My Recipe for Success!

[tweetmeme source= “catherineosborn” only_single=false]This article was originally published on the Success Network blog, a great resource for women in business!

My Greatest Success in Business

I measure my success on an ongoing basis by the amount of repeat business I get.  There are individual achievements that stand out though and one was when the BBC published a press release of mine unchanged on its website.

My Greatest Challenge in Business

When you run your own business or work as a sole trader, you take on everything and become MD, employee, PA, IT Consultant, Sales and Marketing Director and HR Manager all at once!  Sometimes it can be frustrating when all you want to do is focus on what you do best, whilst keeping your overheads down. However, it has given me a greater understanding of the challenges that my clients face and, if I’m honest, I took a lot of these support services for granted when I was an employee.

Just over a year ago, I joined one of Success Network’s Inner Circles and when I’m really stuck, I look to my fellow members for ideas and support. I’m also considering hiring a virtual PA.

What I do Outside of Work

When I’m not working, I am looking after my children, aged 4 and 2, and ferrying them to and from swimming and music lessons – I never realised that the taxi days would start so soon!  I try to get out in the garden when I can; my grandfather was a professional gardener and I like to think I have inherited his enthusiasm, if not all of the talent!

After writing, music is a real passion for me.  It’s not so easy to spend time playing the piano with two `helpers’ at my side but I am a member of the Elentone Singers, based in Cox Green, and this means I can indulge myself with a bit of `me time’ every Thursday.

I also enjoy photography.  I have an entry-level digital SLR, which produces great results, but I still go to my friend and fellow IC member, photographer Alison Crown, for the really clever stuff.

How I Achieve Work-Life Balance

It’s hard!  When I first started out in business, I was working evenings so that I could look after my son during the day.  It was stressful because my husband couldn’t always be home early, so I would sometimes be working into the night.  We also missed out on valuable time together.  Now that I have part-time childcare, the pressure has eased.  It’s not easy with small children though and you really do need to feel passionate about what you are doing to make the sacrifices worthwhile.

Words of Advice for Women in Business

  1. Working from home can be great, but you need to be careful not to be distracted by domestic pressures.  Even when you plan your day really well, you can be knocked off track by appliances breaking down, unexpected visitors and calls, sick children or building projects.  Yes, all of these things have happened to me!
  2. Don’t count on being able to work and watch your children at the same time – you can’t. Try to arrange childcare and/or work in the evenings when they are asleep.  The biggest mistake I ever made was to take on a project on the basis that my son had two naps a day.  On the first day, he decided to switch to one!
  3. Try to switch off when you have finished.  If you can work in a spare room and shut the door at the end of the day, so much the better.
  4. Value yourself and your work – it is important, not just a hobby.
  5. Seek support from other businesswomen who will all be facing similar issues and challenges.

[tweetmeme source= “catherineosborn” only_single=false]Catherine Osborn is a freelance writer who helps to take the pain out of creating well-written, compelling copy.  Find out more at catherineosborn.wordpress.com.

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2 responses to “My Recipe for Success!

  1. Hi Catherine

    A great blog about working for yourself and also about the ‘other things’ that get in the way of running your own sole trader bsuiness.

    I wonder whether I can link into this from my blog, http://www.virtualbusinessinabox.co.uk/blog, which is about new people setting up their own businesses and the pros and cons (also about my new about to be launched product to help them get there) of working for themselves?

    I was also interested to read that you are thinking about hiring a VA (viartual assistant). I think that this is a fantastic idea – although as a VA I would say that!

    A Virtual Assistant can really take the pressure of running ‘the office’ off you allowing you to ‘get out there’ and showcase/grow your business.

    Many VAs work in a niche market but some do work as a ‘regular’ pa but from their own premises. They can take things like diary and email management off you, can help with transcription work and formatting, powerpoint presentations, social networking, you name it, there is someone who can help you balance up your working day allowing you to manage your clients and family life – one of the reasons you probably started working for yourself.

    You can find plenty of information on VAs at http://www.societyofvirtualassistants.co.uk/Client_Area.htm (UK based VAs) or http://vacertified.com/client-info/ (global VAs).

    Enjoy your work and your search for the right VA for you.

    Dawn

    • Catherine Osborn

      Hi Dawn,

      Thank you for your comments and the useful links (particularly your site, looks really interesting). And yes, I’d be delighted for you to link to my blog!

      Catherine

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