The blogger making her own luck

Meet Sunita Harley an HR consultant, blogger and event organiser. She is one busy lady and is organising no fewer than 10 social and networking events around the UK this year.  Sunita has also been asked to speak on a panel at Blogtacular and has recently been nominated for London’s Top Mummy Blogger Award by The Mother Hood. So who better to ask about how to run a successful blog and host events than Sunita.

Tell us about yourself

I blog over at Lucky Things, chatting about confidence, career, wellbeing, life and style. Having gone through IVF myself, I also spread awareness of IVF experiences and the support available.

My career is pretty diverse – from editorial, fashion, the music industry and DJ-ing (where I appeared on Top of The Pops a few times!). I’ve spent the last the past 15 years working with talented teams in corporate HR and now run my own HR consultancy. One thing I love about my HR expertise is that I also coach business women and  bloggers on their confidence and strategies to achieve different things.

I know myself that life is full of ups and downs. So I try to encourage others to look after their own confidence as well as their online and offline wellbeing.

How has digital technology and social media changed the way you work?

Well, I’ve realised how you can support people through blogging and social media. If I had thought of looking at blogs or Instagram when I went through IVF I think I would have benefited from loads of support. If I have a business query, I check out other blogs.

I’m a connector and this is important part of my work. I love Instagram as it connects me with lots of different people. With my HR consultancy, things like LinkedIn and Instagram are super helpful.

What are your top tips for running events?

DO

  • Plan ahead as much as you can, this means getting save the dates out or confirming dates even if it’s months in advance. This also means working how much you need to do, what’s a priority and what’s manageable.
  • Do your research. Ask people what they want from an event – never assume.
  • Make sure you eat and drink well before or during your event. When you’re an organiser, it’s easy to switch into hostess mode and forget about yourself. When I mention drink well, I’m recommending staying hydrated (not loads of booze!).
Sunita and friends at a recent Lucky Things event in London.

DON’T

  • Don’t try and do everything yourself. Ask for help or accept offers of help even with small things on the day.
  • Don’t worry if something doesn’t go to plan on the day. Events are really hard work. Sometimes there are things beyond your control or they might be insignificant in the big scale of things.
  • Don’t be afraid to try things out. Some event ideas will work, some won’t. It’s your intention that’s important and you always learn something from each one.

How do you make your blog a success?

Start with you
Figure out how much you can actually blog. Blogging could be a 24/7 thing if we had enough energy and hours in the day. I’ve seen bloggers overwork or put too much pressure on themselves when blogging should be fun.

Don’t set high expectations
We can’t do everything and be on every social media channel constantly. Don’t worry about what other bloggers are doing – focus on what you want to get out of your blog.

Be a collaborator rather than a competitor
OK, so a bit of competition is healthy at times as it ups our energy and drive. But don’t let it consume you. Collaborations are one of the best ways that my blog Lucky Things has gained exposure on different social media channels and to different reader groups. When people have approached me about appearing in interviews, it’s been a great way to get to know other bloggers too.

What do people want to read about?
If you want people to read your blog, then think about what people want to read about? The blogging sphere is saturated with blogs. So what makes your story or your blog stand out? People love reading about top tips. They also enjoy reading about who the blogger is. Your story will make your blog stand out? A lot of people come to my blog for practical tips, whether it’s about career, wellbeing or IVF. I’m super excited about speaking at Blogtacular this year about looking after our wellbeing whilst blogging and managing life and work online.

Promote your posts via social media
Don’t be shy to using social media platforms to promote your blog posts. Bloggers put in a lot of effort when writing posts. Mention your blog posts on your favourite social media corners. I always flag new (and old) blog posts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Different people like different platforms. If you’d like to read more blogger tips, check out this blog post.


Sunita is following…

@the_mama_works: I love Sarah’s Instagram posts. Her mottos always give me a boost. Her advice always feels practical.

@kemikids: Yvonne is a true business woman who also has a strong and bold heart. Her captions on her Instagram post are inspiring.

@mother_pukka: Not only is Anna the first blogger I came across who also loves 90s hip hop, she’s also making serious moves to push forward the #flexappeal campaign. This is something close to my professional heart as a HR bod. Who doesn’t want to work flexibly?

I’ve been lucky to have met Sarah, Anna and Yvonne in real life over the past year. I love how supportive, focused and down-to-earth they all are. They have all given me good advice.


Sunita’s work

luckythings.co.uk
instagram.com/luckythingsblog
facebook.com/luckythingsblog
twitter.com/@luckythingsblog

Lucky Things Meet Up: social and networking events for women. In 2017, I’m organising 10 events to take place around the UK. They always feature a talk so people leave with some practical takeaways for their own personal and professional development. Lucky Things Meet Ups are known for being friendly and inclusive events which I love. You can check out the video promo here if you want to see what we got up to at the January Lucky Things Meet Up.

During my HR career over the past 15 years, I’ve coached clients to work on their professional and personal goals.  If you’d like to find out more about how coaching can help your confidence, business or career pop over to this corner of Lucky Things.

As my blog focuses a lot on career, confidence and wellbeing, it’s lovely that I’ve been nominated for 2017 London’s Top Mummy Blogger over at themother-hood.com (only 20 of us have been selected). I’m pretty proud that I’m not a blogger with huge numbers of followers – but proving that you can still get involved in interesting things when you’re a so-called “micro-blogger”. Take a look and if you’d like to vote for me, I’d of course appreciate it! Voting opens at the end of April over at themother-hood.com

Getting to grips with digital

Meet Maxine Kerley, a digital marketer and owner of Digital Bon Bons, a marketing company for parent and children focused businesses.

Tell us about yourself

I am a digital geek and I can’t hide it. I’ve worked for a number of different industries over the years from a dental software company to a fashion brand and it was while I was working for this fashion brand that I really discovered and fell in love with digital marketing. I say love because I really did, it hit me hard and to have something you do for a living be a passion as well – I’m grateful for that.

I’d had experience working with parent and children focused brands in previous job roles and it was while I was on maternity leave with my daughter Ava, that I really started to get to know these type of businesses and what their challenges were. I returned to work in 2015 and then last summer created Digital Bon Bons – a marketing company helping business owners reach their target audiences of parents and children, digitally. I officially launched on New Year’s Eve 2016.

Top tips

Getting to grips with digital marketing takes time and making a business work online can take even longer. For a business owner, you want to see results for all the efforts you’re putting in. I’ve collated together some tips that can help you get started.

Get verified

You have a fantastic website and it’s live but Google doesn’t know about it and it won’t until you verify. You need to tell it that it’s there, waiting to be crawled and picked up for search results. This is done using Google Search Console, so you will need a Gmail Account to do this, but a Gmail Account is so important, especially if you want to take advantage of Google Analytics too. Once verified you will start seeing your site appear in listings.

Have a plan

To really make a success of digital marketing in your business you need to have a strategy outlining your goals. Ask yourself – “What do I actually want to achieve with my digital marketing?”. Is it website hits, e-commerce sales, thought leader? Whatever your goals, you need to have these on record. The next step is creating a plan. This will detail how you will achieve those goals, the actual methods that will be put in place across all the digital platforms you are using. This will not only help you stay focused but will save hours of time, crawling the internet for content ideas, posts, designing newsletters late into the night.

Local search

You want your business to get found when people type words into search engines – this is all down to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and one of the big topics so far this year is about ‘local search’. If you have a local business, for example, a class or a bricks and mortar shop then you need to be thinking about local search. Using tools like Google My Business to highlight all your business information is really key. This means when someone is searching and your business is applicable, it will not only pop up in the page results but also on the right hand side with a box full of your images, website, opening times, address and reviews.

Use tools

Being your own boss is hard work and time management is an issue a lot of my clients struggle with when it comes to social media. With so many platforms and trying to reach the right customers, it can be overwhelming trying to keep up. A social media management system is a huge help in not only planning your posts and content but also for providing reporting so that you can see how well it is all going or where your challenges are. I’ve used several systems over the years so some of my recommendations are Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprout Social (ideal for larger businesses), Planoly and Later. The last two are specifically for Instagram and while they won’t automatically post for you like other systems for Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, it does prompt reminders for you. Come on Instagram, change that API and help us business owners out huh!

Digital success definitely doesn’t happen overnight, even though it may seem that way for some. It takes work and planning but it can be done and you can do it.


Maxine’s following…

Doing it for the Kids
When I launched the business I discovered Frankie’s account on Instagram and it was brilliant. For a newly launched business I felt like I was amongst friends. The community she has created around DIFK is brilliant because not only are there regular blog posts from inspirational people but you always feel you have support and you’re never alone.

A Branch of Holly
Her blog is filled with productivity tips to help keep you focused on what you want to achieve in your business. I’ve read so many of her amazing post on helping you manage your time, how to achieve better results in your blog and much more. She is truly fantastic at what she does.

Emma Gannon
I discovered Emma on Twitter first and before I knew it I found her Podcasts and I just couldn’t stop listening. She interviews truly amazing women about their journeys, their inspiration and it’s funny and light.  Her website is a fantastic hub of life online and last year she published her first book of the same name all about growing up online. So many things I identified with having grown up with Yahoo Chat and AOL, not to mention a dial up modem.


Maxine’s work…

digitalbonbons.com
instagram.com/digitalbonbons
twitter.com/digitalbonbons
facebook.com/digitalbonbons
pinterest.com/digitalbonbons

The authentic face of PR

Kelly Pike is an arts and culture PR Consultant based in Bristol, and owner of Folk Public Relations. The phenomenal rise of digital and social media has changed the landscape of public relations. With that in mind we asked Kelly to share her thoughts on the industry, the age of the social media influencer, and how best to promote your business online.

Tell us about yourself

A lot of things can lead a girl into PR and for me it was books and a love of talking to people. Non stop. I spent most of my career working in London publishing houses looking after household names and award winners of all kinds. I loved it. Big time. But children and London’s crazy property ladder saw a move to the south-west and Folk Public Relations was born. Slowly and on the back of very little sleep. I specialise in arts and culture PR but am excitingly branching out into some mama-brands such as This Mum Runs.

How has digital technology and social media changed the PR landscape?

Recently I’ve found myself thinking back to the start of my career, in the early noughties. Back then we used to joke about bloggers asking for review copies and how really they were for their nan or a present. Not for promotion. Publicity was very traditional then. It probably hadn’t changed for decades. Digital technology and the social media revolution have changed my industry more than many. It’s not enough to get great coverage in a women’s glossy or a TV show. Now a campaign needs to feel holistic and organic. And it needs to feel real.

Social media is a key part of this. We’ve seen the traditionally fairly separate disciplines of marketing and publicity merge so that quite often now publicity includes social media marketing and all my plans will include social media influencers now in the way they used to include celebrities.

It’s actually quite nice because I think it all feels a bit more authentic. Influencers are already your target demographic so what you end up with is publicity which feels much more authentic and real. And PR which feels like that is much more likely to end up creating the much courted and incredibly elusive word of mouth affect.

What are your top PR tips for women wanting to promote themselves and their businesses online?

What social media has also done, of course, is make promoting yourself much more accessible. Social media influencers should be the core part of anyone’s campaign; sometimes the only part of your campaign. And because you can usually contact them directly through Instagram or twitter, there’s no excuse.

Make it authentic
You need to get to know the influencers and treat them as people. Chat to them, make friends. It’s social media after all. Then they are much more likely to want to help you by featuring your product. And you gain some new friends. Win, win. It all makes sense really. Call it PR karma if you will.

Stories
If a career in book publishing has taught me anything it’s the power of the story. Stories sell; stories get under the skin; stories help people connect with a product. Everyone has a story and the key to a great PR campaign is finding its story. I will always ask my clients if there are any personal stories behind what they are selling. And there is always something – be it that eureka moment, a journey through adversity or a family member who inspired them.

Read the papers
Whilst social media adds depth and voice to your campaign and many great brands have started out there, you lose nothing by knowing the media. I keep a reference collection of newspapers to remind myself of columns and writers and headlines which work well. And I read as much as I can. You then start to get a sense of where your story will work best – life and style sections for example, or first person columns. Keep and eye on the news to see if you can use it as a launch pad for an opinion piece.

And don’t be afraid to pick up the phone
I’ve noticed that fewer people like to do this. It feels almost rude but it’s still the best way to make sure things happen. At least you know they’ve heard you when you speak to them.

Don’t give up. Keep being you. Making friends. You’ll get there in the end.


Kelly’s is following…

This Mum Runs: I recently started running. I never ran. Ever. I would stand in the cold and laugh in people’s faces weekly at the park run as I waited yet again at Park Run. I would never run. But then I came across This Mum Runs and it’s ethos has been a total game changer for me. Mel Bound is an incredibly inspiring woman who has made it her mission to empower women who felt like they had lost themselves, or felt lonely, isolated, depressed or just lacking in me-time and give them headspace through free social runs and a hugely supportive, welcoming and active Facebook community. She also runs a totally parent friendly business and she recently was picked as a figurehead for a huge Facebook campaign #SheMeansBusiness and was picked by the Sunday Times as one of their 100 disrupters.  They have done incredible things in the south-west but are expanding to London in April. I urge all mums everywhere to check her out.

Doing It For The Kids: One day when I was felling a bit worried about where my next project was coming from I came across Frankie and her blogline Doing It For The Kids. We got chatting and before I knew it I was writing for her. It has hugely increased my love and engagement with Instagram because the community of freelance parents there are so supportive. We’re all going through the same issues. It’s great to not feel alone. Plus I got some projects out of it


Kelly’s work

folkpublicrelations.co.uk
twitter.com/publicistkelly
instagram.com/bristol_mama

Coach your way to success

Ruth Kudzi had a successful career in recruitment before moving into education, where she was a senior manager for 10 years. It was during the selection and coaching process for a fast-track head teacher program, that she became interested in retraining as a business coach. Ruth realised her skills and natural aptitude could lead to a successful career. Finding a job which fitted around family life, utilised her expertise, and that she felt passionately about, has proved a winning formula. Ruth now specialises in supporting mums who want to achieve in business. If anyone knows how to do it she does, so we asked Ruth to share her career story and top tips for aspiring businesswomen.

Tell us about yourself

I am Ruth, I started my career in recruitment and executive search before moving into education. I spent 12 years working in education, the last nine as a senior leader and consultant. In 2011 I was selected to be part of a fast track program for aspiring head teachers. Through the program I got a coach and I found the impact transformational. I started to become really interested in coaching and I began to coach on a voluntary basis as well as through work, completing various courses and training.

When I became pregnant with my first daughter I started more coaching training and set up my own blog, I worked on this and a couple of other ventures during my first maternity leave but didn’t put much effort into making them work. When I returned to work full time I found juggling my career and my home life really hard, I knew I wanted to start up on my own. So, I completed more training, got myself a coach and started coaching. It took me about six months to settle on my niche working with mums and it wasn’t until Autumn 2016 that I decided to focus on the business element. By this stage I was an experienced and qualified coach and I realised that my passion lay with helping mums create the work/life balance that I had been able to create.

I love working with mums on their businesses and it is very satisfying seeing other mums build the lives that they want and develop successful businesses.

How has digital technology and social media changed the way you work?

It means that I can be a lot more flexible in where I work and how I work. I have clients from all over the world so I can communicate with them easily which I would never have been able to do before.

I have really used social media to build my brand which was invaluable when I had my youngest with me full time, it meant that people could find out about me without meeting me.

I have built up a strong group in Facebook and on Instagram and have met so many brilliant women – women who I am working with, collaborating with and who are working for me in various roles. It has been amazing to hook up with all of these women and help each other.

What are your top tips for mums who want to start their own businesses?

Money matters
I think planning is key and I know it is boring but financials, work out exactly how much money you need and then add 20% to that. So many businesses fail as they haven’t got their head around the financials, if these really aren’t your thing get an accountant or a book keeper to help you.

Support network
Getting support and building a network around you is key. It can be really lonely so finding others doing a similar thing is a great way of having the team aspect without working in an office. If you don’t know how to do something or you lack confidence then get someone to help you. I work with lots of women who have tried to do everything on their own and they find themselves becoming burnt out and demotivated, there are people who can help you so use them.

Devote time to yourself
Spend time on you every day. You are your business and you need to value yourself and nuture yourself for your business to be a success. When you focus on you and being the best version of you it will have a massive impact on your business (and your life).


Ruth is following…

Mother Pukka is bloody brilliant for her flex appeal campaign, she speaks to so many women as we do still want to work but just more flexibly.

Rachel McMichael

Rachel McMichael (aka the techspert) is a lady I have worked with on tech and she is really inspiring, she is the person to go to for tech presented in a really user friendly way (and is a whizz on Facebook ads).

marie forleo

I love Marie Forleo and my coach Emily Williams is awesome. They are both really authentic to themselves and show how you can create mega businesses online.


Ruth’s work

ruthkudzicoaching.com
instagram.com/ruthkudzicoach
facebook.com/groups/careerchangemums
twitter.com/ruthkudzicoach

How one Cheltenham mum is connecting the Cotswolds

Kate Starkey is the woman behind CheltenhamMaman – a website that not only publishes articles and information for the trendy mums of Cheltenham and the surrounding Cotswolds, it also connects them by hosting a range of live events. It’s hard to believe Kate only started the company last year and its appeal is growing rapidly. Recent notable events have included the book launch of Clemmie Hooper’s ‘How to Grow a Baby and Push It Out’ (@mother_of_daughters). It’s inspiring to hear the back story to a business which from the outside might appear effortlessly glamourous. Clearly a lot of hard work goes into producing the content and running the events, so with that in mind we asked Kate to share her story and explain what it’s really like to run an online business whilst juggling family life.

Kate Starkey Cheltenham maman
Kate with her youngest child. Credit: Gill Thomas Photography

Tell us about yourself

My journey to a career in journalism was rudely interrupted by the surprise (but ever so wonderful) arrival of my first child at the tender age of 20 swiftly followed by his brother just eighteen months later. I spent the next decade working my way up the career ladder as a multi tasker and manager in the NHS before trading it all in again for a new baby and the search for a life that needs to work around my family. I needed a way to make staying at home work financially and in the middle of one of those long nights you have far too many of with a newborn I came up with my big idea. I launched CheltenhamMaman a blogzine and events site for the super cool Mums of glorious Gloucestershire in June of 2016 and I’ve been trying to keep up with it ever since.

How has digital technology and social media changed the way you work?

It’s not just changed the way I work – it has enabled it. I firmly believe that a business like mine wouldn’t have had a place without social media. My social media platforms are really the foundations on which the main site, the blog and the events are built upon.

Having been a new mum before the digital revolution I can state first hand that the likes of Instagram and Facebook have completely transformed my pregnancy, childbirth and mothering experience. That first year of motherhood is one of the most lonely times a woman can experience and stepping into a virtual world that connects you with other Mums who have had just as little sleep and are feeling just as overwhelmed as you is so empowering.

But of course there’s a flip side. Lots of mums out there have built up rock solid relationships via their mobile phones with people they have no intention of ever meeting in the flesh. That’s where I come in – I provide opportunities for Mums to build on these virtual communities, get outside, get some fresh air and feel better about themselves on and offline.

Mums pushing buggies Cheltenham Maman

What advice would you give to aspiring business women?

  • If your business is based online be prepared to spend a lot of time sat behind your laptop and be open to finding more sociable ways to do that and also to control it as you’re never far away from work and it can end up taking control of your life. Your website is your shop front so make sure it is well presented at all times. Spend money on a decent logo and web theme and schedule a monthly reminder to edit your ‘about’ page and read all of your content. It’s really easy to spot a site that’s not cared for and refreshed.
  • You’ll be in one of two camps and will either spend time fussing over every image and every article or you’ll be a little more decisive like me and just publish it and see where it goes. Always make sure you test out the pathways that you are shouting about on social media – don’t tell your audience to click on this link if it’s not going to land on the right page – as an end user there is nothing more likely to make you switch off.
Kate Starkey Cheltenham Maman and Mother Pukka
Kate invited Mother Pukka to speak at her launch event before she had a strong following – looks like it paid off! Credit: Mouse About Town.
  • On the events front you need to be fairly ballsy as the costs for venues and catering can be really high and the day you release tickets is always terrifying. I invited Mother Pukka (above) to be my main speaker at my launch event before I had any followers at all at a time when I was really undecided about the site and where it was headed. I told myself that if she accepted my invitation to speak it was destined to be and I would just get on with making it work. She did and so did I!
  • It’s also worth remembering that events are seriously labour intensive and I guarantee that you will work harder and earn less than you did in your old day job – its’ easy to watch other people doing it and think it’s all glamour and huge profit margins – not true! If things go wrong there’s no-one to hide behind and every hiccup eats in to any profit you might have built in (which is your reward!) When the Scummy Mummies came to Cheltenham for a sell out evening of comedy the lift to the venue broke and at midnight it was just me and the sound man lugging the staging and PA equipment down a spiral staircase. More recently I hosted Clemmie Hooper (@mother_of_daughters) as part of her book tour and included a copy of her book in the ticket price. Two days before the event there was still no sign of the books and that was nobody’s problem but mine.
Kate Starkey Cheltenham Maman and Clemmie Hooper
Hosting events like the book launch for Clemmie Hooper can be stressful – particularly when the books offered in the ticket price don’t show up on time! Credit: Felix & Fox.
  • On the flip side it’s great to be the one that is bringing together groups of women who have so much in common. You can feel the collective sigh of relief in Cheltenham right now from mums who are so pleased that at last they have somewhere to congregate and just be themselves free from judgment and restrictions to behave a certain way just because they are mums.

Kate’s following…

dee campling

Locally I’m loving following Dee Campling (@deecampling). She’s a Cheltenham mum of three too but is busy showing us all how to get the cool back into our homes when the children are a little older and we have fewer sticky fingers to contend with. Dee and I are hoping to work together later in the year on an interiors workshops for Mums at one of our favourite design inspired venues, No 38, The Park.

Nicola Redman

I’m forever inspired by Nicola Redman, aka @life_of_pea on Instagram. I followed her first pregnancy journey with her son Winter Wolfe (who passed away after just one day in her arms) whilst pregnant with my baby daughter. I’m inspired by how much good she has brought about as a result of her suffering and I was further inspired to launch a charity of the month initiative on the site. You can read Pea’s story in our interview here.

clemmie hooper

I also have a massive Insta crush (along with half of the UK) on Clemmie Hooper (@mother_of_daughters) and sitting alongside her at our event was one of the greatest CheltenhamMaman days to date. Sometimes you meet your Insta crushes only to realise they’re not as genuine as they come across online. Not so with Clemmie – she is a warm, open and honest person so to all those that follow her and eagerly await the next instalment in the Hooper household (rest assured) she’s a goody.

Kate’s work…

Things are definitely busier than ever at CheltenhamMaman HQ. We now host monthly MumBoss club events for freelance Mums to meet and network and learn something new at each event. We’re developing Maman Moon Meets where we celebrate ourselves at a health or wellbeing event once a month under the light of the full moon. We’re constantly striving to bring fascinating mothers to Cheltenham to share their stories and we’re also looking at events where we can all just let our hair down together for no reason at all – no justification needed. Add that to our weekly Push It Real Good walks in Pittville Park with private antenatal provider The Bump to Baby Chapter and we’re pretty busy really – as are the mums of Cheltenham now!

On the blue sky front we’re just about ready to roll out a franchise for anyone out there looking at developing something similar in their area.

cheltenham maman logo

 

cheltenhammaman.co.uk
instagram.com/cheltenhammaman
twitter.com/cheltenhammaman
facebook.com/CheltenhamMaman
cheltenhammaman@gmail.com

Mother Pukka talks flex

There’s been plenty of chat and a fair bit of flash dancing action. (See our Lycra-swathed Flex Appeal flash mob in Trafalgar Square for more of that.)

But in the push/shove for flexible working, how can you get stuck in?

We need you

If you don’t read any further than this please ask your/ your husband’s/ your best mate’s/ aunties HR departments to sign up to the government’s Working Forward pledge. The whole drive is based on this one stat: 86% of companies believe they offer flexible working, while 77% of women in the workforce have faced discrimination or lost their job on maternity leave. A bit of light maths and you can work out there’s summat up there, sparky. This is the core focus of our Flex Appeal – to get companies to sign up. We’ve already seen John Lewis, BT, BP, Virgin Money signed up (plus 70 more since launching this appeal), so who’s next?

Fight for your right

Previously I’ve written about hard, cold cash and the hair loss associated with going it alone, but it was not meant to scare off budding entrepreneurs. It was more to stress that having sat on both sides of the fence, there’s no easy way out. If you like (love is a strong word) your job then fight for it – show ‘em what you’ve got and pave the way for others below you to work flexibly. How to do this? Talk numbers and offer solutions: see ‘The business case for flexible working’, below, for the former and the latter is up to you. ‘I’d like flexible working and this is how it can happen’ is much stronger than, ‘can I have some flexible working please?’. For more on your rights, head here.

mother pukka flexible working flash mob manchester
Flex Appeal flash mob in Manchester

This isn’t a revolution, it’s about evolution.

Working life has pulled a massive U-turn with The Internet and other pixelated goods that mean we can sit in the tinned goods aisle of Tesco if we choose and still make shit happen.

We’re pushing for someone being judged on their ability to produce good work not sit on a chair past 6pm. That’s a win-win for employee and employer: in most cases, flexible working means happier staff, lower costs and greater productivity.

Suggest a trial period of flexible working and measure the results. Hard facts can’t be argued with. If you’re delivering the same, or more, then it’s working. If it doesn’t work out and you can’t hack it any longer, take a look at flexible and part-time jobsite Timewise or the flexible courses offered by Digital Mums.

It’s a people issue, not a ‘mummy wanting to see more of her little one’ sitch

The words ‘flexible working’ have been tacked to parents. Life is messy and whether you’re a (single) mum, dad, carer or someone who just needs Friday mornings off to slap some paint on a canvas, flexible working is about getting the best from each individual – ‘individual’ here is key. The one rule for everyone has to go – salaries and skills aren’t the same across the board, and how you work shouldn’t be either.

The business case for flexible working

Save rent
For most businesses, the two main costs are people and property. Flexible working lets employers lower the latter. Lambeth Council claims it will save £4.5 million per year in property running costs by making sure that no more than 60% of its staff are in at one time.

Attract talent
Some 30% of the UK’s working population (8.7 million people) wants flexible working but doesn’t have it, yet only 6% of advertised jobs with a salary above £20,000 actually offer it.

Retain talent
It costs more than £5,000 to hire a new employee in the UK. When you add costs associated with getting the newbie up to speed that cost exceeds£30,000, arbitration service Acas recently reported, and more than £35,000, according to analysts CEBR. In it’s 2012 study, HR institute the CIPD found that 76% of employers saw staff retention improve when they offered flexible working.

Improve productivity
This argument has become as undeniable as the case for climate change: 81% of senior managers believe flexible working improves productivity. Three in five people who work flexibly put in more hours as a result of being allowed to do so. Another report found that 72% of businesses reported increased productivity as a direct result of flexible working.

This is not a movement, we’re simply about moving. It’s about keeping the conversation going. If you have experience in HR you could bring to the table or are a business struggling to make flexible working actually work, then please get in touch. We want to hear from both sides of the PAYE coin.

Let’s talk about flex, baby.

Written by: 

Anna Whitehouse Mother Pukka

motherpukka.com
instagram.com/mother_pukka
twitter.com/mother_pukka
facebook.com/motherpukka

 

 


 Originally published on 01.12.16

Meet the London Mother

Meet Mads Panchoo, founder and editor of The London Mother (a lifestyle and parenting magazine for Londoners).

Mads started The London Mother (formerly The London Mummy Blog) back in 2014 and its continued popularity amongst parents led to a rebrand last year. It has become a destination website to discover top tips for families living in and visiting the capital. A place to get money-saving tips and read articles by a range of professional including doctors, teachers and authors. The next big project that Mads is working on is producing a TV series about social media and parenting – something we’re equally excited about!

the london mother logo

We asked Mads to tell us her story and share her digital tips for aspiring bloggers.

Tell us about yourself

I’ve worked in marketing and PR my whole career for brands as varied as Universal Pictures (which didn’t feel like work – we were paid to watch films and scripts – terrible pay but so much fun) to serious financial PR for a large multi-national FTSE 100 company. I’ve always loved writing so after the birth of kid 2, I decided to take the leap into freelancing. I set up the blog as a side-hustle when I was writing for HELLO! Magazine Online but never thought that it could lead to anything. Suddenly brands were wanting to work with me and a quick rebrand and relaunch later, I’m doing it full-time.

How has digital technology and social media changed the way you work?

I think coming from a PR/marketing background has really helped, lots of the companies I worked for were early adopters of digital technologies so I worked from home even before I was working for myself and used social media at work so it was easy to start using them to launch and market my own brand. Digital technology means I can and do work from anywhere in the world – my living room, the beach – you name it, I’ve probably worked from there. On the ‘downside’ it gets hard to ‘switch’ off when your phone equals your living!

What are your top tips for creating a successful blog

Don’t recreate the wheel
Look at the competition in your niche and who you want to be. Aim high. So if you want to be a fashion writer, look at the fashion bloggers with a similar audience to you. Then look at Anna Wintour. What do they do well, not so well? What was Anna’s journey? Be inspired, improve on what they offer and add your unique spin. The hardest part is knowing where to start. Start there.

You are your own PR
Unless you can afford to appoint someone (and if you can – yay) you have to be the PR department for your brand. Don’t spend all your time writing – do the PR. Guest blog, attend events with your business card, work with bloggers in your niche, know your niche inside and out.

Learn the business of blogging (or your online brand)
Everything you need to know is inside Google. Spend less time writing and more time learning sales and marketing.

Mads is following…

patricia bright

 

 

 

 

Patricia Bright: You Tube star who knows her business inside and out.

the inside edit

 

 

 

 

Leti from The Inside Edit (a fellow Londoner)

manrepeller

 

 

 

 

Man Repeller and Into the Gloss for how they’ve turned their blogs into global brands

into the gloss

 

 

 

 

Mads’s work…

thelondonmother.net
instagram.com/thelondonmother
twitter.com/thelondonmother
facebook.com/thelondonmother
pinterest.com/thelondonmother