Category Archives: - Get Organised

A Procrastinator’s Guide to Archiving and Clutter

Running a business from home is one of the most rewarding and potentially lucrative ways to earn a living. But with coffee on tap, kids demanding attention and friends dropping by, it also has the potential to be a procrastinator’s nightmare.

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Is this your desk?  by Shutterstock

Decide Where Your Office Will Be

Whatever equipment you leave in general living areas tends to become a free-for-all when it comes to using or borrowing. A small desk sectioned off from the living area of the sitting room, say, is far less tempting than a laptop lying on a coffee table amongst TV remotes and magazines.

Above the desk, fit open shelving that can hold box files or small items of office equipment like pen pots or calculators and business reference books. It’s not foolproof where children are concerned, but having an official work area tends to create a psychological, out of bounds, barrier. It has the added benefit of helping you shift gears too, since sitting down at your desk means ‘going to work’.

Use Physical and Cyber Storage to Banish Clutter

There’s no real excuse for lots of paper clutter on your desk. If you need to devise a new workflow or learn how to use excel to help you get rid of paper records, it’ll be well worth the time spent. Invoices, income records, client details, networking contacts, purchase orders and accounts can all be completed and stored online.

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Cloud storage by Shutterstock

Cloud storage is easily obtained and organised. If you’re new to cloud computing, it’s good to have a couple of free accounts to start with so you can get used to the concept. The free storage allowances are fairly generous, certainly enough to let you experiment with before you lay out any money for

If you’re doing your accounts manually, consider an online accounting company instead. There are several to choose from, and some of the best also offer bank feeds that update automatically. Perfect for procrastinators, they are hugely helpful at tax return time, and also keep year to year records safe and organised. Getting automatic reports on cash flow and profit and loss is the icing on the cake.

Some physical storage will doubtless be necessary, but you shouldn’t need more than a small cabinet. You could either repurpose existing furniture, or make room for bespoke office furniture depending on your available space.

Space for Stock

E-commerce business owners have a bigger clutter problem than service providers. A few small boxes of stock quickly becomes more than a normal house can bear when the business takes off. When you’re tired of climbing over boxes, it may be time to seek an alternative to keeping stock at home.

Self storage units are becoming ever more popular with business owners whose needs have outgrown home premises but don’t want the expense or long term commitment of warehousing. Some storage facilities report that nearly half their units are rented for business reasons. Other reasons self storage is a winner, apart from convenience and clearing the home of clutter, include:

  • Long opening hours providing convenient access
  • Short term contracts from just a week, plus easily moving up or down in storage room size
  • Town locations that are easy to get to
  • Friendly staff who’ll take delivery when you can’t be there
  • Large lockers for those who don’t need an entire unit

We all procrastinate and let clutter build up, but that doesn’t mean we should stop looking for solutions. Systems and spaces that streamline the work process make it easier to work more efficiently and waste less time. It really is possible to earn a good living and still have time for the kids, the coffee and the friends.

Drew writes for Big Yellow Self Storage and often procrastinates when it comes to tidying his desk.

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Roses are red, violets are blue…

We all LOVE flowers. So much so, we even name our kids after them because there is simply no better way to describe those we love. Lily, Iris, Jasmine, Rose, Violet, Magnolia … by naming your child after flowers you can’t help but think growth, innocence and beauty.

After all, the fact is that just like the little ones, flowers have a special way of brightening  up the day.

‘If our destiny stems from our name, then I weep for the flower named Wilt.’

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What are Habits?

Are you aware of how many habits you actually have? Probably not because a habit is something that is performed in your subconscious. It is only when you are trying to form or break a habit that you become aware of your actions. Habits can be seen as both good and bad things. This will depend on how they are affecting your life.

Some of the habits you already have include all your daily routines such as:

  • Getting dressed
  • Taking a shower
  • Brushing your teeth
  • Knowing exactly how to get to and from work
  • Washing the dishes
  • Doing the laundry
  • Making your bed after getting dressed…and the list goes on

You don’t even have to think about these things as your mind has become accustomed to your routine. Can you imagine the effort needed to actively remember how to do each step of those chores? You would end up completely exhausted at the end of every day.

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Problems arise when you are trying to form a new habit. You may want to lose 10 pounds, or you wish that your kitchen counters would be less cluttered. Both of these take time and effort to change. To keep those counters clear you would need to form a habit of finding homes for those items. This might include filing your bills, getting the kids to not leave their homework there. Or having everyone put their dishes into the dishwasher each night.

These are all small things, but you need to set up a routine so you can keep your kitchen clean and tidy. Research indicates that it takes approximately 3 to 4 weeks to form a good habit. This means for one month you need to make a huge effort into performing these tasks. After this time the effort will seem like less, just because your mind is becoming accustomed to your new actions.

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If you are trying to form a good habit it can be extremely helpful to have reminders around your home. For example if you want to lose weight to fit into a specific garment, leave your dress or trousers out where it acts as a reminder. Another idea is to write notes and leave them around your home. Maybe on the fridge door, so when you feel like snacking, you are reminded of why you are trying to lose weight.

If exercising is your new habit, remind yourself during the day that when you get home you are going to enjoy a walk. View the task as something enjoyable, not something that has to be done. This way you will look forward to getting home and walking after dinner. Remember that the more you repeat this process the quicker the habit will form.

You can find out more about changing bad habits and acquiring good ones in my new ebook The Incredible Power of Habit   now available in the Mum’s the Boss bookstore

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How to Pick Your Online Business Model

This is the year that you plan to really succeed in your online business and make it a full time income. However, in order to build a successful online business, you need to first identify the primary business model you want to follow. There are millions out there, and you may already have one in mind or have one you have committed to. If not, or if you have decided you need to change your focus, here are 8 of the most popular online business models.

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1. AdSense Site

AdSense sites are very popular with people that want a business model that is relatively simple and easy to implement. These sites usually consist of a blog or other type of website with many pages of content that is added to consistently. In order to be successful with an AdSense site, it’s important to rank well in the search engines for many long-tail keywords and to drive a lot of traffic to the site. These sites were extremely popular in the early days of the internet.

2. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketers sell other people’s products and then take a commission on the sale. Business models for affiliate marketers might consist of an ecommerce site, mini-sites on a small niche, one-page sites for a specific product. You can even sell affiliate products on Facebook pages and by using YouTube to drive traffic to an affiliate offer. Most affiliate marketers also focus on building a list they can sell other products to over and over.

3. Info products

Many internet marketers have made their fortunes creating and selling their own digital infoproducts. These might include writing ebooks and guides, creating software, designing graphics, shooting informational videos, delivering ecourses, or writing private label rights products to sell. Most infoproduct sellers expand their income by recruiting affiliates to help.

4. Ecommerce Sites

An ecommerce site is an online store where you sell either your own products, drop-ship products from other vendors, or sell products as an affiliate. They can be a little more difficult to rank in search engines due to the lack of consistent, fresh content. However, good keyword research, SEO, and an active blog can make up for that.

5. Provide Services

One of the quickest ways to make money online is to offer your services through freelance sites. You can write articles and ebooks, design graphics, sell your programming skills, or charge for virtual assistant services. If you have a great deal of experience in one area, you can also sell coaching services.

6. Membership Sites

A membership site requires customers to sign up for a recurring payment in exchange for regularly provided content. Membership sites can be ongoing or a specified length of time. They might involve regular newsletters, new private label rights content each month, or even your own coaching services. It’s certainly attractive to know you’ll earn a regular income each month.

7. Flip Sites

Some marketers love the process of building websites, so they just focus on buying or building sites, then selling them. There are auction sites that specialise in this type of model.

8. Party Plan

Party plan businesses have been around for many years.  The premise is simple – you get a distributorship licence to sell products on behalf of the company and earn commissions on your sales annd the sales of people that you recruit. There are party plans for every product you can think of: cleaning products, cooking utensiils, health and beauty supplies, stationery and cards or even gas and electricity.

Whereas traditionally these businesses required you to go out and sell face to face, increasingly they are allowing you to have a partial or even totally online business. One business at the forefront of this revolution is Younique, which offers a free website and facebook party system for its presenters

Where to Find More Ideas

The Warrior Forum has many, many types of business models that are sold through Warrior Special Offers (WSOs) which you’ll get ideas from. You can join their Warrior Room to get even more advice and ideas. You can also visit other internet marketing forums and websites where you can interact with successful internet marketers to get ideas and feedback.

How to Pick Your Business Model

With so many internet business models to choose from, it’s a challenge to pick just one to start with. Try looking first at what appeals to you straight away. What stands out? Then think about whether you already have the skills or whether you will need to learn them. Is there anyone you can easily outsource to if you don’t have the skills yourself? How much will it cost to implement this business model? Do you have the funds? Once you’ve answered these questions, just pick a model and run with it.

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While you may need to do some more research to get a good grasp of the details and understand what’s involved in each model, you need to make a decision sooner rather than later. You’ll never make any money online if you don’t just dive in and get moving. So pick an online business model that appeals to you, put the blinders on and move ahead.

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Five characteristics of a successful direct seller

More people are turning to direct selling as an attractive career option. Indeed there are now 91 million direct sellers worldwide. A key pull is the flexibility direct selling brings, enabling a healthy work/life balance. In addition, the sociable nature of the industry and the chance to discuss products that they are truly passionate about are other factors that are drawing people to this thriving industry.

Paula Gorry, UK Business Development Manager, Stampin’ Up! UK – a leading craft company which operates via a network of direct sellers – explores the traits needed to make the most of the opportunities available in this industry.

1: Product passion

A successful direct seller will always be passionate about their product and will use that passion as a source of motivation. There are a range of products available within the industry including cosmetics, cleaning products, nutritional products, homewares and paper craft supplies to name a few.

With this breadth of choice, it’s important to carefully select the type of product you wish to sell. Being enthusiastic about your product will ease the selling process – making it much more fun to continue expanding the business. The independence that is synonymous with direct selling means you have to be self-motivated and this should follow naturally if you are selling a product you believe in.

2:  A knack for networking!

Social interaction is very important in direct selling. In a typical direct selling environment sales are conducted face to face with products demonstrated to an individual or a group. This helps to explain why it’s a great way to meet new people.

shutterstock_11316961Party plan at home – by Shutterstock

Whether you are greeting mums on the school run or hosting a party for friends, both are great examples of networking in order to build your customer base. However, the dynamic direct seller will also utilise digital channels to grow their network and drive sales.

Online platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook will help you to share your product to a wider audience anytime, anywhere. The key is successfully striking a balance between classic face-to-face interaction and digital communication.

3: Crazy about customer engagement

Once you’ve picked a product and established a customer network, you need to think about how you are going to engage your customers and keep them coming back for more. A successful direct seller will go that extra mile by thinking outside the box. For example, you may host product parties but what about themed parties, birthday parties or hen parties?

While traditional methods of customer engagement are essential, we now live in an age of multichannel communication. Therefore a holistic approach to keeping customers engaged is required. Keep up regular communications via social media channels as well as regular email bulletins.

Customer care should always remain high on the priority list of engagement strategies. The better you treat your customers the more likely they will keep coming back. This is a timeless piece of advice among direct selling circles and with good reason too.

4. Talented at time management

As a business model, direct selling is flexible Sellers are able to expand their business as much or as little as they want, enabling them to balance their work with other commitments such as family life. However, what you get out of a direct selling business depends on how much you’re prepared to put in.

It is important to strategically manage your use of time and create a routine that works for you. Many direct sellers find that a business plan, with key goals and milestones is an effective way of staying on track.

5. Mad about the media

Another great way of getting your product out there is by developing a media profile. As part of this process, it is essential to target your messages to the right audience. In other words, deliver content along media channels that are most likely to reach your prospective buyers. This could include actively engaging in popular business or mumpreneur forums with advice or tips, or creating a knowledge-sharing blog about your direct selling business.

Meanwhile, interviews with the local press on subjects such as how you have transformed your hobby into a successful business venture are a great way of raising your profile in the local community.

Starting School

The end of another school year, every year goes by faster than the previous year. It really is no time since my youngest daughter was starting school and I was starting a new course to update my C.V. and improve my career prospects. That was almost a year ago, now we are at the end of her reception year and my eldest daughter will be starting her final year at primary school come September!

It has been a different experience for each of my three children starting school. For Georgia it was such a new experience starting a new school. Kyle was already familiar with the school, dropping his sister off for two years before it was his turn to start and Guin really couldn’t wait for her turn to start school. She had been popping into school all of her life!

There were so many things to worry about when Georgia started school, she didn’t know anyone at the school, non of her pre school friends were going to the same school as her. The list of school uniform, PE kit, school bag, book bag…. seemed endless.

Prior to the big first day we practiced putting on her uniform and changing into her PE kit. It seems like only yesterday she was four years old and I was leaving her at school for the first time, hiding how worried I was, trying hard not to cry as I wave bye bye.

For a very long time Kyle would have preferred to be at home rather than school, as with most things this eventually resolved itself. Thankfully he doesn’t have sore throat, ear ache, neck ache or any other ache most mornings now.

Though it will be one of Guin’s first days at school that will always make me smile. Being very independent she got dressed before breakfast, I was so proud of her managing all by herself. I did however forget to check that she had remembered her pants and discovered at school she hadn’t! Spare pants kept in the PE kit is very useful for such emergencies.

Experience has taught me that I don’t like to leave shoe shopping until the weekend before school starts again. Today’s school uniforms are hard wearing, often with a 100 day guarantee and is  really very reasonable, so doesn’t need to be two sizes too big as I remember my school uniform being.

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Even labelling everything doesn’t prevent it vanishing, so spares are handy until the lost items make their way back home. Finally a bulk buy of black gloves, the style that can be worn on either hand are brilliant, my children rarely bring two gloves back home at the end of the day.

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How to Set Up a Good School Routine from the Start

Any busy parent will know that the school mornings aren’t the easiest days in the week. In fact, having one that is stress-free is a miracle for most families. Rushing around in the mornings trying to get everybody out of the door, complete with bags, coats, kits, lunches and their school blazer, is enough to make your blood pressure soar! Fancy making it a bit easier for yourself? Set up a good school routine as soon as you can, and you’ll soon be able to enjoy the mornings again, without the associated hypertension.

Set up a bathroom schedule

This is ideal if your kids all share the same bathroom. As they get older, they’ll want more privacy as they get ready, and by setting up a bathroom schedule, they can all have their own turn in there without squabbling and stressing you out.

Delegate

As a parent, you shouldn’t have to do everything for your kids – especially as they get older. Delegate some tasks to help build their independence, while also taking the stress off you. From getting their own breakfast to putting their bags by the door, little things can really help.
Remember that it’s not all up to you. While you will need to help them when they’re little, as they grow they should be able to be a little more independent, meaning the pressure on you will alleviate at least a bit.

Do things the night before

Prepare whatever you can the night before. What takes five minutes of an evening can take twice as long in the morning when you have kids running around your feet. Make sure their bags are packed, lunches are prepped and uniform is ready the night before, and you won’t have to worry about it in the morning.

Make sure that they have plenty of uniform options in their wardrobe – if you buy things from affordable places, such as the George at ASDA’s school blazer, trousers and shirt, there’s no reason why you can’t have a good selection in their wardrobe all the time. Make sure that they lay it out ready to go, complete with underwear and socks, and they won’t have to worry about that in the morning, either.

Keep a calendar

If you keep a calendar to hand all the time, you’ll never forget anything. It’s easy to get stressed in the time before school if you don’t remember what’s going on that day. Extra-curricular activities, school trips and PE kits all need to be remembered and a family calendar on the wall is all you need to know what’s happening, and when. The family calendars that you can buy are ideal for this due to the different columns available for different family members.

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Do as much as you can the night before and instil good habits in your kids and your school routine will be honed to perfection (or near enough!) in no time.

Images courtesy of free digital photos

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Mumpreneur Profile: Rebecca Newenham of Get Ahead VA

 

Get Ahead VA

Rebecca Newenham

Rebecca Newenham started her business Get Ahead VA in 2010 after looking for a flexible work solution that could fit around her lifestyle and her three daughters – now 12, 10 and 8. Four years later, Rebecca now runs a team of over 30 virtual assistants – many of whom are mothers themselves and benefit from the flexibility that working for Get Ahead VA delivers. Continue reading

Slimpod Fitness Challenge for June – add your miles to our Round Britain Challenge

I bet some of you have been thinking about losing weight again now that the sunny weather has arrived. And if not going on a diet, then at least I bet you would like to go out and get fitter.

If you are looking for some motivation to take some gentle daily exercise then please take a look at the Slimpod Round Britain challenge, currently being hosted on the Thinking Slimmer Facebook page

 

Essentially it’s a bit of fun, you do some exercise every day, log your miles along with everybody else, and I add them up, total them and plot the total distance around the coast of the UK,  People add in photos as we pass by places that they know, and I chuck in some landmark photos from Google maps.

So if you are out walking, running, cycling or swimming this summer then please come along and join in – then tag your friends and let’s all walk together.

If you are looking to lose some weight too then why not grab yourself a Slimpod.  They were reviewed in the Daily Express today.

How I got rid of 5 stone in just 10 minutes a day 

Essentially it’s a 10 minute download that you listen to every day.  Alongside that you keep a daily journal and there is a great facebook group to join for motivation and support.  What a simple and social way to get fitter and lose weight.

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What’s not to like?  Perhaps the price?  Well how about you follow this link to Thinking Slimmer  and get a 25% discount when you check out your Slimpod.

So I hope to see you joining in with team Slimpod in the Round Britain challenge.  Get out and get exercising – you know you want to.

 

 

 

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Introducing Mum’s little Helper – just what every busy mum needs

I’ve just got back from my two week rock tour.  I’ve had an amazing time, but it certainly feels difficult to get back to work after time away.The inbox is just piled high, and my husband and children have trashed the house and garden while I’ve been away.  It’s hard knowing just where to start…

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The sad truth about running your own business is that if you don’t do stuff it just doesn’t get done. If you take time away then stuff just piles up  It can feel like a never ending struggle trying to hold together your business and your home life.  Something has just got to give – something has got to be delegated.  Even if it is just now and again while you are super busy. Continue reading