How are you overcoming your obstacles?

How are you overcoming your obstacles?

After 17 years of coaching, mentoring and training women, I can’t help noticing how many women face similar obstacles or barriers.

We all have different personalities, goals and ideas of what success means to us; we also have different talents, abilities and ways of thinking. All this will inevitably mean that we have unique ways of approaching problems and solutions. But, deep down, many of us share barriers and obstacles that will trip us up sooner or later.

Photo Copyright Sophia King

Lack of time, missing boundaries, and ‘playing small’

Many women I know find it really challenging to fit in everything that business owners need to do. And this pressure can lead to fire-fighting and panic.

Let me give you an example:

Do you know that feeling when someone makes (what you perceive to be) unreasonable demands? Or when they are picky and unappreciative which pushes a sensitive button?

Some of you may ignore the situation (perhaps because you’re too busy), others may give in to the pressure and go to great lengths to fulfill their unrealistic expectations.  Despite being too busy! Both are easily done, especially when you want to please and don’t have strong boundaries in place.

But the price of not taking the time to find a better solution – a win-win for both parties – can be high. In the first scenario you might lose a customer, in the second you might be giving them permission to take advantage of your goodwill. That’s Ok, you might think, until you realise that you’re starting to feel more and more resentful and stressed.

At one of our International Women’s Day events I once spoke about women not liking confrontation and negotiation. Where men may not hesitate to ask for a pay rise or a higher daily consultancy rate, many women would rather wait, hoping they will be offered what is appropriate.

Do you recognise yourself in the above scenario? Are you playing small too?

If you are being held back by lack of confidence in your abilities, then it will be much harder for you to go for the ‘big projects’ that would benefit you and your business.

It can also be caused by fear and both are a common cause of procrastination – not acting when we should to overcome ‘our’ obstacle.

Please bear in mind that constant ‘busy-ness’, missing boundaries, procrastination and ‘playing small’ may just be the outward symptoms of an underlying barrier.

What’s in your way?

Barriers can be internal such as fear or lack of confidence, self-belief, skills, knowledge, talent and/or experience.

They can also be external, such as lack of funds or cash flow, a poorly-designed website, lack of support (at home and in business), negative colleagues, the glass ceiling, having no one to delegate to, or an ineffective network.

How to overcome your obstacles

Let’s try a little problem solving:

  1. Define the problem: try to understand exactly what isn’t working or what’s holding you back.
  2. Try to identify the real cause: understand all the reasons why you are in your current situation, or what may be stopping you from moving forward. Are you facing an internal or an external obstacle, or both?
  3. Gather information: research the problem online or by talking to people you trust. Ask for help and advice. Find out what can be done to overcome your particular obstacle.
  4. Consider the solution(s)
  5. Plan your next move
  6. Go for it! Make the necessary changes to overcome your problem or obstacle.
  7. If you are dealing with an internal obstacle and lack the confidence to tackle it head-on, surrounding yourself with positive people who understand your problem, and are willing to support you, can make all the difference!
  8. Remember to celebrate or reward yourself, to acknowledge your progress and your achievement.

The ability to solve problems and overcome obstacles can often mean the difference between success and failure in business. Sometimes big action may be required, but at other times, smaller actions and changes are all it takes. But whatever the size of the action, your business will improve no end by tackling and overcoming your obstacles!

(Please note this is an updated version of the original post published in 2011)

Lacking Motivation After Your Holiday? 8 Productivity Tips to Inspire Your Working Day

Your holiday is over and you’ve got to go back to work. You resist, don’t want to.  If  your work place is your home office, you wonder if anyone would notice if you didn’t do much for a day or so?

Of course, you could try to catch up once you feel a little more inspired. That’s exactly how I often feel after a holiday. You are so relaxed and chilled out and want the feeling to go on forever.

Even when  you have an important deadline coming up and a high workload to go with it, you figure that your work will make you the opposite of relaxed and chilled out. And perhaps you don’t really want to go there.

That happened to me too once. And then, two days later, not only had I tackled a long to-do list, including a whole long list of emails and a great number of calls, I had caught up with my social networking sites and made some important decisions in between.

After resisting on day 1, I ended up at my desk for 12 hours (not non-stop I hasten to add), enjoying my work against all the odds! I was totally focused too, got so much done and each accomplished task felt really good.

Here are a few tips you may wish to try if you feel reluctant about starting your work.

  • Make sure you write a task or to do list, and prioritise the items on it. It’s no good having jobs, projects or tasks in your head, where they can often cause more anxiety than necessary.
  • Use the timer trick to get you started. Plan to do 5 or 10 minutes on a particular task and before long, you’ll notice you don’t mind carrying on.
  • If you don’t want to use a timer, having a visible clock in your office may be OK. The best ones are the ones with an audible tick- they remind you that time doesn’t stand still.
  • After working for a couple of hours, make sure you have a break. Have a hot drink, stretch your legs, open a window, read a paper. 10-15 minutes should be fine.
  • Getting back into work mode after a break can be hard, so I do something that I enjoy – reading and updating one of my social media sites for 10-15 minutes (keeping an eye on the clock). This also makes me feel connected to the outside world. If you don’t do social networking, then why not make a call to a colleague instead?  Always keep an eye on the clock though.
  • Never ever be tempted to multitask thinking you’ll be quicker! Don’t have social media sites open in the background in order to go back to them from time to time. Single tasking is key to higher productivity – cutting out interruptions gives you higher levels of concentration. Task switching can not only be hard on the brain but will lose you time as your brain takes time to adapt to the different tasks.
  • Getting a difficult job out of the way first, will feel liberating and your work will flow much easier afterwards. Again you can use the timer method to get into the task.
  • At the end of the day, update your prioritised list for the following day, as it will help you to switch off!

What else has worked for you that you could share with our readers?

Ute Wieczorek-King is an experienced trainer, mentor and business & blogging coach. She helps busy passionate solopreneurs build a thriving small venture by being more visible and focused on what matters to them. Sign up for her free ‘Passion to Profit’ ebook at

(PS the above post was first published in 2010)

Is business networking a waste of time and money during the festive season?

It is that time of year again when, depending on your industry, business either speeds up or slows down and many business owners prepare to spend special time with family and friends.

For those of you who are experiencing a slowdown –  you may be forgiven for wanting to go into hiding.

Indeed, a client asked me the other day whether it’s worth going to networking events in the festive season especially as nobody makes decisions at this time of year.

For me – whether it’s quiet or busy- this is the season to have some fun and meet people!  My diary has filled nicely with leisurely one-to-ones and seasonal events that replace the formal networking events.

Christmas Lunch

I tend to spend more time and money on networking at this time of year than at any other – why, you may ask?

I find that this is the one month where people seem more relaxed and happy to get to know each other in a less work-oriented atmosphere.  This represents a great opportunity to join in, particularly for those who don’t usually enjoy networking.

I have learnt over the years that networking in a social way at this festive time will pay real dividends in a few months (maybe even as soon as January!)

So if you’re considering slowing down your networking this month – especially if your diary is also crammed full of family commitments – please think again.

Don’t write this time off just because you are too busy – try to think of new and imaginative ways to put yourself out there.

And another myth I’d like to dispel for those of you who are wondering, please don’t write off this month for social networking either.

Not everything stops and not every decision maker takes a digital break over Christmas, even if it may seem that way to you.

If you want to connect or stay in touch, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and all the other platforms will be there to serve you, as usual.

Some of my best leads and referrals often come from being visible and eager to connect with people during traditional, and supposedly quiet, holiday periods.

If you would like to keep a step ahead of your competitors, always try to be flexible, and open to new ideas and new ways of doing business. You never know, this could be your mantra not just for the festive season, but for the whole of next year!

Ute Wieczorek-King | Success Coach, Trainer, Mentor, Blogger & Owner of Success Network. Ute helps busy women to be visible, focused and profitable in business. Connect with Ute via Twitter, or Success Network Recipes on Facebook. Or sign up to her monthly newsletter on the Success Network website.

Copyright 2011-16, Ute Wieczorek-King

Is negative thinking holding your business back?

This morning, I approached the main road near my house during the busy rush hour. I was in a hurry, and wanting to do my usual right-hand turn, my heart sank as I got closer. The traffic in both directions was almost at a standstill. With everyone in a rush, I knew that waiting for two nice drivers to create a gap in the traffic might be a waste of time.

Then, just before feeling disheartened, I decided to approach the junction with the thought that someone would make a space for me. And this is exactly what happened, the instant my car stopped at the crossing.

Image Quote Positive

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right. (Henry Ford)

It is so easy to forget that you actually have a choice about what you think in any given situation!

But being positive isn’t always easy!

To be fair, even I sometimes find it challenging to stay positive during particularly stressful periods or when suffering from the hormonal ups and downs midlife women can be prone to. And often, before you know it, your negative thoughts have become regular visitors.

In my experience, it requires quite a bit of effort to stay positive when you’re under pressure, but persistence and regular practice do pay off in the long run.

So what can you do?

The first step is in realising and monitoring your natural thought processes. Sometimes our thoughts appear in what we say in passing to a colleague. For example, have you ever caught yourself thinking or saying things like:

“They will be too busy and won’t want me to call today”
“They won’t pay me”
“I’ll mess up this presentation”
“I won’t get any business from this meeting anyway”?

Thinking in this way will inevitably affect your confidence and can prevent you from taking the positive action your business needs right now.

So before attending an event or starting a challenging task today, don’t just jump in. Instead, take yourself through a little prep task first.

If going to a networking meeting or event, either stay in the car or find a quiet space for a couple of minutes so you can become aware of your thoughts. For example, if you notice that you’re thinking that nobody ever wants to talk to you, or is interested in your business, decide which thought or approach would suit you better:

“I will ask the organiser to introduce me”
“I will approach just one person”
“I’ll ask them questions and show that I’m interested in them”

Making a choice can be quite difficult at first, as your negative thoughts will keep bobbing to the surface like apples that have fallen into a bucket of water.

So at first you might find it helpful to say your new thought out loud. But if you’re with people and speaking to yourself feels odd, take your phone and type the new thought as if you were sending someone a text message. Or you can write it in a small notebook. This way, no one will know!

The simple act of hearing your own voice or seeing your thought written down may help to plant the idea and get you used to thinking differently.

As the author Jodi Picoult said in her book My Sister’s Keeper, “If you tell yourself you feel fine, you will.”

PS. Why not share a tip below that works for you?

About the author: Ute Wieczorek-King provides business & blogging support for passionate midlife women who want to be more visible, focused and profitable. Get Ute’s business tips on Facebook or visit the Success Network website to receive Ute’s free “Passion to Profit ebook. You too can take your micro-business from good to great!

How to tackle procrastination with an attitude of gratitude

How to tackle procrastination with an attitude of gratitude


Blue sky by Ute Wieczorek-King

As a new week unfolds, it is so easy for ultra-busy women to get sucked in to the to-do list without stopping long enough to take a breather.

Sometimes we drop tasks and reprioritise our action list on a whim, depending on what happens to us that day.

It may change like the weather in April: I recall days where we started with strong winds followed by torrential rain, which in turn was followed by glorious blue skies and sunshine.

I find it easy to admire the sunshine and appreciate the good weather after the grey of the rain but without that strong contrast, would I have really noticed the good weather or would I have taken it for granted?

It’s the same with the contrast of nice and not-so-nice tasks on your action list.

Have you got used to avoiding certain tasks?

Sometimes when your list is full of things you don’t like doing, or are not very good at, it may feel easier to ignore your important tasks and put them off. I have done this too from time to time especially with one of my least favourite tasks… following up leads.

But when you cherry pick, do you actually ‘enjoy’ doing what’s easiest? Or is the feeling of guilt when procrastinating preventing you from doing so?

It is so easy to become used to working in such a way, until a deadline threatens to derail us or a personal matter stops us in our tracks.

Then panic sets in.

Today as you trail through your action or task list, why not pay real attention to all of it – the good, the bad and the ugly?

Why it makes sense to embrace all tasks

Without dealing with the challenging, boring or uncomfortable tasks, you may miss out on valuable learning about yourself and the task in hand. You also deny yourself the opportunity to truly appreciate the positives and the fun activities. And then you are simply left with that niggling feeling of guilt that is so difficult to shake off!

So when faced with jobs that that make you feel disheartened this week, try to feel grateful for what you are learning about yourself and your tasks as you carry them out.

And if that feels a little strange at the beginning, look for something else to feel grateful for – even if it’s just the sunshine or the blue sky.

You may be amazed by how good it feels to apply an attitude of gratitude in your day-to-day work.

As William Arthur Ward said, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

Ute Wieczorek-King is an experienced Mentor who helps busy women to be visible and focused in business. You can connect with Ute on Twitter , Facebook or Instagram or get her free Money ebook for passionate solopreneurs on the Success Network website.

Why busy women need to make time for success

Why busy women need to make time for success

imageTime or should I say lack of time can be major issue for busy women who run a small business from home. No matter how good your intention to make time to improve or grow your business, it’s a sad truth that most of us are extremely busy already working on an ever-growing list of tasks.

Another sad truth is that no-one will achieve success in business simply by working hard on their actions and putting in long hours.

In any case, your own definition of working hard might not be the same as a successful entrepreneur’s idea of working hard. Her focus may be on making good strategic decisions whereas yours may be on juggling client work, marketing, finance and administrative tasks, looking after sick children, older relatives and supervising the builders.

All in a day’s work you may think. Many women accomplish such a lot, don’t they? But at what price?

What not to do

I once wrote a post about the importance of showing your business who is boss. A person in charge of their business will happily spend time managing and working ‘on’ the business, rather than ‘in’ the business.

The thing is, I didn’t always know that. A couple of years after starting my first business I found myself fire-fighting like crazy. I just couldn’t figure out what to do first – everything seemed equally important.

Why was that happening to me?

I had started my first training business because I loved my profession (teaching) and helping people to learn. And like many women I know, I wanted more time for my family and have a better quality of life too.

But somehow all this didn’t start to happen until I decided to take charge and stop letting the business run me.

Why effort alone doesn’t work

Having worked with lots of start-ups over the years I know that my own start-up story isn’t that unusual. Many people believe that sheer effort, persistence and hard work will lead to the results you dream of.

But sadly I have seen people work hard like this who experience a form of ‘burnout’. This can happen when the passion you may have had for your business has disappeared leaving you to feel drained disillusioned and stuck.

You may even believe that you’ve failed or that your business idea or model will never work.

Did you have any idea before you started how much goes on behind the scenes of a business that helps to make it successful (in whichever way you define success)?

Maybe you had an inkling but thought the only way is to push yourself harder to try and make sure it works?

Overworked people frequently find it difficult to see the ‘wood for the tress’ and make time for the things that matter.


If you have a problem with taking time out whether for yourself or the business, please be careful.

It is not that difficult to get to the point where taking a complete break from the business seems like the only option.

How to take control and pave the way for success

All successful people invest time in themselves as well as in their business and this seems to be a key aspect that differentiates them from less successful people.

Of course it may seem completely counter-intuitive to spend time on you or your business particularly when you’re in the middle of a super busy period.

But I hope these amazing benefits will convince you:

  • You’ll know what REALLY matters in your business and can do more of what works – e.g. the high impact tasks – whilst also letting go of low impact, time wasting activities.
  • You’ll feel more focused and make fewer ad-hoc decisions in your business.
  • Taking time to think gives you time to plan. A clearer direction stops you from getting caught in the day-to-day stuff and keeps you in touch with the big picture.
  • You’ll unravel the causes of overwhelm,  take action accordingly and feel much calmer.
  • Finally, you’ll feel a lot less like an overworked employee and more like a business owner in charge.


So why not schedule two time slots in your diary right away? One for you and one for the business!

Just remember that if you are not making time for you or the business, then you won’t be making time for success…

IMG_6665Ute Wieczorek-King is an experienced trainer, mentor and business coach who specialises in helping busy women be focused, visible and profitable in business.  She blogs regularly here as well as at and and has written hundreds of free articles for women in business.

Does taking your business to the next level mean a limited company?

A guest post from Rosie Slosek at

You started your business – so exciting – you’ve done the graft, the emotional roller coaster, the have-I-done-the-right-thing worries, the achievement of your first client and your second, third and tenth.


You’re more established now, you don’t feel quite a newbie any more. You know what you’re doing and you know where you’re going. You’ve built a consistent income and you have money left over at the end of the month after essential bills.

You know now’s your time to take your business to the next level.

But how?

You started as a sole trader because the tax return was easy, or easier than a limited company, and you could do it yourself. If you’re honest, you don’t really understand limited companies and when you’ve asked questions or searched Google, you’ve left more confused than you started.

Is a limited company the next step?

You need to ask yourself 4 questions so you know if you’re ready to take your business to the next level and if a company is right for you now.

Who are your clients?

Do your plans for business growth include bigger clients who will require you to be a company? Corporates for example. Even something simple like diversifying into app building (for example) can mean needing to be a company as businesses like Apple won’t work with sole traders.

What is the risk?

When you grow your business, sometimes the risk you take grows too, and only some of that can be covered by insurance. Working with corporates, organisations or executives can be higher risk as there is less you personally control. You need to look at the risk and decide what’s appropriate.

Your personal circumstances

When you have a mortgage and dependents, you have ‘more to lose’ than if you rent and it’s only you. We don’t need any ‘you’ll lose your house if you’re a sole trader’ scaremongering but you do need to consider how comfortable you are with your clients, risk and your circumstances.


This is the last factor to consider in my opinion, not the first. Although having a limited company can save you money on tax, tax laws can change which the Chancellor has done very recently.

You need to uplevel because it’s the right decision for you and the future of your business.

Taking time to explore whether a limited company is right for you is a great way of bedding down your strategic planning for how you’re going to take your business to the next level.

You’re even paid differently as a limited company, so you need to get sorted on your business and personal finances too.

It forces you to seriously think who your clients are going to be, how you’re going to expand, your financial responsibilities and goals and how your want the future of your business to look like in the next 5 years.

I know you can do it and it’s always such an exciting time growing your business. Take a moment to celebrate this step!

rosie-slosek-1353-lres-300x240Rosie Slosek helps cake-loving UK freelancers to become unstuck about accounts & tax so they can feel free to grow their business.

Join her on 14 April on a gorgeous day retreat to demystify limited companies and learn everything you need to know about company accounts & tax in 1 day.

Learn more:  | 07989 945918 |

Why career decisions are never final

The following is a guest blog by Trisha Mentzel who owns B2B Event Management

I often wonder if other people had a clear cut idea after leaving school what they wanted to do. Was your school good in assisting in career choices?


I went to a small private school where we had no career advice. I only knew at the time that I wanted to further my education and ended up at Teachers Training College as at the time I did not think I would get the A levels to get into University.

As it so happened I could have but do not regret going to the college I attended at Oxford where I met and am still in contact with many students of that time who are close friends.

I feel sorry for students today who leave college or university with debt hanging over them. I remember money was tight being a student but then we did not have very high expectations regarding how we lived or socialised.

After 4 years I left with a B Ed degree which I am most grateful to but never went into teaching as it was then very difficult to get teaching jobs. How much the world has changed!

I do think it is so important to be able if possible to follow your passion, and try and work in that related field. We spend 36+ hours a week working and how depressing it must be not to enjoy or feel that you are making a contribution to your employer or the work you are involved in.

My passion was and still is horses. When I left school you either were bright enough to become a vet or good enough to be a professional rider in various equine sports. The other option was to work as a groom in whatever equine establishment.

I decided there was not enough money in being a groom and preferred to try and get a better paying job and then spend some of that money riding horses for my pleasure.


How wonderful it is to see all the different types of jobs you can now chose in the equine field. It’s great to have the choice but also with that comes the responsibility to make the right decision.

I must say that my career path was very haphazard not planned but developed due to circumstance such as job redundancies and then having to find another opportunity.

Still I cannot complain as I have enjoyed all the various jobs I have done from working as an au pair/governess in Canada to working in a café/pub while I was trying to get started.

At one point I was an air hostess, (I still love travel) a customer liaison officer training the legal profession on photocopying machines, a customer relations representative for computerised legal accounting type recording systems, leading into marketing roles for IT companies.

I eventually ended up running my own business planning and managing events which I love despite the stress involved.

I just hope that young people starting out today may have a better idea and goal as to what they would like to do in their working life.

But, then again, as my own meandering career path shows maybe it doesn’t matter as much as we think?

As long as we have the chance and opportunity to also follow our passion and dreams, and earn a decent living in the process then at the end of the day maybe it’s more about the journey than the destination?

Trisha Mentzel is an experienced International Marketing and Event Manager who runs B2B Event Management. She specialises in cross-functional marketing, event planning and delivering large corporate conferences, exhibitions, seminars, product launches, road shows and meetings around Europe. Her clients include the British Council and businesses based in the Home Counties and London.

A personal perspective on International Women’s Day

The following is a guest blog by Trisha Mentzel who owns B2B Event Management

Today is International Women’s Day. I suppose it is very telling of our time that we should have the need for a day to mark women’s achievements and where they are not treated in the same way as men.

It is such a shame that equality is not a given to women all over the world or that they should have to be singled out.

I have most of my life taken for granted that I will be treated with courtesy and be treated as an equal.

I was very lucky growing up as my parents treated my brother and I the same and even now my father is very fair in making sure that we are given parity.

With this upbringing I went out into the word believing the same principles in treating other people whatever gender, race or class the same way how I would like to be treated.


I know even in our civilised Great Britain this still does not always work and the unfortunate behaviour of some people who think they have power to lord it over others and take advantage of them and treat them in a shameful way.

I admire and I take my hat off to all the women who have achieved so much in their lives, work, time and giving to not only better the cause of women but also to those less fortunate.

Whatever the role of women whether a mother going out to work as well as looking after a family, or the CEO of a large corporation you do a marvellous job of multi-tasking and contributing to society.

May you continue to champion the cause.

Trisha Mentzel is an experienced International Marketing and Event Manager who runs B2B Event Management. She specialises in cross-functional marketing, event planning and delivering large corporate conferences, exhibitions, seminars, product launches, road shows and meetings around Europe. Her clients include the British Council and businesses based in the Home Counties and London.

What to say NO to when you want to achieve new goals

achieve new goalsWouldn’t you just love to set new business goals knowing that you will succeed easily?

But all too often our new goals fall by the wayside at the first hurdle. Failing to achieve goals at the beginning of the year is very common and can be the result of trying to pack too many new goals into an already jam-packed agenda.

There may be an expectation that simply working smarter (or being more productive) will help you to do and achieve much more in the little time you have.

What’s wrong with working smarter?

The secret is usually not ‘working smart’, but working smart on the right things.

Applying Pareto’s Principle, which is also known as the 80/20 Rule,  this means focussing 80 percent of our time and energy on the 20 percent of the work that really matters.

Applying this rule is easier when you know what you spend your time on, and can let go of anything that doesn’t contribute to your overall effectiveness.

What do you need to stop doing?

It is strange how we sometimes continue to do something that may not actually help us.

How often do you get distracted by the phone or the internet and social media sites?

Or attend the wrong networking events for the wrong reasons?

Or plan to start work early knowing that’s when you’re most productive but somehow struggle to get out of bed?

Most of us will be unproductive at some point – we are human after all.  For example, in my early days in business, I frequently didn’t plan or prioritise my daily tasks, which led to a fair amount of fire fighting, and sometimes even missing deadlines.

In the last couple of years I have ditched all those interesting but somehow ‘unnecessary’ projects!

I’m a bit of an innovator and my passion for new ideas can make me want to get involved in everything interesting that comes my way. Then before I know it –  ignoring my gut instinct – I feel resentful when I ran out of time for the activities that really matter.

Not saying YES to all these tempting new projects felt uncomfortable to say the least. I thought I might get bored. But the opposite happened to me.

Ditching unproductive tasks as well as bad habits and behaviours can be very satisfying as you are able to give even more quality time to what really matters. And the rewards may surprise you!


What will you say NO to?

This year, why not say ‘No’ more often and allow yourself more time to do what you know will make an impact in your business?

Maybe you want to have more personal time for yourself as well, something you value very highly?

If you are ready to say NO to something, then two techniques can really help you:

  1. Ask yourself, ‘What’s really in it for me?’  Answering this question will help you to discover whether what you are planning to do (or not) has any really benefits for you and your business.
  2. Reward yourself every time you manage to ditch an unproductive activity and do something more productive or meaningful instead. Without a suitable reward it is unlikely you will feel motivated enough to create a new habit. And you will probably go back to your old habits very quickly. Rewarding yourself is, therefore, very important.

So, what business activities, temptations, habits or behaviours will you say NO to this year?

Ute2013-150x150About the author: Ute Wieczorek-King helps female midlife entrepreneurs to be visible, effective and profitable in business. Sign up to her monthly newsletter on the Success Network Website to receive a free ebook that shows you how to make a living from your passion.


Inspiring tips for female bloggers who want to attract readers

Great bloggers are not awesome on Day 1

Have you started a blog to help you promote your small business? Or are you a personal blogger who’d love to turn her blog into a commercial venture?

Many people have great hopes for their blog but in reality they struggle to keep it going.

Whatever the reasons, as Darren Rose said “99% of great bloggers are not awesome on day 1. Their awesomeness is the accumulation of the value they create over time.”

It’s so true… you’re not ‘awesome’ from day 1 and to achieve results can take some time. You don’t just have to ‘create value’, you also have to be able to promote yourself and your blog effectively.

Many women (especially those who are older and a little shy) don’t know how to do that. Or how to attract the right readers in an authentic way that feels comfortable.

If that’s you, please let us inspire you via Attract Readers™ – it’s where Marketer Jean Wolfe, Fairy Blogmother Alice Elliott and I (Ute Wieczorek-King) help female bloggers to promote themselves and their blog better.

Here is a just small selection of our blog posts:

How a blog can help the ‘know like and trust’ factor

Four reasons why consistency is important in blogging

How to explain confidently to others why you blog

10 reasons why writing lists posts is good for your blog

How not to let lack of motivation stop your blogging

We’ve also written about why you don’t need to be pushy or worry about SEO,  whether you need images, how to make blogging easier, and much more!

And if you like our posts you may also like our complimentary download “Four Key Mistakes Bloggers Make Who Fail To Attract Readers”

Mistakes bloggers make

Come on over and let us know what you think!

How not to feel isolated when running a business from home

One of the biggest concerns most people seem to have when becoming their own boss is how to manage social isolation. Suddenly there are no more chats in the office kitchen, over the water cooler, or in the canteen.

You probably still meet up with friends and ex-colleagues, but the level of contact may not be able to replace the kind of work contact you were used to.

Of course, being a home based business owner has huge advantages. You have the freedom to start and finish your work when it suits you, and you are often more productive too.

But it can also be hard to take a break when you’re constantly feeling under pressure to get all your work done. After all there is only you to do it!

This pressure can make it difficult for women to create a balanced work routine that includes regular opportunities to interact with other people.

Some women have told me that during their busiest times, days and weeks would go by and the only contact they have it with their clients.


Image by Ute Wieczorek-King

There is really no need to feel guilty about taking regular breaks from your work to connect with people. After all, time spent with the right people will make you feel energised and may even give you new ideas and a different perspective too.

Networking can be social too

A great option is to visit some local networking groups where you can meet other women in the same boat and exchange experiences. It may take a little courage, especially if you’ve never been to a networking event before and don’t know what to expect. But overcoming your fears and making the effort will pay off.

I’ve met a number of women who started to network from the time they considered setting up on their own (so way before their business was up and running). This meant they already had an existing network once they were ready to take on clients and isolation never became an issue!

Networking groups can be quite social too which can be great for women who run an online business. As you may not need to depend on local business you could always focus on making new friends.

What else can you do?

How about taking your work to a coffee shop once a week? Or joining in with a co-working initiative, that allows you to work alongside others for a day or so every month? There are also ‘tweet-ups’, where local twitter users get together to share experiences.

Online groups can also be very supportive. For example, I belong to different groups on Facebook where I connect regularly with people who have similar interests.

Using social media in this way can remove some sense of isolation, but as it will not replace valuable face-to-face contact, it is worth making sure you have a good mix between the two.

This is especially important as being connected to people you know well, and can meet up with, will also help you manage the motivational dips that many home workers experience.

Lack of motivation is a common symptom of isolation and can also affect productivity levels, confidence and self-esteem.

But even when not connecting with others, going for a daily walk, shop, or visit to the gym, means you are doing something to break your routine away from your own four walls.

Not feeling isolated will make you more fired-up and productive in the long run — a great incentive don’t you think?!

Ute2013-150x150Ute is an experienced business start-up and growth mentors who helps women to take their small business from good to great.  

To receive Ute’s free ‘Passion to Profit’ ebook please visit the Success Network website. 

Five steps to winning customers (and keeping them too)

Three years ago I compiled a blog called “How not to fail in business”, with useful tips from some of my Inner Circle members how to survive the recession as a solopreneur.

During those tough years most of us with established businesses had to adjust our approach to getting and keeping clients. You just couldn’t take anything for granted.

And it seems you still can’t three years on! That’s despite the fact that the economy appears to be improving.

But spending is not yet back to pre-recession times and many business owners are still feeling a little cautious. Even consumers must be wary as the seasonal sales show – here in the UK they seem to be starting earlier every year!

So whether you run an established solo-business or a new start-up, you probably want to know the best ways to win and keep new customers … and naturally keep your existing ones too.

Here are five useful strategies

  • Avoid undercutting your competitition

Firstly, it’s worth remembering that whatever you offer, your customers are bound to be able to find cheaper suppliers.

Please don’t ever let that put you under pressure to reduce your fees! Be confident, stick to your pricing and focus on making sure you really know and understand your customers and their needs.

That way you can be sure to deliver something that’s 100% relevant to them and they will value that!

  • Research what else clients might need

Do this at least once every year and set some time aside to think about all the options. The summer period (or the end of a year) can be a perfect time to do your research.

20130405-124223.jpgWhen your service is always fresh, innovative and up to date, you make your offering potentially more desirable than your competitors’ and it will be highly relevant too – whatever the state of the economy. (Being innovative has worked well for me for over 20 years!)

  • Try different ways to grow your business

Two great ways to get more work and grow your business are to either identify new offerings for current clients or to sell more of your current offerings to a new target audience.

This can be especially worthwhile when potential customers in your new market are willing to pay appropriate or higher fees than customers you currently sell to.

  • Care about your customers … and care some more

Every week I hear stories of business owners who have lost business. Sadly they often realise too late that they should have communicated better and more regularly with their customers.

The solopreneur businesses I see flourishing are the ones who do that really well. They talk to their customers and listen attentively too.

So try to fully understand what your existing customers really want, then go the extra mile in order to provide added benefits and greater value.

Whether the value is in how you deliver or how you maintain the customer relationship after delivery, it can help to differentiate you from the competition. And it may then also lead to new referrals and new business. (There are several added bonuses here!)

  • Make the payment process really easy

This is such an easy but often over-looked way to add value. For example, you could break big projects into manageable and affordable chunks (where applicable), and work with stage payments – a method often used by web designers.

Several of my solopreneur clients have adopted this approach, much to their customers’ delight!

Offering different payment options can be useful too – for example, don’t refuse cheques, credit card or PayPal payments because they are costly or inconvenient for you.

By understanding YOUR customers’ preferred choice of payment you will make getting paid much easier which may also help with your cash flow.

So, I’ve shared with you five important strategies to help your solo-business win and keep customers and … ultimately… thrive!

What are yours? Why not share your ideas in the comments below?

Ute2013-150x150About the author: Ute Wieczorek-King is an experienced mentor and blogger who helps passionate midlife women to stay focused, work smarter and stand out from the crowd. If you’d like to take your small venture from good to great, why not download Ute’s free “Passion to Profit” ebook.

PS. The above is an updated version of a post first published here in 2013.

One of the best ways to get new business

One of the best ways to get new business

In recent years we have seen an explosive rise in social media use by freelancers and micro-businesses in the service industry. It seems that many small business owners are now casting their net wider and further afield in an attempt to make new connections and, thus, attract new business opportunities.

It probably goes without saying that to win new business you need to be known and trusted, and be ‘seen’ regularly in different places.

However with the lure of so many online opportunities, I think many people don’t realise that looking closer to home can actually be much easier, quicker and potentially more rewarding too!

People often forget about their existing network, both virtual and real, especially when it hasn’t yet delivered new business.

The thing is, the people you know may already trust you — a real bonus when you would dearly love to receive more leads, referrals and new business. But sometimes we expect contacts to provide us with leads, when they are not quite ready to do so.

Perhaps our relationships aren’t quite as strong as we think they are. Or they are too busy and you are not the first person they think of when a business opportunity presents itself.

Here is what you can do. Start by asking yourself some important questions:

  • How can I help my existing contacts to get to know me better as a person as well as the ‘expert’ in my field?
  • Do I share my knowledge and expertise fairly regularly and am I generous enough?
  • Do I really understand their needs and desires so I can help them accordingly? How can I get to know them better?

Enhancing existing relationships can be quite simple:

  • IMG_0971Arrange regular informal 1-to-1 meetings over a coffee or lunch.  You’ll find out about your contacts’ latest developments and how you can add value to their business
  • Always follow up after each meeting — it will help them to remember you!
  • Stay in touch by forwarding articles or blog posts (not just your own!) that they will find useful
  • Invite them to events that you think they’ll be interested in
  • Refer them when you know that they would benefit from meeting one of your other contacts

Keeping in touch with people you already know on a regular basis (without selling to them) really does pay off!

If, reading this, you think that all this may be too time-consuming for you, then my guess is you haven’t yet enlisted the help of online social networks for networking purposes.

If you treat social networking as your personal assistant and use it to stay in touch with your existing network, you simply can’t go wrong!

  • Status updates help you to give people bite-sized updates on what you’re up to
  • Wall posts or brief private messages on sites such as Facebook Messenger, Twitter or Linked-In allow you to communicate much quicker and more efficiently than via email (and there is no danger of your message disappearing in someone’s junk mail folder either!)
  • A blog or newsletter may be less personal but they will remind your contacts of your expertise and your ability to help them

Building strong relationships, both offline and online, always takes time but ultimately, it is generally much harder and more time-consuming to start relationships from scratch than to re-connect with people who already know you.

P.S. Why not add to the above tips or share your own experiences by commenting below?


About the author: Ute Wieczorek-King is an experienced business coach, mentor and blogger who helps passionate midlife women to stay focused, work smarter and stand out from the crowd.

If you’d like to take your small venture from good to great, why not download Ute’s free “Passion to Profit” ebook.

Please note, the above article is based on an older version first published here in October 2010. 

Don’t know what to write? Here’s 6 ways you can find content for your blog

I often get asked this question – how do you find something to write about in your blog?

Once you start blogging, you need to change how your view the world. I call it clicking into my blogging mode.

You need to train your mind to be always on the look out for possible blogging fodder. You should become susceptible to recognising suitable post material wherever you go, what you read, what reacts with you or whatever you bump into.

There’s nothing more irritating than forgetting a brilliant idea. So whenever something pops into my had, I scribble it down in a notebook so that I remember it later. It will remind you what you want to write about when the time comes, rather than scratching your head and kicking yourself for forgetting.

So where can you find stuff to write about?

1. Your in- and out-boxes in your email system is a fabulous place for content. You’re probably fending off questions at work all the time, and if you’ve managed to write a successful or relevant reply to a particular query, why not rewrite it as a post so that more people can benefit from your wisdom?

2. Subscribe to as many blogs as you can within your industry or niche.  It’s good to read what other people write about in similar subjected blog. This could inspire you to write about the same things in your own style and from your own point of view. What other people are writing about is probably what your readers will want to read.

3. Set up Google Alerts to receive prompts from other blogs.  Subscribe to ScoopIt, Feedly and other news feeds as well. This is how you’ll find out which projects and topics have successfully caught the search engines. Reading and commenting on ‘hot news’ will draw attention to yourself, but show you are riding the wave of ‘now’.

4. Be vigilant on social networking sites. Visit and participate on various social groups and communities to find out what’s happening. I got the idea for this post from a LinkedIn group. Check out the bookmarking sites such as Digg and StumbleUpon, where there will be lots of new material to read, learn, respond to and share with others.

5. Researching which keywords are ‘a la mode’ right now. Go to Google Keyword Tools to find out popular long-tail keywords the search engines are responding to at this moment. Base your blog post around it, but remember to write for your readers, not necessarily for the search engines. Using too many keywords could be detrimental.

6. Go for a walk with the dog to let the creative juices flow. A change of scene can work wonders. Doing things outside of work will stimulate new ideas, and sleeping on a problem will allow your subconscious to work overnight. Speak your ideas into a dictaphone or scribble them in a notebook so to not lose them before your write your next post.


Alice ElliottAbout the author: Alice Elliott is a Digital Marketer whose award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog provides jargon-free and highly visual WordPress training to solopreneurs. She is well known for her ability to “explain things really simply” to inexperienced bloggers and enables them to increase their visibility and reputation through successful blogging.

Has social media communication made you sloppy and presumptuous?

Image by Ute Wieczorek-King

We are all exposed to so much information these days that it is tempting to skim read emails, blogs or newsletters in the same way as a fast-moving Twitter stream – a vain attempt to take in as much information as quickly as possible.

Reading and writing information online can be fraught, particularly for non-native English speakers like me. But even native speakers are at risk of causing misunderstandings, by inadvertently misreading the written word in front of their eyes.

Online communication is confusing

We may see two messages – the message that is conveyed by the words you read, and the unwritten message, or meaning of what’s potentially being said between the lines.

English is a very subtle language where a simple sentence such as “They will never agree to that“ can mean lots of different things depending on whether you stress the word ‘they’, ‘never’ ‘agree’ or ‘that’!

So, when writing you may mean one thing but your reader may read another into it.

For example as a German speaker and otherwise confident writer (and reader) of English, I don’t find it easy to understand emotions in written communications, such as when someone is subtly trying to hint they are angry or sad without explicitly using the words to say so.

My personal preference would be to actually say that I am angry or sad but unless you come from a culture or work in an environment, where direct communication like this is the norm, it is better to be a little less direct and explicit.

I therefore rely on emoticons such as 🙂 to show that what I am saying is to be seen as a light-hearted rather than serious remark. But some people ignore these – perhaps they don’t understand them, find them irritating, or have a preference for a more formal writing style such as in letters.

One way to avoid misunderstandings in business communication is to reserve emails and social media updates mostly for facts and leave anything else to be discussed in person where both parties can clarify and ask questions to avoid misunderstandings, wrong assumptions or judgments.

If ever you have received an irate blog comment or email because something you said has been misunderstood, and you are finding yourself having to clarify, you know how confusing and frustrating this can be for both parties.

Worse still, what if the receiver goes quiet and doesn’t reply because for them – perhaps for cultural or personal reasons – it is not the right thing to do?

So what can you do?

Next time you are skim reading a blog, email or an online update and think the information is crystal clear, think again… or read again.

And if you are not sure about something (and it is important for you to get the meaning right) simply ask the question….’Can I clarify that I have understood XYZ please’ before replying with potential accusations or assumptions.

And when you know somebody it’s probably best anyway to pick up the phone to ask a question.

If you are the writer, don’t just assume that your message is clear and will be easily understood. Or, if you don’t receive any comment or replies, that your reader is purposely ignoring you.

Let’s face it … your blog, update or email may not have been read yet because the reader is simply too busy. What is a priority for you may not be a priority for them!

And if that’s not the case and for whatever reason you’ve upset someone, you can count yourself lucky if they tell you. Then, perhaps, the only way to move on from this is by apologising or contacting them directly and keeping the communication as open as possible.

I’d love to read your tips or hear more about your experiences with online communication. Why not share them below. 


Ute2013-150x150About the author: Ute Wieczorek-King is a UK-based German mentor and blogger who helps passionate midlife women to stay focused, work smarter and stand out from the crowd. If you’d like to take your small venture from good to great, why not download Ute’s free “Passion to Profit” ebook.

PS. The above is an updated post – the original was first published in 2011.  


How to focus on the actions that improve your business results

In business everyone knows that to succeed, taking action is a must. I am talking about major and minor actions, carried out constantly and consistently. Action should always be driven by your desire to make a success of your small venture.

However, to be fair, there may be times when things are not quite going to plan. You sit in front of your computer, really wanting to take action, but you seem to lack focus. Something seems to be holding you back.


Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next?

Perhaps your potential action list is too long?

Or your long ‘list’ is only in your head?

Resist the temptation of taking the wrong actions

An important cause of inaction can be feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start.

Also, attempting to tackle too many actions in one go can be counter-productive too. Not being able to complete your tasks can make some people feel they are always failing which may then lead to procrastination.

If you’re feeling slightly unclear about your next step whilst taking action, then this action could be the wrong kind. This is something I think of as ‘panic action’, which can make you feel busy (albeit only temporarily). In reality, ‘panic action’ often contributes to confusion or overwhelm.

One sure thing is that the way to getting results is not by rushing into action, nor is it by sitting at your desk telling yourself you ‘should’ be doing something, which is also counter-productive.

The best way to plan your actions

To get all the actions right in business, it helps to de-clutter your thinking first.

Unless you clarify and prioritise the actions that are REALLY  important, you will be straight back into doing what you’ve always done and unable to break the ‘panic action/ inaction cycle’.

Instead why not ask yourself what you need to ‘do’ now, today, that will make a difference to your business?

The power of a daily ‘mantra’

Set a clear intent every day to focus on the actions that will positively impact your business. This is like having a daily mantra.

Start small, with just one action to focus on every day. Say to yourself…”Today, I write/create/reply to/ attend (etc)… and I will do this to the best of my ability”

The good thing is that you won’t just start taking one right action today, you will become more focused and proactive … every day!

Ute2013-150x150About the author:

Ute Wieczorek-King is a UK-based German mentor and blogger who helps passionate midlife women to stay focused, work smarter and stand out from the crowd.

If you’d like to take your small venture from good to great, why not download Ute’s free “Passion to Profit” ebook.

How to rekindle the passion in your business

Earlier this month I showed some start-ups how to test their business idea, identify their market and get their first customer.

It always strikes me how fired up new business owners can be — their passion can be so infectious!


Workshop – by Ute Wieczorek-King on Instagram

The author Simon Sinek once said that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

I find that so true.

For me the ‘why I do it’ becomes the passion that my clients can feel when I work with them.

It’s the passion that helps me to promote myself and get new clients.

This kind of passion often comes from the vision you have for your business and the mission that gives it meaning — it’s your purpose which drives you to do great things for your clients!

I take it you have a passion for what you do otherwise you wouldn’t be doing it, right?

Have you ever lost that passion? I have.

It can actually be quite easy to lose when your business stops being new and you’ve got into a routine. Or, when you’re really busy and are juggling a million things.

Usually the first sign is that you seem to be losing some of your motivation. You don’t seem to jump out of bed in the morning. Know that feeling?

If it happens when you’re not busy, many business owners think that the answer is simply to go out and get more clients.

But whether you’re busy or not, 23 years in business have taught me that at the point where my passion starts to wane, something isn’t quite right.

To figure out what’s missing, think about these three things:

  1. Remind yourself why you do what you do and write it down.
  2. Revisit where your business is going. Where do you want to be in one year, two years or five years time?
  3. Incorporate some of the ‘why’ into your marketing messages.

Doing this will help you to rekindle your passion, and it will be much easier to get new business as a result. I also find that my work starts to fulfil me again and that my customers are really happy!

So how do you keep the passion in your business alive?

Ute2013-150x150About the author: Ute Wieczorek-King is a UK-based German mentor and blogger who helps passionate midlife women to stay focused, work smarter and stand out from the crowd.  

If you’d like to take your small venture from good to great, why not download Ute’s free “Passion to Profit” ebook.


Want to get new business? Look to your existing contacts!

I once read a networking tip on the Harvard Business Review site which literally stopped me in my tracks:

Build outward, not inward. Don’t waste time deepening connections with people you already know*

As someone who has built a strong offline and online network for years, I question that statement on two accounts.

  • Firstly, how do you gauge that you know people enough to not have to deepen the connection?
  • And why would you ever not want to deepen that connection?

If you build your network outwards, you’re not unlike a spider that keeps growing a web in the hope of increasing its chances to catch prey.

Photo by Sophia King

Photo by Sophia King

But just like a spider web, a network grown outwards can also be quite fragile.

In fragile relationships you may not know enough about how you can help your contact, whether they would help you if you asked or who their connections are – and, importantly, whether they’d allow you to access those connections.

By diluting your efforts you may miss something crucial: the glue that holds relationships together and that creates the “know, like and trust” effect that leads to referrals and people helping each other generously and willingly.

So, the best way to win new clients is to build inward, not outward!

Don’t keep making the mistake I see so many (not just new) business people make: spreading themselves thin, like a butterfly moving from one networking opportunity (or social media platform) to another.

Let me share a secret with you!

Even when winning new business from new contacts seems easy, it is never as personally or financially rewarding as business that comes from strong, long-term relationships. These are far more likely to lead to referrals and repeat business which makes building your business much easier in the long-run!

One of the key themes from the ebook From Contact to Advocate™ I co-authored a few years ago, is how to build authentic relationships, online and offline, with the people who matter.  

I know from personal experience and the recommendations and repeat business I get, that the principle works!

Ute2013-150x150About the author: Ute Wieczorek-King is a UK-based German mentor and blogger who inspires passionate midlife women to achieve business success by simplifying and staying focused on what really matters.

If you’d like to take your small venture from good to great, why not download Ute’s free “Passion to Profit” ebook.

New this year: Online blog coaching programme ‘Attract Readers; Gain Impact’ with The Fairy Blog Mother Alice Elliott, Marketer Jean Wolfe and Ute Wieczorek-King.

PS The above post is an updated version of a post first published here in 2011.

Copyright 2011-15, Ute Wieczorek-King


How to get your readers to love your content

If you’ve been blogging for a while but haven’t attracted your ideal reader with your content, you may like this infographic:

Attract Ideal Reader


Have you found any good tips here? By following them, you won’t just attract readers, they will love your content so much, they will keep coming back!

Ps There is more where this came from! The above tips are just a small taster of the topics we are covering in a new online blog coaching programme called “Attract Readers”.  

If you’d like nothing more than to attract more quality readers to your blog, then why not take a look at  Whist there you can sign up to our priority list so you’re the first to hear about our next start date!