Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Do we work harder for polite clients?

Just recently I have to admit I have had some pretty difficult clients. It seems no matter how much I do I cannot please them so in the long run I choose to just finish the job a quickly as I can rather than go out of my way to help further.

This may be because I usually go beyond the call of duty for my clients anyway but it is something I am noticing as I work with more people.

I have a couple I am working with on seperate projects at the moment and they are simply delightful. Whilst they can send through a lot of work they do it in such a polite and respectful way I cannot wait to help them.

On the other side of the fence I also have another couple who are never satisfied with what I do, which is very hard for me to deal with. I find myself just wanted to finish the project as quickly as possible so that they do not upset me any further.

I guess when it is your own business (your baby) you can probably take things very personally.  Also the industry - thats what you get for producing marketing and design in Suffolk!

Something I will have to work on.

If you have any experiences to share please leave a comment.

This post has been sponsored by climbing frames - The Outdoor Toy Company.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Christmas is coming already?

Where on earth did 2010 go? 

In a year...  I have managed to set up my own company, win an award, move in with my boyfriend, open a second business location, start my second business, start my third business... and oh...

... Oh actually I can now see how time has probably passed me by this year.

But still they say the older we get the quicker the years go? Well I am now thinking how quick will the year go when I am Fifty?

It is true to say that years do feel as if they are flying by, but is that just for those who are busy? In a entrepreneurs mind - things never switch off, but what is it like to be in the mind of someone who can.

If you are this person please comment below and let me know your thoughts.

Until then we will be getting ready to cosy up inside, get out the Christmas Crackers and decorate the tree.

Friday, 29 October 2010

New office!

As you can see from the image above I have been used to a very nice modern office, but now I have moved to Bury St Edmunds I am working from home. However I now have the opportunity to change my home office.

I have been thinking about what to put in my new office in great detail.

What office furniture do I install?

What colours do I paint the walls?

The truth is as long as it is comfy and I feel happy inside it whilst I am working does it really matter?

I am looking for any advice... so if you read this and have any tips I would love to hear from you!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Have we lost our manners?

I have met a few clients recently who all have the same view that some people in business have lost their manners! Is this because they have become too big for their boots? They weren't brought up that way? Or do they simply think they are better than us?

I have to say as a young person in business I believe in the traditional view "treat people how you want to be treated" and I believe if you follow this philosophy surely you can't go wrong...  or can you.

As an individual I feel I have to suffer at the expense of those who do not follow this way of thinking.

For example, I have a client who does not know what they want. Now if the shoe were on the other foot if someone kept working for me until I was happy I would surely treat them with more respect. In fact this client had no communication with me for over 6 weeks then expected me tohave a ready built website for them after getting back in touch one week later.

This would mean making my other clients wait longer and sorry... I will not do that.

In business why can't we just help each other - after all that is what we set out to achieve in business - is  it not?

It really saddens me that some of us have become so selfish and disrespectful.

Though I stick to my mission "to create a business that really cares about people!" and I intend to continue what I have started!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Stress in the workplace

For those of you who know me - you will know I take my job very seriously, to which sometimes can lead to stressful situations.

Stress is not a physical illness but can bring on physical symptoms - often those who are high achievers who are perfectionists find this happens to them! Does that sound like anyone you know?

I think sometimes I stop listening to my mind allowing myself to be pushed further and further through new challenges, where my body now actually has to control my head to stop me. Fascinating!

So my next challenge is to learn how to deal with these spells of stress.

Since finding out about the way I handle this and almost control things to a certain extent, I have met various people (mainly in the creative industries) who can relate to this. The true entrepreneurs who can't switch off before they go to sleep.

Is this because we have so many ideas and not enough time to action them that we simply cannot cope physically to get them out?

I really am intrigued to explore if anyone else suffers with similar patterns? What a genius the mind is - so powerful it can subconsciously make the body stop when you have had too much.

So my way of targeting this is to try CBT to see if that can help and to talk about it. I am an open book and I have nothing to be ashamed of, I am not mental but it is the way I have my own coping mechanisms! I wouldn't want to be any other way!

Saturday, 3 July 2010


Now this is why every one needs a good accountant! (You can see from my puzzled partner James's face it is always a good idea!)

My accountant managed to save me half of the predicted quote of my tax bill this year. I think thats amazing. As it is my first year in business, I have little experience with tax returns and how it all works.

I found that not only did my accountant help me with my taxes but he also provided me with great business advice. I used to think accountants just added up sums and helped you pay in your taxes but my opinion of an accountant has certainly changed.

My advice to anyone is to find a company that has been well recommended - has good knowledge of their industry and can provide a quote for the year so you know how much you have to pay. My accountant even filed in my companies house certificate and helped me to set up my company.

I think for anyone to do it themselves is a task and a half, when you are busy trying to run a successful business I cant really see ou having much time to worry about your finaces.

I guess everyone is different but I would go with an accountant everytime!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Team Work and Leadership

I have to say it makes it easier to have your own business when you have a great team behind you!

There is a lot of Team Work involved in my business and I have lots of people to thank for that.

My designer Andrew is like my back bone - of late I dont know what I would have done without him. Not only is he my freelance designer and someone to vent to about mis behaving clients but he is also a great friend.

We worked together in a past job and when we started to work together for Apparition it was just so natural!

I also have my boyfriend James who works beside me handling all of my finacial matters. We are a team not only out of work but in work.

So it made me realise how important it not only is to have a team but to have great leadershp skills. But sometimes it is not easy when working along side family and friends to lead them.

I guess that is a skill I will continue to learn!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The holiday blues!

Well I am pleased to report I have an amazing holiday in Zante. I managed to switch off, have fun and got an amazing sun tan (which is now fading.)

Coming back to reality after having such a wonderful time is never easy. But why is that? Are our day to day lives so stressful that we have to go miles out of the country to switch off?

My answer is yes... I found that on my holiday I could just be my bare self. I didn't have to be the businesswoman, the house keeper, the cook, the girl that always wants to please everyone. I just kicked back and let whoever was at that hotel with me just see me.

Normally I am one for strict routine - I am a control freak I know... I guess on holiday you develop your own holiday routine.

The favourite part of my day was coming in from the sun - getting ready and dressed up for the evening, then James and I would sit down for dinner and he would collect our starter of olives, bread and Greek dip from the buffet. Simple things!

I also loved my 12pm pilates class and the 4pm match of volleyball to break up laying by the pool all day. 

The holiday routine is so much more fun than the day to day routine. Perhaps this is what makes a holiday special as for one week out of many you don't have to worry about anything except where you are at that present time.

So coming back to it - the entrepreneur brain is back in action and I am back running my busy business. Though my holiday blues are cold on my feet!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Holiday... release or burden?

In exactly one week I will be on my way to Zante a little Greek Island full of fun things to do in the hot sunny weather. I have to say I cannot wait another minute to get on that plane.

But me being me, I am worried about leaving the business! My business is like my baby, it needs constant care and attention at this early stage being just over one year old.

Whilst I know I really need a holiday for my own sanity, as it is the only place I can switch off (mainly as you can't use your phone abroad and I tend to keep my switched off) there is still a part of me that is thinking, what if theres a problem with a client? who will get further work in? do I need to be here?

So this week I am stressing to get all of my jobs done, invoices out and make sure everyone has enough notice that I won't be around.

In fact my week is so busy next week,  I have to pack over the weekend! My schedule next week is based in Halesworth (Monday to Wednesday is full) - I even have a presentation to give to 150 businesswomen on Tuesday evening plus the two meetings I have on the Wednesday evening before I then go back to Bury St Edmunds where I live to catch a plane 7am Thursday morning.

It usually takes me a couple of days to switch off while relaxing in the sun, my entrepreneur mind is still guarenteed to keep on ticking, but the thought of seven days in the sun should help a little!

Actually I think reading the above I have just justified my holiday! Bring it on!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Working and friendships...

OK, so you can see from my lack of posting, my business has dominated once again! I really love what I do but it makes time fly so quickly.

Since being in business my life has changed.

One certain area I have noticed is my friends. I have now realised that most of the friends I have actually are those who either work in high powered jobs or have their own businesses.

This is not because I chose my friends in this way, but more due to the fact that they understand the pressures and commitments I have to adhere to, in order to run a successful business.

For example, if I can't make a lunch date because of work commitments it is more likely a friend in a similar situation would understand, where as a friend who doesn't actually have a long term job just wouldn't be very reasonable... and this has happened many a time.

I have two great friends (the girls) featured in the above photo Hayley and Caroline. Hayley has her own business and is due to start a second business with me later on in the year and Caroline has a very high powered job working for Dawson Energy who send out engineers to the wind turbines offshore. Both are dear friends to me and share my passion for business.

Since winning my award I have had some trouble with relationships, whether it is jealously or mis-understanding - I don't know. But should you really have to pay the price for being successful?

I would like to thank all of my true friends for sticking by me, as it means a lot though the hard times and the fun ones! 

Let me know you thoughts... 

Friday, 2 April 2010

Welcome to my new blog!

I created this blog as almost a way to release more than anything.

Just under a year ago I decided to set up my own business called Apparition Marketing & Design Ltd, and from time to time although I am 100% passionate about what I do and love running my own company the day to day pressures really seem to have an effect on me.

I find I work so much it effects my personal life and when I am not working I feel like there is something I should be doing because I am so used to working.

Basically I was told by a friend I wont be able to switch off because I have the mind of an entrepreneur! A wonderful gift that I am blessed with but one that also drives me a bit crazy from time to time.

So this blog was set up to communicate with others who have a similar problem and to try and find some ways to help me switch off.

I look forward in updating my progress!

Rachel x