Got a marketing problem?
I can help you
Call me on
07751212662
lisa@acorn-marketing.co.uk

Posts Tagged ‘acorn marketing’

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.

Tiktok the newest social media app – good for business?

Thursday, July 25th, 2019

The social media scene has a new player to rival Instagram – Tiktok. Is it a platform for businesses to adopt? We’ve taken a closer look.  

For many businesses, their social media strategy will encompass Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Obviously, some platforms will work better than others depending on the nature of the business, the target audience and what social networks they follow and interact with.  

Tiktok is the leading social platform for short mobile videos, where users can upload 15-second clips directly from their phones. It’s for those who want to share most moments of the day with an audience. Everyone can be a creative director by filming snippets of their day and sharing with the world. Lip syncing, stunts and magic tricks are very popular topics for content. Similar to other social platforms, users can like and comment on the videos and utilise hashtags to navigate the app. 

The community is designed to encourage a creative community to share ideas. This isn’t a platform for highly edited, polished videos, Tiktok has a very casual, relaxed feel.  

Music, stickers, filters and various effects can be added to make these videos funny, memorable and must-share content. 

Tiktok launched in 2016 and it passed one billion downloads earlier this year, so is really fast growing. The audience using Tiktok has an equal male/female ratio with 65% of users 20 years old or younger. 40% are teenagers, making this a Generation Z app.  

Compare this to Instagram where 64% of the audience are 18-29 year old Millennials and where there is a higher number of female users. 

The engagement rates make interesting reading with Instagram at 95% and Tiktok at 28%. 

Tiktok is currently free for users to download. The app does maximise advertising opportunities with infeed content (videos), brand takeovers for a day, hashtag challenges and branded lenses or filters that users can add to their videos before sharing online.  

 Tiktok has a more advanced algorithm than Instagram in order to suggest connections and content of interest in the ‘For You’ section of each users account. 

If you want to use Tiktok for your business, make sure the audience is right for you and your products and services. Try it yourself to see what kind of content is online.  

The most important thing is to only utilise a social media platform if it is relevant to your business, don’t try to embrace the latest app trend if it’s not the right fit. Businesses don’t HAVE to be on all social platforms.  

If you would like advice on your social media activity, please get in touch info@acorn-marketing.co.uk

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.

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.

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

 

Christmas Marketing – is it too late to plan?

Monday, November 12th, 2018

It is never too late to get on board with the Christmas Marketing train – unless you’re reading this in January!

As a rule of thumb when I work with clients we start planning Christmas campaigns in June/July for promotion in August/September, with a final push in October/November.  Of course, this depends on what you’re selling.

Think about creating a month-by-month marketing plan and adding all the big occasions for marketing throughout the year – Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, Summer Holidays, and Halloween etc.  Think about what products/services you are going to offer during these periods and how you will promote them.  This ensures that when the time comes it’s not all panic and you’re planned and prepared – knowing what you are going to do well in advance.

You can get any brochures created, e-news campaigns planned and flyers at the ready.

However, if you’re a bit late off the mark, what I would suggest is doing a bit of Facebook advertising – it is simple and cost effective and you get to see results.

Perhaps try emailing your mailing list (if you have one) with last minute offers.

Get in touch with the local press – is there a press release you can send or an eye-catching photo to promote what you’re doing?

What about running a special offer or promotion – Buy One Get One Free or similar?

Competitions go down a treat on social media – is there something you can give away that people would love in time for Christmas

There are lots of little tips and tricks to try with your Christmas Marketing, but you might just have to be a bit creative.  In 2019 try to plan in advance, I’m sure you’ll see a big difference!

If you need some help with your marketing planning drop us a line to see if we can help!

Scary Marketing – get the basics right

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

I have worked in Marketing for almost 20 years now and my beady eye is always on the lookout for great campaigns and ideas.  However, it’s so much easier to spot scary marketing.  It just makes me sigh and my heart sinks when I see a piece of bad print, a poorly constructed website or shocking social media.

Here are my top tips for getting the basics right

1 – Plan

You may have a fantastic idea or product that you want to market, but many people jump in feet first without having a plan in place.  Think about the 7 Ps’ – Product, Price, Place, Promotion, People, Processes, Physical Evidence (there is some really useful information here https://www.professionalacademy.com/blogs-and-advice/marketing-theories—the-marketing-mix—from-4-p-s-to-7-p-s)

Do you have a business plan?  Great.  Do you have a marketing plan?  Think about how you are going to sell your product or service, who your customer is, how they will find out about what you are selling.  By taking a bit of time to plan things out can really help you understand what direction you should take.

2 – Brand

Getting the brand right is so important.  There is nothing worse than seeing a ‘clip art’ logo, inconsistent design work or just no design at all with documents created in publisher.  A good brand reflects your business.  It tells people whether you are professional, if your product or service is good value or quality.  It shows you have taken care and attention in making your brand and business work, rather than knocking something together yourself.

It doesn’t have to be expensive and once it’s done you can use it for years to come – if you’ve got it right the first time around.

 

3 – Website

A good website is like a shop window to your business.  Get this wrong and people will leave as soon as they visit.  I won’t be cruel and pick anyone out, but often the worst websites I see are ones that have been built in-house.  “My friend can build websites” or “I watched a YouTube video” are things I’ve often heard.  Again, websites don’t need to cost the earth (trust me you don’t need to pay 5K for a basic brochure website!)  There are some free sites you can use, but they can be time-consuming and if you run into difficulties there is no one technical for you to get help off.  You’re on your own.  It can all get a bit messy – and does it actually work?  It may look pretty, but can it be found on Google, can people read it on a mobile phone, do people actually look at it?

 

4 – Social Media

Social media is a fantastic platform to get messages across, tell people about your brand and bring your business to life.

When using social media, think about what you want people to know about your business.  I see a real mix of how people use social media.  Some people go all out in telling their personal story on their business pages, which is fine and it’s great to add personality into a brand, but do we want to know what they ate for breakfast?  Then, in contrast, some people are so professional and salesy it just puts you off and no one will ever read your posts.  Getting the right balance is key.  Think about the tone of voice – are you professional, are you friendly, are you a bit crazy and kooky?

I have also seen people getting a bit #hashtag happy.  #literally #using #a #hashtag #in #every #word #they #type #in #a #post.  Aggggghhhhhhh don’t do it!  There is no point and it is not effective.  The point of a hashtag is to make the word searchable #a #in #they are not something that people are going to search for in social media, so you don’t need to use them.  Be a bit more clever with them, for example in a post about marketing I may use things like #marketing #socialmedia #Instagram etc, which would help people find my post.

 

5 – Print

Another pet hate of mine is poor printing.  If you want to be a professional business, your printed materials should be too.  There are many online, cheaper printers, but I would recommend talking to your local printer, who often give excellent rates and can print better quality.  They will let you know about different types of paper you can use, if the artwork is right and if any images are poor quality (another massive pet hate of mine – make sure you use good quality images for print – not one you copy off the internet!)  They will often do the design work for you for free too!

If all else fails delegate and pay a professional!  I am rubbish at maths so use an accountant.  If I need legal advice I will call my solicitor – it’s the same with marketing.  If you don’t know what you’re doing there are loads of marketing professionals out there who can help, investing and bit of time and effort into your marketing can really reap rewards!

Click here to find out more about Acorn Marketing (Cumbria) Ltd could help with your marketing.

Every day is a school day

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

There has been so much back to school marketing around recently it got me thinking and reminiscing about my old school and University days (crikey it’s 20 years since I started Uni this year!)  Everyone always used to say they were the best days of your life and anyone who has been to university will know that they really are!  However, when you leave school or Uni your education does not stop there.  I feel I am always on a continuous journey of learning whether that’s in life, motherhood or work.

When I was in paid employment, I often attended training courses to broaden my skills, whether that was health and safety or leadership management.  However, since being self-employed this has changed slightly.

A few years ago, I decided to become a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).  I wanted an accreditation that proved that I was a legitimate marketer.  There are so many cowboys in the industry and I wanted people to know I was genuine and I actually know what I’m talking about.  At that point, I had about 15 years of experience in marketing, which was enough to prove to the CIM that I was fit for the title.

Ever since I have undertaken a path of Continued Professional Development (CPD) whereby I attend training courses, read books, watch webinars, mentor people – generally try to keep on top of my game.  I record the work I do and undertake reflective statements on what I’ve learnt and how I will implement this in my own work.

By doing this it has ensured that I am continuously learning and developing, being the best marketer I can be.  So, for me, every day is like a school day as I learn new things about myself and my business and continue my education and gain more experience in the wonderful world of marketing.

School Marketing Acorn Marketing Cumbria CIM certificate

My 2018/2019 CIM certificate

 

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!