Category Archives: Guest Blogs

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evolution for women

Dreams for your future

What are your dreams for your future?

Unlike me at her age, my daughter is not really a dreamer for the future if I ask her. She is very much about the here and now and even though a part of me wants to hear her talk about her dream job (knowing that it will change), I actually like the independence that she shows in not being under pressure to talk about growing up.

As a child, one of my dreams was to work in Africa saving animals, partly influenced by watching the Diane Fossey story in Gorillas in the Mist and others like it. Back then, before the days of social media, if you wanted to help a cause, you went out and got involved, you couldn’t make a difference in the world via facebook and perhaps you still can’t. I still hold on to that dream a little, perhaps one day I might go to Africa for a time when my daughter no longer needs me quite as much and offer my services to an animal charity.

Our Dreams May Have Changed

Our dreams may have changed since we were little as our responsibilities have grown, what’s the dream that gives you the reason to get up, work hard and do what you need to do in your career or for your loved ones every day?

  • Retire early?
  • Get a better work/life balance?
  • See more of the world?
  • Spend more time with or caring for your loved ones?
  • Buy that holiday home or move abroad?

Is this just a dream or are you making the plans that you need now to help this to become a reality?

Saving for The Future

When we are in our 20’s or 30’s it can be easy to not look too far into the future while we are busy focusing on the financial demands of the here and now, juggling work and family life and the additional living costs at this time. For many, this is the reality, well into our 40’s with big mortgages and low disposable incomes. Saving for the future seems impossible. In our 50’s, some have managed to get to point when we can start seriously planning for our future though the task ahead of them to achieve that dream can seem quite daunting at that time.

Savvy Choices with Your Spending & Borrowing

Whatever stage of life you are at, savvy choices with your spending & borrowing can help you to make your dreams a reality sooner than you think. Planning for your future in other ways such as protecting your income and family, can help you to cope better with the curve balls that life may throw at you. It’s not too late to start. We want our clients to have fun, be happy and spend quality time with loved ones with the peace of mind in knowing that your finances are in order, you have a financial plan for the future and your family will be provided for during some of the more difficult life events that can happen. If you know or think you need help in all or any of these areas to make your financial future more certain, please get in touch with me or your local Evolution for Women Adviser and see how we can help you.


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Robert burns

What’s Burns night all about?

Category : Guest Blogs

What is Burns night all about? Well for those that have no idea, it is a celebration that happens once a year and is mainly celebrated by Scots people throughout the world. However the intrigue of it all is rubbing off and more Burns nights are appearing every year. Many associations such as Golf clubs love to use Burns Night as an excuse to get their clan together and celebrate the event with Scottish food, songs and poems as well as dancing until the wee small hours, which they call The Burns Supper

In short, Burns Night is the celebration of the Scottish Poet Robert Burns, who? you may ask. Well if you did already know, here is a brief history of the man of the moment for you to make up your own mind if he was a talented poet or just a rouge and womaniser as some have claimed. Whatever your thoughts, he certainly made a lasting impact.

Robert burns

Born on the 25th of January 1759 in Alloway Ayrshire to William Burness a tenant farmer and Agnes Broun. He was one of seven and brought up to work on his father’s farm.  At the age of 15 he penned his first verse “My handsome Nell” which was an ode to one of   the subjects in his life – Scotch women! 

 Burns had several illegitimate children including twins to the woman who eventually became his wife Jean Armour.

 (The poor woman gave birth to 4 children before he married her and 5 more after that and that still did not stop him straying).

  They say that most of Ayrshire is related to him due to his infidelities with the local ladies.   Just look at the poems he wrote on the women of his life, if your name was Anna, Alison, Katie, Mary, Jeanie, Chloris, Clarinda, Nancy, Nell, Molly, Polly, Peggy, Bessie, Jessie, Eliza, Maria, Delia and – rather weirdly – Davies…. To name but a few!

 Burns died at the age of 37 on the same day as his last son Maxwell was born.   There were more than 10,000 people attended his funeral to pay their respects, however his popularity then was nothing compared to the heights it has reached since.  

Burns Night is a celebration of the birth of Rabbie Burns held on or as near to the day of his birth throughout Scotland and all over the world and would undoubtedly have made him proud.  The first Burns night was reputedly held ten years or so later in Tarbolton in Ayrshire of which Burns himself once wrote :

I’ve been tearin’ oot ma hair

Ye’ think ah’d been multin

Trying tae think o a word,

That rymes wie Tarbolton

Burns night celebration

As well as all the poems that he penned there are more than 400 songs in existence written by Burns of which it is said that some of the songs were what he had heard sung in taverns whilst collecting taxes during his days as an excise man.  It is claimed some he did not compose but was just the first to actually write them down! His most famous is Auld Lang Syne and my favourite is:

Cock up your Beaver

When first my brave Johnnie lad came to this town

He had a blue bonnet that wanted the crown

But now he had gotten a hat and a feather

Hey, brave Johnnie Lad, Cock up your beaver!

 Cock up your beaver, and cock it fu’ Sprush!

We’ll over the border and gie them a brush:

There’s somebody there we’ll teach better behaviour –

Hey, brave Johnnie lad, Cock up your beaver!

and the key to a good Burns night is to get a group of friends together, read poems and sing his songs, dance some jigs and most of all enjoy, with losts of toasts!

A History of Robert Burns by Issy Wiggins-Turner

Images Source Burns Scotland


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Is there such a thing as free networking?

I often hear people saying that they will only use free networking rather than a paid membership group as they feel it is better value! Which I totally understand when you are a new start business and funds are limited. However, I have to  say that once you factor in your time, your expense to get there and possibly parking costs, you have to admit that it’s not free.

Ascot Networking for womenAs a small business owner and a start up your time is the most precious thing that you own!  Trying to manage it effectively to produce your work and create sales leads can often be more like a juggling act.  In all of the networking events that I tend, when I speak to people about where their customers come from, the majority will say word of mouth.

Which is great as that’s free advertising? Well Yes and No as you need to first get yourself out there to get that referral in the first place. If you don’t network either online or in person, then no-one will know who you are or what you do.

Free Networking v Paid Networking

So it then comes down to Free networking versus paid networking which can be online or in person. So is Free Networking actually free? Possibly no as free networking takes time out of your day and often with free networking the organisers wont know how many people are going to turn up. After all its free so there is no cancellation fee if someone decides to no longer attend.

House 28 Sherfield On Loddon NetworkingThere is often some hidden cost in “Free Networking” as you have to get there in the first place. If it’s not walking distance then you will need to drive or take public transport so that’s the first hidden cost to you. Once there the event normally will be for a duration of at least 2 hours so your going to want to have a drink of something. Most events that I have gone to have water available so you could save on the cost of a coffee and just drink water, but you will more than likely buy a drink of some kind, be it tea or coffee. Add to this your time out of the office and you can see how Free networking is not actually free.

Of course a paid membership has all those costs too but what more does it offer you? For me it is always about the relationships that you build when networking with the same group, it takes time to get to know people and to find out their strengths and establish who you can recommend to use their services. In return people will get to know you better, your strengths and skills so that they can recommend you and your business.

Paid Networking with Structure

At the 10-12 Business Club, we know that our members and visitors time is precious so we have designed a structured networking event of 2 hours that ensures it is all about business.

We start with 20 minutes of open networking where you can meet new visitors to the group, chat to regular members and build relationships. We then have the opportunity to share your business details with all of the group both in a 40 second pitch and printed materials such as business cards or flyers.

Our business section includes an informative presentation by a member or visitor followed by a Business breakout session on a business topic for that month. The 10-12 Business club have covered many topics from finance, to finding more customers or planning social media campaigns.

The highlight of the meeting ends with 3 x 1-2-1’s which gives you lots of opportunity to get your business in front of everyone at the meeting and possibly talk to most of the people at the meeting.

Is Free Networking worth it?

I have never found with free networking that you have time to build relationships as some people attending these events use it as a business card collecting event.  Some people don’t even want to listen to what you have to say and are more than happy to tell you all about them, even when it is obvious that you have no synergy with each other. However they still want to collect your business card and add you to their mailing list or LinkedIn contacts!

One video that highlights the possible downsides of networking your business is this one which I am happy to say I have never met anyone quite as bad as this man. One thing I can guarantee you as a 10-12 Business Club member, you wont meet him at a meeting, as we don’t allow men! Now there’s one reason as a women business owner to try the 10-12 Business Club


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prsformusiclogo

Do You Listen to Music at Work?

prsformusiclogoI wonder how many of you have ever considered whether you need a music license to play music whilst you are at work? So many small businesses have the radio on in the background as something to break the silence of an office environment. When I ran my holiday car hire call centre, we used to have it on in the background to pick up any breaking news that might have happened that day, such as on 9/11. On that day, we at least knew why our phones stopped ringing! But should I have had a license for this? I had never considered it as a business owner until I took a call the other day….

Whislt working away in my office, in the middle of a website build, the telephone rang.  Rather than let it go to answering machine, I answered it. First mistake of this telephone call!  A rather pleasant young girl asked me if I had a few moments to answer some questions. I’d just done a telesales campaign myself and was feeling the love for that role so said yes as long as it’s a few minutes. So the call went like this;

Caller – Do you have members of the public in your office?

Me – No

Caller – Do you play music in your office?

Me – No

Caller – Do you listen to the radio in your office?

Me – Sometimes

Caller – How long have you been at your premises?

Me – Oh just moved here last year. (I would point out I was pleased I didn’t get this call last year as the answer would have been oh 10 years)

Caller – Well I can tell you that you require a license to play the radio in your office and I will get an invoice raised for you today. You have 30 days to pay it and if you don’t we add interest!

Me – Er What how did that happen?

Caller – It’s the law and you have to pay!

As you can imagine the conversation went on a little longer but in the end I was told the invoice was on its way and I had to pay. True to her word it arrived a couple of days later for the grand sum of 145.31

The charge was for the time that I had said I had been at my office and for the following year plus VAT. I have since learnt a lot about PRS and PPL and my only advice to you would be; get a license if you are more than 1 person working in your office with music playing in the background, or if you have customers that come into your premises where you play music. If you are a sole trader working alone with no visitors whilst your music is on then you are fine. I have been promised a refund as I work alone so should never have been invoiced in the first place. For more information on PPL see online or to determine if you need a license to listen to music see online information on the PRS license