“I just don’t love you anymore”
“I just don’t love you anymore, that is to say, I no longer wish to contribute to our relationship. I mean. Was it really worth it? After we initially flirted across a table, we made our mark and you belonged to me! It was great as the whole future was ahead of us. Yet as the months and years went by we drifted apart and you ran amuck as I took my eye off the ball, and eventually, I stopped caring and we parted ways, you were buried at the back of my mind as I lay buried at the back of the drawer!
We are destined to meet at 65 if not sooner, it’s written!
But I want to meet before. I couldn’t bear you to be disappointed in me, I need to explain myself, why I’ve done what I’ve done.
But in return, you need to ask yourself why did you let it all fall apart, why did you stop giving to me?
More importantly what do you really want from me? – I am your pension!”
If you neglect your pension, your pension will neglect you! Whether you like it or not at some point you will enter into a relationship with a pension. Are you going to work at it? Or let it fall apart? Will you need to sit down with someone like me and mediate your relationship with your pension? The Choice is yours……………
Paul Smith. Dip PFS, Cert CII (MP) Independent Financial Adviser – Abacus Associates Financial Planning Ltd
Running a business from home without suffering a meltdown.
I think it may have been the way that my husband had put the vacuum cleaner back in the cupboard that started it.
All I remember is that I started shouting for a very long time as my stunned family looked on in shocked silence.
When my husband eventually spoke he had a few things to get off his chest too.
I’d been running my cake-making business from home for approximately a year when ‘Hoover-Gate’ broke.
It was that tiny straw that broke the camel’s back and my brain decided to verbalise a year of exhaustion, fear, isolation and frustration of working for literally nothing.
Like many before me, I had assumed working from home would be the perfect scenario, giving me the opportunity to earn some money whilst simultaneously being around for our young twins.
I imagined my beautiful children in perfectly laundered school uniforms, sat with me at the table in our spotless kitchen, completing their homework whilst the smell of chocolate sponge filled the air.
I hadn’t ever imagined telling my children that there was no time for a bedtime story as ‘Mummy has to work this evening’.
And so now, two years down the line we have some sort of routine. It works – most of the time.
May I suggest these helpful hints for you to avoid the same frustrations and arguments.
1. Setting up a business from home is a massive change for the whole family. You need everyone’s support more than any of you could ever know at the beginning. Really talk through what you EXPECT of each other.
2. Look how much REAL working time you have. You might think if you have children that you have six hours a day to work whilst they are at school. You rarely have.
3. Create dedicated storage and work space where ever you can. Don’t let your equipment take over every room and your family’s space.
4. Set a time for turning on and off the computer or phone. So much time is wasted on emails, social networking etc.
5. If you have a partner, have ‘date nights’ at home. Don’t talk about work.
6. Keep perspective; let the rest of the world in. Your business won’t collapse overnight because you didn’t update your Facebook page today.
6. Be precise about accounting and filling. You will save yourself much heartache later.
7. Value your work. Don’t undercharge.
8. Value your free time. Don’t over-commit yourself.
9. Choose your mood. Rather than resenting the fact that you have to do household chores and prepare meals etc throughout your working day, embrace how lucky you are to be able to stay on top of it all. You are not getting in from work at 6pm with it all still waiting to be done.
10. Don’t lose sight of who you are doing it all for.
Last week together with my sister I walked around 40 miles of the Pembrokeshire costal path, to celebrate my sister's 50th and to raise some funds for The Independence trust Gloucester.
It was a wonderful time, we were lucky with the weather and the scenery was just amazing.
On the first day we arrived at Dale in the evening, in pouring rain, went to the one pub in the village, and ordered some food. Next to us sat Karen, who realised we spoke in German, so joined us - she was German too. We swapped info about our respective plans, and met up again next day at Marloes Sands YHA. That night the 'Henhouse', our dorm, was filled with four German women and only one English girl!
The following excerpt is from my journal and describes a small part of day 3:
"we stopped at st brides beach, lovely little village and pretty beach, watched guy in paddling boat with dog playing in sea.
We carried on passed Half way rock, along cliff top paths. Sunny first, then overcast, we walked through a small forest. Getting a bit of pain due to blister on small toe.
To Little Haven, where we had a longer break and a couple of glasses of cider, very welcome! Pretty beach front and village. Got plasters (not plastered!) in pub. For blisters :) It worked, changed shoes and I could walk again!"
If I can recommend anything, it is 'take some time out to spend in nature, a break from work, TV, the Internet, mobile phones ( although we did have those with us in case of emergencies) - it does make a world of difference and gives a fresh perspective on life.
Just a little tip for cleaning your jewellery: no need to splash out on jewellery cleaner, washing up liquid ( the biodegradable type is perfect), an old tooth brush and plenty of hot water. After scrubbing and rinsing, dry with soft cloth and buff with silver cloth or soft duster.
"There are a number of 'secrets' to successful dressmaking, the main of these is 'buy the best you can afford'.
The main component of any dressmaking project is the fabric you will use to make your garment, always choose the best quality fabric you can for your project and you will get better results every time. You need to choose your fabric according to the design being made of course but after that choose a good quality, it's not neccessary to always choose a natural fibre, indeed a synthetic mix will generally be better wearing and will last longer, but a natural fibre will always have a better feel leading to a more luxurious garment.
My latest project is to make a copy of a linen mix shift dress for a customer, she wanted a natural fibre for her new dress which is to be worn to an evening do so I showed her the Beckford Silk website where a multitude of silks made in Beckford near Tewkesbury can be ordered straight from the factory. I love working in gorgeous fabrics so lucky for me she went to Beckford and bought some very beautiful 100% silk dupion and toning habotai silk lining.
I now have the joy of working in this lovely silk and get to make something for myself from the leftovers. Years of dressmaking have taught me to be very economical in cutting out and how to make garments or parts of garments out of the odd shaped pieces that are invariably left over from cutting out a pattern. Perhaps this is why I have rather a lot of odd bits and pieces of fabric stashed away??
On the theme of buying the best, always buy good quality thread, I prefer Gutterman, it will be easier to work with and won't make the sewing machine jam or skip stitches; buy good interfacing, the heat activated glue will stick better and not be noticable and buy quality zips, they will last longer.
Lastly as with any other craft always buy the best tools you can afford and this applies to pins and needles as much as to fabric shears. This is especially important when working with fine silks as good sharp pins and needles won't mark the fabric.
Caroline, Fashion Revived.
One of the great things about belonging to a business club, networking group or whatever you prefer to call it, is the diverse range of businesses and the reasons for attending.
We find some members; especially sole traders join to get a feel of belonging, finding it really useful to meet with other professionals on a regular basis. It’s a great way of gaining access to experience and knowledge they might have to pay for elsewhere, and of course from someone you know and trust.
Members have also expressed they have a more enthusiastic approach to their business after attending the meetings, triggering new ideas and implementing changes to make improvements. Getting fired up ready for the day is so important and is easier when you have just had an excellent meeting with twenty or so positive people.
Another great reason for joining a club – You have an event, you need to get it out there, you have facebook twitter etc......and now you have twenty five fellow members sharing, liking, tweeting etc...it’s just s great way to amplify your viral capability’s. Help with posters, flyers etc can be useful too.
Then of course there’s business leads from fellow members. Maybe this could be at the top of the list?....after all, at the end of the day we are all looking for more business, but I have chosen to talk about this last because Business leads come naturally once you achieve the above! It’s as simple as that, it’s all about giving, belonging, trusting, advising and being positive......the leads follow as a natural progression.
There are many networking groups in the Forest of Dean, all are a little bit different in content and structure, but the same rules apply. I have been a well seasoned networker over the past few years and would recommend trying at least two or three groups to get a measure for the one that suits you best, but do yourself a favour at least give it a go. Most groups offer a free trial and at worst it might cost say a tenner or so.....what have you really got to lose.
CAP Business Clubs run every Monday and Thursday morning from 8am – 9am, come along and visit for free! (subject to availability in your industry)....just mail email@example.com
Also happy to recommend other groups, see http://www.capbusinessclubs.co.uk/links.html
Author - Mick Merrick
There is nothing new in selling. In 1949 Frank Bettger wrote a book entitled “How I raised myself from failure to success in selling”. In it he lists the key lessons that he learned during a very successful 20+ year career selling life insurance.
Interestingly, this book is still classed as a classic and is still used as a textbook by some training organisations. Since 1949 there have been a myriad of new, innovative selling systems including
· benefits selling
· spin selling
· solution selling
· consultancy selling
· challenger selling, and my current favourite
· disruptive selling
So, with all these new and more sophisticated methods of selling, why is Frank’s book still so popular? The answer is simple; the ideas he lists work. He knows they work because he has tested them, and many sales people down the years have followed his advice and also found that his ideas work. There is nothing special or clever about his ideas, and they are very easy for all of us to follow. Let me give you a couple of examples:
Frank nearly lost his job and was saved by his boss explaining that he was going to lose it simply because he wasn’t seeing enough people.
Frank kept meticulous records, and from time to time he would analyse those records. One thing he learned was that if a prospect hadn’t bought from him after the second visit they almost certainly wouldn’t. So, he stopped going back after two visits. This freed up a huge amount of time for him to invest in more effective first and second visits.
In his book Frank details a meeting with a specific prospect. Completely by accident, he discovered that this prospect supported a charity and was worried about what would happen to that charity when he died. When Frank discussed the insurance policy in terms of the value to the charity he turned around a very disinterested prospect. The lesson he learned was that clients buy for their own reasons, and a successful sales person needs to find out what those reasons are.
So, in essence, selling boils down to doing three things;
√ Getting on with it, rather than sitting and hoping business will come forward
√ Analysing the work you do and looking for ways to make it more efficient
√ Thinking about the customer and what the customer needs.
Everything regarding selling is obvious, although it is only obvious once it has been explained. Here at Precept we aim to explain the obvious in simple ways which allow you to get on with developing your business quickly and easily.
Author - Andrew Long
Business Insurance – that’s like Public Liability and that isn’t it?
Public liability insurance is an essential cover for most types of business – but there is far more to it than that. For all types of business – from a sole trader to a major global organisation, it's especially important for your customers to be sure that your business has the right cover.
What is public liability insurance?
This type of insurance would cover a business if a customer or member of the public was to suffer a loss or injury as a result of its business activities and if that person made a claim for compensation. The Liability insurance company would meet any compensation payment plus any legal expenses.
Why is public liability insurance a good thing for customers?
Above all else, it demonstrates that you as a business owner take your responsibilities and obligations seriously. Even when a business does everything right there is always the chance of an accident happening. With the right insurance cover, a business can operate knowing that should the worst happen, their customers' property could be repaired, their possessions replaced and their medical costs paid for.
What is covered in a public liability claim?
The Policies are usually tailored to the individual business however as a guide, the insurance covers a business's legal liability to pay damages to members of the public for death and injury or damage to property or possessions, which has resulted from the business's activities.
A good example would be if you hired a roofing company to re-tile your roof but they didn't use adequate weather protection, resulting in severe water damage, you could make a claim against them for compensation to pay for repairing the damage. Public Liability Insurance ensures that the company can meet the cost of the claim, along with any legal expenses.
Make sure the business you hire has public liability insurance
Any business that has visitors to its premises or involves work on client sites needs public liability insurance. If you allow tradesmen or professional contractors on to your business premises, you should always insist on seeing a copy of their insurance schedule and documentation before taking them on.
What is the best way of sourcing suitable cover?
The UK has an army of trained and experienced insurance professionals working within your community. It is always worthwhile speaking to a local broker to help you determine what insurance is essential and what level of cover would best suit your specific needs. A broker can also point out the main terms and conditions and warranties that apply – easy to overlook if you simply arrange cover at the click of a mouse.
So I have my Public Liability Insurance – what next?
Public Liability Insurance is a core cover which every business should have, but in addition, if you employ any staff (whether this is on a casual or permanent basis), then you must maintain Employer’s Liability insurance by law.
For many businesses, it is possible to include a range of covers within one package policy – eg a Shopkeeper could have cover to include loss or damage to stock, fixtures and fittings, loss of profits, money, goods in transit, and often commercial legal expenses cover too. This is often a very cost effective way of arranging this cover, and it affords the business owner added peace of mind.
Andrew Long Cert CII (Commercial Account Executive)
Cass Stephens Insurance Ltd (June 2013)
Author - Caroline Jones
At Fashion Revived I often get asked 'Can you alter patterns to fit my body shape?' The answer to this is of course a resoiunding 'yes'!
Modern dressmaking patterns are multi sized, that is the pattern in the packet is printed onto the tissue paper in a number of dress sizes, commonly around 5 sizes say 8-18 or 16-24.
This simple fact means that it is possible to use the pattern to make a garment that is a different size on the top as compared to the bottom so on a relatively simple level it is possible to fit a pattern to for example a pear shaped figure.
It is also possible with a little more care to alter a paper patten to fit figure 'problems' such as lopsided shoulders, a rounded tummy, or a deep back hollow. As well a figure alterations it is also possible to size patterns up or down by up to about three sizes meaning if the style you want only goes up to a size 16 but you are a size 20 you can still use the pattern with care.
Now pattern sizing, that is another matter altogether, something for discussion another time perhaps.
Let your potential customers know who you are. There is nothing that puts me off more when I visit a website than seeing stock photographs, not just because I am a photographer but also because I really want to see who I am doing business with. Images of you, your employees and the environment that you work in show clients that you are proud of your business and your staff, that you are professional. It gives potential customers peace of mind. Many people use the internet now as the main route to finding products and services, and a recent study has show that 67% of visitors to a website which has good images stay on the page and more often that not they will either buy a product or enquire about a service.
Oh and here is a quick plug, visit http://youtu.be/QdOwE9tWhfU and you will be able to view, one I made earlier, Business Biography! Alison Lemon Photographic
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