My six resolutions for the coming year

This time of year is usually a time of reflection on the previous twelve months as well as planning for the new year. I’m not a fan of New Year’s Eve because I don’t like the expectations that come with it. Everyone else seems to be having more fun, or is more optimistic about changing their lives based on the calendar change the following day. For me, September was always the time for setting resolutions and feeling optimistic about have better habits. No coincidence that this is when all things back to school are in full swing.

Avoiding conferences? How to bypass your stupid excuses!

Conferences are like buses. You wait ages for one and then three of them come along at once. Over the past month I took three days out of the office to go to conferences. While it might sound as though I just love going to conferences I really don’t. As a one-person business taking the time and money to go makes me think twice before clicking “book ticket”.

Feeling bored? Don't read this

When the work has been sent off and I’m waiting to hear back I feel like the car is stalled. I have plenty that I could do but just can’t seem to generate the momentum or motivation that I had when I was so busy just a few days earlier. They say that if you want something done you should give it to a busy person. Certainly in the weeks where I feel as though I have a lot to do I somehow manage to get more done than I ever thought possible.

Joys and consequences of smart working

I've had a bit of a dip in writing blog posts over the past month between a family wedding, holiday and general life and work stuff! However, I was really pleased to be asked to contribute a guest blog post to the smart working website, Abodoo, on some of the joys and consequences of smart working. It was fun to write it, even if it meant revealing to the world my secret bad habits. I'm going to be back to my normal blog-posting schedule from next week with a review of a really interesting book on being an entrepreneur as an introvert. If you have any books to suggest for review drop me a line, or if you're an extrovert - pick up the phone!

Book review: Build Your Dream Network by J. Kelly Hoey

Does the word “networking” cause you symptoms of nausea, skin irritation and headaches? Or do you mistakenly think you’re already great at it – and yet no one is returning your calls, sharing your social media updates or taking you up on your many demands to meet for coffee? Let’s face it, even the best networkers could do with a bit of continuing professional development when it comes to networking in the digital age.

How do you solve a problem like pricing?

By far the steepest learning curve in my self-employed life has been in relation to pricing my services. No matter how many articles I’ve read, seminars I’ve attended, or friends I’ve asked, I always have what can only be described as a sinking feeling when asked to quote for a type of project that I haven’t done before.

Want to find answers? Get outside

Steve Blank famously said “There are no facts inside the building so get the hell outside”.  While he was referring to customer discovery sometimes when you’re feeling stuck the only thing to do is get out of the office.  In fact, more and more research shows the importance of getting outside in generating creativity, reducing depression and even improving short term memory. Understanding this on an intellectual level is one thing, putting it into regular practice is another, especially if you work from home.  On a balmy evening in May I joined seven strangers for a Street Wisdom walk in Dublin.

Inspirefest 2018: A love letter to the launching pad of ideas

Taking place in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Inspirefest manages to feel both intimate and expansive. Connections made during the breaks and at the fringe events in the evening can lead to lifelong friendships, business partnerships, funding and the support to share a secretly guarded idea with the world. The on-stage talks form the basis for the off-stage conversations.

Book review: Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Strictly speaking this book probably qualifies as “self-help” rather than a business book. Perhaps that classification is more to do with the gender of the author and the other kind of writing she does rather than the advice offered. Shonda Rhimes is a writer of blockbuster TV shows including Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. She has been named as one of Time magazines 100 most influential people and Fortune magazine’s 50 most powerful women in business. So she’s definitely got the credentials to write a business book as well as the writing talent to go with it. She heads up Shondaland, a television production studio, and a lifestyle and storytelling website, shondaland.com.

Five lessons learned in my first year as a reluctant entrepreneur

In January 2017 I opened the spreadsheet I’d been using for three years and changed the name from Job Applications 2016 to Job Applications 2017. I applied for six jobs that month, lengthy application forms, letters of motivation and online aptitude tests. I even had to print out and post three copies one of the applications – a first in over 3 years of applications. I made a big decision that month - I was not going to spend the following eleven months applying for jobs. They say the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Well this form of madness had to stop, there had to be a better way.