Feeling inadequate….?

If you’re feeling inadequate when comparing yourself or your business to others, my first point to make is don’t do that, but if you must, make sure you know the full story as often, what you see on the surface is very different to the reality of the situation.

I was in the gym this morning (I like saying that, don’t get to do it that often). I tried out a new piece of equipment, a bit like the elliptical trainer but your feet go side to side not round and round, anyway, it’s kind of weird but good for your thighs! The machine started on a nice middle level 5, it was hard, really hard, thigh burningly can’t get your breath hard, after 5 mins I wanted to quit but I didn’t. The lady next to me had been on her machine before I started and was powering away, she had a great rhythm going and didn’t seem to be struggling much. I thought maybe she’s on a really low level, maybe she just looks like she’s really fit but no, I snuck a little look at her machine, made sure I knew where to look on the screen so I wouldn’t be seen nosying and guess what, she was on level 14!!! Wow, did I feel inadequate??

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But then I started thinking, I have no idea whether or not this lady is a semi professional athlete. She could be well into training for some kind of endurance challenge, she could have been training all her life and she’s just well, amazingly fit and healthy. The truth is, I didn’t know and I still don’t, I didn’t have enough breath left to strike up a conversation with her, staying upright was challenge enough for me at that point! I don’t know her back -story, I don’t know her journey, her history meaning I can’t compare her performance on the crazy exercise machine with mine.

In a similar way with business, you can’t compare your journey and where you are on your journey with other businesses until you know the full story. It might look like a company has achieved and amazing overnight success (I did a blog about that previously)  but you don’t know on the surface how many years have gone into that ‘overnight’ success!

I had the privilege of listening to one such business last week. Their rise to mainstream brand awareness and their awe inspiring increase in turnover from a few thousand pounds to over half a million in 18 months seemed so incredible it was almost deflating for those who haven’t managed that yet. Listening to all the elements of business that they have had to become experts in such as manufacturing, importing, exporting, licensing, social media and so many other crucial business areas I felt overwhelmed and very inadequate that I had not managed half of the things they had. While I was feeling shockingly deflated at my own lack of experience and expertise gained in my two and a half years of running Lubylu full time I heard something crucial to the story. The business owner had actually been in business for over 20 years! They were,  in their own words a ‘serial entrepreneur’. Light bulb moment for me, I lifted my head, a smile grew as I realised that their current and no doubt ongoing success is actually the culmination of 20 years experience in various business. It’s not just the 18 months in the current business, it’s the result of all the lessons learned along the way. There have no doubt been many other successes and probably a few failures too but it suddenly made me realise that I’m not behind the curve, I’m not lagging behind I am in fact right on track. It’s my track, my journey and to quote the famous Desiderata poem ‘no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should’.

It’s only natural that we compare ourselves to others and in some respects it’s useful to provide us with a level of healthy competition, but you must remember to make sure you know the full story. If you compare apples with potatoes, the potatoes will always come out looking a bit odd and bumpy!

Lucy, Chief Glitter Sprinkler at Lubylu Ltd

http://www.lubylu.com

 

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Turning a negative into positive motivation.

I know as part of my ‘e-spark’ journey I will be asked to look at my motivation for wanting a place on the programme and a desk in the Hub and it got me thinking as to why I feel Lubylu® and I deserve the opportunity.

I can’t move too far away from the fact that for quite a while now I have known deep down in my soul that Lubylu® is destined to be a well-known household name brand in the world of home fragrance and possibly even bath and body. I know that Lubylu® will achieve respect for what is created, how the business is run and the support and opportunities that will be afforded to others, but there’s something else, something a little more personal if I’m honest.

I want to do it just to bloody well show that I can! To prove to people that a business where you make lovely scented products, create beautiful bath body and home décor items and basically have fun with fragrance, colour and glitter can have a significantly positive economic and social impact on the community. I wanted to show that I can run a business and that I can do it well. I am proud of what I have achieved so far and I’m even learning to be quite vocal about how proud I am of myself and my business.

A comment was made to me quite innocently back in summer of 2016 when I moved into my lovely new workshop / office at Church Fenton. It was a huge step for me, now I have actual bills to pay and what was essentially a hobby business became a proper ‘grown up’ business that has to make money to keep going. One of the guys from one of the other businesses, a much more well established business, in that actually employs people and have engineers and everything, threw away a comment to me in chatting of ‘I assume your business isn’t one that pays the bills for your family’. Now I know he didn’t mean to be condescending or to devalue my business at all, he really didn’t see that what he said was negative but it made me take a step back, deep breath and politely reply that my business does OK thanks and I very much enjoy what I do. I couldn’t think of much else to say without going into the details of how Mr P and I split our family finances and I don’t really see that as anyone else’s concern.

This negative comment and assumption that Lubylu® is just a ‘little’ business that me, as the wife, potters about at just to keep me busy, has spurred me on to prove him and anyone else who thinks that wrong. It’s made me even more determined that one day soon Lubylu® will be a desirable sought after product and brand, one of the ones that people recommend to their friends and love giving as gifts.

It seems that I’ll have quite a bit to say when I’m next asked what my motivation for developing Lubylu® is! 😉

Lucy
Chief Glitter Sprinkler
Lubylu Ltd
www.lubylu.com

When saying ‘Please’ isn’t polite

How you ask for something really does matter, never more so than in the case of asking a customer for feedback.  It’s something that’s bothered me for a while now but I’ve only just got round to replying to the email which says ‘Hi Mrs Lucy A Pimblott, will you please take a minute to share your experience?’ and telling them why I have been ignoring them for the last few years!

To me, this feedback request is more of a barked command than an appeal for a favour. I know as well as anyone that genuine customer feedback and reviews are the life blood of any business, especially an online one, but it has to be politely asked for not demanded.

Maybe it’s just me and the way I read the words in the way they have been written, they are after all just words and arranged differently they make a perfectly pleasant request to share my online buying experience of, in this case, a doorbell. But bear with me, put your parent / grown up / teacher / boss / co-worker head on, say these few sentences out loud and see which sounds more like something you’d want to respond positively to…

  • ‘Will you please put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket?’
  • ‘Please will you put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket?’
  • ‘Will you please rewrite this report including your references?’
  • ‘Please will you rewrite this report including your references?’
  • ‘Will you please get your coat and shoes on and get ready for school…?’
  • ‘Please will you get your coat and shoes on and get ready for school…?’

Ok so you get a small insight into our household there, the report one was for a work type scenario but I’m sure you see what I mean.

Adding please after the request makes it sound like an exasperated parent entreating their child to just bloody well do what they’ve asked them to do at least 10 times previously. We add please to what is essentially a demand to try to make it look as though we are being polite when actually we’re not, we’re being sarcastic. When I’m trying to get Pipsqueak to tidy her bedroom or to just do as she’s asked the first time I ask, that’s fine (you can challenge my parenting techniques but sarcasm and exasperation feature highly and it’s working to an extent), but it’s not a good tone of voice to use when asking customers for extremely valuable feedback.

I’m hoping that by raising this small matter with the customer feedback team, a very small but important change can be made. I may even suggest they do a champion challenger test to see which wording achieves the most actual feedback before they make the change and see things my way!

Feedback is crucial, how you ask for it can influence what is said…

Lucy
Chief Glitter Sprinkler
Lubylu Ltd
www.lubylu.com

What being accepted on the ’e-spark’ programme means to me

Yay – New Year, new opportunities for Lubylu®! I have been accepted onto the next enrolment of the Entrepreneurial Spark programme starting with a full day boot camp at the end of January.

To say I’m excited would be a massive understatement, I am so overly in awe of what this opportunity means for me and Lubylu® I struggled to put it into words but I’m going to try.

It’s not just that by being in the Hatchery (the term used by e-spark for their office hubs) I will have access to a business enabler whose role it is to help me strip my business down to the bare bones, work out what works and what doesn’t and then re-build it in a scalable, process and profit driven model. It’s not simply that by having experienced business mentors available for chats, meetings and advice I will be able to overcome many of the hurdles I have encountered so far and discuss possible ways forward. And it’s not just that I will be in the Hatchery with other like-minded business individuals who all have that #GoDo attitude and a desire to make things happen. It’s mainly because it means that they believe in me.

The business mentors, the enablers, the powers that be at Entrepreneurial Spark read my application, investigated my business, interviewed me and listened to my 60 second pitch and decided that Lubylu® and I are worth investing their time, effort and expertise in! That to me is a major accolade and achievement on my part. It means to me that they see a business that is scalable, capable of developing from its current existence as a successful lifestyle business into one which has a positive impact on its market place and the economy.

Just this validation of being given the chance to prove myself and show what I am actually capable of has made me more focused over the last few weeks. It’s made me look at the business from a distance, work out where I want to pitch myself, what I ultimately want to achieve, where I want to be and how I want Lubylu® to look and feel over the next few years.

If just being accepted into the programme can do all this for me, just think what I can achieve when I’m actually part of the action!

#GoDo

Lucy
Chief Glitter Sprinkler
Lubylu Ltd
www.lubylu.com
lucy@lubylu.com

www.entrepreneurial-spark.com

 

Seasonal candle safety – tea lights

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“I can just use any old tea light….”

This time of year is candle season, more candles than at any time other time are lit and enjoyed and tea lights play a large part in the candle consumption.

It might seem trivial and I know, through my many discussions recently, that people believe all tea lights to be equal and can be used with any oil burner / wax warmer. Sorry to say, it’s not true and by ignoring some of the safety elements regarding tea lights you can cause some serious damage.

They’re tiny little candles, what harm can they do…. Quite a bit actually.

Unscented tea lights are designed to burn for certain lengths of time, usually 4 hours however there are some on the market that are meant to burn for 8 hours. These a lovely for open topped tea light holders where there is loads of air for the heat build up to be set free into, not so much underneath an oil burner! What happens is the heat build-up causes the burner to overheat, best case scenario is that the wax in the burner bowl is heated too high, the fragrance burns off really quickly and then soon just smells ‘waxy’. Worst case is that the heat intensity is too much for the burner and it cracks, this can cause the wax to spit and land in the flames OR the flame of the tea light becomes so intense that it licks up around the side the of the burner and catches the wax on fire…. My advice is to ensure that there is approximately 5 cm between the top of the flame of the tea light and the bottom of the bowl of the burner and that there is plenty of ventilation for the heat to escape.

Let’s double the scent throw!

Not only are tea lights that are too large for the burner used but some people also used scented tea lights which is really dangerous. The fragrance oil that is added to the wax to give it that amazing scent makes it burn hotter. For this reason scented tea lights should only be used where there is plenty of ventilation (and I don’t mean that your windows don’t fit or you’ve opened a window!)

When used safely and with a little thought, burning candles and tea lights creates a lovely warm glow and welcoming fragrance but please do be aware that naked flames can be dangerous.

Tea light top tips

  • Only use small, unscented tea lights in wax warmers
  • Ensure there is 5cm between the top of the flame and the bottom of your wax warmer
  • Scented tea lights should only be used in holders which have plenty of ventilation
  • Ensure your tea lights are in a suitable heat proof container
  • If the flame gets out of hand, extinguish immediately and allow to cool

Wishing you a safely fragranced and fun festive season

Lucy

http://www.lubylu.com

I am my own worst enemy

The first weekend in December means two things; it’s Small Business Saturday but also, for a 10 year old who is more excited about Christmas than a newly released vlog from Zoella and Alfie, it’s the weekend that Christmas decorations simply MUST be put up!

I made a decision to choose to spend the day with Pipsqueak, putting trees up, spraying fake snow on the windows, testing lights, buying more lights and of course more ornaments, instead of selling my handmade wares at a local event. ‘You’re crazy’ I hear you all gasp, and that’s what I thought several times, albeit briefly, today at various points as I made the mistake of checking social media and seeing how fabulous a time Small Business Buddies were having at their Christmas events.

But then I reminded myself that part of the reason I wanted to run my own business was to be able to make my own decisions, whether good or bad, they are my decisions and they are whatever I feel is best for my family at whatever point in time. For a tweenager, soon to be at high school, I made the decision that making this Christmas extra special and just a little bit magical, was more important than sales at an event.

Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t have one of those Disney film Christmas days whereby everyone pulls together, decorates the tree watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, shares a laugh, a tear and generally finds the long lost underlying meaning of Christmas but we did have a day together, minimal phone input and we’re still friends at bedtime which I take to be a success these days! I did try watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ but I couldn’t get into it so I put St. Elmo’s Fire on instead, it’s more my era!

I think what I’m trying to convey is that we all do what we do for a reason. Whether it be working for a global corporate conglomerate, cleaning floors or running our own small business but as long as the decisions we make are ours to make and we make them for the right reason we can consider ourselves successful. I need to remind myself of this when I doubt myself as indeed, I am my own worst enemy…

#smallbusinesssaturday #handmade #ilovemyjob #shoplocal

 

Lucy

Chief Glitter Sprinkler

Lubylu Ltd

http://www.lubylu..com

Running 10k is like running a business!

I was thinking of this blog post as I ran my first 10k of the year this morning and it’s still true – good news is I was a little further on with my timings and I’m a little further on with my business… 🙂

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I ran my last 10k while in my 30’s this morning. I make it sound like it’s something I do all the time but actually it’s only my 3rd ever 10k race. I didn’t do it in any earth shattering, record breaking time but I did it (1hr 3mins and that is my personal best). There were about 500 other runners all doing their thing for their own reasons whether it be to raise money or for personal fitness goals, we were all there, with our lycra on, running apps at the ready, prepared to challenge ourselves on a lovely Sunday morning in October.

Obviously it gave me an hour to think (during the parts when I wasn’t having to solely concentrate on just breathing in and out!) and made me realise that all the runners could represent businesses and the market place in general. We’re all there with…

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