Helping the homeless via your business doesn’t have to be hard. Read how I got started

I’m lucky. I’ve never been homeless. I’ve been really lucky. I can only imagine what it feels like not having the security of a home.

For years though, I’ve wanted to support the homeless. I’ve never really known the big reason why but I’ve had this burning passion to help them. I think everyone should have a home. My home is my sanctuary and I think you can cope with most things in life if you have a safe place to call your own.

I do remember reading an article a while ago about the homeless, where one homeless person said that they don’t mind that people pass them by on the street and don’t give them anything. However, they would love for people to just look them in the eye, to acknowledge their existence. They want to be visible.  Maybe that’s part of the reason for me, I’m not sure.

I had a problem though

The problem is, I know I’m not the person to practically help the homeless. I’m just being honest here, I want to help but for me, I don’t have the calling in life to be that person. I’m giving, but in different ways. It makes me sound like a terrible person saying it out loud but it’s the truth. I’m okay with owning up to that now.

This ‘issue’ has stopped me from helping for years though. Yes, I’d give donations, and I’d help people on the street as I passed them, but that wasn’t enough. That doesn’t make a difference, not really. It’s just one simple random act of kindness at a time.

I wanted to help on a bigger scale

I knew I’d have to start small, but more importantly, I knew I needed to start. Using the excuse of me not being the right person wasn’t cutting it anymore. I had a calling to help somehow. That feeling wasn’t going away, so how could I make it happen?

The Universe has a funny way of helping you out

Earlier this year I was a speaker in Brussels at an event. I met an incredible lady called Alisoun Mackenzie. One of the things she teaches is helping businesses ‘give to profit’. She’s written a book of that name and she teaches how you can add cause marketing to your business to support charities.

I’d been mulling over different ideas of how I could use my business to support charity for a while. I have a good social media platform, I’m well connected. It made complete sense. I could give back without the guilt (and excuses) of it not being me. I could still help after all.

 So, I was journaling one morning and had the idea (again!) of helping 100 women business owners. Coaching/mentoring 100 people had been one of my goals from when I started my business 5 years ago, but for some reason, it didn’t feel the right time. This particular morning it was as though I’d been hit by a thunderbolt – I could coach/mentor 100 women AND support a homeless charity at the same time. What a fabulous way to celebrate my 5-year business birthday. I felt really excited about what I could create and how I could help.

I had a chat with Alisoun, who explained what I’d need to do to set it up and that’s how it all began. I decided to offer a £200 session for just £20, working with 100 people over a six-month period. I wanted to keep it easy so that it would be manageable around running my online programme and working with my 1:1 clients.

So then, who to support?

Alisoun had that one covered too. I’m a bit of a caffeine addict, and well known for it in my circles where I get tagged in coffee posts and sent fun quotes! We’re moving to Scotland, so she told me about a charity called Social Bite.They have a chain of coffee shops in cities in Scotland where 1 in 4 homeless people now have jobs with them, and customers can do a pay-it-forward coffee/meal, plus they’re now working on setting up a village for the homeless, which is just incredible. They explain it better than I do. Check out their video here.

Coffee, Scotland AND helping the homeless. I’m in!

It was simple to set up (Check out Alisoun’s book, Give To Profit, if you want more of the proper details)

Here’s a quick idea of what I did to get it up and running:
  • Create a sales page (I use SamCart) – check
  • Link to payment – (I use PayPal and Stripe) check
  • Pull together a marketing plan – check
  • Work out a practical budget (There are costs involved with PayPal/card charges and admin to promote the initiative) – check
  • Work out the logistics of fundraising for your chosen charity. They may have things in place to support you and/or guidelines you need to follow – check
  • Talk to people about it. When you’re on calls, out and about networking etc. – ongoing check
  • Ask people to help you spread the word so that you can raise more for your chosen charity – also ongoing check

The spots are now filling fast for Mission 100. At the time of writing, I’ve hit over 20% of my goal. Still a way to go but hey, I only started talking about it last week!

Maybe you’ve got an idea that you could use to support a charity

It’s a great way to give back, and it’s so much fun knowing that your gifts and talents can provide someone with the support they need.

Who knows, maybe they’ll be a Mission 200 next, or something even bigger. I’ve got lots of ideas bubbling away!

If you are a business owner and would love to get an hour’s worth of coaching/mentoring support while also helping the homeless then check out this link. I’d love to support you.

Even if it’s not for you, maybe you know somebody that would love some business support.

Tell them about it by sharing this link – http://bit.ly/RubyMission100, or even better, gift them a session. It might just be the magical breakthrough for their business journey.

Here’s an image you can use to go with your post when you’re sharing too …

NB: Available for interviews

Do You Wish You Could Shortcut Your Business Journey?

In this blog post, I’m going to talk about shortcuts, and what really needs to be done to build a successful business.

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Click the play button below to listen, or scroll down and click ‘Read full transcript’ if you prefer to read the post.

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Read Full Transcript below...

A year or so into my business I can remember talking with another business owner about how long it can take to really get a business established. They told me they thought that 3 years was a good benchmark. I didn’t say anything, but I was horrified. I didn’t want to wait 3 years to see a return on my time. Wait a moment, THREE YEARS. Are you kidding me?! That was not happening in my world!

5Well the reality was, it did take that long. I had clients over the first couple of years of course, but it took time to really get the business up and running, to get away from that feast and famine cycle. It took time to learn what I needed to learn, to get really clear on where I wanted to be, what I stood for and how I could help.

It takes time to grow as a person, to develop your mindset and set systems in place that will make your business easier. It can take that time to know that you don’t have to do it all on your own – I knew that on a logical level, but I felt that I needed to be in control, I could only release little elements of my business out for people to help me.

I didn’t want to get outside help, I thought I could do it all on my own.

The trouble is, we all want shortcuts, but they don’t always work in business. It’s almost a rite of passage that you go through those growing pains and you learn what you need to learn along the way.

I see so many people trying to find the latest secret to running their businesses, and there isn’t really a secret. Yes, there are shortcuts that can speed up the process, and that’s where the support from coaches and mentors come in, but this overnight success thing that everyone’s raving about – personally I don’t think it exists, it’s all an illusion.

There are lots of things that you can and should do, and then there are things that will be the key to unlocking your specific business – things that work specifically for you and bring the clients.

I know I wanted to do this whole business thing super fast – I’m not afraid of hard work you see. I’m more afraid of failure. I had a ‘Let’s get this off the ground and create this freedom lifestyle everyone’s raving about – how naïve was I?!

I was asked just the other day what helped me to build my business, and while I’ve written an article for this for someone else, so I won’t go into the details, I will share the top 3 things with you here;4

  1. Getting super duper clear on your ideal client and niche, and then owning it
  2. Building relationships and not being frightened to ask people to take that next step with you
  1. Working on your mindset blocks

These were the biggest things that worked for me, and then consistently showing up – being visible.

Showing up when I wasn’t in the mood.

Showing up when the fears kicked in.

Showing up when I wasn’t seeing much return on investment for my time or money.

Showing up tirelessly day in, day out, and that’s what’s really paid off.

Being visible in my business has been a key part of my business growing, and it can be for you too.

Being visible on its own though isn’t enough, you need to make sure that you’re visible with the right message, to the right people in the right places, and then work on how you’ll convert those people into paying clients.

Consistently showing up pays dividends. Yes, it’s a long-term game, but it’s SO worth the effort. When your hard work starts paying off It’s the best feeling in the world.

We all know any goal worth pursuing has had effort put into it. Take the Olympics for example, athletes didn’t become athletes overnight, they practised and practised, perfecting their skill, focused on improving their mindset and improving their game. It’s the same in business, develop your skills, develop your business knowledge and don’t be afraid to keep showing up.

If your business isn’t working right now or you’re worrying that you’re not as far ahead as you want to be, then get the help you need from a coach or mentor. Do whatever it takes to help you move forward.

I know each time I’ve worked with someone to help me uplevel my business I’ve noticed the direct correlation to the results that I get. Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know and you need to work with someone that has been in your shoes. Even if it’s just working with an accountability partner, to keep your spirits high, and have someone to share your journey with.

Your business will grow, if you’re willing to put the work in, be disciplined, committed and focused. Successful business owners didn’t become successful by finding a magic ingredient.

6They became successful through hard work and consistency, and a huge dose of resilience. Oh yeah, and a sense of humour – that really comes in handy when it’s not always working out so well!

Let go of the need for your business to be perfect.

Let go of your need for everything to happen exactly how and when you want it to happen.

Let go of the need to control every single detail.

You have all the time you need. Running your own business isn’t a race, it’s about finding your way, learning what you can and enjoying the journey. You will grow as a person, as much as a business owner.

Call to action: Write down your progress in your business so far, no matter where you’re at on your journey, and celebrate that progress. Then think about the four key areas I mentioned: Clarity on your ideal client, building relationships, working on your mindset and consistency – Which one could you focus on this week/this month?

Time Is Running Out – Really?

In today’s post, I want you to think about how you might be overwhelming yourself when you think about what you have to do to be more visible in your business. Are you saying that time is running out – really?

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Click the play button below to listen, or scroll down and click ‘Read full transcript’ if you prefer to read the post.

Grab your copy of my free Visibility Quiz – work out where you could be more visible in your business –

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Read Full Transcript below...

Over the past week, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed. I’ve been in the place that I need some more support as my business grows, but haven’t had much time to get it sorted. With lots of different projects going on, and ok hands up sometimes not so great choices, I’ve pushed myself into overwhelm.

Interestingly, a few of my clients have also been in the same place. Maybe part of it is that looming tax return, maybe just the thought of setting goals, or like me sometimes making the wrong choices – they can all make us feel stressed out.

The same applies to when you’re trying to be more visible in your business.

There are so many ways that you can be more visible in our businesses that it can start to feel insurmountable. We have this enormous to-do list that can feel a bit daunting

It’s not just things we need to do practically, but there’s also that emotional side where we know we need to step up a bit with our confidence and start to take brave action.

When I opened my inbox this week I had received an email from HMRC (tax office) with a reminder saying my tax return was due in 10 days and ‘time was running out’. Immediately, my body tightened up at the thought of running out of time. Wouldn’t that email have been SO much nicer if it had said something like this instead… “Your tax return is due in 10 days, you’ve still got plenty of time, but drop what you’re doing, go and make yourself a cuppa and get started now. No more procrastinating!”

The same message would have been conveyed, but it would have been kinder. We might think of ways that we could make the whole experience more pleasurable perhaps. Maybe, light a candle, listen to some nice music, schedule out some time to do it, snuggled up under a blanket or something.

Now back to visibility.

What are you telling yourself about your business when it comes to spreading the word about what you do?

Are you saying that time is running out? That if you don’t get x, y, z done then you’re a failure? That you’re never going to pull this whole business thing off because you’re just so behind. How can you be kinder to yourself?  Yes – you still need to get all of that stuff on your to-do list worked through, but how is saying you’re running out of time really helping?

Give yourself a break. There may be a lot to do, but you don’t have to do it all today

There is only one of you after all.

Choose one area of visibility to focus on and do that one well

Review what’s worked and what hasn’t, tweak and adapt. If it’s working, keep doing it, if you hate it, choose a different way to be more visible in your business. There are just so many ways to raise your visibility, which is what makes this whole area of running your own business so much more fun.

Wait, did I just tell you that you can be more visible in your business AND have fun?! Well, yes I did, because you can.

Your call to action this week: Choose to focus on one area of visibility that you enjoy this week, and bring some fun into it, AND be nicer to yourself!

So that’s it from me today, I’ve got loads to do and my coffee machine and candles are calling me to make it all a lovely experience.

I’m not running out of time. I’m choosing to use it effectively, and have fun along the way!

What about you?

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