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It’s true that you can do anything

It’s true that you can do anything

Have you heard or seen the quote that ‘you can do anything, but not everything’?  It’s something I was thinking about recently and I decided that my viewpoint on it is that it’s completely true and not only that but it’s a false economy to try to.

There were a couple of events that got me thinking about this.  The first was actually the task of painting my nails. Oh, you were expecting something momentous, sorry no. You may think it an odd thing to have gotten me thinking about the subject of whether or not you should do everything yourself, but you’ll see why in a moment. 

You see, I had been to the spa a couple of weeks ago and one of the treatments was a manicure and the end result was fab (incredibly it stayed on for 2 weeks even though it wasn’t gel, but I digress). It reminded me of how much I like it when my nails are done as I seldom do them anymore and prompted me to blow the dust off my box of polishes and get back in the habit of doing them.  So, there I am on a Sunday afternoon gingerly trying to manoeuvre a mug of hot liquid, use my tablet and then later make a meal.  These simple tasks all had to be done with care as I waited for my nails to fully dry to ensure that they wouldn’t smudge and the time spent diligently applying layers of base coat, polish and top coat wasted – if I’m doing it, I’m doing it properly!

Experience had taught me that although I had held my hands aloft and with my fingers splayed for 15 minutes to ensure nothing touched my nails between coats did not in any way mean that they were dry.  In fact, it is precisely for this reason that the drying time got longer between each coat.  Hence this simple act of doing my nails ended up taking hours.  It was at this point that I remembered how quick it was when I had it done by someone else, also meaning that both hands looked equally as good instead of my questionable righthand owing to using my left to do it.  Sure, I can do my own nails, but it’s far more enjoyable, time effective and well done when I get them done by someone else who’s job it is to do nails.

This is the same with business and for most people in the beginning, you do have to do most things yourself but if you have the budget, it is essentially far better use of your time and highly likely a better outcome to get a professional to do your accounts, create your website, draw up your contracts, do your HR etc, etc, etc.

That being said, you do also get what you pay for and cheaper isn’t necessarily better and probably gives you less recourse if you are not happy with the result as I recently discovered on Fiverr. Yes, get a professional to do a job but in some cases, it is better to pay a bit more otherwise you might as well do it yourself.  Though in my 1 person discussion with me, myself and I, I concluded that brain and heart surgery were not things you could do yourself as firstly it would take years of study and secondly you would need to be unconscious to perform the surgery!

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.

One

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!  

Two

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.

Three

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/

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