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Property, Interior Design & Websites

Property, Interior Design and Websites

Interior design is one of my passions, creating beautiful spaces that make you happy is something that I really enjoy.  So, it dawned on me a while back; that interior design and websites are not too dissimilar.  Yes, I am aware that one is real and tangible whilst the other is virtual, but I promise that it will make sense, allow me to explain.

Like your house/flat/bungalow/barn conversion/caravan (delete as appropriate), your website is your piece of real estate in the world wide web.  Just like your actual property, it is your space to call your own and where you can be you.  Also, like property, you’ll have a freeholder in the form of your hosting provider (not applicable if you have a house or share of freehold), unless you happen to self-host.  Alas, even in the virtual world you cannot escape having others around and your neighbours are the other people using your hosting provider.

There’s lots of traffic with all the people who are continuously surfing the web and occasionally things come to a standstill when there are server issues, and no one can proceed.  Plus, with more and more people having businesses, side hustles, blogs and vlogs etc the population is increasing and it’s becoming more built up.

Are you starting to see where I’m coming from?  I’ll explain a bit more.  Going back to your property, you want it to be aesthetically pleasing, a reflection of you and inviting.  All the things you want your website to be, right?  However, like interior design, it is not just about colours, accesories and making things look pretty.  No, you want it to also be functional and practical to support the way you live and make life easier.  Hence why it’s important to have a website that is mobile optimised, easy to navigate, quick to load amongst others and not just pretty to look at.


Just as an interior designer plans out how the space will look, they also incorporate the client, their lifestyle and the functionality of the space.  Which like I said at the beginning is not dissimilar to creating a website and what I aim to do when creating sites for my clients.  Even if you are creating your own, it is worth thinking about it in this way and also if you are daunted at the prospect of a website bear these points in mind and hopefully it will feel less so.

If perhaps you are wondering if you need a website, let me ask you this, do you still live at home? Yes? Do you want to live there forever, or do you want somewhere that you can call your own?  If no, would you have wanted to live in your parents’ space forever?  See, I told you that property, interior design and websites were not dissimilar.

Every Penny

Every penny really does help

‘Do you ever pay RRP (recommended retail price) for anything?’ This was a question I was once asked years ago, when I was searching for the best price for a Sony stereo stack system – see, I told you it was years ago and yes I still have it and it works. You see, I like shopping and better still, a good deal or bargain if you like and the internet is to me a complete godsend on that front. So in answer to that question, why would I if I don’t have to?! Applying this same principle to business resources has been especially useful as a small and young business. One of the beauties of an online business (dependent on the type of business) is being able to minimise overheads, why then would you want to spend all savings on software and the like. Of course, the nature of the business will have a bearing on its requirements and there are some things that you just have to pay the going rate for and others it is prudent to do so and not pay peanuts, you get my drift. However, that being said, there are options out there to help you save. These are 3 things I have found to be cost efficient for me.


PDF Editor: You may well be familiar with the main major player in this arena and likewise you’re probably familiar with the price tag as well. I don’t have to do a lot of pdf editing, conversion etc so the cost of going with the biggest brand was not only costly but actually not an option as a very small start up with few clients. After some research, I came across Smallpdf and was amazed to find that I could do all the things I wanted and for a very pocket friendly $48 a year. I consider that win!  


Virtual Landline: The original incarnation of JD Assist was as a virtual assistance business offering administrative support and I joined an association which required that the business had a landline contact number, not just a mobile. As it was, I didn’t really want to use my personal mobile number or home number for work and this lead me to finding out what other options there were other than having a second mobile number and carrying 2 phones around with me (not to mention being locked into another 2 year contract). That is how I found out about virtual landlines, they can be local or national, divert to a mobile, have hunt groups if needed and no contract in my experience. After some trial and error, I have found one that works for me as I can have incoming and outgoing calls to landlines and mobiles for an all in price of just £9 (inc VAT) a month – another win.


Editing Software: I had very little prior experience of Photoshop and to be honest, my requirements were not so high level – I leave that to my brother, seeing as he’s the photographer (he very kindly took the pictures of me that are on the site, shameless plug but he’s family). Like the pdf software, you may be familiar with the price tag associated with Photoshop and once again it was somewhat out of reach. As you’ve no doubt worked out, I went searching and if you look hard enough you tend to find something, which is exactly what I found by way of PicMonkey. Not only is it pretty simple to use, it’s affordable too, £6.49 of your English pounds (billed annually) – kerching.
It’s all good and well finding these products but another thing I have learned is that there is a best time to purchase such things and that time is November, more specifically black Friday. Purchasing software around this time can help you save even more for the coming year or even for good in some cases. By purchasing my CRM (client relationship management) software at this time I saved over 20% on my annual subscription. I made a list of what I required and then looked at the discounts previously on black Friday to gain an idea at the sort of savings I might be able to make and whether to wait. I haven’t forgotten that I said ‘even for good in some cases’, this is because some products are offered at a discounted lifetime rate too. Now surely, that is a winner?

How’s your balance

How is your balance?

No, you have not navigated onto a yoga or pilates site by accident. I’m not referring to how good your core strength is (mine needs improvement to be honest – hmm, wonder if I’ll get rock hard abs as a result) or if you can balance on 1 leg (yes, this I can do). I’m referring to that well known and used phrase ‘work/life balance’. I recently had a Thai massage for the first time and it was amazing. The therapist, Katie happens to be someone I know and she happen to ask if I’d ever had one, which I hadn’t but as a lover of massages, especially the kind that make your muscles wake up and take notice, I was intrigued. So, not long after, I found myself in a lovely, calming room having my 1st treatment – picture below. To say it was blissful would be an understatement and the fact that it is done fully clothed was a novel experience for me. Now during the 90 mins or so of the treatment, I found myself in states of pure relaxation but also thinking about work, in fact that’s when I thought about writing this blog post. Here was the thing, I was supposed to be taking some time out and having time for myself to relax and recharge my batteries, yet here I was lying there thinking about my business. It reminded me of one of the main reasons I started working for myself in the first place and that was to get a better work/life balance.
JD Assist Blog Post - Flow Thai Massage
Before I started JD Assist, I had been working in a place where it was the norm to take your laptop or work phone with you when you went on holiday. Whilst I drew the line there, I did still manage to find myself working more than my contracted hours usually or sometimes evenings and weekends for nothing extra. Of course, I found myself working even more once I started my own business, who else was going to do all the various tasks for me! Now, to be fair I must admit that I do have a tendency to get absorbed in things I’m working on and the word ‘workaholic’ is one that has been bandied in my direction on more than one occasion. Luckily for me, a few of my friends were on maternity leave when I first started my entrepreneurial life and have been during the course of it thus far. It meant that they would invite me for lunch, coffee or even just a stroll around the park, which forced me to think about something other than work and see daylight on a semi regular basis. With a new commute of a few steps and the combination of the great British weather, it would have been very easy for me to just stay home and work. Whilst the commute was now a joyful experience, having the ‘office’ within peripheral view when trying to watch TV is something that I’m working on resisting at certain times. Although it has possibly become one of those overused phrases, it really is an important thing worth thinking about and working on, in my opinion. Which is why I will ‘endure’ more Thai massages to better improve my balance – oh, it’s a hard life. So, how’s your balance?

*If you want to find out more about Thai massage, you can do so on Katie’s website as she’ll do a better job than I will https://www.flowthaimassage.com/

To…or not…

To … or not to …, that is the question (fill in the blank)

Photo by Mikito Tateisi on Unsplash
It’s incredible how hard it is to get started on things that are seemingly simple to do. Take this blog post (that is hopefully what it is intended to be, so if you are actually reading this on the interweb somewhere, then it actually made it) for example. I started my business in January 2016 and have never blogged, yes, NEVER. Whilst all around me extoled the virtues of blogging, especially in connecting with your clients and growing your business, I refused. Did I hear you ask why? Well, to my mind, my business was all about saving other people time so they could grow their businesses or have a better work/life balance, it wasn’t so they could free up time to read my ramblings (I appreciate you reading this, honestly). Also, what would I write about? How to be more productive? Ways to save time? The benefits of outsourcing? All valuable and important subjects but I was seeing lots of other people do it, so surely my input wasn’t required. So, on I went, until now. So, what changed? I decided to take my business in a new direction and I joined an online group, and took up a content challenge… much like this blog, I was like a deer in the headlights to begin with. However, I had an ah ha moment and grasped the concept of not only why I should blog for my business, but also what I could blog about – thank you to Maggie Giele and the Content Quest. That lead to me spending the majority of 1 day, doing pretty much everything other than writing that first blog post (this), that I was meant to be writing. Now, you’re probably wondering, what on earth any of this has to do with you, lovely person, who just wants to know how and if I can help them, right? Remember what I said previously about, the following: • How hard it is to get started on seemingly simple things? • The benefits of blogging to connect with your clients and grow your business? • My input not being required because everyone else was doing it? Well, here is the thing. You have started a business and want to reach your clients, you want to connect with them and you want your business to grow. All obvious, I know but you’re not sure if you need a website, what the benefits are and besides, everyone else is doing it, so why add to the enormous number of sites out there? I’m sure you’ve probably worked out what I’m going to say next. You’re now reading MY blog post, something I had not thought would happen but yet, here we are. Also, it probably wouldn’t surprise you to hear that other people I knew in my field who were drinking at the blog fountain were getting better reach than me with my head down, not really talking to anyone (I do go to networking events and the like, please do not be alarmed that I do not leave the house). Additionally, by finally getting started and putting in my 2 cents worth, I am doing so in my voice, you are hearing from me, not from the other person who does the same or similar thing. This is exactly the same as some of the reasoning for having a website, for presenting your baby as you would want, showing it off to people and having them coo all over it. Now that we’re better acquainted and you have read this, let’s carry on the conversation. Getting started with your website or maintaining it doesn’t have to be hard, there is help on hand. Like I found the group, you’ve found me and I’d love to help you. Just click on the buttons below and like me, you’ll be seeing that it can be done and there’s really nothing to worry about. Speak to you soon.

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