Terrified

I am in turmoil right now. It’s been a month since I finished work and now it’s crunch time. I have to get my business off the ground, have to sell myself, have to make money. And I’m terrified. Terrified that I won’t be able to do it.

I’m so happy and relaxed not going to work every day and that I was able to spend Easter with the kids without complicated childcare arrangements and feeling like I was missing out. But in the back of my mind, it’s nagging away at me. I have to earn money.

I’ve done the easy wins, the bits I can do, the bits in my comfort zone – I have a website, a Twitter account and a Google+ account, so I at least look professional. I’m confident in my abilities to do the work, but I just don’t know how to find it.

I’m angry and snappy because I’m so frightened. We have a big house and a big mortgage and I need to make a contribution. But I want more than that, I want the new ensuite and the new kitchen and that’s even more money we don’t have. And, if I’m honest, I want an iPhone 5. I know, materialistic, but there you go. I only want a second hand one, but even they cost a lot. I have redundancy money, but I can’t justify throwing it away on a new phone when I’m not bringing anything in.

I’m not being very nice to my husband. I want his help, but sometimes he doesn’t have time to help and sometimes he gives me the wrong help. He tells me what I should write in an email and how I should address it personally. I know all that. That’s already in my head. I’m perfectly capable of emailing and writing and saying the right thing, but I’ve worked in a council all my life. I know nothing of of business and how to sell myself. My website, which might look acceptable to me as a blogger and ‘communications professional’ (for that is what I am) might not look right to the big, bad world of business out there.

I want work to fall in my lap. I want someone to come along and give me 10 hours work for them every week at £25 an hour, but I know that isn’t going to happen. I have a plan to offer to support schools for a tiny retainer. I’m going to need an awful lot of those tiny retainers to earn anything like a salary. And how do I even know the schools will want my help?

So I feel like running away. I throw myself into the things I know – housework and blogging. Because I can do those. Hey, I might not have any clients or any jobs, but haven’t I tidied the kitchen nicely and I’ve done three loads of washing today. Oooh, and I’ve written a lovely blogpost on Snowdon and taken some nice pictures of flowers. Because if I keep plugging away with my blog that might make me money. Right? Right?

No it won’t. Yeah, I know it makes other people money, but not me. MADs finalist two years running and inside the Tots 100 top 100 and I have done a total of four sponsored posts and three paid reviews in nearly three years. The last one I did was in SEPTEMBER last year. I’m not turning down opportunities, they’re not even coming my way.

Blogging is my comfort zone. I love doing it and I spend hours on it, but I have to step away from it. I have to face my fears. I have to communicate with people, I have to big myself up, I have to sell myself, I have to make money.

And I’m terrified.

 

 

Author: Sarah Mummy

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68 Comments

  1. And I have absolutely no words of advice because I don’t know how to either! I would ideally like to do this too but am too scared so will sit in my comfort zone for just a little bit longer 😉 I was once told to go along to networking meetings and sell yourself as a copywriter – get business cards to say as much and request a slot to ‘present’. Worth a try? Perhaps ask Jess at Catch a Single Thought, I think she’s doing this 🙂 Good luck! x

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    • Thanks very much, Suzanne. That’s something I’ve thought about, but haven’t even researched them yet as I’m so scared! Jess is my inspiration. It’s good to know another blogger has taken the leap and is now very busy.

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  2. Scary stuff,as someone who makes very little from blogging I can relate to this a little bit, in that it does get to a point when you sit down and think – hang on I’m spending so many hours doing this when actually I could be earning an income and contributing to the household financially. It’s really easy to get immersed on the online and lose touch with the offline. I wish had some good words of advice xx

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    • Thanks very much, Mammasaurus. It is difficult to know how much time spent on blogging is the right amount of time – probably less than I’m currently spending! It sometimes feels like I’m the only one not earning from it, but I guess that’s not true. x

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  3. I understand exactly how you feel but the key is to be pro-active. You need to get yourself out there and offer free guest posts if necessary to begin with. Look at local papers and see if you can contribute for free, it might lead to something. Sign up to people per hour and start bidding for jobs. Looks for bigger sites that accept guest contributors. The work is there and you will get it. I have faith in you x

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    • Thanks very much, Nikki, I really appreciate that. I emailed the paper a couple of weeks ago – they didn’t get back to me! Onwards and upwards… x

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  4. I think you’re so brave. I agree with joining local business networks, not just for contacts, but for support.

    Your local council and small business federation might have free courses and workshops too.

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    • Thanks very much, Liz. I need to do a lot more research!

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  5. I can totally relate to this, I set up the Lilypad in an effort to escape the rat race but it’s goddam hard work and people don’t always realise that. I found myself seemingly working longer hours than when I worked full time, it took a while to get there but it was worth it in the end, I promise xxx

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    • That’s really reassuring, Donna, thanks. I don’t mind the long hours because I can work early morning or late at night if needs be. I am determined not to go back to commuting and worrying about childcare over school holidays!

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  6. I too am about to go my own way with this – maybe we need a little consortium where we can offer more cross-country coverage xxx Good luck – I have no words of other advice at the moment but please, please do email me if there is a way we can share skills/knowledge/frustrations together x

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    • That sounds good, Jenny, thanks, I will. And likewise! Would be helpful to know we can refer clients to others and they can do the same for us. x

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  7. I have often felt terrified during my business career when faced with something new but have generally found it to be helpful providing the burst of adrenaline needed to summon up latent skills and to push myself forward. You obviously have all the skills needed to succeed in your chosen field, now you just need to get out there and sell yourself. Forget about the letters and emails, go out and knock on doors. You will probably be turned down flat by the majority of people you talk to but it only needs one ‘yes’ to get you started. Keep in your mind that you’re doing this for your children as that will bring out the killer instinct.
    Believe in yourself -if you can look after a family then everything else is easy! Good luck x

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    • Thanks very much, Frazzled Mum. Knocking on doors terrifies me, but I’m so determined not to go back to travelling to work every day and worrying about childcare in the school holidays, that I will give it a go!

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  8. My only piece of advice is to get yourself out there, build up a portfolio of work on different sites (more than happy to have you over on mine) this way clients will have an idea of your work and how you adapt for different sites etc. Other than that a reassuring hug heading your way.

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    • Thanks very much, Boo Roo and Tigger too. That makes a lot of sense!

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    • Thank you, Kim, that’s a lovely thing to say 🙂

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  9. It does take time to build a good profile and a base and fall Into a good routine with it all. Esrpcially as something like this is about building relationships. My advice is the following:

    Join Facebook groups like blogger PR, blogsRus, all your regional ones, mumsnet groups as they have opportunities around PR contacts, sponsored posts, and just review opportunities.

    Mail back any PR related emails you get that interest you and suggest things you can do for them.

    Comment on reviews a a lot especially the ones you actually want to review. I have got 3 amazing things out of doing this

    Search twitter for pR, people looking for copywriters and mail them with your media pack.

    Create a media pack

    Get Google Adsense. It’s a bit pants but brings in a few pounds a month at least.

    Ermmmm I’ll have another think but hope that helps the tiniest bit at least

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    • That’s fantastic, thank you so much. I actually know so little about networking in the business sense, although I always enjoy a good chat with people!

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  10. OMG! YOu wrote how Im feeling. These are my reasons why I want to go back home. I feel that i am not helping financially and its eating me and the only place where I know I can get ajob is at home (Philippines). This had cause a rift between me & hubby and we are still in it. There are things that I want do & buy and I dont have the power to do it cuz I dont have any money. Now I am … we are on this … cold war and its not pretty. We are only together I think cuz of our son. We can of course heal this. But I know its not going to be soon. I can so get your fear cuz ive been living in that fear since I can remember. =(

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    • Merlinda I am so sorry to read that. I really hope you can work through it. What would happen to your son if you were to go home. We have to remember that, even if we’re not making a financial contribution, we’re making a really valuable one in terms of caring for kids – which is also taking pressure of out husbands. x

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      • I just really want to help my husband as he is working 2 jobs and is zombie like almost everyday. If he wont work 2 jobs were not going to survive. But I think you are right. I have never seen someone who are more in love with his than my husband. Good luck to us then?

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  11. Absolutely no words of advice I’m afraid as this is what I want to do; I hate being reliant on the state even if I am too ill to go “out” to work. It’s worth having a look at PPH even if they are dirt low payment as you will then get endorsed which will lead to more work.

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    • Thanks, Mummy Glitzer. I have applied for a couple of jobs on PPH now and had to lower my expectations completely! Some are too low to even consider – 10 400 word articles for £40?! No way.

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  12. I’m afraid I can’t really offer any advice, but you’ve had some great tips above. I also love blogging and was sort of thinking that I could make some sort of income from it, but it’s not happening while I sit around and wait. I do an occasional sponsored post, and then feel bad because I hate how it looks on my blog and so I have to write more posts to hide it. But I don’t really have the time to commit to it all at the moment.

    I did start a second blog a year or two back where I put some sponsored content, but then of course that’s just another thing to keep up with which doesn’t bring in much compared to the amount of time that I spend on it, especially as you have to get it up to a certain level (PR etc.) before people want to offer you posts!!

    Good luck 🙂

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    • Thanks very much, Jennifer. It seemed like such a good idea to have that extra freedom and not be tied to annual leave requirements and work hours, but the reality is scary!
      I know what you mean about wanting to hide sponsored posts – even when they’re done really well, they still don’t feel right. As I say, I’ve only done four of them anyway. My problem with picking up payment on my blog is that I have a PR of 0. Add that to the fact that my kids are older and I’ve got no chance! So I need to find ways of earning outside of the blog.

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  13. Thanks, Izzie! Now I’m sat here I know it’s not easy, but I’m so determined not to go back to commuting and missing out on all the school holidays.

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  14. Hi there, finding your post couldn’t have come at a more poignant time for me. I literally told my boss I’m handing in my notice about 20mins ago with no plan of what I will do after those three months.

    There are things I’d like to do but either cost or time prevent them.

    So, I’m no facing the prospect of looking for a new job. A job what doesn’t require me to drive for hours and hours each day, a job that doesn’t come with a laptop and phone and a job where I work less than 12hrs a day ideally.

    Good luck to you. I’ll be reading your blog with interest from now on Cx

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    • Well done to you, Caroline! When I handed in my form for voluntary redundancy my smile was the biggest it had been in months and I’ve never regretted it. I’m lucky I have redundancy money while I get myself going. Watch this space and good luck to you!

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  15. It will come. Try not to panic. It does take time. But it will come I promise. Off to give you some less public advice now 🙂

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    • Thank you for that lovely advice (and the less public advice!).

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  16. Well done for not running (as we all know what a fab runner you are too). i’m sure more will come now that you have more time. That’s the thing I find, you always have to be “on it” otherwise the opportunities go away. Even just having an Easter break I’m finding I have less e-mails coming in. You can do it, and you have plenty of friends to help support you.

    Best of luck in this your new phase 🙂

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    • Thanks, Pinkoddy! I know the blogging community is supportive, but I’ve been quite overwhelmed by the support today 🙂

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  17. Hope that you find the work you want Sarah – it’s never easy knowing where your next payment will come from, but keep at it, there are ways to make money freelance – Peoples Per Hour may seem like it is a lot for nothing but I have found a lot of clients there, and the work has continued into bigger things even from what appeared to be ‘cheap’ jobs initially. Respond to the proposals in a real life friendly manner – included a phone number where people can ring you too – that often helps, and often they will not be expecting as much as you think for the price – and will be willing to work outside of PPH for continued work with larger payments. Good Luck

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    • Thanks, Sarah. That’s really helpful. I’ve applied for a couple of things on PPH so far but not heard back. Good tip about the phone number and good to know it can lead to bigger and better things.

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  18. That’s bizarre. I get offered sponsored posts constantly – and yet I am one of the few who don’t do them. I assumed I get offered them so much because my blog isn’t full of them, yet clearly yours isn’t either.
    Everything new is scary, we move out of our comfort zone and feel a need to prove to ourselves and others that we made the right decision. Look at how you are, your kids and your partner, and as long as there are improvements there – less stress, more time as a family or couple etc, then you’re winning already 🙂
    Best of luck with getting work!

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    • Thanks very much, Jenny. I think part of the reason I don’t get many sponsored post offers is that I have older kids and the whole world of parent blogging seems to be geared towards babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers.

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  19. Having set myself up in business 3 times (twice in France and once in the UK) I can relate to all of the above. But you CAN do it, I know you can! Read the book “Feel the fear and do it anyway” as it’s a great book to give you a boost when you’re feeling afraid about the next step. And I’m more than happy to give you tips on what helped/helps me if you want – send me an email if you want (email is on my contact page). So proud of you for getting this far already, you’re amazing and don’t forget it!

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    • Really appreciate that, Franglaise Mummy, such a lovely thing to say. I’m going to get that book!

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  20. Anyone would be terrified! You will be fantastic, just turn the fear into excitement and you’ll be on your way! xx

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    • Thanks, WallyMummy! I started out with excitement, but now it’s turned to fear. I just need to turn it back the other way now!

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  21. People always ask me why I don’t do what you’re doing, but the people who suggest it are those who don’t know how many other people are also doing it. I’m not the sort of person to go and look for help/work, so good on you for making the positive leap. You’ll get there, and get used to doing it.

    Might be worth asking some local publishing companies. When I was made redundant a friend mentioned someone she knew who uses freelancers – who write, but aren’t necessarily hot on the digital side of things. I did some copyediting work for her, and there was potential for more work (although I then got my current role). So there is stuff out there.

    Join local networking pages on places like Facebook – our area has business advertising pages, and networking that goes on all the time, so your services could be required there to build up a portfolio.

    Good luck with it

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    • Thanks, Emma, so good tips there! I hadn’t thought about publishing companies. It does scare me that I know there are an awful lot of people out there doing it.
      My husband had been trying to persuade me to do it for years and I wasn’t ready, but I was left with no choice but to take redundancy and I knew I didn’t want to go through looking for another job where I wouldn’t be happy and the hours wouldn’t be flexible.

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  22. Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask friends, ask other bloggers, ask contacts you have and ask the universe, because…I am not religious but I do find when I put what I want out there in words or pictures, it comes my way sooner or later. Doesn’t work for iphone 5s especially well, but never say never!

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    • Thanks, Penny! I’m in awe at how much advice I’ve been given over the past couple of days – and it’s all been helpful! That’s without even asking, just writing this post. I think I’ll have to hang on for the iPhone 5 though! 😉

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  23. I’m new to blogging so have no advice but can wish you loads of luck. It’s only been a month, and you’ve had Easter holidays in that time so be gentle on yourself – you haven’t had time to give your new life a proper chance yet and hopefully all the tips above will give you some direction for your next steps. If you can achieve the great success of two MADS finalist places and a TOTS100 position, I am sure you have what it takes to make this work. Being able to make connections is a very valuable skill. Best of luck!

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    • Thank you very much! You’re right, I haven’t really had time to do anything with the school holidays.

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  24. Good luck with it all! I suspect there is no magic bullet but one thing that does seem to help is if you can find a niche you feel passionate about – and enjoy! What about making blog buttons for people for a small fee? Or designing a button for their link ups? I know what I do for Food on Friday is very amateurish!

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  25. I wake up sometimes and feel sick with the thought of my future. But you have to push those thoughts away and believe in yourself. It’s the only way to do it and ironically the worry stops you from trying (it does me anyway.) for what it’s worth, I advise making a list of small local businesses you know or have experience of using, check them out for social media and see how they use it. Then approach businesses that look like they might need some help. The trick is finding ones that are open to the idea-many businesses believe that if they have an FB or a Twitter account but don’t use it, that’s still enough. And therefore won’t commit a budget for hiring a freelance. Be patient too, it takes time and mistakes are made but you learn from them and pick yourself up to try again.
    Oh, and get involved in local Twitter chats for small businesses and keep doing what you’re doing-build online relationships. People are more likely to use someone they know.
    I hope this helps a little and sorry if it’s been obvious advice too. If I can help at all, do let me know.

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    • Thanks for taking the time to write this, Iona. I really do appreciate it. Everyone seems to have come up with different helpful advice, so there’s loads for me to try out over the next few weeks.

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  26. You see, I read this and just focus on all your fantastic achievements (not least having a tidy kitchen and all the washing done!) and think ‘Wow, she has it totally sussed’ . I can understand that feeling of being all at sea – I left my job a few years back in a bit of a whirlwind, and am still figuring it out day by day – but it’s been so refreshing to read something so honest, which kind of sums up how I feel a little too. I wish you every luck, and for everything that you wish for yourself xx

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  27. Firstly well done for the clean kitchen and washing more than I achieve most days!
    I can’t imagine how you must be feeling and I have no advice for you but I wish you all the best x

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  28. I have a different type of business from you but I set up when childcare was an issue and just started small and went from there.

    Try and set up a spreadsheet with all the great ideas in the comments and start doing them – one thing at a time. Start with small steps.
    Do you have your website set up yet – pop a link in your post so we can take a look ?

    Set up a page on your website as a showcase of your work on other sites and blogs to show off what you can do . This is the first thing I look for if looking at a freelancers site. Get some positive feedback comments as well.

    I would also give a basic outline of some prices as well so I would know what to expect for a blog post or managing twitter etc.
    Good luck x

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  29. Setting up your own business isn’t easy. But you know what to do you just need to go out there and do it. Theres no two ways about it. Just swallow up all that fear and terror and use it to build strength in yourself to succeed! #Sharewithme x

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  30. You will get there, always takes a little while to get the ball rolling! I hugely sympathise, I went self employed in the middle of Decemeber, have just done my ‘accounts’ for my tax return, and I earnt a little over £500, which is better than nothing, but hardly a proper wage! I think once you get your first couple of clients it will get so much easier – good luck xxxx

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  31. Hi Sarah – I would say feeling terrified is a good sign you are getting your act together – though I know that feeling safe in your comfort zone is a much cosier place to be!

    There are lots of sites with good advice and recommendations out there – just find one that suits you and take in the ideas to help get you sorted process-wise.

    You have a great writing style and your personality comes across well in your content – all you are missing is the process and approach of how to get into some work – and that can be learnt.

    A couple of sites to kick you off – http://freelanceparents.co.uk/ and http://www.emmacossey.com/ might inspire you.

    Wishing you all the best with your new work, look forward to hearing more about it in due course.

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  32. Awww hunnie, i can feel your turmoil just by your words. I personally don’t have any experience in this, but my partner is self employed and has been for some years now since he was made redundant from the Council Housing department. It was very hard at the beginning and he literally worked 24/7 we hardly ever saw him or spent time together as a family, eventually he found a contract and now he has guaranteed work for at least 40 hours a week with the option for more.
    The only thing i can think of is maybes if you use your blog as an advertiser for your new site??? link it up, write posts about it and include relevant links, contact info etc… I wish i could suggest more x

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  33. I know how scary it is to go self employed and it can be very stressful, don’t worry though it will all come together in the end 🙂 #sharewithme

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  34. I currently feel the same. Never had a paid post, and now im on maternity leave, i am desperate for just ONE measly opportunity to arise… I wearily await.

    popped over from #sharewithme would love if you came and said Hi! x carsonsmummy.blogspot.co.uk

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  35. Ahh I understand exactly how you feel. It’s hard to hit the ground running. As long as you put your time in and efforts things will start to happen. Effort and flow and watch it grow. It takes time. You are doing amazing just taking that leap. Life without risk you wouldn’t get anywhere. keep the blog on the side so you can vent and get advice it can be your outlet everyone needs one. Don’t sell yourself too short either. If you got this far then it’s in you deep inside. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me and introducing me to your fabulous blog! Hope to see you again soon. #sharewithme

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  36. Well look what an inspirational post you’ve written about your perceived ‘failure’!! In other words so many in the same boat but feeling let cut adrift as a result of your honesty. Like me.

    I don’t have a clue sorry, but on the Britmums site you can ask to be linked to sponsors here (1) : http://www.britmums.com/britmumslive/getting-sponsored/ and a how to make money page here (2) : http://www.britmums.com/category/howtos/money-howtos/

    I think as others have said it’s largely a question of confidence and as my nephew put it to me last week, “You know Aunty Jo, most people want to help”
    So ask and you’ll know yourself that you may not mind if people ask you for something. Take a leaf out of your rugby trophy winning son and KEEP GOING X

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  37. I hope you find out whats next for you soon. I’m sending positive vibes your way and lots of luck 🙂 x #sharewithme

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  38. I do feel for you. I have a ‘hit’ list to target business, although I usually only work with 1 or 2 charities at a time. I also do small pieces of ‘pro bono’ work for local organisations, which all helps to increase my profile. I’ve found that social media is not always the most effective way of marketing to prospects, or communicating with clients, and do more and more face to face, using networked contacts. So, yes, local business networking, breakfast meetings, women in business etc, is very useful.

    Of course, I do wear several hats – practice manager, science writer, blogger, artist – sometimes it’s difficult to fit extra paid work in.

    Good luck. Love your WP site and your new biz site. Looking forward to watching you blossom x.

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  39. I wish I had some wonderful advice to offer you, sadly I don’t , but it was so refreshing to read such an honest post. Wishing all the luck in the world in your new venture xx

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  40. OK, this is coming from a complete novice who basically just writes about her son’s addicition to Haribo and how he gets his words mixed up!!! My only advice is use this post as your therapy. You’ve said it, and by writing this you’ve focussed on where your fears are. Now use that and build from it. Why don’t you start locally; local businesses which are family orientated; leisure centres, play centres, museums, etc….. They’ll all have websites so link up. Talk to your local radio station, local paper. You’ve been a finalist 2 years on the row – that’s amazing hun – use it and tell people what you have done. The way I look at it is, starting small can escalate and be a bit like a pyramid, smaller companies will have contacts for bigger companies.
    Like I said, I know nothing but this is what makes sense to me. Hope it’s even a little bit of help. Wishing you al the success in the world as I blinkin’ love your blog xx
    #sharewithme

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  41. Grace & Lucas say – We love your blog and want to give you a XL SUPER MEGA High-5 and say ‘Good Luck’. Remember, if you feel sad, eat some Haribo, they have super powers!!!!! xxxxx #sharewithme

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