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Category: Work

#cleanuptheFword Campaign with Digital Mums

#cleanuptheFword Campaign with Digital Mums

Over the past two years I’ve thrown myself into building up my blogging and freelance writing business. I spend hours each day working hard, striving to achieve. I also spend hours each day bringing up my children, who at two and one are with me full-time. How do I do it? Flexible working!

I knew as soon as our first daughter was born that I would have to give up work, but with a husband who works long shifts for the NHS I had very few options as far as my work life went. I could either give up work altogether, or figure out a way to work flexibly from home around the children. I tried the stay at home mum role for a little while, but I struggled not working at all. So armed with a notebook and a laptop I decided to give the flexible working thing a whirl!

 

Did you know? Out of 68% of people who would like flexible working options, only 12% have actually dared ask for them?

 

I found almost immediately that flexible working opened so many doors for my family. Working from home, during hours that suit me,  means that I’m always there for our girls. When they go to school I’ll be the one that does the school run and who helps them with their homework. I’m here for to see all of their firsts and I’m here to comfort them when they need me. The extra income I earn means that we aren’t restricted financially and working gives me the release I need from motherhood. It gives me chance to be me and to achieve my goals outside of being a parent.

 

Did you know? 51% of employees in the UK think that asking for flexible work would be viewed in a negative light by their employer?

 

I know that after giving flexible working a try, I would find it difficult to go back to fixed hours. That’s why I feel so passionately about the Digital Mums #cleanuptheFword campaign. Raising awareness around flexible working is key to making it more acceptable in the eyes of employers and giving employees the confidence to ask for flexible hours. To find out more information on the Digital Mums #cleanuptheFword campaign visit their site HERE! It’s time everyone did #WorkThatWorks for them!

 

 

 

*This post was written in collaboration with and contains figures from research conducted by Digital Mums.

 

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Big Ideas for Small Businesses by John Lamerton – Book Review

Big Ideas for Small Businesses by John Lamerton – Book Review

As a blogger, I’m often contacted by brands and PR companies with opportunities to review the latest products on the market. Every time this happens the guys on the other end of the email profess to have the best product, they tell me how much it will change my life for the better and how my audience will just love to read all about it. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for every opportunity that lands in my mailbox and most of the products are great. Some make my life a little easier, some are brilliant fun for the kids and some are the perfect treat for myself. It’s not often though, that I’m asked to review a product that will change my life. That was until this week, when I was contacted to review the book; Big Ideas for Small businesses by John Lamerton. The moment I opened this book was the moment my life changed forever. Literally. 

 


Who is John Lamerton?

John Lamerton, a former Civil Servant from Plymouth, has been the driving force behind sixty small businesses since the year 2000. This guy has made mega bucks. The beauty of John and his experience is that he realised that having a good work/life balance is the key to a happy life. So, his book teaches us how to run an ‘ambitious lifestyle business’. Leaving behind slogging all hours for someone else and for very little pay, or running yourself into the ground missing out on all that’s important to maintain your millionaire lifestyle. John makes us realise that you don’t actually have to be a millionaire to live like one.

Big Ideas for Small Businesses

The first time I picked up my copy of the Big Ideas book, I flicked through the pages and read a snippet then I put it down, making a mental note of when this post needed to published. It wasn’t until a few days later that it really grabbed my attention. I can honestly say that I was gripped from the outset and that this was the first time I’ve read the ‘Acknowledgements’ and ‘Introduction’ pages of any book and I’ve read a lot!

John has the knack of writing quite colloquially, whilst offering clear and concise nuggets of information along the way. He has a way of talking business without baffling you in the process. There’s nothing worse than being made to feel inadequate by a book. John avoids this by making sure you feel motivated, focused on building your business and achieving your goals.

Throughout the book you’ll find ‘BIG IDEA’ boxes that contain vital information and food for thought. These boxes break up the text into manageable chunks and give you time to reflect on what you’ve learned so far. There are also quotes throughout the book, helping to fuel your dreams make the impossible seem less so!

I really have found this book so hard to put down, easy reading with oodles of amazingly informative content has had me turning page after page!

 

The Big Idea Podcast

I’m a huge fan of podcasts, so much so that these days I’d rather listen to them than the tripe that gets spouted on local radio. Since becoming a full time mother to two young children and deciding to build up another business at the same time, I often feel like I don’t have enough hours in the day. My time is valuable and so I don’t spend time doing anything I’m not going to benefit from.

The thing about podcasts is that often you have to wade through a few, to find the ones that offer valuable information that’s relevant to you. The Big Idea podcast has everything from value and quality advice, to comedy and reflections on life experience. I listen in the car, whilst I’m writing and working out – whenever I get the chance I plug in! The combination of the Big Ideas book and the podcast has given me so much motivation and direction to take my business to the next level.

One lesson I’ve learned was from episode one of the podcast ‘Be Careful Who You Listen To’. Seem obvious? Not as much as you might think! Since listening to this episode it’s become clear that just because someone has an opinion, doesn’t mean their opinion holds any weight. I’m far less impressionable than I was before. I know now that cutting the crap from your life and surrounding yourself with knowledge, expertise and ambition is a step up on the ladder to success.

The Ambitious. Lifestyle. Business. Facebook Group

Now if you want to go the whole hog and I suggest that you do, then joining the Ambitious. Lifestyle. Business. Facebook Group is essential. It’s a group full of like minded individuals, all with different levels of experience in numerous different fields. John himself is also regularly present in the group, it’s not one of those set up and run groups. He’s there to offer guidance and support when you need it the most!

I really don’t feel like I can stress enough just how valuable the Big Ideas movement is. Whatever field you’re in, you’re sure to gain drive, ambition and clarity through a combination of reading the Big Ideas book, listening to the podcast and surrounding yourself with fellow entrepreneurs in the Facebook group. 

 

*This post was written in collaboration with the Big Ideas team. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Is the Key to Success Self Doubt?

Is the Key to Success Self Doubt?

Ever since I ventured into the blogging world I’ve been bugged by my own self doubt. Wait, who am I kidding? I’ve ALWAYS been troubled by my own self doubt. I suppose blogging has just resurfaced old feelings, now that I’m constantly tip tapping them down for all to see.

Becoming a blogger brings with it a lot to think about. Obviously there’s the workload, which you don’t realise is so hefty until it’s too late. Once you get the blogging bug, there’s no going back.  Then there’s the feeling of exposure, when you think about who might be reading your stuff. What do they think of it? Is it any good? At some point, every blogger I know has had a crisis in confidence and has thought about closing their laptop for good.

In a strange way though, blogging has also given me a much needed boost in confidence. I wouldn’t have dreamed that I would end up being a blogger and a writer when I was in the early days of motherhood. It took everything I had to function daily, never mind to consider building up a brand new business with very limited technical knowledge. As time went by though I knew I needed something more. I dipped my toes into blogging and quickly realised what amazing possibilities lay before me.

I think that living with a lurking aura of self doubt can be the unexpected key to our success. Apart from the drive I have to be a someone in the eyes of my children and husband, I want to prove to myself that my demons aren’t in control of my future. Every time I get the feeling that I’ve taken on too much or I get anxious about looming deadlines, I turn that negative energy on its head and convert it into ambition. OK not every time, but I try to ignore the bad feelings and replace them with good. I do my best to ignore the voice that’s telling me I can’t and I amplify the one that tells me I can.

I’ve never had a passion for my work life before I found blogging and writing. I’ve always just gone through the motions. Yes I’ve built up a business before, but I didn’t care much for what I did. Now each morning I get up with fresh ideas, ready to power through another day of doing what I love!

 

So, if living with self doubt is what I have to do to make a success of myself, so be it. I’m only human after all!

 

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How to Create a Work/Life Balance to Suit You

How to Create a Work/Life Balance to Suit You

Having a good work/life balance is essential for you to thrive. All work and no play makes for a very dull existence and all play and no work is just not a sustainable way to live. I wouldn’t go burning the candle at both ends either, that’s a sure fire way to reach burnout at top speed!

Balance is not always an easy thing to achieve, especially when you have a demanding job and a family to support. Somewhere along the line something has to give. Compromises have to be made to make sure that you’re getting the most out of life.

For me, working from home has proven to be a challenge of epic proportions in relation to creating a decent work/life balance. First and foremost I am the primary carer of our two young daughters, they come first no matter what. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have to work though. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have deadlines to meet on a regular basis and that more often than not I’m spinning plates.

In my experience, there are ways to help yourself. At particularly busy times in your life, when you feel like those plates are going to crash to floor any minute, you can regain your balance. All it takes is putting a little thought and action into the following:

Be realistic –

Know what you can and can’t achieve at any given time. If it helps divide your day up in to time slots and dedicate an activity to each. Don’t try to fit in tasks that you know you won’t be able to finish and don’t let tasks that should take you a little amount of time, spill over into the next time slot.

This may seem like a very regimental way to live, but being realistic with your targets and abilities keeps you feeling on top of the game. You won’t feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your workload as you’ll have it all planned out and ready to complete in due course.

This plan doesn’t just have to be for your work life, allocate time to leisure activities too. The more balanced your planner appears when you look at it, the more balanced your mind will feel. Ah the power of organisation!

Learn how to say ‘no’ –

Saying no can be really hard. If you’re a people pleaser, you want to take on everything that comes your way to keep the guys on the other end happy. Now I’m not saying that you should become uncooperative and decline everything. Just have a clear idea of what you can and can’t fit in to your already busy schedule.

It’s a common misconception that people will resent you for saying no. Often people respect you more. Look at it this way, how can you expect someone to respect your worth and abilities if you don’t respect them yourself? Be strong and fair, you’ll feel so much better for it!

Utilise time saving technology –

These days there are apps out there for everything, reminders, planners, lists, schedulers – you name it. Use them! You’ll be amazed how much easier you can make your life by ditching the pen and paper and going ‘appy. The time you save by doing this can then be spent enjoying a break from work, it’s all about the balance!

Stop comparing yourself –

This is crucial! We waste so much time and energy on comparing our lives to those of others. Valuable time that could be spent hitting your next target, or taking some time out to enjoy your family in the present. Making comparisons holds absolutely no weight, because even the person who looks like they have everything together has their troubles.

Remember that everyone has good times and everyone fights battles, the best thing to do is concentrate on your own!

 

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How to Stop Work Getting on Top of You

How to Stop Work Getting on Top of You

Whatever kind of work you do, sometimes it can all get too much. It’s easy for your workload to get out of control and leave you feeling like it’s getting on top of you. This is not a healthy situation to be in. Too much work can have adverse effects, leaving you feeling stressed and anxious.

In the blogging and writing world, the workload is never ending. I have a to do list as long as my arm and it’s still growing! Don’t fret though, there are ways to help battle that overwhelming feeling of dread when work is getting too much. It’s important that you tackle your situation now to reduce the amount of pressure you’re under, before it begins to have an effect on the rest of your life. Consider the following:

Find ways to delegate –

Admitting that you need help isn’t always an easy thing to do, but it the long run it can be one of the most beneficial. If you have jobs that aren’t your strong point, you could ask for a little guidance from someone who finds it a breeze.

Maybe you simply don’t have enough hours in the day to complete every task on your list, in that case hiring extra help can come in handy. This may seem drastic, but it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you might think. For example, hiring a Virtual Assistant to do your scheduling for you will free up hours that you can dedicate to other jobs and most of the time they only charge a small fee.

If all else fails get your partner to help out, make it a family business!

Plan your workload –

I love to plan. If I didn’t my work life would collapse around me. Dedicate time slots to tasks if you have to, simply knowing when jobs will be completed can take them off of your mind until you are ready to tackle them. Don’t let work that you know needs to be completed later, affect what you’re doing now.

Give yourself a break –

When you’re planning your tasks, plan some time off too! A break is essential if you want to stay focussed and work to the best of your ability. No one can work hard without breaks, it’s just not healthy. Close the laptop, make a cuppa or go for a little walk. A bit of space can help you put things into a little more perspective, as well as leave you feeling refreshed.

Learn how to properly relax –

Figure out how you can relax properly. Whether it’s spending time with family, watching the television or something a little more soothing like hypnotherapy. Once you know how to make your self feel completely at ease, take time to do it regularly. Constantly feeling stressed and anxious takes a lot of energy, so it’s important that you take time to replenish it!

Don’t let work get the better of you, you’ll feel a hundred times better once you’re back in the driving seat!

 

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Working from Home – Three Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

Working from Home – Three Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

Working from home is the perfect set up for my family and I.  Doing so has so many positives for us. As is often the case though, things don’t always go according to plan. Here are three major lessons that working from home has taught me the hard way!

Life likes to get in the way –

I’m the queen of organisation. I have a diary and a set schedule that I try my hardest to stick to on a daily basis. I never have enough time, so the hours that I do get to work are valuable. The trouble with working from home without childcare is that I can plan and schedule as much as I like, but life always gets in the way! Being at home means I’m almost always the first port of call. Even if Dad’s at home, finding peace outside of nap time is a rare and wonderful occurrence! As I type this, I’m on a plastic phone to Peekaboo from the Twirlywoos. You get the picture.

You’re always at work –

There’s no break from work. I don’t get to leave the office on a Friday afternoon for a well deserved rest and I don’t get to shut the laptop, letting things wait until Monday. Don’t get me wrong I love what I do, but it’s definitely not for the faint hearted!

Having a work from home profession also means that a whole day can pass before I realise that I’ve not stepped out of the front door. For that reason planning a jaunt is essential, otherwise I really am always at work!

Early nights become a thing of the past –

Working from home whilst bringing up two young children, means that the majority of my working hours occur after they’ve gone to bed. It’s rare that I go to bed any earlier than 12am and if truth be told I could always fit a few more hours in. Luckily I accepted that sleep was a thing of the past when I had children. It’s amazing how our bodies adjust, that’s not to say an early night and a lie in wouldn’t be nice though!

 

 

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Working from Home – Are you Ready to Take the Leap?

Working from Home – Are you Ready to Take the Leap?

Do you dream of working from home, but the possibility of it just seems a million miles away? Are you scared to make that jump from employed to self-employed, even though it’s what you’ve always wanted? Sound familiar? You’re in the right place! 

When I had children I had a vision of working from home, so that I could be the one to look after our girls. For us, nursery wasn’t an option and so I had to find a way to build a business inside of my own four walls. After a lot of blood sweat and tears, OK maybe not blood but you get the picture, I’ve managed to set myself up in professional blogging and freelance writing. I have a passion for my work, which is something I’ve never had before and I’m bringing in the bucks, helping to support my little family. I’m living proof that your dreams can become your reality!

It goes without saying that making the jump is daunting and incredibly hard work, but failing because you’re scared to begin is not the answer.

Thinking about biting the bullet? Here are some things that you should consider:

Passion and drive –

What makes you want to get up in the morning? Take some time to think about where your passions lie and what you’re good at. Let this positive thought process build your confidence and give you the lift you need to believe in yourself and your abilities.

Goals and achievements –

Set yourself goals. Where do you want to be six months, a year or even 5 years from now? Setting realistic targets will give you something to work towards. As you achieve your goals, the feeling of satisfaction will add fuel to your fire, giving you drive and confidence to achieve more.

Pros and cons –

Think about how working from home will affect your life. Changes to your work will also have an effect on the people around you. Therefore, it’s essential that you know you’re making the right decision before you go for it!

Scheduling your workload –

Working from home requires a strict schedule in order for your business to thrive. Take some time to work out a routine that fits in well around all other aspects of your life. Testing out your new routine before putting it into place is a great way to see how your lives will tick over, should you make the transition to working from home.

It’s also important to know that with a new venture will come setbacks, that’s life. The key to success though is to work through the tough times and learning from them, but don’t let them break your spirit!

 

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How to Maintain Drive and Ambition when you’re Self-Employed

How to Maintain Drive and Ambition when you’re Self-Employed

Self-employment is the dream of many. You get to work when you want, stay in bed until brunch and still earn enough money to keep you and yours in the lifestyle you’ve become accustomed to, right? Wrong! To become a success in the self-employment game you need drive and ambition by the bucket load. There’s no staying in bed and often working when you want means longer hours than you did before.

The beauty of being self-employed is that it often means you’re doing something you love. It’s making your dreams a reality, so the extra hours and workload are more than worth the effort to build your empire. The difficulty with being your own boss is just that. You don’t have someone watching your every move, making sure you’re meeting deadlines and hitting targets.

So what can you do to maintain the drive and ambition you need to rock at self-employment? Look no further!

Set realistic goals –

Setting yourself goals is vital to continue to achieve. Think about where you are now and where you want to be in the future, even if you can only see as far ahead as next week. Think about the steps you need to take to reach your goals and how you’re going to implement them. Write your ideas down if it helps, but make sure they’re realistic. Setting unrealistic goals often means you won’t reach them. This will knock your confidence, meaning your drive and ambition to stay self-employed will suffer, along with your work.

Set yourself deadlines and stick to them –

With no boss to keep you in check, it’s up to you to set yourself deadlines and make sure that you stick to them. Setting yourself deadlines means that your workday will have structure, you know what needs to be done and when.  Every time you meet a deadline you’ll feel satisfied in your work, fuelling your drive and ambition to achieve! Having no deadlines and therefore no structure in your work life is a recipe for disaster!

Don’t be too proud –

Often being self-employed can mean you’re working from the ground up. Just because you’re now your own boss doesn’t mean the work will automatically start flowing in. Don’t be too proud to start small and take the little jobs as you build up your business and reputation. Completing projects whatever they are worth, puts you one step closer to the bigger jobs. Rome wasn’t built in a day and work is work when you have bills to pay!

Allocate yourself time off –

Give yourself a break. Self-employment can be all-consuming and after a while this can take its toll. Allocate yourself time off to rest, spend quality time family or see your friends. Doing so will see you refreshed and ready to tackle what the world throws at you when it’s time to get back to work!

 

 

 

 

 

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Make Money from Home by Putting your Writing Skills into Practice

Make Money from Home by Putting your Writing Skills into Practice

For many people working from home is a dream that they never think will come true. Finding legitimate work that you can undertake from inside own four walls isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either. One of the best ways to work from home is to take up freelance writing. If you love writing, have top notch grammatical skills and have the drive to work on a self-employed basis, freelancing may just be the career for you.

As a work from home mum, I’ve become well versed in making money from home. It means that I don’t have to stick to the 9-5, that I’m here for my littles and that work is now my passion, not just a means to get by.

So, where can you find work?

There are some great sources of freelance writing work online, you just have to know where to find them. Each of these sites offer the opportunity to to write, learn and progress!

upwork.com

Upwork is almost like a market place for jobs. Once you’ve signed up and completed your profile, you can start applying for work that is at your skill level. Once you get to grips with the system finding work is quick and easy. Upwork isn’t restricted to freelance writing jobs either, have a search of the market place and see what other skills you may have that will line your pockets!

freelancer.com

Freelancer is very similar to Upwork. It’s an online market place for freelance work of different types, from writing to offering your skills as a virtual assistant. Again, all you have to do is set up a profile and start applying for work at your skill level.

uk.copify.com

Copify is an online platform that has work readily available on a daily basis. To become part of the Copify team you have to pass a writing assessment. This means that once your in there’s no applying for, or bidding on projects. You can accept as much, or as little work as you want to and the payment process is super simple!

greatcontent.co.uk

Great Content work very similarly to Copify. There’s an assessment you have to pass to become a Great Content writer, but once  your in there’s work readily available on a first come, first served basis. Payment is quick and easy, meaning there’s no chasing anyone for your money!

 

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All of these sources offer great ways to show off your skill set and become the creative, entrepreneur you’ve always wanted to be. Life as a freelancer offers freedom, job satisfaction and a world of opportunity. There’s no reason why you can’t get in on that action too!  

 

 

 

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Freelancing – Earning a Living as a Stay at Home Mum

Freelancing – Earning a Living as a Stay at Home Mum

It has been said a million times, but it’s true, being a stay at home mum is more work than a full-time job, and your shift never really ends! However, many of us still feel unsatisfied in regards to our careers, or are simply a bit short on cash, and crave something to help with both. It might be simply impossible, or you may just not want to go back to a job, which would mean leaving your kids with a childcare professional (and therefore adding an extra expense) while you are at work. However, it is possible to make money from working, on top of taking care of your family. Freelancing offers work that fits around your schedule, and as much or as little as you’d like. Perhaps a few adjustments will have to be made to give yourself some time, which is not always easy- but since when was motherhood ever easy? Here are some tips on why, and how you can go freelance.

Going freelance is a good idea, specifically for full time parents, because it enables you to choose exactly what type of work you want to do and how many hours you are willing to work. Instead of a 9-5 job that often requires sitting at a desk all day, a freelancer has complete control to choose how her (or his) career goes. The more experience gained, the better and higher quality projects come around. That means the responsibility and money earned is completely dependent upon the determination of the freelancer. It is also means that no workday will look the same.

If this seems like a good idea for you, you should take a moment whilst the kids are sleeping in the evening, or while they are watching TV to go onto your laptop and have a look at what is out there. If you are reading this article, chances are you enjoy reading blogs and sharing ideas, and there are some really useful sites such as blog Jobrapido, which offers realistic and professional advice on all aspects of job searching.

You’ll find many different freelancing options, for all different job types with different companies. For example, take freelance writing. Many blog owners will hire freelance writers to write articles on their blogs. If you enjoy writing and being creative, but are also willing to do the research to create quality articles, this is work that is high in demand. Or there is website design. If you love design and are familiar with Photoshop, you can take these skills into the freelance space. Learning the goals and personality of the website owner can help you create one of a kind pieces on your own time and earn some money along the way.

Working as a freelancer can have a very positive affect on a mother’s life. Having the ability to make money and keep the career-motivated part of you satisfied helps those who are interested, stay more balanced and happy overall. Overall, freelancing/doing what you love and being a stay at home mum seems pretty close to balancing the best of both worlds.

 

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*Published in partnership with Mary Johnson.

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