I have been asked by a number of people why I ‘let’ my daughter travel abroad. It is always a question which stumps me, as I don’t feel that what she want to do with her life is really anything to do with me, so I don’t understand why I should be letting, or indeed stopping, her from doing what she wants to do. I am happy to support her in her life choices, especially as I can see that she is enjoying her life and getting a lot from what she is doing.
Together in Praque

Together in Prague

Sandy asked me to write about this, but I was struggling to know what to write until one of her friends came up with the following questions. So here are my answers, some of which will also the answer the question in the title of this post.
1) What are three good things about having a daughter who is a teacher?
1. She is doing a job that she loves and which takes her around the world – which gives me the chance to visit places that I would never have normally thought of going to – like Asuncion in Paraguay.
Asuncion from the air

Asuncion from the air

2. She is able to help her cousins when they are struggling with their work.
3. She is able to help me if I have a problem with my english.
2) Were there ever a moment in your life when you wished I wasn’t a teacher?  Please tell me about it.
When I am asked if I am good with English – I never feel very confident as I don’t know as much about the language and its elements as you do.
3) Was there ever a moment when you were very proud of something I did as a teacher? Please tell me about it.
I am often proud of what you do, but especially when you are working with someone who needs more help. In particular adapting your teaching style to teach a blind russian girl, including thinking about how she learnt and learning a bit of braille too.
4) How do you think me being a teacher has made life more complicated for you?
Fitting in to your always complicated plans during your times in the UK – when you try to fit in visiting and catching up with too many people in a short time.
Also dealing with all of the questions and comments from friends, family and acquaintances when you were in Sevastopol in the Crimea while it was changing from being Ukranian to being Russian, even though I was confident that you were safe.
5) Do you think I am well suited to be a teacher?  Why?
I think you are suited to being a teacher because you are always finding ideas to use in classes when you are out and about. You are passionate about your profession and always wanting to develop and challenge yourself. You are great at thinking about how other people learn and work to adapt your style to suit them.
6) What other jobs do you think I could have done or should have done?
I cannot think of any other job that would have suited you as well as being a teacher.
7) Why do you think I became a teacher?
Because you like helping people and you are interested in other cultures and languages – all of which are elements of being a TEFL teacher. You also had a great teaching role model in your grandad (my dad) who also loved to share his knowledge and expertise.
8) Why do you think I am a teacher now?
Because it is your passion.
9) How would our lives change if I stopped being a teacher tomorrow?
You would need to have another role that you could be just as passionate about. Your new role as a Director of Studies will be a stepping stone away from being a full time teacher, but I cannot envisage a time when you won’t be doing some kind of teaching whatever other roles you take on.
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IMG_0375I have now been diagnosed as a Coeliac for 10 years so I thought is would be interesting to muse a little about what the experience has been like for me over this period.

I now wish I had been writing this blog when I was first diagnosed and could go back to read how it felt at the time. My memories of it was that it was a shock to be diagnosed and I wasn’t at all sure how I could manage with such a restricted diet. I did not have any family or friends who had the condition and I was a single, working mum with 2 teenage children so it was all a bit disorientating to start with.

I vividly remember the first time I went shopping – it took me about an hour and a half to do my normal shop as I was having to read the ingredients list on everything that I normally bought. It wasn’t helped by my struggling to read the ridiculously small print that the information was printed in. (This led to my having my eyes tested and to going straight into varifocal glasses from having perfect vision – but that is another story). I remember being very depressed and upset and getting really frustrated.

I was advised to join Coeliac Uk which I did. I found their web site extremely helpful, and their book of gluten free products a god send. I used it all of the time when I first got it, although I found I settled into a range of products that I knew were safe quite quickly. I religiously updated the book every month with the information they sent to me. After about 5 years I stopped doing this as I was more confident about what I was buying – and the marking of allergens on products had started to improve by then.  I still use the book, but very rarely. I am really pleased that they have now released an app that I can use on my I-phone which means I am using it more often again now. I also like to use their list of venues that cater for Coeliacs – and have sent in recommendations for places I have found too.

I found my visit to the dietician frustrating. As a librarian I had done a lot of research into the condition and I had already found out about virtually everything they told me. The questions I did had have they couldn’t answer. They sent me a letter afterwards saying I had agreed to be signed off from them – not what I remembered about the appointment, but it suited me as it hadn’t really helped.

The added complication of my condition was that I was found to have osteopaenia. This is the stage before  osteoporosis – the thinning of the bones due to a lack of calcium in the diet caused by my body not absorbing all of the nutrition I was eating due to the villi in my stomach being stunted. I was also chronically anaemic. The latter was sorted out through eating a gluten free diet  and so absorbing enough iron – along with me putting on 2 stone without increasing the volume of what I was eating. I have been on calcium tablets for the last 10 years for the osteopaenia – prescribed for 8 years and then Forever Calcium for the last 2 as my 2nd Dexa scan (bone density scan) showed no improvement after 8 years. I have written more about this in a separate post.

I did go along  to a local Coeliac UK meeting for the recently diagnosed, however I found it a very depressing experience as most of the other people were focussing on all of the things they could no longer have. I found it a little like how I think an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting would be as everyone was identifying themselves by the date they were diagnosed. I had passed the grief  stage by this time, and was in some ways grateful that if I had a condition it was one that could be managed with diet, rather than something like Crohn’s which my brother has had since he was 16. I have since developed Microscopic Colitis due to a very stressful job and dislike having to take steroids which is the only way to clear it up. It took me 10 years to attend another meeting – and this one was very different. We had an excellent talk about providing support for teenagers who were diagnosed, and some excellent cakes from the Slice of Heaven bakery which were delicious.

I am now reasonably settled into my life as a Coeliac. I still find it frustrating when I am having trouble finding something to eat when I am out, but I am rubbish at planning ahead so some of it is my own fault. I find the reaction that I have to eating gluten difficult – sickness, diarrhoea, light headedness, bloating, gasiness and fatigue. I didn’t have a noticeable reaction after eating gluten before I was diagnosed – but my body really doesn’t like gluten now. I am lucky in that it only takes me a few days to a week to get over a glutening episode physically when I know some people who take a lot longer. Mentally, however, it can take me a number of weeks to be confident about eating out or having something made by someone I don’t really know.

I must say that the range of foods available to me are now greatly increased from what was available in 2004. The knowledge of catering establishments is improving, with a lot more of them providing gluten free menu’s, marking their menu’s or having diet sheets (although the print on them can be difficult to read and some restaurants don’t keep their folders up to date).

I am happy to talk to anyone who is recently diagnosed, or who has family or friend who have been told they have the condition. Get in touch, or comment on this post about your experiences if you feel it would help others, or you just want to let it all out.

Your earnings with any business are dependent on the amount of focussed effort you put into your business. What is great about the Direct Marketing business model  is that as you grow a team, and work with them to develop their own successful businesses, your business, and hence your income, will also grow as you start to get residual income. Get in touch if you would like to find out more about the opportunity and the support and coaching that is available to you.

The other benefit of a Direct Marketing business is that you can develop it to the level you are comfortable with, or the level you can achieve with the amount of time you have available. It is truly  flexible. With Forever Living you don’t have to pay a joining fee, or an annual charge you only have to buy products to join.
As well as earning 30% retail profit on any items you sell you get the products for your own use at the wholesale price. If, like me, you are an aloe holic and use Aloe Vera to was your hair, wash your clothes, clean your house, keep your skin soft, drink it as a tonic, clean you teeth and treat aching muscles and burns this is really helpful.

Silicon Bullet Forever

The good news with Forever Living is that your earnings are uncapped, and no one will ever tell you to stop as you have reached your glass ceiling with the company. Also once you reach a certain level your business is willable so you are building a business to pass on to your loved ones.  The bad news is it is not a get rich quick scheme, anyone can earn large amounts of money with Forever Living, but it takes hard work, determination and time to get there.

There are 3 ways you can earn with Forever Living – and you tend to get out what you put in, so if you want to earn more, you do more.  If you have limited time to spend on your new Forever Business though you can start with a few hours and build up.

Option 1 – Retailing

When you get your…

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It means that you are doing regular, steady work on your business and regularly using and selling products, and talking to people about the business. It is the base of an excellent business, and a great habit to teach to people as they join the business.
So what is a CC?
A CC is the virtual currency that is used for Forever Living so that we can all compare what we are doing across all 155 countries where we trade. If I said to someone in France that I had done £200 of retail business they would not be able to equate that to the business that they do. However if I say I have done 1CC they will know what that means.
When Forever starts in each country the company sets the value of a CC in the currency of that country.
Why is 4CC’s important?
Getting 4CC’s a month is the first business building target that Forever Living encourages us to achieve.  It is an excellent habit to get into, and is a great example to set to new team members when they join you. If you have a team who are all doing at least 4CC’s a month you will be building a solid business.

Doing 4CC’s earns you c£200p.m. from the profit from sales (30%) and the bonus you will receive (5-18%).

When you are building a team you need to achieve 4CC’s each month in order to receive your team leading or networking bonuses once you reach Supervisor or above. You will always receive the bonus on your retail sales whether or not you get your 4CC’s.

It is also the minimum required to get all of the Manager incentives:

  • Earned incentive (a monthly payment of £263-525 a month for 3 years.
  • International travel
  • Chairman’s bonus

The reason Forever Living have set this as a requirement to earn these team building bonuses and incentive is that it means that you are showing great business practice to the people you recruit. If they can see you doing, you are encouraging them to do the same as you are- setting a good example. If you encourage each new recruit in your team to aim for 4CC’s then you will be building a team that are earning an income, building their businesses and you will be building up the CC’s you need to go up the marketing plan and earn larger bonuses (and get the products for less too for your personal use).
How does it help you build your business?
For example:
To move from Assistant Supervisor to Supervisor level and an increase of 3% to your bonus you, and your team combined! need to do 25CC’s of business over 2 months.
If you recruit 2 team members who each do 4CC’s in a month that, with your 4CC’s is 12Cc’s just under half what you need to get to Supervisor level of 25CC’s to move up to 8% bonus. The next month if you all do the same, and even if you didn’t recruit, you only need 1 more CC’s to move up.

I have now been 4CC active for more than 12 months and have 3 month, 6 month and 12 month pins and certificates from the company to celebrate our progress.  It feels great to get the recognition – and we get to stand and be celebrated at the Success Express too.

How do you do 4cc’s?

By not focussing on 4cc’s  but focussing on:

1. Redirecting your own spending and use the products yourself . If there is a Forever equivalent to a product you already use then use it – I personally have an Aloe house where every product I use is from Forever Living if they make it.

2. Present the business opportunity to as many people as you can and wherever you go

3. Follow up with the products when you talk to people and aim to build a retail base of 20-30 regular customers.

If you think that this is something you could do, and you want to find out more get In touch with me to see if we can work together to build you an effective business.

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It is interesting that Direct Marketing is still often compared to illegal pyramid schemes. It is helpful to have a post like this explaining what a pyramid scheme is, and how the Forever Living Direct Marketing system differs from it.
Every role I have been in has had a staffing structure that looks like a pyramid when drawn on paper.
What I particularly like about the Direct Marketing system is that the structure of the organisation is in that shape, but that the amount you earn at each position in the structure is reliant on the amount of work you put in to developing your business, not to your position in the structure. This means that I know of many occasions where a team member is earning more than the team leader who recruited them. You won’t get that in a traditional company.
Another reason why I am so pleased to be working in Direct Marketing where the only way to improve your business is to help others develop their own successful businesses, with the side effect of helping people with their health and well being with such wonderful products.
Get in touch with me if you would like to find out more about whether this would work for you.

Silicon Bullet Forever

When I first tell people I am involved with a network marketing or multi level marketing company, one of the most common questions I get asked is ‘is it a pyramid scheme?’   I then ask what do you think a pyramid scheme is, and  the questioner is usually left stumped as they don’t actually know.  it is just a phrase commonly associated with this sort of business, and they vaguely think of it as something that is illegal and not very positive.

What is a Pyramid Scheme?

Well, in order to understand and answer the question, first you need to understand what a pyramid scheme is.

According to The Free Dictionary the definition of a Pyramid Scheme is “A fraudulent moneymaking scheme in which people are recruited to make payments to others above them in a hierarchy while expecting to receive payments from people recruited below them. Eventually the number of…

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The truism is always ask a busy person if you want something done. When you are looking at starting your own business the real question you should ask yourself is ‘why am I doing this?’ Use this to establish clear goals that you feel really passionately about achieving.
Once you have clear goals then you will find the time to do what needs to be done. It is amazing how many things you do that aren’t so important if you need to use the time to build a new life and an income.
Get in touch with me for a chat about your new future and how I can support you in achieving it.

Silicon Bullet Forever

I often meet people who are really keen to join Forever Living, but just don’t consider that they have enough time to start a new business.  You might be unemployed and looking for a job, you might be in a job already which demands long hours and doesn’t give much respite, or maybe you have lots of hobbies which take up your time. Whatever it is, you are a busy person and you don’t have any ‘free’ time.  Whatever you are doing you will be filling all of the time available with something (there is no such thing as free time)  – the trick is in deciding if there is anything you are currently doing that you could reduce or replace with your new business.

My story is that I already run a successful IT business with my husband, which has been our primary source of household income since 2000…

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When talking to people about the opportunity of joining the Forever Living business we are often asked about the cost. This post by my sister is an excellent reprise of why the New Distributor Pack (or business in a box) is such good value.
I think the more significant question is what is the cost of not buying it – to your potential to achieve your goals in the future and to make a positive change to your life. I used to own a pet shop with my husband and it cost considerably more than £200 to start off the business and we never did really break even.
Get in touch with me if you want to talk about the potential that investing this £200 could have on your future.

Silicon Bullet Forever

So, you have looked at Forever Living, and you like the products, and you think that you could work with the person telling you all about them (hopefully me!), and you are interested in starting your own business. Your next question is always, “how much does it cost?”

This is quite often a stumbling block for prospective new team members, as they may be looking at the business because they need more money, and can’t find the funds in order to join the company in the first place.  It’s a Catch-22 situation.  So how can you get over this barrier?  You know the phrase ‘you have to speculate to accumulate’, or ‘you can’t make money without spending money’.  How many new businesses can you start with no investment at all?  I know of very few.

No Joining Fee

Firstly, there is no joining fee to join Forever Living, but you…

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One of the interesting things about most professions is the profusion of different ways in which they are described. This can lead to a lot of confusion about whether you are hearing about a completely different job or if they are all describing the same thing. My new profession is no different, which has what has inspired me to write this post with my own ‘musings’ about what is in a name.

The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations says that:

Multilevel marketing, also known as 

“network marketing,” relationship marketing” and “multilevel direct selling,” is an important component of the Direct Selling industry. It has proven over many years to be a highly successful and effective method of compensation of the direct selling firms for distributing products and services directly to consumers, which compensates independent salespersons or distributors.

The go on to define it further:

Direct selling can best be described as the marketing of products and services directly to consumers in a face to face manner, generally in their homes or the homes of others, at their workplace and other places away from permanent retail locations, usually through explanation or personal demonstration by an independent direct salesperson.

Multilevel marketing” is not truly marketing at all, instead it is simply one of a variety of methods of organizing and compensating salespeople in a direct selling business for their management, training, motivating and recruiting persons who will sell their companies’ products. Therefore, it may best be described as a direct selling compensation plan 

in which salespeople may receive compensation in two fundamental ways. First salespeople may earn compensation from their personal sales of goods and services to consumers. Second, they may earn compensation from the sales of those persons they have personally recruited or sponsored into the plan; and they may also earn compensation from the sales of the group or network recruited or sponsored into the plan by those they have personally recruited. Thus, multilevel marketing offers a direct seller the opportunity to build one’s own independent business selling goods and services to consumers and developing and training an organization or network of direct sellers to do the same.

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So there you have it – I am not sure that I can add much to these descriptions.

One thing you do need to be aware of if you are thinking of joining a company that operates in this way. The range of companies, the ways they work and the products they proved is very wide-ranging. Unless you are really blown away by the products or ethics of a company (and I was with Forever Living) then it might be worth having a look around and seeing which one fits you, your lifestyle and values best. Happy  hunting.

Any comments or questions are gratefully received – and could inform future posts.

The best and worst thing about running a home based business is the fact that you are your own boss. This means that you need to make sure that you are doing what is needed to get your business to grow – no one else is going to do it for you, or take you to task if things are not going as planned.

There are, however, a number of things you can do to help you, especially in the early days when you will most likely be doing a lot of work without a lot of income coming in.

Vision and Goals

If you are going to make a success of the business you need to be very clear why you are doing it. Is it to achieve a certain level of income a month, pay for a holiday, clear your debts, buy a car or house that you have always wanted. Time spent creating a clear vision of what you want to achieve will make your business stronger.

It is important to create a really big vision that excites you and make you want to bounce out of bed in the morning – and then put smaller goals, or milestones, into your vision so you have a way of checking how you are progressing.

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For me my goal is to get my income up to and past the level it was when I was working as an Assistant Director, but rather than picturing money I am picturing the things it will give me – a canal barge, a new car, holidays, visiting my daughter in whichever country she is working in at least twice a year, able to pay for lovely presents for my extended family.

The key word here is picture the clearer you can see, smell, hear, taste and touch your vision when you think about it the stronger it will be. You must also think about the vision in the present tense – as something that has already happened and is already here, not as something that is in the future or you will never get there. This is not an easy thing to do, and it is easy to get weighed down by doubts, but do it every day and your ‘vision muscle’ will get stronger and so will your belief. Then whenever things don’t go exactly to plan – and they won’t sometimes – you are able to get through it by remembering the end you have planned.

Goals, or milestones, are the stages along the way. It is important to always celebrate achieving them and take time to enjoy this as building a business takes time and you need to enjoy yourself on the way or you won’t have the energy to continue.

Touch your business every day

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Lao-tzuThe Way of Lao-tzuChinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)

You should do something to move your business on every day – as the only sure thing is that a business that is not worked on will not grow but die. The actions should be ones that actively develop the business, not just the administration jobs that can make you feel busy but not move the business on. For direct marketing this means contact with a prospective team member or customer as anything else is not developing the business.

This is not to say that you should never stop working the business – as it is also important to look after yourself and take time out, but, especially in the early days, you need to keep the momentum and excitement going.

Plan 

The final point I want to make in this post is that you need to plan and map out your actions and write them down – yearly, monthly and weekly. This is so that you can check back to see how you have done, and review which things have worked and which ones have not. This is why I am posting now at the end of 2013 as this is the ideal time to spend some time thinking about your business and how you want it to grow in 2014.

BUT you must be flexible and respond to feedback or opportunities as being too inflexible will limit the opportunities to grow and develop your business.  Talk to any business  owner who has been in business for more than a year and, while they may have achieved the goals they set themselves, the way they got there is likely to have been different to how they planned it at the beginning of the year. Be open to new ideas and ways of working – but don’t go after every new idea, only the ones that fit in with the vision you have set yourself. You may change the goals, as they may become less relevant to the way your business is developing.

My daughter Sandy Millin has invited me to take part in this series of post to follow on from the one that she has written.

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My task is to…
Acknowledge the nominating blogger.

Share 11 random facts about yourself.
Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.

List 11 bloggers.
Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

11 random facts about me

  1. I love singing – as a first soprano – with the Brewood singers
  2. I am very proud of my daughter Sandra and son Steven and pleased that they are both in jobs that they love (although I still haven’t had a chance to be driven in a truck yet Steven)
  3. My ex husband and I used to breed and show rabbits – including yellow and chocolate dutch, dwarf lops, and argente bleu and creme we showed as Shepherd Stud.
  4. This then moved onto us owning our own pet shop D & K Pets
  5. I used to work as an Assistant Director managing libraries, archives and adult learning in Dudley.
  6. I love to travel – and enjoy the journey as much as finding out about the places I visit.
  7. When I was 19 I went to America with a school friend for 4 weeks – we Greyhounded for 2 weeks then stayed with friends of my father at Arlington Virginia for 2 weeks.
  8. When I was 16 I went youth hostelling in Scotland with 2 school friends.
  9. I love reading and sharing books with as many people by releasing them in the wild – you can track them through Bookcrossing and looking for Katweeble on there.
  10. I am an Essex girl – I was born in Dovercourt Bay
  11. My original career was as a librarian and then I moved onto being a manager before moving to being a network marketer.

Answering the questions Sandy has asked me

1. What advice would you give to someone starting out in your profession?

To talk to other people who have already succeeded, keep on reading and never stop learning and finding out more about the profession. You can recycle a lot of great ideas rather than trying to start everything from scratch.

2. Are you a tidy person or a clean person, or both, or neither?

I am a tidy person and like things to be clean – although my desk is a little over run at the moment. I don’t like my house to be a show home though, I prefer it to be comfortable so it isn’t completely spotless.

3.How often do you go to the cinema

Not very often – it is usually in intense bouts when I am with Sandra, although I do love watching films on the cinema.

4. Do you have a favourite word (in any language)?

I have very fond memories of being with my nan when she was pretending she couldn’t say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. I was reminded of this recently due to the publicity about the film Saving Mr Banks about the making of Mary Poppins.

5. What’s your favourite meal? Can you cook it?

My favourite meal is roast lamb with onion sauce, roast potatoes and a range of vegetables followed by cheesecake.  I can cook the first part, but haven’t done the second part since being diagnosed as a coeliac in 2003. Maybe I need to have a go at making it again.

6. What’s the phrase you constantly hear yourself saying?

‘if that makes sense?’

7. What’s the worst job you’ve ever done?

Going round offices and shops cleaning phones during the Easter holidays of my first year in university. Some people were very rude to me – it helped me to realise that everybody should be treated politely and valued whatever job they do. The good bit about doing the job was that it paid for my flight tickets to and from America.

8. What’s your favourite method of procrastination?

My ipad- either computer games or looking at Facebook, twitter and e-mail.

9. Do you like classical music?

Yes –  and I like to listen to the BBC Radio 4 Composer of the Week podcast as I find out a lot about a wide range of composers.

10. I don’t know much about poetry. Is there a particular poem you think I should read?

Eye have a spelling chequer,
It came with my Pea Sea.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss Steaks I can knot sea.

Eye strike the quays and type a whirred
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am write oar wrong
It tells me straight a weigh.

Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your shore real glad two no.
Its vary polished in its weigh.
My chequer tolled me sew.

A chequer is a bless thing,
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right all stiles of righting,
And aides me when eye rime.

Each frays come posed up on my screen
Eye trussed too bee a joule.
The chequer pours o’er every word
Two cheque sum spelling rule.

The original version of this poem was written by Jerrold H. Zar in 1992.
I regularly have spell checking and predictive text mistakes in my written work – so this is a great reminder of the fact the I should always check to make sure the right version of a word is present.
11.And, a little bit of advertising. 🙂 What’s your favourite eltpic? (You don’t have to justify it!)
I haven’t picked one photo but one of the sets – the signs ones as I love how strange some of them are. I have enjoyed spotting them when with Sandra too.
My nominees?
My questions to my nominees?
  1. What is your favourite book?
  2. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?
  3. Which historical or fictional character would you like to meet?
  4. What was the last film you saw?
  5. What is your favourite form of exercise?
  6. Dogs or cats?
  7. Libraries, Book shops or e-books?
  8. Do you have a favourite building – and where is it?
  9. Where is your favourite place to eat with friends?
  10. What word best describes your current mood?
  11. Do you prefer Christmas or summer holidays?