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Change your life

A Christmas Miracle!

This blog should be dated September 28th, 2018, because that’s the day that the actual Christmas miracle took place. So let’s just ignore the fact that it’s October the 10th, and I’m only just writing it now, because it truly is amazing!

So here’s the deal: On September 27th I took Foxy our pup into the vets for dramatic, drastic surgery. She stayed overnight, a long, scary night filled with some dark fears round about 2 am (although a less interrupted night than most of the nights following her return home).

I kept myself busy on that second day before we could collect her, mostly by investigating our options for a work Christmas party. And in that simple action I realised one of my own personal dreams for our business from 2017.

Back then we were smaller than we are now, in every way. We employed C1, our first ever employee, and C2, D’s son, joined us in November, aged just 17.

We were small and skint, too small and skint for a work’s Christmas do, and besides, Little C was too young to attend and Big C did not enjoy social gatherings. We were still a few months away from hiring T, who has been a big part of our huge growth his year.

Plus, we were still in renovation hell, and everything was packed away, including most of my shoes. This is on top of all the belongings that have been packed away since we moved up here in 2015.

So apart from considering that D and I went for a night out, which we didn’t manage, all thoughts of doing something special failed and we prepared for another Christmas without a party, which didn’t exactly feel like a hardship.

And then, at a December BNI meeting, one of the trades invited us (D and I) to come along to his company’s do. We agreed, slightly reluctantly.

If I’m honest, it didn’t mean much. When you’ve been freelance for years Christmas doesn’t mean what it does if you’ve been employed. If you are working on a contract which sprawls Christmas you may or may not get a bit of time off, and you may or may not be invited to the works do. Over the years I often found myself working in London and so the Christmas party has mostly fallen on the day everyone finished for Christmas.

Several times I would attend for about an hour then fight my way through the London Christmas crowds to get to Kings Cross for one of the late night trains back up to Leeds. Now that’s one grim way to sober up, on a cold gloomy train surrounded by a dwindling number of fellow half-drunk travellers. Not to mention the fun of trying to get a taxi out of Leeds station when the entire city has just had its own Christmas party.

Some years I often felt invited to do’s out of politeness. Other years at other companies there wasn’t a Christmas do at all. And for many years, I worked for a company based in NYC, who posted photos of their amazing Christmas party all over Facebook but didn’t offer to pay for the flights for their international staff to go there.

So, while some Christmases have been amazing over the years, several Christmases have often passed me by. In telly, if you’re not working in November you’re unlikely to be working in December. And so if you have a contract that finishes late in the year you may be pretty skint by December, with no sign of any work until January so the whole frivolity around everyone breaking up for a two-week can be quite depressing.

Back in December 2017, as D and I took up our invitations, and stepped into the local golf club, festooned with tinsel and sparkly wall hangings, it was like stepping into a scene in a movie.

Occasionally, as we live our new lives in this small town, the ‘normality’ of life hits me. Working in telly I have never really been part of a community before, working away means you will never live the day to day that most of the population experience.

This was one of those times. The ‘normality’ of Christmas hit me like a punch from an inflatable Santa. The tacky decorations, the Christmas meal (my veggie version was lasagne, which is hilarious) and then the music. Oh my goodness the music! The cheesy Christmas tunes, the crowds dancing. Halfway through the night I stepped out of myself and took just long enough to take in the scene, such a contrast from the cool telly parties I’d been to. Just a bunch of everyday people of all different ages whose lives focused around this small town, living and working and being, alongside each other.

I pledged, then and there, that this year, we would have a work’s Christmas party night.

So booking our ‘do’ was not just a way of marking an amazing, breathtaking year in which we have achieved so much. It wasn’t just the thought of a fun night out with our colleagues. It wasn’t just a way of cementing us and our little business into the fabric of this historic town.

It was the glorious realisation of a mighty, thunderous dream. Booking our Christmas do is more than a step, it is a bridge between what was and what will be. Even if it’s not quite a miraculous event, it’s pretty much up there with them.

Later, we collected our sweet pup from the vets and discussed her recovery. It will be long and arduous and needs to be handled carefully. Twelve weeks before she can go off lead.

And then I realised, twelve weeks from September 28th is exactly Friday December 21st – the night of our party!

So if Fox’s 12-week recovery goes right, December 21st will be a big night for her as well as a huge event for us.

Those momentous events that then tie in magically with other momentous events can make for quite the emotional response! All hail the Christmas Miracle!

 

 

Change your life

Hypnosis gastric band first session

So I did it. Last night I drove myself an hour away and had my first hypnotherapy session for my hypnosis gastric band!

I didn’t have the ‘surgery’ – that’s next week. Instead he just worked on giving me a vision of myself how I want to be. This is just a quick post and if you want to know more about my hypnosis gastric band watch my vlog – but oh squeeee today I feel a little bit fabulous!

 

Change your life Exante diet Hypno gastric band Weight loss

Hypno Gastric Band!

OMG – I’VE agreed to do it – the hypno gastric band!

In other words, I’m having gastric band surgery – in my mind. It’s all going to happen through hypnotherapy.

So just to recap, I met Kevin the hypnotherapist a few months ago at a networking event, we had a chat and he told me about the hypno gastric band, which he had had and then lost two stone (28 lbs) as a result.

I’ve never had hypnotherapy but I know people who have had success with hypnotherapy for smoking etc so it has stayed at the back of my mind for possibly helping me shed a few pounds. (And then, hopefully quite a few more!)

In October I have two events coming up – one is a reunion of old work colleagues and the other is I am going to take over as President of our local BNI group. The most hilarious thing ever as I never thought of myself as President material, but hey ho it’s happening!

I’ve piled loads of weight on over the summer – a mix of laziness, the heat, sitting at my computer, eating my stress away, and then just flippin eating – so it is definitely time to do something about it. I saw some photos of me recently when I did a presentation at another networking group and I looked bl**dy awful. I really don’t want to be presenting our business looking awful and I hate seeing myself look enormous on my YouTube channel.

So, if this Project Life is to be a Success, that has to include my Health as well as my Wealth!

I spoke to Kevin and frankly could not decide between these options:

1. Join a group session

2. Have some ‘normal’ hypnotherapy sessions targeting cravings etc

3. The hypno gastric band

The group sessions were cheaper but frankly I’m not too excited at the thought of talking about my failings to a group of strangers (although I’m happy to broadcast it to the world – how odd!)

The ‘normal’ sessions went a bit downhill when he started to ask what cravings I get. Apparently it’s hard to pin down ‘everything’.

I tried to explain that I wanted to be able to stick to my favourite diet – Exante – but he started going on about how diets don’t work, etc, how it’s best to make a lifestyle change etc. When as most overweight people know, if the lifestyle change was that flipping easy we would all have done it!

So I figured we wouldn’t get too far with that.

So… hypno gastric band it is!

Tuesday!

Gah!!!!!!

I’ll report back!

 

 

 

Change your life

I’m a Power-Crazed Megalomaniac!

I am set to become the President of an organisation which moves millions of pounds of business annually.

Beneath me, my support team will ensure I chair meetings without obstruction. The rest of my team will carry out their roles and I hope and anticipate the success of the organisation will continue.

I have promised my team that I will do all I can to keep my feet on the ground but there is a strong possibility that the power will turn me into a power-crazed, dictatorial megalomaniac who ignores the wishes of my minions in favour of profit, profit and profit.

I know what you’re thinking – that’s a bit of a leap isn’t it?

Yep, you’re telling me it is!

I’m joking, of course. The organisation I’m about to take charge of isn’t some huge conglomerate, it’s BNI, Business Networking International.

I can’t quite believe it’s less than a year since I joined our local BNI, because really it feels like I’ve been there forever. I have to say I love our weekly meetings, it’s such a friendly group and it has massively, massively helped our business to grow. It has paid for itself over several times over.

Now, I’m about to step into the leadership role. I’ve been asked to take over as President when the current team switch over. The very thought of it makes me giggle, I really don’t feel like a proper business person but I guess once that script is in my hand I could turn into a British female version of Donald Trump, and what a thought that would be!

I’ve got a few ideas for things I’d like to bring in, but until I get started I really don’t know what sort of freedom I will have to make any changes.

And I have some other questions, things that only time will be able to answer. Will it change me? (Aside from the Trumpness). Will it grow my business skills? Will it bring business knowledge, awareness, success? How about notoriety?

The term is initially six months but I suspect this may be a role for the next year. I’m excited to think about what I will be writing in August/September 2019. Bring it on!

 

 

Change your life

Today something amazing happened!

We have hit a huge milestone.

I’m almost embarrassed to write about it, because it may well not seem all that impressive to most people. But in the context of our own unique journey, it’s MASSIVE.

Actually, two completely utterly incredible things have happened today.

Here’s the first thing:

  1. I managed to pay everyone – that is, D, C, T and K, and we STILL have money in the bank.

Which no doubt doesn’t seem all that special, but considering only a few months ago I had to lend myself several thousand off my spare credit card so I could pay wages, because we were stuck with a few unfinished jobs and those final payments unpaid.

But today, we still have money. And not just a few hundred. A few thousand. Enough to pay all the suppliers for this month, not like usual when I pay the staff and then have to go scratching around to pay the suppliers.

This is incredible! Of course, there’s a very loud voice in my head telling me this is a one-off, it can’t possibly continue, we just got lucky in August. But there’s another, quieter but even more determined voice, telling me that we’re on track and this is the start of a different level. No one is suggesting life is going to be swimmingly easy from now on, that there won’t be any months without challenges, but we’re in a different place.

Even so, I won’t feel comfortable until we have at least six months of wages in savings. And we are some way off that.

Here’s the second thing, the really big one!

2. So here’s the big one: I paid myself.

Yep, you read it right. I actually, for the first time in forever, gave myself a decent wodge of money, on payday, at the same time as the others. Not as much as they get, but bear in mind I’ve been living off my rental income, the odd income like royalties from my TV days and the odd part time job, on top of drawing the odd small amount from the business in emergencies, so it was pretty huge in comparison.

So that means, 13 months after registering the business and 10 months after actually starting trading, I was able to pay myself.

I called D in while the payment confirmation was still up on my screen and showed him. “It feels good doesn’t it,” he said. It did, but I couldn’t get carried away. For some reason it didn’t feel amazing, probably because the voice of doubt is still too loud and too close for comfort.

So that’s partly why I’m writing this. To celebrate, quietly, today’s huge event. My first payday. From the business we have built. I say we, because it is totally both of us, but because I’m usually the one reading the map and deciding the way, I do sometimes feel like I’m on my own up at the front. And so this business is both our baby, but I’m holding the head end.

Several years ago, long before this all properly started, and at the beginning of our journey, I lay in bed and felt myself leap into the unknown. It was, truly, a leap of faith that we both took, but as it is usually me who makes the decisions, the one whose feet left the ground first was me.

Today the leap cleared a huge hurdle. Earlier I almost felt like posting this moment on Facebook, in one of my entrepreneur groups, but I held back as no doubt many people on there will have businesses that paid them from day one and they’ll see me as the foolish beginner that I am.

So here I am, telling the world. We’re on our way!!

 

Change your life

This World of Miracles!

Did you know we are surrounded by miracles?

I don’t mean miracles like turning water into wine (I’ve never managed that one!) more the sheer ability of today’s world is well and truly miraculous.

The possibilities are endless! They always were, if you were the right sort of person and had the right knowledge, backing, skills, contacts, experience and luck, but now anyone it seems – and I mean ANYONE – can do almost anything for next to nothing. And nowhere is that more visible than in the world of marketing and advertising.

I realised this yesterday because in literally two minutes I took a photo on my phone, edited it, added text, posted it to Facebook and then promoted it to reach around 3,000 people within 25 miles of us, all for nothing except for the Facebook ad charges – £30 (£5 per day over 6 days). Here it is, on my timeline:

The photo I posted on our business page and then promoted over Facebook

Even more amazingly, I did all this while sitting at the table having lunch with my parents!

Before you shake your head at my manners, I should tell you they are staying with us at the moment, so it wasn’t a once-in-six-months special. Both of them shook their heads in disbelief!

Before he retired, my lovely Dad was a commercial artist. He drew illustrations for literally anything and anybody, but mostly, for his regular clients, for books, advertising campaigns and posters so he would draw fashion, cartoons, artists’ impressions and so on. He often worked late into the night and ruined his eyesight drawing artists’ impressions of new housing developments, painstakingly drawing or painting the linework of the bricks on thirty-odd houses, the details of ornaments in the windows, as his client the developer tried to capture their sales by hitching on to dreams. His commercial drawing skills have all mostly been replaced by computers now, sad, but just the way the world has gone.

After he produced the artwork the developer would pay what I guess was a hefty invoice, then pay another hefty invoice to the printers, then paying more hefty invoices to the advertisers – newspapers, magazines, street adverts and so on. All to get their product under the eyes of potential customers.

And here am I doing all that at my kitchen table, on my phone, for thirty quid!

Like many people I have a love hate relationship with social media, I wrote here about how I’d allowed myself to start an argument on Facebook with a Facebook ‘friend’ which upset me for days. But, like most of us, I am completely addicted. And it doesn’t help that I have so many different accounts on so many different platforms…

But I can not fail to recognise how Facebook, together with all the other platforms, together with the technology that has sprung up around them, have transformed all our lives. Something that was once so costly as producing and posting an advert is now so simple I can do it while eating lunch and having a different conversation. And that is mind-blowing. As a small, new business, our ability to reach potential customers is now on a par with a multinational, even if they are spending more than £30 on it.

So here’s how I did it:

 

I hope that makes sense!

Seriously though, ten or twenty years ago this would have been a major mission – and now it is something I can do in minutes. That’s what I mean when I say the world is full of miracles, it truly truly is. There is so much opportunity now to help us grow our businesses at such small cost to time and money.

I absolutely love the WordSwag app, it is great in so many ways, just adding text to a cute photo or adding something as simple as ‘We Do Bathrooms’ to create an image that will stand out in people’s memories.

This world of ours has many many problems but I am so filled with gratitude for the amazing life that we have – or at least have access to. Truly miraculous!

 

 

 

Bob Proctor Business success Change your life

Bob Proctor M1 M2 M3 update!

Sometimes, it is so good to look back at how far you’ve come.

It is literally just over a year since I wrote about a YouTube film I watched featuring the wonderful Bob Proctor talking about M1, M2 and M3. Back then I knew I wanted to get to M3 but I was worried I wasn’t putting this into action.

In the film Bob explains there are three levels of earning and making money, and I’ll summarise them here.

M1 is the vast majority of people who get a job and swop their time for money. They literally work for their living which means their earnings will only ever be limited.

M2 people work for a living but also invest in assets that will bring them an income. This is just 3% of the population (I assume this is the US population, so it may be different in the UK).

I’m glad to say I have already shown M2 tendencies – I have a small portfolio of properties which bring me a modest rental income. In fact, this income has been my main source of income since we began our adventure to change our lives and control our own destiny. Without it I would have had to have a job and would not have had so much time to spend on our business and also on this blog.

M3 is where the money is! According to Bob, this group set up multiple sources of income and – this is key! – they get other people to do the work for them.

M3 is my goal.

In fact, it’s not only my goal. If I want to achieve a Success of my Life Project, M3 is my necessity.

But if you are reading this and thinking ‘I’m not there yet’ my best advise is not to panic.

In my opinion, Bob speaks a whole lot of wisdom and we can all take inspiration from his recordings and writings. But he speaks from his own individual experiences and journey. We must all remember that as well as absorbing words of wisdom and inspiration, we are all also on our own individual path. And sometimes that path can take its time, probably because we need time to grow with it.

A year ago I was worrying that I was holding our business back by being too M1 and not enough M3.

But it is crucial that we let inspiration and guidance support us forwards, not make us panic and doubt ourselves.

While on my project to life success I have discovered a ton of things about myself. Probably the biggest has been that I am an entrepreneur. My strengths are in big thinking, strategic planning and seeing opportunities. I struggle to do the daily grind of the more tedious tasks.

Twelve months ago, I was doing everything. We simply didn’t have the money to employ other people. Unless you have a ton of money to throw into your new business, you will probably do everything too.

But what I have found is that back then I needed to do everything. With no business background or experience, I needed to learn the what, how and why of business. And learn them I did, on an exciting, overwhelming wave of exhilaration.

Gradually, over the past year, I have gently dropped some of the things I was doing.

I no longer do payroll, although I am glad I did because now I understand how it works. This was outsourced to an accountancy firm, and I blogged here about it.

I no longer price up jobs, I wasn’t very good at it because numbers aren’t my strength, but I’m glad I did because now when T is pricing up I know exactly what he needs to add and – most importantly of all – how best to explain to and work with customers when delivering prices.

I no longer do the End of Project Guide that we always deliver to customers. T also does this, and when we employ someone under T they will do it.

I could go on, but you probably get the picture. I can see here that although I was so nervous about employing T it was the BEST thing we could have done, and our business has literally boomed since he joined us.

(In fact, problems we have had recently have come mostly from mistakes I made when pricing up and agreeing works just before he joined us, or mistakes he made in his early days. He has been able to see just why we have put certain systems in place, and we have been able to fine-tune our processes together.)

I think I’m waffling, and I hope you’re getting the picture.

To summarise, I am slowly becoming M3. I’m not there yet. But I am on my way.

My fears from my post a year ago were valid but unnecessary. I wasn’t holding us back, I was just on the right path, going at the right speed for me.

I WILL get to M3, I know it. I HAVE to! And it is sooo good to be able to look back on a year and see progress. I am soooo grateful for this incredible journey – and I can’t wait to look back on this in another year’s time, who knows where we will be then!

 

 

 

Change your life

We survived our first year!

This month, we hit our first year anniversary since registering our limited company. We didn’t actually start trading for another three months, so we’ll celebrate our anniversary properly then.

But for now, I’ve decided we can allow ourselves a little celebration.

Running a business is a bit like decorating a room, you look around you and all you see are the things you haven’t yet done. So it’s crucial to take time out to recognise what we’ve actually achieved.

Although I’m painfully aware just how far we have to go, we really have come a long, long way in a year, and we’ve grown so much. When we registered we had one employee in our other, building business. Now we have let him go and we have three new employees, yikes!

We’re vat registered and I’m almost at the point when I’m understanding what that means.

I’m a member of several networking groups and have a wide circle of professional friends who we didn’t even know a year ago.

We’ve done our first fully accessible bathroom and around a dozen others.

We’ve made mistakes and cock ups and gone round and put them right and handled ourselves really well and probably sometimes really badly.

So here’s to us. We’ve got a long way still to go, but we are on our way!

 

Change your life Property

I think I’ve had a brainwave…

…but it could be just brain freeze/meltdown. There’s quite a lot going on at the moment for my poor brain to deal with!

I joined BNI back in October, and since then it’s been brilliant for us. It’s a breakfast networking event where members of different businesses refer work to one another. So far we have had at least five jobs out of it.

I joined for the work, of course, but I had an alterior motive – I wanted to grow our power team, professionals from different sectors who we could call upon as needed. Solicitor, architect, planner, builder, etc etc. There are some fantastic people in the group and I’m very grateful I now know many of the professionals I may ever need.

But, it can be challenging. I need to bring in referrals for other members on a weekly basis, and as I spend most of my time in our office (spare bedroom) or out with the dogs I don’t always get chance to pick up work.

This weekend I think I came up with the solution, and it should benefit us too.

I don’t know when, where or how yet, but I’m thinking a little pop-up stall somewhere in the village, maybe once a month – a One-Stop Property Shop.

People will be able to come to us with any property issues, from a maintenance job to a mortgage query, advice about renting out, through to a brand new bathroom. For the things we don’t know, we will know someone who does.

I’m excited about this idea, and the few people I’ve mentioned it to have agreed.

So, just a vague notion right now, but watch this baby grow!

 

 

 

Change your life

Learning from hard times

I write this while lying on the bed, D at my side. It’s not exactly a romantic scene – he is watching highlights of golf at The Open and at his feet Frankie the dog snores gently, growling a quiet warning whenever a dog passes in the street below (I can only assume their scent drifts up through the open window).

I am propped up on my pillows, my laptop at a 45 degree angle. I’m trying not to let the commentary distract me as I blog. By my side sweet Foxy gazes at me, fixatedly. I think she is worried I’ve forgotten about our last walk of the day, and I can’t recall the last time she blinked. This is distracting, no matter how I try to ignore her.

Since I blogged about Foxy’s three-year gotcha anniversary two days ago and the difficult circumstances that surrounded her arrival, my head has been full of memories of that time, most of which I thought I had forgotten. It’s amazing how much can be triggered by re-opening a door into the past, and these last two days have given me a glimpse back into the awful feelings of high stress, of fear, worry and feeling hideously trapped, to mention just a few.

I decided to post on Facebook about it, the first time I’ve ever done so, and there have been some lovely messages of support. I really, really didn’t want it to be a moan about how I was treated, I actually don’t hold any bad feelings towards my former employer.

This bad experience wasn’t a blessing in disguise but it wasn’t a nightmare either, just another, tougher stitch on the tapestry that is life. It wasn’t the reason I left TV – I was actually very ready to do something else after nearly two decades of working in television – and we had already lined up our plans to move into property and me to join D in his business, we just expected it to happen back in Leeds, not at the other side of the country.

Rather, the whole episode served as a good push to ensure I didn’t go back to television, instead it really focused me on building the foundations for our new life. This blog is very much part of that – I make it very clear that I will not again risk my health just to make someone else rich.

Plus it made me determined to be a good employer. As we grow, we will implement the things that were lacking in the company that let me down so much – including a system to deal with and protect employees who are finding life tricky, not just retaliate with childish self-defence.

But I have to admit I also have a rather selfish reason for posting this, even if I can’t fully explain it right now.

So I’m on a journey to success, wherever and however that takes me. I can’t tell you exactly how that success will look, or exactly how I will know I have achieved it.

I just have this feeling that recording the journey, with this blog, as I go through the journey, will be of benefit in the future. I also have a feeling that sharing what I am doing – within reason – with Facebook and other social media followers is also going to end up being a good thing. Again, I don’t really know why, so I’m pretty much scrabbling around in the dark just following my gut instinct.

Many years ago, I once did not follow my gut instinct and regretted it deeply, promising my future self that I always would listen in the future. When a girl’s promised herself something there’s only one thing to do – uphold it.

So here I am. The good, the bad and the very honest.

 

 

 

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