Working things out

Some of you will know how I’ve struggled these last few years. For all sorts of reasons. Family, business, bereavement, financial are the main headings I’d use for those reasons. Last year was a turning point, when I really sat down and worked out what was important to me, and my family. I sold the online shops I’d set up 10 years ago. As a family it also marked a year in our new house. It’s taken a long time to work things through. Sometimes, as much as we try, priorities have to be focused on, and best intentions get left behind. Just like my blogging. Despite loving writing, and having found it cathartic over my blogging life, the last couple of years have been tough. I’ve wanted to write, to share, and sometimes get support about issues I’ve been dealing with. However, some of the issues have been too sensitive. My eldest son has struggled, and been teased, about being the focus of my online writing. It’s never been my intention to embarrass him. Even since signing up to the 30 day blogging challenge with Sarah Arrow, in October, I’ve had all the best intentions. I thought that was just what I needed. It wasn’t. I just wasn’t ready for that level of writing commitment. I’ve had lots to work through. I’ve got my goals. I’m not without vision, skill, or talent, and I’m brimming with ideas. But I also know, and have learnt over the past 6 years, that some things just have to be put to one side. You have to be ready to move on....
A business is sold to support more women

A business is sold to support more women

Life moves on. You know this statement is true. I’ve talked about life, and death, a lot over the last few years, from my personal life. However, today is the start of a new life for me, and a lovely friend of mine, Emma Launchbury. I started bras4mums 10 years ago when I was sold a nursing bra that fitted one week, but not the next. It was as simple as that. bras4mums has grown over the years from a home bra fitting service in Lancashire to an online store, supporting pregnant and breastfeeding women throughout the UK, and across the world. I’ve personally supported hundreds of women at Baby Shows across the UK, as well as offered advice by phone, email, twitter and facebook. Today, bras4mums, and the sister website bras4all, which specialises in mastectomy bras, and soft cup bras, is handed over to Emma to develop. Emma has been a bra fitter for the past 3 years, whilst her children have grown from babies to toddlers and a new bump to baby. She’s ready for a new business challenge, and is excited about supporting more women through the websites and consumer shows. And me? I’m excited too! I’m going to concentrate on developing the Bra Lady Network again, to encourage more home bra fitters across the country. I’m also going to be doing more business support to small businesses, charities and not for profit organisations. I’ve learnt so much these last 10 years that it’s time for me to use these skills in a different way, and leave bras4mums and bras4all in the capable hands of a...
Guest post – Can the online community help?

Guest post – Can the online community help?

Today I’ve got a guest blog from Liz Weston, who I’ve known for a number of years as she’s evolved from being someone who knew that they wanted to start a business of their own, but wasn’t sure what to do, into running her own social media and PR agency and being a publisher for NHS Maternity Units.  I wrote a blog post documenting my journey to getting control of my website and re couping some of tens of thousands of pounds Bras4Mums has lost – some of which has now been recovered. Liz suggested in a comment on that blog post that I could take a fresh approach to promoting Bras4Mums and offered to write a guest post on it, so here it is…. I saw TJ’s post a few days ago and part of me felt guilty that I’d not been there more for her – physically and practically, particularly in the last 12 months when she’d been re evaluating the Bras4Mums business. I’m so pleased that the issues have now been resolved and that she’s still standing. My suggestion for her to make the most of 2013 and in particular, the start of it, is to “reach out” (to use a term that really annoys most people in PR and social media) and ask people for help, because she’s helped so many people over the last few years herself. The idea comes from the experience of Nick Sarillo who in September 2011, sent an email to his customers and anyone and everyone that he knew, to ask them for help. In short, if he didn’t get...
My nightmare is over – finally

My nightmare is over – finally

3 1/2 years ago I commissioned a new website for bras4mums. This was part of the business growth plan to move to a more sophisticated website for both customer shopping experience and for our own management of the business within the office. It was a big task, and an expensive one. With the help of my Dad, who wanted to help give my business a boost after I’d neglected it whilst travelling to visit my terminally ill Mum for 9 months, we got the project started. I felt very grown up working with a big web design and PR company to develop my new site. It was one of my biggest business mistakes and has caused the most stress and heartache of anything I’ve ever known, in work and in my personal life. I’m not going to tell the story blow by blow, as it’s not all relevant to you. Nevertheless, we can all learn from my mistakes and the roller coaster journey that has just come to an end over 3 years on. Headlines: July 2009: Brief written & agreed. Company chosen (One Marketing, was previously known as Made With & prior to that Go Create from Sale, Manchester), & contract entered into via email communication and face to face meetings. August 2009: One Marketing recommended using a Magento site & had previous experience in lingerie websites having done Gok Wan’s Simply Yours website. It seemed to do what I wanted it to, and as One Marketing had recommended it, and they were experts in this field, we went ahead. I agreed to get product details to One...

What is your No.1 priority?

I mean it – what is it? I’m not talking about that ‘to do’ list you have – 1 for home, 1 for work, plus the household tasks that need doing. What I’m talking about is what you drop everything for. What your energy needs to be focused on, or life doesn’t feel right. A lot has happened this year. In some ways, more than the past few years, which as you know have been tough. The last few months have been especially tough as I explained last time. But what it has done is made me totally focus my mind and efforts on to what is THE priority in my life. A few months ago, I may have said financial security. But is that really what I really crave? No. I’m a risk taker, and we’ll be OK, whatever happens. All the hours I’ve spent developing my business. The laughs, the tears and the stress have all been worthwhile. I still love what I do. I still believe in my business, and still want it to succeed. I’m not fed up with it. But it’s NOT my No.1 priority. When thinking about actually writing this down, I asked some questions of those I connect with. I totally agree with Susie from New Day New Lesson, when she said, “No one on their death bed has ever said they were sorry they didn’t work more. I also think that if you find the right line of work and are passionate about it , it is not work but rather a way of life.” But, when push comes to shove,...
Waiting is the most difficult thing

Waiting is the most difficult thing

Sometimes we have to wait for things to happen before we can move on in our lives. Usually it’s just one thing we’re waiting for, and we have to be patient. At the moment I’m waiting for quite a few things to fall into place & I’m finding it hard to motivate myself. I know, not like me is it? I’m always so positive and supportive of others. Well, lacking motivation happens to all of us. That’s life and we have to deal with it! We’re waiting to move house: We’ve accepted an offer on our house, but the wheels are just starting to turn. It’s been 10 years since we moved house, and that means we’ve got 10 years of rubbish to clear out! I’m waiting for a legal dispute to be settled: It started over 2 years ago now, and I’m now fed up of waiting and chasing. I know legal cases take time, but when you’re a small business, it has a massive impact on your work doesn’t it? I’m wanting to sell one of my businesses: I’m ready to move on to focus on the bra fitting side of the Bra Lady business. I’ve put bras4mums up for sale. A ready made business for someone looking for a niche online shop. Despite lots of interest, it’s still up for sale. I’m ready to put the past behind: My Mum died over 3 years ago, and my Dad changed into someone I don’t recognise about 3 years ago. I’ve struggled with losing the living person I love so much, as well as my poorly Mum. I’m...