Tag Archives: career

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 ☼

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!!!

Entrepreneur Of The Fortnight: Alex Fagan of Beauchamps Of London

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Hey there, wee Gazer! Happy Tuesday to you!

Let’s kick off your evening the right way with some seriously nourishing nuggets of inspiration from London’s, Alex Fagan, who gives us a snapshot into her path to entrepreneurial success as CEO of the stunning luxury leather brandBeauchamps of London.

If you’ve ever dreamt of jacking in your 9-5 job if you only knew what else you would do, where you would start and how you could channel your passions into a soul-alighting, money-making reality, this is for you. 

Or maybe you’ve wondered how much experience you need in a new field before hopscotching your way into a fresh new venture - or perhaps you’ve questioned when you should make the first jump – or if you should jump at all. How do you do know if it’s reckless or just – plain – heroic?

And then there’s that golden question – how do you know if your new venture will succeed or flop? How fine is the line between glory and disappointment?

Alex answers all these questions and more, giving you super dooper inside scoop and practical tips about her path to entrepreneurial success.

Over to you, Alex…

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Can You Tell Me A Bit About What You Do?

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Beauchamps of London is a luxury accessories brand focusing on beautiful eye-catching British made pieces.

Beauchamps Corporate is the business to business side of the brand and offers luxury goods, more often bespoke products for company gifts, but we do run a line of standard lower price point pieces. We work with closely with clients to make a truly unique gifts and design the full package including, packaging, bespoke wrapping, leather gift, unique hardware.

We recently set up an import and export arm for the business. This arm is based between the UK & China which allows us to make and source all packaging and product needs from the Far East. It’s quite a complicated business but having built up many strong relationships with suppliers out there it seemed a great idea to help others to import, which otherwise may be quite tricky, especially for smaller brands. It’s a problem Beauchamps faced in the early stages of set up! Importing packaging is becoming a big part service!

What Was Your Previous Experience Before Starting Your Business?

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Before starting the business I worked in commercial property!! Beauchamps started totally by accident!

What Inspired You To Start Your Business?

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I always loved accessories and could never really find anything I loved in the market. After some thinking and many sketches later I set about working out what it was I liked and started making it (myself). Some of the pieces were spotted by Liberty of London at their ‘Open Call’ and the business began from there. The corporate arm was set up about 2 years after the fashion side was established.

How Did You Manage To Build Your Business?

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Totally organically! I was lucky and had grown relationships with some amazing suppliers who gave me some key advise during the early stages. It’s taken a long time but its been worth the slow wait. The time ensured we really found what it was that defines the brand.

What’s Been The Biggest Highlight?

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Being stocked by Liberty of London and seeing Cressida Bonas and Pippa Middleton wearing my bags! The latter two were amazing moments.

What’s Been The Biggest Challenge?

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Setting up supply chain in China for the corporate side and getting the fashion products noticed! They have both been hugely tricky.

What’s Your Favourite Product / Service? 

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I love the corporate service. It’s amazing working with companies and creating something truly unique for them. You can read more about that here.

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I also adore the fashion but it’s a very different business model. My favourite product is the Hutchinson clutch.

How Do You Build Your Client Base?

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Mainly word of mouth but magazine articles have also helped.

What’s The Best Compliment You’ve Received?

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I think the biggest compliment has been people saying how beautifully made all the products are (both corporate and fashion) and the personal level of service we offer. It takes a lot of man power to give such a personal service but it’s key to making clients feel special and understanding their specific requirements.

What Advice Would You Give To Budding Entrepreneurs?

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Take time, definitely don’t rush things and form a good business plan!

What’s Next For You?

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Building the corporate gifting department and growing the import / export / packaging departments. It’s a key part of the business and it has a lot of scope to grow.

And finding time to take a holiday!

How Can We Contact You?

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Best is by email on shop@beauchampsoflondon.com

What’s Your Favourite Quote?

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It’s not about the winning, it’s about the taking part.

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

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I love climbing and have a dream to walk to the North Pole!

I also have a huge love for penguins!

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“What Do You Do For A Living?”: Why The Truth Ain’t Always The Best Reply by Nicole Perhne

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Why I wholeheartedly salute the lovely Nicole Perhne’s thoughts on that common (and often identity defining and deceptively deceiving) cocktail party question: “What do you do for a living?” 

“I totally agree. Nicole! I often think if we look to what we wanted to do when we were 10 years old, before ‘shoulds’ featured in our lives, we can find some truth there… I wanted to be a magazine editor, but instead became a lawyer (which was cool bar having no life!) – and here I am – back to the 10 year old who loved to write – and I’m loving it – and harnessing the skills I acquired in law in a (far more fulfilling) coaching capacity – which is far more ‘me’. Keep your vids com’in! ox “

If you’re someone who is lucky enough to LOVE what you do for a living (hello ice cream makers and cookie cutters) – if you’re one of those enviable Gazers whose 9-5 sets you alight brighter than a sunset on Sunset Boulevard – hats off to you – you’re right in your power – right where you should be – and you will continue down your path of fulfilment growing and glowing – hopefully inspiring others along the way.

If, like most of us, you’re not yet right where you belong job-wise but somewhere deep down inside you’re wondering what else is out there – what alternatives will reignite your tired soul – bring the joy back into your daily life – and move you towards your higher purpose, check out Nicole’s video here and savour the difference between a ‘should-led, tick-tock kinda life’ and a ‘soul-driven, want-to-growing-living-kinda-life’.

Her conversation catalysing, soul-setting-on-fire response to that commonplace (and sometimes – conversation stopping) cocktail party question, is right on point.

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#happysundaygazer

#followyourheart

#wantsnotshoulds

The Work Revolution: Luke Johnson’s Top Tips On What It Takes To Go It Alone

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You’re here! You’ve made it! You’re where you always wanted to be!

You have a job that you’ve worked your nuts off for. You have a business title which impresses the socks off people and stirs dinner party conversations with even the most boring of people. You spark respect from your parents’ most successful friends and your peers admire you as the girl or guy who has it all sorted.

But there’s something missing. Part of you wants more. You’re not entirely sure what, but you’re sure there’s more to life than this. You’re certain you could feel more alive – and more excited going into work everyday. If you only knew what it took. When to start. How to achieve the dream?

If this is you, check out the super-inspiring, soul-set-alighting read from Luke Johnson below, the British serial entrepreneur best known for his involvement with Pizza Express. Former chairman of the Royal Society of Arts and Channel 4, a weekly columnist for The Sunday Times and author of two seriously informative books for budding entrepreneurs (including “Start It Up: Why Running Your Own Business Is Easier Than You Think”), this short, snappy article will open your mind WIDE and better still, stir your SOUL, throwing your limiting beliefs far far away.

With an estimated personal fortune of £120 million and vast experience under his belt, Johnson’s advice on what it takes to make it as an entrepreneur is a MUST-READ for any Gazers amongst you wondering if you’ve got what it takes to go it alone – to launch a business, to make it grow and to make it work – longterm.

Rave over! Relax – enjoy – and prepare to be inspired, excited and everything in between. And the best bit of all – this mentor comes free!

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#beinspired

#soulstuff

#schoolforsuccess

Entrepreneur Of The Fortnight: Cleaning Up A Storm

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Hey there, wee Gazer! Happy weekend to you :) Let’s kick it off with some seriously inspiring pearls of wisdom from London’s, Ed Jonkler, who shares incredibly useful insights about his path to success as CEO of Remora Cleaning.

If you’re ever dreamt of upping sticks from your 9-5 job if you only knew how to channel your skills into a fulfilling, money-making reality, this is for you. Or maybe you’ve wondered how much experience you need in a field before jumping ship and when you should make that jump. And then there’s that golden question – how do you ensure that you’re the leader of a company which makes £100k a year not £10k?

Ed answers all these questions and more with humour and heart, giving incredibly practical tips about his path to entrepreneurial success. And if you’re someone who isn’t sure about your passions and what area you could launch into, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Here’s a man who is making his living from running a highly successful cleaning business with first class flair and panache. A money-making Cinderella in male form, cleaning has never sounded so attractive…

Over to you, Ed…

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Can You Tell Us A Bit About What You Do?

I run a company called Remora Cleaning, which has teams doing deep cleaning during the day (end of tenancy, post works type stuff), cleaning offices at night (it’s open for 21.5 hours a day!) and housekeepers and domestic cleaners working independently, too.

I also do some consulting for other people who are starting businesses, usually in slightly more glamorous fields than mine!

What Was Your Previous Experience Before Starting Your Business?

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When I was 16, I set up my first company from home, Dialaslave (it’s still on companies house, embarrassingly)! I was renting my friends out to do odd jobs for local people and charging a percentage of the cost for arranging everything. I had a huge desk in one corner of my bedroom, with a leather blotter and my own landline that I mainly used to prank call the neighbours – I felt like a proper mini-CEO.

Later on, I started working in the financial world and helped some experienced guys open their own investment fund in London. I did a bit of everything from plugging in monitors, negotiating contracts with banks, trading and making a lot of tea!

I basically had to wing it at first and was very lucky not to make any serious mistakes but the ability to tackle constantly varying tasks is one of the key attributes for going into business. You have to wear many a hat – part lawyer – part accountant – part salesman and part HR manager!

What Inspired You To Start Your Business?

I was a useless employee! That and working 15 hours a day at a computer seemed to lose its shine after a couple of years.

A different sort of pressure comes with running your own business, though – but the upshot is having the freedom to shape things how you choose and to carve a life exactly how you want to. For me, that’s unbeatable.

The only problem is that now I’m so used to the benefits of no longer being an employee, I couldn’t go back to a regular job!

As for my other motivations to start my own business, I come from an entrepreneurial family so I guess it’s a blue-print I’ve grown up with. My grandpa was patenting all sorts of things and my dad went into business at quite a young age so I guess part of that has rubbed off on me!

How Did You Manage To Build Your Business?

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Early on, massive personal involvement with clients is a must. I started by hand writing hundreds of letters and sticking them through people’s doors for 12 hours a day. It can be demoralising but you have to keep going and keep morale up. Eventually being the face of the company isn’t sustainable as things grow but your passion for your business can be passed on to others.

What Has Been The Biggest Highlight?

The improvement of profit

Definitely when the business started covering it’s costs after a long slog to get things off the ground and a lot of stress, anxiety and hard work. It felt so exhilarating – something out of nothing!

What’s Been The Biggest Challenge?

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That is an easy one – managing people. As everything has expanded and headcount has grown, I have had to learn how to manage employees. Not just day to day, but keeping people motivated and happy in the workplace and identifying people that should be offered greater opportunities. It has taken a couple of years and is still very much a work in progress but I’m getting there.

The pressure that comes with more people, more fixed costs and increased growth really changes the nature of things – from a fun project that makes a bit of money to managing a larger entity where you are dealing with staff problems, paying suppliers, managing cash-flow, client relationships, stock levels and maintaining a fleet of vehicles constantly, round the clock. It can still be just as rewarding but you certainly feel a heavy burden of responsibility.

What’s Your Favourite Product / Service?

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Technology has been really essential in helping me manage everything. I use an accounting/invoicing program called Freeagent that connects to my bank account, chases overdue invoices, and shows me where we are financially – without that I would be done for!

How Do You Build Your Client Base?

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Entertaining and networking is great early on. You can have a great website, spend a fortune on Search Engine Optimisation and have a ‘sexy’ app, too. But ultimately, just being quick to respond, efficient and doing a better job than your rivals is the secret to long-term sustainable growth. If you get that right, you really don’t need to do much else – there’s no substitute for first class service.

What’s The Best Compliment You’ve Ever Received?

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We get a lot of good feedback but one client sent an obscenely big bottle of champagne to our offices after we worked on his house in Knightsbridge post-refurbishment. That definitely went down very well..

What Advice Would You Give To Budding Entrepreneurs?

1. Take The First Step

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Plan carefully, but also remember that there is a point where nothing will be gained from further research. You have to push ahead and just start trading. So many really smart people I know haven’t taken the first step, probably because they are too smart!

2. Learn To Delegate

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I mentioned this one earlier but it’s worth a repeat. To expand and scale things, you need to be able to give other people responsibility and control, freeing you up to take things forward. This is completely terrifying sometimes! Mastering the balance between divesting control and staying in touch with what’s happening is the main difference between a company with a turnover of £100,000, and £100,000,000. It’s going to be my main challenge from here on out.

3. Know Your Numbers

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Lastly, know where your business is financially, at all times. It’s not exciting, but finances will make or break you, especially early on. More companies go bust in the UK for having too much work, than a lack of work – it’s cash-flow squeezes that usually finish off companies in their infancy. Understand what you can risk, use debt carefully and know what your break-even is at all times.

What’s Next For You?

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I’m expanding the business, increasing management as a precursor to increasing head-count aggressively through the summer. We have been lucky to double turnover every year, for the last three years, but it’s getting harder and needs some innovative thinking to continue.

We are talking to a small rival about buying and assimilating them, so that will also be a new challenge for the company if that goes ahead.

And lastly, we are building an app/booking system that will be ready in the winter, enabling people to book cleans in real time in the same way you can book a hotel or a restaurant. I know there are some apps that do this already but we want to do it with our own dedicated employees rather than subcontracting the jobs out to freelancers (who I don’t think are as accountable in the work they do).

How Can We Contact You?

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Give me a call in the office anytime on 02078218852 or drop me a line via the website.

What’s Your Favourite Quote?

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And if in doubt, wee Gazer, remember..

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Top Tips For Success: Why Knowing Your Values Is So Key

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The above picture is me suited and booted working as a lawyer in London. The picture below is me last week climbing up a rock face in France where I work as an online life coach and writer.

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Luckily for me, my family encouraged my career shift. They could see I wasn’t happy working 24/7 no matter how interesting the work was and they sensed that coaching would bring the happiness and balance that I sought.

My parents were a little more concerned, however, when I told them I was thinking of moving to France to live with the long-haired French boy who rented me my skis ;)

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Why Big Decisions Can Be So Hard…

It’s not always easy to make a confident decision when the people you value most are unsure themselves. It can make you question yourself, your drivers and your idea of happiness. But your nearest and dearest will end up sharing in your happiness when they see you all lit up inside – following what makes you tick. Because if you’re all lit up, chances are you’re living your life in accordance with your values. 

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The trick is just working out what drives you. Simple, right?!

A Short-Cut From A to B….

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If you’re not entirely sure what your values are as most of us aren’t, here are a few wee tricks to help you make a short list of about 8-10 of your core drivers in order of priority, whether financial security, love, travelling, socialising, career or beyond…

- When are you at your happiest?
– When do you feel most excited?
– What couldn’t you live without?
– If you had 6 months left to live, what would you do?
– What did your 10 year old self love and why?
– What are you most proud of?
– What is your gut saying?
– What do you hate? (The opposite is often a key driver)

Why Is Knowing Your Your Values So Key?

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And if you’re wondering why it’s so important to take the time to work out your values, remember, having a firmer grip on what motivates you day to day will refine and strengthen you on every level, helping you to forge stronger friendships, romances, careers and fulfilment at large.

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#truth

#values

#success

10 Tricks To Appear Smart In Meetings

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Happy Wednesday, Gazers :)

We’ve all been there, haven’t we?

Sitting in high-brow business meetings feeling self-conscious, flustered and maybe just plain confused – trying to do our utmost to seem like we know what’s going on when what we really feel is lost – totally lost – in a deep, dark well of confusion, clutching that wee glimmer of light that the meeting ticks by without anybody picking on us ;)

Whether en masse or a one on one rendezvous with your boss, you can say g’bye to meeting jitters with this extremely amusing article my twinnie, Emma (picture one) sent my way – ‘10 Tricks To Appear Smart In Meetings‘.

Now I know it may surprise you that a woman with the gravitas of picture 3 may require these tips but I guess that’s the point of the article – appearances can be deceptive ;)

I hope it makes you chuckle as much as it did me :)

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#meetingtips

#laughter

Entrepreneur Of The Fortnight: Emma Storey

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Ever dreamt of upping sticks from your 9-5 job if you only knew how to channel your passions into commercial reality? How the heck can professions like teaching be adapted to more entrepreneurial ventures spanning from London to Hong Kong and beyond? How much experience do you need in a field before jumping ship and creating a business from scratch? How do you motivate yourself when you’re your own boss?

As with most things entrepreneurial, Emma Storey challenges the norms we’re accustomed to believing, giving incredibly helpful insight and advice about her path to entrepreneurial success. So if you’ve ever wondered about any of the above, read on. This is a lady with brains, beauty and business savvy in bucket loads…

Emma’s company, Bespoke Tuition, is a seriously special tutoring outfit. Offering customised tuition for discerning families both in London and internationally, this is an organisation with quality at its heart. Comprising a 200 strong team of hand-picked tutors who are carefully matched to suit a family’s unique requirements, Bespoke Tuition is just that – bespoke.

So if you’ve ever found yourself sitting at your desk wondering how to go about setting up a business or how to combine your interests and your job, read on and be inspired…

Over to you, Emma…

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Can You Tell Me A Bit About What You Do?

I source inspiring private tutors to motivate young people in their academics in the comfort of their home. Bespoke Tuition is based in London but also specialises in placing tutors with families overseas from Asia to the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. 

What Was Your Previous Experience Before Starting Your Business?

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After 3 (enjoyable but not overly memorable) years in legal recruitment with Michael Page International, I resigned to discover something more personally stimulating. Given we spend more time with our work colleagues than we do our loved ones, life’s way too short to stick in a job that doesn’t motivate us.

Whilst exploring various career paths – personal training, interior design, researching whale sharks (!) – I took on some part time work as a private tutor in London. 2 hours a week swiftly became 30 hours a week. A year in, I got excited by the international scope of the role and became a ‘live-in tutor’ assigned to private family homes in Hong Kong, Australia, France and Switzerland. 

What Inspired You To Start Your Business?

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It struck me that I wasn’t put on this earth to be a recruitment consultant! I always wanted to create something of my own and building a tuition agency was a natural progression from my own personal work as a tutor. Sitting behind a desk from 8.30am-7pm every day didn’t suit my lifestyle either; I find it hard enough sitting through a film at the cinema! 

I had also witnessed the pros and cons of different education systems and methods across the world, which fascinated me. The key driver, though, was my belief that I could improve on the service currently offered by tutoring agencies in London. Having personally witnessed the importance of a good fit between tutor and student, I felt that the process of matching a tutor with a student was under-estimated by many and that I would relish the opportunity of providing this personal focus.

Many people wrongly assimilate being an entrepreneur with being an inventor – the reality is that most successful businesses begin by recognising how you could deliver a service or product better than someone already doing it! 

How Did You Manage To Build Your Business?

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By never losing sight of my values behind and vision for the business. My tutors are ultimately my business product so a crucial part of building the business was picking the right representatives of my brand and never compromising on quality. By deliberately remaining small and bespoke, the business has remained efficient and sustainable. It also means that we have been able to grow organically as our tutors willingly recommend other tutors and clients recommend their friends.

Getting regular feedback from clients has also been a crucial part of our business development. Whilst it may go against human nature to actively seek criticism, collecting regular feedback and making subtle adjustments can make the difference between a mediocre business and a highly successful one. 

What’s Been The Biggest Highlight?

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It’s hard to single one out as every day is exciting when you are building something of your own. I’d have to say developing my brand in Hong Kong was a hugely exciting phase. Seeing the results of my team’s efforts is also a massive highlight – testimonials sent in from delighted parents and students so full of gratitude for our support makes it all so worthwhile! 

What’s Been The Biggest Challenge?

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Probably starting out working from home, which was pretty isolating having previously worked in a buzzy office environment. Whilst office space in London remains expensive for startups, fortunately there are an increasing number of co-working clubs and spaces in London which provide an affordable alternative and can also offer good networking opportunities eg Workpad Group, Google Campus, London Executive Offices, The Clubhouse and The Soho Collective. You can opt to use these spaces by the hour, by the day or commit to a monthly/annual membership so there is plenty of flexibility. 

What’s Your Favourite Product / Service? 

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This month it has to be Barry’s Bootcamp as introduced to me by a girlfriend. It has a legendary following including A-list celebs, models—even Olympic athletes, its signature being hour-long workouts including 25-30 minutes of interval cardiovascular treadmill routines and 25-30 minutes of strength training utilising free weights, resistance bands, medicine balls and other equipment.

Trainers, muscle groups and even workout segments vary throughout the week so that no one class is ever the same. Their innovative technique works to “shock” the body in the most efficient and effective way to improve your cardiovascular system, lose weight and build muscle. Regardless of skill level, you can burn 1,000 calories in just one hour. It’s one hell of a work-out!

How Do You Build Your Client Base?

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By never dropping standards and paying detailed and personalised attention to each and every client enquiry. Beyond a basic website, I rely on good old word of mouth to reach out to customers. If I was a parent, I would far rather use an agency recommended by a trusted friend than the one I saw on a billboard. 

What’s The Best Compliment You’ve Received?

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I spent 1.5 years living with an American family in Hong Kong tutoring their 13/14 year old son. I received a card from the boy on my departure which read, “I don’t think there has ever been a student in history who has actually wanted his tutor to stay.” 

What Advice Would You Give To Budding Entrepreneurs?

1. Just Do It

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Stop talking about it and start mapping out the steps to achieve your goals today. If you believe in yourself and your idea, you are half way there but you must take bold action to turn it into a reality. Don’t be a drifter!

2. Be Clear On Your Goals And Never Lose Sight Of Them

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From the outset, ask yourself why are you doing this? What are you trying to achieve? How will you be distinctive? If you stop caring, you will lose all momentum and the business will suffer so never lose touch with these goals and drivers. Goals will re-energise you through the tough times.

3. Take Charge Of Initiating Change

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Take charge of your career and don’t wait for things to happen. I don’t make any New Year’s resolutions as I try to make them all the time – never cease to better yourself both in your personal life and your working life – there is ALWAYS room for improvement!

4. Avoid Being Reactive; Be More Proactive

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Many of us are guilty of drifting through our jobs, trawling through emails from top to bottom and simply reacting to new email alerts. Your productivity levels will soar if you are disciplined enough to prioritise your tasks each day (even each hour)! In particular, set time aside for emailing and turn off the alerts when you are working on other areas; that way you won’t be distracted by any new messages popping up. Maximise your time as efficiently as possible and always leave room for business development so that you have things in the pipeline. 

5. Look After Your Employees 

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Ensuring your employees feel valued and building their respect is a crucial means of developing a positive, enduring brand. Look after your employees, value their feedback and they will reward you by going the extra mile. Build a progressive and sincere ethos from within.

6. Stay True To Yourself And Your Values

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This applies in respect of your business planning and development. The most passionate and often most successful business owners I have seen have been those who have a little piece of them in their business. Absorb advice but trust your instincts and go your own way.

7. Don’t Be Afraid Of Making Mistakes 

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It may sound cliché but some of the best business lessons are learned by a bit of trial and error. Turn negatives into positives and never stop learning. Learning to accept when you are wrong is just as important in business as it is in your relationships! 

8. Embrace Change

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Your ideas will naturally evolve – let them, don’t limit them, you never know where they might lead. It is good to be channelled and focused with clear direction when starting a business but adaptability, self-reflection and foresight are also huge business strengths. 

9. Constantly Re-Assess And Re-Strategise 

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Write down five adjectives of how you would like your business to be described then work on delivering this each day and make a point of checking weekly or monthly that you aren’t letting any of them slip. 

10. Learn To Delegate

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Or you limit your business growth. It’s as simple as that. 

11. Go The Extra Mile

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Be innovative, think outside the box, never tire of considering how you can add more value to your product or service and watch your competitors trail along in the dust! 

12. Enjoy Life!

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Boundless energy and passion for your business idea is great but channel it and keep your priorities in check. There is little more important in life than the health, happiness, family and friends.

What’s Next For You?

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A fortnight in Sri Lanka with family – being your own boss definitely has its advantages! 

How Can We Contact You?

Email: emma@bespoketuition.com

Website: Here

Telephone: 07732 371880

What’s Your Favourite Quote?

So many to choose from but if I had to pick a winner…

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

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According to the diary I recently discovered tucked away in a cupboard, my top five dream jobs were to become a marine biologist, a beach volleyball world champion, professional waterskiier, wildlife photographer or safari park ranger. Never say never!

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Adventurer Of The Month: James Kayll

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The Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Peter Wall, who telephoned the crew on the final stretch of their journey across the Atlantic with land almost in sight, described their achievements as:

“The most stunning example of courage, grit and determination that the Army has seen for a long time”.

Brace yourself! This interview will leave you feeling inspired, refreshed and everything in between. Unless, of course, you’ve already met someone who’s completed the world’s toughest rowing race – the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge – rowing across the Atlantic with a team of wondered ex-servicemen and finishing in 3rd place ahead of a raft of able-bodied competitors. 

The only person to have rowed and sailed across both Atlantic and Indian Oceans, James Kayll, ex-Army Captain and Ocean Adventurer, is one of a kind. So if you’re an adventurer, an aspiring adventurer or you’re simply looking for a new challenge, this interview may be just the inspiration you need.

And if you’re unsure you’ve got what it takes, whether physically, mentally or otherwise, reading about James and his injured rowing colleagues Corporal Cayle Royce and Corporal Scott Blaney may seriously shift your limiting beliefs.

Over to you, James…

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Can You Tell Me A Bit About What You Do?

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I was an Army officer for 9 years serving in a regiment called the Light Dragoons where I twice served in Afghanistan. During my military career I was able to develop a love for ocean rowing which saw me take a crew of wounded ex-serviceman across the Atlantic in a rowing race. I have now left the Army and I work for KPMG in Canary Wharf.

What Was Your Previous Experience Before Starting On This Path?

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I grew up in the countryside and love the outdoors. Most men in my family have served in the Army at some point so that was probably in my blood… I have travelled loads and done a lot of sailing in my life, including some significant offshore racing and ocean crossings. 

What Inspired You To Adventure?

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I relish challenge, the excitement of the outdoors and the natural environment but above all I love the ocean, the tranquility, the power and the unpredictability. The ocean inspires me; she keeps calling me back!

What’s Your Greatest Motivator?

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My last two adventures have involved wounded ex-Army colleagues. After rowing across the Atlantic together, I helped organise a flying expedition up the Rift Valley in Kenya which saw my colleagues flying across African skies in custom-built para-trikes. The wounded servicemen are my greatest motivator, or certainly were for my last two expeditions. They are utterly inspirational people.

Can You Tell Us More About Your Atlantic Adventure?

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Our Row2Recovery crew, which comprised two amputee and two able-bodied soldiers, set off on 3 December 2013 to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic. After an exhausting 48 days, 9 hours and 13 minutes at sea, we touched land on the tiny Caribbean island of Antigua, securing third place overall. Our 4-man crew was made up of me, Captain Mark Jenkins, Corporal Cayle Royce and Corporal Scott Blaney. Corporal Royce was wounded in Afghanistan in May 2012 when he stepped on an explosive device which resulted in above-the-knee amputation of both legs and the loss of several fingers on his left hand. Corporal Blaney had to have an above-the-knee amputation, also as a result of a bomb-blast in Afghanistan, in 2007. Despite their injuries both service personnel are committed to still enjoying life to the full, and that’s why they took on the Atlantic challenge.

Was Your Adventure Across The Atlantic All Plain Sailing?

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It certainly wasn’t all plain sailing. At the start of the race we had to cope with two weeks of storms and in mid-December the Row2Recovery boat capsized in the middle of the night when two 60ft waves crashed into us and we and much of our kit were thrown overboard!

What’s Been The Biggest Highlight?

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I have been very fortunate to have had some amazing experiences so it is difficult to select a highlight! I’ve led soldiers in battle in Afghanistan, I’ve rowed and sailed across various oceans, swum with a whale in the Indian Ocean, camped in the bush with Masai warriors in Kenya… But the one moment that stands out was arriving in Antigua at the end of our trans-Atlantic row. We arrived just after dark and were escorted into English Harbour by a few small boats but as we entered the harbour it erupted with the noise of super yachts sounding their foghorns, classic yachts firing their cannons and four or five hundred people celebrating on the dock.

We let off some flares in front of the crowd and they wet wild, screaming and waving flags as we rowed in the last few yards. The exhilaration and pride I felt during this small moment of my life makes it my biggest adventure highlight, emphasised by the fact that I had a crew of amputees and we had had a pretty rough crossing! Finishing third out of 16 crews - considering we were without 3 legs and a hand was beyond all expectations and made the moment even more special. You can read more about our adventures on the Row2Recovery Atlantic Blog.

What’s Been The Biggest Challenge?

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The biggest challenge was fundraising before rowing the Indian Ocean – it took 2 years and it was demoralizing at times feeling that you might not reach your target.

How Did You Manage To Build Your Adventure Following / Get Sponsors?

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I am not a full time adventurer so can’t really claim to have any following but I have had various sponsors over the years. I think you should never underestimate the value of gifts in kind. This is where you are loaned or gifted items of equipment by the manufacturer. Sometimes this is much better than trying to raise the funds separately to pay for the equipment. Otherwise I think sponsorship is all about linking your expedition to the values and standards of a corporate. It is about finding synergy and overlap so a corporate can relate to what you are doing – coupled with a good PR plan.

What’s Your Favourite Adventure Event? 

Antigua Sailing Week, Monday April 26 2010

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I really enjoy sailing in the Caribbean and so events like Antigua Race Week and the Caribbean 600 are a huge amount of fun.

What’s Your Favourite Product?

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I have been sponsored by Kiehl’s a few times so I recommend their products but from an all round adventure perspective a jetboil is an awesome bit of equipment! Small, robust, compact, light and boils water super quickly. 

What’s Been Your Favourite Adventure So Far?

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If you are looking for a life changing adventure and something that will challenge you both physically and mentally to the extreme then I would recommend the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. This is a 3,000 nautical mile rowing race across the Atlantic. It is a race as well but you will make some great friends within the fleet and have a great time in La Gomera during the preparation before the start. The arrival in Antigua is also spectacular! Not to mention the bit in the middle; it will test every ounce of your ability, your team, your boat and your commitment. You can watch a promotional video for The Talisker Whiskey Challenge below.



What’s your Unique Selling Point?

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This changes for each expedition and I don’t think I really have a USP. I aim to row and sail across the Atlantic, the Indian and the Pacific Oceans. Two down one to go…

How Do You Build Your Fan Base?

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What fan base? Maybe you can help…..?

What’s The Best Compliment You’ve Received?

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Cayle Royce’s father thanking me for giving his son the opportunity to row the Atlantic. 

What Advice Would You Give To Budding Adventurers?

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The hardest thing is usually getting to the start line, the adventure is your reward and it will be worth every minute of your preparation, fund-raising and late nights writing sponsorship proposals!

What’s Next For You?

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Ideally rowing the Pacific but I currently have another adventure ongoing in Canary Wharf…

How Can We Contact You?

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@jameskayll on Twitter

What’s Your Favourite Quote?

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

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I was chased by pirates off the Horn of Africa whilst sailing from India to Djibouti in 2005. We out-ran them and then hid using the cover of darkness…

Watch James Chatting About His Experiences 

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