Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Go ahead…. make my day!

March 12, 2009

Ok, so it’s not the best title for a blog post as you’ll probably be thinking of cowboys shooting each other right now!

However I got a comment about my blog yesterday which made my day!

Lisa said:

Hi there, I follow your blog on mine. Its really good reading and brightens my day when I need a pick me up, which at the moment is quite often seeing as I am launching my own website and looking after a 9 month old who is teething and testing his boundaries (and my patience) – hey ho, wouldn’t have it any other way though. Thanks for helping me stay sane!

I thought that was lovely and it really made me think how us mothers need each other – we know the isolation that can sometimes come with being at home all day with young babies and being able to read something or communicate with someone on an adult level who knows what we’re going through is life saving!!  I used to enjoy reading The Times blog Alpha Mummy for this reason!

If you are a Mummy-blogger (and there are more of us out there now!) join the British Mummy Bloggers social group which was started by Susanna who writes the blog A Modern Mother.  I’m on there!  Blogging is a great way to connect to other like-minded mums and provides a creative outlet for your skills at a time when creativity becomes a scarce commodity!  How many different ways are there to change a nappy!

I enjoy blogging and I love comments so feel free to let me know what you think about this blog.  All comments posted are moderated so they won’t appear straightaway, but they will be approved ASAP.

Have a great day!

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You’re already a Supermummy – here’s how to be a ‘Mumpreneur’ too!…

March 1, 2009

I love getting parcels in the post, and this week I got one containing a brand new book which launches this month!

This book is aimed at mums who have just started or are thinking of starting a business, as it has lots of tips and information for coming up with a business idea and promoting this new venture. One thing I always look for as a business mum, is advice from people who ‘walk the talk’. I’m quite choosy about who I listen to just because I want to know that if you are telling me a way to do something, that you understand what it is like to be in my shoes, and this book doesn’t disappoint on that score. The writer, Mel McGee obviously writes from experience, knowing the little barriers that many mums put up to stop themselves from achieving great things, and Mel shows you how to remove them. There are some really powerful messages in the book around stopping limiting beliefs, something I’ve had to deal with in my past as a Mumpreneur and I know many Mumpreneur friends have too.

The book starts by building the reader’s confidence that they can start a business and the chapters are sprinkled with ‘Supertips’ to help you along the way. One message that rings out loud and clear from the book is that nothing is achieved without ACTION! And I fully agree – ideas are great but it is putting them into action that makes the money.

Even if you don’t have a business idea but are thinking that you’d like to start a business, then this book gives you some useful exercises to get started and help you create your money making idea

I really liked the tip about trying out your sales message on your kids or your mum. If they can understand the benefits of your business, you’ve cracked it! This is a great way to check that you are delivering the right message to your potential clients and getting to the point quickly and coherently. I worked in marketing for more than a decade before starting up my business as a Virtual Assistant and have never heard it said quite so succinctly before!

All in all, a very practical book loaded with advice. If you are looking for both a guide-book on starting a business and a cheerleader to encourage you along the way, this book is it!

It’s available from Amazon – check it out: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Supermummy-Ultimate-Mumpreneurs-Business-Success/dp/1905430515

Five stars:

Link- tastic!

February 22, 2009

Now we’re getting to know each other, I can trust you can’t I?  After all, I told you the bikini wax story (and no, I’m not linking to it again, if you really want to know what went on, you’ll have to trawl the site!)

So let me share some resources with you, of blogs I like and useful links…

I was delighted when I found the blog ‘Nadine and the City’  http://www.nadineandthecity.com/ because the writer shares my name and she loves fashion!  This site is like ‘me’ but 15 years ago! (How that makes me feel old, even though I try to be a hot mama! – Seriously, read the bikini wax story, I do my best!)

I also recently joined the social network ‘British Mummy Bloggers’:  http://britishmummybloggers.ning.com/

Yay! It was nice to find a group of ladies like me, well, ladies who enjoy blogging!  I don’t know them very well yet so who knows if they are like me and I have seen a couple of ‘moany’ posts and as you know I don’t ‘do’ moaning!  Hey, time will tell, and I’ll keep you updated.  We all have our own style I suppose:)

Whilst we’re on the subject of links, check me out on Twitter, I’m @businessmum (www.twitter.com/businessmum)

…and if you are a ‘Mumpreneur’, join my group on Facebook here.

I wasn’t going to say anything at this stage but I am so excited that I may need to pee, so let me reveal that I am currently having the Time Management Mum blog re-designed by a hot blog designer.  It is going to look fab and be a lot more colourful, and it will be installed in a matter of weeks.  I’m switching blogging platforms too, so I’ll post a new URL where you can follow the blog and the new blog will have cool features like RSS so you can subscribe easily and never miss a post!  There are also some surprises up my virtual sleeve, but I don’t want to give the game away all in one go, so chew on this info and keep watching this space!

Happy Sunday!

Found time to read The Sunday Times – 1 day late!

February 16, 2009

Pre kids, I used to love taking The Sunday Times to bed with my husband, with a pot of tea and a couple of pain au cholocates and spend a lazy morning reading and lounging.

Two children later and it’s a miracle if I get to read The Sunday Times when it is still Sunday!  Actually, sometimes I do but it’s the following Sunday when I then have two lots to read!  So it’s Monday today, and I grabbed my stash of papers to read whilst I had a quiet moment.  The toddler had just gone down for a nap and my 6 year old was watching ‘Hannah Montana’, so I seized the opportunity!

I was really pleased to see that in the Culture section, there was a 4 page article all about blogs and blogging, called “The 100 Best Blogs”.

I think that once you get into both reading a blog and writing one, it can be highly addictive and this article confirms my suspicions and gave me a list of some interesting blogs to check out!

There were no ‘mummyblogs’ listed;  I’ll have to get the ‘Time Management Mum’ blog in front of the reporter and maybe we’ll make the list next year!

You can read the Sunday Times article in full here: http://tr.im/gjo7

Have you heard the one about…..

January 6, 2009

the person who had so much to do and so little time?

It’s not a joke when we are so bogged down with things to do and then we hit a ‘crisis’.  Have you ever noticed how the traffic is worse on a day when you are rushing to get somewhere?!  Yes, it all boils down to perception, and I was reminded today that we have to have a degree of humour when we are rushing round our busy lives.

I wanted to make a call and went to the phone, but the cordless handset was missing.  After a fruitless minute searching I dialled the number from my mobile and I found it!  My one year old son had put the telephone handset in the newspaper recycling bin that was due to be taken away tomorrow!  Then I found my keys outside the cat flap and my purse in the fridge.

I had a meeting and needed a top to go with my skirt.  The one I wanted was in the wash and the second choice had been accidentally put into the dryer and had shrunk!

We were rushing to get breakfast and get out of the house to reach school on time and my six year old daughter told me that she doesn’t want to eat bacon again (even though she usually loves it) because it comes from pigs, and pigs are dirty.

A call from a client came in after I had collected the children and I’d only usually deal with client calls when I have the space to concentrate.  However  I had to take this call so my client was treated to the sound of the kids wrestling and howling in the background!

My daughter has just come down from bed for the third time (it was bed time half an hour ago).  This time it was to get a banana but the first one my husband gave her wasn’t good enough, she wanted the one with the sticker on!

Little things, all of them.  But we have to remain calm and smiling and breeze through them to have a chance of getting anything done.  If we allow one little hiccup to ruin our day we won’t accomplish what we have to achieve that day.  One way I’ve learned to stay focused and in a good mood is to blast a song out of my iPod.  It’s amazing how music can alter your mood so quickly and an upbeat track can make you start wiggling your hips and singing like Mariah!  Keep your MP3 player loaded with great, catchy tunes and carry this around.  It’s a fab way to alter your frame of mind or enhance your mood before an important meeting.

I have one of those iPods that plays movies as well, and I have found it an absolute Godsend to have in my bag if I’m somewhere with the children and there is a wait involved.  Say we are at the dentist and we’re in the waiting room and the kids are bored, or at the train station or on a long car journey.  There are only so many times you can play “I-Spy”.  When I realised I could buy TV Shows from the iTunes store I was delighted.  I downloaded an episode of  the ‘Mickey House Clubhouse’ onto the iPod for my toddler.  I got ‘Hannah Montana’ for my 6 year old and Lipstick Jungle for me!  To be able to hand over the iPod with a TV show on it keeps the tired and bored tantrums at bay.  I get to watch Lipstick Jungle when I havetime to kill at an airport, waiting for a meeting or just when I need an injection of glamour in my day!

If you want to pick up tips on managing a busy life, just ask any working mum!

Technology- be its master not its servant

December 19, 2008

Every Friday my son is with me all day, but as I run a thriving small business,I still need to stay on top of things. Mums who work from home will know what it’s like.  The majority of my communication on a Friday is done by email, and I squeeze calls into the 1 hour window I have when he has his late morning nap.  Thank goodness I have my Virtual Receptionist service because it would sound awful if a client called me during a ‘non nap’ time to discuss business only to hear at best, the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse music and at worst, a screaming tantrum!

However today I had a pleasant surprise.  I’d had a website enquiry last night from a man who was interested in my Virtual Receptionist service and he wanted to take a free trial, so I emailed him with the information about the various tariffs and how it all works.  I was able to fire off the template email I have prepared for new enquiries so it took me a few minutes last night  to get this sent and I always follow up with a call to see if they have any questions,  during office hours.  Anyway, once my son’s naptime was fully established, I picked up my phone to return all my calls, and I decided to call this guy first.  The prospective client confirmed that he had received my email but then I suddenly heard a child screaming!  Fortunately it was on HIS side of the phone!  The prospective client said “Can I call you back, it’s not a good time right now” and I told him that I COMPLETELY understand!  It was a nice insight into another working parent’s life to know that I’m not the only one juggling multiple demands with differing priority levels, and it was even more pleasing that it was a man in sole charge of his kids during the day!

This guy is taking up my Virtual Receptionist service and I know that he’ll benefit from it greatly – especially if he cares for his kids regularly during the working week.  Doing things by phone is often quicker but doing things by email is invaluable for a working parent.  It doesn’t matter if an email takes 1 hour to write because you had to stop to breastfeed a baby or sort out a sibling squabble.  What did we ever do without emails?  Well, we didn’t run global businesses from home, did we?!

The resources are out there to help us work smarter.  You need your phone answered 24-7 – done!  You have a database of 1000 people to communicate to – each newsletter to go out personally addressed? – done with the click of a button!  You need a way to make sure that your email is filtered so you don’t get any spam or emails sent from people you don’t know that take up your time?  Done!  What used to take a small team to run an office can now be done with 1 person employing technology as back-up.  I can communicate faster and speed stuns!  Often the fastest response gets the business.  Humans can talk 3 times faster than they can type, so  to speed up my document typing, I bought some voice recognition software which types as I talk!  Whole people used to be employed to type up other people’s documents, now we can handle it with technology.

The only warning I’d give is to control your use of the technology – you are its master, not its servant.  I would never be without my BlackBerry as it is so useful for business whilst I’m out and about but I am amazed when I see other people at a business networking event or at lunch who sit at the table whilst other people are there, checking their messages and texting!  How rude!  The point of having the technology is so you can stay on top of things, but not at the expense of what you are supposed to be doing.  If you are having lunch with a friend – then be there for them 100%.  If you are at a networking meeting or conference, then that is your priority right now – not what random email has come to your desk.  Divert your phone to your Virtual Receptionist and let them take the calls.  Emails and texts can wait.  Just because you have the ability to check them right now – doesn’t mean you should.  By all means, pop to the loo if you have to.  Check them in the car on your way in and way out of the meeting.  If it is an all day conference then check messages in the breaks, but don’t be rude and not give the people you are with your full attention because you have your head in your phone.  It’s just manners!

If you want to know anything about effective time management, just ask a busy working mum!