"I always feel inspired and refocused when I come to 1230 TWC"
Q1. What’s your name and what you do?
I’m Caroline Ferguson and I’m a Mindset Trainer to purpose-driven women who know they were born for something bigger. I help them to overcome limiting beliefs, low self-worth and procrastination so that they can deliver their full, extraordinary impact.
Q2 Why Did you Start a business and what was your biggest business challenge when you started?
I’d been self-employed for many years as a business communications specialist, but there was always something missing. I found my true north when I retrained as a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist. My biggest challenge was marketing technology (which it turns out was much simpler than I was trying to make it).
Q3 Who do you help / serve in your business?
I help women (and a few men) who are tired of sabotaging themselves and getting in their own way. They know they’re capable of making a greater impact but they feel stuck. They are ready to make the change.
Q4 How did you know they were the people you’re meant to help?
It took me a while to work this out. At first, I wanted to help everyone sort out their mindset, but gradually I realised that when I was trying to communicate with “everyone”, no-one could hear me. It wasn’t until I started focusing on the people I loved working with – entrepreneurial women – that I was able to understand their pain and get really clear on my messaging.
Q5 What do you think of business networking?
It’s essential. I wouldn’t have a business without it. I network extensively, both in the room at events and online.
Q6 What do you think of women-only business networking?
I love it. I know some people prefer mixed networking but I go where my clients feel comfortable. Women are incredibly generous networkers – it’s less about competition and much more about connection and collaboration, which is my favourite way to do business.
Q7 Who is your female in business idol / role model / business celebrity
Gosh, there are loads of them. Right now, Shaa Wasmund is an inspiration – she’s one of the 20 leading entrepreneurs in the UK and a Times bestselling author. I also love Sarah Arrow for her generosity to up-and-coming business owners, and for doing business with heart. She’s always looking for ways to add value.
Q8 Your Favourite book by a female author (business or pleasure)
Right now it’s Rising Strong by Brené Brown. If you haven’t seen her TED talks or read her books, please do. She’s wonderful.
Q9 What’s your favourite restaurant for a business networking lunch?
I went to a gathering of high performing women at The Ivy in London a couple of weeks ago. That was pretty special.
Q10 Tell us your best business “win” so we can celebrate your success with you.
There have been plenty recently but #1 is the success of my new course on Procrastination, “Get The Darned Thing Done”. It’s changing people’s lives and that is THE BEST feeling! Also, a journalist is doing the course and will shortly write about her experience in a national newspaper – very exciting.
I feel immensely privileged to work with women who want to change the world. Building a successful business around doing something you love takes guts, resilience and plenty of staying power. I have nothing but admiration for the women who are putting themselves and their passion out there.
Whether you’re just starting a business or you’re well into your venture, the idea of hiring a business coach may have come to mind. But you may be wondering if a business coach can really make a difference for you. To answer this question, you need to understand what a business coach does, and how to choose the right one for you.
Business coaching provides a way to interact with a professional who has your best interests at heart and can help you be more effective building your business and balancing your life and your business. Business coaches are a good mixture of accountability partner, sounding board, cheerleader and even emotional support. The business coach specializes in ensuring that all aspects of your life work together with the ultimate focus on ensuring that your business works.
Even the process of hiring a coach can be beneficial to your business. The coach will want to assess where you are right now with your business and find out where you want to go. An effective business coach will help you determine not just the direction you want your business to go, but will also identity actionable steps to take to achieve the goals you and your coach set.
Checking in with someone else on a regular basis to tell them and show them what you’ve accomplished since the last meeting will give you someone besides yourself to be accountable to. For many people this helps them act in their own best interests and not put off anything, since most people don’t want to disappoint others.
Talking plans and proposals out with a third party who is also well versed in your type of business will help solidify each plan you make so that you’re not going down the wrong roads to start with.
Running a business is hard and some business coaches make excellent support systems and cheerleaders. In this way, you not only have a good plan of action to make your dreams come true but also someone to share your success with who has your best interests at heart.
Many business coaches understand how home life can affect your business life. They can often help you deal with your family and friends when it comes to pushing your business forward.
If you need help identifying holes in your business plan, ways to fill the gaps, and how to create an actionable plan to push your business forward, then a business coach can definitely make a difference. The trick is finding the right business coach for your particular business.
In order to find the right coach for you that fits your business type and personality, ask the right questions of any potential coach. Plus, ask others for referrals before hiring any business coach. Finally, buy some of the coach’s products and services and try working on a short-term project with them first. This can help you ensure that they are the right coach to push your business to the next level.
PS wondering where you can meet the right business coach? Come along to our Business Networking Lunches
It happened on 11 November 2013.
I opened an email sending me a voice message from a fairly new friend of ours, in fact, she was the 12 year old daughter of my son’s new girlfriend. We’d sent her a birthday card so it was nice to think she’d got in touch The spelling of her name wasn’t quite the same – let’s say her name was Lia and the email message spelt it “Lya” – not knowing her long I assumed I’d spelt it incorrectly. On clicking the message nothing appeared, so maybe it hadn’t saved correctly. The phone ringing distracted me and as I was talking a small red box flashed at the bottom of my screen. Still distracted I clicked on the box, nothing happened. A few moments later, my screen was filled with a large red box stating that all my files had been encrypted by Cryptolocker – an exceptionally nasty piece of ransomeware.
This virus was so new that I’d been hit in their first UK targets. You might think as an IT trainer I should know better than to open a message like this, and I’d agree, normally. The total coincidence of the name just blinded me into a false sense of security.
Why is Cryptolocker exceptionally nasty? It encrypts EVERYTHING on your computer. And then demands that you pay $300 for the files to be released. Not only that, but any attached external drives, eg, usb / hard drive, would also have been included in the attack. I have an incremental remote back-up. Guess what, yes, it encrypted those files too!
To say I was in despair was an understatement. My entire 13 years of business had been encrypted. And in case you’re in any doubt, the files I could open were lines of complete mumbo jumbo. I researched on the Net. If I paid up, as a police department in USA had done, how did I know these villains would release my files? After 70 days they’d destroy my files if I didn’t pay up. The next stage in their master plan was to up the anti after 70 days and, providing details of a Bitcoin account demanded $2,000 for the files safe return!!!
The incremental remote back-up. I spotted that the back-up company could restore 30 day deleted files. So I got in touch, maybe, just maybe….. Yes, based in America, they knew about Cryptolocker and were frantically working to help their clients. They thought that they could help me. On 3 separate occasions they phoned me, talked me through and remotely accessed my machine to restore my files. Not all the files were saved, but the majority were. They didn’t charge me one extra $ / £ to do this – the annual charge for the back-up was then, just $54. The company? Carbonite. And I shall be forever thankful for their help in saving my business and my sanity.
So, beware. There are very clever, but equally nasty people out there. Make sure your anti-software is always up-to-date, buy the best you can afford, and don’t be lulled into a false sense of security as I was. Not everything is as it seems on the Internet. Think once, think twice, think 3 times and then run that email/attachment manually through your updated anti-virus software.
I manage my own diary, but increasingly many of my contacts now have someone who does this for them. In an earlier life, I’ve been a PA and managed diaries. I’m curious as to how up-to-date today’s “diary owner” is with the arrangements. It feels very different. Sometimes I feel as though the person I’m meeting / having a phone call / Skype with is totally detached from any of these “behind the scenes” arrangements – I appreciate that is the general idea to some extent! Recently I’ve been blown-out again by someone who I met, we agreed would be good to have a follow-up coffee / conversation, it then got down to a Skype call as she’s too busy for a meet. On the last arranged time, I got an email from the diary manager, at the time of our arranged Skype to say meetings had overrun and she’d be in touch with alternative dates. She and I originally met end April. Busy lady!
So this set me wondering. If you manage someone else’s diary – how does this work for you? Do you get told about overruns last minute? If someone manages your diary for you, how do they keep you up-to-date with your movements. Do you touch base with the arranged person at all, or is it all managed by the “diary manager”. I’m genuinely interested to know.
Actually, I lurve Mondays!
Let’s look at Bank Holiday Mondays. She Who Bakes, the delightfully inspiring Britt Whyatt recently posted on Facebook “Oh good, a bank holiday!” said no self-employed person, ever.” I tend to take extended weekend holidays, rather than 2-3 week holidays, so I play with the Bank Holiday; I may not do any business work at all, I may do a little, I may work all day, or I may play all day, but it’s mine to do with what I want. Mostly!
So, what prompted this missive? There’s another reason I particularly like Mondays, or this week, Tuesdays. I have a very dear chum, who, subject to her diary, if I’m lucky will phone me on her journey from home to her office. The conversations are not without challenges. In-between dips and humps in the road the signal fades and then vanishes just at that crucial part of the conversation; sometimes we put the world to rights but mostly it’s about how we are both personally and in business, what we’ve been doing and what we’ll be doing, with some fun and laughter. Sometimes these conversations get cut short mid-stream, ending on a serious note with food for thought or equally it can end on a high fun note, either way, I greatly value this start to my working day!
Yes, I love Mondays (and Tuesdays)!!
How about you? Do you have a chum who phones you for a chat like this?
Well that’s what happened today. Four people were booked in for a training session, three dropped out at short notice, variety of reasons, all sounded legit. That left one and me as trainer – that’s fine, great 1:1 session coming up.
Arrived at training venue, staff not expecting us, ok after seeing my confirming email except that the booked room was full of unmoveable machinery. (That’s two, by the way). No problem… handy café nearby would suit our purpose. Staff very happy to have us. Order drinks, delegate goes to treat me only to find that she’s left her purse in the car! That’s three!
Well dear reader – you won’t be surprised to find that a great 1:1 training session followed! That’s life!
After 13 years in this business, I KNOW it works!
What am I talking about?
In case you haven’t guessed already NETWORKING!
Yesterday’s 1230 TWC Bexley meeting was another great example of how networking works. Admin help was needed in a growing business, sat opposite was…. a VA! Yes, you’ve guessed it, they soon became locked into discussions as to how they could work together and quickly put a date in the diary to discuss further. But it doesn’t always work as quickly as that which is why it’s so important to be consistent and attend networking events regularly to build those lasting business relationships.
Coming into the mix, help was needed with employment contracts, independent business advice and hands across the sea with our sisters over in Spain, so I was delighted to be able to make the connections there! And I’m sure business will result.
Today was Bromley’s turn. The 1 minute talks and 2 speakers opened up fascinating discussions that we could never have guessed from previous conversations with those there.
And the connections, collaborations and business continue to grow. Yep – it works!
Have you ever wondered about salutations? That is how you are addressed in letters, emails…
It shows to me that “someone” really hasn’t thought out the Fields for the respective database. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to add in 2 extra Fields. If you don’t know about “Fields” in a database, think “column headings”.
So for example – don’t forget, column headings – Field1 could be “Title”, Field2 “1st Name”, Field3 “last Name”, Field4 “email address”. In the above example “Dear Jackie Groundsell” Field2 and Field3 have been combined into one Field which include 1st and last names.
Breaking down the Fields in the way described gives the flexibility of the salutation being Dear Mrs [Title] Groundsell [last Name], or Dear Jackie [1st Name] – Dear Jackie Groundsell is just plain WRONG!
See how easy it is to get the right salutation? Hope this helps. Give me a shout if you need more.
Your body burns calories when it warms the water up to body temperature. Drinking 8 glasses of ice water a day burns about 60 calories. It also keeps you hydrated and alert.
Once an hour or so, get up from your chair and do a full body stretch. Touch your toes and extend your limbs to their fullest and relax