We’re told Denmark is the happiest country of all and in their businesses we hear that after 4pm, work is a strictly no go zone and even emails aren’t answered when it’s out of business hours but when you are self employed and building a business, often from home, is it really possible to only work from 8 or 9am, finish at 4pm and still create a profitable empire?  We asked members of our network what they thought and here’s what they said.

Mandy from Mandy Charlton Photography said “Now that I have 2 businesses, I’m finding more than ever that I need to section off pieces of my day and home education on top of that means pretty much separating my life into blocks on a schedule, I realise this won’t always be the case but currently if I finished work at 4pm now, I’d have a meltdown every time I opened my email box the next day.”

Lucie Charlton from Charlton Cooks said “This is something I would love to get myself into doing! But as you say, either when you look the next day there are too many emails, mainly for me as they are also on my phone I can’t help but see them…which means even if I’m not replying I am thinking about them. Also it is really hard to get across to clients that I may be busy or have other plans at 7pm at night. I need the business but I also need a life….catch 22.”

Saffron de Menzes commented that “I don’t finish at 4 as my working pattern isn’t quite so regular and has to fit in around home educating but I do have strict finishing times that are different for each day of the week, I could share them if it’s helpful. I feel like the time itself isn’t as important as the principle of really honouring time when I’m not just not doing work but when I’m not thinking about it either.”

Danielle Stanley with a large customer base in the USA said “Unfortunately not as most of my customers shop outside of traditional business hours and I have lots of international customers so they message all through the night. I usually wake up to at least two ‘where is my order’ messages from Americans who haven’t noticed that I’m not in the US!”

Claire Ritson from Dance Co said “I would love to this ( maybe not as early as 4pm) but defo a more sensible time! Since we got a premises I have tried to stick to answering enquiries within working hours when we are there but it’s not always manageable, we often have enquiries late at night for classes for the next day and I find myself trying to reply.
I do think it’s vitally important to set boundaries”

Samantha Rickleton from North East Family Fun commented “I think part of the beauty of being self employed is that you can choose your own working hours and have that flexibility. Today I have walked my children to school, enjoyed a 2 mile walk, met my friends for a 90 minute coffee, bought some food shopping and I’m only just sitting down to work now. It may mean that I work a little tonight but that’s fine – I’d rather have been out in the beautiful sunshine this morning. Strict working patterns just wouldn’t work for me as I love being flexible and fitting work around my life.”

Paula Smart from Wild Hearts Photography said ” I also don’t have strict working patterns and that works for me and for my family. One thing that helps me not feel like I am always on call is to uninstall Facebook and Messenger from my phone for a few hours and it feels very liberating. Once my clients have actually booked me I ensure they have my phone number so that they can still get in touch with me via text if they need a quick answer to something important that may crop up. I think a lot of practical things, and attitudes, would have to change in the UK before people would be willing or ready to accept the Scandinavian work/life balance model. But wouldn’t it be great?!”

Finally Fin from Wolfpack Personal Training commented “Yes! Love this. I am officially checking out this Friday at 12pm and making this a standard.  Focusing on structured hours actually improves the quality of my work. ”

 

So, our members really thought that it’s a great idea but not a practical solution but I wonder if it’s because we just accept that to be successful you need to work longer, harder and better than our employed colleagues who usually have much more structured hours before they can sign out, walk out the door and not have to worry about business anymore.

If you have a comment or opinion we’d love to hear what you think so leave us a comment below and remember, when women support women, amazing things happen.

 

 

The Inspire Network logo, a supportive business network for women at every stage of businessIt’s been an exciting time for us at The Inspire Network, last week we formed a new company, after 8 years running as a not for profit supporting women in business at every stage of business we became a ltd company and it is our goal to one day become a worldwide organisation with Inspire groups all over the globe supporting and inspiring women of all ages to reach their dreams of entrepreneurship.  We have done so much good in the northeast region where we began under the guidance of our founder member Julie Relf who now becomes the financial director.  Julie had a vision and acted upon it and that is why we now have over ten thousand female members of our Facebook group.

Along with Julie we have the always inspirational creative director, Amy Purdie who’s creativity and success in the field of graphic design and branding  has inspired many of our members over the years.  We also move into the next stage of our development with our first ever CEO, Mandy Charlton.  Mandy, a Newcastle photographer with over 12 years of business experience behind her faced many challenges to go from being someone who couldn’t leave her own home, trapped by mental health issues to being a business leader in her fields of photography and blogging.  Mandy knows the challenges of starting a business against all of the odds, and more importantly not just thriving in a saturated market but also triumphing with many awards and accolades.

Mandy has a vision for the future to take us onto the worldwide stage, not only that but to operate a company which has it’s community at it’s very heart and which continues to practice philanthropy at every stage.

Name:

Lucille Bowling

Business Name:

Bowling Home Improvements

Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/bowlinghomeimprovements

Linkedin:

Lucille Bowling

Where are you in the North East?

Ferryhill, Durham

Email address:

rbowlinghi@gmail.com

Directory advert:

Bowling Home Improvements are based in Ferryhill but we cover the whole of the North East. We cover all aspects of construction work from barn conversions and full house renovations to electrics, plastering and joinery.

We love what we do and pride ourselves on the reputation that we’ve earned through our hard work.  We work to an incredibly high standard and provide fantastic customer service.

When did you start your business and why?:

We started Bowling Home Improvements in March 2017 as we felt ready to enter the world of self employment and develop our construction company.

What gives your business the edge?:

We do!

We love the extra detail, like the bespoke metal staircase or the wall of glass blocks that we created. We don’t do off the shelf products, instead we create things to suit our customers needs.

What is the best thing about running your own business?:

The variety of work that we get to do. Despite only being in business for 6 months we have completed some amazing projects and have some incredibly exciting ones lined up!

And what is the worst!?:

Being so busy (It’s a nice problem to have!!).

Describe a typical day running your business and balancing family life:

My husband, Richard, goes out to complete the work during the day while I stay home with our son, Harry. Our home office comes to life once Harry is in bed!

How do you envisage your business changing over the next 5 years?:

It’s crazy how much we have changed in 6 months, so I can’t begin to imagine how we will change in 5 years! Hopefully lots more work, more staff and an even bigger reputation!

Do you have any advice for other Women in or starting a business?:

Be yourself, you are your own USP!

Name:

Stacey Jackson

Business Name:

The Lovely Wedding Company

Website:

thelovelyweddingcompany.com

Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/thelovelyweddingcompany/

Twitter name:

www.twitter.com\lovelyweddingco

Linkedin:

Stacey Jackson

Where are you in the North East?

South Shields

Email address:

info@thelovelyweddingcompany.com

 

Directory advert:

I am a videographer specialising in Weddings but I am also starting to expand my business into commercial.

I work with the client from the beginning to the very end of the process to find out exactly what they want and create something they will want to cherish forever.

 

When did you start your business and why?:

I started my business in February because I love filming and being behind the camera.  I learnt about film making at University and became very passionate about.  I decided to make that passion into a business

What gives your business the edge?:

Working with weddings means I am in the happiness industry and I work extremely hard to make my clients happy.  We will discuss the in’s and outs’ of making their video perfect for them and even after I have created the film I allow them to suggest changes they would like made before being presented with the final copy.  I feel something that is going to be cherished forever should be something you love.

What is the best thing about running your own business?:

It is mine.  It makes me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile that I enjoy and it is all mine.

And what is the worst!?:

Time management

Describe a typical day running your business and balancing family life:

On days when I don’t have shoots the alarm goes off at 5:30 to get some progress on editing before my 11 month old son wakes up anytime between 6 and 7:30.  Spend the day entertaining him and managing a home then when he is asleep I continue editing on an evening.  Days when I have shoots are very different.

How do you envisage your business changing over the next 5 years?:

I think my company will have certainly expanded in 5 years time.   I am currently developing my portfolio for commercial videos.  The next stage is a website which I would like professionally created to advertise my services.  Over the next five years I am adamant that my businesses will become successful.

Do you have any advice for other Women in or starting a business?:

Yes.  Take time out.  For your own sanity make time for yourself.  If you don’t take a minute for yourself everything becomes overwhelming and you forget exactly why you started it.  Taking a breather I also find helps productivity; you come back with fresh focus to boss the task at hand.

Name:

Helene Castel

Business Name:

TaDoList

Website:

www.tadolist.com

Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Tadolist/

Linkedin:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/helene-castel-13132869/

Where are you in the North East?

Newcastle

Email address:

contact@tadolist.com

advert:

You wish you had more time in a day?

As a Virtual Assistant, I provide administrative support, services and skills to busy entrepreneurs.​ I help you optimize your business, save time and money by outsourcing your administrative tasks and offline social media events. 

-MORE TIME to do what you love and are good at

-OPTIMISE and execute business strategy

-Increase your PROFIT

-Focus on GROWING your business

-Have a better work-life BALANCE

Stop running and outsource some of your tasks to me:

Your To-do List will become My TaDoList

When did you start your business and why?:

July 2017 – always wanted to be self-employed but never find the courage to do it. When I lost my job for the 2nd time I thought it was time for me to do what I always wanted to. Corporate life is just not for me.

What gives your business the edge?:

I am bilingual French/English – I can adapt myself easily – With the knowledge and skills I have gained in my career I want to use them to build a partnership with my clients and help them build their dream.

What is the best thing about running your own business?:

I am my own boss. I learn every day. I have to socialise more.

And what is the worst!?:

For the moment: nothing  

Describe a typical day running your business and balancing family life:

Depending on the day and the client, I am either at home researching clients, doing social media or admin tasks. Or I am out and about seeking for clients, networking or working in a shop  

How do you envisage your business changing over the next 5 years?:

I would like to have reliable ongoing clients. I would like to partner with someone (another self employed) who would add value to the business and vice versa

Do you have any advice for other Women in or starting a business?:

Keep faith, find a right mentor, put yourself out there and don’t be scared to ask for help