How a gratitude journal can make you happy

How a gratitude journal can make you happy

Some days we get so wrapped with what is wrong with our world, our life, our business, our relationships etc.  It’s all too easy to slip into a feeling of gloom and despair, particularly if you are going through a tough time.

One of the well-documented ways to break free of this is to keep a gratitude journal.  I keep one by my bed and write down three things each night before I go to sleep of happy things I have done that day, happy things I am looking forward to or just those simple things that make my happy.

Last night I looked back over a few of my entries and pulled out some of my favourites to share with you.  Do feel free to let me know you what simple things make you happy in the comments box below.

Here are a few of the simple things that make me happy…

  • Walking my gorgeous dog – a great time to get fresh air, clear the head and get away from the computer and telephone
  • The smell wafting from the kitchen when my daughter is baking cakes
  • Sitting in front of the fire with a good book (or in the garden under the shade of a tree in the summer)
  • The smell of freshly mown grass
  • Sipping chilled wine on the patio after a day at work in the summer
  • The feeling and smell of freshly laundered bed sheets
  • The sound of baby giggling uncontrollably
  • The smell of freshly washed clothes
  • Receiving a hand written letter (far too rare these days)
  • A long weekend away with my hubby
  • Watching old black and white movies
  • A good thunderstorm (when you’re inside!)
  • Hearing the words “I miss you”
  • Lying in bed listening to the rain
  • Finding money in old handbags
  • Seeing the first bloom on the Camelia bush
  • Having the family all sat around the table for Sunday roast
  • Waking up and realising I have a completely free day to myself
  • Drinking champagne cocktails at The Dorchester (ok, not so simple, but an annual tradition when doing my Christmas shopping!)

Do any of these resonate with you?  What simple things make you happy?  Let me know in the comments below.

How to easily plan social media posts

How to easily plan social media posts

How do you feel when planning your social media posts?

When it is time to post out on social media do you feel relaxed and happy that you have great content ready to go.  Or, do you feel that sinking feeling in your stomach and you instantly get a mental block and can’t even think of how to write a birthday message to your bestie, let alone come up with some creative writing to attract people to interact with you?

I am happy to say that I am now in the first category, although it wasn’t always that way.  I have literally thousands of social media posts all pre-prepared that I can tap into at any time I need.

When I sit down with clients and talk to them about creating banks of posts, I invariably get asked how I think of so much content and how I can prepare so many posts in advance.

Many women I talk to feel they simply cannot think of so much content and feel overwhelmed at the thought of preparing just one month of posts in advance and struggle to get in the creative mood.

I used to be the same until I found a way that simplified the whole process for me and saved me hours (if not days) of struggling to come up with ideas of what to write.

And I am now going to share with you how to do it.

Create the social media posts

Firstly, I come up with a topic to cover and focus on for each month.

I then sit down and offload all my thoughts on each subject onto paper (or rather my laptop).  I start off with headings, subheading and then bullet points.  I then split this into 4 separate sections and flesh out the content, creating 4 blog posts (one for each week and all linking to each other).  If you can write 2000 words on each subject matter, these can easily be split down into 4 x 500 word blogs.

Personally, I find blocking out one day each month and writing in this way keeps the creative juices flowing and by breaking one long subject down into 4 gives me enough content each month.

I then take each individual blog post and from this come up with numerous social media posts that can be used again and again.

From each blog post, I will usually extract:

  • 2 top tips
  • 2 quotes
  • 1 bitesize video (approx. 2 minutes)
  • 1 video tutorial or Facebook Live broadcast
  • 1 key question to pose to readers to gain their interest

You can immediately see from the above that I now have 8 instant posts for social media each week by using the initial long blog post, breaking down ad creating the extra content types from it.

Have a read of my post on how to create content from one blog post as this will give you some more ideas. http://www.thesmallbusinesskit.com/blog/repurpose-blog-content/ 

Finally, for each main subject, I then create a freebie giveaway

Planning to use your social media posts

Using this system, I can easily create 33 posts for each month.  I record all of these in a spreadsheet and make a note of when and where I post them so that I don’t duplicate the same post across 2 channels on the same day.

On day 1, I may post the blog post in my Facebook group and post a question on my Facebook page.  I may also post a top tip in another group.

If you are really organised, you could plan a longer series each quarter.

If you are in the weight loss industry you might choose a 3-month series on the lines of:

  • Getting in the right mindset to lose weight
  • Choosing the right diet for you
  • Losing the first stone

You can then create 12 individual blog posts from these main subjects, with a further 74 individual posts (are you still with me?).

Record all your posts into a spreadsheet which you then simply copy and paste from when you need to post out on your chosen social media channels.  Over time you will create a huge bank of posts that can be used time and time again with your chosen audience.

If you use a social media scheduler, you can pre-plan your posts for the month ahead.  All you have to then do is to make sure you check in each day to see what interaction you are getting, respond to comments and tweak if necessary.

Using this system, I now spend no more than half an hour on social media each day.  It’s so liberating!!

 

If you would like a done for you spreadsheet and planner to download and use along with a full video tutorial on how to create and schedule your social media posts, come join my member’s club for immediate access.

What you need to know before you start a business

What you need to know before you start a business

Would you love to start a business but don’t think it’s possible?

Have you always dreamt of setting up your own business but the thought of entering the big wide world of entrepreneurship simply scares you more than Freddy Kruger popping in for supper on Friday 13th?

Would you love to escape the humdrum of working 9 to 5, being told where to be at what time, when you can eat and when you are allowed to take much needed time off with your family?

Well, your dream to start a business needn’t be so scary.  In fact, whilst it will undoubtedly be hard work, it can also be quite exciting and give a new lease of life that leaves you energised and looking forward to each day.

But first things first.  There are a few things to consider if you want to make your journey as smooth as possible and go from fearful to fabulous.

What’s your passion?

The start-up businesses that have the best chance of success are those that are based on a passion that will carry you through the difficult times.  Doing something you love day in and day out doesn’t feel like work.  It feels like fulfilment.

So, think hard about what you love doing.  What can you see yourself doing in 10 years and still loving?

What are you good at?

Now here is the tough question!  What are you good at?  It’s no good having a passion for something but not being very good at it.  People simply won’t part with their hard-earned cash.

Putting passion and talent together, I know that I love walking my dog, but keeping her under control is a challenge and I am sure if I tried to start a dog walking business, my passion would turn into a chore.  You need to think about this carefully.  It’s no use starting a gourmet burger bar if your cooking skills are akin to flipping burgers at McDonalds, no matter how much you love being in the kitchen.

What will people pay for?

The third piece of the start a business jigsaw is considering what people will pay for, and enough people to make you a profit.  You may love crocheting tea cosy’s but if everyone is now making individual cups of tea rather than using a tea pot, you are not going to make any money from your business idea.

I started my business consultancy because I have an absolute passion for helping other women build a life and income stream that gives them the freedom to do what they have always dreamt of.  I knew I was good at this as I had a proven track record of helping hundreds of people start up and build their own successful business.  And I knew that if people were serious about their business, they would willingly pay to get the help and support they needed to kickstart their success.

 

So now you have your idea to start a business.  But what next?  There are a few key steps you need to take if you really want to give yourself the best chance of success.

Self-belief

The first step is self-belief.  You must:

  • Believe you are good enough
  • Believe what you sell is worth it
  • Believe that your clients will gladly pay you

Because quite simply if you don’t believe in yourself and what you are doing, then why the hell should anyone else?  This can be a real challenge for women starting their business so take the time to write down all things you have achieved in your life, all the compliments you have received, qualifications you have gained etc.  Look at this on a regular basis and start to believe in yourself.

Create a plan

Remember the adage ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’.  Yes?  Well it applies to you when you start a business.

It’s all too easy to become so enthused and excited about your new idea that you dive in without any real thought and planning.  This invariably leads to a rude awakening down the line.

You need to plan:

  • How much you want to earn
  • Your capacity for how much you can make
  • What hours you are going to work
  • Who you need to help you and what resources you need
  • How much it is going to cost to get your idea off the ground and to keep it running
  • What you are going to charge
  • How much profit you will make (and will this be enough for you to live off)
  • How you are going to be better and/or different from your competitors to stand out from the crowd
  • Who is going to buy your product or service and how you are going to get them to know about it
  • How you are going to take payment and deliver to your customer

 

Test your idea

To minimize the risk of failure, try testing your business idea out on a small scale before going all in.  This will provide you with valuable feedback as to whether others love your idea as much as you do and if they are willing to pay for it.  You can then tweak your idea if necessary and minimise the risk of a spending far too much blood, sweat and tears on something that simply isn’t going to work.

If you are currently in a day job, by testing your idea out of working hours on a smaller scale, you can continue to earn a salary to pay your household bills each month and ease the financial pressure whilst getting your business off the ground.

Seek advice

If you’re serious about starting your own business and making it a success, find yourself someone who has been there and done it and made it a success to help you on your path.  Trying to go it alone will be both be lonely and quite likely a very expensive mistake.  Find someone with the experience and independent perspective to help you steer clear of the numerous start-up mistakes so many make.

 

If you follow these top tips then you can start a business.  It ain’t gonna be easy.  It’s going to be a rollercoaster of a ride.  I remember the days of going from a feeling of euphoria that I was going to be a millionaire by the end of the year to the depths of despair that I was going to be bankrupt by the end of the month all in the space of 5 minutes!  But if you are brave enough to hang on tight, you will make it to the end and the feeling of achievement will be worth every single bit.

There is nothing better than working on your terms, at the hours you want, and setting your own ceiling of income to live the life you have always dreamt of.

I’m one of the lucky ones.  I have survived the hard times.  I now have a business and life that I simply love and could not be happier.  If you would like me to help you build the same for yourself, take a look at all The Small Business Kit has to offer.

 

How to save your sanity when working from home

How to save your sanity when working from home

Do you struggle to keep your housework under control when working from home and running your home business?  Yes?  It sounds crazy, doesn’t it?  You are at home all day but the housework just doesn’t seem to get done!

When I was in my corporate job, there was a clear distinction between work and home and I would designate the weekends to get the housework done.  But when you run a home business, the lines are blurred into one.  You can either get distracted whilst leaving your work to go get a cup of tea and end up doing the laundry or the alternative which happens to me, you mean to get the housework done but just can’t tear yourself away from doing that one niggling work task that is outstanding.

Get your home under control and save your sanity

So here’s my trick to help get the housework under control.  Each morning and each evening, do a 30-minute dash.  Set yourself some specific tasks for each day and see how much you get done using this method.  I honestly swear by it.  Each morning I get up and do my 30-minute dash on something like cleaning the bathroom and shower room, dusting the bedrooms, vacuuming the floor, putting the laundry through etc.  And then I repeat this each evening with another task.

As a bit of a list freak, I created myself a planner with different tasks for each day to help me keep the housework under control.  I also added a column for my key daily work task and then another for personal life such as taking time out to read, doing exercise and making time for friends and family.

Sanity planner for working from home

I call it my weekly sanity planner and it takes no more than an hour each day to keep my housework under control, although a little longer on a Saturday and time out for yourself on a Sunday.

It really is amazing what you can achieve when you set a timer and challenge yourself to achieve something within a set time and by using such an incredibly simple planner, I feel so much more in control which reduces my stress and makes me feel like a domesticated goddess!  (Well, some days at least).

If you would like to save your sanity when working from home and want a copy of my personal planner and a blank one for your own use, let me know in the comments below.