Angie’s ramblings – Am I confident or mad?

Angie’s ramblings – Am I confident or mad?

Is this a sign of confidence or madness?

I am talking to myself!!!

Oh dear!  Do you talk to yourself too?

I have found myself more and more frequently talking to myself.

When my family come home at the end of the day, they regularly tell me I ramble on randomly and they have no idea what I am talking about or who to.

I apparently seem to be getting worse over the years which I can only put down to working from home on my own with no one else to talk to but myself.

I find myself reprimanding myself if I make a mistake with something.  I jump up and do some whoop whoops when something goes fantastically well.  I tell myself off out loud when I find myself procrastinating.  I tell myself to buck myself and that I CAN do it when faced with a particular challenge that I am struggling with.

All to the amusement of my faithful dog who joins in at times of excitement as she misconstrues this as being time for a walk!

This all sounds rather innocent but the frightening thing is I realise I am turning into my mother.  She constantly talks to herself and it used to baffle me as to why she did it.  I thought she was turning mad and now I am doing the same thing.

So, why do we really talk to ourselves?  When I started looking this up on the internet the word ‘psychiatrist’ and ‘counselling’ popped up too much for my liking along with feelings of loneliness etc.  People in movies who talk to themselves have been portrayed as being eccentric and suffering mental illness.

As I only talk to myself at home and not out in public (I think!!), I don’t really believe I am going mad (although many would argue with me).  I just like to believe that talking to oneself is thinking out loud.

I found a note from a study conducted by Dr Adam Winsler of George Mason University who deduced that children who talked to themselves were more confident and participated more actively during class compared to their more introverted peers.  He deduced that by chatting with themselves, they were able to put their problems into perspective and reflect upon their actions.

So that’s the theory that I am sticking with!

Tell me, do you talk to yourself when working from home?

A day in the life of an entrpreneur

A day in the life of an entrpreneur

A day in the life of an entrepreneur (Based on true life events)

Yes, the following really did happen!!

Just for fun (and possibly so that if you have days like this you know you are not alone) I thought I would share with you a real (although thankfully not typical) day whilst trying to run my home business.  Please do let me know in the comments if you ever have days like this.

 

7:30 am Woke up fired with enthusiasm and my work all planned out for the day.  Today is going to be super productive and nothing will stop me!

8:00am Came downstairs and found the cat had been sick on the floor.  Cleared it up.  Turned around and the other cat had brought a mouse in (which was still obviously had a heartbeat) and was now chasing it around the kitchen.  The dog promptly joined in the chase.  The sickly cat joined in the chase.  I joined in the chase and eventually managed to win by chasing them all out the back door.

8:20am Now exhausted and in dire need of a cuppa!

8:30am  Sat down with cuppa and started going through emails.  Ooh, look!! Another challenge and another free course!!  Let me sign up quickly!!  Let me waste more time skipping through the numerous emails from these courses and challenges that I never seem to get the time to partake in!

9:15am  Emails complete.  Client queries replied to.  Junk deleted.  Only about 49 outstanding in my inbox to read properly when I get the time and all of them relating to things I have subscribed to (many dating back a few months or more).

Now on to Facebook to check messages ….

9:55am Haven’t checked any messages yet as have been distracted by funny memes, updates by friends and an ongoing local saga in the town news group.

SHIT!!  I am due to do a Facebook Live in my own group at 10:00am

10:01 am  Facebook Live set up and ready to go.  Wonder why no one joining me.  Realise bloody internet connection has dropped again.  Move to another room and go live again.  Joy!  Connection!  Had forgotten to shut door properly though and hound in the shape of a rather large and boisterous Labrador comes bounding in and knocks the camera over.

Camera retrieved, apologies made and broadcast continues.  Somewhere amongst chasing dog out, cat has managed to sneak in with another bloody mouse (or is it the same one).  This one is looking very much worse for wear so is probably the original one whose heart has now given up.  Try to continue broadcasting whilst hoping no one else can hear the crunching of bones coming from the corner of the room and trying not to be distracted by the mess I was going to have to clean up.

10:30 am  Look back on broadcast recording and cringe.  Time for another cuppa.

10:45 am Right then.  Back to work with a vengeance.  Dog starts going crazy and jumping at door.  Delivery man has arrived with parcel for son.  I do believe my son has shares in ASOS the number of deliveries he gets each day.  Dog jumps at delivery man and knocks scanner out of his hand.  Dog picks scanner up off floor before either delivery driver or I can grab it and runs off around the front garden with it.

11:00am Second game of chase over for the day.  Back to work.  Better just quickly check in on Facebook first to make sure I’m not missing any life changing event.

11:50am Abruptly alerted from my Facebook antics by phone ringing.  Answer the phone and it is my elderly mother.  She has cut her leg and needs to get the doctor immediately before she bleeds to death.  Oh shit!!  Rush off to her house which is luckily not too far away (or unluckily I sometimes think), to find a small cut and small dribble of blood!  Take her to doctor.  Wait for 45 minutes for her to be seen.  Eventually she has sutures and dressing and I take her home.  Dropped her off at her home and told her I couldn’t hang around as had work to do.  She said she understood and then started to reel off a few jobs she would like me to do when I ever had the chance as I was always so busy.  Guilt trip on its way!!!

12:30pm  Back at home and back to work.  Just sit down and doorbell rings.  Get up and it the man to read the meters.  Total chaos ensues as crazy dog runs off to grab ball and proceeds to keep dropping it on poor man’s feet to try and get him to play.  Realise gas meter is in the room I moved to when doing Facebook live broadcast and remains of mouse haven’t been cleaned up yet.  Oh, the embarrassment!

12:40pm Meter man gets out of house eventually and mouse innards cleaned away.  Back to work.  Oh, but hang on.  It’s nearly lunch time.  Might as well eat first.

1pm Quick lunch eaten.  A not too healthy snack of a half-eaten pasty found at the back of the fridge.  I promise myself to go shopping later and pre-prepare some healthy food for the rest of the week.

Back to work.  Oh, but wait!  I haven’t been on Facebook for at least an hour.  I had better check in again.

1:45pm Phone goes.  An emergency!  Apparently, my computer has a virus and this has been picked up by the wonderful people in an Indian call centre who work for Microsoft and they are going to talk me through how to fix it.  Aren’t they kind?  I should have just hung up but couldn’t resist the urge to string them along and confuse the hell out of them.  Another 10 minutes wasted.

1:55pm I really am going to knuckle down now and get this work done.  Dog starts bouncing around like Bambi on speed!  I am never going to get any peace if I don’t take her for a walk.  Let’s just get it over and done with.

2:30pm Short and sweet dog walk done.  Back home.  Phone rings.  Now someone is concerned that I have had a recent car accident and if I just give them my bank details and inside leg measurement they will get me compensation.

2:35pm  That reminds me, I haven’t checked my bank statement this week.  Go online to check.  It will only take 2 minutes.  Hang on!  What’s that transaction?  And that one?  Bloody hell!  Bank account has been hacked.  This is an emergency.  Everything else on hold.

4pm Fraud team at bank trying to sort things out.  Nerves frayed.  Card cancelled.  Think I need a G&T!  Better stick to a cuppa though.  Phone goes.  It’s mother again.  When did I say I would be available to do those odd jobs for her?  She had forgotten.  Maybe by Christmas at this rate!

4:15pm  Damn, haven’t started anything for dinner and hubby and son due home at 5:30pm.  Quick dash to shop to get something for dinner and to get healthy foods for lunches.

The place is packed!  How can I get out of here as quickly as possible?  Right in front of me is a special offer on Fray Bentos pies.  I haven’t seen, let alone eaten, one of those for at least 20 years.  (if you don’t know or have forgotten, these are the steaks pies cooked in a tin).  It would be quick and easy and a blast from the past so I grab a couple and head to the checkout which has a short queue.  The big shop can wait until tomorrow.

4:45pm  Home again.  Will cook dinner and work this evening.  Go to take top of tin off to cook the pie.  Apply tin opener to tin and nothing happens.  Try again.  Still no success.  What the hell is going on?  Son arrives home early at 5pm.  Ask him to try to open tin.  He has a go.  No success.  Maybe it the new-fangled tin opener we have.  Pop over to neighbour and borrow theirs.  Bring it back and try again.  No joy.  Son puts extra pressure on neighbour’s tin opener and promptly breaks it.

5:30pm  Husband arrives home and wonders what on earth is going on.  Son and I now have one pie tin each and are trying our best to work out how to open them.  Tool box is on worktop with every contraption going out and in use.  Still no joy!  Go on to Fray Bentos Facebook page.  LOADS of complaints as apparently, you need a specific type of tin opener to open the tins!!  WTF!!

Sod it.  I’m getting a take out.

7pm  Take out purchased, eaten and dishes washed etc.  Must sit down and get some bloody work done!  Hang on, have to take neighbours somewhat looking worse for wear tin opener back and explain.  Oh, the embarrassment!  Took bottle of wine to apologise and promised to get replacement tomorrow.  Neighbour quite chilled, found the whole episode quite funny and invited me to join in drinking the wine.  Oh well, it would be rude not to.

8:30pm Back home.  Can I squeeze in an hour of work?  Yes, I really must do something productive today if only for a short while.  Oh but hang on, what have I missed on Facebook!!!  Having withdrawal symptons.  Better go check quickly.  Just for 5 minutes I promise.

8:55pm  Bloody hell!  Been on Facebook too long again.  Turn it off and determined to get just one task done.

9pm  Husband shouts to me.  Have I forgotten the Walking Dead is starting now?  Hurry up and get downstairs.  AAARRGGHHHH.  I simply can’t miss it.  It’s the first episode of the new series.

10pm  Far too traumatised by watching The Walking Dead to even contemplate doing any work now.

Tomorrow is another day ………..

The secrets to a successful home business

The secrets to a successful home business

10 top tips for running a home business

Running a home business has a whole set of challenges of its own.  You are solely responsible for being disciplined in your work and not drifting off to do a spot of housework or accepting friends in for coffee who turn up on your doorstep.

If you are running a home business, here are my top 10 tips to help make the difference between treating your business in a professional manner in order for it to be successful, or letting it slip into the realms of an expensive hobby.

1. Create a separate workspace

Make sure that you have a separate home office or area for working so that you can keep all your paperwork and work related items in one place.  This helps to shut off at the end of the work day rather than having bits and pieces all over the place. It is important to let other household members know that this is your sacred space and not to be interfered with on pain of death!!

2. Get organized

The amount of time it takes to get organised in the first place will repay itself tenfold (or much more) further down the line.  Get files and organise a filing system for your workspace.  Clear away non-essential items that are causing unnecessary clutter.  Make sure you have all the necessary items for doing your work close to hand to save time hunting in the back of cupboards and drawers.  Treat your workspace with the importance it deserves.  Remember, you are running a business, not a hobby.

3. Define your working hours

One of the biggest failings of women running a home business is not setting working hours.  This results in either working a straight 15 (or more) hours with no break or working intermittently and fitting in household chores between work tasks that distract and disrupt the workflow.  Firstly, determine when you are most productive and then at what times you need to be available to clients.  Decide how many hours you are going to work each day and stick to this!

Running your own business from home gives you the flexibility to decide when you are going to work and it doesn’t have to be all in one chunk like a traditional 9 to 5 job.  You may want to do a few hours in the morning, take the afternoons off and then do a few more hours in the evening.  Having some sort of structure to your day can make you much more productive than just working on an ad hoc basis.

4. Have a support network

Constantly talking to yourself and losing your grip with what is going on in the outside world is all too easy when working from home which can easily lead to losing your motivation.  Make sure you remove yourself from your home once in a while to network with others to make new contacts, pick up new ideas and realise you are not alone.

5. Get into a routine

Having a routine and putting some structure into your day can make you so much more productive.  Create a monthly, weekly and daily routine where possible.  Block outset days/hours for marketing, admin, checking the finances, networking, calling new prospects etc.   Have set hours for checking emails and social media so that you don’t keep dipping in and out constantly which will take up far more time in the long run and keep distracting you from your key work.

6. Plan your work

The old adage goes ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’ and this is so true when running a home business.  If you just get up each morning with no clear plan of what you intend to do for the day, you are likely to dip in and out of different tasks with no clear direction and end up not getting a lot actually completed.

At the end of each day set out your three priority tasks for the next day.  Make sure one of these is a key task that is going to take you, at least, one step closer to your end goal.  When you complete these three key tasks, you can then move on to a more fun task that you love doing but isn’t high on the priority list.  Working this way will help keep you motivated to complete the necessary tasks first with the reward of doing something more fun at the end.

If you find that you are not completing your three key tasks, move any unfinished item over to the next day and put a red dot next to it. If it doesn’t get completed on day 2, move it forward and add another red dot against it.  If you get to any item with three red dots you have to stop everything you are doing and either just do it, delegate it to someone else who can do it or delete it as it simply cannot be that important.

7. Take time out

Working from home can become all-consuming and we forget to take time out to recharge and refresh ourselves.  We keep trying to squeeze in just a bit more work and then a bit more which leaves us frazzled, irritable and resentful.  Schedule regular breaks from your workspace to do something non-work related such as going for a walk, reading a book or going out to lunch with a friend.  As they say, ‘a change is as good as a rest’.

8. Schedule family time

A danger of running a business from home is starting to neglect your family.  Just because you are at home and they can see you, doesn’t mean that you are spending time with them if you are constantly working.  Make sure you set out your working hours and allocate time out each week to focus purely on the family.  No taking calls or dipping into emails.  What is the point of working so hard if you can’t have some quality time with the ones you love?

9. Set expectations with family

When running a home business, it really can become a struggle balancing your business with having family around.  To help ease frustrations, set expectations with your family.  Set yourself specific working hours and let your family know that during these hours you will be working.

If you work from a separate room let them know that if the door is closed, you are not to be disturbed unless in an emergency.  Also, extend this to friends so they know they cannot just pop in for a coffee and a chat when they feel like it.  You need to be able to communicate with friends and family so they understand that just because you work from home does not make your work any less important than if you were out working for a large corporation.

10. Have fun!

It is all too easy to get so caught up in the nitty-gritty of our business that we start to lose the passion and forget the fun we had in starting up.  Recapture the passion and love for your business by taking some time to have fun.  This is both by booking time out and also looking for ways to have fun in your business day.  If you can start to enjoy it again, you gain more energy and the creative juices start to flow once again.

 

Follow these tips for running your home business and if you have any tips of your own, please share them in the comments box below.

Starting a home business

Starting a home business

Here we are with Easter holidays upon us once again and the children at home.

For working women, this can be a time of both joy and stress.  I remember only too well the joy of having my children around and going on days out combined with not having to do the packed lunches, school run etc.  But I also remember the incredible stress of having to organise childcare for the days I could not take off, the feeling of guilt of still having to work and the feeling of disapproval for requesting time off with my children or to finish work early.

Do you dream of starting a home business?

So many other women feel the same and this can lead them to starting to think about starting their own home based business.  They long for starting a home business which can be flexible enough to be run and organised around their family commitments and still provide them with a regular monthly income.

In a recent report to coincide with International Women’s Day, James Pattison, CEO of Startup Direct, said:

“A growing number of women are disillusioned by the difficulties of combining family life with a traditional 9 to 5 job, not least the inflexible hours, lack of well paid part time work and the cost of childcare, which continues to spiral.

The internet has made it easier than ever to start up a business from home and women are drawn to the prospect of being their own boss, choosing their hours and cutting childcare bills by working flexibly around family life.”

Unfortunately, too many women thinking of starting a home business start to worry about what they will do, if they are good enough, what they have to do to start up and how they will manage initially until the business is fully up and running and providing a secure income.

But there are many options out there now and it is far easier to start up a home based business today than ever before.  There are many simple ways to make money working from home that can be started at little expense.  You also don’t need to immediately hand in your notice in order to start up as many businesses can initially be run alongside a full time job.  Yes, it will take time and organisation but then, as a working mother, you will already be an expert in this field.

There is more and more support out there today for women wanting to start in business and your local business support organisation should be able to point you in the right direction.  There are also many online options available such as The Small Business Kit which can provide you with everything you need to start, run and grow your business.

As your business starts to build, you can then think about reducing hours and working part time until you are in a position for the business to fully support you financially.

The hardest part is usually the first step.  It can be as simple as having the confidence to test out your ideas or to actually ask for money in return for something you already do as a hobby.  It can be writing that first blog and the fear of putting yourself out there into the public domain.

But be brave.  Get someone to confide in with your ideas and who will give you realistic advice (not friends and family who will sugar coat everything for you, or adversely, tell you it will never work).  Look for someone who has been there and done it before and got the tee shirt (and bruises) to show for it!

So don’t sit wishing and wondering what if.  Take those initial thoughts and start to put them into action.  In ten years’ time, you will wish you had started today.

If you are thinking of starting a home business and would like unbiased advice, support and a helping hand, join The Small Business Kit now and start your journey to success.