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Archive for the ‘Acorn Marketing Cumbria’ Category

Mobile marketing trends

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

Mobile marketing is the technique of online multi-channel digital marketing focusing on a specific audience using their smartphones, tablets and other portable devices. With over 80% of internet users owning a smartphone, the mobile world is dictating how brands need to plan their communications to customers. There was a time when websites were designed for desktop viewing primarily and were then adapted to become mobile friendly. Nowadays, with more traffic viewing websites via mobiles or tablets, website design and communications need to be created in order to get the best experience on a mobile. 

Websites now must be mobile-friendly to reach audiences in the right format and to feature favourably in Google’s mobile-friendliness rankings. Search engines, such as Google, will be looking for content that loads quickly, fits to the mobile screen size without cropping or zooming and is free from errors known to be specific to mobiles. 

Augmented reality is a great tool for the mobile generation where customers can visualise updates to their homes (new kitchens, décor or furniture) or individuals can see how a new hairstyle or colour would look before taking the plunge.  

User generated content is a very powerful tool in the mobile world. More people are influenced by their friends and families purchases than by celebrity influencers. Real people are important and help leverage authenticity. If you have a happy customer who posts online and tags your business, that’s top-quality content. A customer who loves their manicure, new hair cut or colour, and wants to tell everyone about it or someone who posts about enjoying your food or loving their new purchases from your company creates fantastic, genuine content. This is recognised by family and friends on social channels who prefer the content of such posts over any celebrity endorsements and are more likely to be prompted to buy the same products and services.  

The ease of making purchases from your mobile phone now extends into social commerce so consumers can purchase whilst scrolling through apps including Facebook and Instagram. Businesses with goods and services would be encouraged to utilise the selling features on these social channels.  

Chatbots are here to assist in our daily lives. Amazon’s ‘Alexa’ and Apple’s ‘Siri’ are on hand to help us stream music, check facts, create shopping lists or order items online. Marketers will need to edit their keyword strategies because online search terms differ from what people ask chatbots. Rather than entering a generic search such as, “Italian restaurants in Penrith”, people will re-phrase their enquiry to a chatbot, saying “Find an Italian restaurant near me”, in a more conversational style. Marketers need to ensure the re-phrasing is included in keywords for titles, descriptions and content.  

Mobile apps now deliver push notifications which are an ideal tool for marketing strategies, covering downloads, subscription renewals, recognising birthdays, highlighting promotions and shopping cart abandonment. 

Recommendations to users via push notifications are a simple way for companies and brands to remain in contacts with their app users. Maximising the user preferences on the data collected, companies can suggest related content. Netflix sends push notifications when an app user’s favourite series has a new episode available or alerts them when a new film is release, based on their viewing history. Brands can maximise this technology to wish users happy birthday and share an offer, discount or gift.  

The technologies available for marketers to maximise communications via mobile devices continue to develop and opportunities increase to reach end users via their powerful portable devices. Let Acorn Marketing help your business by assessing your needs, creating and managing your general marketing strategy. Get in touch here.

EVA shortlist for the fourth time

Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

I have made the EVA shortlist for the fourth time!  The widely anticipated shortlist for this year’s Enterprise Visions Awards (or Evas) was announced last week and I have been shortlisted for the second time in the ‘Professional Services’ category.

The Enterprise Vision Awards recognise women in business from across the North West in sixteen categories, ranging from best small business to business woman of the year and are the largest awards celebrating women outside London.

As you may well know I am no newcomer to the awards, winning the accolade for Sole Trader in 2015 and 2016 and Professional Services in 2017.  This year I am amongst 30 businesses from Cumbria shortlisted in the awards in 2019.

Acorn Marketing Cumbria makes EVA shortlist for the fourth time

When I first entered the awards in 2015 I’d not really heard of them and I was only one of three businesses representing Cumbria.  The awards have grown over the years and it is fantastic to be sharing this platform now with so many other talented business women.

The initial stage of the awards was via an application, where a panel of judges assessed my application on various aspects including the inspiration to become self-employed, achievements and challenges to date, future plans and the drive and passion behind the business.

The next stage of the process was a presentation and interview, which I did earlier this week at Ribby Hall Village to a panel of judges from Salford Business School, Blackpool & the Fylde College and Ribby Hall.   Following that, there will be an online vote via social media, before the final awards ceremony, which will take place on 27th September at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

I am delighted to be representing Cumbria again at the 2019 EVAs.  It is such a fantastic event to be part of and a unique opportunity to reflect on your business and celebrate your achievements.  I didn’t enter in 2018 as I didn’t want to push my luck, but I was eager to get involved again in 2019 as it’s such a fantastic event and I am thrilled to be shortlisted in the very competitive category of Professional Services once again.  The judging process has gone well so far, now I’m just waiting in anticipation of the big night in Blackpool.

What makes it even more special for me this year, is that two of my clients have also been shortlisted.  Salon Rouge, also from Penrith, have been shortlisted in the Beauty Business category, the only hairdressing salon in the whole of the North West in the category and Raspberry Fields Pony Parties, who are based in Warrington, are shortlisted in the Customer Services category.  Fingers crossed it will be an evening of celebrations all round.

Marketing FAQs (from prospective clients)

Friday, June 28th, 2019

As a Marketing Consultant, I am always asked a variety of questions when networking or by prospective clients who want to know the finer details of the services Acorn Marketing (Cumbria) Ltd offers. I’m always happy to help with any queries so wanted to share the most popular marketing FAQs – and my responses here – to help any future enquirers and clients.

How much do you charge?

As every project we work on is different, there are no set fees for our services. Our primary objective is to discuss with prospective clients what their needs are from any marketing activity. It could be simply to manage all social media or a comprehensive package to run an entire marketing department. Until we understand exactly what the goals are and what is required to reach them, we cannot provide a quote. We like to meet up and chat about the business and its requirements and can then customise a package.

Is ‘marketing’ the same as ‘advertising’?

Marketing is so much more than simply ‘advertising’. The term ‘marketing’ encompasses a whole array of activities. Acorn Marketing can help businesses with the following:

Marketing Consultancy – a cost effective solution if a business cannot afford a full-time marketing manager, consultancy is also the ideal scenario when the team within a business doesn’t have the knowledge, experience or time to undertake all marketing work.

Marketing Strategy & Planning – we can customise a comprehensive strategy and generate a step-by-step marketing plan.

Social Media – we can help with ideas and training or manage your social media accounts.

Digital Marketing – from website design, content creation, e-newsletters, blogs, videos and online advertising, we can manage digital marketing needs.

Branding & Graphic Design – creating a brief and concepts, liaising with designers and printers to deliver impactful print work.

Public Relations – generating press coverage in local newspapers, magazines and online.

Event Management – we can plan and execute any event; from a product launch to an awards ceremony – however big or small.

And finally, Advertising – we can help to create and deliver your campaign, be it for print or online.

Which is the best social media platform?

There is no one answer to this question. The best social platform for your specific service or product will depend on what it is and where your potential audience can be found. Having a presence on all social channels will be a waste of time and money if your audience is not prevalent across all of them. Focusing on your biggest social audience and building the numbers is the best strategy of time and budget.

Where do you work?

Acorn Marketing is based in Cumbria, but this does not dictate where my clients are based. My current client portfolio is spread across the UK. I meet clients regularly and also have Skype meetings. My business is based from my home, so my overheads are low, and I cannot be impeded in getting to the office by traffic problems or bad weather, which is an advantage.

Why hire a freelance marketing consultant?

There are many reasons why hiring external marketing expertise is the best option. Some companies might not be in a position to employ a full-time marketing manager, others might just need help on a time specific project. On occasions, our services help individuals who are just too busy running other areas of their business and need the day to day marketing activities covered.

Delegate your marketing requirements to a consultant like me, who has the time and knowledge to join your team and get on with the tasks needed, freeing up time for you and your other staff members to do their roles.

Hopefully these responses will answer any queries you or your business may have regarding marketing. Should you wish to know anything more, please feel free to get in contact.

The Power Of Thank You

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

Growing up, it was a built-in tradition that after every birthday and Christmas, I sat down with my best fountain pen to handwrite a thank you letter to family members and friends who had kindly bought me presents. It’s a tradition I keep up with my child, though I do still currently write the letter/card and the finishing touches are added in colourful crayons!

A thank you goes a long way, equally in business. Not just at Christmas time but maybe after a successful project has been finished or a new office opened. A thank you to staff after an exceptionally busy period where everyone has dug deep and worked hard as a team.
So, as we have two national anniversaries this month which celebrate baked goods, why not say a little thank you to your friend, colleagues, staff or your family.

National Doughnut Week!

The 11th of May heralds the start of National Doughnut Week and a sugar coated jam doughnut is still viewed as a treat in our household. Why not pop into your local bakery on the way to work or in your lunch hour and pick up a few of these jammy delights to share? Maybe stop in on a friend or relative for a cuppa and bring a doughnut for each of you to enjoy.

National Biscuit Day!

As we approach the end of the month, we encounter National Biscuit Day on Wednesday 29th May. Last year’s YouGov survey revealed that the chocolate digestive was Britain’s favourite biscuit with a plain digestive coming in second. This winner may spark a huge debate in the office – bring in a packet or two, enough for your team or department, and discuss it over a tea break.

Expressing gratitude in the work environment, whether highlighting specifics in a team meeting or privately sending a quick thank you email does boost morale and increases productivity. We all appreciate when our efforts have been noticed, even if it is part of our job role. A boss or team leader who acknowledges the hard work and dedication of colleagues, will create a ripple effect through team structures, which will in turn benefit everyone.

Our true friends are extremely valuable and do not ask for anything in return, however, telling them how appreciated they are – either with simple words, a note, an offer of babysitting, sharing a coffee (or a glass or two of wine) or the aforementioned doughnuts and biscuits will deepen the bond between you.

Gratitude is a wonderful thing.

It can build mental strength and make you more resilient. A simple – honest – mention of those two little words can have such a positive effect in all environments in which it is uttered. In whatever you do today be mindful to say ‘Thank You’ to those who deserve it – however big or small their endeavours, from holding a door open to handing you change from a purchase.

It’s Stress Awareness Month – Here’s how we react

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

April is stress awareness month – something we can all attest to as stresses do get on top of us whilst we juggle the various aspects of our life. Making sure we get ‘me’ time each day to decompress and relax is easier said than done if we have a busy routine and people – however big or small – relying on us.

Exercise will always help to create those happy endorphins which in turn can boost our mood and reduce stress. Whether it’s getting out in the fresh air for a run in the great outdoors or heading to the gym for a workout class or a swim, these activities will release happy hormones to surge around our bodies and combat any stressful worries.

The Acorn Marketing team all have their own preferred ways of relaxing and taking some time for themselves after busy working days.

We all enjoy the benefits of yoga and Pilates. Some of us take time to focus at home with daily movements at the beginning of each day, others head to a weekly class and switch off both phone and mind to outside influences and just enjoy being in those 60 minutes to workout, breathe deeply, stretch and prepare our bodies for the week ahead. You can find great tutorials online – even short routines to do at your desk.

I find baking to be quite cathartic, switching off to follow a recipe and working methodically. Tidying up whilst my creation is rising in the oven (I’m sure Bake Off contestants don’t have to do their own washing up though!). The big reveal when your cake/pie/bread comes out of the oven and stands to cool on the counter – is always rewarding. I will be honest though; a disastrous bake does negate the relaxing effect achieved during the stirring/whisking process.

Work can be the biggest causes of stress for people so to try to combat this, try and ensure you step away from your desk at lunch. Go for a walk or sit somewhere aside from your desk to eat, just to change the scenery and give your brain a rest from your work space.

Jogging is also a definite means to de-stress. Step into your trainers and head outside (I prefer on a dry day!) either solo or with a friend or two, to appreciate your surroundings – especially in this beautiful Spring season with so many new flowers and trees in bloom. We don’t run so fast that we can’t hold a conversation so it’s easy to keep fit and put the world to rights (always multi-tasking). It’s now a ritual in our diaries.

Sometimes the simplest of pleasures can help us unwind and sitting in your favourite chair with a good book and a glass of wine or a mug of hot chocolate, to immerse yourself in the pages, is just what we all need.

Tiny changes might also help keep calm – if the queues at supermarket checkouts get your blood pressure rising, order online for home delivery. If the thought of going to the gym with lots of other people exercising is a little intimidating and you start to feel the s-word, there are many online classes or DVDs to complete in the comfort of your own home and at a time that suits you. Whether it’s an energetic HIIT workout or calming yoga, pick the best one for you.

A great first step to make today would be to remove your phone as a distraction from your evening routine. Don’t check work emails in the evening – they can wait until the morning. Any updates on social media can be caught up on in the morning too. This will help your brain switch off, relax and hopefully aid a deep and stress-free sleep, making you ready to deal with whatever the next day brings.

Breathing can also aid us in relaxation. Taking a deep breath in for a count of 5, holding for a count of 6 and breathing out for a count of 7 will help restore calm.

So during stress awareness month, find your feel good factor (or factors), do things for you and remove those stressful triggers from your life to avoid tensions and to help you relax and look after yourself.

Inspirational Books For Marketing & Business

Monday, March 4th, 2019

As World Book Day fast approaches on 7th March, it’s mostly known as the day when children attending nursery or school are welcome to dress up as their favourite book characters. This can result in such a wide array of choices, it’s fantastic, albeit a little stressful if you are the parent having to create the costume. Now as adults, we might not embrace this day with such gusto, but we wanted to share our top must-read marketing books. No need to create your own costume!

Creative Superpowers: Equip Yourself For The Age of Creativity – Edited by Laura Jordan Bambach, Mark Earls, Daniele Fiandaca & Scott Morrison.

This book aims to help readers succeed in the fast-paced world today. Everything is broken down into four key learnings: making, teaching, hacking and thieving. The combined brain power of the authors delivers tips to re-learn qualities from our childhoods that we might have forgotten – or not thought to embrace in our business worlds. Remaining curious, fearless and finding ways to adapt to all challenges will see us benefit in the working environment. This book will inspire you to tackle problems in different ways, unleash new ways of thinking and delivering success.

Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller.

Storytelling has become the backbone of many recent marketing books. Donald Miller approaches this topic by adding his well-proven 7-step StoryBrand guidance. All good storytelling needs a compelling structure – a problem, assistance arrives, a plan is made, action is taken, disaster is eluded and it culminates in success. By applying this configuration to business cases, this book resounds with marketers. Aligning these ideas in a fresh way really enthrals you and the learnings are easily transferrable to recruiting and corporate identity. Also included are helpful instructions and templates.

The Social Organism: A Radical Understanding of Social Media to Transform Your Business and Life by Oliver Luckett and Michael J. Casey.

This book takes a scientific approach to the world of social media in order to explain how social networks replicate biological life.In our current social media age, ideas and concepts morph through hashtags, videos and photos, fed by emotionally driven people. These networks mirror roles of biology, growing due to being fed by the millions of people interacting with them. Luckett & Casey engage the metaphor of cellular biology to further aid our understanding of social media and how we can learn from progress in organisms as to what steps we should take to remain at pace with the fast-growing social media landscape. The easily relatable case studies using memes and events that have played a part in recent history drives this viewpoint home.
This really is a vital guide for marketers wanting to understand the digital world,not solely to comprehend the workings of social media, but to relate it to life today and to make it work positively for us.

Top of Mind: Use Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those Who Matter To You  by John Hall.

Building trust, being consistent and engaging likability are all actions that aid recall in customers minds. John Hall explains that being the first brand, company or person to spring into people’s heads will ensure you are positioned for success. By enlightening readers with a step-by-step guide, Hall explains that cultivating habits and strategies in order to engage your audience with help to create and strengthen relationships with them. Relationship building is the cornerstone to remaining front and centre in the minds of target customers, which is turn aids growth and sales. Advice Hall gives on using digital content to truly enhance your target audience’s lives, is easy to comprehend, and the understanding that making sure you are the first thing to spring to mind will drive success and engagement and loyalty, makes complete sense.

So many professions are required to continually learn and update their skills in order to maintain their licences – Doctors, lawyers, engineers – to name a few. Within the fast-paced marketing world it certainly helps to ensure you continue to learn and educate yourself, ensuring you are the best marketer you can be. Add these marketing books to your reading list now.

New lease of life for the Beep Fund as it celebrates 25 years

Thursday, February 21st, 2019

The Beep Fund Ltd, which has been running since 1994, has undergone a transformation, with new branding, improved marketing and social media.
The charity now covers a wider geographic area across Cumbria and has more volunteer doctors. To mark its 25th anniversary, it is on the lookout for volunteers to help spread the word about the charity now and in the future.

When the charity began, only doctors from the Birbeck Medical Group, Penrith, were involved and they covered a fifteen-mile radius of Penrith. Now there are 10 volunteer doctors on the team who cover most of Cumbria, including the north and west of the county as well as south west Scotland and occasionally south Lakeland.

The Beep Doctors are all unpaid and are on call 24/7. They attend serious incidents in the county including road traffic collisions, farming accidents or other life-threatening medical emergencies, as well as major Incidents.
Paramedics are very well trained and able to deal with the vast majority of emergencies that they are called to. However, there are some critical medical interventions they are not able to perform, and having a consultant level doctor at the scene of an incident means more advanced procedures can be accomplished, and a casualty stabilised before they are transported to hospital. Over the years, the Beep team have saved numerous lives and have become an integral part of the emergency services.
To mark the 25-year milestone, the Beep Fund has had a makeover. This includes a refreshed, more modern logo, creation of social media pages and a new website coming soon. Beep’s supporters will be attending more events across the county this year to raise awareness of the vital work of the charity. As part of the new initiative, they are looking for more volunteers to join the team to attend events and help with fundraising efforts.

Dr Theo Weston MBE, who launched the initiative, commented: “We are so proud of how far the charity has come, but we’re moving into a new era with more doctors giving up their time to be on call attending emergencies and covering a wider geographic area in Cumbria. Our new look reflects the changes we have made in the charity, but now it is time to shout about what we do. Not only will this help raise awareness of the Beep Fund Ltd, but also help us raise vital funds to sustain the charity in the future.”
Everyone who is part of the Beep Fund is unpaid, but there are ongoing costs for continuous doctor training, the updating of protective clothing and medical equipment, and maintaining the specialist vehicle. It is essential that the charity continues to raise funds to support this.
As part of their renewed marketing efforts, the Beep Fund doctors, trustees and other supporters will be attending several events across Cumbria; however, they are on the lookout for more volunteers to help them.
“We are only a small team, but we cover a large area, so we are reaching out to anyone who has some spare time that could help us attend events across the county, organise fundraising events for us or become an advocate for what we do. We’re looking for people from all across Cumbria to be part of the team,” said Dr Weston

If you live in Workington, Carlisle, Longtown, Brampton or anywhere in North Cumbria, get in touch with the Beep Fund on beepfund@gmail.com to find out more about how you can be part of the team and help raise awareness of this lifesaving charity.

Engaging Your Email Database

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

Think about when you receive marketing emails, which ones have caught your attention, had you discussing them with colleagues and impressed you the most? Based on the assumption that your business has an email database that is up-to-date following the General Data Protection Regulations which came into force in May 2018, here are our top tips to ensure you’re getting the most from this popular and effective marketing channel.

Who Are You?
First things first, when your email arrives in the recipients’ inbox you need to ensure the sender’s name and email address is a true reflection of your company. If someone does not know or recognise the sender, they may not open the message at all.

Subject Header
Choosing the right subject line is also key. The best ones are short, punchy, engaging and relevant to the content. Most email software platforms have the ability to test different headers on smaller sections of your database, so you can see which works best. Then send the best performing one to the remainder of your email list.

Personalisation
Generic emails sent to a company’s entire database are no longer sufficient. Personalisation is a must, so ensure when potential customers sign up for your database that you collect useful data which you can use in your communications. Address your recipient by name and write to them from ‘you’, signing off with a name to personalise the message further. This can improve open rates, engagement rates and click-through.

Segmenting
We all prefer to be seen as an individual rather than a customer or number on a list. By tailoring your messages to the needs of your customers you will find they respond better.
Segment your email database to deliver the best results for you. This may be to divide by geographical location, age, sex or previous purchase history. You may have different information or offers depending where in the country (or world!) your customers live.
Keep your email database up-to-date and organised by removing inactive users who don’t open your messages and delete any undeliverable email addresses.

Mobile Optimisation
This is your biggest consideration as the majority of emails nowadays are read on mobile so ensure your message can be clearly read, as you’ve intended, and nothing is being cut off. By using responsive design (that works on a mobile), you will be able to ensure your content is mobile-friendly and easily readable.

Images/Content
Imagery is proven to engage with readers more than just text so ensure you are including pictures, GIFs and videos to accentuate your content. However, don’t overload the message with images as some email providers may not show all imagery by default and some may be automatically blocked. Ensure you have a good balance of text and imagery, so your message is still delivered, should there be an issue with the images.

Consistency
A basic consideration but worth mentioning – do ensure your email branding is consistent to the design and tone of your company. You need to use the same colours, logos, images, fonts and voice across your email, website and social platforms. This makes you easily recognisable and helps to generate brand understanding and trust.

Links – website/social
Your emails will always include links for your readers, whether it directs them to your website homepage, to a specific product page, a blog post or an offer. Help them to arrive swiftly where you want them to go and always ensure your links work correctly. You will lose trust if you direct people wrongly or include a broken link.
Also, be sure to include links to your social media accounts in your email via the simple social icons to encourage people on your database to follow and support your activity across social platforms.

CTA (Call to Action)
Do be clear about what you want your email to achieve. When someone opens your email, what do you want them to do? Read your new blog post? Complete a questionnaire? View new products or take up an offer? Be certain the correct information is clearly visible, so readers take the action you want.

Option to Opt-out (Unsubscribe)
Check that your emails include the option for recipients to manage their subscription with you. That includes the option to unsubscribe. Your database figures may decline a little, but you will know that the people who are engaging and receiving your marketing messages want to hear from you.

Perfect Timing
Be sure to test different delivery days and times to see when it is most effective. Your email should ideally arrive when people are online, so it might be during a weekday commute slot or at lunchtime. You will learn from your data when the highest open rates occur and can tailor future mailers from this information.

Finally, don’t overlook the absolute basics either – send a test email to ensure you see how your message looks on all platforms, to make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes and to check all links within the message work and direct the user to the correct page.

We wish you many successful email marketing campaigns!

Imposter Syndrome in small businesses

Saturday, January 26th, 2019

I had a pretty rubbish week at the end of January.  I won’t go into all the gory details, but it reminded me of an article I’d read in the past about ‘Imposter Syndrome’.  The article said that “Research from AXA PPP healthcare reveals that one in five SME owners suffer from Imposter Syndrome – the fear of being exposed in your job as a fraud, inadequate or a failure despite evidence proving you’re successful and capable.”

That week I felt just like this and it made me wonder how many other small business owners feel like this too?  What brought this about was a nasty email from an (now ex) client, slating the work that I did for them, my costs (which are extremely competitive I will have you know) and my knowledge.  It was an email that came completely out of the blue and just knocked me for six.  Communication had been good, feedback had been excellent and I’d really helped them (so they told me).  So, to get an email contrary to that was really upsetting.

I consider myself a very professional businessperson.  I treat others how I would expect to be treated myself, am honest and loyal to my clients.  I studied hard at university and continue to study with my CPD, I’ve gained over twenty years’ experience, am a Chartered Marketer with great clients and testimonials and have won several awards.  Yet, I still sometimes feel like I have Imposter Syndrome. Receiving an email like that, or a bad comment about you/your work or meeting a tricky client can really knock you down.

I never imagined that I’d run a business – I didn’t have a clue where to start, but was thrown into this situation when I was made redundant and I just got on with it.  In that respect I have to pinch myself sometimes that I’m coming up to my eight year anniversary.  There is no way I’d be doing what I’m doing eight years down the line if I wasn’t any good.

Findings in the report suggested over half of SME owners affected (52%) admit that low self-esteem led them to feeling like an imposter, with four in ten (42%) comparing themselves with others and over one in four (27%) doubting their decisions.  

So, my message to anyone out there who might feel like they have Imposter Syndrome is to just go for it.  You are good at what you do; otherwise, you would not be in the situation you are in.  Believe in yourself and others will too.  You are unique and the service or product you offer is unique to you and you should be proud of it.  You don’t need to compare yourself to others, be confident in your strengths and what you do.

Finally don’t ever feel like you’re on your own, there are so many other small business owners out there, so get out and meet them, go for a coffee with someone you trust and build a supportive network around you.  A good talking to can often sort you out (as my husband regularly does!)

So, I’m back on it this week!  Bring it on!

 

 

 

Ref:  https://www.businessleader.co.uk

 

Juggling act

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

Running a business and being a mum really is a juggling act!  I’ve spent the day writing social media plans for next month, whilst I’ve got a roast in the oven and washing on the line.

For many years my business was my baby, I put my heart and soul into it.  It was my life.  But, since I became a mum (and step mum) things have changed.  I now have two babies to look after!  Most days I manage to do some form of work, but I’m often checking emails whilst building a jigsaw or reading a book to my little girl.

However, despite it being a juggling act I actually get the best of both worlds.  I can be at home and have precious time with my daughter, but then run a successful business as well.  So, how do I do it…

  • Be organised

My biggest tip is being organised.  There is no way I could do what I do if I was not super organised.  I have lists for each client and what we need to do, plans for social media, plans for advertising, plans for future plans.  I then have a weekly list of everything I need to get done that week with priorities, I even then have a notepad, where I write down what I need to do each day.  I know it sounds a lot, but when you’re juggling ten or so clients at a time, you need to write everything down and plan everything.

I also then have lists at home, shopping lists and lists of what we’re going to eat each day for tea.  I have a work calendar and also a family calendar, so everyone knows what they are doing and when.  My little one is only two and a half, so I think this planning is only going to stand me in good stead when she starts school!

  • Communicate

It is also really important to communicate well.  Not only does it help you to be organised, but it ensures my clients (and family) are happy.  I have a rule that I will always answer emails in 24 hours, or even just acknowledge people if I can’t give them an answer right away.  I also pick up the phone.  We often fire out emails when we’re busy and I’m guilty of that, but if I have something tricky to explain about a piece of work, or if I need a question answering urgently I use the good old telephone to sort things out – an art, which seems to be getting lost these days!

  • Support

Probably the key to my success is the support I have from family – particularly my Mam and mother in law.  Between us, we share the childcare.  If I have an important meeting to attend, I know one of these great women will jump into action, swap shifts and be there to help.  April goes to Pre-school in November, so I will have even more time to get things done!

  • Give yourself a break

I recently let things get on top of me.  I didn’t know whether I was coming or going and felt like I was doing a million and one jobs all the time with no respite.  It seemed like I put everyone at the top of the list apart from me!  I discovered a book called The Self Care revolution, which is fantastic and really gives you a handle on how to manage things, coping mechanisms, stress and how to ‘give yourself a break’.  I think we’re all too hard on ourselves to be perfect at everything whether that is work, motherhood, looks, ageing, weight loss and some times, we just need to take a step back and realise that actually we’re good at what we do.  We may not be perfect at everything, but we’re doing our best!

I now make sure I take some time out for me, cinema, spa days and a daily dose of Yoga.  Have a read…it could help you too!

  • Enjoy it 

The biggest thing is that I love my job.  I enjoy meeting clients, forming relationships, doing marketing and seeing projects come to fruition.  I also love being a Mummy (as most mothers do) and although I say I’m juggling, it’s not really juggling as it’s just life!  It’s what I do and I love it.  I get the best of both words, being a Mum whilst running a successful business.

If you are thinking of starting your own business and you’re a mum, I’d say go for it.  Yes, it will be hard, yes, there will be times when you want to go back to 9-5, but the rewards far outweigh the negatives.  There is no looking back!