is so much that can and needs to be done, but due to the nature of the beast there is never enough time.  The challenges that face charities vary from increasing monetary donations, building profiles, gaining loyal returning customers in charity shops, getting quality donations into the shops, promoting services, and the list goes on.  These areas all require individual and equal attention.  Being a part of this bigger picture, seeing the impact my work and that of others can do is truly inspirational, and the time poor phrase is just another challenge to overcome.
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