The Small Biz Book

The Small Biz Book started off as a mini-course, but I wanted to cut costs and deliver a usable tool to help small businesses everywhere, so I turned it into a downloadable book. And to be honest, as a professional writer, I felt more comfortable doing it this way!

The book takes you step by step through the process of writing a book.

Why would you want to write a book?

“I have enough to do creating products, talking to customers and spending a crazy amount of time – and often money – on social media posts in an attempt to spread the word. Why on earth would I spend my valuable time writing a blooming book?”

First of all, I’m not talking here about a 500 page novel, the book you are about to write is:

quick and easy
totally about your business
completely free to create
and makes a wonderful promotional tool to help you get off the social media ads hamster wheel.

Many big companies and corporations produce their own books, catalogues and magazines (think in-flight for example) and there’s no reason small businesses can’t do that too. You may say “but the big corps have gazillions of staff they can give the job to”, and yes that would be true. But it doesn’t necessarily mean the finished product is any good (think in-flight for example!)

The big boys also have huge advertising budgets which means that social media and other media platforms will favour them and get their ads in front of eyeballs before their smaller budget customers. Annoying, I know, but that’s business.

Also, the dreaded algorithms change with no warning, and the powers-that-be can drop your ad, even your whole social media presence at the drop of a hat. This isn’t scaremongering. It’s just a fact and the more you can protect yourself against having all your eggs in one basket stomped on, the better.

So back to the book…..

A book of your business can be used in a couple of ways;

  • as a lead magnet – a giveaway to encourage new email subscribers
  • as a free gift for customers

and you could, perhaps, even sell it! But for now, we’ll concentrate on a promotional tool. I would suggest using your book as a giveaway OR a lead magnet, but not both. You can always make a second version if you decide to at a later date.

The book itself will be predominantly about you and your business, and because you’re the author, you choose what to include.

I’ve created a couple of test books about businesses I know nothing about and found they took around 8 hours each to complete. I can’t guarantee you will finish your book in eight hours but you may also finish it in half the time.

Work on it for half an hour every day and it’ll soon be a viable product to add to your portfolio, whether as a free giveaway or a saleable item.

Only 30 minutes! How easy is it to lose 30 minutes or more scrolling through social media posts?!

The Small Biz Book is broken down into seven easy step-by-step tasks

Read through the whole book once – don’t worry it’s a quick read 🙂 and then go back and work on the tasks from Step One.
You’ll find a couple of example books at the end; one for a service business and one for a product business.

Use these as templates if you like. They’re designed as a four chapter book with your own brand or style in mind.

Copy how they’re laid out and change what you need to suit your small business. If you have a better idea, go for it!

Creating your own book will give you extra business kudos, attract more customers and develop connections with your existing customers. And without spending an extra penny!

You’ll need a laptop, PC or tablet with Word or an equivalent software – as long as you can export as a pdf you’re good. You’ll also want to add some pictures of your products/business. You probably already have them, but if they’re only on your phone, send them to your laptop ready to pop into the book. 🙂

Okay, let’s get on this. The Small Biz Book is available as a pdf at Etsy right now for less than a fiver (£). It should be available in online bookstores soon although personally I prefer a pdf – the formatting always feels tidier to me!

The Small Biz Book at Etsy

Supporting small business always.

Happy Writing!

Linda x

P.S. I’ve been commissioned by a couple of big publishers and can provide a book-writing service if you’d like to go down that route. Get in touch if you want to discuss having your book written for you. But, honestly, as a small business, you may want to keep your costs down and this little adventure of writing your own book is the way to do it!

Pocket Crowdfunder

Yes! The Crowdfunder campaign’s published. Not sure what to do now.

But I guess I need to tell as many people as possible about it. The idea has so many good points to it that I really want to get it off the ground.

The money isn’t as important as the exposure – well, the small target of £150 would get the idea launched of course but overall I want to help support small businesses and local communities.

Here are some points about Pocket Bags and where they’re going:

*Practical handmade extra ‘pockets’ that tie onto belts, bags purses etc;

*Lovely gift idea for you or a friend

*Goal is to launch a local cottage industry and a business model ready to share nationally or even internationally.

*New designs, colours and sizes in development all the time

If you’d like to take a look at my Crowdfunder page and share it, I would be so grateful. It’s not a highly polished affair just a simple homemade campaign for simple handmade products.

Stay Safe

Linda x

Pocket Bags: Name Change!

Well, they’ve taken on a few names over the past few months and many different design ideas but after much polishing of the pattern and playing with catchy names, I think I’ve got there – finally!

Honestly, when I first had this idea, I thought it was going to be straightforward. I mean, it’s just a tiny bag after all and if I was making them for me or the family then the original version would probably have been fine. BUT my mind went off on a creative escapade of its own and I had no choice but to follow 🙂

So now I’m ready, or as ready as I’ll ever be, to get this Crowdfunder campaign rolling. I’m only looking for a few donations to pay for the packaging – the bags have to be presented nicely and if they’re in their own little box, they make great gifts as well.

But more to the point, I’m doing this to showcase small and local businesses and with a view to keeping everything as enironment friendly as possible. The bags will eventually be on sale on a new UK creative sellers platform – Home of the Mall – which was recently created as an alternative to Etsy because, although a great site, Etsy has got so big that it’s not easy to get seen, however good your product is.

So my biggest task now is to promote the crowdfunder campaign as much as possible and, hopefully, find a few people who would love to support small businesses and the creative arts. Fingers crossed!

I should be able to publish tomorrow and I’ll post a quick update here when it’s live just in case you’d like to see what I’m up to!

Stay safe

Linda x

B-Bags

No, not a typo and I’m not going to write about tea bags, although I could probably write a book on tea and it’s variations!

But no, today I want to share a brand new and exciting project that – hopefully – will launch in a few days. It’s a Crowdfunder campaign to jump-start a product and support small and local businesses.

The B-Bags in question are mini bags that tie on to belts, belt loops, scarves, bags and loads of other things. They are also big enough to hold a special item such as an amulet or a moonstone. Or something less zen such as a few coins or a small lighter. Here’s a quick snapshot of ideas:

And they’re hand-made – crocheted with love and care by yours truly.

But my ultimate aim is to create a stir and receive so many orders that I HAVE to get someone else on board too. There are after all only so many hours in a day and sometimes Netflix beckons 🙂

Giving someone else, and hopefully lots of someone elses an income, albeit a fairly modest one, will develop quickly into a cottage industry for local people and my huge ginormous goal is to set up a kind of mini franchise system that may appeal to many areas of the UK, especially high unemployment areas.

And I guess, as my imagination seems to know no limits at the moment, this could also be a global network of cottage industries.

This is the kind of work where social distancing is fairly simple – not necessarily enjoyed but the operational plan will be easy to install. Also, of course, crocheters, packagers and administrators will be able to more or less choose their work hours and times to suit their lifestyle.

I’m so excited about this project as it ticks so many boxes:

*Local employment
*Supporting small business
*Eco – friendly product
*Hand-made
*Extensive colour choices

And on top of all that, it’s a fabulous new idea that’s practical, pretty and affordable. A perfect gift for a loved one or yourself!

Now, I have to polish the Crowdfunder story a little, sort out some images and then bombard Facebook and Instagram with some fabulous posts. Wish me luck!

Love and Peace
Linda x

New Writing Platform

Been busy building a new website. It started with an interest in a very well-known company and suddenly I found myself building a whole site! Still a freebie but time enough to upgrade.

laptop

It’s a new writing platform with writing articles and a few well-being tips for good balance. And it’ll be a perfect platform to showcase the course I’m building, designed to help anyone who wants to write a non-fiction book get started, finished and published.

I’m going to try the course locally and see where I go from there, although in the meantime I’ll be working on the online version so that I can reach more writing students and keep it affordable. I’ve never presented a course before, let alone with actual real people listening to what I have to say.

That is, without me yelling at them or resorting to the occasional bribe – mum persona 🙂

So, fingers crossed this will be a new career move for me and more to the point, I’m going to love helping people go from ‘I’ve got a great idea for a book’ to actually doing it!

If you have a minute, pop over to the new writing site and see what you think. Not an awful lot of content yet, but you’ll get the picture.  It’s even mobile phone optimized! New Writing Platform

To your success

Linda x

Positive Number Play

With all the Covid, vaccines and political and scientific statistics bombarding every news item, numbers have been playing a pretty negative role in our lives at the moment.

But for those of you who like playing with numbers check this out…

I downloaded a numeric spark from the universe today and had some positive fun with numbers and letters. This is what I did but you can play with any dates, days and letters….

Because I live in ‘England’ this works for me!..

For the year 2021:

2+0+2+1 = 5

The 5th letter of the alphabet is E

The first letter of England is E

England is about to embark on 5 major E’s in 2021:

1. Europe– no doubt there’s gonna be a lot of negotiations with Europe this year.

2. Environment- many of us are growing more food and needing less plastic and fuel. And (hopefully) the farmers will re-classify their unused fields and grow crops we don’t have to import.

3. Energy– high bills and low wages aren’t fun but they are changing the way we consume energy. And the energy we enjoy while gardening will help keep us healthy!

4. Enterprise– entrepreneurs and creatives all over the country are getting out there and creating more home-spun ideas and helping their communities.

5. Enlightenment– well come on, after all these fabulous E’s there has to be some enlightenment going on 🙂

And a couple of bonuses:

The above E’s are always Evolving and this could be a very Exciting year..

Enjoy the moment!

Linda x

Christmas: A Political Issue?

It certainly feels like it with the lockdown, health and economic headlines scaring us all senseless this year.

But maybe it always was a political issue…

According to history, the first pope (Constantine) declared the 25th of December to be the day we should celebrate the birth of Christ.

Now, there are a couple of issues here..

The declaration was made in the year 336 AD – that’s AD – AFTER Christ. In the years 0-335, the birth of Christ wasn’t celebrated, as far as we know, at all. So how did he know? He didn’t, he just picked a date…

Why the 25th December? History points to this being a political act to steer people away from the pagan tradition of acknowledging the winter solstice, when the harvest was in and gratitude was placed firmly in the hands of nature, humanity included.

Was this the beginning of a certain lack of gratitude for nature’s bounty?

There are billions of humans on this planet and I’m pretty sure there are a whole lot of them who either don’t celebrate Christmas because of their religious beliefs or they are just totally fed up with spending too much money on plastic bits and pieces and general craziness of it all.

So, how about this for a contraversial idea. This year – 2020, the year when the world went mad – what if we ‘postponed’ Christmas until March 21st.

We could celebrate on the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere;

*New life budding from the very earth we stand on.
*A promise of better weather to come

And on the first day of Autumn in the southern hemisphere;

*Getting in the harvest
*Preparing for a cozy winter

And why shouldn’t we call it Christmas – the Bible is very vague as to the time of year and exact date that Christ was born. Surely with the pandemic and economic collapse of many sectors of society, as a species we should be preserving our lives and nature as a whole, rather than being overly concerned about the political views of a pope who lived over 1600 years ago.

And as for the plastic bits and pieces..

However hard we try, a plastic-free lifestyle atm is virtually impossible unless you are mega rich and don’t possess any electric or electronique devices… hmm … perhaps the answer is to grow plants specifically for plant-based plastics – maybe we could start them all off on 21st March next year – when the Universe, God or whichever higher power you feel close to can spring forth and bring us all together under a non-political umbrella that hasn’t really existed since before the year 336AD.

Worth a thought anyway 🙂

Stay safe

Linda x

Crowdfunding

For a long time, I’ve put off attempting a crowdfunding campaign – mostly because I’m camera shy and couldn’t face the whole talking to camera thing.. I know! .. must be a touch of vanity creeping in there – not particularly proud of that, but working on it 🙂

Rather than miss out on launching a new product which I created and love, I did some research and found a very successful campaign on crowdfunder where the artist portrayed her work via nature walks and her own workshop with a voice-over commentary…. wow I could do that!

So, then I put the whole package together and my lovely daughter is going to help me with the camera work – along with her 11 year old son who is a techno wizard. He doesn’t know yet but he’s gonna get a whole load of granny hugs – bless him 🙂

We’re heading out to the moors on Wednesday, weather permitting, for a video shoot and I can’t wait.

I have no idea if this will be a successful campaign but crowdfunder is there and I’m determined to give it my best shot.

Although I’m only looking for a relatively small amount of money to launch my new idea – a crochet kit with extras – this year has been financially difficult (for so many of us,) I just can’t fund it myself right now. But with my portfolio of books and the membership site I’m starting, I’ll be able to offer some great rewards – even for small donations.

Hopefully, I’ll be crowdfunding in a week from now. 31st Oct or 1st November would be great. I’ll keep you posted!

Stay safe

Linda x

P.S. In the meantime, I’m still working on the Etsy shop and would be so grateful for any ideas or suggestions. Gran’Choice at Etsy

Drowning in Etsy

Before I start moaning, Etsy is a great platform, probably the first of its kind – please don’t quote me on that- I have no idea if they were the first or not, but they definitely are a big presence online and a great platform for arts and crafts suppliers.

My take on it though is that they’re kind of TOO big now and many of us small crafters are drowning in the sheer volume of products available.

Rather than give up entirely on ever getting more than one sale per month, I’ve been reading, watching videos, attending online workshops and generally trying to float my boat in the Etsy ocean. And there must be a general problem with getting seen, judging by the sheer volume of ‘selling on etsy’ workshops, courses, books and webinars out there.

So, sources say – among other things:

*keep tweaking; change keywords, title and description
*create staged photos – rather than just a bowl, put something in it to show it being used
*promote like crazy on social media and everywhere else.

These are all great tips and, I assume, they work. However, when you have other stuff going on, or you’re like me and are already figuring out the next project before you finish the one you’re working on, it can be hard to get motivated within the social media world.

And almost everyone says social media is the key to a successful small business. Ouch.

My other gripe with Etsy is that whenever I look at a product I like, or even one of my own products, I am instantly diverted to Etsy US which is so frustrating when you live in another country. I don’t understand their algorithms with this particular issue. Other big sites don’t zap you off around the world! – Amazon and Ebay certainly don’t.

Having said all that, I am always open to ideas and suggestions so if you have any sure tips to get seen on Etsy, I would be so grateful.

But for now, there’s a new platform coming very soon in the UK which will support small businesses and have a handpicked selection of sellers therefore avoiding this drowning scenario…I’m going to apply for sure! Maybe this will be a pioneering approach to bring local businesses more support and, perhaps, the sea will be calmer when we are in a smaller boat.

Take away: Etsy sellers, look out for these types of platforms in your country/region and it may be we can all scale up our small businesses while scaling down on the headaches!

But in the meantime, keep tweaking – you never know, that one small tweak could be a big step for your business.

….My crochet hook is calling… have a wonderful day 🙂

Stay safe
Linda x

P.S. Any (family-friendly!) feedback very much appreciated..

Gran’s Choice Etsy Shop

Number 3

You know those days when a certain number seems significant and you decide to run with it. Not lottery numbers, they’re a bit too random for my peace of mind. I’m just talking simple everyday numbers which we tend to take as a sign of something auspicious about to happen:

*A ‘feeling’ for a certain number which, although a good reason may lurk somewhere in your memory, the incident never really comes to mind – and it probably doesn’t matter anyway. This number could be anything, usually between 1 and 200 with a few exceptions such as 333, 444 etc;

*A ‘scientific’ approach to numerology. Which number corresponds to your birthdate or your name perhaps. My birthdate is 9 and I tend to take 3’s, 6’s and 9’s as all being auspicious numbers. This may sound somewhat greedy, but there are no rules here and numbers are infinite after all!

Although I feel my approach is more about ‘Numerology’, the feelings are just as significant and recently a ‘3’ moment arrived when everything I seemed to do was divisible by 3 – and I ended up with 3 projects that all had ‘3s’ in mind!

1. I tidied up all 3 wix websites that I’d kind of forgotten about. They’re all up and running now. The gardening site is the biggest with some great gardening tips, the chocolate site is the sweetest with some delicious recipes and the writing site is the beginning of my quest to help writers get their writing out in the world.

Garden Ideas
Simply Chocolate
Writing

2. I had a lightbulb moment with my crochet creations – to make a family gift that goes on forever called a … wait for it … a Forever Bonbon! I’ve already made 6 designs and put them in my Etsy shop. My goal is, of course, to make 9! **Update. All sold**

They’re handmade gift bags that are designed to be kept by the receiver of the gift inside until the next celebration, when they can either give it back or pass it on, again with a gift inside.

Happy with them so far :-).

3. Hat Trix! Well, three goals is a hat trick and this third project really does what it says on the box. Still going with the handmade and eco-friendly ideas, I’ve designed a product for young children that’s 3 games in one.

No batteries, chargers or plugs needed and lots of soft play fun intended!

I’m not sure how to get this on the market yet.

I’ve made a mock up to help me get the sizes right, but still in the early research stages.

It has a lot of educational value; learning colours, numbers, eye-hand co-ordination etc;

Well, that seems to wrap up my 3 moment nicely. I’d better get on to the next steps. I may make a numbered to-do list and tackle all the items divisible by 3 – or perhaps not 🙂

Stay Safe

Linda x