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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.

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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?

I am a member of Alison’s team in Forever and have found the experience has been great. My background is working in a local authority and so I enjoy being part of a wider team that helps me develop my own business.
I am enjoying the networking element of my new business – and the way that small businesses work together to help each other.
Like Alison I am looking for existing business owners who are interested in adding an extra income stream to their current business. Get in touch with me if you know of anyone who fits the bill.

Silicon Bullet Forever

I have run my own business now since 2000 and I’ve always been the sort to try to do everything myself.  If I can get the task done and I have time, why should I pay someone else to do it?
Trying to do too much.
Since I have been a keen networker, though, over the last four years I have gradually learned that doing everything yourself is not necessarily the most cost-effective and best way to run your own small business.  When those jobs that you really don’t enjoy start to pile up, isn’t it better to outsource them to someone who can do them quickly and efficiently and then get on with the jobs you know that you are skilled at? I have now met many other small business owners, and by trading services and assisting each other, we can all help each other to grow.

I joined Forever Living in June 2012…

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This is a question I kept asking myself when I was working in an office job which meant that I had very little flexibility about what I could do and when. As my office was a sun trap with no air conditioning, the question became even bigger on the hot summer days when I felt like I was being cooked!

Since I left school I have always worked in local authorities, first as a librarian and then as a manager rising to the heady heights of Assistant Director managing Libraries, Archives and Adult Learning – all areas that I have a passion about. However, it had taken me away from the things that I really valued when I first started work, and I wanted to find a way to go back to these principles and still earn a good living. So what did I do?

When I started working I went into a job that:

  1. had a lot of variety – no 2 days were the same
  2. included regular contact with people every day helping them answer their questions and find what they needed
  3. made a difference to people’s lives
  4. taught me something new every day
  5. was not Monday to Friday  9-5 – I enjoyed working evenings and weekends as it meant I had time off in the week to do other things I enjoyed.

What happened to me, as with a lot of people I know, is that as I was promoted I ended up in a job which took me away from many of these values. I was still making a difference to people’s lives but from a distance not directly face to face.

I decided in 2011 that I wanted to find a role that gave me a more flexible lifestyle and which took me back to the principles I valued when I first started my working life.

It took me a bit of time to find the solution that suited me – and it has taken me into a whole new world of Direct or Multi level Marketing. It can also be called Network Marketing.

What I particularly liked about this way of earning a living is:

  • the fact that it can be done around an existing job and commitments
  • it lets you build your business in a steady way while still earning from another source which takes away some of the risk in starting your own business
  • the start up costs are really low compared with running a shop which was something I had done before with my ex husband
  • the excellent training and support I get from my team
  • the fact that I can use my considerable mentoring and coaching experience to help my team develop their own businesses

What am I doing now?

  1. building my own new business with a lot of support as I am an Independent Distributogarden May 2010 001r for Forever Living
  2. meeting lots of lovely new people every day
  3. helping people to improve their lives by supporting them to earn an extra income flexibly around their current commitments
  4. helping people to improve their health and wellbeing with wonderful products
  5. feeling much healthier having lost 3 stone and having the time to exercise every day and eat a better diet
  6. enjoying being able to spend time with my family and friends without having to ask permission for time off
  7. working from an office in my home

This post is the first in a series I will be doing on this alternative way of earning a living and the difference it has made to my life and that of others.

If you are interested in starting your own business working with me in my team do not hesitate to get in touch and we can see if we can do business together.

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