The personal cost of being an Entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur sounds ever so exciting and cool. The top Entrepreneurs in the world and the leaders all say that it ain’t easy, that you must take the steps to the top not the escalator and other words of wisdom.

Success comes in many forms. For me it means a content and happy family, a nice cosy home with heat and food and to earn the money to have the food and warmth part of success means having to go out and work for it.  I was a stay at home Mum before. I am useless at cooking and not so great at the whole housework thing.  I wasn’t happy. A happy Mum means happy children.  So there was a bit of frustration creeping in for me as I knew there was something else I could be doing. I was capable of getting things done and I wanted to make something of myself. Yes I know being a Mum is a wonderful gift and I know there are thousands of Women out there who yearn to be a Mother.  But for me, I felt discontented. I could see that I wasn’t going to be able to give my children a chance to go to college on the carer’s allowance which I was on (my 7 year old is hearing impaired with a severe language delay and my 14 year old is diabetic type 1 so they would already have challenges ahead. It frustrated me that there was a long waiting list for speech therapy for Abi. And if I wanted to speed things up going privately was going to cost money I hadn’t got.

me and the girls together

So off I went and entered the business world.  I worked really hard and re trained so that I could teach Twitter workshops to people who were unsure of how to use it correctly. I found that I enjoyed teaching and sharing my knowledge and loved helping others out. I could see places where I could make a difference.  So the work started rolling in.

This time when my teen asked me for money for a school outing or for new essentials I didn’t have to root in the pennies jar, I had a fiver in my purse for the first time in ages. I was able to start paying off debts also.

This made me feel good. I was also getting out and making new friends. I was able to buy myself a new dress. I was able to buy myself proper make up and take care of my skin and hair so this also made me feel nice and gave me more confidence.  And no, it’s not all about money. I only want to make enough to keep things less of a constant struggle which is what it was like before.

elevator success

But at what cost?  Today is my birthday and I am feeling like the loneliest Mum in the world. My Daughter told me last night that she just wants a normal Mum who cleans the house and isn’t on a computer or answering a phone or going away to teach workshops.   I am sitting here confused.

The reason I was working so hard was because I had a goal of writing a book and am learning how to do webinars so that I can teach workshops online so that people don’t have to physically leave their homes to learn.   This also means that I can teach online and earn from those workshops in the future so I get the balance of being at home and also doing what I love. I am so close to this now.  And yet today I am confused and sad and feeling like I should just give it all up to nurture the relationship with my family.

Entrepreneurs need a huge support system in the home. We need you to have faith in us that we know what we are doing. We need a back up system to be there and understand that this won’t all be in vain. That We are doing this for you, our families.

 

We haven’t had a holiday abroad in the sun ever.  I was kinda hoping that this year we would be able to do that. But now I am wondering is it worth it.  What is the perfect balance? How do you get that balance? I thought I was working towards the perfect balance in what I was doing.  This is why I set up the Irishbizparty movement. So we could all support and talk about these things.  I already spoke to a couple of people in the group about this.  I am sure I am not the only one who has come across these issues.  So please do feel free to comment.

Thanks for reading. Hope it helps one other Entrepreneur to see that they are not the only ones who struggle with this.

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Beginners guide to Twitter #Newbies

“Your Beginner’s Guide to Twitter”

Hi, Welcome to my beginners guide to Twitter.

What is Twitter? Twitter is a social networking service that allows you to send and read text messages with 140 characters.

In English that means that you can make a statement or sentence and put it out there to whoever is following you. This must be under 140 letters/characters.

What do you need to start?

You need an email address. With your email address you sign up.

twitter beginner

Select a password that only you will ever know.   Click ‘sign up’

The next page will ask you to select people to follow. You can start by putting twitter names you might already know (Like me for example, @Tweetinggoddess or @Tweetingsamm into the search box).  After you have followed your first five people they will ask you to follow more. But you can skip this step if you want to get cracking!

Profile and Bio:

You want to Make your profile look so interesting that people will want to click on you. You want followers as followers are your new friends!  They are also your very own marketing team. They are the ones who will decide if you are interesting enough or if your content (what you say in your tweets) is good enough to Retweet to your followers.

I recommend putting a picture of YOU -as it attracts people – people use twitter so makes you look more personable.  If you are a small business owner, I recommend you put your picture up also. You can put your logo or icon on the background of your profile.

If you are a company, then your logo is best. A hotel? A picture of the hotel etc.

Your Bio:  This should also be interesting, tell people who you are, what you do and your likes (e.g. hobbies etc) so you will attract like minded individuals.  People buy from people so even if you are a company make it sound like you are approachable and that you are going to be tweeting interesting tweets.

For example, here is my personal account profile and Bio: (now you don’t have to be as personal as I am, only put up what you are comfortable with)

profile twitter

There is also a section to edit your profile so you put your website link into your bio so that when people look at your profile they can simply ‘click’ to go straight to your website!

Click on the 'profile' settings section to edit your profile
Click on the ‘profile’ settings section to edit your profile

Next:  Do your first tweet!! 

Start by saying something like…. ‘Hi Everyone, I am new to twitter! #Newbie’ – Keep it simple and be yourself. Then continue to search for people to follow. If you like gardening for example, search for any tweets that mention #gardening (Go to the search box) Twitter will also suggest others to follow on the left hand side of your account. You can refresh these suggestions if you want to search for more.

Look at what the people you follow are saying….get involved and click ‘reply’ if you want to add to the conversation!  Click ‘Retweet’ if you want to share their tweet with your own followers.

To see who has mentioned you or interactions (for example who has followed you) Click on the Connect button.  If you click on ‘Home’ this is your Twitter feed. These are the tweets of everyone you are following!

interactions (2)

If you want to tweet someone you follow Simply click on the tweet button (blue button top right) and put their Twitter name into the tweet.  This is the ‘Compose’ tweet button. You can tweet away now.

So off you go and start tweeting! Check out my top ten tips for using Twitter effectively also!  More advanced tips and workshops also coming very soon!

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How to get your Start up Noticed!

  • Find out who your target market listens to on the radio or watches on TV. What newspaper do they read? What magazines or social media platforms are they most likely to be on? Listen to the radio and target the talk show radio stations or ring them if you hear them talking about anything relevant to what you are doing.
  • Write a press release. Send the press release to any radio/TV program, magazine or paper that you think would be interested in your product or service. This should be interesting with pics and have a hook or problem/ crisis that you have the solution for. Add a bit of your personal story too. Follow the email/phone calls up.
  • Use Twitter. It does depend on what market you are targeting, but me I started to use it straight away to tell people what I was doing. Actually, I shouted it. To fit what you do into 140 characters can be difficult but work on it, and include the link to your site! When you gain a certain amount of followers, you can let a bit more about you or other subjects go into your tweets. Follow business people and influencers. You want them to notice you and get on their radar.
  • Use #irishbizparty every Wednesday night 9-11pm . Plenty of other entrepreneurs out there just like you who would love to help you get out there! Also Independent.ie have linked up with us and they feature the #Starbiz every week on their site. Follow them here 
  • Get photos of you with well known people/personalities. Always put pictures up of anyone you meet, as people want to see who you are hanging out with!

Great example here from @Wapobeauty 

bobby and mayca

  • Get involved in something worthwhile like a charity that is close to your heart. Promote and shout about it as it will help raise awareness for the charity and show people that you are human and have a heart. People like to get to know who they are dealing with. Charities need help always to raise awareness and to promote them. Also, listen to other start ups and assist them with Re tweets or spreading the word about what they are doing. That way they are more likely to do the same.
  • Carry business cards, everywhere!! Give them to anyone you chat to, tell the world or anyone who will listen about what you do, and who you are!  Or wear a tee shirt with your name on it!! (Walking advertisement)

glitz n pieces

  • Go to as many places where your target market hangs out. Let them know you are there!
  • Blog about what you do, make it interesting so people will share it for their friends to see.  Show yourself as the Expert in what you do!
  • Dress differently or wear warm colors or colors that suit your personality! Make an effort to stand out.
  • Use consistent pictures and branding tools across the net so people can relate all the information they come across to you, like the same headshot, tag line for instance.
  • Ask for help from more experience business people. If you ask, business leaders are usually happy to assist you with advice or just pointing you in the right direction

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Hashtags!! Whats the story?

I teach Twitter workshops and perhaps the most common question I get asked has to be ‘What is a hashtag anyway?’  So I decided to do a little blog all about hashtags and what they are for.

hashtag use

A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a # symbol to identify a particular topic or popular event that is taking place. e.g. If you see #Liverpool chances are there is a tweet chat going on about Liverpool or a big game on that folk are tweeting about.

See below for an example of hashtags that were ‘trending’ (most popular topics) one evening.

hibernian trending

 

The most popular hashtag was Hibernian Training as we were holding a competition on#irishbizparty that night. But see that if you click on #Juniorcert most likely this was because the Junior Cert results were out the next day and people were chatting about this.

So, if you wanted to post about the Late late show, you would include #Latelate  in your tweet to join the conversation. Click on a hashtag to see all the posts that mention the subject in real time

How can hashtags help me in business?

Use relevant hashtags to your business: See what hashtags other businesses in your field are using. If you’re promoting a wedding product I would use #Bridal #Wedding #Bride for example.  I bet if you put #Bridal in the search box you will find lots of others who are in your industry. You should follow some of these users and they could become allies especially if you are doing wedding stationery and they are doing gowns!

There are popular hashtags used by businesses also. For example #Weddinghour is on from 9-10pm and is very popular with all bridal and wedding suppliers. Follow @Weddinghour for more info.

Daily hashtags in use which help promote Business:

#FPSBS @Teamfreddiepig

#Purplebiz @Purpledognet

#Bizitalk @Bizitalk

#Tweeturbiz @Tweeturbizuk

#Womaninbiz #Wineoclock - @AwardingWomen

Weekly hashtags/Tweet chats

#Irishbizparty - @irishbizparty – Every Wednesday night from 9-11pm GMT A #Starbiz is selected each week also.  The Starbiz gets to host the hashtag the following week! They also win a mug from @Clubcolours_ie

#M50bizhub - @M50bizhub - Mon night 9-11pm & Fri morning 7:30-9am.

#Twitterbrothers - @Tweeturbizuk – Mon night 9-10pm

#Mumzinbiz - @Lavenderbabies – Mon 8-9pm

#Twittersisters - Every Thursday 8.30 -9.30 pm

Competitions:

@Theopaphitis #SBS - Between 5 -7.30 Every Sunday evening. Theo Re Tweets his favorite 6 entries! Just tweet what you do using @Theopaphitis and put #SBS in the tweet!

@Jacqueline_gold #Wow - Between 1 and 3pm every Wednesday just tweet using Jacqueline’s name and the hashtag #WOW – She will choose her favorite 3 businesses!

 

New hashtag:

#GreenIre Follow @Shersustainable for more info 

There are lots and lots of others! So if you see a hashtag being used in a tweet, click on it and check it out. There are lots of funny ones that go around too, so keep an eye out and join in!

Oh and on Saturday nights on @RadioactiveIE you can get involved in #Goddesshour with myself and guests and lots of girly chat and music! Just click here to listen in and get involved! http://www.radioactive.ie/

P.S. If there are any hashtags I didn’t mention, do let me know and I will add them to the list.

 

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How to be the biz at Twitter!

You can spot them a mile away! The popular and active twitter users. Their names pop up even at times when you don’t expect them to! But just seeing their name and brand for even a split second keeps them in your sub conscious so that when you go searching for interesting stuff on Twitter, you know you can rely on them to be either having a debate about something or being funny or they will have some really interesting content to share.  That’s why you are following them yes?

twitter

Well good Twitter users have good habits….Here are some:

They are consistent. Most of the time the topic they tweet about is what they specialize in.  Let’s face it if a restaurant started tweeting about beauty it might scare you away! You followed them in the first place because of the subject they tweet about.   Or perhaps you noticed that they share funny stories etc.  So you don’t want them going all serious and down in the dumps either.

They are also full of useful information. Whether it is the latest news or the latest trick or tip, they are knowledgeable and mix it up a bit so you are kept interested.

They are usually very helpful. They know how important it is to engage and build relationships…am sure if you look back on their tweets you will see that they RT a lot and give helpful advice or tips.

They usually respond to tweets within 24 hours.

They Tweet a lot! Expect impromptu pics of a flower or tree or sunset …anything that they think you will appreciate they will take a pic and tweet it out, so they have their twitter on their smartphone for sure!

Expect plenty of interaction and engagement from Top Tweeters. They are almost always chatting to someone and usually involved in something interesting that is going on at the time!

Popular hashtags you will find some great tweeters. Try the #Latelate hashtag  and the #Vinb one if you like politics.  And to find lots of nice friendly entrepreneurs try #irishbizparty, #twittersisters, #sbs …..see my article on hashtags in one of my previous blog posts for more.

So create some good habits on twitter and you could become one of those Top Tweeters yourself!  Off you go now!

 

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New words I’ve learnt since starting a business!

New to the whole business world?

Well you’d better learn some new words and add them to your vocabulary cos I certainly didn’t know or use any of these before! There are sooo many! But I have listed some of them here to get you started on your journey!

networking

Engagement All I knew was to be engaged meant you were getting married or you were hanging on the telephone! But no, engaging with your customers, followers and fellow human beings is soooo important in business.  It can make ALL the difference betweeen making a new connection or making a sale.

Serendipity -  “fortuitous happenstance” or “pleasant surprise” This happens a lot in business! Not only have I been surprised with how I ended up doing something or speaking somewhere I never dreamed I would be, I have also met people who I never thought I would meet or even speak to! e.g. Theo Paphitis, Bill Liao, Norah Casey, Lisa Fitzpatrick, Miriam O’Callaghan.

Strategy This is just a posh word for Plan really! Every business needs a strategy in order to grow.  Careful planning and then putting your plan in place is the hard bit, but at least if you have one you know where to go!

Moving Forward I find myself using this one too lately.  As someone who grew up in Tallaght I didn’t even think you could move forward to be honest!!

Proposal Marriage again? Gosh I was confused. This just means ‘an act of offering’ or suggesting something for acceptance. So I would send proposals to potential clients to show them what I have in mind for them and they decide if we are singing off the same hymn sheet really!

confused

Terms:

KPI – Key performance Indicator

CEO – Chief Executive Officer

ROI – Return on Investment

SME- Small to Medium Enterprise

Pro – Forma - is a term applied to practices or documents that are done as a pure formality

USP – Unique Selling Point – We all need one of these ….what makes your business stand out from the rest?

Any more feel free to add them! What words have you used in Business that you thought you would never use?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#irishbizparty Conference – Inspiring SMEs

Have you ever wanted to go to conferences but just couldn’t afford the ticket, petrol and childcare to go? Well I have come across this lots of times. But yet it is folk like me (Entreprneeurs and Small business owners) who need to be at these conferences to learn, network and share their experiences with each other. 

So…..I’ve decided to organize this one!  And no, it doesn’t cost a lot! Only 25 euros!

30 April – Green Isle Hotel, Naas Road, Dublin 12.  BOOK HERE 

The humans behind the businesses will be there, sharing their knowledge, talking about the reality of being a business owner here in Ireland and the challenges we face and how we overcame them!  Lots of real life stories and tips on how to get your business noticed!  We are also delighted to have Jason from Pride Watches coming to share what happened ever since his tearful pitch on Dragons Den, and Joanne Sweeney Burke from ‘The Apprentice’ will be sharing her tips and her story with us.  Come along, meet others who want to hear about what you do and understand what its like!

Line up includes:

Samantha Kelly from Tweetinggoddess will give us some Twitter tips and tell us all about how irishbizparty started and some positive stories

network dundalk

Felicity Mc Carthy from Sparkdigital.ie will be giving us tips on how to use Facebook effectively for your busines

Coffee break!

Simon Chapman from Quotefish.com Sharing is caring; The Collaborative Economy Movement and your business.

Anita Whyte from Dolledup.ie – What its like running two completely different businesses. 
 
Adrianna Mannix Goalgetterseat4life How to build your Confidence – Self Belief  & Authenticity
 

Aine Bermingham from Utter Digital  will be giving us her top tips on Blogging

Pat Kelly from Life Focus will give us some Time management tips
Joanne Sweeney Burke 

joanne

The Apprentice & Beyond: The Reality of Reality TV

Joanne Sweeney-Burke on the journey from unknown to Apprentice finalist and beyond.

Joanne will talk about her journey into business having set up in October 2008 as the country went into recession, then going into the Apprentice in October 2011 and life since then with the setting up of my second business. She fit in a new baby,  a sick husband, an election campaign, a TV series, a Diploma in Digital Marketing and setting up a new business all in 5 years.

 Jason O’ Reilly – Pride Watches – Star of Dragons Den

jason and me posing

See Jason on Dragons Den here 

Jason will share with us what happened after his tearful appearance on Dragons Den and give us his no nonsense insight into his journey since that day!

We will also have lots of irishbizparty members showcasing what they do at the conference so bring along  a few quid if you have it in case you see something you like!

Sponsored by The Green Isle hotel. 

Special Thanks to all our speakers and to Ray Wilkins from Total Giftz for all his help!

BOOK YOUR TICKET  here

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Winners of the @Boibusiness Twitter ads!

We at #irishbizparty are delighted to be giving away FREE Twitter ads in association with @BOIBusiness. We have a list of winners here from last night’s #irishbizparty. Join in next week to be in with a chance to win!

Our 100 euros worth of Twitter ads winner was @Studiolugh 

8 x 50 euros worth of FREE Twitter ads are:

@Dolledupie

@Emmassoycandles

@Hellogoosemoose

@sewingconcepts

@Thefruitpeople

@thequotefish

@Trainability

@MHDesignsltd

Congrats folks, and do give them a follow if you aren’t following already!  Special Thanks to @BOIBusiness also. See you next week 9-11pm on #irishbizparty

 

 

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I still want to be the Bionic Woman!

I still want to be the Bionic Woman

When I was young I had an idol..She was beautiful, intelligent, strong and could fight her way out of any situation. She never gave up and was very very determined. She was Jamie Sommers, the Bionic Woman (or Lyndsey Wagner) to you and I in the real world.

But let’s think about it shall we? Besides the fact that she had a bionic arm and ear with supersonic hearing (I loved that she could overhear conversations…how interesting would THAT be)?

She was a teacher before she had the fall from the sky that eventually led to her becoming bionic.  I just want to emphasise here that there is no way I would ever fall voluntarily out of a plane!  Bad enough trying to get me on one.

So…..I wonder could I still become Jamie Sommers?
bionic woman
I like to educate and pass on knowledge to others. I do speak in front of a class of people teaching Twitter workshops! So am now a Teacher!

I am strong and intelligent….(er…except when it comes to maths).
I am determined and I never give up!
I have a dog called…..er….Candy…OK… it isn’t an Alsatian called Max but am almost there!!

So….who was your childhood idol then? Tell me about it.  Go for your dream, reach for the skies. be your childhood idol.  You can do it!

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The ‘Other’ interview

The other interview

The other interview

THE OTHER INTERVIEW

You have an important interview or meeting, you arrive at your destination ready to impress. But are you ready to impress from the second you arrive or do you just wait until you get in front of your prospective client or boss? It might be a good idea to keep in mind that the receptionist is very close to the management and can chat about lots of things both negative and positive. The way you treat him or her could help you on your way to your success.

Receptionists are the “eyes and ears” of a company. They handle important information and phone calls, work closely, and form professional relationships with upper management. This relationship between receptionists and upper management proves to be an invaluable link to applicants. Generally, after the interview, management will ask the front office staff what you did while you were waiting. Make sure the only things anyone can say about you are good things!

Don’t

  • Chat up the receptionist
  • Start digging for information re other applicants or salaries etc
  • Chat on your phone about personal problems while you are waiting
  • Ask questions about the boss

FOR THE RECEPTIONIST THERE ARE RULES TOO

  • Don’t start talking about other applicants
  • Don’t bitch about the company, phone calls or callers that have been difficult

What’s important is who are when you think no one is watching. To ensure positive feedback from the front office staff, keep the mentality that the moment you get out of your vehicle you should behave as if you are being monitored… because you probably are!

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