Category Archives: Career

A Toolkit For Happiness: 4 Steps To A More Fulfilling Life

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“Happiness can be found, in even the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light”

JK Rowling  ☂ ☼ ☆

If you’ve been:

△ Feeling a bit blue or out of sorts;
△ Wondering how to re-inject the joy into your joie de vivre; or
△ Asking yourself if life’s all it’s cracked up to be

this article by Elissa @Favor the Bold Communications is for you ♡

A 5-minute toolkit with a sad start, I guarantee these tips from the top will give you some easy to implement magic resources to put the spring back in your step ♫

Why CEOs Say Coaching Is Far More Than Hot Air

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“I never cease to  be amazed by the power of the coaching process”.

John Russell, Managing Director, Harley Davidson Europe

If, like me, your first impression of coaching was some wacky American self-help thang full of hot air, you wouldn’t be the first.

And I’ll bet my bottom dollar you won’t be the last to eat your words when you realise that:

“People, unless coached, never reach their maximum capabilities” Bob Nardelli, CEO, Home Depot

And by people, I’m talking clients from all walks of life – Cambridge graduates, company directors, school leavers and cynics. Like my highly successful friend who was dismayed he couldn’t become a Partner at his FTSE 500 company without a coaching session. After an hour with the coach, he soon changed his mind.

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If, like him a year back, you’re wondering what coaching is all about or how it could serve you with results based goods, check out some kind words below which walk you through the process ☄

“Melanie was incredibly helpful; she was insightful, she was understanding, and helped me to think of ways round issues and problems I had, or perceived I had!

She invited me to examine how the various areas of my life informed each other, and this was very revealing. I consider myself an insightful person, but she helped me to look at things truly; often it takes someone else to really reflect things to us.

She came from a very practical, yet empathetic stance, and was constantly encouraging. I felt that I could really take those small steps towards achieving what I wanted to achieve, and that it wasn’t as daunting as I had thought.

I think I had a tendency to over complicate things, and also to expect too much of myself. She helped me to break it down into small achievable goals, many of which I have now achieved.

Her knowledge, natural intelligence, warmth and wisdom gave me confidence that she believed in me, and therefore I should believe in myself a bit more!” –

Clare, Freelance Performer & Consultant, London

To check out how sessions work, pop on over here.

If Arianna Huffington Can Burn Out, Anyone Can

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“I wish I could go back and tell myself that not only is there no trade-off between living a well-rounded life and high performance, performance is actually improved when our lives include time for renewal, wisdom, wonder and giving. That would have saved me a lot of unnecessary stress, burnout and exhaustion.”

Arianna Huffington, the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post

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Whether you yourself, a work colleague, sibling or friend, we all know someone who’s been close to burn-out at some time or another. I certainly was after long hours in law and some personal strife on the side!

Whether:

1. Too many hours in the office;
2. High levels of stress in your 9-5; or
3. A complete lack of down-time which can leave you with no time to even wash your hair, let alone deal with personal problems, burn-out is one of the silent psychological killers.

And something of a taboo.

Well I’m here to tell you – it shouldn’t be.

What The Experts Say

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As explained by Dr. Travis Bradberry, Co-author of Emotional Intelligence & President at TalentSmart burn-out is much more common that we realise – and summit we really need to be aware of to avoid the hidden horrors that it causes.

So whether you’re on the spectrum or simply want to learn what Arianna Huffington wishes she’d known before she burnt-out, check out this excellent article:

 SIGNS YOU’RE BURNING OUT (AND HOW TO STOP IT) 

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You won’t regret it ☼

The 10 Minute Magic Trick Back To Happiness

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What’s the sign that you’re truly ‪#‎happy‬?

What’s that feeling you get that tells you that all is exactly as it should be?

How do you know that something or someone is right for you?

For me, it was a bit of a surprise to discover it was a feeling of PEACE.

Times I’ve Felt Peaceful Include:

♧ When I left London for Madrid and then the mountains;
♧ When I left law for life coaching;
♧ When I write.

What Causes Calm?

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Living life in accordance with your values - those things which make you tick – your internal drivers – your silent anchors which, when honoured and engaged, make you feel alive and at peace.

What Causes Niggling Unease?

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If you’re feeling out of sorts at the moment – like you’re not quite where you’re meant to be – not doing a job you enjoy – not spending time with the right people – or not living in the right place – that’s likely because you’re not living your life in accordance with your values.

Maybe that’s because you feel too busy to take time out, too overwhelmed to think straight or maybe you’ve simply never sat down and worked out what really makes you tick.

The great news is, that feeling of unease is easy to resolve if you take a step back and spend ten minutes working out your values.

How To Recapture Your Va-Va-Voom 

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Tap into the real you by formulating a list of your 8-10 core drivers – the things which give you purpose – by asking yourself:

♧ What am I doing when I’m happiest? 
♧ What couldn’t I do without in my life?
♧ What would my ideal day involve?
♧ If I had all the money in the world, what would I be doing?
♧ If time was no object, where would you find me?

Your list may include words like: 

‪#‎freedom‬ ‪#‎friends‬ ‪#‎love‬ ‪#‎writing‬ ‪#‎nature‬ ‪#‎travel‬ ‪#‎money‬ and more.

It’s totally personal.

Now put those words in order of priority.  

Once you’ve done that you should be able to spot the cause of your unease.

Which one of those values isn’t being met at the moment? If it’s a value near the top of your list, chances are you’re feeling all kinds of funny.

Don’t Believe Me?

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You can test your values by looking back at times in your life when you felt unlike yourself – whether an ill-fitting relationship or an unfulfilling job. Review your values list against each scenario and I’ll bet you can identify which need wasn’t being met and why you felt so strange. Bear in mind, though, that your values evolve over time so what may have mattered to you ten years ago may hold less significance now.

The Magic Bullet

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Having identified your needs, ask yourself what can you do to realign your ‪#‎life‬ with your ‪#‎values‬.

Savour how much more confident you feel making a ‪#‎change‬ now you understand why you feel the way you do.

Marie Forleo: How You Can Make Fear Your Secret Weapon For Success

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\\ POWERFUL TRANSFORMATIVE TEACHING ON FEAR from the awe inspiring ‪#‎entrepreneur‬,‪ #‎author‬ and ‪#‎philanthropist‬ Marie Forleo

We’re all riddled with fear to different degrees – at different points on our ‪#‎journeys‬.

Whether:

۩ fear of being alone;
۩
fear of failure; 
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fear of disappointment

or otherwise – I know I’ve felt all three at times, as have most of my phenomenal female friends.

But as the lioness, Marie, so eloquently reminds us, we must reframe our fear and activate it as the positive force that it really is.

How Can Fear Be Positive?

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If you think about it, fear is just a manifestation of uncertainty – the risk of not achieving something that is hugely important to us. And where does that leave our identity?! Nowhere certain. Nowhere concrete. Nowhere fun.

But here’s the thing – fear is also a pretty draining emotion – if not embraced for what it really symbolises – which leaves us stuck worrying about the past or the future rather than harnessing the fun, fruity and pretty darn hopeful – present.

How Can We Convert Fear Into A Force For Good?

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So embrace your fear today by asking yourself what the positive intention behind your fear really is. Maybe it’s soaring ambition, a gorgeous readiness to love or the inner perfectionist that lights your path?

Now refocus your mind on that – magnify it – tenfold – and watch your fear melt into rock – hard – pumping – power ☼

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The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying: Bronnie Ware

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“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not a life others expected of me” 

Taken from “The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying”

By Bronnie Ware

Death is one of life’s great taboos.

Ironic then, isn’t it, that Bronnie Ware’s book, inspired by the most common regrets of her dying patients, has sold the wide world over – in no less than 27 languages. 

Equally ironic is the conversation stopping effect death has in life when Ware’s findings reveal that death is, in fact, the greatest invigorator out there. Bypassing ego, image and obligation, death sieves through bullshit and cuts straight to point - distilling truth in its purest form.

Five core truths, in fact – which level us all.

And that, Dear Reader, is what many of us are too busy to realise day to day – what really matters in life – and that’s what makes Ware’s book so powerful.

If that all sounds a bit on the heavy side, check out the top five regrets of the dying here and prepare to feel a whole lot lighter.

For as Steve Jobs, the man who ‘had it all’, warned:

“At this moment, lying on the sick bed and recalling my whole life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in, have paled and become meaningless”.

So if you think you’re too busy to read the above article, all the more reason to. 

For as the Dalai Lama so wisely reflected when asked what surprised him most about man:

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Entrepreneur Of The Fortnight: Childrenswear With A Twist

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Ever dreamt of jacking in your 9-5 job if you only had a viable alternative to run to? Have you ever wondered how it’s even possible to make money from something you love without compromising certain income and a safe future? Or maybe you’ve pondered how much experience you actually need in a field before jumping ship and creating a business from scratch?

As with most things entrepreneurial, Natalia and Tamara, founders of the beautiful childrenswear brand, Little Knickerbockers, challenge the norms we’re accustomed to believing. Giving down to earth insight about their path to entrepreneurial success, if you’ve ever wondered about starting your own business, this will give you a kick in the right direction. These are sisters with creativity, passion and business savvy to boot….

Over to you, ladies…

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Can You Tell Me A Bit About What You Do?

We started Little Knickerbockers in 2011 and have carefully sourced items far and wide as part of our classic collection of clothing and accessories for 0-5yr olds. Affordable, with a dose of good old fashioned charm and a modern twist, these clothes are gorgeously timeless and original at the same time. You can check out out our online shop here.

What Inspired You To Start Your Business?

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As you can see from our collections, we just adore traditionally inspired clothes such as Peter Pan collars, bloomers, cords, smock dresses and rompers. When we started to have children we noticed it was difficult to find wonderful classic clothes that didn’t leave a hole in your pocket, so it all started from there.

How Did You Manage To Build Your Business?

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We have been doing it through word of mouth over the last few years and found a good customer base online and at seasonal fairs. 

What’s Been The Biggest Highlight?

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When people genuinely like and respond to the clothes

What’s Been The Biggest Challenge?

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Juggling the business and looking after our children.  

How Do You Build Your Client Base?

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We use social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) but also use flyers and we include our own range of postcards with every purchase.

What Advice Would You Give To Budding Entrepreneurs?

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When you’ve done your research and planning, don’t put it off – just go for it!

What’s Next For You?

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We are thinking of doing some pop up shops over the year, and then who knows…hopefully even create a small line of our own!

How Can We Contact You?

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info@littleknickerbockers.com

Tell Us Something We Didn’t Know About You…

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I was born with a tooth!!!

Terry Wogan: The Grocer’s Son Who Made History Of A Different Kind

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“A broadcasting legend”Tony Hall

“Britain has lost a huge talent – someone millions came to feel was their own special friend”David Cameron

“Just the most warm-hearted, generous, funny, clever, life-affirming man”Dermot O’Leary

“He was probably the greatest broadcaster since the invention of the microphone”Jeremy Vine

“Part of the fabric of our lives”Simon Mayo

“Nobody’s going to top that act”Ruby Wax

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Few deaths move nations like Sir Terry Wogan’s has Britain and Ireland.

Few moments are more poignant than Wogan’s farewell to his Radio 2 listeners.

And his parting words to his Radio 2 listeners, like Bowie’s ‘Lazarus’, seem all the more poignant now:

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It’s always been a source of enormous pride to me that you have come together in my name, that you are proud to call yourself my listeners, that you think of me as a friend, someone that you are close enough to laugh with, to poke fun at and occasionally, when the world seemed just a little too cruel, to shed a tear with.

Thank you, thank you for being my friend“.

And while the farcical cluster of legendary deaths this year are powerfully evoked by John Schneider: “It’s truly like God’s put an intern in charge of deaths and he’s going through the list of celebrities people really love“, these losses make Wogan’s no less.

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Described as a “national treasure“, “a true gentleman” and “one of the greatest broadcasters who ever lived“, I ask you, dear Reader, what was it that made Sir Terry Wogan so very dear to us?

Was it just his Irish charm and velvety voice, was it the fact he helped us through the painful wee hours with his warm and witty weekday breakfast programme, “Wake Up To Wogan” or was it his cuddly resemblance to a much-loved father figure?

Or was it more than that?

I suggest, dear Reader, it was the latter.

For as the snapshot of tributes above show, Wogan’s legacy is rooted in the fantastical – even metaphysical.

From grocer’s son to broadcasting legend – he went from virtual unknown to a friend to millions.

Yes – a friend to millions.

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A rare mix of gravitas allied with a strong sense of the ridiculous gave this unscripted, slick-witted broadcaster an eloquence, wit and warmth that made people feel both enraptured and at ease all at once.

Far more than a just another charming TV personality, Wogan was a deeply empathetic man who, though known as the face of Children In Need, was in fact “the heart of the charity for some 35 years, raising millions to change the lives of children“.

This was a man who, like all the greats of the world, leaves many lessons in his wake.

Here are just a handful:

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1. Do What You Love
Wogan’s departure from banking couldn’t have been further from the broadcasting world. Giving vent to his flamboyance, TV and radio came naturally to Wogan, allowing him to exploit his flair and charisma on a daily basis. Such was his ease on the radio, he admitted: “I certainly don’t wake up planning my show for the next day. I simply turn up and turn the microphone on without giving it any thought.” So if you’re at a career crossroads, forget the ‘shoulds’ and focus on what truly excites you. There will be less stress, more fun and quite simply – more success.

2. Prioritise Family
Despite Wogan’s success, his wife and children were his priority. “I’ve always taken risks with my career, but never with my family“, he said. “If you want to keep everything about you secure and warm, you don’t risk the things you value“. Wise words from a devilishly handsome Irish man who could have quite easily exploited his wit and charm to more egotistical ends.

3. Don’t Take Life Too Seriously
Chris Evans attributes Wogan’s supreme confidence to the fact that: “He never took any of this seriously. Least of all himself. He was the butt of most of his jokes”. Wogan was the ultimate Jackanory. Chris Deerin said he had stories, “Many unrepeatable here, about pretty much anyone I could think up. He loved to talk about his friend, the great Peter Cook, who once asked to bring his pet along to a celebrity golf match and arrived carrying a goldfish in a bowl“. The moral of the tale? “Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out alive“.

4. See Through The Bullshit
When asked by Joanna Lumley, his nervous co-presenter of Children In Need just before going on air in the early days, “Terry, do you ever get nervous”, he replied: “Nervous? No. This is only television“. Wogan was a man who had life in perspective. A perspective no doubt sharpened by the loss of a daughter at 3 weeks’ old. He saw through ego and laughed it off as the illusion that it is. When asked what advice he’d offer his teenage self if he had the chance, he replied: “I would say never get too disappointed if you don’t do as well as expected in your exams. There’s more to life than passing exams, and paper qualifications can only take you so far.” So next time you feel stressed or guilty for not meeting others’ expectations, remember, they may not count for much when all is said and done.

5. Stay Humble
Despite his fame, being knighted in 2005 – the year his radio audience passed the eight million mark – Wogan appreciated his radio listeners to the very end. A king of the airwaves who never lost the common touch, this was a man who had that rare ability to make each of his 9 million listeners feel like the only person in the room. Which, I suppose, is why when questioned how many people listened to his show, he replied: “Only one“.

But most of all, Wogan was a man who appealed to the masses. The rich, the famous, the middle class, the poor and the lowly.

He had that magical ability to make everyone feel special. The rarest of gifts and a prime example of Rudyard Kipling’s words:

How To Get Motivated: Reframe Your Pain And Gain Gain Gain

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“Satisfied needs do not motivate. It is only the unfulfilled needs that do so”

Stephen Covey, Bestselling Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

When was the last time a grizzly, sick-to-your-stomach inducing situation turned out to be surprisingly positive and expansive?

How did you feel a few months down the line after that terrible break-up, unfair job loss or frightening health scare? Bitter, angry and stuck or grateful, wiser and surprisingly positive?

This is because of of a GEM OF A SECRET I’ll share with you.

The driving force behind motivation – what impels us to action – is produced by a state of tension, which exists as the result of an unfulfilled need

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This is why being cut loose from situations which no longer serve us – is actually a blessing in disguise – launching us into positive change with an engine of tension-fuelled motivation beneath us.

So you see, the most difficult experiences in life are actually powerful catalysts for positive change

Whether:

1. Losing a job and starting that business you’d dreamed about;
2. Breaking up with someone and taking up a new hobby that opens up a whole new social circle; or
3. Making a fresh start somewhere new and learning new languages and customs which tickle your soul and inspire you creatively

This is why discomfort can be such a powerful driver for growth

and why imagining how you DON’T want your life to be a year down the line is such an effective driver for achieving your goals.

How Can You Apply This In Your Daily Life?

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1. Reframe Your Pain - Remember that discomfort and pain are the great catalysts for growth. If you do one thing today, wee Gazer, try reframing pain and discomfort into the positive motivator that it is and turn your attention to the new and exciting ideas and projects which that tension is releasing within you.

2. Get Inspired - The likes of bestselling authors like Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert didn’t get where they are through comfort. Au contraire – they side stepped, jagged, from the grief-stricken wounds of trauma to the high-flying realms of success that see their names in lights today.

Similarly, if you think Steve Jobs and Richard Branson just got lucky, take a look at the challenges they both harnessed to achieve sky-high success. Sackings, imprisonments, betrayals aren’t what you’d expect, are they? If they can do it, why can’t you?

3. Still Struggling? And if you’re not quite there yet, give yourself a breather and remember – those challenges are what make you the person that you are today – and they will be the making of your tomorrow.

Entrepreneur Of The Fortnight: Gemma Tanswell: Dancer Extraordinaire

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What shade of blue are your Sunday Blues and where do they take you? Turquoise oceans and stripey sun beds in the Caribbean with cocktails in hand? Or maybe you’re day dreaming of sunset skies across the River Thames as you stare out of your (make-believe) office window from home? Or are your escapist fantasies a darker shade of blue that see you wishing you could leave your daily grind more than anything in the world?

If any of these are you, this truly candid interview with Gemma Tanswell has your name on it. Creator of  Stage Plus School of Performing Arts, Gemma ignored the doubtors and stood firm to her dreams, creating an inspiring company that fufils her day in, day out.

So if you’ve ever wondered about jumping ship and creating your own business – your style – your way – read on. This is a lady with brains, beauty and business savvy in bucket loads…

Over to you, Gemma…

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Can You Tell Me A Bit About What You Do? 

I am the Owner and Principal of Stage Plus School of Performing Arts based in Princes Risborough, England. I’m a trained ISTD and RAD teacher and have also trained in Zumba and the Trinity Arts Award. When I’m not teaching, organising competitions, exams and shows, I’m trying to keep my school in the forefront through advertising, social media and all the general admin!

I’m also part of the creative team at Risborough Youth Theatre, work part time in a preschool (where I’ve taken my Levels 2 & 3 in CYPW) and have just started to write a family blog.

Aside from that, I’m a wife of 4 years and mummy to a gorgeous 2 year old boy!

What Was Your Previous Experience Before Starting Your Business?

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I started dance classes when I was 3 years old where I was a member of our local dance school, Sabatini School of Dance and Performance. I never took any exams – I just performed for fun and it certainly was that!

At 18 years old, I went onto North London Dance Studio where I spent 2 years training and graduated with a Diploma in Performing Arts, Intermediate and Advanced exams in Ballet, Tap, Modern and National. I then completed my teaching qualifications and updated others at the Linda Sweetzer Teacher Training College, taking advanced 2 Modern over the years, too!

In terms of work, I performed around the UK and worked in Tenerife as the dance captain on a new venture. I stayed out there for 2 years, where I performed as a singer and dancer as well as team leader and choreographer for a new version of the show. I returned home due to a death in the family in 2005 and shortly after the show closed down. On my return I taught for various schools in my local area while I decided what was next – which turned out to be meeting my husband!

What Inspired You To Start Your Business?

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A dream! When I returned from working abroad, I was freelancing at a few schools and covering maternity leave at Stage Plus when I was asked if I’d like to buy the school (the lady who had started it in 1983 was moving abroad). Although it was well established, there were definitely some obstacles – I would be losing the premises they were working in, for one. I paid a lot more money than I should have for the business but I was only 24 years old and it had been a dream of mine to own my own school. At that stage I didn’t think such an amazing opportunity would come up again.

I can’t believe I will have owned the school for 8 years in June!

How Did You Manage To Build Your Business?

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A few years after I took over the School I rebranded it with a new logo, new website and new branded wear. I also did a lot of research into what my students and their parents wanted (I think it’s important to do this regularly).

Then the recession hit and caused a major set-back on our student numbers so things had to change again.

That said, I think change in general – and keeping with the times – is really important. In that vein, we participate actively on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and try to keep people updated online as much as possible.

In terms of internal management, workshops help us to access different dance styles and teachers and shows and festivals showcase our choreography and fabulous students (as well as showing the younger children and parents what they can aspire to do).

I also believe in the good old power of word of mouth. I have some amazing students and I’m lucky their parents recommend us all the time. It’s such a lovely feeling and it makes you feel very supported!

What’s Been The Biggest Highlight?

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Seeing students go off to Professional Dance Colleges and pursue careers in the Performing Arts. I currently have students working on cruise ships, heading to the Royal Ballet to train, working in Disneyland, Paris and others who are performing in the West End. It’s lovely to have received so many goodbye cards and text messages full of gratitude for the part I’ve played in their achievements. One of the best moments was receiving a text message at 2am from an ex-student saying: “Sorry it’s so late but if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be having a drink and a chat with Matthew Bourne as we speak”.

We always say that once you’re part of the Stage Plus family, you never really leave.

What’s Been The Biggest Challenge?

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Money. I love the school and everyone involved but there have been some tough times. When the recession hit, I had just taken on a new studio full time which was a massive outgoing. Although I was determined that this would build the school further, as money faltered, numbers dropped. However, we made it through and although I have had to make some serious changes, we are still standing and have new students starting all the time. I’m certainly in this job for the love!

What’s Your Favourite Event / Product / Service? 

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I love to go to Move It at Olympia for the performances more than anything. It’s so lovely to see college students (some of whom are ex-students of mine) showing the world what they’ve got. It’s also a great opportunity to see what’s new in the dance world so I can take Stage Plus up a notch each year.

How Do You Build Your Client Base?

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A lot of it is word of mouth. I’ve done lots of different advertising over the years but my website and reputation are the best sellers. We also perform at local fetes and have been involved in a lot of charity shows which means more people hear about us.

What’s The Best Compliment You’ve Received?

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It was an insult and a compliment in one – which propelled my career 100%!!

My Principal at Dance College told me I’d never be a performer but I’d make a fantastic teacher.

Of course, this only strengthened my resolve to perform and sure enough, I was one of the only ones from my year who went on to perform and here I am now with a dance school of my own!

What Advice Would You Give To Budding Entrepreneurs?

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Take on board others’ advice but the best way to learn is by following your dreams. I’ve had many setbacks and many people telling me that I’m doing the wrong thing (including my parents and my husband) who, despite having really supported me, didn’t want to see me struggle at times.

Unfortunately, most of the time they ended up being right but the only way I learnt this was by doing it myself! I just knew I’d regret it if I didn’t try!

Although I definitely have an impulsive streak, nowadays I try to be more cautious by planning as much as possible!

What’s Next For You?

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Wow, now there’s a question! There are so many things going around in my head at the moment……

In terms of the school, I’d like to offer a wider range of classes, build our student numbers and get a fab show under our belt for 2016.

I’d also like to train as a nutritionist and to learn more about the anatomical and physiological side of dance (I was inspired by a course i went on a few weeks ago).

On a personal level we’d love to expand our family.

I think 2015 and 2016 are going to be busy!

How Can We Contact You?

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Website: www.stageplus.com

Email: stageplus@hotmail.com

Telephone: 07931 180 807

Social Media: Facebook and Twitter

Also: YouTube

What’s Your Favourite Quote?

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Tell Us Something We Didn’t Know About You….

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I’m pretty good at face painting (completely self taught!) and have been put in charge of this at many show runs (imagine the animals in The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe…) Safe to say the comic relief events, fetes and birthday parties I’ve been roped into have turned out to be pretty hands on!!