Are frenemies good for you?

To put it bluntly and to save you some time – the answer is: “No!”

I know that people are often scared about what will the others think. In this time and age everyone knows about everyone, right? But do you really have to waste any energy even thinking about this? Yes, there will always be people, who will not want you to succeed, who will try to laugh at you or who will try to ridicule what you do. So what? No, really – SO WHAT? I wrote about this in my post on toxic people some time ago.

Think about it the other way round. If someone goes all the way to find out the details about what you are doing instead of doing something constructive for themselves – isn’t there something sad about it? What really happened to their dignity that they have to belittle others to build their self-worth? O.K., they might find temporary satisfaction from learning about your struggles or they might have someone chiming in. But you don’t need to care, you are too busy with your own business, right? Rather than wasting time on toxic people on social media – work on your new project. That is what will pay off.

I did have this kind of conversation with someone recently and it even happened to me. I admit that I am always surprised that people need to do that. But remember. You are building something for yourself, that is build purely on your own effort, knowledge and ability. No one can tear it down just by words that are often empty and without substance. Don’t pay attention to what your frenemies are doing or saying – and keep on going my friends 🙂

When everything is too much…

I am at that stage and I thought that I will share it. I think all sides should be shown. Not only the happy and optimistic one – i.e. just plan, get organised, get routine going and you will get there…

Today I feel completely different and it is not for the first time. After all my planning and research, I see this massive and mean MASSIVE hill. Immense amount of work that needs to be done and immense amount of after hours that will have to be put into different projects. On the top of it, I know that at my 9-5 work the busiest period is coming and I will be coming home feeling like squeezed lemon. At this stage, I am not sure if it is all worth it. Will I ever break free and do what I truly love? Or will I have to do my hours and save from the little I am paid.

At this stage, I am scaling down my ambitious plans and focusing on things that:

  1. I love to do and therefore I will be able to carry on with
  2. are essential for the day to day business and cannot be dropped
  3. not looking at analytics too often and reducing learning hours
  4. putting on hold shiny objects that I really wanted but I know that
  5. there are not enough hours in the day

I do know that this is a mini-burnout and I need to make certain changes. I think the feeling that “I will never get there” is one of the most damaging and numbing to small business and solopreneurs. It is the more nudging as these feelings are often faced alone.

However, I know this is just part of the journey. The journey is by no means rosy. It is a hard work. It is many hours which could have been spent differently (i.e. watching Netflix or YouTube). So if you are at this point as well, don’t despair. Take a deep breath and pause to have a quick mental check. Look at all possible things that can help you – your family, friend, community or someone in a similar line of business. Take it as a part of the journey towards your goals. And yes, it will get better 🙂

Get (more) scientific with your business strategy

Know your weaknesses! This one has helped a lot, especially this year. I know that I am quite emotional about my business. I tend to think that what I like – others will like or that what I need – others will need. I have quickly learned that this is not the case. Basically, there HAS to be a research stage before launching new product or service. I just did not ask myself very fundamental questions:

1. Is there a demand?

2. Is it a reasonable demand?

3. Can I provide better product/improved one?

Now I am not so fixated on certain products and services – and if I see there is no demand – I am ready to drop them.

Another mistake I have been making is rather strange – I have spent far too much time on aspects of my business that I enjoyed and I have neglected other parts that were also or maybe even more important. It stemmed mainly from me thinking that my business is an extension of my hobby…Now I know that no matter how small the business is, it has to be treated as a business and NOT as a leisure activity.

I am planning lot more. Example below. I am thinking through the Year first. Then I break it into Quarters and then into smaller units. I have noticed that weekly planning works best for me.

This year has been mostly about transforming from an amateurish approach to more structured and more scientific approach. I will let you know whether it paid of in January 🙂

Not perfect but serves the purpose. Also satisfies my colour coding habit.

When work morale is low…

I do love spring but I have noticed that spring is not good for my business. I have no explanation for it except for the obvious ones – there are no big holidays, people are more outdoors and not spending that much time online, it is a slow season even for big business and so on.

No matter what I say to myself, the fact is that the business is slow and sometimes so slow that there is none. At this time it is very important to stay motivated and not to become sluggish. It is a Herculean task, I know but with a little bit of organisation it can be done.

First, I start with spring cleaning. Nicely organised and clean desk always looks nice and is more inviting. Next, going through my numerous files that piled up on the desktop so I can hardly find anything on it. It is a time when I do not need to fill order so frantically so I can rethink few strategies that don’t work and some products that do not work anymore. And last but not least, I bring in some new ideas. It is the only time when I have more time to look around, read some inspirational blog posts and watch some motivational videos.

This is also the only time of the year when I am grateful to have my full-time job and not having to stress so much as I know that there will be a cheque at the end of the month waiting for me.

All in all, I try to shake off the low work moral that creeps on me every year during this time. I know it will pass as it always had. So just keep on hanging in there dear friends!

My 5 regrets as an mini solo-enterpreneur

This post is going to be one of the shortest but perhaps one of the most useful ones. I tend to write about a lot about my own experiences and feeling – and those topics are frankly very specific. However, the following points might help you to avoid some mistakes, I have made and I am still making.

  1. Not reading reviews of my products – not that I am so aloof but I am simply too nervous to read the negative reviews, it might be something that grew in me since school years, constantly being assessed is not pleasant but if you want to have a better product – you have to do it 🙂

2. Creating products no one is looking for – I always think up a fantastic product and spend too much time on it, yet there is no buyer for it, simply they do not know this product exists and it is beyond my marketing resources to get it in front the right audience

3. Not diving deep into the niche – going too broad into items that are already saturating the market rather then picking something specific for a group that is underserved

4. Chasing shiny objects – I am blaming You Tube here :), I do spend too much effort on emulating someone else’s way to success

5. Doing too many things at once – I always feel that I am lazy if I don’t do ten things at once :), only recently I have been learning that doing less is better

Any regrets you have? Let me know! How a great week, dear friends 🙂

Being a successful on all fronts is not easy for women

In between 2 styles of work

I have been working with an employer for many years and for myself just few years. Spring is always the time where the big difference is revealed. At my 9-5 work, the tempo is always the same – no matter what season. I turn up, do my thing, go home. There are small changes here and there and there are slightly easier or slightly harder days – but no big surprises. Whereas my own business is very seasonal. Spring is traditionally very slow. After Mother’s Day there is very little activity and I have to wait till September for things to pick up.

This big dip always makes me question all aspects of my little venture. Is it worth it? Am I on the right track? Should I change something? Should I drop it altogether and start something new? Psychologically, it is a difficult time because I tend to overanalyse and dissect everything. Often I get shiny thing syndrome and I waste time with setting up new things, products or systems and in a process I spend far too much of time on that.

I know that I will see the results of my decisions, changes or improvements only when the autumn. It is a long, long wait. During this time I also hold on to my regular job and somehow I feel grateful that I have it and that I am able to do it. I am writing about this because I found out that there are many people in a similar situation and lot of them feel depressed or unsatisfied during this time. So yes, you are not alone. I am also waiting for things to change and my business to become my main source of income. I know it is not going to happen this year and I have to wait.

So don’t give up and don’t feel down, we will get there eventually dear friends 🙂

Home time – coffee and laptop

One person business is a lonely place

Starting a business is a very exciting thing. Especially in the beginning. I have had a small one person business for a while now – 3 years ‘doing it actively’ and 3 years ‘half-heartedly. And there was a long pause. Simply because it did not bring me what I hoped.

I have restarted the activity again in 2018 with a different approach, product and platform. It is definitely more rewarding and more exciting than my previous attempt. One thing did not change though.

It is a one person business. That means that I have to do everything by myself – which is o.k. but sometime I do feel that I operate on an lonely island. In that sense, I pleased to have a full-time job where I meet new people every day.

My family is extremely understanding and supportive. They do listen to me when I go on about this product and that product, this trend and that one. However, they do have their own work life and I do not want to burden them too much. So I discuss only most burning issues with them. So yes, getting into a one person business means that most of the time, you will work by yourself. You will have to figure out most of things by yourself. And you will have to make important decisions by yourself because you are the only one who knows your business inside out.

P.S. Just to make it clear, most of the time I don’t mind that there is no one else in my ‘company’, but there are moments when I would not mind a chat with a friendly colleague.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Still blogging without a “niche”

Niche is a big word in the digital world. I do hear it more often: “What is your niche? You do have to have a niche!” It begins to give me bit of an anxiety simply because I don’t have one. Trust me, I am looking for one 🙂 I have listen to countless self-help gurus and entrepreneurs. And to be honest, I have been confused.

One camp seems to say – choose a niche that is trending, people are interested in and do not write about something just because you love it or because it happens to be your hobby. The opposite camp says – find something that you are interested in, hobby is o.k., you have to have a passion to last in this race… These are very conflicting ideas and it does not help me much. So I went back to basics and thought to myself – it is me who is going to spend the time on this, I should have some interest and passion for the topic.

I do not want to do something just because it is trending or many people are searching for it. As I have a full-time job, I do not want another one that I do only for the bucks. Also, I do like going to website of people who have been doing something for years and with a great expertise. They often have an ability to dive deep and go into a great detail. They often share their successes and fails and that makes it even more appealing and credible.

So here is my checklist as always that might help you to make the right decision.

  1. What do I want from my blog/why I am doing it
  2. Do I have the interest and passion in the topic/niche
  3. Am I thinking short-term or long-term
  4. How deep I want to go
  5. Trending niche or evergreen – which one is more me?

Just a side note:

What is my niche at the moment? Good question. As I wrote in my profile – I am looking forward to an early retirement 🙂 At the same time I do not want live a passionless life. I would say my niche is still unrefined and very broad. I writing about my trials and successes as a little person – ordinary person. Trying to build something outside my full-time job. Using internet and what it offers to do that. Mainly selling on platforms – big and small while developing a blog. I think it is a path many people take these days and I interested in it – freeing yourself from 9-5, gaining more autonomy, not necessarily working less but working with passion even when Mondays come 🙂

Have a great one, dear friends!

2 paths to blogging

Sorting out ideas…

Sometimes I have just too many ideas and sometimes I have none. What helps me in both cases is a thinking page. I ask myself questions and write down ideas as they come. After that I try to streamline the flood of ideas into something more targeted and something that makes more sense. I am not afraid to cross things out or change them completely. This is something I was taught by one of my old mentors. He always said that that I need to cross thing outs to come out with the best ideas.

Once the rough draft is ready I bounce it off someone I trust. If things look good – I will start researching and going deeper. By then I know I am serious about it and committed. The last step is to get the details right. This looks like a lengthy process but it is worth it. I used to jump into things straight away without thinking and it cost me lots of time and energy. Of course it is not fool proof but it does make me more effective and brings better results.

Yes, and here is a list for those who hate reading paragraphs 🙂

  1. create rough draft that includes all ideas
  2. streamline the draft so it has only one key idea
  3. cross out things that are not relevant to your idea
  4. bounce your idea off someone you trust
  5. do a deep dive i.e. research
  6. add details and go for it

Good luck dear friends 🙂

thinking page (first step)

Blogging in stages

I am not an SEO expert or seasoned content creator but after working for several years in education, I am fairly good in scheduling, prioritising and streamlining.

This is how I approach my posts and it may work for you as well.

  1. I create a very short post just to test the water. Usually it is based on something I am working on or dealing with.
  2. I wait for the response from social media and ask myself: is there any traction, any interest and from whom, what are the questions asked
  3. I decide if I should expand bit more, should I shift the focus a bit or should I drop it altogether

There is one disadvantage – you do have to tweak your tags and keywords as your post is evolving. So it is not for everyone. I think solo businesses or part-time bloggers might save some time and effort by doing this. The big advantage of this is that you can create a highly relevant super niched content for your target audience.