Be stress free and start your own business or not?

Last week’s blog on retirement brought in many comments with people writing to tell me that they were thinking of starting their own small business.

In 1987, I established my stress management and counselling consultancy – and for me it was the right decision.   However, being one’s own boss requires a specific mindset plus a commitment that is different from working for someone else within a corporate environment.

What it takes to start

Before embarking on a self-employed career, you need to give consideration as to whether you are really suited to what will initially be a 24 hour job.  A majority of people would rather work alongside others rather than being an entrepreneur, working all hours and having to make all the decisions.  Going ‘solo’ is not right for everyone and it is important that you find out at the early stage before you put time, effort and finance into your new career. Continue reading


International Women’s Day: Celebrating Women’s Power

Today, is International Women’s Day, and in looking at their website, it is interesting to see so many international events taking place, ranging from large, national conferences to small informal ‘get-togethers’.  However, the message is the same which in the words of Jude Kelly, Artistic Director is: “To celebrate the formidable power of women to make change happen, to remind us of our history, to draw attention to injustice and to enjoy each other’s company as we set out to achieve a fairer world”.

Tales from South Africa

This made me think about all the special women that I have met over the past year.  I visit South Africa at least once a year and there I work with women who are budding entrepreneurs.  These are women who have not usually received a formal education, but still want to create and grow their own businesses so that they can send their children to school, so that they can be independent and not have to sit on street corners, begging for money.  I have met women who are so completely focused in their endeavours that it puts many of us to shame.  They have a strength and determination of which many of us can only dream.  They have
no cars or large houses but their township homes in which I stay are spotlessly clean and tidy and I can only stand back in amazement at their resilience and fortitude.  Many of these women are single and don’t have the support of a man in the home and yet they survive in bringing up their children.  However, what they do lack are the marketing skills to promote their small businesses and this is what I offer to them through my 1:1 coaching programmes.  Some of the skills are specific such as helping them to write their own business cards and business plans, but other skills are those that come from encouragement and motivation. Continue reading


Be Stress Free and Enjoy the Community Spirit

Here in London, we have just experienced our first fall of snow this winter.  It arrived with a vengeance, severely affecting airports and roads.  The day
after, I went outside into the front garden to clear the path from snow and
within half an hour, I had spoken to many of my neighbours all clearing the
snow, like me, many of whom I rarely spoke to from one month to the next.  There we were, all sharing in a joint activity, offering cups of tea and coffee to each other.  Overnight, we had become a community again because we had a common interest.  None of us could get our cars out the driveway, and we were fighting against the weather to try to clear the driveways before the ice arrived overnight. Continue reading


Stressed? 20 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Stress in 2011

Find out how to deal with stress

4 Proven Steps to Beat Your Stress!

By Carole Spiers

As a weekly columnist for Gulf News, I have addressed many issues relating to workplace stress.  Many readers have written to me to ask me various questions regarding the best way to manage stress, so I thought it would be a good idea to share some of these with you.

Q:  What is stress?

A:  Stress is the adverse reaction that people have to excess pressure or other types of demands placed on them.  It arises when they perceive that they are unable to cope with those demands

Q:  Is stress good for me?

A:  No.  It is often mistakenly thought that stress is good for people, when in fact, long-term stress is invariably harmful.  A certain amount of pressure can indeed motivate and can therefore be useful, but stress is never so. Continue reading


Time and Management: Tackle enemies of efficiency

Find out how to deal with stress
4 Proven Steps to Beat Your Stress!

Buy Carole’s New Book here:

“Are you good at multi-tasking?”, was the question raised at a business seminar last week. It probably will not surprise you to learn that most of the women in the audience raised their hands, whilst most of the men present, seemed to be unsure as to what the term actually meant!

As we discussed the issue, and even though many of us can, and do, handle more than one task contemporaneously – it soon became apparent from our conversation that the skill of multi-tasking may not be as advantageous as we might think. In fact, when we concentrate on one task at a time, then we tend to be more efficient, more focused and benefit from no interruptions.

Time and Management

Disruptions and disturbance are the enemies of efficiency. Sitting quietly writing when my concentration is broken by my iPhone suddenly ringing or by the beep that signifies the receipt of a text message, both disrupt my train of thought and my focus.  So does the person who interrupts a private conversation to give an unwanted opinion or enters my personal working space, uninvited. Continue reading


Stressed? When a Headache Becomes a Heart Attack!

'Show Stress Who's Boss!' provides tools and strategies that will show you how to deawl with stress.
Discover 4 Easy Ways to Beat Stress Today!

New Book Out This Week:  Buy it here:

Two weeks ago, it was the UK’s World Mental Health Day and despite the considerable publicity that is given to mental heath on this day, and also throughout the year, the topic is still, too often, a taboo subject.    We know from medical professionals that those suffering from anxiety and other mental health issues need to seek help as soon as possible before permanent damage is allowed to occur and that any delay in diagnosis and treatment, due to social stigma regarding the subject, needs to be avoided.

So this being Mental Health Day, I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to look at some basic myths and misconceptions about one cause of mental health problems, stress. Continue reading


Relieve Stress in Your Retirement

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Preferential Rate, Prior to Launch £10.00 [List price £15.00]  + P & P
Secure this offer & register your interest  to Anita:

I appreciate that for many readers the thought of retirement may seem a very long way into the future.  However, it comes to us alleventually and for that new chapter in one’s life to be successful, it requires careful planning for the transition from work to leisure.

Contrary to what you may imagine, retirement can be one of the busiest and most exciting times of your life – a period to look forward to.  It means having time to breathe and doing what you want every day; it’s about starting something new; giving back to the community using the skills and knowledge you have gained over the years and
generally adjusting the pace of your life to a less structured day with fewer
commitments and deadlines.

Years ago, the traditional idea of retirement invoked images of elderly people with
walking sticks being helped across the road!  But today, retirement is nothing like that! Retirement can mean learning a new skill, writing a book, starting a new business, doing voluntary work, travelling, or mentoring young people.  An exciting new world that is full of endless possibilities. Continue reading


Stressed? The Stress of ‘Letting Go’ of Children When They Go to School

One of my clients is the family of Mark and Clare Turner. They are very excited because their son Darren, who is nearly five year old, has just left kindergarten and is due to embark on a new chapter of his life by going to school full time. But, at the same time, they are also nervous because this will be the first time that they will be ‘letting go’ of their first child. The reality is that this is big step for both parents and youngster. Clare told me that a part of her is relieved because she will have more time for herself and her other children. However, on the other side, they are both sad because they know that they won’t have so much control over Darren when he will now have other influences in his life around him with his new teachers and peer group. They feel that their ‘special time’ with him will, in future, be somewhat different and not be quite the same as the first years when they were his ‘whole world’. Continue reading


Stress Reduction: Summer Activity

When my children were small, I would always look forward to the summer holidays although my friends would often laugh at me.  How could I stand ‘the kids’ being at home all the time and have to entertain them, 24/7?  Fortunately, I had a spacious garden, in which they could play, and we would go to museums, parks, have play-dates with other children and sometimes go away for a week or two. However, during term time one of the biggest stressors to me was the continual looking at my watch to make sure I was on time to do the never-ending ‘school run’.  And so, when the summer arrived, it was a relief not to have to nag the children to do their homework, practice the piano, cello or violin, or rehearse their ‘times-tables’.  So for me, summer was bliss. Continue reading


Learn to Work from Home and How to Deal with Stress

With many people now taking early retirement or being made redundant and starting up their own businesses, now might be good time to look at the challenges of running a business from home.

You may think this is an easy one, not having to put a suit on in the morning, with the bonus of increased productivity with less travelling time. Unfortunately, the fine line between work life and home life soon start to merge and you will need to be highly disciplined in order to succeed.

It is all too easy to play with the children or watch a football match on television and leave a task until tomorrow but this is exactly the time when you need to be self-motivated.

There are many rewards from working from home if you can get it right! So here are some tips to help you along your way.

1. Space demarcation

Keep your office space separate from your home environment. Keep your office ‘off limits’ to your children while you are working so that they understand that a closed door means ‘No Entry!’

2. Time management

Your time must be structured. Have your to-do list right next to you and ensure that you make those calls and keep those appointments. The advantage of working from home is that you can take off a couple of hours in the middle of the day to go to the gym, go to your children’s sports day and then you can catch up at the end of the day.

3. Outsource

You will still need a support team to keep you working efficiently. When you are in an office, this support is often taken for granted: particularly technical and administrative, but when you work from home, it can be much more difficult.

4. Technology

You will need to use technology more and whereas before you could see someone face to face. It may now be better to use video conferencing. And, a remote, personal answering service is far more professional that having an answering machine taking your calls.

5. Interruptions

As soon as you start to work from home, family, friends and neighbours may think you are always available and they need to know that working time must be respected.

Be careful with people who just pop in for a chat. Don’t forget, you need to set the ground rules for those around you, and in time, they will learn to respect your needs.

6. Frame of mind

Know when you are the most productive. If you are a morning person, then choose to do the tasks that need your full concentration early in the day. The important thing is to know when you are at your best and take full advantage of that fact.

7. Network

Because you will be working by yourself, it is vital that you maintain your own peer group to keep you aware of what is happening outside your own home environment. Join networking groups, either during the day or in the evening.

It is easy to fall into the trap of becoming unmotivated at home and sometimes the ideas and the energy from someone else will help raise your energy levels.

8. Take a break

It is also important to make sure you have a daily exercise programme and at least one social break during the week. It maybe a breakfast, lunch or dinner or maybe even a quick coffee.

Keep those brain cells stimulated otherwise your brain can slow down and you will lose your energy and creativity.

Working from home is not for everyone. Some will love the flexibility and others will hate the lack of organisation. If you go down this route, make sure you have the right team in place and have the necessary support.  But it is not right for everyone, so do your homework before you go that route.

Key points

1. Working from home is good for some – not for everyone

2. It needs self-discipline and self motivation

3. You will need to utilise technology to the full

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

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A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

It is anticipated that Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields. Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations. Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling. Don’t miss this unique event. Book your place in our audience now!