Tag Archives: family

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.


Why We Need a Cure for Cancer

I’m lucky to come from a family where longevity is the norm but every so often, once in a generation in fact, something happens to shock us out of our complacency.   In 1941, great uncle Jim was killed, probably executed, in the Siege of Crete at the tender age of 23.  Just over 40 years later, my dad’s brother Brian succumbed to liver cancer at the age of 39, dying just six weeks after he was diagnosed.  Fast-forward to this year and my apparently healthy mum was struck down by a massive brain haemorrhage just one month short of her 70th birthday.

Although Mum obviously lived longer than my uncles, we still felt that she died too soon – we were robbed of her 70s and 80s and she was robbed of precious time with her grandchildren.  In the midst of our shock, however, we comforted ourselves with the knowledge that she didn’t suffer for long – 30 seconds at the most.  And, although it is difficult to look at the positives in situations like these, we are truly grateful that she never had cancer.

The weekend before Mum died, I remarked to her and Dad that I was really lucky to have both parents – all but two of my close friends don’t.  In the last ten years, the toll stands as follows:

  • One mother lost to breast cancer
  • One mother lost to a brain tumour
  • A mother and a father lost to lung cancer
  • Two mothers lost to ovarian cancer
  • Three parents lost to other causes (stroke  x 2 and Alzheimer’s)
  • One friend about to lose her good friend to cancer – a young mother in her 30s

Against that grim backdrop:

  • One friend is in remission from leukaemia
  • One friend’s husband is free of kidney cancer after it was caught early.
  • The sister-in-law of another friend has been clear of breast cancer for 5+ years
  • My father-in-law is a survivor of bowel cancer (10+ years)

In 2009, we learned that the Queen Mother was successfully treated for bowel cancer in her 60s.  She escaped a painful, lingering death to die peacefully in her sleep in her favourite armchair, at the age of 101.  Who wouldn’t want that kind of exit for themselves or their loved ones?

Finding a cure for cancer isn’t about cheating death, it’s about seeing our children to adulthood, watching our grandchildren growing up and possibly even meeting our great grandchildren.  It’s about dying peacefully, without pain and, we hope, without fear.   There will always be people who leave us too young but by eliminating cancer we can slash the number of premature and painful deaths.

In July, I will be running the Race for Life to remember Uncle Brian and raise money for Cancer Research.  If you would like to help me reach my target of £250, please take a look at my sponsorship page.

Thank you!

His and Hers Rules for Working From Home

Do you work from home? Are you thinking about it? I’ve been home-based since 2007 and I love it – I relish the autonomy, the flexibility and simply being able to look out of my window and see the red kites soaring over the garden.

Like all good things though, it doesn’t come without a few disadvantages. The fact that I am also self-employed means that my income is variable and not guaranteed, domestic responsibilities often compete with my work and one thing I learnt early on is that you definitely can’t work and look after kids at the same time – childcare is still a must.

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How to Make a Tipperty (Nativity)

This post has moved!  You can now find it on my personal blog, catherinemosborn.wordpress.com.