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6.1.15

Back to school!!!!! The day that I’m sure any parent longs for after school holidays! And I even managed a lie in, the husband got up with Matthew letting me have an extra 40 minutes in bed! Pleased to report that despite being up til 2am writing yesterdays blog (and then getting side-tracked on the IOEE website ahead of the Meet a Mentor event coming up later this month!) and then being up with Megan three times through the night I still feel supercharged. Not sure if its the capsules, the crisp fresh winter air or just the excitement of business life but I’m loving it regardless! smiley

Today I have been thinking about getting organised. I definitely think one of my post-new years resolutions, a definite new business habit that I need to get into is planning. I’ve never been much of a planner I like writing to-do lists but prefer the writing of the list to the doing of the actions required! Blogger Liz Barlow posted on Facebook group Women inspiring Women this morning asking for tips on managing work/home-life balance for her latest blog and this has got me thinking! On paper I feel really busy what with the kids and the business and the Mumpreneurs group and the Blog but basically I just spend a ridiculous amount of time on Facebook! Even worse now I am also helping my husband with his new page! But despite this today I am disappointed by the reach on my business page. I have been considering preparing Facebook and Twitter posts in advance and scheduling them but have never got round to working out how to do it. I think now is the time! I definitely need to get organised and get planning. I have read the top 5 tips for productivity are 1. An organised workspace – hmm that needs work, I am currently between the conservatory (brr!) and the kitchen table! 2. Set a meaningful goal – I already blogged that I wasn’t going to put additional pressure on myself by setting goals but this is more about keeping focus and not getting side-tracked. 3. Plan what you are doing tomorrow tonight – interesting! I make packed lunch and iron uniform the night before heck I’m already halfway there! 4. Start the day doing the most important thing from the list in 3 – I usually start my day with a brew and Cbeebies not sure either of those would count towards my goal?! and 5. Keep a Timesheet – to help you see where your time goes. I can see the logic in that, many a day I lose track of time and no sooner has Matthew left for school he’s home again! And from a professional point of view I highly recommend keeps records like this to support use of home allowance claims on your tax return in case of an inspection by HMRC! So that’s it! I am getting with it, I am going to be a well-oiled super functioning mumpreneur machine! I have found a free online printable – monthly and weekly diary pages and daily planner on onegoodthingbyjillee.com (scroll down to the bottom of the page!) I am going to give these a whirl for the rest of January and see how I get on! And if, no not if, WHEN, I stick to it and become awesomely productive I might treat myself to a Leonie Dawson workbook – because I’m worth it! smiley

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5.1.15

Yet again it is stupid o’clock by the time the kids are asleep, the uniform is ironed & packed lunch made and I get to sit and write this! I didn’t even get to watch the start of the new series of Broadchurch tonight, something I have looked forward to for weeks! Still, watching it with a secret bar of choccy during nap time tomorrow is rather appealing!

Today has been a day of many firsts. It is the first Monday of 2015. It is the first day back to normality, although school doesn’t start until tomorrow. It is the first day of Juice Plus, something my husband and I are embarking on together. It is also the day of the first proof for my banner for the Business Northumberland #SYB15 event from Print & Design by Piggy Voucher (www.localaye.co.uk)! Graham is a design genius I gave him a blank canvas with no clue whatsoever what I wanted and I am chuffed with what he has come up with! Starting to get excited about this event, and a bit nervous! I am scared of Twitter, I have linked it to my business Facebook page in order to have a presence and I very occasionally post on one of the many #hours when prompted by others (thanks to Samantha for tonights!) but I get very excited when I get a Twitter notification when I have done nothing to deserve it! Today I have been tagged by Business Northumberland “Delighted these local entrepreneurs will be involved with #SYB15” and it got SEVEN retweets! That’s the most action I have ever seen on Twitter! I also got six new followers! So I’m feeling a bit of a twit tonight! 😉

I am not really sure yet of my actual involvement in the event. I am an entrepreneur representative and will be available for people to chat to about becoming self employed or starting their own business. That’s as far as I know, there will be further discussions nearer the time I am sure. I am looking forward to the networking opportunity if others tagged in similar tweets are to go by! So my focus for January is confidence building so that I rock this event and make a name for myself as the total pro that I am! I am bolstered regularly by my mumpreneur friends, by far the best business decision I have made so far was starting the Northumberland Mumpreneurs group! We have our next coffee morning next week and the following week is the Meet A Mentor for Women event in Newcastle. I wasn’t able to attend this initially as my husband works offshore and wasn’t due to be home to babysit – but now he is! Get in! So he can watch The Snowman and The Snowdog 50 times and get clonked on the head by some various toy (today she got me with her little hoover!) whilst I get to mingle child-free! By the time 24 January comes around I hope my confidence cup will be overflowing!smiley

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4.1.15

Another late one at GAB HQ despite every attempt for it not to be! I am grateful for the teacher training day tomorrow as I need one more day to attempt to get these children back into a normal routine! Otherwise, today has been quite a productive day. I have made progress on Foundations and am excited about being able to share this in the forthcoming months. It has also been a productive evening in terms of potential new clients. For those readers not local to the North east, the Inspire Network is a women only business network and I am a member of their Facebook group. This is an amazing group and any queries or questions are answered with such expertise by other members that I wouldn’t ask anywhere else! I helped someone complete their tax return, and then someone else posted asking for recommendations for a local small business accountant and my name was put forward by not one or two but 4 different ladies and off the back of those recommendations someone else enquired too! So tonight I am feeling chuffed for want of a better word! In my profession recommendation and word of mouth goes a long way so I am very grateful to the ladies on Facebook tonight! I am going to bed with my happy face on! smiley

Its nice to be able to put my many hours of Facebook time to good use at long last. I used to flick blurry eyed through status updates and look at peoples holiday pictures but now I am always on business pages, checking out the competition, getting marketing tips and advice, even signing up for free webinars! (Though I had to Google the times as they are on American east coast time and that means nothing to me! Very nearly signed up to the early am showing!) Today I have also signed up for a free eBook template from The Business Beautician which I could use for Foundations, just an idea I had as I was scribbling notes earlier and then low and behold the Facebook page appears in my suggested pages and there’s a shiny template ready to go! Is it just me or do lots of stars seem to be aligning for me at the minute…?! Depends what you believe in – fate, destiny, belief, or the inevitability of hard work? Whichever sign of the coin you have to believe in yourself and I think I am succeeding in that part of my personal new years resolution to spend more time on me! I am mummy 24 hours a day, but I have rarely been just Gemma, certainly in the last 18 months since Megan’s arrival! But sitting down in front of the laptop every evening and putting my thoughts in order and typing out something legible for anyone and everyone to read is very therapeutic. As I type now, my husband asleep on the sofa in front of the Inbetweeners opposite me, a hot cup of tea and a rich tea biscuit beside me I feel very very content. Good night all xx

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3.1.15

Today I have the mother of all headaches, thanks mostly to being clonked between the eyes with a tea cup first thing this morning by the toddler! Not the best start to the day! I still managed another light bulb moment though, despite the crazy head fog! Before Christmas I had a bit of a crisis of confidence and questioned whether I was cut out for this business lark. But then I received a phone call from Stephanie at Business Northumberland asking if I would be interested in being a representative at their Big Event in January, offering advice to people considering self employment and new businesses alike. Wowzers! From losing faith in myself to receiving the highest praise from other others in a heartbeat! I jumped at the chance, absolutely thrilled to be asked and never one to turn down an opportunity – and what an opportunity! I can network, showcase my abilities, meet potential clients and practice perfecting my swan pose (appearing confident on the outside whilst freaking on the inside!) all the while doing the most important thing – getting my name out there into the big wide small business world! This gave me a massive confidence boost which I really needed (a sign?) and after a fabulous reflexology session from one of my Northumberland Mumpreneur friends Claire Gardner (more on her in weeks to come!) I had a sleepless night, of the rare good kind, brimming with ideas the creative juices were overflowing! So I filled my notepad, googled til my eyes were square and rang my Mum and Nana (that’s Grandma to any southeners reading!) who are my goto people for confidence building and reassurance! I was back with a vengeance and raring to go! The idea of writing this blog came that night, along with my big bright idea – Foundations. This idea is still in its infancy and I have a meeting with my business advisor Gillian next week who will hopefully help me put my idea into fruition and I hope to launch it at the Big Event in Cramlington on 24 January. Todays lightbulb moment, with the help of my fabulous friend Kate Bell of kbjustforkids, has kick started this ball rolling and I am EXCITED about the possibilities! That and having lunch out this week without the toddler, that’s almost as exciting! 2015 is going to be a great year! smiley

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2.1.15

Well that’s the festivities over and done with, the tree down and the house resembling something more normal albeit a bit sparse! I’m sure the toddler will sort that out tomorrow, she’s currently going through a particularly destructive phase! Today has been a family day, and a business thinking day. Whilst watching my husband and son attempt to out strike each other ten-pin bowling I had a light-bulb moment! My husband doesn’t understand my lightbulb moments but when I get them there is such clarity that I feel the stars have aligned to show me the way! I have been struggling to write my goals for the new year, both personally and professionally. I downloaded an app called Success Wiz which asked me a series of very probing questions during a ‘Reality Check’ – none of which I knew the answer to! It worries me a lot that I appear to have lost touch with reality! “What is the main obstacle or challenge I am currently facing?” Erm, answering this question! “What must I accomplish to feel satisfied and fulfilled?” Drinking a cup of tea whilst still warm without having to microwave it several times? “What is stopping me from doing that I want?” Well that depends what I want, currently it’s a good nights sleep and the toddler is stopping me from doing that! I have come to realise it’s not the answers to these questions that matter, but that I am thinking about the bigger picture, thinking about myself and my position in the world, not just being wife and mummy, but being me and being GA Bookkeeping NE. Next the app goes on to make an action plan, goals I wish to set and the means and timescale in which to do it. I have decided not to put pressure on myself by setting goals with a deadline. This is my first year in business, this is my first year juggling work and two children (and two Labradors and a husband!) so I think putting additional pressure on myself will lead to stress and inevitably failure! And I’m pretty sure that my answer to the question “What is my biggest fear?” is the same as most people – failing! I do not intend to fail, I intend to build a successful business. And I think I need to do that slowly but surely! smiley

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1.1.15

A new year, a new start, and a new blog! I always fancied being a writer and if adding a blog to my webpage improves my google ranking then why not kill two birds with one stone! I have exciting plans for 2015 and I hope that by sharing my journey through mumpreneurhood I can support and inspire other mums to follow their dreams and start their own business as well!

So as this is the first one, and it’s being published on 1 January when I will more than likely be recovering from new year (in a tiredness sense rather than a hangover, to make that clear!) and there will be very little work getting done – here is an introduction to me! I am Gemma, 32 years old, wife to Chris, mother to Matthew (11) and Megan (18 months). I am a bookkeeper and set up my practice in September 2014 doing Bookkeeping, Accounts and Tax for Small Businesses. I also run Northumberland Mumpreneurs facebook group and with the support of Business Northumberland host monthly coffee mornings for informal child friendly networking! Our next coffee morning is Wednesday 14 January, contact me for more details. The group came about when I was asked to co-host a coffee morning to celebrate Women Entrepreneurs Day 2014 with Business Northumberland. We had a guest speaker, the very inspiring Kate Dawson from the All-in-one Company, and after a very nerve racking public speaking debut with a whinging toddler in tow, Northumberland Mumpreneurs was born! Samantha Rickelton, winner of North East Blogger of the Year 2014 wrote a lovely piece after the event, click here to read her blog. It is the support of the group and the wonderful ladies of the coffee mornings that inspired me to start this blog. A problem shared is a problem halved and having like-minded people to bounce ideas off and get advice from has been an essential part of m development thus far in my journey into mumpreneurhood. I decided to start my business in order to spend more time at home with my daughter while she is little, and my son before he becomes a man, so all my work is done around the school run, baby classes, nappy changes and nap times! This is a challenge in itself, thank god us women are gifted with the skill of multi-tasking! The last 3 months have been a steep learning curve in time management, learning to run a home and family and business simultaneously and I’ll admit I frequently get myself tied in knots! I am determined that 2015 will be the year that everything falls into place – I become a Mary Poppins/Anita Roddick hybrid!

I look forward to sharing this journey of self discover with you, every step of the way. Bring on 2015!

G xx