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mentoring for small business owners

Mentoring for Small Business Owners

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”– George Bernard Shaw

I was speaking at the launch of the HCL technology mentoring program on Monday and one of the questions that I was asked was – how did you cope with ‘work life balance’… especially with a young family and starting a business.

I admitted the reality is – I don’t really remember. Life was a blur – I put one foot in front of the other and hoped each day that I moved the game forward.

Some days were great – and others not so good.

Life is a little less of a blur now – I am intentional and have a deep sense of purpose. I know why I do what I do. Simply put I want my legacy or contribution to have made the world a slightly better place. If I can share what I have learned perhaps others can share from my mistakes, tragedies and upsets…. As well as the good things.

Success, happiness and a sense of calm are all admirable aspirations – but I question are they not a moving target that comes and go – perhaps they are fleeting experiences as the goal posts move. Ah, so that would mean that ‘it is all about the journey, not the destination’.

Fifteen years in business and I still think ‘oh my goodness it could all end tomorrow’ – I still have a deep fear.. so what is it that we can do to give us the impression, or the experience of living a ‘successful life’.

There are plenty of articles on the ‘practices of successful people’… Perhaps I can add mine to the conversation.

I ask myself ‘what is the worst that can happen?

If a small thing has the power to make you angry, does that not indicate something about your size?” — Sydney Harris

Often, I push, push, push myself… wanting to make everything perfect. Yet this pursuit of perfection leaves me exhausted. What if there was no perfection? What if I could be truly satisfied with what I did get done… what would be the worst that happened. I need to play this out (or even talk it out).

I have a friend who is a surgeon her bad day and my bad day are worlds apart. Reality checking! – It is just business.

Ask yourself, will it matter to you five years from now? Is it important in the scheme of things?

If the answer is yes, do care and be in action (but surprisingly many times it is not as important as you think it is in that moment.) Does it concern your family, friends or your well-being – these are the fundamentals?

Be in action.

“Happy people plan actions, they don’t plan results.”- Dennis Waitle

If there is one thing that I do when I know I am in a spot, or I just don’t want to deal with it I imagine how I will feel when it’s done. I close my eyes and count out loud backwards from five to one. Apparently, this kicks the frontal cortex into gear. Who knows, what I do know is I feel so silly that I don’t want to repeat the action so I just get on with it.

“Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.” Spanish Proverb

Reader Interactions


  1. Thank you for your writings. I am 62 years old, was recently terminated after (2) years of employment. I decided now is the time to make a change if ever I was going to do so. Continued education as well as work on some of the ideas to design product I’ve had and could never find the work life balance to go further to complete them. Again, thank you and please continue feeding our minds with the positivity..

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  • Happiness:
Think less, Feel more;
Frown less, Smile more;
Judge less, Accept more;
Watch less, Do more;
Complain less, Appreciate more;
Fear less, Love more....
Give it a crack 😎on a weekend like this what's to stop you! #naturalbeauty #happiness
  • Friday drinks must be here soon surely ... or I'm out! #friyay
  • In the 90s I left my cushy job at Apple.

I’d be a squillionaire if I still had my stock options.

I don’t regret it. Here's why:

After 10 years of corporate, I wanted to ‘do my own thing’. I started with freelance marketing.

My strategy? Hard work and build strong brands.

It seemed to work - new clients came from referrals.

But after 18 months, I came to a realisation:

All my clients wanted was “more customers”, not complex branding plans.

SO I thought I’d build a brand of my own. Something to get them “more customers”. RedBalloon was born. The purpose? Give people amazing experiences.

16 years on, RB has delivered 3.8 million customers to 2000 small businesses.

Now, when I give talks, I always get the same question: “How did you build such a strong brand?” Funny how it comes full circle.

I can’t answer that with a time limit.

Though I think I found a way - an online course. “How to Build your Business Brand” - years of experience in one place (link in bio if interested). But, that’s not the point of this post.

If I stayed with Apple I’d be unbelievably wealthy.

Quitting was still the best thing I’ve ever done.

So if you want to take a leap of faith, do it.

All I ask you is this:

Trust yourself and never underestimate the power of brand.
  • #tbt the originals circa 2004 🎈 it reminds that an entrepreneurs journey is long and full of twists and turns. What a ride! @redballoonexperiences
  • I have always been rushing! I need to remind myself of this one regularity. I'm intentional, not frenetic. Choose the one thing that needs to get done to make everything easier! #inspiration


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