The one with the Herculean Task

Here we are, another Friday, and the end of the first full week back in the office for 2017. I thought, after only doing three days last week I would really struggle, but to be honest, it’s flown by and so far has been a bit of a breeze. Yeah, I know, famous last words.

What have I been up to? Well, as ever it’s been pretty varied.

So far this week I have already completed and signed off four CV revamps, with one more to finalise today. I’ve also conducted one interview preparation consultation for a lovely young man who was looking for his first job in customer service. The interview is next week and I can’t wait to find out whether he’s got the job.

I have written a total of 18 blogs for clients, including three on Friday the 13th! I’ve also had an enquiry from a web designer who was interested in us offering a white label service for content, to ensure he has a monthly income from clients aside from web hosting charges. We had a long chat, bounced around some ideas and have come up with a perfect pricing structure. It’s a great local company and, to be honest, I am really looking forward to working with him and his team.

My biggest challenge

At the end of last week I had a call from a new contact who had been given my contact details by a business coach I’ve worked with previously. He has just upgraded his CRM system, and is concerned that a lot of information he holds for customers may be out of date, or incomplete. Over the next few weeks we will be working through an extensive database to ensure everything is in order.

The work isn’t hard, by any stretch of the imagination, but it is time consuming, and with a large number of contacts to work through it seems like a Herculean Task at the moment. As with any job there are certain things you prefer to do more than others, and I have to admit, data cleansing isn’t one of them for me. However, I do see the value of it and obviously have no problem with helping out. It’s just one of the more trudging-through tasks we see, though I know there will be a huge sense of achievement when we (finally) get to the end of the list!

My highlight

I was concerned after the high of last week (in case you missed it, meeting Janette Tough – aka Wee Jimmy Krankie – and John Barrowman) that I’d have nowhere to go this week. However, I needn’t have worried.

Tuesday saw a return to networking following the Christmas break, and by 7am I was back at The Red Hall Hotel with the rest of the members of Bury Business Group. It was great seeing everyone again after what felt like an age, and the room was full of positivity as people shared their goals and aspirations for the next 12 months.

When you are self-employed and work predominantly on your own it can get pretty lonely. I don’t necessarily mean from a human contact perspective (chance would be a fine thing in this house), but in the sense you have no one to talk to about running a business. I love networking because it gives you a chance to see what other people are doing, find out what works for them and doesn’t, see what opportunities are out there, learn from them, commiserate and celebrate with them and generally feel like you are a part of something.

 

I hope whatever you’ve been up to this week you’ve had a good one, and you have a great weekend!

The one where Lu ceases to be a lemon

One of my New Year’s Resolutions for Time Saving Heroes was to write more. I love blogging, and it’s something I do for a wide variety of my clients; however, if time is tight for any reason, it’s always my own content that suffers.

Which makes me sad on a personal level because I’m not making time for the things I want to do professionally; however, it also makes me look like a bit of a lemon. How can I stand there and encourage my clients to blog and “put things out there”, when I don’t even bother to do it myself 50% of the time?

2017 is therefore going to see a change, one you have hopefully already noticed. One blog I’ve been meaning to do (probably since the beginning of 2016, if I’m honest) is a weekly review. What does the week of a Time Saving Hero actually look like?

I thought this week was going to be quiet as people got their heads back in the game after potentially two weeks off. However, I was wrong. The majority of my clients have come back from their Christmas break well rested, recharged and ready to tackle the New Year with vigour. Which means I’ve had an interesting array of tasks filling up my to do lists.

Firstly, one client realised they have no process in place for ensuring good customer service. A customer makes a purchase online, their item arrives; that’s the end of it. To combat this I’ve spent the week looking at ways to improve the customer journey and help build a relationship between the business and the real live person at the other end of the transaction.

They now have email templates to thank them for their order, to confirm their item has been dispatched and a follow up email asking for feedback on both the quality of service, value for money and the product itself. In conjunction with a networking colleague we’re also setting up a bespoke CRM system to help them capture the information they want from their customers. This will include birth dates, so vouchers can be sent out offering discounts based on their previous purchasing decisions.

Other than that I have written a total of 25 blogs for clients (including one on how to protect yourself from a bear), scheduled a combined total of 89 Tweets and researched removal companies for a client who is moving house next month.

My biggest challenge

Mentally, I was entirely ready for 2017 to start. For the first time in five years I took the time between Christmas and New Year off. I joined the ranks of people who ate Quality Street for breakfast, had no idea what day it was (every day felt like Sunday) and started happy hour at 3pm. I loved every second of it. My soul felt completely topped up and when I officially went back to work on Tuesday, I was ready.

However, my desk was not.

Last year I made the decision to move my office back home (primarily because the exhaustion of a fifth pregnancy meant I occasionally needed a nap!). As a result my “office” is now in the kitchen, which means when it’s not in use it becomes a dumping ground for everyone else’s stuff. Over the Christmas period it has been used for writing cards, reading, knitting, drawing, painting and playing computer games.  It was also, inexplicably, covered in glitter and clumps of soil!

On Tuesday I merely worked around it. I was so eager to start again, to be “back at it”, that I didn’t want to lose time having to reclaim space. Wednesday was much the same, I was focussed and busy concentrating on the task at hand; though I confess wiping blobs of dirt off my pristine diary was becoming a bit tiresome.

Yesterday, I’d had enough. The final straw was Elvis. For those that don’t know, Elvis is my Frenchi-hauhau and work companion. He spends his days asleep in a bed, on my desk. However, with all the other “stuff”, his bed was pushed perilously close to the edge. Yesterday morning he stretched, admittedly more energetically than usual, and consequently fell in to the bin. He was unscathed, but I think I’ve pulled a muscle laughing.

We agreed it was time something was done.

It was hard, mainly because I felt it was distracting me from what I actually wanted (and needed) to be doing. I had a deadline, and therefore getting the polish out and cleaning didn’t feature on my list of priorities. However, as is often the case, it’s made a huge difference and has meant I can now work more productively.

I feel like I’m back in control, and really ready to tackle 2017 head on now.

My highlight

That’s a tough one for this week because in all honesty, my highlight hasn’t happened yet – but will do later today.

A client and I are taking seven children to Birmingham (oh no we’re not; oh yes we are!) to see the Panto. It looks like it’s going to be utterly exhausting, but all rather a lot of fun.

Why not pop over and like the Time Saving Heroes Facebook page to find out what we get up to?

Our week 8th-12th February 2016

Here we are on Friday again, and what have the Time Saving Heroes achieved this week? Well, it’s been another busy one, full of a whole variety of jobs and tasks.

We have written five articles on holiday destinations for one of our travel agent clients. It’s safe to say if you want to find out more about the best places to visit in Rome, Jo can probably answer all your questions after the research she has done!

Lu has completed a LinkedIn profile for a client we did a CV for late last year, and we have 10 more orders for CV’s. It turns out February is going to be just as busy a month for job hunters as January was.

The good news is that Lu has now come out of her proofreading hole and has completed that 80,000 word manuscript. It is now back with the author who has a mountain of notes and edits to approve, and then the next stage will start in about 10 days.

On Tuesday Lu delivered her 10 minute spotlight at Bury Business Group which by all accounts was pretty well received. It’s a good job, she was a nervous wreck pulling it all together – we did tell her she had nothing to worry about! She decided to focus on one of her passions, content writing and the benefits blogging can have for your business, so no wonder she managed to deliver it so confidently!

Today and yesterday has been a bit quieter as Jo has been off. All the typing seems to have played havoc with her wrists, and she’s had to have steroid injections in them. OUCH! Hopefully she will be feeling better soon and will be back to her laptop on Tuesday.

Well, that’s all from us for today. We hope you’ve had a good week and you have an even better weekend. Don’t forget it’s Valentine’s Day on Sunday! You have been warned!

Our week 1st-5th February 2016

This week has been pretty quiet on the whole to be honest, so we don’t have a lot to report.

One thing Lu has been working on, which is a little different to our typical weekly duties is proofing a manuscript. We do offer a proofing service; however, most people ask us to read over their leaflets or brochures before sending them off to printing. This is very different, and on a significantly larger scale.

We first met this client (let’s call him Sam) at an event in October last year. We got talking and he told Lu that he was in the process of writing a book. As a keen writer herself Lu was immediately enthralled and so commenced a lengthy conversation about what he was working on. Other than being an interesting conversation in and of itself nobody seemed to think any more of it. The night came to an end, the hangovers passed, and before we knew it we were singing in the New Year.

Early in January Sam got in touch, via a mutual friend to say that he had finished his memoirs and wanted to know if Lu would be able to give it a read over. At first he just wanted another person to review it, but on meeting up again, he decided that it might well need a proofing and editing, as well as honest feedback on the story itself.

This week we got hold of the completed manuscript and Lu has been working her way through all 80,000 words of it. We obviously can’t say too much, but she seems to be enjoying it. She’s certainly getting frustrated when we call her away from it to do something else!

She’s on course to have the first read through completed by the early part of next week, when she will go back to Sam and they will work on some alterations. We can’t say much now of course; however, when Sam’s managed to get it published we will of course share all the details with you!

Hope you’ve all had a good week, and we will see you again on Monday!