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We’ve been social media stalking Judith Morgan, AKA the Small Business Oracle, for quite some time. Judith overflows with sage business wisdom and is a surefire source of motivational nuggets that just make you feel better about everything.
We caught up with the lady herself to pick her brains on Brexit, balance and why working harder isn’t always better…
My name is Judith Morgan. I have been self-employed for forty years.
I started my own accountancy business when I was 22 and sold it twenty years later. I then took a few years off work while I worked out what I wanted to do next, until I discovered business coaching and set about starting another business which is now fifteen years old.
These are not the only businesses I have built – I have created and sold businesses in travel, cleaning and catering too.
I used to think I was an accountant, now I realise I am an entrepreneur.
When I discovered coaching I realised it was something I had always just naturally done for my accounting clients and it came free with me doing their VAT return!
I dropped the delivery vehicle and moved over purely to the coaching.
When I first started my clients wanted me to show them how to start and build a business, but that’s the – relatively – easy bit.
These days I find I am called upon increasingly to help and support them through all sorts of emotional and psychological issues and matters of a personal development nature such as procrastination, perfectionism, coping with guilt and fears and emotions and things like being deserving of success, fear of failure and money blocks.
How to charge is a big one. I teach them how to do that right from the get-go but it usually takes them a couple of years to agree with me!
Initially they think they have to be cheap to get work and be competitive, then they learn they can’t make a sustainable living on that basis and are prepared to charge what they are really worth.
Yes, it’s about the desire to create a uniquely wonderful life and self-employment is a central part of that – the freedom to work when and how they want and to remove the cap on their earnings which a job had created.
Freedom is what everyone says they want but once I drill down into that it usually means something different to everyone, just as success does.
Yes, emotionally. Me too!
If you are self-employed and working mostly alone from home then being sideswiped by upsetting political outcomes and developments has cost many of us a day or even a week.
There are other things too of course like the value of the pound and I think people generally feel more uncertain and more questioning about the meaning of life when values which are important to them are being eroded every day.
Most of us have been brought up to believe that success involves lots and lots of hard work. That’s one way.
It is certainly a way that I have found to work and one I fall back on now and again.
But I have also discovered that it isn’t this way for everyone and many people achieve the results they want in a much easier and lighter way.
The old way is hard-wired based on values taught to us by previous generations where that made more sense perhaps. But that’s conditioning we can unlearn if we want to. I can show clients how, if they are open and willing. Usually they become more up for that once they discover endless hard work leads to burnout and illness.
Charging more to fewer clients, for instance, is both easier and lighter and makes the business more successful because those who are willing to pay more already understand how to be a better client – they trust you more and leave you to get on with your work without constant interruption and changes.
The skint and the scarce generally make a very demanding client. So that one simple change can take your business into a whole other dimension.
Yes, I would go so far as to say that almost all problems are self-imposed.
That was the point I was making earlier about business being easy, it’s emotions which are hard!
We resist it being easy, I have no idea why, so we make it harder for ourselves with all the psychological stuff.
I don’t think we know we are doing that a lot of the time and happily that’s something that coaching can help you to unpick.
Yes. Ish. We can work out what that is for each of us individually and set our intentions to get to that place which I find constantly changes anyway.
We want things to be the best they can be most of the time, whilst being prepared to experience a little rough with our smooth.
I think work life balance is jargon which isn’t helpful but we all know what we want, what we enjoy and what we don’t and we want more of the former and less of the latter. We can make that happen by chipping away at the bad stuff and feelings, replacing a bad client with a good one, looking after ourselves and our needs etc.
For me, I need lots and lots of quiet time to do nothing very much except think and read and rest. And I’ve realised that the more I do that the better I can serve my clients and myself in every way. It’s counter-intuitive perhaps, but less is always more in the end.
For me it is vital because I wanted to create a virtual business which would travel with me throughout the world and enable me to work with global clients too.
Whenever I take on a new client who I feel is focussed very much on their local area and that is a restriction to them, I always try to open their eyes to the potential of a global market if they want it.
It is a very affordable way to market your own business, your products and services, and I think everyone can learn to love marketing too, there’s always a way. My clients refer to it as “blowing your own trumpet”, I don’t see it like that.
For me it’s a matter of being on fire with how much you love what you do and how you can help people and just sharing that message.
Online marketing can be a long game but I think it must happen even if you are doing other things which might meet a more urgent need. Offline marketing can be a long game too, and which route you choose might depend upon your personality – introvert or extrovert?
Being truthful to your audience about who and what you are.
Sharing your personality.
It isn’t an all or nothing thing, you never have to be naked and tell the world anything you don’t want them to know, but you can’t fake it either.
Being vulnerable is strangely attractive and your reader/potential client wants to be able to know, like and trust you, and also relate to who you are too.
A so-called guru who is too advanced, too perfect, is off putting. Just be your best self and allow potential clients and customers to enjoy you.
I don’t believe in motivation, I prefer inspiration.
But if a client is really stuck a current favourite expression of mine is “just do what’s in front of you today”. This gets us out of fretting about the past or the future. What one thing can we do today to make a difference, however small? That usually gets the ball rolling and makes you feel good enough about yourself and/or your work to do a bit more and before you know it you are on a roll and feeling great again.
If in doubt go for a walk or a run or a swim or a drive, or take a shower or a nap, or put on some music.
There’s always something which we know raises our vibration and allows some nugget of creativity to creep into the equation.
I am not 100% sure but it will involve more writing and more travel I think.
Ask me again in a month and this entrepreneur will probably have changed her mind again!
Aaron Gallagher recently helped me…
"Aaron Gallagher recently helped me switch the gas and electricity supply for our business. He was extremely helpful and well informed which was great for me as I know nothing in this area! He saved us a small fortune and dealt with all of the switch for us which again was extremely helpful as it wasn't completely straightforward. Thanks again for you help Aaron, it was so appreciated."This review was posted by Rachel on the 17th of February 2018
A better deal for our Village Hall
"I recently used this company to get a better energy deal for our local village hall. Other companies were quite pushy but Lorraine and Bhavni from SwitchMyBusiness were much more professional. They sent me useful information by email enabling me and the village hall committee to make a decision about which supplier to use. The switch was done by phone and when the energy provider sent the paper work to the wrong address Bhavni sorted it out straight away. I saved over £1000 for the charity."This review was posted by Irene Winter on the 16th of February 2018
"Lorraine was great and very helpful. We negotiated and received a good deal on our supply."This review was posted by Edwina Nash on the 16th of February 2018
The SME Personal Switcher
"The SME Personal Switcher, Lorraine Carey was really helpful."This review was posted by Cross Fabrications on the 16th of February 2018
Thank you, Lorraine
"Lorraine gave us excellent service.Thank you so much."This review was posted by Fiona Laycock on the 16th of February 2018