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Glorious New Day

And then just like that… we’ve had a great few days.

All the fears and concerns of the first half of the week have been forgotten.

Life is amazing.

Business is amazing.

We have got this.

The future is certain.

The future is glorious!

We can finally book that world cruise!!

Nothing can stop us and we will never fail again!!!

Ok, I’d better stop dreaming. But still, it has been such a good week they all got to the pub on Friday, which is the week end that I have been dreaming about!

I can’t believe I only posted on Wednesday about various issues with staff which had us all worried. There were concerns over staff moral, would we ever manage to finish a job early, would we even manage to finish anything on time, ever again?

This week started, as they all do, with our Monday morning meeting, but this week was the first time D really laid into the lads about the following:

  • Doing things his way (because he’s had years of discovering which is the best way)
  • Respecting each other
  • Checking, checking and double-checking
  • Keeping the van tidy
  • Calling him if in doubt
  • Etc etc et

It was a good meeting. We always try to make it a collaboration even if there are some strong words to be said. We try to be leaders, not bullies.

This week could have gone disastrously and on Wednesday I was only too aware of that. We still had last week’s job – a kitchen – to finish, even though D had worked all through the weekend it was a long way from being done and it wasn’t clear why (he did later admit he had gone the extra mile with the tiling and created loads of small cuts just to centralise everything, when being slightly off-centre would have looked just as good and given this was a cheap rental, no one would ever care, but that’s just his own personal battle with being perfect).

So although all three got to this week’s job on Monday, D ended up leaving C and K, got held up in traffic, didn’t get to the kitchen until late and so still needed a full day there on Tuesday.

Our new van, purchased last week, has developed a fault which the vendor agreed to honour under the warranty. So Tuesday morning I headed an hour north, carrying my laptop and prepared to spend the 3 hours needed in the café nearby. Of course it ran on, finally at 5.30 pm he gave me a different vehicle and so I got home hours late after spending most of the day with no phone signal so unable to do any of the calls I had planned on doing. I did write a fabulous Halloween-pun-ridden script for BNI though!

I hardly dared inquire about the progress on Tuesday but although it was a long day things seemed to be ok and the kitchen was finally finished. As I sat frustratedly in the café on Tuesday, T text me, worried about team moral.

So at 10 am Wednesday, as I left BNI and called D, tentatively, to find out how things were going, I was so relieved to hear he had finally been able to join C and K on this week’s job and amazingly the progress seemed to have been good.

He was really happy with what they had got done.

In addition, they had both called D with questions when they hit problems and seemed to have really taken on board the issues raised on Monday.

Later on Wednesday something amazing happened – the customer waited until only young C was around and had a go at him. It was pretty unreasonable, but it was the behaviour of a man who is uncomfortable with being out of control. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it had the magical effect of grouping our little gang together around C.

There is nothing like a common enemy to unite a band of bros!

The hope was we would be finished on Friday morning but it was actually 3 pm before the guys made it to the pub. But, my dear dear universe, THEY MADE IT TO THE PUB AND THEY HAD A PINT TOGETHER.

Ok, this is not an exact pint consumed by our triumphant team – but they looked pretty similar to this one

It’s hard to describe just how important this is for us. Suddenly opportunities sparkle in front of us. We are a successful business which finishes early on a Friday. Our lads go for a pint together. T went to look at a job to refurb four – YES FOUR – shower rooms in a social services home. Ooh, our first commercial job!

Oh mighty-oh-may, how things so magically play!

Of course it’s not perfect but compared to how the week could have gone, it’s amazing. AMAZING!! AMMMMAAAAAAAAZZZZING!!!!!!

And so I’m sitting up in bed at 10 am on Sunday morning writing this, literally fizzling with gratitude for the wonderful week we have had. Progress was made this week and achievement was achieved.

Whatever challenges next week brings (and there will be some!) we know we can do it.

 

 

Becoming employers Hiring your first employee HMRC Start a business

No more paydays!

For years, payroll was a mystery to me.

I knew how to make payments online, of course, but how a company actually made the action of transferring sums of cash into its employees’ accounts was shrouded in the deep unknown.

 

When we took on our first employee, Craig, in July 2016, I looked into finding someone to do the act of payroll for us. I asked around.

Our accountants wanted around £250/year for the privilege of doing it. And, of course, they strongly advised we took them up on the offer.

But others, both real people and those online, assured me it wasn’t hard at all and there was no reason why I couldn’t do it.

I watched several HMRC YouTube videos which helped explained the process.

The advice team at the Federation of Small Businesses, which we had joined a couple of months previously, were really helpful. (I recommend joining this fabulous organisation if you are considering going into business, if only for the free legal advice line alone).

And so I downloaded HMRC’s free software, Basic PAYE Tools, and got started. It really was quite straightforward. I followed simple steps and suddenly we were away.

Things that had been completely mysterious to me before suddenly started to come clear. A tax code is the bracket each person is put in so HMRC knows how to tax them. The amount of National Insurance and Tax that needs to be paid is clearly outlined to you once you have inputted those details. Payroll is paid when a finger on the hand of a person’s hand presses the ‘Pay’ key. Quelle mystique!

And so we continued. Until things got a little more complicated. Basic PAYE Tools is fabulous, but it doesn’t allow you to print payslips, and, try as I might, I could not find payslip software that worked with Apple Mac.

Then when we registered our new limited company this summer we decided Craig should be dismissed from the partnership business we had previously run, and be immediately hired by the limited company. In an attempt to tidy up the payment process, I set up payroll on Xero, the online accounting system we started to use round about October last year.

It took me some time to get used to Xero but once I did, I found it superb – slick and straightforward. Unfortunately, the payroll section was not quite so clear. Without realising, I made a mistake that meant that Craig’s earnings from the previous financial year were added to his current earnings for this year, and on our October pay day he was taxed heavily.

It was time to let the experts take over!

Our new accountant, Mark, recommended a payroll firm and I made contact with them. Through several long conversations – the one thing you realise is that tax is a complicated subject and even the experts can need to take their time to ensure they have fully understood it – things eventually became clear.

Nothing of course moves quickly in the world of tax and HMRC. For a new accountant to deal with your affairs HMRC needs to send you an authorisation code. You then give it to the new agent and HMRC will then recognise them. It’s all standard security practice, of course, but it doesn’t half take forever when you are anxiously waiting to hear that everything will be restored with the next payday. Craig had taken the disaster pretty well but I knew his patience would not extend into a second month.

The authorisation code finally arrived two days before payday and the new accountants were able to send me proper payslips. As I printed them out, it felt like we were once again moving up another step into the world of running a successful business.

So am I glad I decided to do our own payroll?

Yes, I am glad that I took the decision to do my own payroll – at least for a short time.

Craig, of course, may not agree with this because I know his month was a stressful one (so was mine, but differently!)

In hindsight, I enjoyed doing payroll but I am glad and relieved to have passed the responsibility on. I am so glad I did it for just over a year, because now I understand the process enough to go forward and it will help me deal with any potential future issues.

But, being very honest, handing over is a relief. No more pay day scrambles, and no more panics over getting things wrong!

One thing to remember is as an employer you are expected to be almost super human and never to get anything wrong. Employees and their family and friends have a remarkable ability to forget that employers, especially start up business owners, are people just like them, on a huge journey of learning and discovery.

The responsibility of funding someone’s life every month is a big one, and definitely, DEFINITELY not for the faint-hearted.

 

 

 

 

 

Business success Positive action Positive Thinking Start a business

A Look Back on October

As with life, business is full of unexpected twists and turns, flips and fuggles and October 2017 has been just that.

As we approach the final day of the month – Hallowe’en (which as someone with a phobia of zombies is really not much fun at all) it is surprising how much things have changed in just 31 days.

And then I suppose that is life itself – you can tread water for ages before suddenly a huge wave comes along that sweeps you somewhere completely unexpected, leaving you tumbling headfirst into new waters trying to catch your breath and hoping your swimsuit hasn’t ended up in a compromising position.

We hadn’t been treading water exactly. The last few years have been full of steady growth – of us, as well as the business. But this month, our first month trading officially as our bathroom business, has definitely been all about swimming in a very different ocean from before.

So we were always due to hit a few waves as we crossed into new waters.

In short, October 2017 has been challenging, rewarding, terrifying, frustrating, demanding and – overall – exciting!

We started our first job under the new company banner on October 2nd. A dated, traditional bathroom to be transformed into a luxury shower room for its elderly residents. It was always going to be a challenge to complete within two weeks as they also wanted a storage unit to be built in one corner, but it was just about do-able.

It wasn’t just the new business name, this was the start of our new way of working, our new approach of scheduling jobs into timescales and making them happen, as opposed to a less confident, slightly airy-fairy approach of things taking as long as they need to take – impossible to plan around. Dean and our newly-trained employee Craig were fired up and ready for the new challenge.

Meanwhile, in my office I was feeling pleasantly smug that we were in a seriously good place. Carla, our wonderful VA, and I had some highly polished systems and we were ready to get busy! We got on great, the time difference between the UK (me) and the Philippines (Carla) completely irrelevant. Her loyalty to us and her excitement for our future matched mine.

And then, the worst happened – she became ill. A few days off turned into a week, then, because she hoped to be able to come back, stretched into a few weeks. I have no reason not to believe her – she has sent me the medical documents, although I didn’t ask – but sadly it looks like she will need surgery before things will improve.

At first her work sat undone, waiting for her return. But when she did attempt to work, it was clear she wasn’t able to concentrate and mistakes were made. Eventually, last week I had to tell her that we would find someone else – someone temporary – in the hope that Carla can return to work eventually.

I called a lovely lady who runs an admin support service, who I had met at a networking event, and as I type this she is beavering away at the mountain of receipts that has mounted up as I waited for Carla’s return.

Staffing, and managing staffing, and knowing how to manage staffing, will be one of the biggest challenges ongoing, I can tell!

Back to the bathroom, which proved to be extremely tough. Once the bathroom was stripped out, everything that could have been tricky or challenging proved to be. The pipework was strange, the drainage challenging.

Dean made a couple of silly mistakes, that he kicked himself for, including prepping the room for a shower tray that measured 160cm in length.

Missing out the crucial extra 20 cm that he needed for the 180 cm tray ordered and paid for and waiting in the couple’s garage!

Actually I may have kicked him for that one, too.

A replacement tray was ordered, and the couple agreed they would be happy with the smaller size. I reduced their bill for the inconvenience – it seemed the right thing to do. Other challenges were – eventually – conquered – and they are pleased with the outcome. We need to go back for one more day to fit the storage unit doors and fit a last trim to the splashback around the basin. We have lost a lot of money on this job, and it will hit us hard.

But the learning was priceless. Even as we pushed our way through it all, both Dean and I had a strong feeling that everything that was happening was right and was happening because it needed to.

As a result, we have sharpened up our practices, improved the wording of how we go to price up jobs and – hopefully – put a few systems in place to prevent silly mistakes from being made.

The next two jobs – one completed and one still ongoing – another elderly couple going from bathroom to shower room – have both gone completely differently. We took the learnings from the first job, and both have been much kinder to us anyway.

As a result of receiving so many inquiries from older people, we also decided to register for VAT sooner rather than later. It was – still is! – a complete unknown for both of us, but October 1st was our start date and so October 31st will be the date of our first return. Gosh. Kind of sums up the whole rollercoaster of a month.

Oh and in between it all we are working on our own house. We finally have some heating installed, the kitchen is ripped out and the skeleton of the downstairs is being revealed – stones and timbers that haven’t seen the light of day since approximately 1790. What a gift to have the opportunity to transform a property. What an honour.

Oh! The learning curves can be breathtaking at times but the journey is spectacular! Here’s to November!

 

 

Attitude of Gratitude Attracting Income Attracting Success Cashflow Change your Mindset Foxy Loves Positive action Positive Thinking Start a business

On the up!

Hurrah! We got paid.

I knew we would, it was just  matter of time. And after weeks of scrimping and holding my breath (and wallet) it makes it all the sweeter!

So I celebrated, with a walk across local field with the dogs, on a beautiful frosty morning. Because we have money – and all is well with the world!

I also just had to share our beautiful lurchers Foxy and Frankie running across the frosted wintery fields – they had so much fun!! Foxy Loves Frost, we discovered!!

If you have a half-second to subscribe to my YouTube channel and show me some support, I would be so grateful!

 

Project Life Success – changing career aged 40+ and building my own business!

 

 

Attitude of Gratitude Attracting Income Attracting Success Business success Change your life Positive action Positive Thinking Start a business

EEEEEkkkkkkk!!!!

We’ve done it! We got the job!

When I started out on my journey to change my life and build a business (or four), this was one of those goals I could only dream about.

Last night there was a knock on the door. When I opened it, standing there was a local businessman who asked us to quote for a big insurance job on his property back in July.

We went to look, priced it up, and sent off our quote. There were a few questions from the insurance company, which we answered, and since then it has all been quiet. About two weeks ago I went through the spreadsheet of jobs and nearly scratched it off, thinking it had obviously gone to someone else.

But we’ve got it! And he wants us to start ASAP!

This is going to be our first proper, big, job. One in which we will hire contractors, be fully responsible for Health and Safety, plus everything else!

It’s a little scary but it’s going to be good – I hope. If all goes well, it should put some money in the bank, confirm all our systems and boost us in confidence and experience.

I’M SO FREAKING GRATEFUL!!! AND HAPPY!! AND EXCITED!!!!!

Ohhh, and in other news I just skyped my new Chinese shipping contact… regarding the next product we will be selling on Amazon (we being me, plus the dogs). There’s a big holiday coming up in China in the first week of October, so we’ve agreed to wait until after the holiday to ship. It means our cartons will sit in the Chinese warehouse for another two weeks and then we will be under pressure to get the product live for Black Friday and the holiday shipping season, but better than our packages getting lost somewhere in the South China Sea.

I also just downloaded the photos I shot last week of Foxy modelling what will be our third product (I borrowed a neighbour’s home), and I’m about to send them off to the designer for him to work his magic ready to post on the Amazon listing.

Also, the wonderful editor I hired has just sent through the lastest cut of one of the films we are making for our client – it looks great. I’ll wait until she has finished the second in the order before sending off to the client for feedback.

And now D and I will sit down together and go through dates, upcoming jobs and aim to get a start date for THE BIG ONE. All this while our employee Craig sorts out D’s van, tidies up the outhouse and makes a basic inventory of all tools, materials and sundries. Something that normally D would have had to do, or just would never have gotten around to doing.

So, from elation to shipping to images to clear-up to films and strategic planning. And it just turned 1 pm. I don’t think that’s bad for a morning’s work!

 

I’m changing my life and building a business of my own in my 40s – follow my journey!

 

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Attracting Income Attracting Success Business success Change your life Change your Mindset Gary Vaynerchuk Habits of Success Inspirational video Start a business

Everyone loves a motivational video…

But do they act on them?

Gary Vaynerchuk says he hates motivational videos!

“People love the feeling of being motivated. But they don’t like putting in the work to do something about the feeling.”

True?

……………………………………… probably 🙁

So to add some extra motor to his message here’s a fascinating insight into his life.

With the usual focus. Commitment. Dedication. Energy. Fury. Ranting. Passion. And lots of Effing!

Over 65,000 views! I wonder how many of the viewers have actually acted on it?

Will you?

Attracting Income Attracting Success Business success Change your life Change your Mindset Gary Vaynerchuk Habits of Success Inspirational video Positive action Start a business

So you think you’re too old to try for success?

Gary Vaynerchuk says you’re not!

If you’re one of those 40-plus-year-olds who thinks “I’m too old to change my life” – watch this video.

Another inspiring message from the dynamic Gary Vaynerchuk, aimed at those aged 40 and over – way over!

Yes we might not have the self-belief of 20-year-olds, but we have experience. No business experience in my case, but life experience.

And that’s got to count for something, right?

If you’ve also been driving for more than half of your entire life it’s easy to think we don’t stand a chance against the young kids with their energy, enthusiasm and techy habits.

We tell ourselves they’re not held back by mortgages, commitments or a bad back.

If you let yourself think you were too old to change your life or to try for success, watch this! Think again! And then share it!

Attracting Income Attracting Success Business success Change your life Change your Mindset Gary Vaynerchuk Habits of Success Positive action Positive Thinking Start a business

Get up, get your hustle on!

I’m sitting here at eleven minutes past midnight on Saturday night, writing Risk Assessments for jobs we have coming up in the next few weeks… because that’s how I role these days.

It’s going to be hard to get up early tomorrow, get the dogs walked and then crack on with work, but I know if I do I will feel so much bettter about myself than if I get up late.

Makes me think like I need me a little Gary Vaynerchuk motivation…

Over 20,000 views in 2 days…

WAKE UP:AND GRIND!!!

 

Becoming employers Business success Change your life Hiring your first employee HMRC Make money online Personal fulfillment Positive action Register a business Sole trader Sole trader vs Limited company Start a business

I’ve done it!

Today was, truly, momentous!

I received confirmation from HMRC – Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, no less – that my businesses are officially incorporated as Limited companies.

My online e-commerce business and my lil baby marketing company officially exist!

Because of the costs involved in running a limited company, I will actually put them into dormant mode, as soon as the paperwork arrives from HMRC (I’ve been told I can do that and I sure hope I can).

Then I’ll continue to run them both as a sole trader, until I earn enough to warrant having an accountant and doing all the regular accountancy shenanigans that a limited company would require. But at least the names will be registered.

So exciting to receive the Certificate by email, and quite emotional too… 🙂

Plus…

Our renovation business has a second employee!

The wonderful A has joined us, initially for 2 hours a week to do the paperwork, filing receipts, completing jobs and so on.

Actually it’s a role that I think will start basic but grow.

A is a formidable character who won’t be afraid to demand receipts/accounts/details from D and I – and we’ll be scared enough of her to make sure we deliver them. Just who we need to move our business forward.

I felt quite proud as I sat with her today and went through our systems. We really do have the foundations right. My very basic spreadsheets all make sense and even my colour coding didn’t look too frivolous. Now we just need to continue putting the bricks into the walls in the right order and keep building this baby 🙂

Attitude of Gratitude Attracting Income Attracting Success Business success Change your Mindset Make money online Overcoming Doubt Positive action Positive Thinking Start a business

What is Life Success?

What does it take to make life a success?

And what does a successful life look like?

These are two questions I’ve asked myself a lot recently – because I’m on a journey to make success a reality.

For the past twenty years, I’ve worked hard. Firstly as a journalist, and then as a television producer and director, travelling the world making all sorts of programmes.

It sounds glamorous, but the reality is it’s been hard work.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved it, but recently it’s become harder and harder to constantly be away from home. In 2014, I slept in over 140 different beds – that’s over a third of the year in hotels. And trust me that loses its glamour pretty quickly.

Then 12 months ago, four months into an incredibly stressful, and exhausting job, I was taken to hospital after suffering what appeared to be a stroke – at 42 years old. Luckily, it turned out to be a very severe anxiety attack – the result of working flat-out for a boss who didn’t appreciate anything I did, and actually quibbled over my request to take two days off – out of four months of long, long days – to bake and decorate my step-grandson’s first birthday cake.

Unbelievable.

Obviously, I was incredibly relieved it wasn’t more serious. But it was a massive wake up call, as I recovered, I made a vow to myself – I would never work for anyone else again.

I have always wanted to run my own business, and at last it was time to do that. There literally was no going back.

Once I felt strong enough, I threw myself into educating myself and changing my beliefs. I had some serious stuff to overcome. The biggest thing holding most of us back is ourselves, and our inner lack of self-confidence, and that has definitely stopped me in the past.

But I’ve already learned some amazing tricks for banishing that negativity, and I can’t wait to share them with you.

I’ve never felt so determined to make something work, and I had some ideas of what I could do to ensure I never had to work for anyone else again.

Three main factors have guided me along this past year:

  1. My dream of starting and running my own business.
  2. A love of property.
  3. The exciting possibility of making money online.

Slowly, but steadily, I’ve started to see progress.

Right now, life is so exciting that I decided I had to share it, so I started this blog – Project Life Success.

My Life Success has literally become a Project.

I’ll be sharing my progress, as well as some of the amazing stuff I come across from other people who have already managed to leave their jobs and become financially free.

Will I be rich?

I don’t know.

And then the question is, what is rich?

Because rich is different things to different people.

The experts say the first step to success is to make some goals. And that makes perfect sense – because if you don’t set goals, how do you know where you’re going? And how will you know when you get there?

Of course, goals change, evolve and grow but my first goal is to earn £1,000 every month through my new ventures.

That’s not enough to live on, but if I can earn £1000 a month then I can earn £10,000 a month, just by doing more of the same thing, surely? And that would be much more than I’ve ever earned in a month.

If dumping the boss is something that interests you, or if you’ve ever felt like running your own business, getting into property or making money online, I’d love for you to join me on my journey.

Who knows what will happen?

I have no idea, but I promise to document my journey honestly and openly.

I really look forward to sharing my journey with you.

And who knows, maybe one day I can inspire or help you to fulfill your dreams too?

 

 

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