My Business Story- Warts And All

Before we start, I will warn you that this is a long post. It’s about my journey and struggles as a woman in business, juggling all the tasks that come as part and parcel of being a business owner and how I eventually spent less time working in my business and more time on me and my business. This post was first published in Summer 2016, I have since updated it to where I now am.

Start of my journey

I think I always knew that I wanted to work for myself. From a young age, I loved money and what it could buy me and I loved working. My mum would pay us 20p to do little jobs to help around the house and I was always more than willing to help out. By the time I was 12, I had my first real job on Sunday lunchtime at an aunt’s pub, washing dishes in the kitchen. I loved the satisfaction that I got from earning my own wage. I’m very ambitious and have always wanted more, so it came as no surprise when after my A levels at school, I felt there wasn’t a university course that particularly appealed to me.

My First Business

I left school and got my first job. Having a steady wage was great, I bought a car and life was going well. I worked for around 8 months when my Mum & Dad came home one day and asked if I’d be interested in buying a local business- a sandwich bar. I didn’t need to be asked twice and jumped at the opportunity. My dad- who had been self-employed for much of my childhood, along with my mum ran a little shop around the corner from the sandwich bar at the time and I was hugely excited about having my own business. I jumped in with 2 feet and absolutely loved it. I wasn’t so keen on being a manager though- I only had a few girls help out, but found it difficult, having been in school less than a year previous- to managing staff. The first time I had to let someone go- I was terrified! Talk about stepping outside your comfort zone.

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Growing

I introduced a few new ideas to the sandwich bar. I started a catering business for children’s parties on the side- they were awful to tell you the truth! I also started a morning delivery round, around the local business parks- delivering to all the men at the factories- I often think back at what a bolshie 19-year old I was! I didn’t care and had little fear, I had a fantastic attitude.  After a couple of years running this business, I felt it wasn’t enough and the option came up to sub-lease a second shop in the city centre- which again- I just went for. This was a tough time. Trying to do everything myself, as I hugely struggled with delegation and tried to do it all myself, burning myself out in the process. I’d get to the shop early, make loads of baguettes up, go out and do the first load of deliveries to all the factories, then come back to the first shop (which a staff member would have opened), then down to the 2nd shop, make more baguettes and sandwiches up and walk around to some banks and other shops in the city centre delivering there too. I’d then go back to the first shop and do the lunch rush there, go down to the 2nd shop do lunch rush there, then lock them both up and clean at the end of the day- so I was pretty exhausted when the day came to an end! At the end of the 3-month period, the 2nd shop wasn’t financially viable with the high city rates, so, with a heavy heart, I decided not to take it on permanently.

Time to move on?

After 3 years of running this business, the itchy feet were starting to kick in. Around this same time, I went on holiday for a week and left the running of the shop with the staff. I really looked after my staff- they always had free food, wages early if they needed helping out etc., but the lady that had been with me the longest and who I trusted, really let me down. I arrived home from my holiday and went straight to the shop- I told the lady who was working to go home and I’d cash up. She acted really strange and told me to that she’d do it. I had a gut feeling that something just wasn’t right, but pushed it away. I went home with the takings for the day and things just didn’t add up- that gut feeling was back and deep down I knew that my employee had been stealing from the till. The next day, I left her at the shop and went on my deliveries. When I did a till reading after deliveries- my suspicions were confirmed – that she had been taking cash from the till. I was absolutely devastated. Well actually I was evil angry to start with- after what I had done for her, she had the disrespect to steal from me. It really did break my heart and from that day, I lost my mojo for the business. I decided I wanted more so decided that I’d go back into employment. I sold the sandwich bar-, which made me really proud that I had sold it and made a profit. It was sold for more than I’d paid for it, so after paying my mum & dad back what I owed them, I went and bought a new car- with a big down payment- a convertible Peugeot 206cc- and I loved it!

A guesthouse

Employment lasted a few years, from retail to sales, but as time went on my yearning to work for myself again was there. During my time in sales, I met my now husband and on our first holiday together, we discussed how we’d love to start another business- he too had run various businesses before we got together. At the end of 2 weeks in the Portuguese sun, we had decided on a guesthouse. We figured it was a fantastic lifestyle choice for when we had children (my husband already had 3 children too), so as soon as we got back from holiday the search was on. We spent all spare minutes researching guesthouses in the area and viewing houses and businesses. We viewed a house that wasn’t a guesthouse at the time but put in a cheeky offer and it was accepted! God only knows how we got that deposit together, but we managed to do it and on the day we got the keys we walked into this huge house and thought what the hell have we just done! It needed so much work to get it to a stage of being ready for guests. We had to build and install 3 en-suites for a start! By now, I was also 4 months pregnant, so we were both working, I was pregnant, had a whole house renovation and a business to build from scratch. We had ceilings falling down, nails in water pipes- the lot, but after my husband and dad took 3 months off work to get stuck in, we started to see the progress and the guesthouse was ready. Our very first booking- 3 months after buying the property was a booking for all 3 of our guest rooms for the weekend. It was so scary and nerve-wracking- wanting to get it all right- but we did it! We saw loads of guests come and go in the space of the 5 years we owned it, but with 2 babies arriving during that time- so 5 in total when all the children were with us- it was manic. We lived in one-half of the property and the stress was awful at times, with screaming babies and young kids arguing. The idyllic thoughts we had of running a guesthouse alongside our growing family, was a far cry from idyllic!

We had so many learns along the way and juggling a life, as a business owner with children was just the start. I was so glad to sell after 5 years, but no matter what, we had achieved what we set out to do- which was to be able to bring the children up, whilst bringing in an income, without me having to go back to employment!

Side businesses

Alongside the guesthouse, I set up various online businesses selling SD cards, jewellery, cosmetics, self-tan, and some funky LED clocks I started importing 100’s of from China. Crazy times to say the least! One Christmas I literally sold around 500 of these clocks that I had tracked constantly from China, packed them all myself with the kids and turned up at the post office with bags full every day. I think this is where I really started my love affair with the internet.

Getting online

When we had sold the guesthouse, I had a couple of months to start a new business. I knew I wouldn’t go back into employment and knew I wanted to do something from home, around the kids. So after much thought, I decided that I loved Shabby Chic & Vintage gifts & homeware, that’s what I’d do. I called the business ihearthomes. I literally started posting on Facebook a few times a day with my £500 worth of stock that I’d bought from a wholesaler that I’d found and asking people if they were interested. I’d get people ask for a PayPal invoice and for months that’s how I’d sell. The FB page grew in popularity and I also set up a website myself, and after Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Youtube. The first Christmas in business I came across some hessian sacks that were being sold by a wholesaler called East Of India, I loved them and ordered around 50. They went crazy and sold out within a few days. I knew I was onto something and between eBay, Facebook, but mainly Amazon, I went on to sell a couple of 1000 that Christmas. My home – that was only small had boxes of hessian Christmas sacks in every room and the mess would get everywhere! The business was growing!

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Moving

As it was growing so fast we decided to move to a larger house, where I had a large office and stock room, and later another stock room too. I had stacking shelves all around and a packing bench where I packed and sent all the parcels out. Christmas was crazy- I remember one day when I had staff helping me packing a total of 126 parcels in one day- it was mental and I loved every minute of it. I worked crazy hours, as most entrepreneurs do and worked my socks off trying to make this business be as successful as I could. I tried selling handbags and purses, which at first were really popular. I sold a fair few 100, but that seemed to dry up.  At another stage, I tried selling vintage dresses by Lindy Bop and others. Again another really hard time, so many sales- that was great, but as we are all different shapes and sizes, you’d also get lots of returns-, which was not so great. So after a few months, I knocked those on the head too!

Huge growth

After a year or so at this house, I was massively outgrowing the office and stock room so decided to bite the bullet and lease a small unit. I’d hit the VAT threshold sometime before and had so much stock, that my house was once again being taken over. Talk about a hard move- I had so much stuff crammed into my house and when we moved it all into the unit- it was quickly apparent that it was virtually full straight away too!

I remember coming up with a concept for a subscription box (which at the time were relatively new in the UK) of gifts. I couldn’t see anyone else doing it at the time and thought I have to do this. It was the first of the month in 2 days time and I worked tirelessly to get it launched in 2 days time. It was a huge success and my aim in month 1 was to sell 50 – I sold 66 boxes and I was so chuffed and proud of my achievement. This continued to grow but my real aim was 1000 boxes-, which I never quite reached, unfortunately.

Busy Busy

After a few months at the unit, It was so full, I needed more room desperately, so moved to a unit double the size and a bit more, around the corner. The business, by this time, had grown quite considerably and was taking up a lot of my time. I worked lots of house and literally ate, breathed and slept ihearthomes. At the same time, I  realised that social media was a huge part of my business and went to university for the first time to study a Foundation Degree in Social Media- gaining a merit. Very annoyed that I didn’t get a distinction!

Social media

My social media really was the main source of traffic for my business and I spent a small fortune on FB ads, as they really worked for me and brought me more business and traffic. Alongside FB, I started IG, YouTube videos each month, Pinterest and Twitter.

For, me, as the FB algorithm started changing, IG became a bigger source of traffic and sales and many of my customers found me through there. I really loved social media! I’m still hugely passionate about it and what it can do for your business. At the end of my time with ihearthomes I had over 144k FB ‘likes’, 21.5k IG followers, then a fair number on the others too!

Highs of 2015

My highlights were in 2015, I had moved to the larger unit, I had won a business award- Business Boost award at the Mumpreneur awards, which was amazing and made me feel so proud of my achievements. I also went to China, with my husband on a business trip. We went to Canton Fair, a huge fair that has 1000’s of wholesalers attend for you to see what you’d like to buy. I set up a presence in China and had ‘Chinese offices’ so the company that we paid to work with us, could speak directly to the wholesalers we had met at the fair and get some quotes from them, with the aim of importing directly from China. All very exciting and was a trip of a lifetime.

Business growth

As the business was growing, looking back, I probably wasn’t. Still a huge control freak, I struggled to let anyone in. It was my baby; my business and I wanted to do it all. Deep down, I knew that in order to grow, I needed help but I found it so hard to hand over. I had one lovely girl that had been working for me for some time since I was at the house, who I trusted completely, she was fab and was a joy to have around. She was more than happy to get on and loved her job packing all the parcels to post out to customers.

I had a few other part-time staff members at this time, none of which worked out. Again, I wasn’t a fan of managing staff! But for me, it took a long time to realise that in order to grow I had to have help and start to outsource.

Losing my ‘mojo’

On the surface, the business was going great guns, and I can’t tell you what changed, but something did and I lost my ‘mojo’. The business had had a few quieter months than usual and that affected my mood. I became quite withdrawn and anxious. Looking back, I can see that it was probably me that had some blocks and mindset issues first, then the business was affected. I had some things that really affected me – again as much as I like to think I’m strong, which I am, I’m also very emotional and things really hurt. I had a company that copied my every move. As much as I could try and put it off as a sign of flattery, it really upset me. The company at times literally copied every word of mine on Facebook posts, the website was very similar and low and behold, a few months after I launched my subscription box- happymail, they launched theirs, with some of the items the exact same items as mine. It felt like a blow to the stomach- all my ideas, my hard work and someone could just come along and replicate like for like was soul destroying. I had to seek legal help at one point and he told me he had never seen such a blatant case of copying in all his years as a copyright and intellectual property solicitor. I’m not going to harp on about that, but it did really get me down. I know it was my issue to overcome and to some extent, it drove me onwards and motivated me, but at times when my mindset wasn’t as strong, it felt like a constant battle to overcome.

Selling my ‘baby’

In Spring 2016, I was feeling completely miserable and was no longer enjoying the business. Luckily, I have a supportive husband and after a few heart to hearts, we decided it was time I sold the business. I listed the business and within a couple of weeks I had had over 36 enquiries. I’m naturally a very positive person, but at the time was struggling with my value and self-worth a little and this was a lovely feeling, that this amount of people were interested in the business that I had started from scratch!

The 1st people that viewed loved it – and later told me they were about to offer, however the 2nd person to view loved it too and the next day made an offer, that I accepted. On one proviso, not being the type of person with much patience, I wanted the sale to be completed within a month, in time for the start of the summer holidays so I could have the summer off with my children.

Luckily, the lady that was buying it was lovely and we got on like a house on fire. She came and spent time with me and we completed the sale at the end of July. It was a scary time that I felt hugely out of my comfort zone but also a time that I could look at something that I started as successful. I had started this business from scratch and sold it 4 years later.

Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like a success, I felt like a failure in some ways that I had stopped loving the business, and it took many months to get past these blocks in myself.

Starting a new business

Before I sold, I had decided that it would be amazing to continue working within social media as that was and still is where my passion lies. I also have another passion, I love helping people too. I always have done throughout all my jobs and businesses- customer service was also hugely important to me and I loved nothing better than having a happy customer. I had realised late in my business that I couldn’t do it all. I was always trying to juggle work and home life and often felt guilty for my children, guilty that I wasn’t spending enough time with them, guilty if I wasn’t working, it was a constant battle. As most mums will know!

I decided I’d like to be able to help all these other women that were like me. The ones that knew what they needed doing and realised that they needed some help, but who didn’t want full-time staff. I started building a website myself and setting up a business in the background but didn’t realise at the time, that this role existed as a Virtual Assistant. I could offer a helping hand to all these people that like me, that needed some help and I had the skills and the experience from all the businesses I had run and sold to help them. I set up as a VA and then decided that rather than a typical VA, I’d specialise in the online business side of things. I like to help entrepreneurs improve their online presence through social media & associated tasks, which saves them stress and time.

Learns

After ihearthomes had sold, I took most of the summer off to be with my children and really started knuckling down to build this business in October of 2016.

It has been a time of many learns and opportunities and I’m constantly learning every day and more importantly growing myself. I have spent a lot of time on my mindset and myself and I still get really wobbly days now. I realised that selling ihearthomes affected me more than I realised at the time and it took me a long while to move on from it. I didn’t miss it, but I missed having a structure to know what I was doing each day, and I definitely missed the constant income!

Deciding on more of a niche

In January 2017, I realised that my passion lies with working with women specifically. Women who were just like me, trying to juggle all the tasks they have to do to not just keep a business going but to grow a business. Work on the business, not just in the business, as so many entrepreneurs do. Since I have made the decision to work with women, I have started to attract more women through enquiries. I changed my website to suit me and the clients I’d like to attract- it’s much more feminine (as you’ll notice). I also decided that I don’t want to be anything other than me. I want my clients to like me for me and work with me for me- nothing else. I’m not the type of person that gels well with many ‘corporate types’ because I am what I am. I’m positive, full of energy, talk too fast, not particularly well spoken, but I do have the experience of running various businesses and have learned so much along the way. Skills that I am happy to share with other female entrepreneurs in their pursuit to grow their businesses.

Where I’m at

Apologies for the ultra long story and thank you if you have managed to stick with it until the end!

I like to work 1:1 with just a few VIP female clients that can have more of my time, attention and brain! I love brainstorming with clients about ideas they may have to grow their businesses. And I love being on that journey with them, by their side. I’m continuing to grow my new business too and I’ll always be considering adding new ideas. If you are a kick-ass female entrepreneur who knows they need help if they are to grow their business, that also realises that in order to grow, you need your team to understand the juggles and the pressures being a business owner have, get in touch. I’m not looking to work with clients that are playing at this and who want 5 hours of my time, I’m looking for amazing like-minded ladies that know what they want and are ready to go after it, with me helping the process. I can’t guarantee you’ll be completely stress-free, but I can guarantee that you’ll feel less guilty about things, as we’ll be achieving more together, you’ll have more time as I’ll be dealing with so much more for you and you’ll be free to do what you do best. That may be going and finding extra clients for you that may be spending more time with your family or more time for you, all of which are equally important. I want ladies that value their time and know their worth. Being in business is a roller coaster- ups and downs, but isn’t it so much more fun, when someone is sat by your side!

6 Months later (Early 2018)

Since originally writing this story on my blog, I have been featured as a co-author in Mumpreneur On Fire, which became an Amazon No.1 Bestseller within 24hrs.

I have also been featured twice on Thrive Global as a contributor.

I am now offering business mentoring to women starting out in business, or who are ready to take the next step to up their game and learn the skills they need to succeed as well as have the help & support they require.

If you’d like to see how I can help you, take a look at my mentor page

Business Mentor Packages

 

 

Female Entrepreneur- Video Series With Angèle Cristina

Hey ladies, this week I chat to the fantastic Angèle. Watch the video to listen in to us talking about her journey and how she found her ‘happy’.  Angèle was so fun to talk to. She is a huge fan of Facebook Live and spoke about how she uses it to speak to her audience.
Watch this space for a future collaboration with Angèle sharing some FB live tips with us.
My name is Angèle and I’m an Online Visibility Strategist, Transformational coach and Motivator. I make women realise that the true power lies within each and every one of us and that the time to hide is over.
What does that mean?
When the online visibility strategies, intuition and superpowers are in alignment one can create magic and achieve greatness to grow their businesses, make the money they deserve and have more time with their loved ones.
Find Angèle via the links below:
katie colella social, katie colella, female entrepreneur, inspirational., video series, angele crsitina, coach, mentor

My Top 11 Business Tools That I Use Daily

 

We all have our favourite tools that we use daily in our business, so I thought I’d list my current most used tools for you.

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  1. Canva

I love Canva.. To the extent that I don’t know how I managed before it. This is constantly open on my desktop and I use it, without fail every day.

I use it for myself and for my client work. I create simple but gorgeous graphics for use on my website, on my social media, any presentations I need to put together and any freebies that I need to create. The selection of free or low-cost images is fantastic.

Top Tip- set up the branding options for yourself and any other brands that you manage to make it much easier. All the colours, fonts and logos will then be stored for you.

Watch my Canva video- how to make simple yet stunning graphics >>>

 

  1.  Asana

I put off using management systems for quite a while. For no real reason. Then it was the Trello Vs Asana debate. Now, I use both with various clients and I still don’t have a huge preference over the other. However, I’m currently using Asana more to keep in contact with clients. It’s a great tool when you are working as part of a team on a project, so you can all see what has been done or is yet to be done. I find it helps in mapping out your goals and plans, so you can see them at a glance and break them down into more manageable chunks.

 

  1.  Leadpages

Again, for a long while, I put off using Leadpages as I thought it was unnecessary. However, now I have it, I use it all the time. I’m certainly going to get my money’s worth, so I’m always thinking of new ways to set up landing pages and making them look pretty. I also have access to a few client’s leadpages accounts and enjoy creating amazing landing pages for them. Leadpages is easy to use and offers a great selection of templates to get you started.

 

  1.  WordSwag

I adore wordswag. This is actually an app on my phone, but it’s so handy. If you love Instagram, then this is a fantastic app for you to use. If you are a fan of the odd inspirational quote or text on an image, then this really is perfect for creating a graphic in a matter of minutes. If you are ever at a situation where you don’t have your social media posts scheduled and want to create something quick- this is the one. Great backgrounds, colours and fonts, with an amazing selection of quotes to get you started if you aren’t up to thinking of one yourself.

 

  1.  Dropbox

Dropbox has been around a long time but still one of my favourites. I’ve upgraded to the business version so I have extra storage and ask clients to share all large file with me here. This saves me using space on my desktop. I also use it to store all my stock photos, fonts etc.

Katie colella social, va, virtual assistant, social media, female entrepreneur, business tools

 

  1.  Buffer

I have over the years used Hootsuite, Post Planner and Buffer, but for now Buffer is winning for me. I use this to schedule my own social media and client’s social media, so I don’t have to wing it on the go! I also use Later for client’s IG accounts.

 

  1.  Paypal

I use Paypal for client payments and for receiving payments for all digital guides etc that I sell.

I’ve been using Paypal for years with previous businesses, so it’s a tool that I trust.

I find it easy to add payment buttons or links to websites and landing pages and when I want to withdraw the money, it’s usually in my bank immediately.

 

  1. Mailchimp

MailChimp, for me is a great easy to use email marketing tool. I’m a fan of sales funnels, and this integrates with leadpages making it easy to feed any sign ups into my lists so I can send out automated email sequences, save me having to remember to email any new sign-ups manually.

 

  1.  Wave

Wave is a free accounting software. I’m pretty sure, I don’t use nearly enough of it’s tools, but I couldn’t be without it. I use this to send branded, professional looking invoices to clients, set up automated reminders, send receipts once paid and keep on top of all my incomings and outgoings. If used correctly, this will also make your accounting much easier!

 

  1. WordPress

I built my WordPress site from scratch, so what I know is self – taught. WordPress is a little marmite- people tend to love or hate it. Personally, I find it really easy to use, I love how many plugins are available and how good you can make a site look.

 

  1. Hello sign

I haven’t long actually come across Hello Sign, as it was recommended to me not long ago. But it’s a clever tool- perfect for clients digitally signing your contracts- which I’ll be using from now on!

What’s your favourite business tool that you use daily?

How to make simple yet stunning graphics with Canva

This week is a video recording for you for Canva.

I’m sure lots of you are familiar with Canva already but for those who aren’t I’ve recorded a quick tutorial of the basics to get you started.

I must admit, I use Canva most days for myself and clients, so I am a huge fan. I often wondered what I did before Canva existed. You can create simple graphics, quickly and easily using various colours, logos, images and fonts. They offer 1000’s of free images and templates helping you get started.

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If you are looking for amazing quality images to use take a look at Creative Market, they also offer 6 freebies each week on a Monday. These can be images, templates, fonts etc.

I also have a short video showing you how to create a simple logo with transparent background in Canva

If you have any questions, let me know! I hope you find it helpful.

katie colella social, katie colella, social media, canva, creating graphics, making graphics, designing graphics, creating social media graphics

 

Rebecca Lockwood’s interview with Laura Bartlett

This weeks post is a video interview with the wonderful Rebecca Lockwood interviewing Laura Bartlett.

Laura Bartlett appeared in front of millions of viewers on Dragon’s Den just a few years ago and was told that her business – a travel/fashion magazine was IMPOSSIBLE!

House of Coco which is now available to buy in Harrods, Selfridges and other high-end stockists has taken her all over the world. 

She has recently released a travel vlog which follows her across the globe inspiring entrepreneurs and giving you a sneak peak into what Laura’s life looks like behind the scenes.

 

In our interview we talk about her journey, how she created the success she now has through determination, ‘just asking’ and creating contacts in the right places.

About Rebecca.

Rebecca is a success coach and founder of The Success Tribe. A membership for female entrepreneurs that includes training, workshops, group coaching and lots more.

Take a look here 

rebecca lockwood, katie colella social, va, virtual assistant

 

Amusement Park Entrepreneurship

This week’s blog post is written by the wonderful Melissa Fragomeni.

Are we crazy for chasing our dreams? I mean, what were we thinking when we started our own business? Who in their right mind would subject themselves to discomfort, bizarre mental games, and a plethora of unknowns more than once per day?

katie colella social, social media, va, virtual assistant, online business manager, entrepreneurship, entrepreneur

 

You are constantly asking yourself, at least multiple times daily, without fail: Is entrepreneurship at all for me? Am I even qualified? All the scary investments and draining bank account horror stories, not to mention the no-end-in-sight view when it comes to decisions that you need to make and haunting criticisms coming from unexpected sources, can make you really think twice about the leap you really want to take.

 

Imagine entrepreneurship as a real-life amusement park. It will be filled with thrilling rides and terrifying ones that leave you feeling nauseous. It can be unpredictable most of the time, no matter how much mental preparation you have done. Or it can be tame and easy for a short amount of time before you are back on your toes, alert and ready for action.

 

I have to be honest with you. There will be rides we sometimes don’t want to take. And that is fine. We will often be pushed out of our comfort zones. But there will be moments when the rides are just not for us. Not because we are afraid, but because we know it is not the right fit for us where we are right now.

 

There will be temptations, those sweet cotton candies and aromatic buttery foods. In the early stages, chasing the shiny objects and doing all the things will burn you out and create heaps of accumulated doubts, fears, and frustration. But, pretty soon, you learn to discern when to say no, and when to get a taste of something. But you never go overboard because you know it will do you more harm than good. You have learned to be smart and know your limits.

katie colella social, social media, va, virtual assistant, online business manager, entrepreneurship, entrepreneur

 

Just like amusement park themes, entrepreneurship has its seasons of flow, of ups and downs, of growth, of focus. Depending on what you desire for each season, your business will reflect that. Sometimes you need growth so there is a season of making more connections than usual and penciled-in podcast opportunities. Other seasons you need to let go and focus on your zone of genius, so in order to do that you seek support through VAs and team members. The year-round rides that never close represent moral and loving support you always need, such as family, friends, business besties, and perhaps, coaches. Hold on tight to those.

 

At the end of the day, it has been a fun ride. But is it worth it all? If you have read this all the way through and felt more excited than nauseous, I’d say are in it for the long haul. Successful business owners have shared the same challenges and come out on top. Sure, it requires a whole lot of faith and some confidence. Even one tiny drop of each is enough, especially because you will eventually learn and grow every step of the way, and you will build up all the good qualities you need to succeed, too. There is no doubt in my mind about that, no matter how silly or unqualified or unprepared you feel. Because truth is, we are all three when we start.

 

So, yes, to answer the most asked question, entrepreneurship is pretty much worth the roller coaster adventure. Our dreams are worth it. So strap yourself in and let the journey unfold.

 

 

Confidence and Empowerment Coach

 

Website: Melissamaria.com (undergoing updates)

FB group: http://bit.ly/WholisticQueenTribe

Instagram: @melissamariacoaching

This is how you can save time and stress in your business

I’ve sat down a few times to write this post but never seem to get past a few lines; it is something I really wanted to share with you all though so I kept at it. Ladies, I know how it feels to be struggling to juggle your business with your personal life and I have found the solution.

In the past, I had tried to do it all but over the past 15 years as an entrepreneur, I have developed strategies that I am ready to share with you today. I realised where exhausted business owners were going wrong, they weren’t spending enough time ON their business and were instead stuck IN it. As a result of applying these strategies myself, my business has been super charged and I’ve become a more balanced person, I feel the happiest I’ve ever been.

If you haven’t got the time to read the entire blog post (I know you ladies are busy), you can get your hands on my free guide today and learn right now how to spend more time ON your business, creating a more balanced and profitable life- click below.

katie colella social, social media, virtual assistant, va

I had always wanted to work for myself. I’m very ambitious and wanted more than an ‘average’ life. It came as no surprise to my family that at 18 I bought a sandwich bar. I was barely an adult and yet I was already a business owner.

Owning your own business is liberating but parts of the journey are tough. I tried to do everything myself, I didn’t want to let go of control and I was afraid to delegate in case other people got it all wrong but I was burning myself out.

I remember wishing that there was a better way and that I had more time. I lost loads of weight, I wasn’t eating properly, I was stressed, unfocused and bitterly unhappy. My business started to suffer and I felt a complete failure.  

A few years later my husband and I decided that we would start a guesthouse. We had an offer accepted and by now, I was also 4 months pregnant. Life went from busy to hopelessly hectic; we were both working, I was pregnant and we had a whole house renovation and a business to build from scratch. The idyllic dream we had of running a guesthouse alongside our growing family, became a nightmare.

This experience may have been hard but looking back it was a gift. I learnt so much along the way and juggling life as a business owner with children was just the beginning. Just like in my last business though, I longed to be able to do more of the things I loved to do in the business but I felt trapped by the mundane.

5 years later, it all became too much and we sold up and I moved into an online eCommerce business. I still had to work crazy hours as I was building my new business from scratch but I was determined to make a success out of it. Business was booming, so much so, I had to move to larger units three times in two years. The lessons I had learnt in previous businesses were paying off but one thing I couldn’t let go of; control!  

I worked loads of hours and literally ate, breathed and slept my business. I struggled to let anyone in. It was my baby; my business and I wanted to do it all. Deep down, I knew that in order to grow, I needed help but I found it so hard to hand over.

I had slipped into the familiar routine of working too much IN my business, rather than ON my business, and trying to do it all myself! I was desperately trying to create to that work/life balance but failing miserably.

In the spring of 2016, I had an incredible epiphany when I realised what I was doing wrong; I had been so focused on doing everything in my business that I had forgotten to enjoy the bits I loved doing.

Being an entrepreneur is a unique experience and one that requires a significant amount of self-motivation. Wealth had always been main my motivator and although growth will always be important to me, I suddenly realised that I wasn’t giving myself or my business the real opportunity to expand because I had been constantly close to burn out. Yes, I may have made progress but without the ability to stay motivated, in the face of exhaustion, I had been setting myself up to fail.

I decided to sell the business. It was a scary when I felt hugely out of my comfort zone but also a huge opportunity for reflection after such a hectic 4 years. Once I got over the shock, I felt proud to consider how I had started this business from scratch and built it up to a multiple 6 figure business.

After 15 years as an entrepreneur I had learnt one very important lesson; taking care of myself was paramount to the success of my business and my well-being. If I could go back to my 18-year-old self I would tell her to take a breath but I can’t do that.

So instead, I am focused finally on doing what I love! I have built the entire of my new business around what gives me joy and if there is an aspect of running the business I don’t like I outsource it. Letting go of complete control has given me incredible freedom and enabled me to focus on what I love. This has allowed my business to actually grow and at an even faster rate than before.

After everything I have learnt I am now passionate about helping other women in business in that same position I used to be. I want to support those suffering from that same overwhelm that I remember so well. I want to help these women work ON their business instead of IN it.

This is where the growth is. This is where the happiness is.

katie colella social, social media, virtual assistant, va

 

A 25 hour day

I know, it’s the dream right?! When you are a fierce female entrepreneur there never seem to be
enough hours in the day, the amount of times in the past I have wished for just one more hour! I used to think that if I had this hour, everything would be OK, I would get everything done and the world would be at peace.
Of course, I was wrong. Time was never the problem.

Einstein said it himself, it is all relative. The problem wasn’t that I didn’t have enough time but that I wasn’t using it properly. Understanding this was the first step, then came the hardest part; finding the time or organise my time!
This pattern was going to repeat forever unless I took action and stopped using time as an excuse. The action I took when I set up my new business is outlined in my free guide and it is written with love, with you in mind, so you can put into practice today what took me years to learn.

katie colella social, social media, virtual assistant, va

 

The Secret to Doing It All

When you own your own business, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to do it all. This is especially difficult if you are also trying to take care of your family and your home at the same time. Trying to be all things to all people just leaves you with an unavoidable feeling of failure.
Trying to do it all myself was a mistake that forced me to rock bottom, on my way back up I
discovered the secret to doing it all was actually letting go of the constant need to control and micro-manage everything.
You will have areas of your life and business that you are amazing at and you love and in equal
measure, there will be things you don’t! Take this opportunity to reflect on what makes you feel alive and reminds you that you are contributing to the world, this what you should be focusing on and in my guide I will tell you what to do with the rest!

katie colella social, social media, virtual assistant, va

 

Find Balance Today

Women of the world seem to spend their entire life looking for this elusive ‘balance,’ but what does it actually mean? When my life was unbalanced I felt as if I was being pulled in different directions and never seemed to do fulfil any of my many roles properly. An unbalanced life is exhausting, physically and mentally and inevitably leads to burn out. To live a balanced life means that you feel in control, calm, grounded, inspired and motivated.
I know what it feels like to be unbalanced, I’ve been there and got the t-shirt but when I set up my new business I knew that to find balance in life you had to create it. I couldn’t leave it to chance or to anyone else. It had to be a conscious decision and involved the implementation of specific strategies, applied with consistency. To be in control I had to take control and you too can do this today.

 

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Want to get results in your business too?

As a result of finding my way in my business, I feel happier, more balanced and I’m enjoying time for me and with my family more than ever. I have more time and less stress- finally after all these years on my own business journey.
I want to help other women who are feeling stressed, overwhelmed and close to burnout. If you never have enough hours in your day and try to do it all, take a look at my free guide.

katie colella social, social media, virtual assistant, va

 

What could you do with an extra 10 hrs a week?

Possibly the most used phrases ever, 

“I don’t have time’,

‘ I’m too busy’

‘I didn’t get chance’

‘In a minute’

The list goes on, but let’s face it, most of us are rushed off our feet, trying to fit as much into our busy schedules as we can. We run businesses, manage our houses, look after children, constantly juggling a million and one things.

10 glorious hours a week

Have you ever stopped and thought what 10 hours a week would mean to you. 2 hours a day extra in your life. What would you do? What could you do? 40 glorious hours a month Mon-Fri for your business.

Would this free you up to contact more clients and receive more work?

Would this give you back the time that you so desperately crave? 

Would you spend it with your family? 

Would you use it to do that training course you’ve been putting off? 

There are so many ways that you could grow YOU and your business if you allowed yourself 10 extra hours a week.

Yes! I’d love an extra 10hours/week

Tell me how!

But, how would that work I hear you ask? I still have so many things I need to do, if I took 10 hours for the things I really want to do, then how would I fit it all in?

This is the reason I’ve introduced my VIP Package. It’s a package just for you, the lady who knows what they want and how they’d use those 10 extra hours a week. The lady that knows her worth and value and knows that in order to grow they need another pair of hands. This could be to do the tasks you don’t enjoy or the tasks that you aren’t great at, or it could be the tasks that simply take too long. I give you extra time and help take some of the stress away from you too.

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How can I help?

Would you love somebody to schedule all your social media for you? Or someone to help with your FB group? Someone to send regular emails to your clients or customers? Someone to reply to comments and messages on your social media channels, someone to upload those blog posts, someone to speak to your clients on your behalf. Whatever it is, that you’d like to not have to do, get in touch and let’s see if I can help.

 

The VIP package is for the lady who wants that little bit more- the 1:1 service, the instant messenger access and the knowledge that I’ll never work with more than 3 VIP clients at any time.

I need to be a VIP client!

Do you have a top service, package or product? Would you love to be able to sell more of those? How many extra sales do you think you could make with an extra 2 hours a day? 

 

I have the experience of having owned numerous businesses, so I understand the pressures that are on us, especially those we put on ourselves!

katie colella social, va, virtual assistant, social media assistant

If you value YOUR WORTH and would love to have me there to help you and your business grow, get in touch now and we’ll arrange a Skype or Zoom chat to see how I can help you!

I want to be a VIP!

Instagram Update- Face Filters

Instagram continue their snapchat onslaught with the addition of face filters

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Over the past few months, we have seen loads of new features being added to Instagram, many of which have a certain similarity to Snapchat.

Many people had predicted this latest addition, and yesterday it came- IG launched face filters to IG stories- very like those we love on Snapchat.

 

You can currently choose from eight live filters with the same features that Snapchat offer- such as twitching ears and noses. Here are the list of the current filters

  • Golden crown
  • Koala bear
  • Nerd
  • Bunny
  • Pink butterfly crown
  • Ice Queen
  • Diva
  • The ‘magic touch’ filter that makes you look like a better you!

Please note these are my opinion on the names of the filters- not official names

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How can I access these IG Story face filters?

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Go to your story by clicking the camera icon in the top right hand corner of the home page

There is now a new face icon In the bottom right hand corner- click on that

This will bring up the selection of filters for you to choose from.

You can then add geo-location tags and write anything you like on the photo too.

You have the choice to save the photo- send to friends or add to your story.

They also work with the Boomerang video clips

They work on both back and forward facing cameras.

So far, I’d say they seem like a simlar version of the Snapchat filters- they don’t distort your face as much as some of the Snapchat- but these are the first few, so who knows what future launches will bring. IG have said they’d like these filters to be less wacky so they appear to a wider audience and not just the teenage group.

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You’re going to have to excuse the wet hair on these pics- I got drenched on the school run (oh, the glamour!).

 

IG Rewind Mode

This new update also released the new rewind feature. This basically allows you to create clips, which you can then play backwards as a special effect.

There is a new hashtag sticker feature – much like the location stickers, allowing your viewers to click and go to all related content for that #. They can be added as text. 

 

IG Eraser Feature

Another part of this update is the eraser feature allowing you to erase anything you may have drawn. A great way to use this is to cover your image with one block colour and erase parts of it with the eraser to reveal the picture below.

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  • Take a photo
  • Choose a colour
  • Hold your finger on the photo to make the whole screen your selected colour
  • Then use the eraser feature to erase parts of the colour as shown

The features are currently available in IG 10.21 for both Android and iOS.

 

Are you a Snapchat user? Will this current update stop you from using Snapchat? Personally, I only ever used SnapChat for the filters and I’m a bigger fan of Instagram overall, so I think my use of Snapchat will decrease and I can see a lot of people doing the same thing. Insta will only continue to add to their filters and improve on them.