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Are you getting back into work mode?

Getting back to work mode
Photo by ThisIsEngineering from Pexels

Like a lot of you, I’m a Mum who has had her kids at home for the last couple of months. The last period of home school (if you can really call it that) taught me a lot. It meant that I felt a bit more prepared for the day-to-day reality. I’m not going to say that it was easy, because it wasn’t. There were a whole lot of days where the kids cried and I joined in. Sometimes it was even the other way round. Or I cried and they wandered off to play because they hate handwriting practice and geography is some form of torture. We got through it. What’s surprised me is how much I’m struggling with the back to school bit. Not because I don’t think they should be there, I do. It’s just been different and that’s what’s inspired this blog. If any of this resonates (or if you’ve got any advice) please leave a comment and let me know.

The schedule shift

Home learning meant that my working day started at 3.30ish and had shrunk down to a couple of hours. I thought that shifting back to my previous work pattern would be easy. The start of the day was fine. I made a cup of tea and turned on my laptop as I always have. That wasn’t the issue. It was the afternoons. A full working day suddenly felt too much. It was as if my brain had turned into a sulky teenager. I couldn’t work out why it had been easy to readjust last time but not now. Then it clicked.

I’ve been thrown in at the deep end

Last time the kids went back to school it was much more gradual. The phased return that applied to younger kids first meant that my youngest was the only one who went back before the summer holidays. It wasn’t an all or nothing situation where everything had gone back to normal. Then the summer holidays started as usual. By the time that school fully reopened for the Autumn term, it felt more like normal school. Somehow it meant that I could get back to work more easily. It made the difference between then and now so much harder to understand.

Procrastination

The strange this about this return to school is the sense of anticipation that came with it. I kept hearing that this would be it. There was no way they’d close the schools again (although I heard plenty of muttering to the contrary). It was a sign that life was getting back to normal. I don’t know why, but I felt as if I’d be able to leap back into work and everything would be as it was before. It wasn’t. Having shorter day had focused my mind. A full day found me procrastinating, unable to decide what needed to happen first.

How I’m dealing with it

I wish I could tell you that I’m back to full strength and have turned into a goal hitting dynamo. I haven’t. As I write this, I’ve just completed a bit of planning that would normally have taken me an hour. My lack of focus turned it into three afternoons of dragging myself back to my notebook. I’m getting there though. There’s a plan and my priorities are putting themselves into order. I’m gradually building my work muscles back up (just in time for the Easter holidays!). Plus, if I need a break, I take one. Even if it means a two-hour lunch break.

Are you getting back into work mode? How’s it going? Let me know in the comments!

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Why you need a Lasting Power of Attorney

Guest blog on Lasting Power of Attorney - Westcotes Wills

I listened to Money Box on Radio 4 last week and they were talking about lasting power of attorney documents.  Professionally I draft these documents (along with wills) so I know how invaluable these can be.  What struck me the most was the lack of publicity power of attorney documents get compared to a will. They are just as important and for many people even more so than a will! So, this year I am making it my mission to spread the word.    

Why should lasting power of attorney documents matter to me?

One family had to raise money through crowdfunding to a pay their mum’s day to day household bills as they couldn’t access her bank account.  Their mum wasn’t old, she was in her 50’s.  I am in my early 40’s now and 50 doesn’t seem so old as is once did.  It was utterly heart-breaking listening to the lady speak about her situation.  It also got me thinking back to one of my former colleagues, who in their mid-twenties seriously injured himself from diving into a shallow swimming pool whilst on holiday. He was in hospital and rehab for a long time.  It took his family over 10 months to be able to manage his finances.  Is this what you would want for your family?

You are never too young for a lasting power of attorney!

I don’t think any of us feel we would need a power of attorney in our 20’s, 30’s or 40’s.  But people do, accident and illness happen.  Rent, mortgages and household bills must be paid whether you live in on your own or you’re in a shared household with friends or family. 

It will be ok, my family can help me. 

No, if you become ill or unable to manage your own affairs the banks and building societies first duty is to protect the vulnerable person.  Joint and single name accounts can and will be frozen. 

Just because you live with someone, or are related to someone, or have a joint account with someone does not give you the legal right to manage their finances.  The journalist and GMB presenter Kate Garroway has spoken about the difficulties she has had with her family finances in the last year.  Her husband is still seriously ill in hospital with the after effects of COVID-19.  She had no power of attorney in place.  I am not sure she will have had her deputy order through yet either!  

It’s ok they can just apply for a Deputy Order if they need to.

Yes, families can apply to the courts for a deputy order to manage a loved one’s finances but it is more expensive (more than double and have on going costs), time consuming (9 to 12 months +) and stressful (4 forms not 1).   

Deputy orders are not as flexible as a power of attorney and often a deputy will have to re-apply to the court to carry out a particular course of action (e.g. house sale) where as an attorney can just get on with managing the finances and assets without having the extra cost and hassle.  A deputy must pay recurring fees for ongoing supervision, where as an attorney doesn’t.  The cost of all these fees come from the finances of the person they are supporting. 

It’s easy to put off because you think it might be hard or you just don’t know where to start.  There are a lot of good resources available on the internet and the government website www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney is a great starting point.  You can draft the documents yourself or if you don’t have the time, energy or inclination there are people like myself who do it on a professional basis. 

If you have a question no matter how small on this then give me a call 07920 061946.    Let’s make sure it’s not your family having to crowdfund to keep the roof over their heads. 

Kirsty’s note

Rosie O’Hanlon-Hills is the owner of Westcotes Wills, helping to make life easier for you and your family by drafting wills and lasting power of attorney documents you can all understand.

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Where are you with your exercise goals?

Guest blog header introducing blog on health, fitness and exercise by Laura Jane Griffiths.

It’s that time of year again, the time of year where the guilt of what you eat and drink seems to hit twice as hard. Where the first day you swop to eating fresh fruits and vegetables and start to exercise – you feel like you are already onto a winning streak.

You set a new years resolution, a goal for 2021 – to make a change – get fit and healthy, drop a stone and exercise regularly.

Yet every year most people (not all) last until around the end of January, maybe the beginning of February, before it all falls by the wayside. Why? Read on and find out….

1: Why do people fail?

Two simple things – motivation and expectation! When people start exercising they talk about motivation “I’ve set a goal, I want to make a change, I feel so motivated”. The problem with motivation, it has a life span. Sometimes you can be motivated for a long time, other times it’s a short burst.  People try to keep up their motivation but with the constraints and pressures of everyday life it isn’t always possible. Combine this with setting unrealistic expectations (aka expecting immediate results) and you have a recipe for “giving up”.

What’s the first thing you should do this January? Be realistic with your goals and change the word motivation to discipline.

2: We change our lifestyle for the wrong reasons.

Everyone talks about exercise and fitness being a lifestyle change and it is, however we need to ensure we are doing this for the right reasons. Reasons not to – guilt, social expectation/ social media, others comments, because it’s that time of year? The reason you exercise has to come from within, it has to be because you see all of the benefits of it. It can’t be focused on weight loss and numbers on the scales (big mistake…I’ll explain why shortly). It has to be because you want to feel great, positive and energised FOR YOU. You have to want to build this discipline into your life in a way that works for you and makes you feel great.

3: Numbers on scales and good/bad food.

We are raised in a culture that puts TOO much focus on the numbers on the scales. These numbers can be the most demoralising thing you focus upon. Our weight can fluctuate every day – losing a lb can mean LITERALLY NOTHING. (Sorry to burst your bubble there). Picture the scene, you’re training everyday, feeling positive, energised – dare I say – motivated and then you step on the scales. You haven’t lost a 1lb in the last week. How do you feel? Rubbish. In one swoop you have mentally undone all of the hard work you have put in. Little do you know that on that particular week you hadn’t managed to drink enough water that week, or it’s that time of the month in your cycle…

So stop fixating on the scales instead start taking pictures, focusing on the changes you can see in your body, the strength and positivity you are feeling.

Get rid of good/bad food. FOOD IS FOOD. Every bite, mouthful you consume contains calories – our body’s fuel.  Change your mind-set and start to understand that fuel is what your body needs. So alleviate that Christmas guilt, you didn’t indulge in bad foods – you may have eaten more calories than you required but I bet you had a great time! To lose weight you just need to eat fewer calories than you are burning. Simple. Don’t starve yourself, don’t deny yourself – just become mindful of what volume of food you require – your optimum calorie intake.

4: The first steps to making sustainable change.

If you try to take on too much at once you will ultimately overwhelm yourself. Make one small change at a time and ensure it fits into your lifestyle in a sustainable way.  My recommendation is find an exercise regime that is bite sized to begin with. Something you get a quick win from and that makes you feel good. I run At Home HIIT, it live streams workouts to you everyday that last just twenty minutes but are extremely effective and challenging – get that win in early!

5: Set realistic goals and remember every workout is a win!

Whatever change you are making set your goal and be disciplined enough to complete it. That is your goal. Don’t focus on weight and numbers focus on how amazing your body is that it can support you everyday through exercise AND LIFE. Focus on how positive it makes you feel, the benefits to you mental health and well-being.  This is how you will succeed.

Don’t forget to make it fun, reflect of how brilliant you are everyday and use this to maintain that, ever important, discipline.

Have a great 2021.

Laura

Kirsty’s note

If you need support with your health and fitness goals you can find Laura online here or on Facebook where she runs an awesome community with workouts you can access online and do anywhere. (OK maybe not anywhere – you do have to get out of bed!)

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Do you share your values in your marketing?

Woman smiling at phone. Sharing values in marketing.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Marketing (and especially the selling part of marketing) can make a lot of us feel deeply icky. We know we need to sell stuff to make a living but the idea of giving anyone the hard sell just feels wrong. There are lots of solutions to this. One is acknowledging that you’re offering your customers something they want or need and you aren’t forcing them to buy anything. Good marketing is persuasive, not forceful. You show your customers how you can help them in a way that makes it easy for them to say yes. The thing is, a lot of the time they aren’t just saying yes to your product or service. They’re saying it to you. When you share your values in your marketing you help them to make a decision. Here’s how it works.

Why you need to share your values in your marketing

Every successful business shares its values in its marketing somewhere. Even Amazon. They could be about pricing, service or product quality. It all means that when you buy from them you know what you’re getting.

The same applies to small businesses, but there’s a bit more to it. A huge corporation needs overarching brand values because of the number of people involved. When the business is just you it can be more about your personal values. Sharing those means that your customers can recognise you as one of their people. It just makes you more relatable.

What are your values?

What do you stand for? You might think that most of us have the same values – truth, justice… wait, that’s Superman. The values that matter to your customers might be closely aligned with your personal views. Maybe you set up your business to create cruelty free cosmetics or environmentally friendly products. Share what sets you apart.

Sometimes values are intangible. Perhaps the things you stand for are more about how you treat people. Maybe you’re great at going above and beyond in your customer service or at keeping in touch with your customers. It can be more difficult to share that in your marketing but it’s worth doing.

Sharing your values regularly helps you build trust

This is related to the idea that sharing your values makes you relatable. That could prompt you to say ‘right, I’m going to go and write a mission statement on my website and a blog about my values.’ That’s fine, but it isn’t the whole picture.

Giving your customers a regular reminder that you stand for the things you say you do them to believe it. Testimonials are perfect for showing future customers that your promises are backed up by other happy clients and you don’t have to write them yourself.

It doesn’t have to be a mission statement

A mission statement can work brilliantly if it’s something your customers will like. It sets out your values clearly and it can be a great thing to look at if you’re wondering why you started this business in the first place. I’d recommend putting it on your about page so people learn about you and what you stand for at the same time. If you do go for it, remember that you still need to talk about your values in other places too.

Of course, you don’t have to write a mission statement if you don’t want to. If you think they’re pretentious your customers will too.

Need a website that shows customers what you stand for? Or a regular blog where you can share your values? Get in touch or sign up to my mailing list for hints and tips straight to your inbox every month.

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A copywriter’s letter to Santa

Santa reading a letter from a copywriter
Photo by Jill Wellington from Pexels

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes struggle to tell people what I really want for Christmas. Mostly because the things I want always sound so boring when they come out of my mouth. “Oh, you know – books, gin, new slippers.” Yes, I have reached the age where new slippers or a nice scarf are the perfect present. But what if we had to be creative and write a letter to Santa as adults? What would you actually ask for? I started writing a list then remembered I’m a copywriter. The impulse wouldn’t be to just write to Santa. It would have to be a sales pitch. So, with that in mind, read on for my list. Then find out how the copywriter in me would pitch it to the big guy…

What I really want for Christmas

  1. A day to myself
  2. A big pile of books
  3. A day out that the grown-ups will love as much as the kids

The copywriter’s letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

How are you? I know it must have been a tough year – did you have to put the elves on furlough for a while or were you able to stay open as an essential service? Hopefully it was the latter because we really need some extra Christmas cheer this year. I know you’re busy and the elves are working their fingers to the bone making all the toys so I’m keeping it simple. That way you can just scatter some of your magic dust in the direction of this copywriter and her family.

The thing is, I’ve been really good this year. In fact, my whole household has. That’s why I’m not just asking for things for myself. I’m thinking of them too. That’s why I really, really want a day to myself. Yes, you read that right. I don’t mind where it happens. Truth is, it’ll take me from a stressed out and, frankly, irritable Mum to a person who’s lovely to live with again. Won’t that be great for everyone?

While you’re in the mood to give me some time on my own, I’d really appreciate a big pile of books to go with it. I know there’s a teetering pile of unread paperbacks by my bed and I’ll get to those, I promise. It’s just that I’d really love to read something that someone else chose because they thought I’d enjoy it. I always think that books are a portal into someone else’s world. We could definitely do with a bit more of that at the moment. If everyone does the same maybe you won’t have to deliver to so many war zones in the Christmases yet to come.

One final thing. I don’t know what it’s like for you up there in the North Pole, but down here in Leicestershire life gets busy. We spend so much time juggling that we forget to have fun. Either that or we find ourselves having the same days out over and over again until everyone is bored and grumpy. I know you’re a big fan of keeping the Christmas spirit going all year so here’s how you can help. Find us a new day out that we’ll all love. That way, when you settle down for your long winter nap you’ll know that there’ll be peace on earth (at least, there will at my house).

Thanks for everything Santa (especially the time off, books and family fun). There’ll be a mince pie and a dram waiting for you at my house.

Happy Christmas,

Love Kirsty x

Would you like to create a new pitch for your audience? (Or even Santa.) Get in touch and let’s have a chat about how I can speak your customers’ language.

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How I learned to be honest with my clients

How I learned to speak out and be honest.
Photo by Andre Furtado from Pexels

Starting out in business is a huge adventure. I was so excited that I’d finally get to work on my own terms and write for a living. After a while I realised that, while things were going well, I felt as if I was wearing a mask that didn’t fit. When I was a lawyer I started working part time after my children were born and I did the same in my business. But somehow, the way I talked about my boundaries had changed. As a paid employee I had no issue with saying “I don’t work on Fridays” but somehow I couldn’t be that honest as a business owner. It was as if I had to deny that my children had any impact on my working life. I felt as if I wouldn’t be taken seriously if I was a part-timer. Here’s what changed things.

Realising that my clients were parents too

When I started my business I expected to work with people who’d appreciate the expertise I’d developed in my legal career. I understood how lawyers and insurers think and knew how to translate that into language their clients would understand. As it turned out, that isn’t what my clients have in common. I certainly work with people who work in insurance and law, as well as loads of other types of business. A lot of them are sole traders. Even more are parents and that’s how the penny dropped. They chose to work with me because I understand the juggle. My client calls typically start with a chat about the family before we get down to business. If a wheel falls off somewhere we both know we can be open and honest about it. It makes for much better relationships all round.

Needing to practice what I preach

The next thing I realised was that I was writing content telling people that they needed to be themselves in their marketing. Sometimes the thing that makes a new client choose you over someone else offering the same thing is, well, you. I once asked a client for some feedback to help me understand what they valued and what they thought my strengths were. In response to the strengths question they put “your personality – show more of it!”  That was ages ago but it’s stayed with me. I realised that while I’d relaxed a lot I was still afraid to show my full, slightly geeky, personality. It’s still a work in progress but I think I’m getting there. The main thing I learned was that I couldn’t ask my clients to come out of their shell if I didn’t do it myself.

Making honest connections

One of my favourite things about this job is learning new stuff. I’ve thought about focusing on one sector a few times but it never lasts. If you get a gathering of copywriters the conversation will often turn to the weirdest thing you’ve ever written about, or the most boring, or just the things you never expected to learn about.

Of course, when it comes to finding the right clients, that’s not the only important thing. I’ve wondered whether I needed to actively like my clients, but I don’t think I do. (Although it would be a problem if I really couldn’t stand them.) If I’m going to write in your voice, we need to have a rapport. That’s definitely not going to happen if we can’t be honest with each other about who we are and what’s happening in our lives.

Do you need some help telling an honest story in your marketing? Book a no-obligation call and let’s have a chat. Alternatively, you can sign up to my mailing list for hints and tips to your inbox every month.

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Why your website copy matters

Getting started writing website copy.
Image by Bongkarn Thanyakij via Pexels

Creating a website for your small business can be pretty daunting. If you’re doing it yourself you need to decide which platform to use and how to make it all look great. If you’re not, there are loads of different professionals out there who will build it for you, but which do you choose? Even businesses who employ web designers to create their site for them often decide to write the website copy themselves. After all, how hard can it be? Or how important is it really? Here’s why your website copy matters and why you need to get it right.

You need to talk to your ideal customers

When a new visitor lands on your site you have less than 15 seconds to show them they’re in the right place because you have what they need. That means it isn’t about you. It also means that you need to use language and images that speak directly to the kind of customer you can help. I know that small business owners are sometimes reluctant to do this. They worry that they’re excluding people. The truth is, if your website tries to talk to everyone you don’t hit the mark with anyone. When you’re specific about who your products and services are for you’ll get customers who love what you do and that you’ll enjoy working with.

You need to sound like you

Your website copy will work better if it’s in your voice. OK, maybe a polished version of your voice. Your personality might be the difference between a website visitor choosing you or someone else. The way you do this in practice depends on how you work. You might want to sound professional and approachable, completely down to earth or a total eccentric. It all depends on your brand and how you want to come across. It’s especially important if your service means they’ll deal with you one to one. If there’s a massive disconnect between how you come across on your website and the way you are in person you can lose the trust you’ve spent time building.

Using keywords well

I know we’ve all heard about SEO and the importance of targeting the right keywords so you get found in searches. The thing is, the way you use keywords in your writing is really important. There’s no point using all the right keywords to bring people to your website if the site itself is unreadable twaddle. There used to be a school of thought that website traffic was the only important thing. It resulted in lots of blog posts and website pages that made no sense. Thankfully, times have changed and Google now prioritises content that’s actually useful. Your website copy should include keywords but the most important thing is that it’s easy to read and helpful.

Focus on what’s important

As I said before, your website isn’t about you. It’s really about your customers. You might be incredibly excited about the new product or service you’ve created and want to tell everyone. That’s great, but you need to pause. Ask yourself what your customer will get out of this. What are the benefits? How will it help them go from having a problem to an easy life? Your copy needs to show them that. It needs to take their aspirations, values and beliefs about themselves and wrap it all up in one clear message. When you can do that, you show them that you understand them on a personal level. That’s what turns them into customers.

Does that sound complicated? If you need some help, get in touch. I can help you edit what you already have or write your website copy for you. Alternatively, sign up to my mailing list for handy hints and tips straight to your inbox every month.

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Why I’m thrilled we’re going back to school

A thrilled mum whose kids have gone back to school.

Lockdown has brought challenges for all of us. It’s made us more aware of what we actually need in our lives. Everyone’s experience is different. You might have struggled with isolation, or you could have the opposite problem. One of the strangest things for me, as someone who’s used to working at home on my own, was the sudden invasion of the rest of my family. In fact, I’m still sharing the office with my husband. The biggest challenge of all was home schooling. I’m not sure I can actually call it that if I’m being totally honest. I don’t know if my kids learned anything from me. It’s been a tough time and I’m absolutely thrilled that my two have gone back to school. This is why.

Mental health

The thought of schools closing sent me into a blind panic. My work relies on peace and quiet, especially when I’m getting into a new project. I made a plan of things I could do at the kitchen table while the kids got on with some work, thinking I could organise my way out of it.

I couldn’t.

The one thing I didn’t take into account was how much time I would spend supporting my anxious children. Sometimes they’d cry. Other times they’d just hide in their bedrooms or spend an hour and a half procrastinating over a five minute task. The truth is, they were sinking. Home and school don’t normally overlap this much. Home is a safe place where they get to play. It isn’t me handing out handwriting practice. My youngest went back to school for three weeks at the end of term and he was like a different child. Even though school was different, he thrived on regaining some sense of normality.

Mum guilt

Guilt is a familiar concept to pretty much any working mum. Everyone’s coped (or not) in their own way. I’ve spoken to plenty of business owners who have basically ignored their kids. School work generally depends on the child accessing what school have sent without much supervision. I felt as if I was doing a half-arsed job on everything.

Some of my friends talked about what a privilege it was having their children at home so they can teach them. That made me feel even worse. There have been some silver linings, but mainly I just wanted my happy, clever kids back. I couldn’t deal with my own thoughts and stresses about the situation. How do you support the people you love the most if you can’t even function yourself?

A functioning business

I’ve been lucky. We’re a self-employed household but my husband’s work has continued from home. We’ve had to make decisions based on finances but we’ve never been at risk of homelessness. There’s also the fact that lots of my clients went quiet just when I needed them to. The projects that they might have called me about were put on hold. It might have been a struggle financially, but at least it’s given me the time to focus on the things that really needed my attention.

Now the country’s opening up, I’ve started to get busier. There have been a few mornings where I’ve abandoned the kids to the TV. It’s been the only way to keep things going. Cue more mum guilt. Going back to school means that they’re spending the day with people who are there to take care of them. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling massively relieved about that.

I’m telling you this story because I know I’m not alone in having these struggles. My clients have them too. Talking about the things you share with your customers helps you to build trust. If I can help you find the right story, please get in touch. I speak your customers’ language.  

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Why I’m not buying into hustle culture

Hustle culture causes stress
Photo from energepic.com via Pexels

I used to follow lots of business gurus who talked about ‘hustle’. They’d mention their families but the main thrust of their advice was that you needed to work, work then work some more until you’d ‘made it’. I never really saw much about what life would look like when you’d made it, or indeed whether there was an actual definition. The overall idea seemed to be that you shouldn’t take a holiday or even a day off until you’d got to the top. Hustle culture was everywhere. Even the people who had kids talked about the importance of balance but seemed to spend their evenings and weekends working. Of course, I don’t know what was happening behind the scenes. Everything I saw about these people was based on what they put on social media. All the same, it played on my mind. Did I really need to subscribe to hustle culture to have a successful business?

What’s my problem?

When I say I’m not buying into the hustle, that doesn’t mean I believe in slacking. Working hard is part of building a successful business. I think my issue is that hustle seems to go beyond that. It’s not just hard work. I’ve seen people talk about not sleeping or never taking a day off. As someone with two small children I know that not getting enough sleep is a form of slow torture. There’s no way I’m doing it voluntarily. There might be times that you need to work silly hours to get something done, but it’s not sustainable long term.

I knew that I needed to create my own definition of success and mark my own boundaries if I was going to get anywhere.

Defining success

I see a lot of people online talking about earning 6 or 7 figures. That might be meaningful to some, but not me. Not that I’m longing to live in a cave or anything. I’d just rather make enough to have a nice life, quality time with the family and a few decent holidays. If that means I don’t get to be a millionaire that’s OK.

When it comes to role models I take social media posts with a pinch of salt and talk to people I actually know. The main thing I discovered is that everyone has different boundaries. The important thing is to look at how you want to spend your time and how that translates to reaching your goals.

Accountability

I sometimes wonder whether ‘hustle’ is some people’s method of keeping themselves accountable. If you haven’t worked an 18 hour day you haven’t done enough. The truth is, you don’t have to hustle to set goals and get results. If I don’t take time off I get exhausted and make bad decisions. My holidays don’t just give me family time, they provide brain space too. Looking at the world from a different angle gives me new ideas for normal life.

I also have an amazing coaching group where we commit to take action and report back. That action can even include identifying times when we need to rest so we live to fight another day. That’s the kind of accountability that gets you where you need to go.

Why am I telling you this? Because I know that a lot of you struggle with it. My business isn’t just about writing. It’s about sharing the stories that mean something to you. If you need help speaking your customers’ language and finding the stories that are important to them, just get in touch.

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Ready to outsource? How you can find the right people

Outsource by finding the right people.

Making the decision to outsource some of your business tasks is one thing. Finding someone you’d actually trust to do the work is quite another. If you’re looking for a full time employee you might be better off hiring someone to find suitable candidates. However, more and more businesses don’t want the hassle. It may even be that you only need someone for a couple of hours a week, or to work short term on a specific project. A freelancer with other clients is the ideal solution. But how do you find the right one?

Sole trader v Agency

Agencies or larger businesses are ideal if you’ve got a specific project or need help with a range of different things. There are agencies of all sizes, including some that are run by sole traders. The difference between an agency and one sole trader is that the agency will have built a team of people who can cover a range of different things and will manage them all for you.

Sole traders are great if you don’t need to outsource to lots of different people. For example, you might already have a designer who’s created your new website, but you need someone to write the copy. Managing two freelancers is relatively easy – it gets trickier if you need five or six different specialities.

Getting recommendations

When it comes to finding the right person, getting a recommendation from someone you trust is by far the best option.  You can get a personal recommendation based on their own experience so you can outsource with confidence. Of course, it’s worth bearing in mind that their needs might not be exactly the same as yours and their approach to work may be completely different.

Networking events have been invaluable for me in finding people to work with. My main memberships focus on relationship building so I’ve got to know a range of people and discovered who I get on with. Then when I need a particular service I’ve often already got someone in mind.

Personality is key

Whilst access to specialist skills is one of the main benefits of working with a freelancer, you’ll still need to consider whether their personality fits with yours. This not only makes the working relationship easier, it will get you better results. No matter what work you’re planning to outsource, communication is the key to getting it done well.

I’ve met and worked with all kinds of different business owners, but they all have one thing in common. I’ve found it easy to build a rapport with them. When I’m choosing service providers for my own business the only difference between two equally qualified people has often been that I like one better than the other.

Selection

Of course, there’s more to it than personality. It’s important to be upfront about what your budget is when you’re talking to people. This enables them to tell you whether you need more funds, to adjust your expectations. They might also be able to recommend someone else. It’s a waste of everyone’s time if a freelancer takes the time to prepare a quote only for you to find it’s double what you can afford.

Also, think about whether their working style is a good fit. You may simply need someone who gives you regular updates or uses resources that allow you to check progress. If you’re looking for coaching I’d also recommend looking at their whole approach. Some coaches help you to become more personally effective, others look at your whole business and deliver strategic operations to achieve growth. Which kind do you need?

If you’re ready to outsource your copywriting, get in touch and let’s have a chat. If you’re looking for a DIY approach, visit my online shop for resources that will help or sign up to my mailing list for monthly hints and tips as well as a copy of my free guide ‘Stop hiding your business! 5 ways to be seen online’ as a thank you.