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I‘m a regular follower of your blog and whilst I love the amaze-balls photography and reading about real couples kick-ass big days, what I love most is the Green Room, or more specifically the attitude you have to your business, brand and beliefs. Because of that (and I don’t normally do this I swear!) I’m writing to you to ask for some words of wisdom.

I’m at the very beginning of setting up an online business as a virtual assistant/PA but I’m starting to crumble under the weight of everyone else’s opinions already which in turn is making me feel like I should just quit. 

I’m 29 and to date (deep breath) I’ve had 23 jobs… I’ve never been happy in anything I’ve done. I initially started out training to be a primary school teacher and did that for a year after realising it wasn’t for me and since then I’ve been lost. I floated into social work, vets, travel agents, office support, housing associations, youth workers, ambulance 999 call handler – you name it I’ve probably done it. I’m currently working as an office manager at a software company and honestly want to cry most days. My colleagues are lovely and the managers are OK –  I have definitely had worse – but I’m so unfulfilled and I hate to admit it but I feel like a bit of a failure.

Setting up on my own is all I’ve ever wanted to do and I know I have the fire in my belly that will spur me on. Ultimately I want freedom and I do believe I can have that by working for myself. True to form I’ve been through a lot of business ideas up to this point! Everything from running a pancake van to starting a theatre company for kids, but this idea of being a virtual PA is the first I’ve had where the passion to get it going hasn’t gone away quickly. 

My main issue is getting past the negative and ‘helpful’ comments from my friends and family that are actually really sarcastic and really hurtful. Everyone keeps saying that this idea is “just another one of my phases” and “it will pass” or they roll their eyes when I start to talk about my business ideas. My mother even said I have a “self-destruct button”. It makes me feel rotten rotten rotten, drains my self-confidence and makes me feel like maybe I actually don’t have what it takes to get the customers and make this work. I know that my mum is not saying it to be mean or nasty, but in this particular area of my life I really feel like my loved ones don’t understand me at all.

I’m finding it really hard to ignore what they are saying and draw positives from it to give me the strength to continue.  My two sisters (both younger than me) went down the very traditional path of school-university-qualified in something-successful careers-married-children. I am none of those things. I feel like such a failure. 

I’d be eternally grateful for any advice or help you could give me to assist in giving me my focus back! I understand you’re a busy lady, thanks a million squillions and I’ll understand if you can’t reply…

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My heart literally ached when reading your email. I want to reach through my computer screen and give you the biggest hug ever. I’m sorry you feel so low and that your family and friends are being so rubbishly unsupportive right now.

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Business Bites: Moving Forwards, Always

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Photography: Made U Look Photography taken at The Blogcademy: Portland!

You never really know how a new blog series is going to go down with your readers, so I was so thrilled to read all your positive comments about Business Bites last weekend. I appreciate every single comment I get on this ‘lil blog of mine (ahem, well except those kinds of comments) so keep ‘em coming!

I hope you’ve had an awesomely productive week. I’ve been making real progress with issue three of the magazine and I’m literally bursting at the seams with excitement. I’m hoping (touch friggin’ wood) to be publishing it mid-Summer again so watch this space. We’re down to the last few copies of issue two (once it’s gone it’s gone!) so bloody hell, I better not have gone and flipping jinxed it now…

Alrighty then, let’s get on with the show…

♥ If you’re a photographer in the UK, I’m sure you won’t have missed the news of the government’s new ‘Instagram law’. There’s obviously been a lot of angry photographers raging about it, but this BBC piece offers some much needed clarity
♥ However it’s obviously going to be pretty crappy if the law is passed, so if you’re in the UK please take two minutes to sign this online petition!
How to move ahead when everything sucks
Say it backwards
♥ This market research for the wedding industry is so invaluable
Explaining what makes you, you
♥ Having business cards on you at all times is so important but Danielle took hers to another level. You’re never going to forget the babe that gave you one of these are you!?
♥ Do you make these 6 domain name mistakes?
♥ Find what you love and let it kill you

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Keep Portland Weird: The Blogcademy Recap

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After a solo long haul flight, an epic Q&A livestream and a whistle stop tour around Portland’s least reputable establishments, I barely had time to catch my breath and it was time for the next leg of The Blogcademy World Tour. Portland is a weird little town, but one I felt an instant affinity with. I loved all the independent stores selling all manner of crazy creations, and the candy-coloured houses and walls obviously made my little heart sing!

Over Easter weekend Gala, Shauna and I descended on The Ace Hotel, in the downtown area of the city. With our photography BFFs and Auntie Nubs (Shauna’s Aunt and our trusty assistant for the weekend) in tow, we were ready to meet a new crop of Blogcadettes and to teach up a storm.

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I’m always nervous before a workshop, but as usual the babes that attended were nothing but sweet, inspiring and amazing. Within minutes of meeting them all my wobbles subsided and we were laughing, getting to know all about each other and quickly becoming instant best friends. We were blessed with students who had travelled far and wide to attend, but extra special props must go to our scholarship winner, Jessica, who came all the way from Arkensas on her own. She’d never even been on an areoplane before and she came all that way – what a babe!

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I love this photo because it totally looks like I’m thinking “damn I hate these bitches!” but really, that’s just my “I’m literally the best dancer ever” face!

Of course The Blogcademy would never be possible without our amazing sponsors. Let’s give them some LOVE shall we?

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Copycat

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Hi Kat, I hope your well. I really need some help and don’t know who else to ask that will give me a straight answer. I have huge respect for you, your morals and your attitude. I hope you’ll be able to find the time to reply.

I launched a wedding blog a few months ago. Without going into too much detail (and using up more of your time) a lot of blood, sweat, tears and money has been put into it. I’ve created a team of contributors as well as showcasing local wedding businesses. It was a huge risk but since it launched we’ve had a fantastic response and we’ve already been getting enquiries for advertising! I’m really excited about where it’s going.

But I have a problem and a question for you. As your blog continues to grow and it attracts more attention, did you ever have other bloggers start to follow your format? Maybe showing similar posts to you but a week or so later? If so, how did you react to this and what did you do?

Basically, soon after we launched another blog with the same focus as us launched too (coincidence). It didn’t bother me at first but as the weeks have past we’ve been noticing her format changing, and her posts are following a similar style to ours. It is beginning to annoy me and my team as we’ve all a spent a lot of time researching & writing these posts and it feels like this other blogger is coming along and just repeating everything that we do.

I’m trying really hard to give her the benefit of the doubt but I really don’t know what to do. I can’t stand being copied but I know it happens everywhere but I’m worried about the fall out if I put my foot down and get angry or ‘out’ her. We’ve put so much effort into creating something different and we hate the idea of someone else piggy backing off all our hard work even if it is purely a coincidence.

What would you do? 

the blogcademy la 2

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Business Bites: Striving to Improve

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Photography: La Tartine Gourmande

I know it’s geeky, but I really love reading anything and everything I can get my hands on about blogging or running a small business. I mean, if we’re not constantly striving to improve or better ourselves, how do we ever expect our businesses to flourish and grow? So do yourself a favour, take a break, and spend some time reading up on how you can make some positive changes. Today.

How to get your Facebook updates seen by more people
When is the best time to post on Facebook?
What is an editorial blog calender and do I need one?
Seven questions to ask yourself before you hit publish
♥ I love reading about other people’s work routines
♥ How to turn marketing fails into awesome human moments

“Ultimately, truly effective marketing (like any communication) is about connection and relationships. Real people make real mistakes. When you acknowledge it, you’re actually taking a second to have a really human moment. Yeah, mistakes are generally bad for business… but humanizing your business by acknowledging those mistakes can be powerful tool for establishing a real human connection.” Ariel Meadow Stallings

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How Couples in the UK Plan Their Weddings & Pick Their Suppliers

2012 UK Wedding Market Study from Splendid Insights

Last June, Liene Stevens of Splendid Communications kindly allowed me to publish some of the hugely insightful findings of her annual wedding & lifestyle market research. Each year she interviews thousands of engaged and newly-married couples to find out exactly what matters when it comes to their weddings, how much they’re really spending and which factors actually determine how they select their suppliers. The results went down a storm, with many of you commenting that after reading the findings that you had plans to make some serious improvements on certain areas of your businesses.

So, as soon as Liene published the results of her 2012 survey, which can be purchased in full via her website, I was keen to ask if I could share some of the highlights with you again. There is a report available which covers the overall global results, but she’s also carried out country-specific surveys (US, Canada, UK & Australia). Being a wedding blogger based in the UK, I found the answers from the UK responders particularly interesting. Below are some of the findings from that report. The survey was taken by heterosexual and same-sex brides and grooms from the UK who were married in 2012.

Budgets

2012 UK Wedding Market Study from Splendid Insights

The majority of couples in the UK are spending between $11,000 – $30,000 (published in USD to keep results consistent with the global findings) which is approximately £7200 – £20,000.

2012 UK Wedding Market Study from Splendid Insights

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