Business Woman, Aly Wilson from Red Rocket Studio attends our Essex Networking events and sometimes steps in as corporate photographer too. We appreciate that a successful business and career relies heavily on good health (physical, emotional and mental) and really appreciate Aly’s honesty. What do you do to look after yourself so that you are ready for any change in your business life?
“A few years ago, I was in so much pain, I couldn’t do up my bra, but now I’m over halfway to swimming the channel! Everyone knows someone struggling with pain and / or depression so let me tell you my story as it might be able to help you or a loved one in a similar situation.
I started swimming regularly in my early twenties as I knew it would be good for a bad back. I used to do gymnastics, trampolining (as well as coaching them) and a whole host of other sports but after a skiing accident at 15 my back got worse and had to stop. I loved it and used to get up at 5.45 am regularly to go for an early morning swim before work and sometimes managed to fit one in in my work lunch break.
Fast forward a few years and depression had made an annoying entry into my life. I still swam but mornings were out for me, so I just managed to fit it in where I could. I knew it would help and with back trouble, that and a bit of cycling and Pilates were the only sports I could really do. It really helped with my mental health, and with being bullied in my awful NHS job, it was one of my lifelines.
In 2009 I did the Great East Swim which was a mile in open water. I’d never done any open water before and it was great. I promptly booked in to do the one the next year. I had started having some shoulder problems (rotator cuff tendonitis / impingement) after a scooter accident the year before – some nice driver thought it would be a great idea to see me flying over his car bonnet – which had affected my left shoulder as I’d landed on it, and then out of nowhere my right one started playing up too and got so bad I had to unfortunately withdraw from the next Great East Swim.
This obviously came with extra issues related to mental health. Swimming was good for me, my mental health and my back but the pain I was in meant I couldn’t swim, which made for one big vicious circle.
After various injections the left one calmed down but the right one got so bad, I couldn’t drive for 5 months, had trouble getting dressed – doing up a bra was a complete nightmare – and even pulling up clothes I had to done one-handed. It affected my thumb as well and actually found it more debilitating than my usual back pain. This one got to the point of being a frozen shoulder. No amount of injections seemed to work on this one (which I didn’t really want anyway but didn’t feel I had a lot of choice at the time) and it was only through some intensive private treatment and a lot of money spent that I started to improve.
Since then – around 2012 or so – I started swimming again. There were times I had to pull back on it, times when I doggedly wanted to swim so could be seen doing one-handed back stroke because the other shoulder was too sore, times when I didn’t do any at all, so never got any momentum up. For those who struggle with exercise, I do encourage you to do something. Sometimes I would only be in for slow 15-minute swim, but it still gets you doing something which can help heaps with the mindset.
Eventually about 2018 I started again properly. A few blips with shoulders and viruses have put me back now and again but I finally feel I’m built up my swimming mojo again! I just have to go with the flow, and I know there are times I need to be gentle or lay off for a bit. The shoulders are way improved but still have their little grumbles!
Last year, 2018, I was looking into where I could open water swim as I wanted to give that a serious go! I’d seen “The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs” who had covered open water swimming as a treatment for depression. The only place I knew of was Gosfield Lake at Halstead which is a good 45 minutes from Wivenhoe. After some searching, I found a new place called Curve Wake Park which had recently opened in St Osyth and offered open water swimming, about a 25 minute drive from us! So, I started there and went a few times last year and regularly this year. When the water’s a bit cooler the staff always say they don’t know how I can go in without a wetsuit! I also went regularly to the Brightlingsea Lido which whilst it’s not ‘officially’ open water, is colder as it’s unheated. On my first swim of the season in Brightlingsea it was 15 degrees! I got out and felt a bit wobbly so decided it best to swim when it was a couple of degrees higher! J A proper swimming wetsuit is on my “to get soon” shopping list! That way I can keep going for longer when it’s much cooler!
Recently I saw the Aspire
Channel Swim advertised. This is a challenge to swim 22 miles (wherever you
are able – open water or pool) in 12 weeks in aid of Aspire – a charity helping those with
spinal injury. So, I signed up. At the time of writing I’m at 13 miles, with 9
miles to go. I’m absolutely loving doing it.
We go to S Africa every year to see my mother-in-law and there’s the biggest open water event in the world held in Pietermaritzburg called the Midmar Mile (which isn’t that far from where we stay and happens to be on whilst we’re there) … so I signed up for that.
I’m also going to be signing up for the Great East Swim which used to be 1 mile, but now does a couple of shorter events for children as well as 2 miles 5k and 10k. I’m still deciding on the distance as I want to do the 5k but want to be sure I’d be good to do it! I only swam my first 2k a week ago … but know I have until June to prepare! For both these (Great East Swim and Midmar, I can raise sponsorship for my own choice of charities and I already have those in mind).
I know there are other local events and will be looking into joining into those too – the chilled out Mill to Mill from Dedham to Flatford is one.
I’d love it and really appreciate it if anyone can support me in my Aspire Channel Swim. “
Here at The Business Womans Network we help look after every aspect of a woman’s success. Her skills, her mindset, her connections and we are even here for their personal lives too. It matters to us greatly that you get to work with quality people that will respect you and your business too. We know that with the awesome structure to our events, there is time to build great relationships that really support a woman in businesses success.
Get in touch to learn more and the Insiders is an awesome support and business growth mastermind group that you could love too!
If you feel good you do good. In a lousy mood? Feeling fat or ugly? Trust me it can massively impact on your results.
Sometimes we deal with the outside of our body to try and make ourselves feel good however if we don’t deal with the way we feel about ourselves on the inside then the results will fade and you won’t sustain the results.
To look great on the outside you have to feel great on the inside. Here’s a quick top tip guide to feeling great all the time;
If you want to change something about yourself, before you do anything, question the reason why.
What is your foundation for wanting to make this change? Is it a realistic change that you wish to make? What would you gain from it? What feelings do you connect with the way you currently feel about this and how do you think this would change? Answering these questions not only analyses your reasons for wanting to change, to establish if there is an underlining cause to your desire for change, but also when you know these answers you can ensure that you use methods to pull on the emotional strings that affect you to maintain momentum when working towards achieving your new goal.
Know the person you really are.
We all want to fit in and be liked, but when you understand the person you are it can help you appreciate your unique skills and the qualities that you possess. When you admire these in yourself you can truly appreciate the person you already are. It’s not vanity it’s a quick route to success. Shhh you don’t need to tell anyone!
We all have rough days, but it’s not the day’s fault, it’s just the mood that you are in that makes the day seem worse – so acknowledge that.
Know what really makes you happy (and not just a glass of wine or a bar of choccy!) Inside the larder cupboard, or somewhere else prominent, put pictures that make you smile, postcards to remind you of happy holidays, drawings the children did, anything that breaks your moods pattern for a split second. And if all else fails get those endorphins flowing and that can be done with more than just chocolate!
To feel fantastic on the inside we need to feel loved, appreciated and valued. Do you?
If not what can you do so that you do? When we do not feel these things it can directly affect the way we feel about ourselves. So what do you need to do? We often hear that no matter how busy, no matter how sick you won’t miss our events? Why? Because we boost your confidence, make you feel loved, appreciate your time and help you remind yourself of why you rock. Never forget that your network is not just about gaining sales and new business it’s also about keeping you motivated, inspired, supported, focused and accountable.
What inspires you?
When you feel inspired you feel passionate and fulfilled. When this happens very little can affect our self esteem and our self confidence. So ask yourself this and get connected to what really matters to you.
We hope this quick read inspires you and supports a motivated getting results day. Need more support? Then get in touch, we are here to help you and the Insiders is our 24/7 mastermind group where magic happens!
We are so excited to announce the Launch of The Business Mans Network. It matters to us greatly that we are there to support your sales, confidence and success. And for years Founder Mandie Holgate had been asked to set an event aimed at men in business. So its exciting to announce this launch on Monday the 8th May at our Wivenhoe House venue.
We know that we will have to work hard to get the right balance and create events as powerful as the ones we already host. The BMN events will have the same structure as The BWN events and there will still be no membership and lots of extra ways we can support you.
We’ve already had a policy that if a business man books a ticket then they are not turned away. We attract some of the top speakers in the UK and feel The BWN has always be inclusive and not exclusive. And the same will apply here. Although we would request that for the first event women in business given business men the chance to create their own core group before you consider attending.
It has also important to us that we do not drop the standard of support, motivation and ideas we give to women in business so please do keep in touch if you feel there is more we could be doing to support you and your success.
Here you can read the full article that appeared in the Gazette this week about the launch. Launch BMN May 2017
Christmas may be around the corner, but how prepared do you feel?
With many businesses closing their doors between Christmas and the New Year, the working month can seem all too short. At the beginning of December the amount to do during the month can seem overwhelming for small business owners.
Even if you haven’t made a start on Christmas preparations, there are many tasks you can offload to a VA to make the month easier and ensure some Christmas cheer. Think about how you’d like to communicate with your customers this year and a VA can help make it happen! From sourcing gifts or organising e-cards, a VA can craft that individual message which means your customers feel special. Or how about creating a festive newsletter for your clients with a 2016 round-up and a look-forward to 2017?
In fact, a VA could help you with your own shopping nightmares as well.
Simply pass on the list you have and a VA can put together suggestions, find the best bargains, organise payment online and make sure someone’s around for delivery.
Back in the office, if you have projects that simply need to get done before the end of the year a VA could be the answer to your prayers. They can take care of the end of year reporting if needed, pulling together all the stray bits of paperwork you’ve been meaning to get on top of, but simply haven’t had the time to do. And managing your diary is a synch for a VA! Not only can they make sure that you get enough time to go to all the events you’ve been invited to, they can help set up your diary for next year, scheduling all your regular projects and meetings so that you don’t miss a thing.
And if you want to take time off in-between Christmas and New Year…
If you want to take some time off between Christmas and the New Year but just don’t see how you’re going to manage it, a VA can help bridge the gap. Not only could they keep on top of essential emails and correspondence during that time so that you don’t miss out on any opportunities, they can also keep a presence going online by scheduling some social media content to keep you in your customers’ thoughts ready for 2017.
Here at PA Angels we’re ready to take your call and help this Christmas be the best yet. Contact us on 01621 680818 or email email@example.com
We like to know our members really well. And we like you all to know our memberes too. Today meet Genevieve McAllister from Crocus Connect. Who tells us why she became a member of the BWN and what her business is all about. You can meet Genevieve at our Essex events.
What made you set up your business?
Running my own business had always been at the back of my mind even whilst I was building my career first in the City and then in Corporate Communications. As my children were growing up I had progressed from working part-time to almost full-time, but I was constantly juggling childcare and trying to put the hours in at work – and feeling guilty a lot of the time. I remember going for a walk with my dog through the fields a couple of years ago and having an intense moment of clarity where I realised things needed to change. And very soon after I’d thought this, an opportunity came up at work which meant I could leave and start realising my dream.
How many years have you been in business?
I’ve been self employed for about 18 months, but it was only last summer that I decided to focus more on becoming a VA (virtual assistant). It made sense to me because the people I was meeting through networking were mainly owners of small businesses who don’t necessarily want to employ other people directly, but sometimes need to outsource office support or marketing.
What do you love most about running your own business?
I like the feeling that I’m the one who makes the decisions and can focus on whatever is most productive for me at any given moment. I don’t have to wait around on other people telling me what I can and can’t do. And the feeling I get when someone wants to hire me to do some work is brilliant!
What do you hate most about running your own business?
My tax return, definitely. I’ve been grappling with HMRC only today.
What benefits do you get from networking?
I’ve picked up work from networking and it’s a great way to get yourself in front of people and find out which of their work problems you can help solve. Also, as I spend a lot of time on my own working at home, it’s good to meet people and talk through day to day issues the way I would if I worked in a more conventional office with lots of colleagues.
What would you say your greatest skill is? (Be honest you have lots!)
I recently read a blog which resonated with me and it was asking people to identify what is their ‘thing’. It’s usually something that comes to you so naturally you barely even realise you can do it. After a bit of thought (and asking my husband, my mum, my friends…) I realised that my ‘thing’ is proofreading – I can look at a page of text and immediately pick up the typo. It shouldn’t have been news to me – after all, I’d been project managing communications and publications for several years so it was always part of my job, but like I said, often your ‘thing’ is something you find easy and don’t believe it’s a skill.
What was the reason that you decided to be a member at The BWN?
I’d heard good things about the BWN (and Mandie!) from others and decided to come along and try it for myself. I’m just finding that the women who do attend are really supportive and interested in what everybody else is doing. I always come away fired up with enthusiasm and that’s a great motivator once a month.
What do you see the future holding for your business?
I see the VA side of my business growing this year as I continue to focus my networking activity around that. There’s a direct correlation between the work I put in and how my business grows, so it’s important to keep up the momentum.
Longer term, I’d like to develop a balance between my VA work and my copywriting and proofreading. And if I can throw a little voiceover work into the mix too, that would tick all my boxes nicely!
Who would it be good to for you to know?
I’d like to meet people who run small to medium-sized businesses who need extra support but don’t want the formality of hiring extra people. Because I’m quite patient and organised I’m a good foil for whirlwind creative types – and I like working with them too.
I’d also like to meet someone who would get satisfaction from acting as a mentor. I think that having someone to act as a sounding board is invaluable and of course, it’s a two-way relationship.
Thank you Genieveve for sharing your business growth plans for 2016, who you would like to know and how you can help us. If you would like to answer these questions and get your business talked about on our blog, learn more about being a member here. It costs less than the early bird ticket!
If you run your owns business you’re bound to have had days where you think – Why AM I Doing This?
It can be lonely.
Hard work with little satisfaction.
Disappointing. The list is pretty long!
But don’t forget it can also be a rewarding and a fantastic one.
So how do you deal with those “aaaaaaahhhhh!” days?
Never forget why you went into business, your vision, your passion – it’s all still there, reignite it by remembering everything this career choice gives you.
List the negatives, what’s your top bug bear? Is it email mountains, admin in-trays or social media overload? Outsourcing the jobs that don’t directly pay can free up your time & more importantly your mind and energy to concentrate on the success of your business.
Having no boss has so many advantages but if you did what would they say should be your top priority? A boss also is there to acknowledge your achievements, so if you don’t give yourself a pat on the back, who else will?
Remember to ask yourself lots of questions ALWAYS. Asking good questions leads to good answers – get noisy and always question what is the best course of action, what do you need to be doing? What’s – When’s and How’s.
Who can you rely on to motivate and inspire you? Who will support you and pick you up again – social networking, a coffee with a friend, networking, business meetings, mentoring, coaching – what will you rely on?
Knowing what motivates and inspires you will spur you on – so the next time you have a tough day – You Will be Ready for it!
In life you know how you get so used to something and then you cast your mind back and you can’t remember when that first came into your life?
Well that’s what it’s like for me with my best friend. If you knew me, you would know that my best friends in life tend to be my hubby and family (sad but true) but years ago this woman came into my life and just always seemed to be there. And today I thank the universe for that.
But then today is a special day. 3 years ago today Clare right now was having a lung transplanted – that’s tough enough, but when you take into account the numerous false starts Clare had before she finally got the transplant and how Clare couldn’t walk anywhere without an oxygen tank and a rather groovy granny scooter you really appreciate how lucky we are to have this fab woman around.
Clare was there when I was seriously ill with depression, when I had my 2nd child, when I set up the BWN. Clare designed and loving created the BWN website – she stood by me as the BWN grew (and along the way I ensured that everyone knew how amazing her websites are – actually to the point whereby recently she told me to stop sending her clients – love effective networking.)
But why am I telling you this?
Well recently I have been working on a national level looking at the issues that affect women in business. And ensuring that the Home Office and the Bank of England know the issues that affect busienss women. Childcare, broadband, fuel costs, old boy networks, glass ceilings, lack of opportunities, sexism, racism the list is long. But when you meet business women like Clare you realise that if you have passion, determination and dedication it doesn’t matter what obstacles there are. You find a way forward to success.
However big the obstacle you find a way to get the results you want.
If you want to interact and know a fabulous business woman (who also happens to be your IT Fairy and all-round whiz with all things IT) then connect with Clare Lauwyers @ClareLauwerys. I guarantee a business woman that will motivate, inspire support and be there for you – now who wouldn’t want one of those?
On that note who motivates, inspires and supports your success? Knowing those things can be critical when you are having a tough time.
A bit of a girly blog today, but hey business women are allowed to be business women on their own terms the way they want to, and that includes supporting and acknowledging their way to success.
Thank you Clare.