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Big up the Mumpreneurs!

What a meeting! And what a response! I was physically and emotionally drained last night but at the same time buzzing with excitement, ideas and possibility! Our biggest group yet over 30 ladies attended the February meeting of the Northumberland Mumpreneurs. Lots of new faces, lots of putting faces to names of people who have been active in the facebook group for some time but this was their first meeting. And for me, new clients! Always a bonus! I feel like a mother, this group is my baby and I am proudly watching her grow and develop! Over the last few months she has started to walk, toddled off to nursery and then yesterday in her brand new too-big uniform she started school! I am a very proud mother right now and like every mother I want the best for my child, and I want her to grow to do amazing things! Which I know she will, just like my real babies will achieve greatness so will my imaginary one!

Having so many people wasn’t without its hurdles, Willow Farm is a great venue for us as it has the play area, but it is still a pub and the layout isn’t exactly designed for speaking to a large group, nor are the acoustics! But easily solved next time with a bit of a rejig and a microphone! The manager of the pub Stew is lovely, very helpful, very accommodating, and I am sure we will find a way to make it work seamlessly! So now to plan the future of the group, get guest speakers booked and inspire “my” ladies into being the best that they can be and showing them that they can achieve their dreams.

“If you hang out with chickens you’re going to cluck and if you hang out with eagles you’re going to fly” – Steve Maraboli

We are flying! And its time we flew higher! I intend to write some press releases this weekend, the story of the Northumberland Mumpreneurs and get the name and our story out there, reach more mumpreneurs and spread the inspiration county wide, and get the attention of the local business community who might then get involved! The North East gets a bad press. I am not a northerner by tongue, my dad was in the RAF so I have lived all over, but I am definitely a Northumbrian in my heart – all my family are born and bred here, I have Northumberland in my blood! But for all the bad press, northerners are the best people – strong, determined, driven. Wise man Kofi Annan said “There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.” I am definitely feeling empowered and after the comments and responses in the facebook group last night I think that feeling is pretty mutual!

So now I have my work cut out, getting guest speakers and planning ahead. But as I learnt first hand yesterday trying to do everything myself and I nearly forgot the raffle, I really need to share the work out and I have lots of offers of help. Samantha Rickelton, North East Family Fun and Northumberland Mumpreneurs Executive Committee member has been using her contacts and online influence to tout for speakers and we already have one in the pipeline after just one day! I have tweeted Katie Bulmer-Cooke and am in negotiations with her manager. I am going to start hounding celebs on twitter, after all if Gary Barlow turned up to sing at someones wedding after she did just that, who knows Richard Branson might one day turn up! Gotta set my sights high!

So this is just a brief recap from yesterday, onwards and upwards work to be done!

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Mumpreneur at work

My new planner has yet to arrive and I feel a bit in limbo, like it is a crutch to my productivity, my goal planning and my ever increasing task list! Which is ridiculous I know I am ultimately responsible and I hold all the power! But yet again I have signed up for yet more marketing bumf – this time a free 14 day improve traffic website challenge that I have yet to open the day 1 email for (think I’ve got 4 days worth so far!) But I am sure that this planner with its personalised weekly goals, task list and notes section will be the key to me getting properly organised and less distracted!

That’s not to say I haven’t been busy – because I have! Inspired by The Girls Mean Business I have thought long and hard about what my facebook likers might want to see, and how to get more engagement. So I now have structured daily posts, designed on Canva with my new GA Bookkeeping NE branding. I have set posts on set days and hopefully in time it will get established and people will engage with the page! I have also redone my website www.gabookkeepingne.com in keeping with the new branding and then spent an almost sleepless night trying to work out key words and all that jazz. but that’s not nearly as complicated as Google+ in my opinion, but that’s another story, I don’t wish to relive the nightmare of trying to set up one page and ending up with three! I can totally understand why there are so many social media management businesses now, and I can’t wait to earn enough to hire one!!

My final act of extreme busyness this week has been setting up my swanky new office. Cleaning and clearing and sorting and reorganising. I now have the ultimate workstation and my office is complete with rocking chair with views of the garden, toddler slide and play area! Yep you guessed it, my swanky new office is in our conservatory! Still need a couple of extra layers on before I go in but I have a sign on the door so that makes it a proper office. And I am very excited!

Now that I have a proper workstation (no more dining table yippee!) there’s no stopping me! Little legs has been quite happy watching the birds, playing on her slide and sorting paperclips so I think this is a good move. So now the dining table has been reinstated to its proper use and our open plan house is no longer cluttered with accounts paraphernalia and equipment, and the tension that has been lingering like a bad smell for the past month has dissipated, the sense of calm is very welcome! Its also nice to have the separation – I can now shut the door and leave work behind, although I am currently on the sofa at 1am with the laptop on my knee. And as the husband is away at work I haven’t been switching off my phone of an evening either! But its company and keeps me occupied in his absence, otherwise it would be just me, the TV and the snoring Labradors! When he returns in 8 days I will be back to switching it off, though he is currently embarking on his own new business adventure so we’ll see how it goes now roles are reversed! Its hard when you embark on this journey and you share your life with loved ones, family and friends who don’t understand it, they don’t share your passion – its your business, your baby, not theirs. Its hard to share excitement in something they just don’t get! But now he does get it, now he shares the ambition, the drive, the determination for my business as well as his own. And its great to be able to support him fully as I know exactly how he feels! My husbands journey is in network marketing, something I knew didn’t understand and knew little about so I am learning a lot through him. He is part of a team who served together in the army & although that chapter of their lives was over some time ago, the comradeship and brotherhood is still very much alive and the support they have for each other is much like me and the Northumberland Mumpreneurs, although we haven’t survived a war together just the never-ending battle of motherhood! I am inspired by their energies and their stories, and I feel proud and privileged to be able to support them like I do the Mumpreneurs as well. One of Team Elite, Ross Austen, has a particularly inspiring story you can check out his website here www.livelifetotheplus.co.uk.

Well its now gone 1am and the toddler is wide awake – joy! Didn’t let her nap today to try and get her to bed at a reasonable hour, I guess that’s backfired! So instead of heading to bed I shall now be watching back to back episodes of Bing bunny until she dozes off again! Still, silver lining and all that gives me more chance to schedule some twitter posts or prepare for Thursdays Mumpreneurs meet up! This one is the biggest yet with 28 confirmed attendees in the facebook event! I shall definitely be writing after that, I think I will have much to download that night!!!

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I’m doing this for a reason…

Firstly, apologies for the delay in writing avid readers! I had just promised myself I would write every Sunday and Wednesday, but Wednesday turned to Thursday then Friday and before I knew it a week has passed! Its been quite a whirlwind lately, I should have been writing regularly to download all of the emotion from my brain, to journal the memories of each moment. But I hit a wall. My personal life hit a low and the same time that my business life hit a high, a very weird paradox to be in. I felt like my world might imploded at any minute so I had to stop, and breathe, and reflect, take stock and find solutions. So I am back, and pleased to report all areas on now back in the positive and we are back to jumping two footed on opportunities and seizing the day!

So, the last thing I wrote about was the Business Northumberland Big Event. Inspired and motivated, I saw a post on The Inspire Network facebook page by the lovely Krystyna Dodds who owns Curiously Wicked beautiful decadent chocolate heaven teashop in Cramlington. An offer of afternoon tea with other local business women in the company of Helen Ford from ITV Tyne Tees News was just too good an opportunity to miss! Helen was doing an article on 100 days countdown to the general election & wanted to talk to local people about their thoughts on politics – ha! But after a lovely afternoon tea with Kate Bell of kbjust4kids fashion focussed clothing for kids and Angela Dawson The Admin Doc we just about managed to cobble some opinions between us and all had our 5 minutes of fame when it was aired on Tyne Tees News last Tuesday! Cue numerous telephone phone calls from family, and text messages from friends who had seen it! My Grandad even commented he nearly didn’t recognise me now that I’m a high flying business woman! Confidence cup fit to burst! haha

So now how do I continue? After the 4 day major high, meeting celebs and getting on TV, how can I possibly top this? Well you can’t can you. The buzz comes from the inspiration and motivation, and as long as I feed that in other ways it will continue to grow. The exposure is amazing for any new business and its harnessing that, and channelling it into something that will benefit my business I need to focus on. After all, that’s what I have done it for – to get out there, to shout as loud as possible I AM HERE. Now I just need to use it, follow up on the new leads and turn them into clients. Continue to use the experiences as confidence boosters and share the pictures and stories for publicity on my social media and website! After all, if Katie Bulmer-Cooke made a success of her business on the back of a letter from HRH Kate Middleton why shouldn’t I on the back of a photo of her? They do say a photo speaks a thousand words!

I have learned a very hard lesson during this week. A lot of firsts a lot of highs during my first tax season – a very busy time of year anyway in my profession! I welcomed the few days time-out and reflection. After all, I am doing this not only for myself but also for my family. I started my business to use my skills and earn an living whilst having time with the children. I started doing this to get the best of both worlds, to contribute to the family income whilst staying at home. Working from home is hard, people will disagree but in my opinion it is harder than going to work in an office – you can’t leave it behind at the end of the day! And definitely harder than working for someone else. Its relentless – the work, the social media, the advertising and marketing, the scheduling and networking. And at the beginning its a lot of hours for little return. People who aren’t self employed and who don’t work from home can’t comprehend the enormity of work involved, I’m sure my husband thought I did little work all day long at the beginning. And working around the children makes it harder – I have been trying to write this for about 3 hours stopping and starting with the constant interruption of toddler and pre-teen! But there is no point working yourself into the ground to miss out on the reasons for doing it in the first place. So now I am getting organised. I am scheduling social media posts. I am getting a plan together of what jobs to do when things like updating website and only attending networking events that work for me. I am switching my phone off in an evening to enjoying family time and quality time with the husband. After all, what is the point without that? Other businesses are different, establishing a product sales is very different to establishing services. I am my business and I am no use to any body overtired and stressed out. Today I have ordered myself a new planner and printed this in the front cover so I always remember – its all about me!