Small Business Support Blog

If you are interested in reading about how to get your business visible online, with regular insights into being an entrepreneur and navigating your way through the business world, then this blog is for you!

We regularly post interesting articles on topics on leadership, management and visibility - with guest articles and features from experts in their field.

If you are interested in collaborating and would like to do a guest feature then please email [email protected] 

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  1. Guest blog - Your wellbeing is your superweapon.

    wellbeing

     A guest feature from Laura Bland, Fitness Coach and Nutritional Advisor, founder of Laura B Fitness

    Selfcare for busy entrepreneurs - who have to manage everything

    As a business owner you probably wear lots of different hats on a weekly or even daily basis. One minute you might be creating content, the next you’re sending out invoices, then you’re designing new products and after that you’re ordering supplies and then maybe it’s back to mum life and your doing the school run pre-lockdown, and now add in trying to do some form of home schooling!! It’s a busy world and we’re all running around at a hundred miles an hour trying to get everything done, and when I say everything, I mean literally everything!

    So, the question is with the current fast pace that we are all moving at, even during lock down, when do we take time out for ourselves? Is it important to take time out for ourselves? Do you still feel like selfcare is being selfish? Does the idea of shutting everything down for a few hours bring you out in a sweat because you’re worried about missing out on something or letting a customer down? Or do you feel like you simply don’t have the time to put some focus on yourself because there is just too much to do?

    In this post we will talk about:

    • The importance of self care as an entrepreneur and HUMAN BEING
    • Types of self care you can do that won't break the bank
    • Ways to stay healthy in the chaos
    • Tips on getting active

    Selfcare and your wellbeing are vitally important

    I’m sure you’ve heard it before but selfcare really is something that you should invest in, and when I say invest that doesn’t mean you have to be spending money. Investing in your own health, fitness and mental wellbeing starts simply by making the decision to put yourself first more often.

    An act of selfcare can be any of the following:

    • Sitting in quiet for 5 minutes and simply focusing on your own breath
    • Putting your phone/tablet/laptop to one side for 5 minutes to really enjoy a cuppa
    • Putting on a face mask and watching your favourite movie
    • Cooking, or even better getting your other half to cook your favourite meal
    • Having a long soak in a nice bath
    • Turn off all your gadgets and read a good book
    • Paint your own nails, do your hair, get some makeup on – even if you can’t go anywhere
    • Thank yourself for being incredible because I can promise you that you are
    • Get some exercise and get your heart pumping
    • If you want to then go ahead and eat that bar of chocolate and do it guilt free

    Finding joy in what you enjoy

    Self care is just about doing something for you that you enjoy, it doesn’t have to be something that you spend hours at a time doing, it doesn’t have to be something you do alone and it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. We’re all different in our likes and dislikes so it stands to reason that selfcare will also be different. I have a friend that loves nothing more than a trip to the nail bar to get a manicure and her nails done, that doesn’t interest me though so I don’t invest my time, energy or money in doing it – in fact I think I’ve only had my nails done twice in my entire life.

     laura b

    For me, self-care and “me” time means getting a workout done, that’s why I get up around 5am most mornings, which I know a lot of people think is crazy! I like to be up early so that I can enjoy a bit peace and quiet and just be focussed on myself. Then I head to our garage which is now our home gym and I spend around 30 minutes getting in a workout, raising my heart rate, getting sweaty and generally setting myself up for a good day.

    Now I know that not everyone is an early bird like me, I also know that we all have different pulls on our time. Maybe getting up early is the last thing on your mind after a late night of business activity or having to get up to the kids two or three times in the night.

    So if that’s the case, if you are constantly busy and on the go or if sleep has become a precious commodity that you don’t get anywhere near enough of then you need to keep reading because self-care and looking after you physical and mental health just became even more important.

    From recognising how difficult it is for people to stay on track with their health, wellness and fitness, I was really proud last year to publish my first ever fitness planner. It is designed to help women unleash their inner super powers, and help people to get some structure into their routines and to help keep wellbeing on the agenda.

     Taking care of yourself helps you to be able to take care of others

    How can you expect to take care of everyone else and keep your business and your house running if you aren’t taking care of yourself? If you don’t put fuel in your car it eventually stops working, if you don’t get your car serviced it eventually breaks down. Your body and your mind are no different they need to be nourished and they need to be looked after.

    Here are a few simple tips for all you crazy busy people:

    1. Drink plenty of water. When you start to get dehydrated you get tired, your energy levels drop, your memory starts to falter, you get become grouchy and you may start to suffer with headaches. Keep sipping water throughout the day – make it a priority.
    2. Eat. Yes, that’s right, eat some actual food. Try to create some regular mealtimes and don’t skip them too often because you’re “too busy”. Eating at regular times is good for the body, it knows what to expect and when.
    3. Move. If you’re often desk bound, then think about setting a timer for every thirty minutes and just take a two-minute walk around you home/office. Getting up from your desk on a regular basis will help with your posture, you can even tie it in with point one and go grab a drink of water.
    4. Self care. Set aside one block of time each week, whether that’s five minutes or five hours to do something for you that you will enjoy. Make sure you do this with no feelings of guilt, schedule it in your diary like any other appointment so that you don’t miss it.
    5. Get active on a bigger scale. It’s super easy to get in a good workout at home without a single piece of equipment – ok you might want a pair of trainers and a good sports bra but otherwise nothing needed. Do 10 of reps of each of the following moves and try to run through the routine 2-3 times for a great mini workout at home.
      1. Narrow squats
      2. Sumo squats
      3. Lunges – both legs
      4. Frog jumps
      5. X-Jumps
      6. Push ups
      7. Crunches

     laurab2

    For more tips on staying active and looking after your health and wellness you can head over to my website www.laurab-fitnessmentor.com

  2. Guest Blog - My business journey - pursuing my passion for artisan handcrafted jewellery

    AngeB on blk_79

     

     

    A guest blog on the journey to pursuing your passion from Angela Benjamin, founder of AngeB Designs - designer and creator of stunning artisan jewellery.

    Creativity has always been my passion...

    As a child, I was always making things and made my first ‘handbag’ at the age of 6! I studied science A levels whilst also attending A level art classes but in those days only 3 A ‘s were allowed and my parents wanted me do “something medical”, so sadly art was dropped and I ended up studying physiotherapy.

    After 6 years working in the NHS, I left London and moved to Scotland for a year, to study for a Master’s degree in Sports Medicine at Glasgow University. My plan then was to return to London and maybe work for a sports team or sports shoe company but I found myself working in a small private Hospital, where after 4 years I became head of the physiotherapy department.
    I really enjoy being a physiotherapist, the interaction with patients and making a difference in their health and ultimately their lives can be really gratifying but I would never say my job was my passion. I still had this longing to be a maker.

    Taking a break made me take the plunge...

    In 2009, after a brief sabbatical where I worked in Tanzania in an orphanage school for two months, I came home with a ‘now or never’ attitude. I decided to take the leap and after doing a BTEC in Art & Design at a local college, got a place at Chelsea Art School in London, where I studied part-time (whilst still working full-time as a physiotherapist) for a foundation diploma. The plan was to go back to university and do a degree in Architecture - something I’d always dreamt of doing. Being at art school was an amazing experience, despite being at least 20 years older than the majority of my class mates!


    I think hanging out with ‘the kids’ as I called them, helped me tap into a more fearless, more carefree way of thinking. However, the potential cost of a further seven years of study combined with trying to pay a mortgage meant that my dream career was not a realistic goal at that stage in my life. I was lucky enough to have some very encouraging art school tutors, who saw how much I loved design and 3-D making. They
    recommended I pursued other avenues to satisfy my creative bug and assured me that I didn’t need a degree to be a maker.

    You don't need all the qualifications to pursue your dream if you have talent.. 

    After enrolling in a local adult education jewellery course and making my first silver ring, I was hooked! I immediately bought some basic pieces of equipment, so that I could continue making at home. I initially made jewellery for myself and when I started to get compliments from friends and family, I gave pieces away. Pretty soon I had more rings than I could wear and a friend suggested that I tried selling at a local market. Although I didn’t sell very much at my first market, I got some great feedback and discovered that just like in my ‘day job’ I enjoyed the interaction with my customers.

    AngeB on grey_107

    In 2016, another friend told me about Etsy, very kindly designed my brand logo and in true Ange-style, I jumped in with both feet! Before I knew it, I was listing my jewellery and making my own packaging. I can still remember the excitement of my first sale - it was one of my statement rings ( still a best seller) which was bought by a lady in the USA. I was amazed that someone on the other side of the world wanted to buy something I’d made, without even trying it on!

    I continued to sell locally at art markets and it was through one such event that I was lucky enough to meet a buyer for Brand Academy, a gift shop based in the OXO Tower on London’s Southbank. They wanted to stock a small selection of my work. This has been a great outlet, as it’s given my work exposure to a wider market. An example of this, was a lovely lady who was visiting London from Ireland and bought a couple of items of my jewellery from Brand Academy. A few months later, she then contacted me via my Facebook page to say she’d seen another ring in the shop that she also wanted to purchase.

    I was heading to the store to drop off new stock so was able to pick up the ring and post it to her, but it was that situation that prompted me to launch my own website.

    The next stage - websites and online visibility...

    It’s been two years since I opened my self-built website and it’s slowly taking traction. It’s been a massive learning curve from where I started with my Etsy shop. There is so much more I need to know about the back-end of online selling but I feel I have more autonomy with my own site. In April of last year, I took a massive step for my business and started running my own one-to-one jewellery making classes from my little garden workshop. I don’t have a teaching qualification, so ‘imposter syndrome’ has been something else to battle with but I’m loving this new side to my little business and I’m looking forward to expanding my classes to teaching small group sessions later on this year.

    AngeB on figure_319 2


    I still work four days a week as a self-employed physiotherapist, which involves early morning and late evening clinics, as well as home visits. I make jewellery and do the admin side of my business wherever I can find time. Outside of the actual making process, I try to dedicate an hour a day to admin tasks e.g social media, SEO, stock management etc.


    Since joining the SEO Facebook group in December of 2019, not only has my knowledge of managing an online business grown, but I’ve also see a massive increase in visitors to my website, had an increase in bookings for my workshops and even had interest from an independent boutique regarding stocking my jewellery!


    I’m reasonably organised so I rarely get too stressed and although there are ups and downs to running a small business alongside another job, I’m enjoying the journey and excited to see where my business will be in the next year!

    ...........

    You can view and purchase Ange's work by visiting her website www.angebdesigns.com