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What could working with a VA do for your business?

Guest blog - working with a VA

As a VA I offer admin and bookkeeping support but what does that mean for you? All my clients need different support from me because no two clients are the same and every client’s business is different therefore every client needs different support. What could working with a VA like me mean for your business and how can I explain it?

What are your strengths?

Everyone has weaknesses and strengths including me, I have a client who thrives on her To-Do List and religiously ticks things off this keeps her on track, helps her strive towards her goals and improves productivity

Another client does write a To-Do List but never really gets round to ticking things off, however, she thrives on her financial goal that we set and this keeps her on track and wants it to be up to date at all times this gives her the motivation and determination to reach her goal

Some business owners know exactly what money is coming in and also what money is going out so they have a good idea of the basic income needed to keep their business afloat. unfortunately, there are others who have absolutely no idea what money is coming into the business or how much money is going out. Some think because they’re so busy being busy that that means that they must be making a lot of money sadly this is the reason a lot of small businesses fail.

So how do I work with my clients?

I get to know my client and understand their business

I get to know what they are struggling with, what their weaknesses are and the problems they are struggling with, and we talk about how I can help resolve these.

More importantly, how can they use their time more wisely and what tasks can I do that give that client back the time to actually do the business and what they have chosen to do, most business owners are quite capable of doing their paperwork, but it is time consuming and uses up time and energy when they could actually be earning an income  

I offer accountability by working as a team, setting up a plan and goals.

I help them set up a structure that works for them encouraging habits and routine

I will tell them what I need from them in order for them to stay on track and grow and what I need in order for me to support them

I sometimes pull my “really” face just roll my eyes and say excuse me but where is ABC that I need from you?  Laughter can help loads too, running a business is tough and demanding and sometimes clients just need that support to lighten the mood as well as the load.

If you're working with a VA have you ever seen this expression?
This is my ‘really’ face!

Working together like this builds trust and good working relationships make growing the business achievable and helps your work-life balance to return.

What do I get out of it?

For me what do I achieve?  I do work I enjoy, seeing my clients happier, less stressed and having family and leisure time back brings me joy. I see their business growing and a more sustainable solid cash flow allowing them to enjoy the success of their hard work.

I know that I’m doing my role the best I can.This makes all the effort and hard work worthwhile.

What could a VA do for you? Get in touch and let’s find out!

Kirsty’s note

Ann Hunt is a fabulous VA; I should know, she manages to keep me organised and that’s no mean feat! She lives and works in Leicestershire.

You can find out more about Ann and her services by visiting her website.

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The power of letting things slide

A woman on a balcony letting things slide.

When I first started my business, one of the main reasons was the flexibility it gave me. When I was a solicitor there was a flexi-time policy and I changed to part-time working to give me more time with the kids but I was still basically working a 9-5. I couldn’t take an afternoon off on a whim or disappear early because it was sports day at school. Flexibility had to be planned. I was able to plan and prioritise my work but I wasn’t high enough up the food chain to decide that some things weren’t essential. Still, as a business owner, it’s taken me a while to truly embrace letting things slide. Here’s how it happened.

I took part in a challenge

Does anyone else feel as if we’re constantly batting away advice about the new thing we must do if we want our business to succeed? This is particularly true in marketing. There’s always something about why you need to add another social media platform or what kind of content you should be producing this week.

It used to make my head hurt. Then I did two things. I subscribed to emails from Anita Popat, who only tells you the social media stuff you need to know. Then I did a 3-day Facebook challenge with Libby Langley designed to help you make marketing decisions based on your personality and values. It taught me what I already knew. Stop listening to people who say ‘should’ and do what feels right for you.

The family holiday

Then came the Easter holidays. You know the drill. I’m a business-owning mum so the school holidays are always a balancing act. The first few days after the kids broke up were fine because I was still in work mode. I had a plan and there was work I’d promised to do. Then I went on an actual holiday. We got on a ferry and went to Holland for a long weekend. It was glorious (the weather and the place) and I realised how much I’d needed some time out. A chance to play with my kids, go swimming every day and drink lager on a weeknight. I hadn’t realised how tired I’d been. I told myself that I’d have a day off when we got back from Holland then I’d start working again.

The reframe

We got back from holiday and I didn’t get back to work. My brain didn’t want to. I read some emails but mainly I wanted to have days out with my boys before they went back to school. At first, I thought I was being lazy. I told myself I should have been working. Then I remembered that I don’t listen to people who tell me what I should do and gave myself a break. I didn’t post a single thing on social media for a whole week. The world didn’t end. No one forgot I exist. All the work that pays my bills is still getting done. Those extra few days gave me the headspace I needed to decide what was important in my life. I realised that letting things slide was the best thing I could have done.

Why am I telling you all this? It’s because sharing our stories is important. When you’re a business owner people sometimes forget you’re a human being as well. I hope that by giving you a glimpse behind the scenes I’ll encourage you to do the same. If you’d like to have a chat about it, you can book one here.

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Why you need to show your life in your marketing

A woman celebrating - you can put life into your marketing too.

You’ve probably seen loads of marketing advice telling you that you need to share your knowledge and establish yourself as an expert in your field. That’s all true. When you have a small business, you need to go one step further and share a bit of your life with your customers. The big brands can build a corporate image around their values, but you need to show your audience who you are as a person. Here’s why you need to put some of your life into your marketing.

It makes your audience feel part of something

Content marketing is designed to help you build a relationship with your audience so that they’ll buy from you. When your marketing creates a community, it helps your audience feel as if they’re part of something amazing. That might happen because of chats in the comments on your posts or what you share in your Facebook group.

The easiest way to make your audience feel included is by giving them a glimpse behind the scenes. If you create products, you can share videos or posts of you making something. Someone might see the work in progress and decide they must have the finished product! Case studies are brilliant if you’re like me and offer a less visual service. You can show prospective customers the process so they know how you work and can read about the results.

Shared experience connects you with your customers

Maybe you started your business because you came through a challenge and wanted to help other people do the same. Your story needs to be central to your marketing. It shows your customers that you understand what they’re going through because you’ve been in their shoes. You can build trust by talking about your experiences. This is particularly good for business or health coaches, personal trainers and parenting experts.

Showing your life and the experiences you share with your customers can also work in another way. Whilst it might not be directly relevant to your business, sometimes you just want to work with someone who’s on the same wavelength as you or support their business. I work with lots of business-owning mums and it gives you a shorthand that makes communication easy and fun.

Sharing your life shows people you’re human

When you spend time running a business online, you’ll inevitably come across people who forget you’re a human being with feelings. They think that those nasty comments will bounce off (if they even think before they type). Sharing posts that show people what your life is like when you’re not at work helps to remind people that you’re a real person. It could also help to distinguish you from another, similar, business. I haven’t had anyone tell me they want to work with me because I’m a rugby fan so far, but you never know!

One word of caution; use posts like this sparingly. Every so often is fine but your customers aren’t your friends. They don’t need 500 pictures of your baby, cute puppy or to hear about how hungover you are. Just an occasional reminder that you have a life outside business.

Are you ready to put some of your life into your marketing? I can help with that. Book a call here and let’s have a chat.

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Do you ever feel you’re pulling yourself in different directions?

A woman going in different directions.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

I don’t think I’m alone in having a lot of different things in my life. We’ve all got those metaphorical balls (the ones we juggle, but occasionally the other kind too). There’s all the life stuff; the home, partner, kids, family and friends. Delete or add as applicable. I keep finding myself saying ‘let’s have a catch up soon’, then organising a coffee takes about a year. That’s even before I get to the bit where I run a business too. You’ve heard all this before, I know. The only reason I’m talking about it now is because I seem to have had an influx recently. There’s been more paying work, which is extremely lovely. Conversations about self-care seem to have become a thing too. As I write this the words of a wise woman telling me I’m hearing it for a reason are floating at the front of my brain. There have been new ideas that I can’t seem to make a decision on. Then there have been people asking about my book. Have I told you about the book? Maybe I haven’t, so let’s start there.

It’s always been about the book

Before I had the faintest idea that I might write content marketing for businesses, I wrote stories. I know that we all did that at school, but I carried on. Ideas for crime novels pop into my head at regular intervals. The one I’m working on now existed as an idea for a few years before I started making some notes, writing random scenes as they occurred to me. When I was a commuter I wrote on the train. Now I’m editing; it feels as if I’ve rewritten the thing about eleven billion times but I could be exaggerating. It’s a murder mystery, set in Leicester and I’m almost ready to send it out into the world.

I think I might be scared

There’s the problem, you see. I feel as if everything has been pushing me towards this point. Even the self-care conversations, because I know I need to look after myself to deal with whatever different thing comes next. It’s also why I keep getting new shiny ideas. A bit of me wants to get on with it. A much bigger bit is utterly terrified. What if it’s rubbish? (Apparently most first novels are.) There are characters inspired by people I love and tiny snippets of my life in those pages. It feels personal. The other nagging feeling is the fact that being a published novelist is my dream. I don’t know what happens next if the dream comes true. Will my life still be my own if I take it in a different direction? Will I become a magnet for trolls on Twitter? No idea.

What shall I do next?

This is a silly question, isn’t it? I need to finish the two little edits that are bugging me and send my manuscript out for someone else to read. I’ve got friends who’ve offered and I know where to get a reader’s report. An author friend (yes, I have one of those) even got me an email address for a published crime writer who’s happy to look at a couple of chapters for me. So, I know the answer to my own question. I just need to get on and do it.

Why am I telling you this story? It’s because I’m a writer and that’s what I do. I can help you find the right story to tell in your marketing so you can attract wonderful new customers. If I can help you with that, let’s have a chat.

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How bullying shaped me

Bullying makes you stay silent.
Photo by Kat Smith from Pexels

I’ve talked about sharing your story in your marketing so many times, yet there’s one story that I’ve always held back. As I write this, I’m still wondering whether it will end up out in the world for you to read. The only reason I’m even considering it is because I know I can’t be the only one who’s had the same experience. I’ve been bullied more than once during my life. It would be easy to focus on the negative beliefs that come from that (and on a bad day, I definitely do). The years have given me perspective, so I’ve decided it’s time to tell my bullying story in case it helps you too.

The school bullies

I reckon most people must have their own version of this story. I went to a tiny primary school followed by a bigger middle school. The bullies singled me out as I was a clumsy bookworm. Not just a swot but too poorly co-ordinated to be good at either gymnastics or dancing. As far as my peers were concerned, I was utterly useless. I longed for anonymity. Thankfully senior school was better; there were more people like me and became invisible to the bullies. It was the first time I learned the importance of finding your people and I still use it today.

Bullying at work

I didn’t go to university straight from school, but took some time out, did other courses and ended up in the job from hell. I worked as an admin assistant (aka lowest of the low), with colleagues who didn’t like people with A-levels. There were times when my supervisor told me there wasn’t anything for me to do, but in the next breath would go and complain to the boss that I wasn’t pulling my weight. Anything that came out of my mouth was treated as an opportunity for a sarcastic comment or outright sneer. On the plus side, it made me realise that I did want to go to uni.

How it holds me back

Those days are gone, but some of the scars remain. When you’ve been treated as if you don’t belong you start to believe it. You think your feelings don’t matter and you don’t have the right to be considered. It’s easy to adopt a mindset where you don’t try new things or talk to new people because then you can’t be rejected. Yet I find myself here, with a business that depends on me promoting it. I fight the instinct to ‘not be a nuisance’ every time I market my business. It makes me wonder whether I’d do more if I didn’t feel this way.

What it’s taught me

I don’t know what my life would have been like if the bullying hadn’t happened. There are some positives; I’m aware of the mind monkeys that hold me back. Silencing the chatter has become a skill, although not an infallible one. I’m selective in who I trust so I’ve learned to listen. There have been people in my life that others regarded as a ‘good bloke’, when they were anything but. I’ve learned to observe and work out who they really are. That comes in handy when I’m writing for clients and being their voice. In that respect, it could be a gift.

Sharing stories like this one help your future clients to see you as a human being, not just a business. It doesn’t have to be as personal as this. If I can help you find the right story to use in your marketing, let’s have a chat.

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5 Tips to Preventing Desk Aches & Pains

Guest blog from Chloe Clark at Astral Fitness Sports Massage about preventing desk aches and pains.

Hello and welcome to my guest blog for Kirsty France.

My name is Chloe Clark, and I am the director at Astral Fitness Sports Massage based in Hinckley. You can find out more about me at www.astralfitness.co.uk .

I specialise in using the hands-on art of Sports Massage to solve desk working related acute and chronic aches and pains in your neck, shoulders, back, and hips. I often help solve issues with other muscles too.

Image shows someone working at a desk - are they preventing desk aches and pains?

Desk Ergonomics

Is your desk set up well for you to sit in an unrestricted way? Do you have one main screen set up well, and a secondary screen or laptop that you frequently look at? It is very important that you set yourself up well for both screens and have a swivel chair so that you can move your whole body to look at each screen rather than twisting your neck. Look at the guide below;

Office ergonomics: Your how-to guide – Mayo Clinic

If you can install a standing desk for your work, it will be a game changer not only for your body, but for your brain as well. Your brain operates more efficiently with a better blood flow around the whole body, which, you guessed it, happens when standing and moving about while working.

Stretching

Have you ever had a bit of a stretch at your desk and felt immediately better? But maybe you’re not sure if you’re stretching in a good way or if it’s doing any good? If it feels good- keep doing it. Stretching is a valuable tool to utilise several times a day to prevent aches and pains setting into your body and causing a longer-term issue. If you don’t stretch at your desk and want to know what to do, visit the below article by BUPA.

Desk stretches to ease aches and pains (bupa.co.uk)

Regular Movement

Regular movement is vital to having a healthy day at your desk. This could mean getting up and moving to get a drink once an hour, or simply standing and making more of your stretching time each day. If you work alone this is easy enough, and if you’re in an office you might get some stares! Start the trend of regular stretching, your colleagues will thank you for it.

Exercise

Your body needs movement for optimum health, it is not a losing battle if you’ve got eight hours a day at a desk ahead of you. Any exercise can and will go a long way to keeping you able to work and play in a healthy and pain free manner.

If you don’t exercise regularly, start with something small, five minutes a day is enough to get started.

Try Yoga With Adriene – YouTube , she has hundreds of free videos available for complete beginners as well as the more advanced yogi.  Keep a mat close to hand and fit it in during your day if you work from home.

Go for a brisk walk at lunchtime, my favourite of all exercise, and the simplest and easiest way to get started.

Self-Care

Walking in the countryside, a spa day, swimming, indulging in a hobby, getting a massage… the list is endless when it comes to self-care, but it should be something just for you, to allow you time to reset away from your desk so that you can return to it refreshed. This is also true if you run your business from your phone or tablet and often sit on a sofa!

Thank you for taking time to read my guest blog today. If you are struggling to get any of the above to work and need a little extra help, please do get in touch with me, Chloe, for an appointment at www.astralfitness.co.uk

Thank and have a great festive season!

Chloe Clark

Astral Fitness Sports Massage

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Listen to your Heart

Listen to your heart - Tracey Hutchinson guest blog header

Listening to my Heart is my life’s ‘work’ and it totally lights me up. You see, we all have an inner guidance system. Call it what you like – intuition, gut feeling, inner being, source – I know that this resonates with you. You know you have it. You’ve had that absolute knowing about whether something is right for you. You’ve felt that calling and known what the right thing was to do.

We all have it, we all know about it, but we’re not all deliberately connected to it. Because life gets in the way. And as a youngster we were actually trained away from it by [well-meaning] teachers, parents etc who wanted us to do as we were told by them. In life we encounter all the shoulds; all the advice and feedback from others; all the concerns about what others will think of our life, decisions and actions.

Connecting to my inner guidance and listening to my heart has led to so much ease and joy in my life. I love encouraging my daughters to listen to their own hearts. They won’t always have me to guide them, but they will always have their own inner guidance. And no one knows us better than we know ourselves, right!?

5 ways to connect to your own inner guidance system and leverage the energy that creates everything you desire in life:

1. Meditate daily for 20 minutes.

This is the absolute cornerstone of connecting to your own inner guidance system. Meditating allows you to quieten your mind and connect to the power within you. Consistent daily meditation is so powerful – you won’t recognise yourself after 30 days! I am currently running a 30-day meditation challenge in my Facebook parenting group (an inspired action straight from the heart of course!). Join us if you feel inspired (link below).

2. Be present.

Being present in the moment and focusing on the Now is super powerful – after all, the Now is all we ever have. By doing this we are able to enjoy each moment for what it is. Focusing on the past creates depression; focusing on the future creates anxiety. Why wouldn’t you choose to live in the present?

3. Calibrate negative emotions.

Everything you need is already within you. But from those lower vibration emotions (depression, fear, anger, doubt, blame) you are unable to tap into it. Soothing those feelings enable you to move forward in Love, Joy, Peace, Ease and Satisfaction (those delicious high vibration emotions) – and thus connect to your own inner guidance system where you will be able to see things from a higher perspective and literally manifest the right people, ideas and experiences. This is the work I do with people as a Clarity Coach.

4. Unfocus regularly throughout the day.

Taking 2-5 minutes throughout the day to close your eyes and breathe deeply allows you to unfocus and reconnect to your inner guidance system.

5. Flow activities.

Find a ‘flow activity’ that suits you. Flow activities are those which take you away from your mind and require you to put your focus solely on what you are doing. For example, running, colouring, crafts. What do you enjoy doing that helps you to unfocus from the world around you?

About the Author

Tracey Hutchinson lives in Leicestershire, UK and is a wife and an Unschooling Mum to 2 incredible girls – 10 and 1. She loves nothing more than to support Mums to go beyond traditional parenting, into the realms of parenting in the present moment with Joy, Ease, Love and Connection. As a Clarity Coach, she works with clients to release negative feelings, thoughts and beliefs around a particular topic and come into alignment with their own inner guidance system.

Facebook profile – https://www.facebook.com/traceyhutchinsoncoaching

Facebook parenting group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/abeparentingbeyondparenting

You Tube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC01Ce3yOr4JsZArWbY6df9w

Book a Clarity Coaching session with Tracey – https://bookclaritycoachingbytraceyhutchinson.as.me/

Tracey Hutchinson
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My favourite things about Christmas

A picture of one of my favourite things about Christmas - the lights, not the unknown headless woman.
Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels

It’ll soon be time to hang up the ‘closed’ sign and head off for Christmas. (My closed sign is metaphorical – my office is in the garden and I don’t get visitors.) I know that there are lots of things that are traditionally great about Christmas, but it can also be hugely stressful. The conversation at a recent networking event turned towards gratitude and how much it can benefit our mental health. It got me thinking about the things I actually enjoy about Christmas, so I decided to write them down. Here are my 5 favourite things about Christmas…

Time off

I love taking the school holidays off. There’s nothing quite so joyful as turning off the alarm clock until January. I get to visit people I don’t get to see and spend more time with the ones I live with.

My favourite day off is the one I take on my own before school finishes. I know, I’m weird. I spend the day pottering about doing whatever festive thing comes to mind. It might be ‘Muppets Christmas Carol’ (again) or it could be wrapping presents with a mug of mulled wine and a mince pie. Bliss.

Eating

I’m a vegetarian so I’m not talking about turkey (although I do love Paxo). It’s all the other stuff that goes with Christmas. The cheese, the mince pies, opening the Prosecco at breakfast time. It’s the ridiculously huge tubs of Twiglets, Cheeselets and chocolates that you don’t get at any other time of year. I know I could eat pickled onions all year round, but I don’t. It’s all part of the festive feast and I love it.

Christmas lights

If Christmas trees were banned tomorrow, I wouldn’t mind, as long as I could still have my lights. I love wearing jumpers and scarves and the fact that cold weather makes hot chocolate essential. The only thing I struggle with is the lack of light. A lot of my favourite things about Christmas involve lights – the Christmas tree, the candles and the high street displays. When January comes and the Christmas lights go out, the winter always feels just a little bit harder.

Singing

I’m not a religious woman, but I always head to church at Christmas. One of my relatives is a churchwarden and it’s always fun going to Christingle and watching lots of small children handle naked flames. Also, Christmas carols are brilliant, even if you’re not a believer.

There are also loads of good tunes on adverts and in the shops (although I was once a Christmas shop assistant and I know how wearing they get by Christmas Eve). It’s the one time of year that you can sing to your heart’s content and no-one bats an eyelid.

Murder

Don’t worry, I’m not about to start bumping off family members. Christmas is often associated with ghost stories, but I’m a crime writer. ‘Hercule Poirot’s Christmas’ is a fixture in my festive viewing, along with any new Agatha Christie adaptations that pop up. My husband bought me a copy of ‘The Mistletoe Murder and other stories’ by PD James a few Christmases ago. Since then that bit between Christmas and New Year, when you can’t remember what day it is, finds me curled up on the sofa with a new seasonal crime collection.

What are your favourite things about Christmas? Leave a comment and let me know!

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What do you get a business owner for Christmas?

Business owner with a gorgeous Christmas gift
Photo from freestocks.org via Pexels

I know that when you buy Christmas presents it’s because you love the person you’re giving it to and you want to give them a treat. Buying them a business-related gift can feel a little bit boring. It doesn’t have to be. If you ask most business owners what they want you’ll get something along the lines of more sleep, snacks, alcohol and financial security (that last one applies every year, but especially now). The thing is, you can make their business owning life better and still give them a great Christmas present. Here are my top 5 ideas for great gifts you can buy your favourite business owner this Christmas.

1.      Entertainment

A business owner’s mind is constantly buzzing, so get them a present that helps them switch off. That could be a film to watch at home, or cinema or theatre tickets for a night out together.

If they love reading, a Kindle could be perfect. I resisted one for years until my husband got me one for Christmas. I still love real books, but now I can carry a whole library wherever I go. Alternatively, buy them your favourite book or vouchers to choose their own.

2.      Stationery

Stationery addiction is real and occasionally necessary. I get through notebooks at a ridiculous rate so tend to shop at the budget end of the market. (I’m looking forward to being back at expos where I can snaffle them for free.) One of my favourite gifts was the beautiful pen and pencil set that I use every day. It’s a small thing that makes life better. You could choose lovely pens or a classic Moleskine notebook. You can even get fab digital notebooks if you prefer.

3.      Time saving Christmas gifts

No-one can buy time, but you can buy help.  If you want to outsource to a particular VA/designer/writer but can’t afford it, drop some heavy hints. Share this post on Facebook and say, ‘did you know Kirsty does gift vouchers for her blogging packages (or service of your choice)?’

If that feels weird, choose something fun that will save time in other areas of their life. A nifty gadget, meal subscription or some chloroform to help them get the kids to bed. (Joke. I hope that was obvious.)

4.      Lovely things for their office

A lovely office space became more important during lockdown, when we couldn’t easily go out for a change of scenery. I have a miniature chimp and a couple of plants on my desk, it’s very cheerful. A good Christmas gift could be a plant or a beautiful print.

You could also choose a gadget that makes their office a more pleasant place to be. Would they like to work to music but don’t have the kit? Could an office water bottle help them stay hydrated?

5.      Things to eat and drink

Yes, I know, this is a gift you could buy for almost anyone. The truth is, I’ve never known so many snack addicts since I started hanging out with other business owners. Buy one of us a snack basket with biscuits, crisps and chocolates and you’ll have a friend for life. Tea and coffee will also be gratefully received.

It probably goes without saying that alcohol is always a win. I know a few freelancers who don’t drink, but not many.

What do you want to ask for this Christmas? Leave a comment and let me (or your family) know!

If you’d like to treat a business owner to my services this Christmas, visit my shop to find out more! (Or if you just want to treat yourself to some high quality content in 2022, let’s have a chat.)

Alternatively, why not start the New Year with regular content writing hints and tips straight to your inbox? I hate spam (I’m a vegetarian), I won’t share your details with anyone else and you can unsubscribe any time. I promise I won’t cry. Much.

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Why focus on the people who hate you?

A phone shows an angry emoji. I try to understand why you would focus on the people who hate you,
Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

In the 5 and a bit years since I became a business owner, I’ve learned a lot about mindset and motivation. A fitness coach once told me that you needed to aim for a positive outcome as trying to avoid a negative one didn’t work. I repeated this theory during a writing workshop, run by one of the most insightful and encouraging women I’d ever met. I don’t know what I expected her response to be, but “b***ocks!” certainly wasn’t it! I understand that avoiding the worst can be a powerful motivator, but I’ve seen a trend among some people in my network that focuses on talking about the people who hate you. I don’t get it. Why would you focus on that?

The people

We can all think of people in the public eye (like Katie Hopkins) who seem to thrive on being hated. I get it, up to a point. If you find it easy to make controversial statements and it gets you work and fame, why wouldn’t you? The thing is, I’ve started to see other people doing it, whose businesses aren’t built around writing opinion pieces or turning up on TV as a talking head. I find it harder to understand why someone who runs an ordinary business should be shouting about being hated, yet I see it all the time.

Doubters vs haters

I feel it’s important to distinguish between the people who hate you and ones who are trying to protect you. Starting your own business is risky. You know it and the people who love you do as well. When I started out I was leaving a profession and a steady income behind. I had plenty of people tell me that I could always go back to it if things didn’t work out. I bet you did too. Hearing those kinds of comments could dent your confidence. They motivated me because I knew I didn’t want to go back. There’s a world of difference between that and trolls who send you abuse.

The people who hate you

When I hear most business owners talk about negative comments, they describe it as an annoyance. It’s something that takes time to deal with, often when they don’t have time and mental energy to spare. One business owner said that having haters is a sign you’ve made it, because it means that people are paying attention. There might be something in that, but if you’re talking about the people who hate you, why not mention the ones that love you too? Otherwise, it could just mean that your marketing isn’t reaching the right audience.

The psychology

It’s been a while since I studied psychology, so I did some revision to try and understand what’s going on. For a divisive celebrity, the appeal of being a hero to some could counteract the effect of being hated. It could also be their way of putting two fingers up at anyone who tells them what to think. My favourite approach is in a 2015 study which suggests that knowing who your enemies are makes the world feel safer, so drawing them out might have its benefits. I think we can all understand wanting to find a bit of certainty just now.

I’m not going to start celebrating hate (it still feels like a waste of precious time and energy) but it’s given me some insight into the ones who do. Personally, I’d prefer to focus on the people who like what I do, because they’re the ones I can help.

What do you think?

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