5 articles Tag friends

3 Principles to Keep in Mind When Starting a Business with a Friend

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Thanks to the resources and possibilities available to us all today via the web, entrepreneurship is skyrocketing, with more and more people feeling driven to start their own businesses, and to take their professional and financial lives into their own hands.

An entrepreneur’s life can certainly be very fulfilling and rewarding, but it’s also inevitably going to be challenging. Even the most accomplished entrepreneurs in the world tend to have a good number of failures under their belts by the time they end up “making it big.”

While the life of an individual entrepreneur can be challenging, though, what about if you happen to be starting a business with a friend.

On the one hand, this can be a very powerful and positive experience, but on the other hand, there are all sorts of new pitfalls that await.

Here are a few principles to keep in mind when starting a business with a friend.

  • Look out for one another

This point should be self-evident, but if you’re starting a business with a friend it’s essential that you don’t both let your competitive natures, and the stress of the job, turn you into rivals rather than partners.

A business is unlikely to thrive if the two driving forces behind it are at loggerheads, and your friendship certainly isn’t likely to remain in good condition either, if you and your friend are practically coming to blows on a regular basis.

So, look out for one another, and be sure to always treat the business as a collaborative experience. Take steps to protect each other in the event of catastrophe, by, for example, looking into things like mortgage payment protection insurance.

And, by no means must you ever throw your business partner under the bus if a client is unhappy.

  • Choose your business partner very carefully

As mentioned at the beginning of the article; entrepreneurship is filled with challenges and obstacles, and the challenges and obstacles are, in some ways, magnified when you’re running a business alongside another person.

One consequence of this is that your partnership will be placed under stress, and you will be in a vulnerable situation, with regards to what the other person choose to do.

What that means is that you must choose your business partner very carefully, to minimise the chances that you will be exploited, or that the partnership will crumble under the strain.

  • Good communication is essential

A business partnership absolutely requires good communication if it’s going to succeed – because without good communication, you and your business partner will almost certainly end up working at cross purposes to one another, stepping on each other’s toes, and unintentionally undermining each other’s efforts.

Be sure to schedule in regular meetings and catch-up sessions, and have systems in place whereby you both know to consult with one another if you are presented with a particular opportunity, or have to make a particular decision.

For those circumstances where you can’t both be actively involved to the same extent, you should have agreements in place beforehand that determine how you should each conduct yourselves.

Outdoor Living for Any Weather

Here in the UK, we all seem to love the idea of spending more time outdoors, but the reality is that our unpredictable weather doesn’t always allow it. Wanting to get outdoors and being able to (without the use of dry bags!) are two very different things when there’s a threat of rain or it’s just too chilly, but there are things that you can buy from Cox and Cox which mean that your gardens don’t go unused all year round. Here are some of our favourites:

Outdoor Large Brazier

Sitting around with your friends, sharing a bottle of wine and putting the world to rights is a simple pleasure and this brazier will not only keep you warm while you do so, it’ll help to keep away unwanted bugs AND give you somewhere to toast marshmallows if that takes your fancy.

LED Jar Lantern

Sitting outside is all well and good but when it gets dark, you need to be able to see! These LED jar lanterns are battery powered and ca be placed anywhere that you need light, or even strung up in a group to give you all the light you need to continue enjoying your evening’s festivities, even after the night has drawn in.

Porto Lounge Set

No-one wants ti sit outside if your patio furniture is hard and uncomfortable, which is why this lounge set would be an excellent investment. The padded seats are warm and comfortable, allowing you to take a little bit of indoor luxury outside with you, giving your guests somewhere to sit for as long as they want.

Soft Wool Throw

One simple way to keep your gusts more comfortable if you’re spending an evening outside is to keep a stash of hardy blankets which they can use to keep themselves warm! These beautiful soft wool throws will feel great wrapped around your shoulders to keep out the cool evening breeze and will allow you to carry on your alfresco socialising well into the night.

What would you chose from the range to keep you warm and happy for outdoor gatherings? Take a look at the site and leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Redefining Relationships – A Reflection on 2016

Redefining Relationships - A Reflection on 2016As most of you probably know by now, I stopped contact with my mother in 2013, when I was pregnant with Burrito Baby. Although she’s tried to control the narrative, telling people that it was because she showed concern about my weight because of my pregnancy or that it was because I was being controlled by my Husband or that I was bipolar, none of these things are true and were constructed by her in order to make her look like the victim of the situation.

The facts are these: I was systematically groomed and sexually abused by a family member for several years of my childhood. The person in question was technically still a child himself (which, by the way, is NEVER a justification), but a lot older than me and certainly old enough to know that what he was doing was wrong. I never told anyone about this but my mother read about it in my diary when I was 13 and chose to ignore it. I was then forced to tell her about it when I got engaged to Husband because my whole family decided to attempt to bully me into inviting the person who abused me to my wedding.

In the years that passed after it came out, it was kept secret from certain family members and even those in receipt of the knowledge continued to maintain a relationship with my abuser. I’ve been questioned, accused of lying, treated like was the one in the wrong, told that it was “all too stressful” for my mother and that I was making a mountain out of a molehill. Being told that “I can’t congratulate you on your pregnancy because the last one was stressful for me” was the final nail in the coffin for my relationship with that woman.

I mourned the loss of our relationship for a long time, but not the loss of HER, just the loss of a mother in any form. I felt like I’d been robbed of the chance to have a decent mother/daughter relationship and I felt hugely resentful to other people who had close, nurturing relationships with their parents.

After a while, it occurred to me that my life was actually less stressful. I realised that I’d spent my ENTIRE LIFE being the butt of their jokes, being called nasty names, being taunted for being a “calamity” (which, incidentally, was as a result of meningococcal septicemia leaving me with gross motor function issues), having the mickey taken out of me for the way I walk, my weight, the way I held my bag, having my self-esteem chipped away bit by bit.

What it also made me realise is that relationships aren’t defined by blood. My husband, the one she’d accused of being controlling (seriously, can anyone who knows how much of a gobshite I am REALLY imagine me being controlled?!), has my back constantly and reacts with love and raw emotion when he thinks I’m being mistreated, something she never managed to do. I’ve forged friendships with people who GET me and who’ve been properly fucking loyal to me in a way that certain blood relatives have never been.

Let’s not forget my Dad. The man she worked SO hard to decimate in my eyes, to destroy our relationship beyond repair so that he’d never get a look in. He’s man enough to admit that he made mistakes in the past and hasn’t always been a perfect parent but he’s been there, properly been there for me when I’ve needed him. I hadn’t told him about the abuse until he read my Mother’s Day post this year and I heard his heart break when he called me to talk about it. I hate the fact that it’s hurt him but I wept when I heard how sad he was because FINALLY one of my parents had acted like they give a shit instead of trying to deflect blame and make it about them.

I’ve kept a dignified silence for SO long and not risen to the barrage of messages to both me and my friends and family, the “accidental” phone calls, the self-satisfying Facebook posts where she pretends to be the victim of MY cruelty (what a fucking joke…) and allowing her friends to call me names and question my character  but NO MORE.

This is my line in the sand.

So, this is my Happy New Year post. Happy New Year to my friends (the ones who cook me crumpets and watch girlie films with me and call my Facebook trolls a c*nt and offer me help when I need it and just generally have my back, as well as the ones who I never see but speak to on Facebook who tolerate my ramblings and political posts) and my family (the best in-laws I could ever ask for, the mums and sisters and aunts and uncles and beautiful nephews and cousins by marriage who’ve been my rocks for almost eleven years, but especially in 2016, as well as my Dad and Tracy, my baby brother who’s a foot taller than me, and Uncle and Aunt and Joe and everyone else who I love) but most of all to my Husband and our girls, my reasons for living and trying to be a better person. I love you all.

Turns out, I’ve got everyone I ever needed.

Are Our Kids Lonelier Than We Were?

kids playing in streetWhen I was a child, playing in the street was a normal occurrence. My Nan lived in a ‘walk’, which was a pedestrian-only road with no cars anywhere near where we played, and she happened to live next door to a family with a daughter of the same age as me, so I spent countless summers playing Barbies and cartwheeling on my Grandparents lawn with Sara, who was my best friend. Eventually, my parents moved nearer to my Nan and we lived in a cul-de-sac with a huge green in the middle, on which all of the kids who lived in the cul-de-sac played. We were a mixed bunch but we got on well and there was always someone to hang around with.

As I got older, I was allowed to go to the park with my friends. I grew up on an estate in Basildon, a new town that was built to accommodate the overspill from London in the late 1950’s, which meant that my grandparents were, and still are in fact, the only people to ever live in their house. The entire estate was populated by first and second generation Basildonians and us third generationers were blessed with a level of freedom because of the perceived sense of safety that comes from living in an area where everyone knew everyone else. In those days, it meant that misbehaviour was also fairly low, because no sooner had you thought about doing something naughty than a well-meaning onlooker had told your parents!

With Sausage at the beginning of her first ever summer holiday from school, I’ve been thinking a lot about things we can do to keep her occupied. She’s an only child, like I was until the age of almost 9, which means that she doesn’t have any ready-made playmates in the form of siblings. As much as I’d love for her have a playdate every day, that’s simply not possible, so it’s down to us to arrange other things for her to do, like the weekly pony lessons that she’ll be starting on Wednesday. But, I can’t help but wonder; are our kids lonelier than we were?

She’ll probably never be in a position where we’d let her play in the street, not least of all because people drive down our road like utter twonks, but mostly because the world is not the shiny, happy place it once was. I wrote this post a year ago about how shocked I was to see someone leave their child in the car while they went into the shop and had many comments suggesting that I was over-reacting and judgmental. I revisited the post after April Jones disappeared and wasn’t at all surprised to know that many people now agreed with me about how much freedom children are able to have in modern times.

Sausage will never have the level of freedom that Husband and I did and as such will never know what it’s like to ‘knock for’ someone, play in the street, ride her bike up and down until she’s called in for dinner, do cartwheels on a front lawn, knock on the door and ask for a pound when the ice cream man turns up, or be best friends with the kids next door. And I have to admit, that makes me really sad.

However, as sad as it makes me, it’s not something on which I’d ever compromise as her safety is the most important thing. So, what do you think? Are your kids lonelier than you were as a child? Should we do more to make sure they have someone to play with everyday? Or is that just not possible in modern times?

Leave me a comment below.

Suicide is Painless…?

…or so Mike Altman would have us believe. I’m not sure if I do…

I’ve had conversations with people about suicide before and in general people get very animated about it. I’ve heard a lot of negativity about people who choose suicide, words bandied about like ‘selfish’ and ‘cowardly’ and if I’m honest, I dislike it.

In terms of selfishness, I have two thoughts. Firstly, I don’t believe that you can apply rational emotions to someone who is so close to the end of their tether that they’d consider taking their own lives. Secondly, if you have got to that point and you can see no way out, you’re too tired to go on, surely its selfish of others to expect you to live a life against your wishes for the sake of them?

That’s a very base way of looking at it and I know people who are left behind have to deal with pain and suffering, I’m not trying to denigrate that in any way, I’m just making the point that people take it personally when it’s not about them.

In terms of cowardice, I don’t know about you but I think it probably takes a lot of courage to be able to take the steps to end your own life. I’ve been at a very low ebb on a few occasions in my life and although the thought of suicide has crossed my mind, I’d never have the guts to do it.

Is it guts? I don’t know, I guess I’m just lucky enough to have more reasons to live than die.

We were there.

Husband and I were discussing suicide today after we found out that an acquaintance of ours had taken his life and he put a perspective on it that I hadn’t thought of. I told him how sad I felt that the guy had been so low that he’d ended it all and he said that if suicide is a conscious decision (i.e. not drink or drug related) then it needn’t always be sad. Maybe some people just decide that enough is enough and that they don’t want to go on any further. I guess I can understand what he means, but I’m socially programmed to view suicide as an act of sadness and desperation.

All I know is, I’ve seen literally hundreds of Facebook statuses and conversations today that suggest that PB will be sorely missed and the fact that he made a mark on the world is something to be proud of.

I hope so many people miss me when my time comes.