Quick Rant: This sh** is not easy!

I run a website. An event promotion website. I am an events manager. Not a tech person. Hence my frustration.

Starting up any kind of business is hard; it has its challenges and bad days. But starting a business on a platform you have no experience in brings its own special brand of headache.

Every day I’m faced with problems that are so foreign to me I have to clutch my head in my hands and pray I don’t get another migraine! I want to say it’s worth it but to be honest I don’t know yet. It seems like it will be in the long run but who knows. For now, all I know is there’s so much more to this entrepreneur thing than anyone can ever prepare you for. A good idea is not enough; you need will-power, strength, determination and an ability to bounce back from setbacks (something I am working on).

I knew I would need to know the basics of running a website. I knew marketing was more than just scheduling a couple of tweets and hoping for the best. But who knew the true depth that is SEO Optimisation (well true Marketers of course!), who could have even prepared me for receiving warning emails from Google about something called an SSL Certificate?

I’m going to handle it, learn it and thrive of course because I truly want and believe in this, but what I’m trying to say is; being an entrepreneur is not easy. If you chose to embark on this journey please do it with your eyes wide open and preferably a strong support system; because it’s really easy to break!

~T

 

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New Year New Me

Over the past few days all I’ve seen is people berating others for wanting to make the New Year a new chance for them. Why is it so annoying for you if someone else wants to use the New Year, New Month, New Week as a catalyst for change? If it helps you to make necessary improvements to your life, don’t be afraid to say that this New Year will bring a New You! Do whatever it is you need to get your shit together!

So, in that vein, here are my vows to myself for this year in no particular order:

More visits with my grandparents

More exercise

More veg

More frequent blog posts

More risks

More books

More savings

More photos

More laughter

More water

I don’t believe in making resolutions but I do believe in making changes to my lifestyle when necessary and I was definitely due!

~ What are your vows for the year? ~

My Exhibition News Piece

A few weeks ago I was approached by the Editor of leading event industry magazine Exhibition News to write an opinion piece. The brief was: “700 words on anything you face within your job. Oh and it’s needed within the next 5 hours”

The race was on and although it was a lot of pressure, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It reminded me of an event in a way; a short time frame to get it perfect. Once it’s published, that’s it, eyes are on it; especially as this was to be the print issue that was handed out at International Confex 2016.

The end result: http://exhibitionnews.co.uk/opinions/expert-opinions/tanya-dennis-stand-up-and-be-accountable

For me this was a bit more than just writing a piece as a favour for the Editor of a popular magazine. This was also a test for me. I typically HATE being centre of attention or even just off-centre! My comfort zone lies behind the scenes, quietly making magic (events). But this was my chance to put my name out into the world a little more. It’s becoming more and more important for event professionals to become known. To network, to build contacts, to have a social presence. This is a challenge for me, as I know it’s a challenge for others. I picked this career because I enjoy being involved in something bigger than myself; creating memorable experiences for people. However I also chose it because I like to be an integral cog in a mostly silent team. I like to be invisible, stealthy. An omniscient magic maker.

But times are changing, and we must change with it. I embrace the change, although it scares me from time to time.

~ Let’s Connect – What Are Your Twitter Handles? ~

 

Before I Die

On a random afternoon in London I came across a chalkboard wall in Borough titled Before I die…

The idea was for people to take a piece of chalk and write a few words declaring one thing they wish to achieve before they die.

There was everything on there, both tangible and abstract such as ‘happiness’ and ‘own my own home’

Its difficult to pick just one top thing you would like to achieve in your lifetime but I would like to pick one milestone; something monumental to me, to achieve this year, and see where that takes me.

So, my goal for this year is to save enough for a deposit on a house. Even if that’s not what I use it for; I’m still undecided but I want the option.

It will take a lot of sacrifice, and that’s part of the challenge. My self discipline needs work so this will be my way of exercising that. Through denying my immediate gratification (shopping) I hope to strengthen the chances of achieving my long term goals.

~ What is one thing that you would like to achieve this year ? ~

 

Millennials

Lately all I seem to read about is Millennials this and millennials that. Mostly positive, these blogs and articles are all about how to keep my generation satisfied and engaged. However, I just came across this post which made me think; is there too much emphasis on keeping 18-34 year old’s happy? Is everyone just pandering to people who have unrealistic expectations and entitlements…?

At what point do we, as young people, have to accept that we can’t expect everyone to bend over backwards to please our easily distracted, tech efficient and social-media obsessed selves? I’m not here saying that nothing should change and we should learn to love everything, no matter how outdated it is; far from it. I love that we are so innovative and inspired, however it is easy to see why people like House of Fraser feel they need to do something drastic to get our attention such as their outlandish campaign ‘emojinal’, where somebody thought it was a great idea to bombard us with an overwhelming amount of emoji’s.

Who they were trying to appeal to is unclear but they were clearly trying to detach themselves from their current brand of what I would call ‘sophisticated’ and market themselves to the young, fun, social crowd. Needless to say it went terribly wrong in regards to its direct agenda. However, it did result in us talking about them, which I can’t recall ever doing before, so result! I guess…

CaH_sLHWAAAMO0K

Some brands should stick to what they know and understand that in order to appeal to us Millennials they need to be authentic. That includes companies who are recruiting. I know people my age who shop at House of Fraser and work at companies whose products/services are not primarily targeting us.

If your products/services are of a high quality and you clearly know what you’re doing, then you will appeal to anyone (within reason). You shouldn’t have to change your whole company culture just to appeal to a few flight risks who will bail as soon as something shinier comes along!

Another thing to bear in mind is that not all Millennials are the same, just as not all Generation X people are the same. What appeals to Joe Bloggs will not necessarily appeal to Jane Bloggs, it’s worth remembering that before you plan to completely overhaul your company culture or brand message; one size will not fit all [see here].

 

~ What’s the worst marketing campaign you’ve ever seen? ~

Life is not a Dress Rehearsal

Earlier this week I was privileged to be invited to a board meeting for the Muscle Help Foundation charity. Arranged by Fay Sharpe, who founded the mentoring scheme I am a part of. It was an incredible experience to not only sit in on my first board meeting, but to also meet and speak to the founders of this amazing charity.

Muscle Help Foundation is committed to creating dream experiences for children and young people suffering from the muscle wasting disease, Muscular Dystrophy (MD) and allied neuromuscular conditions. Founders Michael and Sue McGrath focus their efforts on encouraging these young people to feel part of a community, a family. They facilitate days out and meetings between beneficiaries and their heroes where possible.

Apart from discovering that board meetings aren’t as scary and intimidating as I thought they were, Tuesday also gave me a much needed push to get things done. As you know if you’ve read my other posts I struggle with committing. I started this blog and have yet to commit to posting regularly, I started meditation and although I still do it, I have not committed to making it a part of my everyday life. So I am not going to sit here and say that the meeting on Tuesday has changed my life and I will now execute all of my plans and ideas that I jot down in my notebook. But it has given me a new rebuttal for the days when I’m feeling lazy and demotivated; life is not a dress rehearsal.

I read these words in an article that the MHF PR Manager showed everyone during the meeting: http://www.musclehelp.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Able-Magazine-MMcG-Feature-Interview.pdf

These words were said by Michael in an interview with Able Magazine where he explains where he gets his motivation from. Michael has Muscular Dystrophy and is a permanent power chair user. Michael is also a motivational speaker, Founder, CEO, multiple board member and consultant. He has not allowed his diagnosis to stop him from achieving his goals; if anything he has let it push him to do more.

Why do we take time for granted? Is it because we don’t know how much time we have so instead of lighting a fire under us, the concept actually puts us in a state of false comfort?

Everyone has a different idea of what life is and what is waiting (or not) waiting for us on the ‘other side’. I recently read an article [if I find it again I will add the link] saying that this life is essentially the waiting room and when we die that’s when we will start our actual, fully fledged amazing life. Most religions also believe that there is more than just this life, Hinduism for example, believes in the rebirth and reincarnation of souls.

No matter what you believe though there is always the chance that you are wrong; so would you not prefer to live this life to the fullest just in case this is actually all there is?

~ What quote resonates with you the most? ~

Balance

“If all elements of your life were in perfect balance, with none given priority over another, odds are you’d be living a mediocre life in which you were, at best, a jack of all trades but master of none.”

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Patience

This year has taught me the importance of patience. In this era of instant gratification and the digital revolution, it is too easy to get swept up in the spoilt mind-set of having it all, immediately. If I want a taxi I can take out my phone and book an Uber, which will be with me within 10 minutes. Maybe I want same day delivery; Amazon Prime has got it covered. Or perhaps I’m travelling and want an unlimited selection of books with me for the journey; Kindle.

Although these innovative products and services are almost essential to our lives now, should this attitude stretch to include other areas of our lives?

At the beginning of this year I was accepted onto the inaugural Fast Forward 15 mentoring scheme founded by the Managing Director of Zibrant, Fay Sharpe. The aim was to have an unbiased, experienced professional in my industry to get advice from, to learn from and to meet others in the industry through the network.

10 Months later I can happily say I have achieved the goals I set for myself back at the launch event in March 2015. However, it has been a huge test of patience and commitment. In my last post I mentioned how hard it is for me to commit to certain things. I hate the idea of regret; how at the time I can think I’m making the right decision, only to later regret it. My fear of regret holds me back from making commitments. I know this now after having logged all of my instances of indecisiveness throughout this journey.

After every session with my mentor I am required to log the follow up points, things I’d learnt and things I had set out that day to discuss. It has been eye opening; over the 10 months I have had four completely different ideas/brainwaves as to what I want to achieve in the next two years. My end goal has always remained the same; to become Head of Global Events or Marketing by a certain year, but my journey plan has constantly changed.

I have been adopting the same attitude to my career as I have to getting a taxi or ordering fast food; I want the most time and cost efficient solution. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan and believer of hard and smart working to get what you want. But that doesn’t stop me from also wanting quick, accurate results. I hate the idea of spending 5 years in a company, position or industry only to not get what I wanted from it.

But if in those 5 years I gained new skills, improved existing strengths, developed an impressive portfolio and built positive relationships then is it such a bad thing? Should we be quick to jump to the next best thing or should we be taking our time to commit to a company, position or industry and having patience that the hard work and commitment will pay off…eventually?

Consistency

So one of the reasons for me starting this blog was to try and be consistent in my writing. It was also to document the events I organise and go to as a way of connecting and motivating others and myself to remain ambitious and follow your dreams.

Consistency is the key word in that paragraph. I have trouble being consistent some times. If it’s not directly related to my job or the people that I love, I can very easily become distracted or loose motivation.

I have completely neglected this blog for the last few months and not for the reason I thought I would. I had reservations about creating this blog as I thought I would run out of things to write. But the reason I have not posted lately is because I had some bad news in my family and we’ve been dealing with it. That aside, people go through things all the time but it’s how you bounce back from it that really counts.

As a highly motivated and ambitious person, how do I put my feelings and emotions to the side and continue to work on things that are important but not urgent?

For the first week I didn’t. I neglected everything that did not need to be dealt with immediately; I did the bare minimum. I turned up to meetings but wasn’t present. I completed my assignments but my heart wasn’t in it. I travelled to Paris and Tallinn to organise events but did not enjoy them as I usually do.

For someone who has trouble remaining consistent this was the worst thing that could happen to me because it was an excuse. ‘I want to write a blog post but I’m grieving so I don’t have to’, ‘I want to complete my personal mission before my next mentoring session but I’m grieving so I don’t have to’. Where do you draw the line? How do you get it together?

I do not presume to have the answers, but from my experience you bounce back by doing what you know works for you. Events work for me. So I signed up for a networking, panel discussion event organised by the General Assembly called ChangeMakers  Under 30 which featured 3 entrepreneurs under the age of 30 who come from different backgrounds and fulfil diverse roles in the organisations they’ve founded. It was exactly what I needed to relight the fire in my belly. It reminded me of the importance of being consistent and working for your dream. My dream is to leave the world better than I found it and how was I doing that by completely avoiding my personal and professional development?

I have now set myself a goal to blog at least twice a week for the rest of the year, which is completely achievable due to the amount of time I have off over Christmas, however for me it will be a huge test on my discipline. To help me achieve this I have signed up for a few panel/networking/motivating events over the month to keep my fire burning; I will let you know how they go.

What works for you? How do you stay motivated?

Making Things Part 2 – Knitting

Following on from my crochet lesson I decided to try out knitting. So I headed back to Wool and the Gang and found a party in my area.

Knitting is harder than crocheting but I find it more rewarding e.g I would prefer a knitted scarf to a crocheted one. During the lesson we worked on a snood, but as it was my first time I didn’t get all that far!

I’ve started off with the basic knit stitch, which is pretty simple. There are many YouTube tutorials that can help you to Cast on and then do the actual stitch. The problem is, I’m a perfectionist and for some reason I keep adding stitches. And although the instructor at the WATG party said it would be ok if it’s only one additional stitch, I still unravel it all and start again (control issues). Which means that the snood I should have finished days ago is still at the beginning stages haha!

Practise makes perfect I guess! The aim is to get to this level:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/75932222/the-original-giganto-blanket-bespoke
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/75932222/the-original-giganto-blanket-bespoke