but I feel like a fraud

“I feel like a fraud.”

Chris uttered these words to me during our one-on-one session while she was thinking through some strategies on how to boost the visibility of her business.

Sure, Chris has tons of passion, but who does she think she is to be taken seriously?  She doesn’t have any experience in running a business.  How could it possibly work?  Why would anyone trust her enough to invest in her?

These were the questions she found herself regularly repeating in her own head.  As the voice became louder, the self-doubt became stronger.  Feeling like a fraud paralysed her and was keeping her business stagnant.Continue Reading

a helping hand: richard’s story

What’s it like once you’ve battled those initial doubts and decided to launch a business?  Today, I’m delighted to introduce you to Richard Hearn who trains disassociated young people to adopt positive workplace habits and brokers work experience placements.  Here, he shares his motivation for starting his business, Generation Me, and what prompted him to reach out for a helping hand.

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Someone once told me:helping hand: richard's story

“Never go in to a meeting without knowing what you want to get out of it.  The chances are if meeting someone for the first time, they will not have thought through their position, which puts you at an advantage to attaining what you want… Assuming, of course, that you know what that is?!”

Far better advice than my usual approach of “I’ll wing it, I do better on the spot”

I have always been someone who took decisions based on my heart more than my headContinue Reading

my startup confession: how to survive your first year of business (part 2)

Two weeks ago, I celebrated my first full year in business.  It was a proud moment for me and I am still overwhelmed by the outpouring of support that I received from so many people.

first year of businessWe’ve all seen the bleak statistics – some even claiming that up to 90% of startups will fail.  I know entrepreneurs who have met this fate despite putting their passion, blood, sweat and tears into their idea.  Previously, I shared my first 5 tips on how you can set yourself up for success.

Today I have my second set of tips for you.  Read these to learn how you, too, can survive your first year of business.Continue Reading

connect, collaborate, and MakeSense of business

SenseCamp UK 2014: challenging people for social business

I landed at last year’s SenseCamp a little bit by chance (or was it destiny?).  I had been in living in London for some months, and was very eager to get involved in the social enterprise space in the city.  I’d always worked for charities and social businesses in other places I’d lived before, and was longing to do something in the local community.  A friend had told me about the MakeSense ‘gang’, and suggested I go meet them for an evening of drinks and social enterprise chat.  I met a lot of interesting people at the ‘SenseDrinks’.  They told me they were organising a conference about social enterprise and that “It will be fun, you should come!”.

MakeSense of BusinessMakeSense is a rapidly growing global community of entrepreneurs, technologists, activists and professionals from all walks of life, brought together by a shared passion for social enterprise.  The community mobilises the talents, skills and connections of this unconventional bunch (the SenseMakers) to help social entrepreneurs solve their business challenges and MakeSense of business.  How?  You are about to find out.Continue Reading

my startup confession: how to survive your first year of business (part 1)

Guess what?

Today marks my first year registered as a business!! Hooray!

This is a HUGE milestone for me and I’m so proud of how far I’ve come in such a relatively short period of time.  I won’t officially say “I’ve made it” yet.  There is still a long way that I would like to go to build up my business and expand my reach towards helping as many entrepreneurs as I can.  I know with certainty that it’s not all smooth sailing from here and just as there have been tough times before, they will come again.  That’s the nature of being in business.

But for today, I will celebrate the successes I’ve had along the way, thank anyone who has been part of that journey with me, and look at the year ahead with anticipation!

Do you want to know how to survive your first year of business?

As I look back over the past 12 months, I’ve picked out 10 important things I’ve learned along the way.  I’d like to share the first 5 with you today…Continue Reading

flying solo and feeling lonely? try these 3 tips

On days like today, the last thing I want to do is venture outside.

Being whacked by the umbrellas of determined commuters, wearing soggy shoes at my desk and willing the rain to stop in time for my commute home.   No thanks!

On days like today, I am so grateful that I can run my business from the comfort of my own home.

There are many benefits to being my own boss.  I can create a schedule that suits my priorities.  I can choose who I want to work with.  I can make my own decisions about the future of my business.  I am in control.

Yet sometimes, working on my own can feel a little bit lonely.Continue Reading

how to avoid the ‘I help everyone’ trap

Yesterday during a strategy session with a client, he told me he was ready to spend £1000 on getting the ‘right’ website published.  He knew that a site would make everything feel real.  He will finally be a business owner rather than a project manager.  “People will take notice.  Everyone will love it.”

Or will they?

As he was talking, I picked up on a few subtleties.  He was falling into the ‘I help everyone’ trap.  His message wasn’t clear.  He was talking about several target audiences for the site.  He was trying to be too much to too many people.

How could he be clear about what he wanted to say and who he was saying it to?Continue Reading

my startup confession: why it hurts when no one’s responding

Last night I couldn’t sleep.  I found myself reaching for my phone in the middle of the night, desperately hoping to find a response to the emails I spent all afternoon yesterday sending.

Once the night turned into day, I thought it would be better.  “Surely people are reading emails now”, I told myself.  I kept refreshing my inbox willing the sound of a new message.  I felt like I was in a scene from that romantic comedy from the 90s, “You’ve Got Mail”.  There must be someone out waiting for my contact.

Does this scenario sound familiar?Continue Reading

does making money make you heartless?

Does the word “money” break you out into a cold sweat and cause you to panic?

Do you think that because you’re helping others you don’t deserve to pay yourself a decent wage?

If you act from your heart and follow your passion, you may start to wonder if it’s disingenuous to earn a decent living from it.

Does making money make you heartless?Continue Reading

a startup at the crossroads – what would YOU do?

During a recent session, Paula made a confession.  She’d been working on her business solidly for nearly a year but had experienced a lot of bumps on the path of her startup journey.   Something wasn’t working.  The small salary she was drawing from the company was becoming a big problem.  It was time to change direction.

There’s just one sticking point: she had no idea which way to go!Continue Reading