Success strategies for female business owners

Success strategies for female business owners

This is a guest post written by Ryan Lock

Running your own business comes with a unique set of challenges and opportunities and while the satisfaction of building your own brand can be tremendous, it can also be quite stressful.

photo-1445620466293-d6316372ab59

We’ve got you covered though. Read through the below tips and use them to stand out and succeed, whichever industry you are in.

Research your market

One of the biggest mistakes that new businesses make is not researching the market that they are going into. Spend time looking into your competitors and what sort of prices the market is supporting right now.

Set goals

Have a clear idea of where you want to be in your business. Working with a business coach or strategist will help you to set some clear goals. Once you are feeling clear about your goals, write them down and put them somewhere you will see them.

Network

Which ever industry you work in, it’s important to make sure that you are constantly growing your network of contacts. With a little research you can find local events and meet ups that can either be filled with potential clients or people that you can do business with. Don’t overlook online networking as well, there are some excellent face book groups out there for networking.

Take the pressure off

When you are first starting up, there will be times when you need to invest some of your own money to get things moving. Of course, it’s important to make sure that you are managing your money in a responsible way but when unexpected personal bill come in you can get help. Take a look at the different offers out there and make sure that you find the one that’s best for you. Vivus offer short term pay day loans and have a half price offer on your first loan.

Upgrade

Each month, choose an area to improve on professionally. Even if it’s just reading a book or listening to a class or podcast on the commute to work, you’ll do yourself a massive favor by constantly upgrading and improving your skills.

Guest Post | Baby Loss Awareness Week

Guest Post | Baby Loss Awareness Week

This evening I have a guest post from one of my friends. She has chosen to remain anonymous right now as she still finds it quite hard to talk about, especially the effects the loss had on her and her partner’s relationship. Its important to discuss these aspects and I hope you can support her like you have supported me. Thank you.

They say one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. I’m sad to say, I’m one in four.

This is a subject that has taken me a while to talk about. So much so, only a few close friends know the story. Although a few years has passed since I first suffered a miscarriage, it’s still so raw, and is by no means an easy thing for me to discuss.

The lovely Bex has allowed me to share my story with you today, so thank you Bex.

I have had a total of 3 losses. None of my babies have ever made it past 5 weeks. Only one ever made it a day past that positive test. I never had a scan, never saw a heartbeat, never even saw a midwife. Because, in the doctors who I saw said ‘it’s best to carry on like you were never pregnant’. But, I was.

My losses were what they call a chemical pregnancy. A super early miscarriage. Most people who suffer them, don’t even know theyre pregnant. And to some, doesn’t even count as a baby.

The main reason I wanted to share my story today, because well, I just needed too. I still feel anger, upset and frustration that we’d lost our babies. The anger I feel towards the attitude of people and what the doctors said the above. I felt like I couldn’t be sad about it. When it happened the final time, I didn’t take time off work, I didn’t tell a soul. Because those words, rung in my head. As far as the world was concerned, my little jellybean never existed.

lights-1541093_1920

That’s just not true or fair though is it? I sat there with my other half, we discussed names, how to announce it, who they’d look like, we went and looked at cots, clothes, pushchairs. We were excited new parents to be. Those 2 weeks I knew I was pregnant, were the best of my life. I’d never felt happier.

The day I started to cramp and bleed, I knew it was not meant to be. After all, the feeling was all too familiar. To most, getting past 12 weeks is a blessing. For us? Getting past that day after, we were feeling positive! After difficulty trying for 2 years, I truly thought we were getting our rainbow baby. Instead, another loss, another heartbreak and ultimately, the end of my relationship.

This isn’t to say couples can’t get through loss. No, please don’t think that! I know some couples who it made them stronger. For us, the pain caused a rift, arguments and made us different people. I went through phases of blaming myself, why couldn’t I keep a baby? What was wrong with me?! How was my body failing to do the one thing nature intended a woman to do!? The phases of blaming my other half. He was causing me to be stressed, we would argue. But in reality, as sad as it is, it’s just one of those things.

To this day, I still get emotional, our final baby would be turning 2 soon, instead, I light a candle and as sad as it sounds, sit there in silence. I imagine what they would have looked like, who’s personality they would have taken after. Would they have daddy’s smile, my eyes? I struggle still when close friends tell me theyre pregnant. I know it sounds terrible, because I really am over the moon for them! I’ve had tests, there is no reason why I can’t get pregnant. And I know one day, when I find the right man, I’ll get my rainbow. And they’ll be the most wanted and treasured baby there is.

For now, I continue to come to terms with it all. A slow process, but I’m getting there.

GUEST POST | PND by Jo at Miracle Max

GUEST POST | PND by Jo at Miracle Max

This guest post is by the fabulous Jo from the blog Miracle Max. This is a frank and open look at post natal depression and I am honoured Jo chose to share her story today on my blog. Please leave Jo a comment below if this resonates with you & please don’t forget to head on over to her fantastic blog and check it out. Thank you. 

We all have an image in our heads on what motherhood is going to be like. We see pictures in magazines and endless Instagram photos of new Mums making it look like having a new born is a breeze.

I spent 9 months dreaming of what perfection lay ahead of me once my bundle of joy arrived. It would be the most magical thing to ever happen to me, I was sure of it. I would spend hours cuddling my perfect baby, go out for coffee mornings with friends, maybe even get down the gym once or twice a week. I was going to look just like the perfect women in those magazines- and I couldn’t wait.

pnd-image-2

But in reality becoming a Mum is hands down the hardest thing that’s ever happened to me. Life as I knew it was gone forever and I was thrust into a world of dirty nappies, a screaming baby and sleepless nights. My whole life changed overnight. I thought I was prepared – mentally, emotionally, physically. But there is no way to prepare for the difference having a child makes in your life.

Some women take to motherhood like a duck to water, and some don’t. I fell into the latter category. I had a horrific 32-hour labour with a very traumatic ending where I was taken to theatre to have a forceps delivery. I was traumatised and physically drained but just a few days later I was sent home to care for this tiny human who was totally dependent on me. But I just didn’t have the energy. I’d lost a lot of blood during delivery and was very weak, barely even able to walk downstairs. Max would cry for me, his Mum, the person who had carried him safely for 9 months, but I just couldn’t help him. Instead I’d sit and watch helplessly as my Husband, Adam, would tend to him. I felt like a bystander in my own life, watching Adam do all the things I felt I should be doing.

A few weeks passed and I slowly gained my strength back. But I still couldn’t bring myself to care for Max. I’d missed out on those precious first few weeks of bonding with him and he felt like a stranger to me. I didn’t have the urge to pick him up, cuddle him or feed him and I was still leaving the main bulk of the parenting duties to Adam.

pnd-image-1-1

I was shutting myself away, too anxious to leave the house. I was spending hours every day crying. My hormones were all over the place and I just wanted to get in my car and drive as far away as possible and never come back.

Post Natal Depression (PND) affects 1 in every 10 women – and I soon realised I was one of them. It seems weird saying this out loud as I never had a ‘formal’ diagnosis. But with something like this, you just know. It’s the only explanation for the anxiety and inability to cope that I was experiencing.

I never visited my doctor and instead decided to tackle my depression with the help of family and friends.  They were great. Adam would sit me down and try to get me to admit how I was really feeling. I found talking open and honestly really helped me to get to the bottom of why I was feeling like this. I came to realise that it wasn’t because I didn’t love Max. In fact, it was the total opposite. I loved him so much that I was scared I would let him down and fail at being his Mum.pnd-image-3-1

Slowly but surely Adam would encourage me to do more for Max, but never putting any pressure on me. I started to build up my confidence. Instead of giving him a quick feed and rushing to put him down, I would sit and give him a cuddle and let him fall asleep in my arms. Day by day my confidence was growing and good days started to outweigh the bad.

Max is now 4 months old and PND is still something I am having to work hard to control, it unfortunately doesn’t go away over night. I have bad days and relapses where all I want to do is cry, but these are no longer daily. I no longer feel like I want to run away from everything. Instead I turn my frustration and sadness into determination. Max was a much wanted baby and I am determined to do my very best to give him the happy and healthy life that he deserves.

15 Productive Things To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Blogging

Hi, I’m Emma and I blog over at EmmaDrew.Info. As a blogger, I know how it feels when you really don’t fancy writing anything – it can be hard to motivate yourself and the guilt stops you from trying to do anything positive for your blog. So I have put together fifteen ideas for things you can do for your blog when you don’t feel like writing.

15

1. Schedule your social media posts

Scheduling your social media posts is really easy with the use of Buffer or HootSuite, and it could help you to get ahead for the next week or even the next month! Scheduling links to your popular or topical posts means you can still have an active presence on social media and be promoting your old posts.

2.  Spend some time on Pinterest

Pinterest can be a massive source of traffic for bloggers, so spending time on Pinterest when you don’t feel like writing is great for a number of reasons! Firstly, by pinning your own posts alongside others you will start to increase your Pinterest following and hopefully this will lead to more visitors to your blog. Secondly, you might find something that inspires you! It isn’t cool to copy a blog post or project exactly, but you can find lots of inspiration. If you are serious about taking your Pinterest account to the next level then make sure you read How To Use Pinterest To Increase Your Blog Traffic.

3.Go through your emails

If your inbox is anything like mine, chances are that you have marked an email as read without responding, or you need to chase someone up. Going through your inbox means you can find those emails you have missed, or chase up someone. This is also a great time to unsubscribe from those emails you don’t find useful, or you can’t quite remember signing up for in the first place. If you are feeling super organised then you can even spend time sorting your email into folders, checking your spam folder and even setting up your spam filters.

4. Research your future posts

When you don’t feel inspired to write, this could be the perfect time to research some topics you want to cover in your future blog posts. Perhaps you need to find the price of an item, or collate information. Even if you can’t bring yourself to write the content, you can plan ahead for it.

5. Source and create images for your past or future posts

Having beautiful images on your blog makes your readers want more, so you could spend some time looking for images to use, or creating your own Pinterest worthy images on Canva. I like to use Pixabay and Morguefile to source my images.

6. SEO

Having high search engine rankings for your blog posts means that you will attract new readers, which helps to grow your blog. Bonjour Blogger have a great post about what SEO is as well as some suggested plugins to use.

7.Clean up your sidebar

If you have a sidebar (or two) on your blog, have you checked them recently to make sure that you don’t have any broken images? Is there a widget that you want to put into your sidebar (such as your latest Instagram posts or your tweets) but you haven’t got around to doing it? Now’s the time!

8. Check for broken links 

Broken links on your blog is both unprofessional and bad for SEO, but it can take some time to get them all fixed. Zoe Corkhill has a brilliant post about checking your broken links on WordPress, as well as practical solutions for finding all of your broken links.

9. Reply to comments

If a reader has taken the time to comment on your blog then it is polite to reply to them. This is something that I am guilty of failing at! Replying to comments shows your readers that you are interested in what they have to say, and it encourages them to leave a comment.

10. Comment on other blogs

Commenting on other blogs is great for a whole host of reasons. It helps you to build a rapport with other bloggers and gets your name out there. Plus who knows what useful information you will find in those blog posts!

11. Update (or create) your editorial calendar 

An editorial calendar helps you to plan out your future blog posts by giving you an overview of your posts for the coming weeks, months and even years! The appropriately named Editorial Calendar is a WordPress plugin that helps you to drag and drop your posts and plan ahead. If you aren’t using WordPress or you want to go old school, you can print out a calendar and write down your post ideas, ticking them off as they are written and scheduled.

12.Set up IFTTT

IFTTT stands for “if this then that” and it is a great way to automate some of what you do! For example, I have it set up to automatically post my Instgram images to my Twitter account, without the annoying Instagram link. You can create “recipes” to automatically share whatever you want!

13. Take photos

Is there a craft that you have been keen to share, or perhaps an item you have reviewed that you need to take photos of? If you don’t fancy writing then why not make some time to take those photographs for your blog? You can also edit them and get them uploaded, so there is one less job to do when you feel like writing that blog post!

14. Update your old posts

I have been blogging for more than 5 years now, and I cringe when I look back at my old posts. I try to go back and edit one or two old posts every week. This is also a great chance to change the image to make it a more “pinnable” image and update any SEO settings.

14. Reuse your content

Kerry has a brilliant post on how to take a break from blogging by reusing your older content. I have done this a few times now and it helps me to reach a whole new audience who perhaps haven’t seen my previous post.

These 15 ideas are all things I do myself when I can’t face writing a post. Do you have any other tips to share?

 

Guest Post | Tips For When Your Child Goes To Uni

Please enjoy this fab guest post for when your child goes to uni from a blogging friend of mine, Mel from The Diary of a Jewellery Lover. She is one of my closest blogging friends and I am proud to be able to showcase her on my blog.

Hi, my name in Mel and I blog at The Diary Of A Jewellery Lover. In September my son went to university for the first time. I am incredibly proud of my son but it was an adjustment process for me. He is a big part of my life and before he went I would even wake up at night crying. I know it seems silly now but I was just worried about him. The ’empty nest syndrome’ as it’s called hit me hard, even before he went. I think part of it was because he never really seemed that grown up and I wasn’t sure how he would cope.

Well he has finished his first term and he’s enjoying himself. In fact by the time he actually went I had come to terms with him leaving home. Here are some tips to help you as a parent when your child moves out and goes to uni or college for the first time.

mel uni post

Copyright: Ditty_about_summer Shutterstock

Prepare Them For The Practicalities

Knowing that they can do their own washing, cook a nutritionally balanced meal and not splurge their money in the first week can be very reassuring, so help them by going through these issues with them. They may be totally capable of sorting this out or they may need your help, but knowing that you have asked them and helped if needed can be very beneficial to both parent and child.

Showing how to use the washing machine, explaining about not mixing whites and coloured and how to use the temperatures and settings is useful if they haven’t much experience doing their own laundry. A chat about nutrition and how they can get their 5 a day is also useful – some teenagers may not know that fresh juice can be one of your five a day as well as pulses like baked beans.

Teach them how to cook at least three decent meals on a budget, such as spaghetti bolognaise, cottage pie and stir fry then buy them a student cookbook for other inspiration.

Discuss their budget with them – working out how much they can spend on themselves after all the bills and food are taken out will help them plan their money for the term.

Make registering with a GP and dentist if they live far from home a priority. If they don’t watch live TV, get them to inform the TV licence people so they don’t have to have a licence.

Encourage them to join clubs and societies and make new friends from people they live with or those that are in their uni. Remind them every first year student is in the same boat and most won’t know anyone there.

Make Use Of The Extra Time

Spend more time with your partner, take up a new hobby or interest, read more and take that trip around Europe you have been meaning to. Some mums return to work if they haven’t worked since their child was born or think about taking a course at university or college themselves.

Support Sites And Friends

Sites such as Mumsnet have forum threads for parents of teens, for support and advice. Use your family and friends as a support network if you feel down. Why don’t you go out for lunch with your mum or best friend to cheer yourself up?

Communication

Check in with them on a regular basis during the first few weeks, just to make sure they are doing OK. Skype, Facetime and Facebook are all free to use, you just need a wi-fi connection. I know this helped me greatly, finding out what my son was doing, and helping with any problems that came up. We had an intense Facebook conversation on the first day when he has problems connecting to the wi-fi network!

Letting Go

It’s only natural in the early days to want to speak to your child on a regular basis but as they settle in, and hopefully enjoy the course and the lifestyle, let them have more space. Hopefully if you have helped prepare them for uni life they will start to get confident in their abilities to look after themselves, and this in turn will reassure you.

These are some tips for parents. How did you manage when your child went to uni? Do you have any tips? If you have been to uni yourself if there anything you had wish you had known?