Claire, MD of Forge Public Relations share her best business advice for Women in Business
Do you face any challenges – if so what is the biggest one?
As with most small business owners, balancing work and the need to earn money with necessary admin and housework, as well as having time to myself and doing all the other things in life I enjoy which includes some voluntary work and getting involved in causes.
What advice would you give to other women?
Prioritise ruthlessly, have a list of ‘must do’ and ‘nice to do’ things each day but don’t feel a failure if you don’t get through it all, just make sure you do the things that will have consequences if you don’t. Always plan the following day – work and other things you need to do – the evening before so that as soon as you start work you know what you have to do. Don’t necessarily believe people who say you can have it all. Maybe some people can but they are usually the people who can afford nannies and a lot of help!
When I find things are slipping as they inevitably do sometimes I draw up a timetable at hourly slots throughout the day and even into the evening which includes some leisure time and try to stick to it. That is a good way to see what is eating into your available time as well.
What advice would you share with somebody looking to balance their work/life?
If you are working full time, particularly as a woman this is probably the hardest thing to do especially if children are involved. Delegate as much as you can – to outside help if you can afford it and make sure husbands/partners/older children all do their fair share of chores etc. Make sure you have completely uninterrupted work time as much as possible – if you are constantly breaking off to deal with things it can be very difficult to get good concentration back to produce quality work. But make sure you have leisure time too. That said, there will be periods where one or the other takes precedence for a time, and that is inevitable. By ‘life’ balance that should mean including some fun and ‘you’ time, not just doing housework and domestic admin!
What time management tips would you share?
Try not to get distracted – e.g. by social media – check it in the evening briefly if you want to – it is a huge time-stealer. And delegate. If you can afford it, get cleaners, dog walkers, and anyone else you can rope in to share the burden. Decide ruthlessly what you can delegate and what it is best if only you do. If the house is not quite up to the standard of tidiness you would like because someone else is doing it ask yourself if it really matters…prioritise how you spend your time and include time for you.
How could somebody improve their confidence?
Practicing being confident in social situations or when giving presentations is the key. The more you practice social skills and presenting the easier it gets! Confidence comes more easily to some than others, but if you find it difficult there is a lot of help online or in books, or courses that you can go on to give you some tips, particularly about networking or public speaking etc. Then practice the skills, a little success will lead to more and more.