Rebecca Catterall (rebeccacatterall.co.uk)
Where Ideas meet Action
Who you are and what you do: Hi, I’m Rebecca and I work with small business owners who are overwhelmed or overworked. I throw amazing ideas around, elbow them into taking action and help them be the best they can in life and business.
I’m pretty down to earth, straight talking and love a bargain. If I can find a way to save money, work around problems, shave off costs, corners or time – I’m up for it. I specialise in generating ideas, storing knowledge, random facts and mundane trivia – I’m like a walking wikipedia.
I have learnt timelord trickery and manage to run my business, manage 7 properties, evade 2 mental cats, run 2 events each week, volunteer with 3 charities and read at least 4 books in a week. I have done battle with depression, ME and a shiny mountain of debt and hold onto my sanity and humour (trust me I’m hilarious) most the time.
Top 3 tips
1. Stop comparing your work, worth and value to everyone else. It will cripple you. You are unique and as long as your ideas, vocation and the value you deliver to your clients makes you happy – then who cares what everyone else is doing/thinking/saying.
2. Don’t be swayed by peer pressure, shiny baubles and pretty marketing. FOMO (fear of missing out) can tie you up in knots and waste your valuable time, money and energy. Learn to step back and assess if things will really help you reach your goals.
3. Make yourself a goal/target. Live it. Make it into a god dang plan. Make the plan into fabulous steps… make yourself accountable to the plan by setting deadlines, targets etc. Check you are in-line with the plan regularly. Everything you do should be with the aim of working towards achieving the plan. Anything else is a distraction.
What advice would you give those just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey from a mindset point of view?
BE POSITIVE. Above all else – you need this. Don’t let other people’s negative opinions or attitudes bring you down. If you are avoiding people, ignoring certain phone numbers, groaning internally when you see certain folks and sighing with relief when the interaction is over – then these people are ones to avoid. This counts for your personal life as well as business.
Look at who you are, your values and beliefs. Look at your business values and objectives. Do they gel with yours or clash. Honestly if you aren’t true to you inner needs you will end up an unhappy bunny. *Speaketh the voice of experience* I once ran a VA company – with a detached, serious, professional, cold feel to it… Unhappiest 4 years I have ever had.
Mind your own business. Again – in life and and business – you don’t need to get dragged into every drama, you don’t need to worry about every single little thing going on around you. You don’t need to control, manage or smooth every problem in the world. Concentrate on what really matters to you. My favourite quote (ok one of millions!) is ‘Not my Circus, not my Monkeys’. When my depression was at it’s worst this kept me going – it reminded me to keep my head down and saved me from taking on more stress and worry.
Perfection. What a crock of… It doesn’t exist. There is no such thing. It’s a charade that will have you chasing it for ever and never quite reaching it leaving you feeling like a failure. There is ‘done’ if you are talking about work/projects. Done is better than perfect… it’s one of the few mantras my nit picking virgo self will chant as I resist ‘just one more tweak’ on my work. As for yourself – no one is perfect – our flaws and differences are what make us the captivating unique creatures that we are. I would rather be happy and healthy than strive for unachievable levels of ‘perfection’.BE POSITIVE...Don’t let other people’s negative opinions or attitudes bring you down. Click To Tweet
What advice would you give from a business strategy perspective?
In short – Have one! Make Plans. Take Steps. Evaluate. Adjust. Repeat.
Business Strategy… I can almost feel your eyelids drooping as you read that. Now I love planning, and ideas and thinking of how to achieve goals and the administration and back office stuff needed for it all. *can you tell I got all excited and dreamy just typing that?*
But putting it into action.. Sheesh. That needs effort, time and some careful planning.
Firstly – let me define what I mean by ‘Business Strategy’ – to me it means you have a long term plan for your business (anything from 5-10 years) – you have aims/goals/dreams. You have planned what direction your business is going in and have made a plan on the steps to get there and how to evaluate how well you are doing. Capische?
Make a business plan – even if it is nothing more than 1 page sketched out on a napkin – it’s better than nothing. On Pinterest I have a board of examples, templates and all sorts of goodies to be pondering on, but honestly keep it simple and don’t get bogged down in the small trivia with it.
Made the plan? Good – check out tip 3 – Having a goal is fabulous. But not planning beyond that on the steps you need to take you forward – will leave you sat there wondering why – in a year’s time – you haven’t really progressed.
When you’ve made a plan – keep coming back to it and monitor regularly how you are doing. With my clients I do mini monthly reviews and each quarter we assess if they are still on track and if we need to tweak our actions – or if the plan itself needs to change – they can do that you know. It’s okay to let your plan evolve as you go along.Make a business plan - even if it is nothing more than 1 page sketched out on a napkin - it’s better than nothing. Click To Tweet
How do you manage your workflow?
I try to have systems for everything – I have ADD and my nature wants me to just skip and frolic from one interesting task to another so I have to have routine and structure or it all goes to pot.
The more I can automate and leave to fend for itself the better. It took some time to set up but it’s all made me much happier than a million things on my to-do list. A lot of these are techy tips – if you aren’t into the tech just get in touch with me as I have various workarounds for clients like you who prefer paper based or dare I say it – android/windows things.. *shudders*
I use Gmail, Google Calendar and Chrome. On my calendar I block out time every week for admin, creating content, chasing up leads (from networking etc), marketing (includes social media/tweeting etc), catching up on new tech/ideas, chill out time, all my appointments also go in – I can add travel time so that gets blocked out as well.
When someone wants to book an appointment with me, check my schedule etc – it can all be done on my website via Vcita. Vcita works with your electronic calendar ensuring that time you have blocked out isn’t offered as available. So no going backwards and forwards with possible meeting dates on emails and texts – I just send a link to my vcita calendar and folks can pick a time and date that’s available within days and times I set for working.
Gmail – I set up an automated response with FAQ etc for when I’m busy or launching. I have a plugin for Gmail called canned response. Which allows me to have templates ready for questions I often receive.
Client intake forms are automatically sent after payments received (I’ve automated Mailchimp to send out a Typeform questionnaire) – saves me time by getting all my client details in one easy form prior to meeting up – so our actual time together isn’t wasted on information gathering. I have all the facts I need prior to meeting and can prepare everything I need in advance.
I scan receipts as I get them and ping them to a VA – she types them up and adds them to a spreadsheet I made for business expenses. Otherwise I wouldn’t get around to doing it for weeks and the screwed up carrier bag of receipts would keep dropping down the list on my things I want to deal with… Like the ironing pile.
I’m in the middle of launching my members club for Wowpreneurs so I’m going through a whole new style of mapping out a workflow for launches – it’s been a steep learning curve and I know for next time – allow longer for the planning and preparation of it, I really hadn’t anticipated all the minutia of details I would need to prepare for it!
On my site I have a treasure trove I call my Toolkit – it lists resources, books, people, apps and all sorts of things I use, love and adore for all manner of tasks – Most the things I use for my workflow are listed within it. Want to know about any other areas I automate with social media, batch preparing my images/posts, finance stuff – then just message me.
What are the benefits of being in a Master Mind?
For me it’s the encouragement, accountability and the drive of my peers that keeps me motivated and gives me strength. I found that at the moment I prefer to work with an informal Mastermind group than some of the more traditional styles. It works better for my personality and at the end of the day – you have to work with your emotions rather than battle them.
Finding a Mastermind that worked for me took a while – it’s like finding the perfect shoes – you don’t just go with the first pair you see and not look at any others. I found a group of local business owners with similar ideals, who were passionate and committed to achieving their goals. We are all equals within the group and I believe that helps a lot – in previous groups I know some members weren’t fully committed to the aims of being in a Mastermind group and it caused friction and negativity within the group. We don’t feel that any one of us are more valuable than others in the group and we feel like we are able to talk openly and honestly without sugar coating issues or pretending everything is wonderful in our little bubble (c’mon who doesn’t try to put on a brave face?).
The group makes me feel like I can take on the world and keeps me all fired up. My friends and family don’t always ‘get’ what I do – let alone understand the ups and downs of running your own business – so having the Mastermind group and other business BFF’s is vital to me. I love having other people who get as excited as me about geeking out over fabulous things like analytics, sales funnels and the beauty of the Divi website theme.
What are the things to avoid (I’m thinking shiny object syndrome – perhaps expanding on the mistakes you made when starting out etc).
When I started out I signed up for EVERY webinar, freebie, training course, group, event about EVERYTHING.. I was so busy just being busy that I wasn’t actually getting anywhere or achieving anything and this went on for nearly 8 months. I literally had to put on blinkers, stick my fingers in my ears and chant “la la la – not listening” to overcome it in the end.
FOMO. It’s evil. I worried if I didn’t read every email to the end, attend every webinar etc that I might miss out on something that could make or break my business. You know – the business I wasn’t committing to as my time was taken up with webinars, ebooks and utter twaddle.
FOMO + Funky Marketing + Following the herd = Cost me $2000. On something I didn’t need, I wasn’t ready for and haven’t utilised. Can you afford to throwaway $2000? I certainly can’t. Worse still was the fact that I knew in my gut before signing up that I had niggles about it. I was so worried that I would miss out on something everyone was raving about that I just blindly ignored all the signs and signed up.
My one last thing to avoid would be to not give in to the fear of being seen. Starting a business but not shouting to friends, family and existing connections about your business, services or products? Why? Launching a new package – but not really telling anyone? Worried about what people will think? Stop. You need to work on getting a handle on this or it will continue to impact you and your business. It will hold you back. It will make you question yourself. This was one of my hardest lessons and the longest to master – who am I kidding – it’s something I am still working on. Skip back to my tip about being positive.. Do that. Be Positive. Think Positive. Act Positive.
*and always listen to the niggles, butterflies and gut reaction – they know things!*
I’ll toddle off now as I could ramble on for hours. I’ll leave you with some book recommendations.
The Big Leap – Gay Hendrick. Read it. Please.
The Art of Social Media – Guy Kawasaki & Peg Fitzpatrick. From Novices to those Experienced with Social Media – something for you all.
Tatty Bye – Rebecca