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] 

 RSS Feed

Category: Leadership & Management

  1. Guest Blog - My Business Journey. Pursuing my passion for artisan handcrafted jewellery

    Posted on

    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

  2. Guest Blog - Resilience - Why it is so important right now

    Posted on

    Female Entrepreneurs - Why we need to be more resilient than ever right now...

     female entrepreneur resilience

    A guest blog on being resilient during testing times from Shelley Bosworth, founder of Shelley Bosworth Coaching - life coach to the stressed out female leader looking for clarity and precision over priorities and unlocking that confident mindset.

     

    Life is full of ups and downs, we all know that, and never has that been more true, than right now.

    Although it may appear that many around us have got their s*** totally sorted if get too absorbed in Insta and FB, we also know deep down that’s not really true and that nobody is perfect, and nobody lives the perfect life!

    If you really want to be ok, in fact more than ok, then you have to learn to make the most of the ups, and try not to let the downs literally drag you down.  Our ability to bounce back, to step up after transition or a difficult situation is literally the tipping point between living an enjoyable and meaningful life or a troublesome and frustrating one. So, given all we are facing around us here and now, the tipping point of our lives for many, how do you respond? Now is when we are realising just how resilient we are?

    Resilience is simply the ability to readjust to a situation and move forward again.

    We are not born with resilience, but we can learn. We can do things and take actions consistently, to become more resilient and we will become better able to cope with life’s setbacks and we’ll almost definitely increase our confidence and self-belief along the way.

    Now you might be thinking, right now I just need to survive!

    Yes, you probably do … you need your business to survive, you need to come out the other side …. But to be ready for the other side you need to work on your resilience now. Or where will you be when we get through this? Because we will peeps we just don’t know when?

    Now is the time to show up for you...

    So how resilient are you in a crisis?

    Take a look at these five considerations to help you find clarity over your own resilience:

    1. Response & Reaction

    When something initially begins to trouble you, how do you respond?

    Are you a bury your head in the sand kinda gal, do you pretend it isn’t happening?

    Or do you tackle things head on and promptly? Do you assess the situation, consider solutions, choose a solution and get on with it?

    Resilient people will accept the situation and get problem solving.

    They’re the ones who have a new plan, a new idea … the bounce backers, the give it a goers …. The ones who take the approach there is always a solution we just don’t know what it is yet?

    Guess what the quicker you think of solutions the less stress and anxiety from thinking about the problem itself too.

    2. How do you think about past events?

    When it comes to what’s already happened you have a choice.

    You can try to forget, pretend it never happened, or you can take responsibility for a situation and think about the lessons you learn from it.

    Learning from our mistakes is one of the best ways to move forward. Learning from our mistakes helps us to avoid making the same mistakes again, but so much more important is allowing ourselves to recognise that things may not have been as bad as we thought, or even better that something actually went well  

    Trying to forget your past mistakes actually robs you of vital energy, it’s harder work than learning because you’re trying to tell your brain a lie – that it didn’t happen!

    Resilient people focus their energies on lessons and skills learned from past experiences whatever the experience was, try it!

    3. What’s your daily routine?

    Do you consider every day an opportunity to do something new, or do you find entire days go by where you are overcome by negativity and you achieve nothing of any note?

    This doesn’t have to be big! In fact, start small.

    If you achieve something every day that is important to you, whether that’s a phone call to a loved one or a little stretch in your workout, it’s about achieving something.

    Achieving something small but important EVERY day, will boost your self-esteem, and you will genuinely naturally over time become more resilient. 

    4. How is your support network?

    FACT: You will not succeed in this life alone.

    It’s a common myth that resilience is about being able to handle it all alone! WRONG!

    We were not meant to be alone.

    Do you have plenty of friends and family you can call on if you need something?

    Resilient people build a network around them, they know who to go to for what, they know they can turn to someone and they are not afraid to – that’s strength!

    WE need each other more than we ever have right now, communities are coming together, supporting one another, lifting each other up … are you?

    Now I should say here it’s important not to just burden friends and family with the crap bits, include them in the good stuff too! That’s how you build really supportive relationships

    5. Look after and love yourself

    I don’t mean let’s get all hippy! If any of you have ever met me, you will know I simply mean you have to look after yourself

    If you do not realise that you have to look after yourself in order to be able to look after anyone else, then start there

    Have you ever thought about how every time we fly (I know this may seem insensitive at the moments but one day we will all holiday again!!!) flight attendants inform us “Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.

    What about the children, what about the elderly bloke beside me who looks like he’ll struggle to reach? I’ve got to help others, I’ll never forgive myself if ….

    If what? You are no use to anyone if you are running on empty people

    We all need to look after ourselves, we need all our strength.

    When you take care of your own needs you will be more resilient when a challenge or crisis knocks on the door. Your health and well-being matters and if you get that right you will be able to handle and face hardship, be it emotional or physical

    It would be lovely to think that everything in life is plain sailing, but we know that’s not true! Everything cannot go right all of the time!

    And boy don’t we know that right now?

    Challenges will continue to come along, changes will happen, crisis will occur, if we are not resilient it will take us so much longer to come back from these tough times. 

    Being resilient will not remove the tough times, I know that! But it can reduce the damage the tough times cause and enable you to get back on your feet quicker

    What can you do today to help you become more resilient?

     

    Shelley Bosworth Coaching

     

    Shelley Bosworth is a qualified Life & Mindset Coach who supports female professionals and business owners, when life gets out of control and they need a guiding hand to put themselves back on their list

    She is straight talking, honest and fun and will help you challenge your own mindset to believe you CAN be, do or have anything you wish for.