I help entrepreneurs turn their passion into a business that really works. Is your startup ready to get strategic?

a helping hand: andrew’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 Andrew Williams who provides young people with guidance and support in broadening their life skills and provide a route into a career rather than a ‘job’.   Here, he shares his motivation for starting his business, YourLife Workshops, and what prompted him to reach out for a helping hand.

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Before I started working with Danielle, I knew I had the passion and enough knowledge to start a business, but something was lacking.  I faced two big challenges – a lack of confidence and a lack of time.Continue Reading

the best way to conquer networking fear

You know that you should be getting out more.  Talking to people.  Telling them what you do.  Building up your network.

So you bite the bullet and sign up for an event.  But as the day looms, you become more and more nervous.  That voice in your head asks: “What will you say?  Why would anyone care?  You’ll just be a babbling mess!”

As your networking fear continues to build you finally say to yourself, “I’m not going.  I just can’t do this!”

And so, you don’t go.  And nothing changes in your business.  No one is calling.  No one is stumbling upon your website.  No one knows that you’re the best kept secret.

this can’t go on.

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why you should say no more often

Ray is a great entrepreneur.  As the founder of a budding social enterprise, he gets involved in everything from accounting to sales, admin to strategy development.

He’s also a leader – raising money at charity events, working with influential members of the community, and being the biggest champion of those he’s trying to help.  He tries to spend time with friends and family, but often works late into the night and can’t turn his mind off from thinking about his business.

But if you catch him in a moment of honesty, you’ll find out that it’s not as easy as it appears.  He’s exhausted.

Ray can’t say no.  And because he can’t say no, he’s spending his very limited time and energy chasing after things that won’t help his business progress.

He thinks that he needs to say yes to every opportunity that comes his way – to prove himself and his level of commitment, to build up his network, or to earn some additional income to buy more time to get his business off the ground.  He’s terrified of the consequences of saying no.

But something has to give.

Here are two ways to start saying no more often.

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a helping hand: katie’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 Katie Brown who has co-created and run successful and innovative health, wellbeing and arts services for over 15 years.  Here, she shares her motivation for shifting the focus of her business, Connected Wellbeing, to start something new and what prompted her to reach out for a helping hand.

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helping handBefore I started working with Danielle I had built a good reputation as a thought leader, innovator and speedily efficient problem solver in digital mental health innovation.  But I don’t think it was necessarily very easy to work out how to work with me.  I knew that I liked to do very creative and experimental work and working with like-minded people was very important to me.  But I wasn’t articulating that well.

I was also wrestling with the realization, that whilst I was working on innovative projects, the focus wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be.

Where am I now?Continue Reading

top secrets to best manage your time

Have you heard yourself saying any of these statements since launching your startup?manager your time

“I’m so busy!”

“How will I ever find the time to get it done?”

“Something has to give! It can’t continue like this.”

If yes, then today’s post is for you.

When you start a business, not only will you need to make all of the decisions, but you have to execute them as well. Suddenly you become the accountant, the marketeer, the sales person, the web designer, the employee, and the boss. The enormity of the tasks you need to do may start to feel overwhelming and when that happens, other areas of your life may suffer.

You don’t have time for friends and family. You sit at your desk all day without having a break.  And yet each day the list continues to grow. How will you ever get it all done?

Here are three secrets to best manage your time.Continue Reading

when your team is not pulling their weight

pulling their weightYou’re sitting in the corner, working away at your business plan while the rest of your team is nowhere to be seen.  I see the frustration on your face when I ask how things are going.  I sense that there are things you want to say but that you just instead decide to keep plowing away at the task at hand, hoping to get it all completed before your deadline.

If you could speak confidentially you would tell me how frustrated you feel.  If you could be unafraid of the consequences, you would say that you’re doing all the work while the others are uninterested in demotivated.  You would scream out “they’re just not pulling their weight”.

But instead you sit in silence and don’t say what’s really on your mind.

So what can you do the next time you’re in a team and someone isn’t pulling their share of the weight?  Try these 5 tips.Continue Reading

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