It had always been a dream of mine to start my own business and I finally got the opportunity to do so back in 2011. That’s when I founded my VA business and started the most exciting and rewarding stage of my life so far.
Furthermore, starting my own micro business (one that has 0-9 employees) enabled me to fulfil another dream and move to rural France. My business allowed me to work from literally anywhere in the world and, therefore, enabled me to operate from France.
Now, when I look back at the past six years, I realise how lucky I am to be living in a place I love and enjoying the best work/life balance I’ve achieved to-date.
But it hasn’t always been plain sailing and I’ve had to work extremely hard to build my profile and establish a professional network of clients, partners and supporters.
You see, the problem that many micros businesses, like mine, have is that they lack the huge marketing budgets of some of the bigger players in the market. This is why having a supportive professional network is so vital.
For this reason, I grab with both hands any opportunity I get to help out other micro businesses and that’s why I’ll be happily supporting Micro Biz Matters Day on January 12, 2018.
Micro Biz Matters Day is the brainchild of Tina Boden and Tony Robinson OBE, who founded Enterprise Rockers back in 2012. The idea is that on January 12 people will spend 12 minutes of their day (roughly the time it takes to have a short coffee break) to help promote micro businesses.
Even if you don’t run a micro business yourself, you’ll undoubtedly have clients or people in your own professional network who may have certain requirements; requirements that could be satisfied by a micro business.
By promoting these micro businesses on your various social media channels, you’ll inevitably boost their profile and perhaps even get them seen by decision-makers from other companies.
You can even get involved now by using the #MicroBizMattersDay hashtag to raise awareness of the upcoming event. Then, on January 12, if you’ve got 12 minutes to spare, why not consider helping even further by taking one or more of these suggested actions.
Just 12 minutes of your time could make a huge difference to micro businesses that have a huge amount to offer but maybe aren’t getting the full exposure they deserve.
Find out more about #MicroBizMattersDay by visiting the website or following the Twitter hashtag.
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My decision to move to rural France back in 2011 was not one that I took lightly. It involved a huge amount of courage, but was made infinitely easier by the support I received from friends and family. I’m now enjoying a much better work/life balance than I ever have before and a lot of stress has been removed from my life.
But (there’s always a “but”, right?), while working remotely from home obviously has many advantages and perks, there’s also a side to it that many people don’t see or perhaps don’t consider. And that’s that it can sometimes get rather lonely. Couple this with the uncertainty that often comes with running your own micro-business and you can find yourself in desperate need of someone to talk to/vent at/bounce ideas off of.
The bottom line is that it’s bloody hard work to cope with all the pressures of being self-employed. I’ve got to manage my time effectively; handle peaks and troughs in work (and, therefore, cashflow); and deal with a degree of isolation. This is in addition to knowing that I have foregone the basic employment rights that regular employees enjoy, such as sick pay, holiday pay and access to a workplace pension scheme.
So, with all this in mind, here are my top three tips for overcoming the loneliness and uncertainty that working remotely can bring:
Make the most of video calls
Don’t just hide behind your inbox and fire off emails all day long. Skype, Facebook’s own built-in chat and Blab all offer a way for you to see your colleagues and clients, as well as talking to them.
It might not seem that big a deal, but it makes such a difference when you can see the facial expressions of the person you’re talking with. It’s often the closest you’ll get to experiencing that being in an office feeling.
Take regular breaks
Regular breaks are needed throughout the working day to give your mind and body a rest. In modern office environments, conscientious employers insist their employees take regular breaks, but when you work from home there is tendency to neglect them.
Even if you just get away from your computer for a cup of tea or coffee in the mornings and afternoons, and treat yourself to a proper lunch break, it will make you feel a lot more relaxed.
Customise your environment
The beauty of working remotely/from home is that you have total control over your working environment. If you’ve got photos of things that make you smile, make sure they are nearby while you’re working. The same goes for other creature comforts that make you feel contented.
My two dogs never fail to put a smile on my face throughout the day. Although we don’t all always agree when I’m bouncing ideas off them. Funny that…
I was delighted to know & write about #MicroBizMattersDay last year, as a micro business (0-9 employees) owner myself I always jump at opportunities to help out other micro businesses. Now I can’t be more enthused to throw my support behind Tina and Tony’s #MicroBizMattersDay which will be back for 2016.
On January 8th, 2016 Tina Boden and Tony Robinson OBE, who founded Enterprise Rockers back in 2012, are asking everyone who supports micro businesses to give 8 minutes to promote them on your social networks in any way that you can.
#MicroBizMattersDay is an international initiative, a global campaign to help unleash the power of start-ups. On this day, we will take actions to show the world the massive contribution independent business owners and the self-employed make to the global economy, job creation and community. This combined power of micro-enterprise owners has been tagged the #PowerOfPlenty.
#MicroBizMattersDay of actions is mainly for these micro-enterprise owners, the #PowerOfPlenty. But on #MicroBizMattersDay everyone can get involved and do something, anything they like, during 8 minutes on January 8th, 2016, to support one or more micro biz owners.
Tony Robinson, who received his OBE for services to small firms in 2001, says: “These tiny drops in the ocean will create a tsunami of micro business improvement through the Power of Plenty – the power unleashed when many micro business owners take actions to help each other in a concerted way.” and so this January 8th will be all about taking 8 minutes of concrete actions to show the world this #PowerOfPlenty!
It’s already known that many hundreds of thousands, and possibly millions of micro business owners around the world, will give 8 minutes on January 8th. Last year’s first event was supported by Sage UK and Google for Work, and for 2016 a number of other large global organisations will promote and support the day for their self-employed and micro business owner customers.
The 2016 Micro Biz Matters Day takes place everywhere in the world in any way one chooses – online and offline – on the ground, in the air and on the sea. To begin supporting now, use the #MicroBizMattersDay hashtag to raise awareness of the upcoming event. Here’s a handy link with a suggested 8 minutes of actions based around the ideas #Customers, #Cashflow and #Chat.
Find out more about #MicroBizMattersDay, and join the global campaign to support start-ups and micro business by visiting the website or following the Twitter hashtag.