To trust or not to trust?

To trust or not to trust?

You’ve started your business and you are so excited and want to share your wonderful concept with the world.

two rocks posing as people holding hands

Immediately the fears creep in.  What if someone else thinks it’s a good idea and tries to steal it.

When is it right to trust or not to trust that instinct?

The wrong tone

That spirit of fear, or distrust, is now contaminating your copy.

You temper your tone and are careful who you mention, keeping the attention firmly on yourself and not crediting anyone else.

Perhaps you are a bit cagey about exactly what’s on offer – you don’t wish to give too many secrets away. 

The right energy

There is an art to gaining attention and drip-feeding content for momentum and a big reveal.  Done with fear your energy will be off.

Trust in yourself and your product or service and be open to sharing.

Ask yourself, what is that fear really about?

It is doubt about whether you are good enough? Do you have a fear about someone else being better than you?  Are you feeling the dreaded imposter syndrome?

Recognise this for what it really is.  Take some time before you write, post, call and share your news to get in the right positive energy.

Get over yourself

Usually your business concept will be done by someone already – there is very rarely a completely unique idea. 

Do some market research.  Who is the competition and what are they offering?  Don’t go down that rabbit hole of not being as good as them.  Remember, you are the unique element of what you offer as nobody can do you. Get over yourself and own that talent that got you here in the first place!

Competition can be a good thing.  Coffee anyone?  How many artisan coffee shops are in your local town?  Which ones do you visit?  The one or two that resonate with you, that have the friendly barista or your favourite cake?  So everyone comes to your town for great coffee – not everyone chooses the same coffee shop. People will choose you, the others are not the enemy.

What are you missing?

Could you collaborate with another outfit that is similar to yours?  Do you offer an element that they don’t and visa versa, meaning you can offer a bigger or better package to your clients?

What about the possibility of sending work to each other when you are too busy?  Have a grown-up conversation at the outset about the arrangement and keep a note of what happens.  If you are willing and open to try it may work out really well for both parties.  If not, you can politely withdraw from the arrangement at any time.

Act with fear and shut others out and you may damage your reputation in the community.

You can get burnt

There is always a risk in working with others – but that attitude of mistrusting everyone will not serve you well in business.

Work out the upside and the potential downside.   

Go back to your strategy.  Can this relationship/arrangement help you achieve your goals?

Obviously we have all had a bad experience, one that we wish we had not allowed to happen, but you will learn so much more from the odd mistake.

With experience you become more confident about your decision-making process and know when it’s right to trust or not to trust that opportunity or person. 

Are you ready to start your own business (with or without chocolate) and feel that fear but do it anyway – trust yourself and put your faith and trust in the good ones out there. Good luck.

100 Ways to Unwind!

100 Ways to Unwind!

A list of 100 ways to unwind – because it’s all about YOU

A landscape at dusk
  1. Breathe – sit quietly, notice your breath in and out, breathe deeply
  2. Walk barefoot on the grass
  3. Sign up for a yoga class
  4. Have a PJ day
  5. Light a smelly candle and let the smell calm your senses
  6. Take a long, hot soak in the bath
  7. Meditate – as little as 5 mins a day can be beneficial, set a timer, get quiet and let thoughts flow, you can download guided meditations if that is helpful for you
  8. Visit the woods – hear the rustle of the leaves, the snap of a twig, notice the light filtering through the canopy, the majesty and strength of the trees
  9. Start the day with some yoga poses (use youtube to find out how to do them properly)
  10. Visit the sea, listen to the sound of the waves
  11. Watch the sunrise, notice the potential in a new day
  12. Watch the sunset, notice the beauty at the end of the day, and be thankful for at least one good thing in your life right now
  13. Celebrate a full moon, stand and wonder at the bright moon in a vast sky
  14. Sign up for a Pilates class
  15. Take a walk in nature – notice your surroundings, the sounds, the fields, the trees, the sunshine, the rain, the sky, the clouds
  16. Read a book
  17. Journal your feelings – find a lovely notebook and write regularly
  18. Go for a swim
  19. Visit the mountains, take in the view
  20. Drink lots of water
  21. Enjoy some peace and quiet and some alone time
  22. Go for a jog or run – studies have recently shown and even a short run each week is beneficial
  23. Sit by the bank of a river and watch the water flow, imagine your worries flowing by
  24. Get baking or cooking and notice the lovely smells permeating the home
  25. Have a cuppa
  26. Talk to a good friend
  27. Visit a museum
  28. Buy a colouring book and some decent pens – do some colouring
  29. Watch your diet, enjoy eating healthy foods and avoid too many sugary snacks
  30. Can you break down what you are worried about?  Set aside sometime each day to worry – instead of allowing worries to undermine you all the time, say to yourself, you will worry about that at ‘worry time’ and sit and think about all those things that are worrying you in detail.  Some you may be able to fix, some you will not.  Acknowledge each thing you are worried about and then move on until the next worry time.
  31. Go to a fitness class
  32. Stick on your favourite tune and dance around the kitchen
  33. Watch something easy and light on TV
  34. Listen to your favourite podcast
  35. Read/watch or listen to someone inspirational – Ted Talks have lots of wonderful options to choose from
  36. Book yourself a massage or other beauty/relaxation treatment
  37. Eat a little dark chocolate
  38. Declutter a cupboard, a room, or a space such as your desk
  39. Do a crossword/quiz or sudoku
  40. Have a laugh; listen to comedy, joke around with friends, watch a comedy show
  41. Draw or paint something
  42. Do your favourite sporting activity
  43. Take up a new sporting activity
  44. Spend time with animals – visit the zoo or a farm
  45. Take the dog for a walk or spend time with your pet(s), join in with a friend on a dog walk if you don’t have a dog yourself
  46. Play an instrument
  47. Hug a tree
  48. Watch children playing
  49. Do some retail therapy – maybe just some window shopping will be enough
  50. Create time in the day to think or daydream
  51. Go for a cycle ride or a spin class
  52. Go fishing or sit watching someone else fishing
  53. Climb a hill (or mountain) and enjoy the view from the top
  54. Visit an art gallery
  55. Watch a film at the cinema
  56. Go to the ballet/theatre
  57. Buy yourself some flowers
  58. Work in the garden, allotment or help someone else with their garden/allotment (even a planter or window box will suffice)
  59. Be grateful for what you have
  60. Try essential oils and aromatherapy
  61. Visit a comedy club
  62. Go to a festival/music gig
  63. Think about your next holiday, do some research and book something to look forward to
  64. Get organised, make action plans and lists and tick things off as you go
  65. Visit a coffee shop, buy your favourite drink and sit and watch the world go by
  66. Knit or crochet
  67. Learn to play a new instrument
  68. Do something mindless – some housework, clean the car, organise a drawer
  69. Smell the roses – notice the aroma from your favourite blooms
  70. Write something – a blog or some fiction
  71. Buy yourself a little treat
  72. Take a power nap
  73. Look at some inspiring photos
  74. Visit a spa
  75. Organise your emails and sort your inbox
  76. Write a letter to a loved one
  77. Visit a church or cathedral and wonder at the amazing architecture and history
  78. Visit a beautiful garden
  79. Get an early night
  80. Visit the library
  81. Take up a new hobby/learn a new skill
  82. Get up earlier and finish your ‘jobs/tasks’ earlier to create more free time
  83. Visit a food market and marvel at the delicious wares on sale
  84. Enjoy the sunshine on your face
  85. Change your bedding and notice the lovely smell of fresh sheets
  86. Skim stones across the water
  87. Visit a beautiful lake and marvel and the view
  88. Have a lie in or a duvet day
  89. Go and watch your team play a sport
  90. Plant a tree
  91. Talk to someone – a problem is better shared
  92. Ask for help, delegate something, you don’t have to own everything
  93. Remind yourself that perfection is overrated – good is good enough
  94. Put on a facemask, or an eye mask
  95. Watch a tearjerker film and have a good cry
  96. Ask for a hug
  97. Support someone in need
  98. Light some incense. Scents like Sandalwood and Sage can help calm anxieties and aid relaxation.
  99. Avoid negativity – don’t judge others but try and separate your identity and emotions from it.
  100. BE YOU! 
What’s your why?

What’s your why?

When did you last take a moment and think deeply about what motivates you, what’s most important to you, and what makes you tick?

It does not have to be profound and/or huge (although I’m sure we could all agree on world peace and an end to suffering). The smallest things can be so important. Whatever is real and meaningful for you matters most.

If you want to start your own business, then it’s imperative to work out the reasons behind your decision for doing so. Without being tuned into your ‘why’ you will lack focus, drive, and ambition to realise your dreams. So, what’s your why?

Where do you start?

Break down your life into general segments and review each to see where you are on a scale of 1 to 10. 

1 being it’s not working well at all to 10 being just perfect for you. Think about where you are now and be honest. This will help you score more accurately.  

  1. Work
  2. Home
  3. Health/Fitness
  4. Family/Friends
  5. Money

What’s your dream?

Do the exercise again, this time daring to describe each category as a true dream scenario for you. 

What would absolutely fantastic look like for you?  

I would like to pass on the wise words of a well-read coach I worked with (Paul Webb), which is ‘suspend disbelief’. If we use our logical brain, we will be telling ourselves all the things we can’t achieve, if you are able for the moment to suspend disbelief then surely anything is possible!

Focusing on the work element – what would having your own business mean for you? Really spend some time imagining working in a way that you want to, doing what you love and earning some money too.

It will not just be about the money. There will be so much more to it than that. The freedom, the chance to be creative, to be able to spend more quality time with family or friends, to pursue passions whether within or outside of work.

Mind the Gap

What life elements are furthest away from where you want to be?  

Where in your life need some focus and attention?  

Can you start to take some small steps to achieve more balance? You may not be able to tackle everything at once, but acknowledging where you are and taking small steps to improve or change a given situation (or even to acknowledge that there is nothing you can do right now to change it) will help.

What did you notice?

So which bits about your life filled you with the most joy?  

What did you find easiest to think about, dream about?  

What fired up your passions? 

Or maybe, what came so easily that you hardly realised it happening – because that bit is where your personal magic lies! The stuff that comes to you with ease, that doesn’t ever feel difficult, that gives you pleasure, where time literally flies – that is where you need to send some focus.

Watch this Space

Keep a diary, make a note, reflect and record. Now you are tuned in to what is happening, try and find out the bit that makes you sing more than anything else.   

Add in the elements of trying to find more balance in your whole life and it’s from there that you can start to identify your why.

It’s not just about you

I was training someone recently to start their own chocolate workshop business where they live. They asked me what’s the point of what I do. 

I thought it was a good question, without hesitation I showed this photo:

Two ladies smiling and laughing with chocolate smeared on their faces.  Having fun on a chocolate workshop experience.

This picture sums up exactly what I want for my customers.  

It really matters to me that everyone has a good time. I spend time creating the best possible customer experiences with chocolate that I am capable of delivering. The fact that people are spending their hard-earned cash with me is something I would never take for granted.

Although I need to own the responsibility for my business and what I offer, it’s not just about what I want. What do my customers want or need and how can I deliver that for them. How can I meet and hopefully exceed expectations?

What’s next?

Good luck with discovering your why. Will you dare to take the next steps and put a plan into action?

You will start to experience some fear, that’s normal, when faced with change we are bound to experience fear, but it will hopefully also be mixed with excitement! Now it’s time to take some action.

Your why, the thing that makes you tick, may just be something that helps, inspires, motivates or brings some joy to another.

What I learnt from it all going wrong

What I learnt from it all going wrong

Let’s assume that you have done everything in your power to plan and prepare for your forthcoming event. 

Without this element, you can absolutely expect it to all go wrong!  

The situations described below have genuinely happened. Sometimes you really have to step up, out of your comfort zone, and deliver something more than you intended.

Here’s what I learnt from it all going wrong…..

The right people

The organiser has had a meltdown and is so overwhelmed that are unable to carry out their duties. There is no point pointing the blame and expecting a different outcome. Something has happened to bring them to that point. They may be out of their depth and have had to step in and take on a role they are not fully equipped for. Life may have happened outside of work and caused too much stress. Whatever the reason, the person you need to help you get started is out of action (hopefully temporarily). It’s time to step up and find a solution if possible.

Find someone different to help. There are usually the people in the background that make everything happen without most realising how much hard work has gone on behind the scenes. 

Think maintenance people, IT gurus, caretakers, etc. Put in a polite plea and explain what has happened, without being rude about their colleague and see what can be done.  

Your materials

Instructions were received about sending in power points ahead of a presentation. On arrival, slides were nowhere to be found.

Although you may have been told what will be present on arrival, assume the worst and have copies or back-ups of presentations or materials that are required on the day.

Plan B

If a particular problem cannot be solved in time for what you need to do, then you will need to find an alternative way to deliver your content.  

What outcomes are you hoping to achieve?

What are the most important elements and try and focus on these if not all are possible on the day?

You

Believe in what you are delivering and stick to your principles. If you start to doubt yourself or don’t deliver your event with conviction, whatever is going on around you, your audience will start to doubt it too.

Yes, you will be swan-like, frantically paddling away underneath the surface while trying to appear calm on top, but you do need to always be professional. Even if those around you are not.

Keep calm and keep smiling if possible. If you panic too much you will not think clearly. It may not be your fault, but you can only do everything in your power to make it as good as you possibly can.

Treats

chocolate lollipop with sprinkles

Ahead of an event, I will usually make prizes or thank-you gifts to hand out.  

I always keep a few extra chocolate treats on me and hand these out to all those that have helped me solve any problems as a thank you for their time and effort. Acknowledging that others are going out of their way to make your visit work will pay dividends on the day and nice gestures are remembered if you are called back to visit again.

Escalate the issue

It may not be fixable. 

Your event may start to unravel to a point of no return due to problems encountered.  

Here I would seek out management and explain what is going on and agree on a joint solution.

Might it be better to reschedule and visit another day?

Do the organisation wish you to deliver whatever is possible, knowing it will not be quite what was agreed upon. Actively trying to resolve something rather than going into melt-down mode will at least be constructive and hopefully gain you credibility with the organisation you are dealing with.

Timing

Allow plenty of time for everything. Factor in extra time so if something does go wrong, you will have time to try and fix it.

Keep perspective, hopefully, nothing is life-threatening, only frustrating or potentially embarrassing. 

Audience

If you experience a disengaged or challenging audience, it can be a tough gig to bring them around. Study a speaking guru and practice, practice, practice.

Keep up the energy and try hard to get your message across. Use engagement techniques, like asking questions, raising arms for a quick survey. Try and change the energy in the room and get buy-in if possible.

Don’t keep shouting above the noise, if necessary, stand still and silent and wait for calm. Usually, other members of staff will help if things get too disruptive – you can ask for their help if necessary.

Believe in your audience and make sure they know it. Prove you really mean it.  

Here are some tips for running successful school events.

Review

What went on? What can you do to make sure you improve and hone what you have control over?

Make a note of everything that went wrong as some things will be out of your control. If you intend to visit the venue again, have your notes to hand so that you can cover potential issues for next time.  

Feedback

Do give constructive feedback to the organisers. They did not wish you to visit and experience problems. If there are issues to fix, don’t moan or be too negative but do ensure you point out where outcomes may have been adversely affected.

In your feedback ensure you celebrate any achievements made, despite the circumstances.

It’s stressful and hard work and has a knock-on effect on you personally when something you have put a lot of energy and effort into goes wrong or is particularly difficult. Do your best and hold your head high. It’s a learning experience if nothing else. If you run your own business, it’s in your power to choose not to return if you wish!

Why I started my business

Why I started my business

 I usually tell everyone about my love of chocolate and people, I just put the two together and created The Melting Pot.

Of course, my reasons for starting run far deeper than that.  

Dawn Fry

Here’s why I really started my business:

I took a job to fit around the needs of the family and it was driving me mad. It was something beneath my skill set for the part-time element and often left me unfulfilled and bored. Trying hard to turn it into something else wasn’t working, which just added to my frustration.

Life’s too short

My Dad became ill with serious cancer, followed by my husband in the same year. The next months were a blur of sitting by hospital beds and supporting them both. It was a tough time, with both seriously ill at the same time and three young children to support too. Driving around the M25 day after day, spending hours at a bedside, sitting watching loved ones suffer, and getting home and trying to be something for the kids. It took its toll.

Eventually, I went back to work but being in that environment was the final straw for me. How could I continue to work in something that didn’t serve me when life was so short and precarious?  

The only way is up

After a gruelling time and against the odds, we received good news, both my dad and hubby survived and are still well to this day, touch wood.

However, I now found myself teary and upset a lot of the time. The past had taken its toll. Not only did I not want to be in my job, but I was also not coping that well at all. It was hard to believe that everyone was going to be OK, even though the news was good, and I certainly didn’t feel OK myself.

One day there was a passing comment made in the office. It typified everything about what was not going to happen for me in my current role. 

I found myself in the toilet crying and knew something had to change.

The lightbulb moment

It was getting to that really low point, that kicked in some form of survival instinct and finally got me to tune into my need to reinvent myself. Time to start my own business, be my own boss, set my own agenda…..but what could I do?

I did literally have a lightbulb moment – I knew my business had to be with people and some sort of food and one day I just went, “chocolate, that’s it”. Running chocolate workshops felt right; I had created my new business idea, now to make it happen.

Redundancy Cheer

Redundancy is no joke; I’m not trying to make light of how awful it feels for some to know that they are going to lose their job and security. For me, it was a cheery and fearful moment. I was called into the office to be told that my job was being made redundant (it was the height of a recession in 2009). My response was ‘hurrah’ as it meant I could focus on my dream. I’d not been there long enough to qualify for redundancy pay, but it did give me the opportunity to start creating a chocolate workshop business as there was no job to full back on. This was the catalyst I really needed to make it a reality.

I left the job in June 2009 and launched The Melting Pot in September 2009.  

Why stop at workshops

After many years since I took the plunge, I still offer chocolate workshops and now so much more….

Hot Chocolate Team Day

So many courses and bespoke events have been created for clients – I say yes, then work out how I’m going to make it work.  

My hubby was inspired too, and for some years has been offering ‘be a blacksmith for a day’ experiences from his forge. We’ve even collaborated and created ‘hot chocolate’ team days.

I’ve documented everything I did to create a ‘business in a chocolate box’ and sell this to others wishing to run chocolate workshops where they live.  

New Dawn start-up business training came out of mentoring and supporting those starting a chocolate workshop business. Not everyone wants to work with chocolate – can you believe that?

Lack of confidence seemed to stop the people I met from starting something, they didn’t believe they could do it. If I could surely others could too? A free creating magic challenge and building confidence course were born.

Who knows what might be next…..

What I’d like to pass on

  1. Don’t stay working in something that makes you unhappy. You can and deserve to be happier at work. If you find yourself having a cry in the toilet, please make a change.
  2. Be brave – stretching your comfort zone will feel uncomfortable at first but the rewards are enormous.
  3. Choose love – firstly learn to love yourself properly, this is so important if you want to support all those that are so important to you too. There is nothing like working for yourself to really explore you and your capabilities.

There it is, why I started my own business. I love being my own boss, flexible, challenging, interesting and you will be so surprised at what you will learn about yourself.

Why All Relationships Matter

Why All Relationships Matter

We are talking business relationships here, but it’s personal too.

The most obvious relationships are those we have with our customers. The customer is king in every business. However, there are so many more to consider for a successful business to survive and indeed thrive, including the one you have with yourself.

Let’s explore why all relationships matter:

What relationships?

Meeting at a desk, with notebooks, drinks and laptops (you can't see their faces, just there arms writing in their books)

Sometimes we focus so much on the obvious (our customers) we overlook other opportunities.

Who do you have relationships with?

Customers, employees, contractors, suppliers, competitors, family, friends – are all key relationships within your business.

Another thing to consider is your potential relationship with someone where you are simply making an enquiry.

Maybe you are looking at a business opportunity?

How you behave will reflect on how you are perceived by the vendor.

Do you ask, realise it’s not for you (right now) and then ignore all the follow-ups? What if you later change your mind. If you didn’t go back to them explaining not right now, have you burnt your bridges for a potential transaction in different circumstances?

Send a simple reply explaining it’s not for you and why, and come across as professional and considered.

Supplying the Goods

Think about the importance of getting your supplies for example.  

Cacao beans

You are spending money with your suppliers and may think that you need do no more than hand over your hard-earned cash. What about a shortage in supplies (something that we are often facing in these difficult times).  Your supplier may have to choose which customer to send limited supplies to.  

What if you need a rush job and will need a supplier to go the extra mile for you?

Might your supplier recommend your services/goods to another customer if you are great to do business with?

A good relationship can reap unexpected benefits.

Money Matters

How do you pay for your supplies?  

Pink piggy bank

Cash flow can be an issue at times, so you may leave certain suppliers waiting for payment.  

Is this something you accept personally?  

Are you willing and able to wait for payment from a service or goods you have delivered?

What are your terms, and do you act with the same integrity with everyone else you do business with?

If you do hit on difficult times and you need to speak to your suppliers about extending credit for a limited time, your payment history will come into play. Have you built credibility with your supplier to afford you some leeway when it might be most be needed?

The Competition

Hide your head in the sand, feel threatened and defensive, or completely oblivious – what is your attitude to the competition?

Competition can be a good thing. If more people are offering what you do, there must be a demand for it. Always check out the competition and keep an eye on what they are doing. Is there an opportunity to work together, to collaborate?  

No one can do things the way that you do them. You are what makes your business unique.  

Make friends with the competition where appropriate and explore ways of potentially working together. 

The team

If you employ people or use contractors, then they are representing you and your business.

Do they clearly understand and operate by your values? Have you adequately trained and equipped them to achieve their tasks properly?

If there is one big lesson I’ve taken from running my own business, it’s all my fault. If an employee/contractor makes a mistake, then the buck will stop with me. Choose good people (we need to part ways with those that are not the right fit) and train them well.

Build good strong relationships with all members of your team and it will reap rewards.

Customers are King

Without customers, we don’t have a business.  

Building strong relationships with your customers and providing the best possible service matters. I like to create sticky customers (ones I cover in chocolate, but also stick around for more). Working with chocolate is a good hook for building rapport, but you don’t need to work with it to use it to your advantage! Here are 100 ways to make your customers go WOW.  

You

Nothing will test you like running your own business. It is the best personal development programme you will ever encounter. You will experience highs and lows, but the benefits of being your own boss far outweigh the difficult bits!  

Be YOU. People buy authentic, tell your story, be yourself. 

If you do not it will be exhausting and not something that you can sustain long term.

Set boundaries for yourself and stick to them. Respect yourself and others will follow suit. Treat everyone in the way you expect to be treated yourself.

The relationship with yourself will be tested and you need to know who you are and what you stand for.

All relationships matter.

Secret confessions of a chocolatier

Secret confessions of a chocolatier

I’m saving my biggest confession for a bit later. Please read on to the end of the blog where all will be revealed…..

I’m not sure how secret my confessions are, but here goes:

Dawn Fry

Sexy Job Title

For years I worked in offices, I might have had a bit of a fancy title like General Manager at a Professional Body. No one really knew what you did though, unless you bored them with lots of detail.

Asked my profession now and I answer ‘chocolatier’, it feels exciting, a bit different, certainly tasty, and definitely a talking point.   

Confession No 1:
I love it when someone asks what I do.

Tales from the Tanks

Two tanks of chocolate

The title of this blog implied I would be giving away my secret confessions, in reality, I think you do more of that than me. In my workshops, there are a group of people leaning over a vat of molten chocolate. 

The air is thick with the aroma of chocolate.

People are dropping fillings into the tank, retrieving them, and then moving their forks up and down rhythmically, removing the excess chocolate. They start to talk and share their stories. As much as we have fun and a laugh together, we also share some difficult times. It’s a real privilege to be a part of that with my groups.  

Confession No 2:
Chocolate therapy is the way forward.

The wonderful world of chocolate

Working with chocolate is a wonderful way to earn a living, but the actual world of chocolate is amazing.

The fascinating history, the way it’s grown and manufactured. Many artisan producers play with flavours and create new and exciting pairings. Creativity, tastings, competitions, cakes, puddings, bars, truffles, and everything in-between. It’s great to be part of something so innovative and varied.

Confession No 3:
Since working with chocolate, I’ve gone properly over to the dark side, I love something really strong and bitter.

The downside

Cleaning up is the worst bit of the job. Chocolate really does get everywhere. On the upside, you can nibble a bit of chocolate while you work and I do reflect on the fact that someone could be telling me what to do. Even when I’m cleaning I love being my own boss.

Confession No 4:
I save up all my chocolate mats to wash in one go, I can’t face them otherwise. You need loud music and lots of tea towels.

People are the spice of life

A group of people at a hen party

From the outset, I never stood on my own making chocolates to sell. Workshops and experiences were my intentions and one I’m happy to have stuck with. It was a little tricky in lockdown, but thankfully we are back together again. I’ve never been so busy, so you must be up for experiences in person again too.

Confession No 5:
I love the people as much as I love the chocolate (sometimes even a little bit more). That’s my biggest secret. You make chocolate so much more fun, and it just wouldn’t be the same without you.

The not-so-secret confessions of a chocolatier!

Fear of Failure or Fear of Success?

Fear of Failure or Fear of Success?

Most people will think that a fear of failure would stop them from starting something out of their comfort zone. If you don’t start something you can’t fail, so surely it’s far easier not to start.

failure written on a piece of paper on the table, success on another piece of paper being picked up

I beg to differ.

While fear of failure can prevent you from starting, far more powerful is your fear of success.

Let’s explore this a little more:

It’s personal

Do you believe that you deserve to succeed in whatever you set your mind to?

When you consider something that you really would like to do, can you imagine doing well at it? If you do imagine doing well, what emotions does that stir up for you?

Were you always told to be modest and humble, not to brag? Do you need to hide your potential success, so don’t try and achieve as much as you might be capable of?

Does success mean being busy, working all the time, and having no time to play? If you keep it safe and smaller, although you are bored or unfulfilled some of the time, is it better than being too busy?

Your relationships

Might you upset someone with a level of success? Will your success make you different in the eyes of friends, family, or partners? Do you believe some of your network would not like you if you gained a level of success?

Are you always the supporter in your relationships? What if that changed with you as the achiever, the most successful, the breadwinner? 

If you were super-successful, what support would you need?

Where might success lead for you? Does it mean you might leave some behind, or be faced with life-changing decisions?

Money Blocks

Pink piggy bank

Success may or may not have anything to do with money.

What is your relationship like with money?  

Is there a level of money that would make you uncomfortable?

Do you believe you deserve to have money?

You need Denise Duffield Thomas – she is an Entrepreneur that focuses on our relationships with money. 

I always recommend her book ‘Get Rich, Lucky Bitch’ to everyone on my business start-up course. She advocates that we all have money blocks. Emotions buried deep in our belief system stop us from reaching our next level of success. We need to identify and clear the blocks to move on.

Dare to Dream

What does success look like for you?

Dare to dream as big as you can. Forget all those labels, responsibilities, and worries, and take some time to identify what would be a wonderful achievement for you.

You might want to become super fit and healthy, eat differently

Write a book

Start a new business

Take on a role or job that you never dreamed possible

Learn a new hobby, instrument, sport, skill

Plant trees, take up volunteering, save the planet (we need you)

Make a plan!

If you fail you’ve learned. 

You may never reach your potential if you are too scared of being super-successful. It doesn’t have to be some huge grand scheme, it’s whatever success looks like for you. 

Why not come and tell us all about it – let’s make it real!

Do you have the KIT for business?

Do you have the KIT for business?

There have been some perfect examples of where the right KIT has resulted in sales this week.

In one case without the KIT a sale would have fallen through.

Do you have this in your business?

Dawn Fry

What’s KIT? 

KIT is simply ‘Keeping In Touch’ – do this properly and it will help your business no end. Let’s explore if you have the KIT for business

Firstly, I want to tell you a little story…….

How my KIT resulted in extra sales

A customer had been in touch regarding purchasing a gift voucher. They had lots of specific questions, which I answered but it had gone quiet. 

After a few days, I sent another email, asking if I had answered all the questions they had and could I help any further. For some reason, the original email had ended up in the junk folder and had not been read. 

From the customer’s perspective, it looked like I had not bothered. A follow-up and the customer was completely apologetic about not seeing my original response. The result – gift voucher purchased. Very gratefully received and all because I bothered to go back and check-in.

KIT for business

There are a few simple things you can do to keep in touch with your customers, build good relationships, and hopefully help to boost sales.

Rapid Response

If someone sends you an enquiry, get back to them as quickly as possible. When you are in the mood to buy something, you want to achieve your goal. 

Go back to a customer quickly while they are in buying mode. Leave it too long and they may have gone to someone else or changed their mind.

The number of times I hear ‘thanks for coming back to me so quickly’ backed up by the booking – it’s worth a rapid response.

Keep it Simple

How easy it is for someone to get in touch with you? Is it obvious and simple for someone to hit a button, drop you a line, DM, email or call whether it’s your website or social media?  

Sometimes we overlook the absolute obvious. Check your customer’s journey and ensure they can easily make contact if they wish to enquire or buy from you.

Make a Note

Who has been in touch, and have they bought from you yet? If not, have you gone back to them to help further? Can you send them something relevant and useful that will help build your reputation with them and encourage them to purchase in the future?

Whether you keep a database, have a sophisticated system, or simply put a note in your diary – keep a note to touch base.  

Newsletter

A great way to keep in touch is to drop existing and potential customers a line with all your news, or relevant information that they would find interesting. A newsletter is a fab way to do this.  

Be mindful of data protection and do things properly. If you subscribe to a proper newsletter service, there will be an opt-in and unsubscribe service in-built. There are some free services for this too, such as Mailchimp. Act professionally and respectively at all times, but do tell people about what you do regularly. It’s not their business to remember, it’s your business to remind.

NO often means not now, it’s not the right time. Keep in touch and you will be around when the time is YES.

KIT Opportunities

What other opportunities are there in your business to keep in touch?

Mum’s book children’s parties with me. I offer pre-printed invitations, which I send to mum on booking. That ensures that all the mums/dads or carers of the attendees have my details. When their little one comes home full of chocolate and asks if they can have a chocolate party – it’s easy to get in touch and book.

Recipe cards are another keep in touch tool I give out at my adult parties.

If you wish to up the ante a little, here’s how you can work in some WOW.

Daily Disciplines

It takes effort and energy to run your business, and you need to set yourself some daily disciplines to ensure you make keeping in touch a priority.

Explain to your potential customers when you are around, and when you might be taking a moment for family, leisure, or pleasure.  

It’s your rules and you can run your business how you wish, as long as you communicate clearly and act exactly how you say you will.

What would you add to the KIT – do come and share any extra tips with us over on my Facebook page.

If this has made you want to run your own business, here are some potential ideas for you. You might even consider working with chocolate!

What I’ve learnt from running events

What I’ve learnt from running events

Whether you run your own business or not, you will come up against running an ‘event’ at some point. The Christmas lunch, a party, or something work-related – you can’t escape!

A group of people at a hen party

I’ve been running chocolate workshops for over 12 years, and I love working with chocolate and people. 

A workshop, dinner party, or having a table-full at Christmas, the same principles apply to whatever event you might be planning.

Here’s what I’ve learnt from running events

Who’s it for

Who’s your audience?  

My events span primary and secondary schools to team building – so the audience is very diverse. 

Put yourself in the shoes of the attendees. What will make it interesting and relevant for them? If you are working with small children, there can be no gaps (have some colouring up your sleeve to keep them occupied for example).

Here are some specific tips on running successful school events.

What are the expected outcomes?

If you are being hired to deliver an event, this may be easier to achieve. Ask! It’s best to request a phone call or a face-to-face meeting if possible as you can drill down into expectations and ask specific questions. This allows you to manage expectations too.

Even if it’s a family gathering, take a moment to reflect on the guests and what would be suitable for all, bearing in mind there could be different ages and abilities.

How can you achieve expected outcomes?

Have an open mind. Sometimes a request can seem almost impossible. 

I can't written on a piece of paper.  Someone is cutting off the 't so it reads I can

Hold that thought for a while and think to yourself I would like a solution to this. See what comes up.

Trust yourself and your previous experiences, don’t be afraid to put your own stamp on something.

Think about yourself and your needs too. Don’t promise something that is at such a high cost to you it will go wrong, cause you too much stress or make you feel resentful.

What’s plan B?

This is not always possible but having a backup plan is a great strategy. It might just be for elements of the event, where you think there could be stumbling blocks. If a crisis happens on the day, you will find a way through. As long as no one is in actual danger, own up, explain, agree to move on – whatever it takes to get things back on track.

Run it through

This is the best way to ensure your event is a success. Imagine the moment the first person arrives, to the moment the last person leaves, what will be happening and when. Then go through exactly what will be required for each element of their time with you. 

Make a list as you go.

Prep within an inch of your life

Someone laying the table

Once you’ve run it through you will know what needs to be prepped beforehand. Do as much as possible. You can’t be too prepared as once your event is underway your attention is required, and time disappears.

Know your limits. Think about what others can bring to the party if you need to have someone on hand to help. Play to your strengths.  

Act like a pro 

This is not meant to be confusing – you need to be authentic and yourself, but you do need to be the best version of yourself you can be. This does take some energy and it may not feel totally comfortable at first.

Sometimes you have to fake it a little until you make it. This is not being dishonest or inauthentic, it’s acting a little more confident than you feel. It’s about NOT over-sharing how nervous you are or all the things you are worried about that might go wrong. Act like it’s all fine, and if it doesn’t feel fine just yet, keep the faith that it will.

It’s your event, you are responsible for creating some atmosphere, be engaging and interesting, and put lots of energy into making it a success. You can only do so much though, and sometimes your best is not good enough for everyone. We don’t always know their story and will need to chalk it up to experience.

Gain valuable feedback

Find out how your event was received. A corporate-style event makes this a little easier as you can supply feedback forms. 

Talk to people, make a call, go over elements of the event with them, especially if you felt it could have gone better at certain points. Listen. 

You will pick up little nuggets at the event itself if you are open to hearing how people are experiencing their time with you.  

Review and improve

Go over the event in fine detail. Think about those things that worked well, do more of them. For the things that didn’t work quite as well, or you gained insight from feedback, tweak. Keep honing as we can always improve.

squares of white and dark chocolate in a pile

Seriously, if you really want to know what I’ve learnt from running events, add chocolate! You don’t have to be a chocolatier, you could just throw in a tasting for fun, everyone will love it.

Every event is hard work as it will take effort and energy to make it work well. Hosting a great event is such a buzz, one that you will learn and grow from too.

Be confident in your event and others will follow suit. Enjoy and don’t forget to come and tell us all about it.