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work

Now I really have got a little Klout! – Have you?

Today I have done a little dance around the room because my Klout score has gone up to 65 – the highest it’s ever been.

This may seem like a small victory but it’s taken me four years to get to 60 and a week to jump five points – so I believe blogging more often must have something to do with that. It’s not so much the blog itself, as only a few people take the time to comment on the blog page. It’s the interactions and comments on other virtual spaces, the shares and the likes which seem to make the difference.

 

What's your number?

What’s your number?

There are many analytics around Klout – which will interest those of you who use figures, numbers, systems, columns, detail and ROI stuff. I tend, according to my profile (and it’s true) more general results – like seeing 65 pop up unexpectedly on a Monday afternoon.

When I started learning about social media and its potential three years ago, and learned about Klout and the fact that it measures your true influence across the internet, my score was 28. That was at a time where I messed around a bit with Facebook, had a Twitter account but did nothing with it – and the same with LinkedIn. I’ve not really done Pinterest, Flickr or other things which are now more common.

 

Gradually my influence rose as I became more active. As I became more active I saw more results. I gathered case studies for stories, ideas for stories, have made friends and have made connections which have brought me clients. But it’s not been overnight, it’s been gradual and it’s required work. But I can point to at least two clients, one long term, which have been the direct result of doing stuff in the virtual space. You would be surprised who is watching you and saying nothing but absorbing that information. I’m not talking about this in a creepy sense, but more in a ‘putting yourself in the forefront of someone’s mind’ sense.

When I reached the golden 50 – I got a free gift of business cards – thanks very much. That was when I found out that in the USA, there are many high end business activities or events that you cannot access without a score that high. Big internet companies will filter guests by looking at how ‘engaged’ they are. I suspect that this will be coming our way too, though we’re not there yet.

So everyone, don’t be afraid of Klout. If you like facts and figures, it will give you all of that data. If, like me, you just want to see results and are not hung up on the detail, then know this one fact – if you engage, you will be engaging and if you’re engaging, you will be engaged – and I’m not necessarily talking romance here!

 

Recession – time to change how things are done?

Grab yourself some 'me' time

Talk of a John Lewis economy has set me thinking. The idea is to give employees a share in the business that they work for so that they are working for their own prosperity rather than all the profits going to the bosses. Very laudable but it’s only a start.

We are in a recession which is proving difficult to get out of. It’s affecting people’s lives in work and out. Those in work seem to be doing the jobs of more than one employee as increasing workloads are heaped on them as others are laid off. Those out of work are finding it hard to get jobs because employers find it hard to commit to taking people on when expansion plans are uncertain. And those who’ve just left university, without relevant experience, are finding it hard to get any work at all.

If we are really going to think about how business is run, then it’s time to consider hours and flexibility. One of the major things that leaps out at me is the long hours culture that occurs in this country. Why is it not possible to work a 3 or 4 day week as standard and for companies to employ more people to cover the job?

It used to be that people in jobs worked a six day week – we’ve progressed from that but there’s been little change in reconsidering full time work as a five day week job.

To have no work is a situation of misery and saps at a person’s confidence. To have too much work stresses people out and causes strain on home life and relationships. Why not be radical and have a complete change of culture within organisations?

Make a five day week a rarity not the norm.

I know the first objection is going to be about having a reduced salary and that compromises would have to be met. But again, radical thinking is required. The pay at the top of big organisations is acknowledged to have increased exponentially in the last 10 years. Surely something could be redistributed from that? Rather than dismiss radical ideas as utopian ideals, isn’t it time to embrace change and do things better?

Another objection would be that if only a few did this, rather as women now go part-time often after having children, they are seen to be on the ‘slow track’. Change has to come across the board, so that the odd people are the ones who work 5 days or even more a week.

For some people, having that extra day at home would free them up to create new businesses. Perhaps develop that product or train for a second career. As long as the bills are covered one less day a week’s work could help rebalance the economy and unleash a whole new level of creative projects from previously exhausted employees.

Families would benefit as both parents would be more available to give time to their children. There would be more volunteering as people would seek to use their extra day in interesting ways. Think about how much more relaxed people would be with a bit more balance in their working lives.

Would it suit you? How would you go about making changes?

Do you ever feel like the worst working mum ever?

picture of two sisters

how to do the best for your children and for your business...

Do you ever feel like I do?

As we get into June, this is one of the worst months in the year for the self-employed working mum. I get tired just thinking about it. With three kids, I’ve got three sports days, one induction evening at secondary school, end of year productions and the list goes on.

As a volunteer for a local pre-school, I also have to attend two day-long courses on safeguarding and screening of staff.
Sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day or days in the week.

The thing about being self-employed is that it’s so hard to turn down work in case next month, it’s not there!

Take sports day for my four-year-old. I really want to go – but on the day it’s scheduled I’m taking a course for the pre school which my four-year-old attends. They say they’ll rearrange. Great – the suggested date is another day when I’m attending a course for the pre-school. How many times can they re-arrange for just one mum?
One of my kids is about to start secondary school – this will now involve catching buses, travelling some distance. It’s a big change – I know, as I remember it all too well myself.
There’s an evening meeting, 5pm at the school to discuss this big change in her life. Guess what, it’s the day I start making a documentary for a large broadcaster 75 miles away. It’s a 20-day contract to a deadline for transmission, so it cannot be flexible. So on my first day, I will have to leave very early in order to make this meeting, and even then I could be late. I feel like I’ll end up letting everyone down.
Schools have this habit of working to their shorter days, and not considering the needs of parents who don’t work those hours. I’m not saying for a minute that teachers don’t work hard – I trained as one so I know – but their days of delivering that work are short.
Childcare has always been great for me as I have a brilliant child minder but there are just some things where you want to be there – and where your child expects it.

I have so much respect for mums who are working and who are single. The only reason I don’t let my kids down more often is because I’ve got a partner who will do his share. But he also works hard and often cannot make things ‘fit’.

Some of you will say, well don’t work then – and I say, I have to for financial reasons and also I want to.

I took some considerable time off when I had my last child and at the end of that year, I turned into some kind of embittered, twisted creature who couldn’t bear the sight of any more housework, washing, school runs, trips out for coffee….argghhh! Some people just have to have something else in their lives and I’m one of them. But there are many, many times when I wish I wasn’t.

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