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To Niche Or Not To Niche, That Is The Question?

You hear the advice all of the time, you must niche, you must niche in order to succeed! Now, I am no marketing expert and I do completely get why, we “should” do this, but let’s explore both sides to the argument. I can almost feel the marketing experts seething at the teeth and shaking their heads, no no no, don’t listen, it will end in failure. Maybe it will but maybe it won’t! The problem I have as a Life Coach is that I spend a lot of my time asking this question to my clients, “who says you should?” Should’ing yourself can promote an awful lot of guilt and anguish and if you find yourself telling yourself, “I should do this because they said I should”, then maybe it’s time to follow your own internal advice and believe in your own way forward.

The online dictionary defines Niche as: denoting or relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialised selection of the population.

So, why should we niche? It’s all about knowing your ideal customer and your target market, so you can talk directly to them. Makes a lot of sense and one I don’t disagree with. Of course, you need to know who your target market is but the big piece of the puzzle we don’t often hear is, do you know where to find them? do you know what marketing arena they will be hanging out in? Once you know this you can target your product or service directly to your people. You can have different services and a different marketing strategy for each one.

The big problem I have with niche’ing is I don’t want to spend my days supporting just one type of person( no matter how much I love it). I am not passionate and knowledgeable about just one thing. I am passionate and knowledgeable about a lot of things and having to chose one area just does not sit right with me. Now again, I can hear the critics saying, but people want experts and experts they shall seek. Maybe, some potential customers will seek out an “expert” a “guru” a “leading light” but that will certainly come at a price and let me tell you, that doesn’t make them any better. Pricing, I will come onto shortly but let’s stay with the expert discussion for now. I know that I am not alone, I know that many of us are multi skilled, multi talented and can transfer skills from one situation to another. Why quash your passions, your skills, your desires because someone says you should. Why hold yourself back for a select few, when you can support and provide for the masses!

Now, back to pricing. The advice is right that the more “super niche’d” you are the more you can charge. But, I think this debate comes down to your values, your guiding principles, your mission statement. Do you feel comfortable and happy charging a small fortune to the select few? if yes, then great stuff and super niche away. If no, then what would make you happy and how can you achieve that?

The moral of this blog is that there is no right or wrong approach. There is no one size fits all and that comes down to the simple fact that we are human beings driven by love and security. Didn’t we all become business owners for those reasons? To love what we do and provide an income to feed us, to protect us, to provide shelter. I sense, Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs prompting me here 🙂

Ask yourself this:

Do I understand what my vision and values are?

Do I know my target market and where to find them?

Can I be courageous, stand up and be heard? (You may have the best product in the world, but if no one can hear you, you won’t be found).

Do I believe in myself and allow my passions to shine?

Whatever path you take or are on, I wish you well. There are 7.53 billion people in this world. That’s enough customers to go round, that’s enough to know you won’t please or appeal to everyone. That’s enough to surely allow yourself to love what you do and the way that you do it.

Daniela Stones is a Life Coach, Hypnotherapist and soon to be Counsellor. She supports and nurtures people with their business, with their health, with their family and with their soul. Contact her today for more information. info@danielastones.co.uk or 07948 685680

 

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The Importance of having Boundaries as an Independent Business Owner

Are you an independent business owner stressed and rapidly losing the love for your business? Then setting yourself boundaries is a must. So, what do I mean by boundaries I hear you say. Well, boundaries are a bit like having your own personal set of rules and regulations. For some professions such as counselling, boundaries are a fundamental part of our ethical guidelines. Put in place to protect us, the professional from burn out and also our customers from misleading services and relationships.

Let’s take some time to imagine a business owner without boundaries. This business owner is working every hour god sends and saying yes to every customer. Their customers are demanding the world and the separation between business and life is a blur. Their feeling fed up, panicked and completely overwhelmed. Now, I know what some of you are thinking, “but, I need to work this way to get enough money to survive.” I do get that, when I first started my business, I was in complete panic mode and said yes to everything and everybody. It was no surprise then, that very soon I was exhausted and actually doubting that I had done the right thing. I started searching for “real” jobs and was ready to give it all up within 4 months. My reasons for running my own business had not turned into reality. I know i’m not alone, the majority of my clients say that one of their top reason’s for going self employed was the flexibility that it was supposed to give them and their family. Another reason is that they want to be doing something that they love but they are actually resenting it already.

If you are feeling stressed, burnt out, overwhelmed and disappointed of the promised magic that working for yourself brings, then have a go at setting yourself some boundaries.

Start with being really clear about when and where you want to work. Devise yourself a working rota. Ask yourself these questions:

  • what days do I want to work?
  • What times do I want to work?
  • When am I prepared to respond to customer queries?
  • Where do I want to work?
  • When will I exercise, self care, meditate?

The other thing you may find helpful is to do this exercise alongside your business plan. That way you can account for the fact that in the beginning you may need a very quick cash injection. If money is tight, then you may need to set longer working hours in the beginning until cash flow becomes constant and perhaps you can then outsource some of your roles to others. Be realistic about how long things take to grow and if you have a family does this working rota marry up with your family vision? If not, are you willing to sacrifice that for now or do you need to make your timelines longer to achieve that vision? Remember though that if you are stressed and frazzled your customers will pick up on that and the money will stop flowing, people just wont want to work with you. What you put out, you will get back.

The use of a contract, T&C’s or agreement is another great way to set your boundaries and to help you be clear with your customers around, when they can contact you, how and when they need to pay, what they do if they have a complaint and what services they can expect from you. The best advice is to take your client through your contract, that way you know they’ve read it and any questions can be answered then and there. You will feel so much more in control and empowered knowing that all expectations have been set and agreed.

Now let’s imagine your own business, where you are working the hours you want to work. Time for other things in your life, time for you to recover, stay strong and love what you do. This will give you strength, focus, clarity and energy that is essential to allow you and your business to flourish. What boundaries do you need to install to achieve your vision?

Boundaries are just setting your expectations with yourself and your customers and also checking they align to your vision and timelines. If your feeling stressed, overworked and frazzled, give it a go, it may be just what you need.

Daniela Stones is a Life Coach, Hypnotherapist and soon to be Counsellor, specialising in supporting Independent Business Owners to overcome the pain, fears and self sabotage and emerge as thriving, happy and successful beings!

Contact me today for a free, no obligation chat, to see if I’m the support you need. Call me on 07948 685680 or email at info@danielastones.co.uk

 

How my need for routine stopped me in my tracks

running-498257_1280I’m a busy Mum to six year old twins still learning to juggle everything at once. I was becoming really frustrated with one of my goals that I just could not move forward on. I want to get fit, healthy and toned for me but also for my kids. As they grow at the speed of light, I find it harder to keep up and almost impossible to pick them up now. I’m also really aware that I’m an older Mum who just wants to live as long as I can, and be there for them for as long as I possibly can.

My motivation was there and I had a plan. A plan I thought was realistic and achievable, but oh no it wasn’t. what I hadn’t even realised was, that my need for routine just stops me in my tracks if I can’t find a routine. I wanted so badly to follow my plan and exercise on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday, fits in perfectly and to me looks and sounds just perfect. But life, or my life anyway just doesn’t work like that. Kids sickness, clients, deadlines, events and more just make it impossible for me to find a routine.

I had a breakthrough whilst on holiday, time out to reflect and to re-evaluate. I was actually thinking about some of my clients and their blockers when it suddenly dawned on me what mine was. My need for routine was so bad it was stopping me from doing any exercise at all, nada, zilch, nothing. Just that realization has allowed me to start moving again. I exercise when I can now and do whatever I can. Some days I can only fit in a short brisk walk and other days I can make it to a class. My new motto is “anything is better than Nothing” and so far its working a treat.

If your stuck and struggling to achieve something visit http://www.danielastones.co.uk for more information.

How my own fertility journey, inspired me to support others.

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How my own fertility journey, inspired me to support others.
So here I am almost 7 years after my twins were born telling my story of how they came to be here. What was supposed to be the happiest and most magical experience of my life actually was seriously difficult, traumatic, hard work and downright unnatural!

I had always wanted children but for me I just didn’t meet Mr Right until much later in life. As it transpired he wasn’t Mr Right after all, but that’s a completely different story!

So at the age of 37 I got married and we started trying for children straight away. I was desperate by this stage. we fell pregnant really quickly and the excitement, joy and happiness began to build. Unfortunately, at 12 weeks I began to bleed slightly and we rushed to hospital to be told to go home and rest and come back on Monday. I felt desperate, confused and I had no idea why this was happening. I remember taking myself straight to bed and praying and praying that everything was going to be ok. It wasn’t long before the crippling pains in my stomach began and it just seemed to go on and on and on………the bleeding got heavier and heavier and I knew in my heart of hearts that I had lost this beautiful baby.

It’s really weird but up until my miscarriage I had never really understood just how common miscarriages are. It’s estimated around a quarter of a million pregnancies end in miscarriage every year in the UK. I really thought it would never happen to me and I was so angry with myself as I thought I had clearly done something wrong. I understand now that it was nature’s way of taking my baby as it just wasn’t healthy enough in some way to survive, but that took a long time to accept that.

We had to wait a long time before we could try again as my body was still thinking it was pregnant. Every week I had to traipse to the hospital for a blood test and be told every week it was positive!! There were times when I thought the scans were wrong and I believed that I was still pregnant, that seriously messed up my head! Eventually the hospital decided to carry out a D&C and I had the all clear to start trying again.

But BAM, this time we didn’t fall pregnant. Every month at the beginning of my cycle I would be super positive and really happy that this was going to be the month. “This is it”, I would say and then after day 14, I would get more down and obsessed with looking out for every sign, anything to give me hope that this was the month. But, that sign never came and eventually I took myself off to the Dr’s for the dreaded tests. We both had to be prodded, poked and pricked and I was told my FSH levels were very high. I must admit I didn’t really understand what that all meant but now I get that I was going through premature menopause. My consultant explained it meant I had very few eggs left but IVF could be an option but may not be successful. I do recall a faint mumbled message that egg donation may be my only chance. My brain was screaming at me to do IVF, “I must have my own children” was repeated and repeated through my head over and over again. I just couldn’t stop the obsession no matter how hard I tried.

I think I basically forced my consultant to do IVF and so that ordeal began. I started the medication, stabbing my tummy every day. Scan days would come and it was not positive at all, “there are no eggs, I’m afraid, Mrs Stones” the treatment was stopped and I was told the only chance I had was egg donation. I couldn’t bear it, I didn’t accept it and I certainly wasn’t going to give up. I scoured the internet for the magic potion or pill that would give me my own children, I tried, acupuncture, reflexology, massages, aromatherapy, I changed my diet, I increased my exercise and I even tried a natural IVF cycle to absolutely no avail. I can’t tell you how many pregnancy tests I did in that time but the positive result I so badly yearned for never showed.

One day I was talking to a lovely lady I knew and I was telling her about my fertility issue. She mentioned to me, that her own children, were egg donation children. I could not believe it. I would never have guessed in a million years that they were not her own biological children. I was gob smacked and then a new hope grew within me.

So the next journey began and we started to explore egg donation. We found a fantastic group called the Donor Conception network and we attended a 2-day workshop with them. By day one, I knew this was it and I had to get on with it. The obsession began again; the impatience took over. This time though within 6 months, I was lying on a hospital bed having 2 beautiful embryos being transplanted into my womb.

Well you know my story has a beautiful ending, but I am also acutely aware this happy ending doesn’t happen for everyone. My advice to anyone going through fertility issues of any kind is to look after your mental and emotional wellbeing as well as yourself physically. Hindsight is such a marvellous thing, but looking back I can see now that I was an emotional wreck throughout the process. I didn’t allow myself anytime to grieve for the loss of my first baby and I certainly didn’t allow myself the opportunity to grieve for the fact that I could never have children of my own. I had become depressed and anxious about the whole situation and I hadn’t even realised. That is never a good concoction for nurturing a healthy and fertile body and mind.

Making the decision to share my own story has brought up a mass of emotions for me to deal with. The biggest one was that I knew I had to tell my children about their story and I just couldn’t do it. I am divorced now and I had always imagined that conversation would be had with all four of us sat down together. The thought of telling them on my own scared me senseless but I eventually summoned the courage and we had the conversation. The great news of course is, that I had nothing to fear, my children are my children through and through, they feel it a billion % and so do I.

Its 10 years since my fertility journey began and since then I have retrained and now specialise in fertility support for other women. My aim is to help women maintain a calm and positive mind-set through their own journey with the use of Hypnotherapy and Coaching. I work with women to reduce stress and anxiety, unblock any fears, feel back in control, maintain a positive and healthy mind-set, process loss and explore other options in a safe and non-judgemental space. Research shows that women with high levels of stress, have lower levels of egg production by up to 20% compared to women who were less stressed and 20% less likely to achieve egg fertilisation. Another study shows that infertile women utilizing mind/body techniques such as hypnosis boosted their chances of conception by up to 50%.**

If any of the above has resonated with you, please do get in touch on 07948 685680. http://www.danielastones.co.uk
** contact me for the study details.