Is Confidence Overrated?

Article by Marie Haycocks 20.04.16

 
I was 21 years old, a few months into my first ‘proper’ job after graduating from University, and this was what my boss said to me at the end of my three-month probation period….

“The thing that is holding you back Marie is your confidence, and the only person who can give you that is yourself”.

I remember thinking ‘Oh no, is it that obvious?’. But I didn’t really know how best to respond or even know what to do about that feedback. I certainly didn’t know how to give myself confidence or recognise the impact that not having confidence would have on my life.

From then I just ‘got on with it’, burying how I felt inside. Other than the occasional periods of blushing I thought I hid it pretty well.

A bit of history

For as long as I remember I lacked self-confidence. Growing up, I moved schools a few times (6 times in 18 years!) following my dad’s promotions at work. Whenever we moved house in an attempt to settle in quickly and be liked, I learned to demonstrate confidence externally – making eye contact, approaching and talking to other students.

Despite my external confidence, it didn’t stop me having ‘imposter’ syndrome i.e. always comparing myself to others and doubting myself. This got worse as I progressed through University and my career. On the inside I was very self-conscious, lacking confidence in myself and my own capabilities.

It wasn’t until I was 39 years old that things changed. I was made redundant after 18 years in the same company, and assigned a coach to help my transition back into the workplace. It was with the help of my careers coach that I finally found my inner confidence! The process didn’t happen overnight and she didn’t explicitly say to me that what she was doing, however, it did transform my confidence levels and me… for the better, and I am eternally grateful for that.

So, why does confidence matter?

Research has proven that people with high self-confidence and self-esteem are happier and more successful. Certainly in my case, I know that it was lack of confidence that contributed to me:

  • Making the wrong decisions about relationships
  • Staying in a career that I was unhappy with …for 18years!!
  • Not realising that I was capable of achieving more.

I also hid it from others, thinking that I was the only person who felt like that. This is what stopped me from seeking support. It felt quite lonely at times.

It wasn’t until many years later that I fully understood, accepted and valued myself – my strengths, preferences and values – and that I felt truly confident in myself.

So, with my real life experience and further research on the topic of confidence, I would like to share my top tips on how to increase your confidence to enable you to have the success and happiness that you deserve.

How to find your inner confidence

I agree that there is an element of ‘fake it until you make it’ when it comes to confidence, but based on my experience the danger to this approach is that it can lead to you to feeling quite empty inside. Therefore, my top tips for finding your inner confidence are:

1.Learn to understand and love yourself – 

Acknowledge and appreciate your key achievements in your life. Notice what qualities and skills you demonstrated at that time. We often put things down to fate, but these successes don’t happen by accident! You had a role to play that led to a successful outcome. Take time out to reflect on, and accept, all of your achievements and unique qualities.

2. Find and trust your inner compass –

Our values are the things that are important to us. I believe that your values act like your inner compass when making decisions. Ask yourself the following questions, using examples from both your career and personal life;

When have I been happiest? What were you doing? Were you with other people? Who? What other factors contributed to your happiness?
When have I felt most proud?
When have I felt most fulfilled and satisfied?

Then determine your top values, based on your experiences of happiness, pride, and fulfilment.

3. Take control –

It is easy to be a victim and think that we are being ‘done to’, however there are many things we are in control of. We can control how we think (what we say to ourselves) and how we behave/act. Write a list of the things that you can take control of and action them NOW! This sense of empowerment and progress will then help boost your confidence.

4. Step out of your comfort zone –

If we stay in our comfort zone we might feel safe, comfortable, calm however this can become the zone of stagnation and negatively impact our confidence. By doing things out of your comfort zone, you will build your list of achievements and this will increase your confidence. Seek support if required.

5. Ask for feedback –

Ask people close to you for feedback about your qualities and strengths. Hear what they are saying. Accept these compliments with gratitude. This will help you on your journey of recognising and appreciating your own strengths and qualities and boost your levels of self-belief.

6. Manage your mindset –

Neuroscience has proven that our thoughts drive our feelings which in turn drive our behaviour. Therefore, if we repeatedly say negative things to ourselves, and effectively beat ourselves up, this will knock our confidence. Start recognising what your inner dialogue is saying. Write it down. Consider ‘how is it helping me’? Then decide to change your inner voice. Talk to yourself like you would a friend. Be kind. Be gentle.

7. Focus on the right things –

You might have heard of the expression ‘You get more of what you focus on’. Instead of dwelling on the bad, fill your mind and time up by setting yourself some positive, exciting goals. By focussing on your goals and dreams, and taking action, it will release positive endorphins helping you feel more positive about yourself. Click here http://www.certanovo.com/articles/make-2016-your-best-year-yet/ for my latest article on goal setting.

8. Embrace your body image –

It sounds cliche but it’s true that if we look good we feel good. It easy to focus on the things we don’t like about our body. Instead, take action to improve your body with exercise and nutrition or embrace what you have. Learning how to dress to suit your body shape will help you look your best and feel more confident about yourself. 

9. Utilise your strengths –

Once you understand your qualities establish which ones that make you feel strong and good about yourself i.e. you strengths (Tip #1), then find or create a job where you can use them as much as possible! For example, I am reasonably good at maths (I got a ‘B’ grade at A level) and quite analytical, however when I put these into play they don’t make me feel strong, instead, they make me feel weak. But when I am utilising my people skills I feel strong and confident.

10. Power pose!! – 

This is my favourite tip. Research in America has proven that if we practice more open body language this has the effect of increasing the level of testosterone and reducing the level of cortisol (the stress hormone) in our bodies. Additionally, research has proven that more confident people also have higher testosterone and lower cortisol. So start power posing NOW and notice the effect on your confidence! To see Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on this click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks-_Mh1QhMc

  
Why I do what I do

Self-confidence does have a big impact on our success and happiness, and I don’t want anyone, especially teenage girls, to spend their life beating themselves up, comparing themselves to others and feeling like they are not good enough, like I did.

I would like every female to reach their full potential and be confident within themselves. This is why I retrained to be a coach, to give my clients the support, empowerment and accountability to find and keep their inner confidence.

If you would like to know more about my Confidence & Clarity coaching programmes for individuals, professionals or young people and have a free initial discovery session then please contact me on 07554883026 or mariehaycocks@certanovo.com. I would love to help you.

The 7.1 Key Steps to Building Your Authority Online

Article by Sam Thiara 11.04.16

Step 1 – Establish Your Vision

Have you ever thought about where you are headed? Ever thought about why your career or business is somehow not where you thought it would be? Or are you a super achiever and well on your way to amazing success.

Or do you live day to day, with the occasional ‘dip’ into dreaming about what you would like to do, but often not having ‘gusto’ to see it through. It ails us all at times and most will quietly admit to themselves that it’s not possible, they don’t have the money, time or often do not believe they are the ones who could have it all. In reality they let it pass and become comfortable in their present situation. 

Something inside you needs to ‘stir’, something that drives your emotions and you know when you’re onto a winner when someone says this of you; – “He’s got a fire in the belly”. 

This is a great indicator to begin to clarify one’s vision and get you started.

  

If you want more from your life; be it more time, money or freedom you need to look at WHY you must achieve the goal you have dreamed of for so long.

Here’s a quick example that will help you clarify your vision, mission and values:

Imagine you’re going out for a meal with your boyfriend or girlfriend (or husband or wife, if your boyfriend or girlfriend is busy!).

“Even without knowing it, you use vision, mission and values as a system to check in”.  

• Your vision is where you’re headed. It’s what success looks like. So, after you’ve gone out on your date, your vision might be:

“The future I’m trying to create is a warm fuzzy one. Satisfied, happy and reconnected. And this vision will be manifested by us cuddling up on the sofa when we get home.”

 • Your mission is your purpose and what you’ll do to fulfill your vision. It can also encompass the reason you do what you’re doing. So on your night out, your mission statement might read:

“I aim to catch up with the one I love after a long hard week, looking into their eyes, listening and sharing the quality time we deserve. Because time is precious, but nothing’s more precious than love”. 

• Your values are what’s important to you. Your values are the foundation of who you are, and what’s unique about you. They also define the edges of what you’ll do or not do (you can often tell when your values are transgressed because you feel an upsurge of anger – “how dare they?!”). On your night out your values might be:

“I love to talk and I love to listen, so I love a place where there’s music, but it’s not too loud. I love intimacy, but I love to see what I’m eating (so subdued lighting, but not so dark I’m squinting). I love any food except fish & chips, but I live for great sushi.”

“You can often tell when your values are not aligned because you feel frustrated, annoyed or irritated”

So when it comes to your business you need to work through the process and picture your perfect business and more importantly the outcomes you want to see as a result.

Remember how Muhammad Ali literally pictured the round in which he would knock out his competition and Sylvester Stallone who never gave up his script for Rocky because he saw himself in the lead role, even though the film studios offered him a six figure fee but refused, all the while he had no income coming in.

 So no matter if you have a hobby, part time business, a job/career or already run a successful business, if you have not had the success you first envisaged maybe it’s time to change your ‘old thinking’ habits.

  
Look out for my next blog and I hope you take some time out and have a go…it will help as we get to Step 2 and your path to greater success. 

 Sam Thiara,
International Sales Manager, Internet Marketer & Trainer.

 

Three Positive Benefits of Getting Outdoors

Article by Daniel Browne 06.04.16

April has arrived, which means we’re now well into spring and the weather is getting warmer. It’s the perfect time to start thinking about going outdoors more and exploring the world.

I’m a pretty outdoorsy type. I love long dog walks, exploring the countryside and being with nature. Maybe you are two. Or perhaps you’re not. Either way, there are huge benefits to spending time outdoors and here are my top three.

1. Being outdoors provides you with time to disconnect from life. Getting outside to do some kind of activity or even just to relax gives you time to switch off mentally. This in turn can help to reduce feelings of stress or anxiety. Being outdoors is good for a healthy mind.

2. Getting outdoors helps your creative side. Research has shown that being outdoors, even for something simple like a walk, can help to get your creative juices flowing. So if you’re struggling for new ideas or wondering how to solve a problem, put your shoes on and go for a walk. Being outside surrounded by nature is inspiring.

3. You’ll get a top up of Vitamin D. That big yellow ball in the sky is one of the best natural sources of Vitamin D. Getting a top up of it will help maintain the health of your bones, and being out in the sunshine is simply nice anyway. Just remember to use sun cream.

  
Daniel Browne is a hypnotherapist and wellbeing expert with practices in Warwick and Evesham. Please visit http://www.daniel-browne.co.uk to discover more about his work.

Healthy Habits for Homeworkers

Article by Michelle Abrahall 30.03.16

Working from home is the dream for many people – the flexibility, the convenience and of course being able to wear what you want. But as anyone who works from home (be it working for themselves or remote working) knows, it’s not all pajamas and lie-ins. Not having the stability and structure of an office environment can present a lot of challenges, and if you’re not careful you can slip into bad habits. Here’s how to avoid them and be a healthy homeworker:

Be like a rolling stone

‘A rolling stone gathers no moss’ as the saying goes, and it’s a positive thing! Many homeworkers unintentionally sit immobile for long periods staring at a computer screen. Without the routine and distractions of office life, it’s easy to become sedentary. Take regular breaks, stretch your legs, put the kettle on, whatever you need to do to avoid gathering dust (if not moss!)

Seek out human interaction

Working alone can be great for productivity – I find I get twice as much done in an hour now than I used to in my office job. But long periods of solitude are not great for your mental health, so take steps to avoid them. Arrange to meet a client face to face (always great for relationship building) or perhaps there’s a connection you’ve made on social media that would make for a good coffee date? Even going online and chatting to other freelancers and remote workers can make you feel part of a community, and there are loads of great groups and resources out there.

Avoid the pajama trap

Yes, it’s a wonderful novelty to not have to adhere to a dress code, but beware of spending days in slobby leisure wear. There is a proven link between patients in hospital who stay in their pajamas for long periods and the length of time they take to recover. This is also even more reason to arrange meetings during the week, for which you need to dress well.

Vitamin D for the win

As all Brits know, vitamin D in the form of sunshine can be a rare commodity for most of the year. And if you work from home and the weather’s crap, you might go days without venturing outside. I realise it’s a lot more appealing to go for a walk on a balmy summer’s afternoon than it is in the winter drizzle, but don’t let that put you off. Experts agree that even on cloudy days, you will still benefit from going outside in the fresh air, and if there’s an area of greenery near you, even better.

These points are all common sense, but even seasoned homeworkers will find they need to be reminded of them from time to time. Try to make them all part of your daily routine and before you know it they will become second nature.

  

 

Michelle x 

 

 

Spring into Action this Spring

Article by Daniel Browne 23.03.16

Winter is coming to an end, which means spring will soon be here. We’ve already seen signs of it as we head towards the end of February, with beautiful sunny days gracing us.

Spring is my favourite season. I love everything about it – the warmer weather, sunnier and longer days, seeing all the new-born lambs in fields, noticing more wildlife, and the general lifting of everyone’s mood as the gloom of winter is dusted away. It’s a wonderful time of year and perfect for getting things done.

It’s around this time of year that I typically start talking about spring cleaning your mind. In fact, I wrote an article about spring cleaning your mind for Grow Leamington last year. It’s a great way of making sure you’re happy with all areas of your life and identifying any changes that need to be made. I’m going to give that a miss on this occasion, but do have a look at that previous article.

At the turn of the year you may have made New Year’s resolutions. It’s good to have goals for the year ahead and to work on achieving them. However, it can be quite difficult to do so during the winter months and so many people simply give up by the end of January. That is why, if you’ve got any goals to achieve, now is the time to spring into action. With everything seeming a bit better as winter comes to an end, and with summer soon to be in sight, the beginning of March is a perfect time to get cracking on achieving your goals.

Maybe you want to lose weight. Perhaps you want to finally give up smoking. Or maybe there’s another positive change you’d like to make in your life. It’s never too late to get started. In fact, in the last few months I’ve helped a 75 year old man lose weight and an 81 year old lady quit smoking after she’d smoked for 65 years! See… It’s never too late to achieve your goals.

So as we head into spring, what will you be working on achieving?
  
Daniel Browne is a hypnotherapist with practices in Warwick and Evesham. Please visit http://www.daniel-browne.co.uk to discover more about his work.

Deaf/deaf Awareness – Your name what?

Article by Tarnya Brink 24.02.16

  

As an HR practitioner I have interacted with many people with various disabilities, but it was my son at the age of 14 who asked to learn British Sign Language (BSL). Having brought my children up to respect the ability of people with disabilities, it made me proud that someone so young recognised the benefit of learning BSL.We learnt together 5 years ago, and although I am not the most competent signer, the one thing that really stuck with me was that most people don’t have much knowledge of Deaf/deaf awareness and that by learning to sign the alphabet a world of communication opens.

So, as I have been doing at various 4 Networking meetings, I would like to share a few of the things I learnt.

Deaf vs deaf

Deaf with a capital ‘D’ refers to someone who has no hearing whilst deaf with a small ‘d’ refers to someone with partial hearing.

Language

Learning BSL is like learning any other foreign language – don’t underestimate how hard it is. After 18 months of 3 hours one evening a week, my son and I achieved Level 2 – which is conversational signing.

The structure of the language is different, so for example, in English we say ‘What is your name?’ in BSL you sign ‘Your name what?’. It is important to recognise that for a person whose first language is BSL, English is a second language. BSL does not use all of the words in the English dictionary – it is a more abbreviated language so words like ‘is, it, am’ don’t exist.

Like any other person whose second language is English, it is not uncommon for written English to require significant development because the grammatical structure is quite different.

There are regional differences in BSL, so some words can be signed in a number of different ways.

Facial Expressions and Lip Reading

When we watch interpreters on TV, or watch people signing to each other, we notice the use of what a non-signer may think of as ‘over-exaggerated’. This is an integral part of communication for the Deaf/deaf community. As fascinating as it is to watch people signing, remember that if they are having a private conversation, you are effectively eves-dropping.

Not all Deaf/deaf people sign, some rely solely on lip reading, and reading facial expressions.  

We all use facial and hand gestures when they speak – this is an extension of that. By using expressions together with signs, it portrays emotions which are easy to read.

A couple of interesting things I learnt about lip-reading which are actually obvious when they are pointed out – if you have a very thick long mustache, it is very hard to read your lips because they are covered with hair. If you shout (which serves absolutely no purpose!) your lips shape differently or if you mumble, you are not forming your lips in a way that people can read. Speak normally and clearly as you would to a hearing person, not in an exaggerated manner.

Using Interpreters

In order to be an interpreter you need to have a Level 6 (degree equivalent) qualification in signing and interpretation. With a Level 2 I can follow very little of what is signed on TV and would definitely not be able to interpret a discussion. I can, however, interact with people who use BSL and can always rely on using the alphabet when I get stuck.

If you have a meeting with a Deaf person and a BSL interpreter, you will need to allow at least twice as much time for the meeting. Think about when you go on holiday to a foreign country and you need to explain to someone what you want, they in turn need to translate it, get an answer and translate it back. It takes a lot longer than asking and receiving an answer.

Remember that your meeting is with the Deaf person and they should be your primary audience, not the interpreter, but obviously you need to seat the interpreter so that they have a clear view of the person they are signing with. The interpreter is the tool who removes the barrier to communication.

Interpretation is tiring – you will often see two interpreters playing tag in a meeting or a presentation – with an average of 20 minute slots each, so if you are hiring an interpreter, bear in mind how long your meeting is going to be and whether you need more than one person.

If you are chairing a meeting with a Deaf/deaf person present (with or without an interpreter) it is important to control the meeting, so that only one person speaks at a time and the pace of the meeting allows for interpretation. If there is no interpreter present, make sure the Deaf/deaf person has a pen and paper, so that they have a way of participating fully in the meeting. If you buddy this person with a hearing person next to them so that they can ask the questions on their behalf, then they will not be excluded from participating.

Learning to sign the Alphabet

I learnt to sign the Alphabet at Girl Guides when I was a child – I have never forgotten it, and I strongly believe that every child (and adult) should learn the alphabet. Imagine that you are in a car accident and the first person to arrive on the scene is Deaf – you would be able to communicate with them.

There are some great on-line tools to show you how to sign the alphabet and free sheets you can download onto mobile phones, and print.

My challenge to you is to go on-line – learn to spell your name, get your family to learn to spell their names, and then put the alphabet on the fridge and learn the alphabet. It is fun, rewarding, and great to use in noisy place too! http://www.british-sign.co.uk/fingerspelling-alphabet-charts/ 

Tarnya Brink

Area Director

  

T 0333 005 0066

M 07986 544 694

E tbrink@sagegreen.com

W http://www.sagegreenhr.co.uk

Mindfulness for Baby Swimming?

Article by Jo 22.02.16

Of course, there are always the obvious benefits of baby swimming that have always been there… 

Physical: strengthen heart/lungs

Social: learning to take turns, making friends.

Vital safety skills: turning to the side, back floating, rotations.

  
But has anyone thought of it having also having the most powerful notion of teaching parents to relax, live in the moment, and to have open hearts? 

In today’s busy world, baby swimming could have an ever greater role to play in teaching our water parents to ‘live in the moment and to really connect’ with their baby. Facilitating strong, powerful bonds between parent and baby.

  
Due to our busy lives, one where we are constantly bombarded with images and words via the Internet. We are becoming so connected to the tech world that we have forgotten to connect to the people around us.
We have become a society that creates ‘to do lists’, planning and thinking about the future and sometimes we get caught up in comparing our lives with others. Do we have a true sense of identity or have we lost who we are as we are surrounded by what others are doing? Our minds are preoccupied with taking photos or writing the moment for others, that we actually forget to live and enjoy the moment our self. How many of us check in daily with our heart and soul? Feel the sun, smell the aromas around us, listen or feel our breath?
We often miss the beauty around us. Opening our hearts and minds and offering compassion and love.

Children are so much better than us, living in the moment… But as they grow and adapt their environment …

Perhaps baby swimming can facilitate mindful practises for both parent and child?

Can we help increase our awareness of our senses, which in turn might help reduce anxieties and fears? 
  
How can baby swimming help promote a mindful presence?

*We can ask our swimming parents to check in. Are they participating in the classes or just going through the motions?

* We can offer a couple of moments at the start of the class to have ‘an open awareness’. To take a deep breath in and to release any tensions. 

* To start in a wide stance on the pool floor … To feel safe and grounded. allowing gentle movements to flow naturally.

You don’t have to go into full ‘yogic detail’ but just a few kind words, to create a sense of calm at the start of the class… A gentle reminder to watch our babies cues, ensuring they are happy throughout all of our swimming practises. And by ending the class with a lovely swim together, where parent and child can connect and enjoy the moment….

Reminding our selves to tune into their laughter, smiles, playful nature that the water brings. Creating a non-competitive environment through our swimming practises, where our swimming parents feel nurtured, safe our babies feel protected.

An environment where we are NOT teaching our babies to swim…. As that will just happen over time with patience…

But one that creates a powerful environment where we can truly relax, enjoy the water ….

One where we can escape just for 1/2 hour with our babies and dream and grow together. 

  

Rediscover Your Mojo

Article by Daniel Browne 17.02.15

Do you ever feel like you’ve lost your mojo? I’m sure we’ve all had that thought at some point and wondered where the hell it ran off to. You know, that feeling when you wake up in the morning and simply cannot be bothered to do anything. It’s not a nice way to feel, but it only needs to be a temporary issue as there are a number of ways to rediscover your lost mojo.

Losing your mojo isn’t simply having an off day. Every single one of us will have had an off day from time to time, but found that it soon passes and we feel good again. Unfortunately, losing your mojo can be the start of a downward spiral, during which you lose all motivation and feel overwhelmed by life. If you identify with this, read on for my top tips for rediscovering your mojo. After all, you have a life to enjoy.

1. Take some time out. When was the last time you had some ‘me time’? When did you last take the time to recharge? If you can’t remember, or it’s been longer than a couple of months, it has been too long. Taking a little bit of time out for yourself can do wonders, so be sure to commit to doing that. Make sure it’s on a regular basis too. That will reduce the risk of losing your mojo again in the future. Taking time out for yourself isn’t selfish; it’s an essential part of your wellbeing.

2. Be strict with yourself. If you have a huge to do list but haven’t been very productive for a period of more than half an hour, have a break. Go and do something else and then come back to your to do list with a commitment to work through it. Switch off all distractions, including Facebook. You’ll thank yourself for it.

3. Have a look at your environment and take notice of how it makes you feel. Does the space you are in inspire you? If not, have a clear-out or make some changes. The trick here is to create a space that inspires and empowers you. An uninspiring space isn’t good for your mojo.

4. If you have a huge to do list, allocate a set amount of time for each task. Getting on with stuff in that way doesn’t leave room for procrastination. By giving yourself an allocated time for each task, you may discover just how productive you can be.

5. Reward yourself when you have done something that you needed to do. That feeling of knowing you have something nice to look forward to at the end of something should inspire you to simply crack on. So go on, you deserve it.

You can apply these tips to any area of your life; whether it’s personal or professional, and by following these tips you will soon rediscover your mojo and never lose it again.

Daniel Browne is a hypnotherapist who can help you to find your mojo. See http://www.daniel-browne.co.uk to discover more.

Pros and Cons of Freelancing

Article by Michelle Abrahall 18.01.15

The original ‘free-lances’ were mercenary soldiers in the middle ages, who hired out their fighting skills to any Lords or Ladies who needed them. Modern freelancers have considerably broadened this remit. Alongside the established skillsets (writing, photography, design) we now have a huge variety of services on offer, from virtual PAs to web developers, recruitment consultants to genealogists.If you’ve got a niche skill or aptitude in a particular area, you may be better off ditching the 9-5 and ‘going it alone’. Far from being alone, you’d actually be joining a huge community. Self-employment in the UK reached a record high of 4.5 million in 2014, and apparently 1 in 7 people work for themselves (a statistic I must admit I was surprised by!)

So why the apparent exodus from traditional employment? It can’t be about money; self-employed people earn less on average than their employed counterparts. There have been various government incentives over the years to encourage people to start their own businesses, but leaving a steady job still means financial uncertainty, no holiday pay, and no company pension.

Like most things in life, it all comes down to personal taste. So far, I’m enjoying being self-employed and plan to stick with it for the foreseeable future. After a decade in salaried roles, I think I’m in a pretty good position to weigh up the pros and cons of freelancing. As it turns out, they can often be one and the same…

Freedom

Pros- Ahh, freedom. The oft-quoted reason to give up the day job. Freedom to set your own hours and set up your office wherever you like (depending on the kind of work you do). Freelancing can fit around families and other commitments better than any company’s flexible working policy.

Cons- Freedom can be scary! If you’re able to work whenever you want, losing motivation is a very real danger. There are benefits to a scheduled, ordered day and lots of freelancers find they struggle without the structure of the 9-5. You can create a routine, but it takes discipline!

Working from Home

Pros- You must have heard these benefits a thousand times from smug home-workers! No road-rage inducing commute, no boring dress code, no infuriating office politics. You can accept parcel deliveries, pop to the shops, or put on loads of washing to your heart’s content.

Cons- Working from home is a never-ending test of self-control. Temptation is everywhere, from the TV in the corner to the fridge full of food and the pet giving you that ‘let’s go for a walk’ look. You’ll be amazed how hard it can be to get up at the same time every day without a hard deadline.

Being your own boss

Pros- Do you like setting targets? Are you good at motivating yourself? Then you’ll love being your own boss! You answer to no-one but yourself, and if you’re having a bad day or feel like death, you can give yourself the afternoon off. Business going well? Give yourself a bonus!  

Cons- If you’re self-employed and you feel ill, there’s no-one to send you home. And the guilt of not being able to work is magnified when you’re a freelancer. There’s no-one to criticise you, but there’s no-one to praise you either. You have to become your own HR department!

Financial Certainty 

Pros- Nothing motivates you like the thought of not being able to pay your mortgage. Financial uncertainty may be the biggest gift of freelance life – it ensures you never rest on your laurels. Without a regular salary, it’s impossible to become complacent or ungrateful, which can only be a good thing.

Cons- It’s a no-brainer why this is a ‘con’. Planning any big financial commitment (buying a house, getting a loan, going on holiday) becomes instantly more complicated when you’re self-employed. The key is to be ruthlessly organised when it comes to your finances, and always, always put money aside for tax.