Tuesday review…

Today’s review takes us off piste. I have a backlog of products to review and I’m busy updating the Sophie’s Voice business plan at the moment. I’ve been talking about working towards blog profitability for a while but I needed a little assistance and inspiration. Well, last month I got it. I can’t thank my mentor, Julie, enough for her encouragement and vision. She has given me a little bit more faith in myself and my ambition to conquer the world one post at a time.

She told me something that chimed. People who start something from scratch on their own tend to be humble. I like humility. I try hard to be accessible. I’m not in the business of writing about things that are for the 1%. Many of you are like me – we are concerned with the day to day. We do put our kids first. We try to do the best we can – maybe just by doing the recycling properly or being nice to our neighbours or walking two sets of kids to school. We’re living real lives. We look at politics because we want better healthcare and schools and communities. We aren’t thinking of lower taxes or the impact of fuel prices for our high performance cars. We need to get the most we can from life and we deserve to. I look to break even. I just want to feed and clothe my family and keep a roof over their heads. It’s basic. The thing is that I haven’t been making the most of myself and this platform because of that. I had that goal and I haven’t looked further.

Now people who start a business and have a lot of investment can think differently. They’re lucky – don’t think I don’t appreciate that – because it’s easier to ‘think big’ when you aren’t worrying about whether your new IT package will work first time. After all, they can afford to replace it. I would have to learn to use it with all its eccentricities if things went wrong. That’s time consuming and disheartening. It’s the business definition of privilege and it sucks. That said those people are in hock up to their eyeballs – that investment is not their own money. Yet they don’t have the mindset of obligation. It’s really difficult for me to understand how they can be so confident when they have debt hanging over them. I guess it’s basically entitlement. Sometimes I wish I had more.

What Julie told me that really clicked was that I need to treat my business like I have a financial cushion. I don’t – but my frugality born from necessity keeps my overheads really low. I only invest after careful consideration and a lot of due diligence. Those are my strengths. I can run this business on a very low tank – fuelled by a lot of goodwill and held together with duct tape. It’s online – ‘reach’ is in the ether. That said, to further it, I need to put myself out there more. I would say I need to put the blog out there more but we’re one and the same. As much as the idea makes me feel queasy, I need to be more visible and hide behind the green curtain less.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are going to be some changes. You will get to see my home occasionally. I’m going to have to suck it up and show you my outfit of the day on my actual body sometimes. I will be starting a newsletter – short and sweet, naturally – to let you know what the big stories are for my week and update you on new products.

All the images Sophie’s Voice uses will be linked to Pinterest too – so you can find it from that tool if you prefer it. I can’t believe I didn’t embrace it before now – I love it and it’s popular with people who avoid social media. I’ll also be making sure that the blog is visible on all social media channels again. I’ll be honest, I’ve dropped the ball on Twitter recently. It’s a total maze for me.

It’s hard to juggle so much and I’ll be looking for new mechanisms to help lighten the load. I will also link to my day job. I work as a digital marketing and social media consultant. I’m really good at it. The trouble is that sometimes I’ve let my favourite project go when I’ve had a heavier workload in that area.

I have to embrace work/life balance but I also have to find a consultancy/blogger balance. I can do both at the moment – but I think entwining them is the natural way forward. I will use the blog to write about work from time to time. It’s something we all have in common. I can also offer people the benefit of my skills via offers like downloads and webcasts. Again, for someone who usually works behind a screen, it’s a little bit terrifying – but I know I have to make the leap of faith.

There will also be collaborations with other creative people and businesses. In the pipeline is a spotlight on a fabulous new bag from the genius that is Francesca Middleton and an interview with the founder and designer of Floor Fourteen, Karina Molby. I want to hear from other people who want to talk about what they do and work with them to see how we can make this work as something bigger – a real community. My mail box is clear and you can send me a message via any of the platforms to talk about how we can help each other. I would love to make Liverpool a key part of the blog. It’s my home and it’s where my heart is.

Oh, and one last thing, I am becoming a ‘we’. Things are expanding and a lot of people contribute to this wonderful place. They all deserve credit. I couldn’t have done it without them. I couldn’t do it without you either, dear readers. You are who I started this for and who keep me going. You’re amazing. You are my sunshine – even when I’m enduring the typically horrible Liverpool weather.

On that note, and conscious of how dull this post may be, I think we should all take a little time to have a coffee and maybe enjoy the sunshine. Have a lovely lovely day, everyone.

And don’t worry, this might be a reboot but I promise that it will still feel the same, just a little bit better. There’s no place like home – and we’re staying right here.

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