Sara Louise Fox
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What your mother taught you about business

What Your Mother Taught You About Business

Mothers’ Day is coming up this weekend (in the UK) and even if you don’t like to buy in the commercial maelstrom it probably gets you thinking about your mother or a maternal figure in your life (I’ll be using the word “mum” as a catch all for this article.)*

Maybe your mum was a successful business woman, a stay at home mum, a 2-jobs-just-to-make-ends-meet mum. Maybe you had a wonderful, nourishing relationship with your mum,  or maybe you went (or want) to live on another continent to get away from her, maybe you had two mums, or maybe your mum wasn’t around at all for whatever reason.

Whatever your relationship with your mum, it’s a relationship that influences us from birth (and before) and affects our beliefs and behaviour as an adult, in turn influencing how you run your business. Becoming aware of these beliefs can be the first step to either clearing or reframing the negative ones or embracing the positives. So here are four types of business-related beliefs that you might have learned from your mum (or any other prominent person in your childhood).

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A woman with a brightly lit umbrella stands under a night sky and a shooting star

How Do You Define Success?

I was reading Aniela Gregorek's chapter in the book Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferris* over the weekend and this quote really hit me...

To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children… to leave the world a bit better… to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I won't lie, an involuntary sob even escaped (yes, I am a cryer). Aniela Gregorek is a former political refugee who is now a weightlifting champion, business owner and author. So her story was inspiring enough, but I couldn't quite work out why this particular quote affected me so deeply.

I realised that it's because it was a definition of success that had nothing to do with society's version - which basically amounts to being rich and skinny as far as I can tell (plus a whole host of other expectations based on gender, race, religion, community and more.) So it made me want to define success on my own terms.

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Woman slumped over her computer

Are You On The Brink Of Burnout?

Burnout can seem like an extreme term - we imagine people literally collapsing from exhaustion or having a nervous breakdown. So it may not feel like it applies to you.

However, I have worked with lots of busy business women throughout my own business life, first as a personal trainer and then as a virtual assistant. And there's one thing I've noticed that many of them have in common...

They are functioning on the brink of burnout! Are you? 

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How To Love What You Do

How To Love What You Do

Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s the day of luuuurve and the shops are making the most of people getting back on their feet after the festive spendathon and January sales. I’m really enjoying seeing hearts, roses and funny Valentines cards all over the place, and I certainly enjoy receiving flowers (that’s a hint hubby, if you’re reading.)

So we’re all being encouraged to express our love to our significant others and to ourselves in the personal development world. But this Valentine’s Day, I want to ask you a question…

Do you REALLY Love What You Do? 

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Time - a beautiful watch in a gift box

Fill Your Time With The 3 P’s: Pleasure, Purpose & Profit

There’s a lot of talk about saving time, getting more done, and being more productive. But what would you fill up all that extra time with? 

My last two blog posts have been about decreasing your workload and freeing up your time. However, if you don’t make a conscious decision to fill that time with something specific, you might just find more “busy work” drifts in to take the place of whatever tasks you’ve ditched, decreased or delegated.

I’m talking ancient wisdom here – as philosopher Aristotle said, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Because it requires every space to be filled with something, even if that something just air. I believe the same phenomenon happens with time.

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Maria Watson, The Details Director

3 Simple Automations To Decrease Your Workload & Free Up Your Time

(Which You Can Set Up Today!)

In my last blog I talked about the 4 types of tasks you should ditch, decrease or delegate to help you create more time in your day for the things you love (whether work or play). Maybe this seems like a fantasy, but it is possible. So, this week I wanted to share some practical tips that will not only help you to decrease the amount of time you spend on those tasks that are sapping your time and energy, but they'll even make delegation much easier.

Since one of my lessons from last year was that it is wise not to try and do everything myself, I decided to ask an expert. And there’s no one better than Maria Watson, who is known as The Details Director for a good reason. Processes are basically her “superpower” and she loves helping business owners to create systems, processes and order in their business. Today Maria is sharing three simple automations that you can set up today to decrease your workload and free up your time and head space.

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Woman sitting at her computer drinking coffee

How To Know Which Tasks To Ditch, Decrease Or Delegate.

Being neck deep in fruitless tasks is demoralising at best, and over time can leave you feeling depressed and disillusioned with this whole “being your own boss” thing.

When you spend lots of time working on tasks that you don’t enjoy or that you’re not particularly good at, it distracts you from the important work. You won’t have as much time for the work that will give you the financial and personal rewards and results, which were the reason you got into business in the first place. Ultimately, they steal time from that difference you wanted to make when you started your business. 

You probably know full well that you need to ditch, decrease, or delegate at least some of what you already do, but it can be hard to know where to start. I mean, who can afford to take the time work all this out right!?

Sister… you can’t afford not to!

But how do you decide what tasks stay or go?

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A woman looks at her phone screen

What Happened When I Removed Social Media Apps From My Phone.

Every now and then I would see someone say "I won't be on Facebook for a while, I'm having a social media detox" and then disappear into thin air, and I'd think "Jammy so-and-so! There's no such luxury for an entrepreneur with their own business." 

However, when I had breaks from social media - while on holiday, or on a day when I need to be present and attentive like a training course or family occasion - I would feel a certain sense of relief.

Then one day in Autumn last year, I realised that I was wasting a lot of time getting distracted by my phone and absentmindedly browsing through Facebook and Instagram.

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Clockwise from the left. Highlights from 2017: my wedding, moving to the seaside, and having a business flexible enough to do things my way (yes, often in coffee shops)

Coming Clean On 2017 – A Year In Review

Successes, Lessons Learned And looking Forward to 2018

This post may include affiliate links which means I may receive a commission if you purchase something through a link. But don't worry, I only ever recommend products I know and love, and it'll never cost any more than buying direct!

I don’t know about you, but 2017 was a roller-coaster year for me. Maybe this shouldn’t have surprised me, as life as a business owner is full of highs and lows at the best of times, but throw a house move and a wedding into the mix and that makes for a full-on year.

I spent a couple of days doing some planning before Christmas and took the opportunity to review 2017, inspired by this article by Anna Hunt on the importance of closing one cycle well before entering a new one. Here some of are my insights from following her process, both personal and professional (because they are never rarely exclusive).

Health warning: This is a longer post than usual, so you may want to make a cuppa before you get started.

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Woman smelling flowers

A Different Approach To Goal Setting

And What “Start With Why” Means To Me

Simon Sinek's book, Start with Why, is awesome (watch his TED Talk for a flavour)... but I found myself in a bit of a conundrum...

You see, I find it a bit hard to see the future... or, should I say, to picture one specific future. Every time I do one of those visioning exercises or meditations, I get a different vision… that’s if I get anything at all. This means I have lots of why's - my family, my fella, and I could go on.

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