I am all of the annoying people in your office

I may or may not be experiencing a bit of a bank holiday slump (I am) and therefore feeling a touch (very) pessimistic but it dawned on me this morning that becoming self-employed has not exempt me from the office stereotypes – much to my horror I have in fact become all of the people that I used to loathe when I was a full-time employee.

The Horrible Boss

The one that never says thank you, is all stick and no carrot and generally an all around grumpy and energy sapping individual – yup you’re looking at her. When I finish my day, instead of thinking “Good work, enjoy your evening” it’s “Ok, you finally got that done but why haven’t you started this yet?”

The Suck-up

Eager to please, the need to be liked seeps off her – oh hi Anna! I am a morning person but i’ll try and impress even myself with early starts, exercise before breakfast and being at my desk and ready to work at 7.30am with a neat to-do list lined up. The horrible boss is pleased to have at least one person in the office who is raring to go but is enthusiasm about all she can muster?

The Slacker

The one who finds a way to wriggle out of every task and spends most of their mornings hopping between Twitter, Facebook, BBC News and lifestyle blogs – just me? The suck-up tries so hard to set them up for their best working day yet but then the slacker just comes and, well, does nothing.

The Office B*tch

The poison that pervades the office walls with negative comments, backhanded compliments and whispers behind your back of “What does she actually do here?”. The mature part of you says to ignore her but you can’t help shake the niggling feeling that she might be right.

BOKAC employee of the month

Ok, at the risk of dragging you all down my negative road (or of sounding borderline schizophrenic), here are some rules that I try and stick to so that I can become my favourite person to work with!

1. You can only do what you can do. Don’t expect to complete a thousand tasks in a day, that’s not possible.

2. Slow and steady wins the race. Yes, some people can work for 20 hours at a million miles an hour but I can’t and that’s alright.

3. Reward good work rather than punishing bad. I set myself chunks of tasks to get through with a reward (e.g. going out for a coffee or a walk in the park) after each chunk.

4. I try and stick to the routine below as much as possible (although the Horrible Boss may think the power nap is a step too far..)

Infographic from Stylist magazine

Infographic from Stylist magazine

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Embracing the competition

I was recently contacted by a company who are looking to partner with a number of babysitting agencies. In trying to work out whether this was an attractive proposition to go ahead with, I decided to get in contact with some of the other fantastic babysitting/nannying services in London to see if they had been approached and what their thoughts were.

Starting and running a business is extremely hard work and all-consuming and as a result, people are incredibly protective over their brand/client list/industry (I am certainly guilty of this). However, there are enough factors working against business owners and I don’t think those working in the same field should be one of them. Everyone sets up a business because they feel they have something unique to offer so in theory, there shouldn’t be any fear of treading on toes.

I would correct Shakespeare and say 'Trust until you have a reason not to'

I would correct Shakespeare and say ‘Trust until you have a reason not to’

I’m not saying I would handover my client database but I can certainly see the value in building relationships with and helping those who work in similar industries. A little competition is always healthy and if there was no one else trying to do something similar to BOKAC, I would be extremely worried about what I was missing that had put others off! As the emphasis on relationships and human contact is so crucial, there has not (as yet) been a dominant international resource for parents looking to book a babysitter and for this reason, agencies tend to remain small. However, as the world of online childcare is rapidly expanding, the potential to ‘unionise’ and stand together against any major players who try and enter, is incredibly powerful.

The response I got from the other babysitting agencies was overwhelmingly positive. All were more than happy to help and willing to discuss their thoughts on the partnership proposition. I am delighted that I can now recommend the agencies who specialise in nannying placements (BOKAC specialises in babysitting requirements primarily but we do get a lot of enquiries from families looking for a full-time nanny) to parents as I have previously only been able to respond unhelpfully.

Just kidding...!

Just kidding…!

Does your company or the company you work for embrace its competitors and can you share any success stories as an example? If so, i’d love to hear from you: acameron@bokac.co.uk.

Turning my back on Facebook

I was trying to think of a catchy title for this post but i’m not sure this one really gets my thought across. Luckily, I have all the space below to clarify!

This week I have been thinking about the value of marketing and how much of BOKAC’s budget to keep putting towards it.

I don’t underestimate the benefits marketing can have in ‘spreading the word’ about a product or service and promoting these in a way that will entice the consumer. Almost as soon as someone sets up a business, they start thinking about various means of marketing in the form of blogs, Facebook/Twitter campaigns, Ad words, leafleting, events and print/online advertising.

A lot of these are relatively cheap – targeted Facebook or Twitter campaigns can run on as little as £20 per day for example and leaflets cost pennies to print with the man hours to hand them out not putting too much of a dent on cash flow either (obviously this varies depending on the size of the campaign). However, even when they are low cost, it’s difficult to know the true ROI when you’re running them on a small scale (aside from being able to track where your new customers are coming through on Google Analytics or by using promotional codes). So aside from the ‘what have you got to lose’ or ‘it won’t do you any harm’ arguments, i’m not sure whether the costs, no matter how low, can be justified.

Facebook BOKAC

Therefore, I thought I would come up with a different hypothesis. This hypothesis is that if you build a good enough product or service, the people will come. We have all heard about things going viral and this is usually because that thing has sparked  a person’s interest or imagination.

I have certainly seen with BOKAC that the more appointments we are able to fill per family, the more appointments that parent will book. The more they book, the more they tell their friends and family about us. Similarly, the more appointments parents request, the more babysitters are booked and therefore the more they are willing to be booked since it becomes habitual and they get to know these families.

To test this hypothesis, I am going to put the majority of the money I had allocated towards marketing to improve our booking process. Our aim is to make it shorter and to favour babysitters who are often available/the most active which means we are more likely to fill appointments faster. We will also highlight our referral programme to encourage the parents who book with us to tell their friends.

These are just two of ideas we have planned which we hope will make the booking process more effective, leading to higher numbers of bookings, higher repeat bookings and more parents recommending us to their friends and family.

We won’t disregard marketing completely and are trying to organise a lot more ‘offline’ campaigns in the form of leafleting (by our babysitters) and attending events.

IMG_3449-1

I will check in towards the end of the year to let you know how I get on. I know ‘improving the service’ seems an obvious thing to do but it is the deliberate play-down of marketing spend in order to focus almost purely on the service to see how it effects our business.

If you have any thoughts on this or if you are an avid defender of Twitter campaigns, please let me know! acameron@bokac.co.uk

Questioning the value of the value proposition

This is a question that I am not sure I have a definite opinion on but I would love to hear yours. It was inspired by a NEF workshop that I attended last Friday.

At various points during the day and indeed during other NEF workshops, we discussed the importance of the value proposition and how fundamental it is to offer a product/service that is better than your competitors in at least one compelling way.

I am not arguing the importance of the value proposition as such. I completely agree that in order to provide an effective product or, as in my case, service, you need to know exactly what problem you are solving for your customers, how you are solving that problem and what this will mean for them. What I do question is how important it is to have a completely unique value proposition and aside from that, how possible this is to achieve in a world full of so many businesses!

The babysitting industry is already a pretty saturated market and I am under no illusion that it can only become more so. The barriers to entry are low and no one (me included..yet!) seems to have cracked the model in the same way that Airbnb have done for hospitality or Uber have for mini-cabs.

However, taking Airbnb as an example, there are now lots of competitor home share companies such as HouseTrip and HomeAway who are offering what seems to be an extremely similar, if not identical service. As a consumer, I certainly can’t see any tangible differences in the value proposition from Airbnb vs another business – Airbnb just happens to be the one I am most familiar with (and if I’m honest, am totally obsessed with) but is ‘better marketing’ really what makes them unique?

An even more crowded marketplace of late seems be on-demand home cleaning and laundry services. I have listed a few of each type below to illustrate:

Home cleaning services:

  • Housekeep
  • Mopp (owned by Handy)
  • Hassle
  • Handy
  • Bizzby
  • Homejoy
L-R: Hassle, Bizzby, Handy, Mopp, Homejoy, Housekeep

L-R: Hassle, Bizzby, Handy, Mopp, Homejoy, Housekeep

Laundry/Dry-Cleaning Services:

  • Spyn
  • ZipJet
  • Cleanly
  • Laundrapp
  • Washio
  • Lavanda
L-R: ZipJet, Cleanly, Washio, Spyn, Laundrapp, Lavanda

L-R: ZipJet, Cleanly, Washio, Spyn, Laundrapp, Lavanda

I’m sure all of these businesses will be able to tell you at least one thing that makes them stand out from the others. The problem is, I’m not convinced it will be that significant.

For example: Lavanda charges £12 for a washed and folded bag of laundry (but only up to 8kg) whereas ZipJet charges £12.50 (but seemingly no weight limit). Then Lavanda doesn’t require you to book a 30min long collection slot (they say they will be at your home in minutes) and yet ZipJet does. But both say they will get your laundry back to you within 24 hours and have excellent service experts on hand as well as very easy to use apps and excellent customer feedback. Is there anything to compel you one way or the other?

Furthermore, the more established businesses operating in a crowded market place (Facebook/Twitter, Airbnb/HomeAway, Uber/Hailo) are all still doing incredibly well, despite their similar offerings. In which case, does not being unique really matter and is there room for more than one? This is certainly something I feel is true with babysitting – since there are so many families with children, I don’t see the harm in being one of two or even five major babysitting services on offer. In some ways being ‘the one’ would make me more nervous as i’d wonder what everyone else was being put off by that I didn’t know about, a bit of healthy competition is a good thing!

If uniqueness isn’t the be all and end all, what is it that really makes a startup a success? Plenty of people have stage presence, an excellent singing voice and the ability to work 24/7 but only a lucky few (and certainly not just one judging by the 10 previous winners of the UK series and more than that in the international franchises) have the ‘X-Factor’.

Have I completely missed the point on this? or is the idea of the value proposition a useful tool to consider when forming your business and thinking about it academically but not so relevant in practice?

Answers on a postcard please! (or if you don’t use Touchnote to acameron@bokac.co.uk)

The Self-Employment Diaries: The good and the bad

Now that I have been self-employed for a grand total of three weeks, I feel I am expert enough to give you a full overview of the positives and negatives of working for myself (I’m definitely not, but I’ll tell you anyway).

Let’s start with the good:

1. No more Sunday blues: For years, I longed to work on BOKAC full-time and actually being able to do so is brilliant. Working for myself feels like a dream job so rather than dreading Monday’s, I wake up feeling excited to tackle the days ahead. I completely lose track of what weekday it is and when Friday suddenly comes around, it’s almost a bit of a disappointment.

2. The flexibility: There is no doubt that I am 10x more hard-working, productive and efficient now that I am working on something that I am so passionate about. However, the ability to be flexible with when, where and how I work is amazing. The fact that I can put into practice the advice I often hear about exercising during the day means I can take myself off for a 3pm swim, come back to work from 5pm-7pm, get loads done and feel all the better for it. I also love planning weekends out of London (one day I’ll do a post on the euro trips I take with my friends – cheap, so much fun and you feel like you’ve been away for a week!) and the fact that I can take the 5pm flight rather than the 8pm flight saves a lot of money. I then plan my hours to make sure my to-do list is still completed before I go which makes that break feel even more well deserved.

3. The support: I know I have spoken before about my dislike for the word ‘community’ (it just makes me cringe) but there is such a fantastic load of people also working for themselves and we’re all willing to help each other. Self-employment can be a bit lonely but I have already met so many people who have suggested working together and it’s so refreshing to work in different places and with different people. I always come away with loads of ideas and hope that they have the same.

4. The satisfaction: Every single second, minute, hour, day and week that I work is all for the good of me and my business. I am not slaving away to make someone else rich or having to burn the midnight oil for someone else’s deadlines – it is all for BOKAC and I would do anything for BOKAC! Whether we receive a booking from a new parent or see the 100th booking from one of our regulars (one of our families recently celebrated their 4 year anniversary with us!) it is so satisfying. It’s also great to hear from babysitters when they are enjoying being a part of BOKAC and the flexibility it allows them to do what they need to (work/study) as well as do what they love (spend time looking after children). The business might not be flying yet, but I can slowly see us starting to grow and the potential for how far we can reach is crystal clear in my mind – I feel so excited!

It’s never going to be all plain sailing so now for the bad bits:

1. The worry: Living off my savings and being entirely dependent on BOKAC for an income, is pretty scary. I have come off a fairly decent monthly salary to pocket-money at best with no view on when this will change.

2. The pressure: No one is actually putting pressure on me (except me) but in my head it is coming from these different sources: 1. My friends – working for yourself is kind of the dream and I think a lot of people do not think it’s a realistic one. In my head, my friends sort of see what I’m doing as a nice long ‘lifestyle holiday’ but are not sure that it’s sustainable. 2. My family – who again of course just want me to be happy but I want to make them proud and in my head, making BOKAC a success will make them proud (this is silly because I know just breathing makes a parent proud of their child!). 3. Other startups – there is healthy competition in the start-up world with everyone talking about their businesses and throwing in their two cents about what I should be doing (sometimes helpful, sometimes not but you always have to smile and be grateful for the suggestions). 4. Myself! This is the real source of pressure for sure: Will BOKAC work? Am I good enough to be the one to make it work? What will I do if it doesn’t work?? All very unhelpful thoughts that must be silenced.

3. The lack of direction: I have realised how much I thrive on being given direction and working collaboratively with others. Starting your day with a to-do list is great and there is certainly not a lack of things to be done but it’s hard to know whether I’m focusing on the right things, giving enough attention to what is important (and knowing what this is) and having goals and aims to work towards. I’m hoping that as time goes on, I’ll be able to make more of a plan in terms of where I should be each week, month, quarter, year etc so that I have targets in place to monitor my progress. I might even start giving myself yearly reviews!

From this list, the good outweighs the bad 4-3. However, the value I place upon the things I mentioned as ‘good’ makes working for myself the best decision I have made in the last year. I am stressed but also the happiest I have been in a long time and I can’t wait to see how this ‘journey’ (if I’ve already dropped in ‘community’ I might as well go the whole hog) develops and changes over the year.

The Self-Employment Diaries: Resilience

Last Friday, I attended a NEF workshop hosted by Tesco on the topic of Resilience.

As you’ll know if you read this post, I was really looking forward to the session and was hoping to take away some practical advice on how to handle the challenging situations I face with BOKAC in a more level-headed way. I know I have a tendency to take setbacks too personally and the guilt I feel when things do go awry (and I have to accept that at some point, they will) isn’t productive.

The session was…nice. The two people who led the workshop were very receptive to the groups multiple questions (I’d say we’re a pretty outspoken and headstrong bunch) and we did a lot of group work which was enjoyable as I am always interested to know more about what the rest of the cohort are doing and the methods they adopt in similarly challenging situations.

However, I did unfortunately find the information passed on a little thin. Where I was hoping for meaty, practical tips, what we got was theoretical and to me at least, a little obvious. One example was a discussion on how diet and how much you sleep you get each night can impact your mental well-being and how you therefore cope with stress…

We did touch upon the subject of mindfulness which I found quite interesting and perhaps would be a good coping method to try when I am either not feeling so resilient in my general mood or when something goes wrong as a way to calm myself before tackling the problem (depending on how quickly I need to react of course). I did download the Headspace app a while ago but haven’t done much about it since so will make an effort to give that another go.

We also spent time thinking about our values and what is either: Very important, Important or Not at all important to us which I found useful in determining what is truly valuable to me and therefore making sure that my short and long-term goals keep these values in mind.

If the CEO’s of Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb and Uber are reading this (they almost definitely are), what I really want to know is this: When things go wrong (e.g. when someone is attacked either physically or ‘digitally’ whilst using your service), before you work out how to deal with the problem and how to stop it from happening again, how do you cope with the feeling of guilt that you are responsible for creating the service that enabled this to happen in the first place?

Do you accept that in a service based business, if you make 1000000 people really happy you are inevitably and unavoidably going to make at least 100 or 1000 people unhappy or is there something else? I know I will take every measure possible to ensure that our sitters and families are safe but beyond that, what can I do? (feel free to email me at acameron@bokac.co.uk or I’d be happy to come out to San Fran to discuss further!)

Resilience

The Self-Employment Diaries: Day 8 (no Day 7)

“No Day 7!” I hear you cry, “What on earth have you been doing?”

Talking. Talking is what I have been doing. I have spent pretty much since 1pm yesterday until 1pm today talking solidly (I do talk in my sleep so that may actually be possible).

The reason for all this talking is because I have been joined on BOKAC (temporarily as of now but this remains to be seen) by a friend who is interested in being more heavily involved with the business. He first expressed his interest in November last year but as both he and I were working full-time on other things, nothing really came of it. In January, I received an email from him saying that he is now working 4 days a week until the end of March, after which he will be looking to start something new. He then offered to work with me for one day a week until that time to see whether we worked well together and whether he and I could see the potential and value in joining forces.

Whether to bring in a co-founder has been going back and forth in my mind for a while and a lot of what has put me off is the time it would take to find one. It seems to me that asking someone to ‘find a co-founder’ is a bit like asking to someone to ‘find a husband/wife’ i.e. not really something you can go actively looking for and if you do, it’s likely to end in the same way as most marriages…

BOKAC co-founder

However, having someone approach me who I both like and respect and who is enormously enthusiastic about BOKAC seems to solve that problem immediately.

Taking the advice I received from Forward Partners (https://babysittersofkc.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/the-self-employment-diaries-day-5/) we spent a lot of time talking about marketing opportunities and how to grow the parent base within West and South-West London which also leads to talk on how much can and should be spent on new parent acquisitions etc.

It’s been great to have a fresh mind to bounce ideas off and to listen to. He is far more experienced with people management than I am and is definitely managing me to a large extent but this works well as I quite enjoy being given direction but am equally happy to take charge and make the final call when needed. We both agree that it has been fun as well as pretty exhausting as there is so much to consider (and the list has been growing with every minute) and I just hope that all the hard work pays off and we start to see some results soon! (hint hint for all your parent friends: http://www.bokac.co.uk)

The Self-Employment Diaries: Day 6

Friday was a tough day. Well actually, that’s not true, Friday was a productive day (see https://babysittersofkc.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/the-self-employment-diaries-day-5/ for details). I reached the end of my first week in self-employment and was feeling elated with how quickly the week had flown by and how relieved I was that I didn’t feel at all lonely or have any doubts about the decision I had made to work on BOKAC full-time.

Friday evening however was stressful. I was on my way to a NEF Alumni dinner (which was great fun by the way, thank you to those who organised it!) and while en route, I was faced with a babysitter who had arrived at an appointment but had a gut instinct that something was off and so told me she could no longer babysit. This has never happened before and led to a very uncomfortable conversation with the parent (who was new to BOKAC) to explain that, as we don’t ‘vet’ our parents in the same way that we vet our babysitters, our policy is that if sitters ever arrive at an appointment and they feel even the slightest bit uncomfortable, they can leave. Quite understandably this parent was not pleased and I was mortified to have left them without a babysitter.

Then a couple of hours later, another babysitter who was booked to babysit twice (once first thing and then again in the evening) the next day, texted to say she had a tummy bug and although very apologetic, would have to cancel. So that was three appointments cancelled in less than 3 hours and one new parent who would almost certainly not want to come back to BOKAC and may even tell all their friends about their dreadful experience.

BOKAC is my pride, passion and my livelihood so I would never complain about having to handle these situations but that doesn’t mean that I don’t find them stressful. I know I need to become more resilient but when it is just me running the business, I can’t help but take these blows personally as well as all the guilt that comes with letting parents down.

However, the only good thing with these set backs (and I’m pleased to say they aren’t frequent) is that they make me 10 times more determined to do better and I am now working on new policies to make sure the first situation never happens again. I was also up very late on Friday and then very early on Saturday morning to find replacements for the cancelled appointments (luckily, with the help of some incentive payments for our sitters, I managed to find replacements for both).

Today on the other hand was a very good day! We had two other new parents book first-time appointments over the weekend, both of which ran smoothly. Both parents sent excellent feedback this morning and nothing makes me more proud than that ‘it works!’ feeling I get when parents say they are happy to have found BOKAC and also to tell the babysitters that their hard work is appreciated by someone other than me!

Despite this great feedback, I didn’t find myself as productive today and I had been on Friday night/Saturday morning when I was fighting those proverbial fires. Perhaps the learning from this is that the negative events, even though they are really horrible, do serve to make BOKAC a better business and me a better business woman and for that, they’re worth it (almost). This Friday, I will be attending a workshop on resilience as part of the NEF programme and it seems this couldn’t be better timed. I know I can handle whatever is thrown at me and I do try to see these events as ‘positive learning experiences’ but I would love to learn how not to see these situations as such personal set-backs.

Hmm this is all turning very ponderous for a Monday evening. Time to go out for a swim! I’ll leave you with the immortal words of Nietzsche (expressed beautifully by Kelly Clarkson).

The Self-Employment Diaries: Day 5

At some point, I’ll need to think of a catchier titling system for these posts. If you have any suggestions, please let me know!

I was at my desk by 7.30am and powering through some admin. I write my to-do lists (which I live by) the night before as I find I work at my best when I can get cracking straight away. If I write my list in the morning, I often get distracted by Twitter or emails and before I know it, it’s 11am.

Before lunch, I headed out for a cheeky swim. I usually swim after ‘office hours’ but it was Friday after all! I try to walk as much as I can but swimming is my main form of exercise and I absolutely love it. I have a waterproof iPod made by a company called Waterfi which is one of my top 5 favourite possessions. It doesn’t require a naff plastic bag, the sound quality is excellent and it clips on to my swimsuit. They aren’t cheap but they are worth every penny and make such a difference to my swimming experience as I can drown out the noise from children’s swimming lessons and other people – get one! http://waterfi.com/waterproof-ipod

In the afternoon I had a meeting at Forward Partners which is what I spent some of my morning preparing for. Forward Partners hold ‘Office Hours’ once a month from 12pm-4pm as an opportunity for entrepreneurs to meet some of their Investment Partners in an informal one-to-one environment. You can choose to pitch or just to ask questions and get some advice which is what I was looking for.

Forward Partners office hours website page

Forward Partners office hours website page

I wanted their opinion on whether BOKAC was ready for investment and what they thought my next steps should be. The response was no, we aren’t ready and should spend time trying to grow BOKAC as much as possible in the Kensington & Chelsea area.

In lots of ways this was a relief for me as people in the startup world seem obsessed with the funding process and see how much investment gained as the primary benchmark for how ‘good’ your business is. I certainly agree that it is important but I would say customers (and happy customers at that) are also pretty crucial. When you are preparing pitch decks and meeting investors (which is a full-time task as the process often takes up to 6 months), the chances are that your customers are going to have to take a bit of a back seat for a while and that is dangerous.

My gut feeling had been that we/I’m not ready to look for investment but at the same time was wondering if I was just being a wimp and also understanding that not having any money is going to stall our growth very quickly! Now I know that I’m just going to have to be as creative, lean and savvy as possible for the next few months and that my sole purpose can and should be on growing the BOKAC branch alone, I feel much more focused. Those ‘What If?’ and ‘Should I?’ questions can be such an unsettling distraction.

The advice was practical, helpful and the meeting environment was very open and friendly – not scary at all! I would definitely recommend signing up for their next session. Details of the last one can be seen here: http://www.forwardpartners.com/blog/solo-founder-office-hours/

The Self-Employment Diaries: Day 4

After leaving the IoD , I attended an event held by NEF (http://newentrepreneursfoundation.com/ the programme I’m part of) called ‘Inspiring Women to Become Entrepreneurs’. I’m all for women supporting other woman and I’m certainly looking forward to a day where these kind of gender specific events aren’t necessary. The speakers were:

  1. Dessi Bell – Founder & CEO Zaggora http://zaggora.com/gb_en/
  2. Michelle Morgan – Co-Founder Livity http://livity.co.uk/
  3. Sarah Wood – Founder UnRuly Media http://unruly.co/

All three were incredibly charismatic, quick-witted and great to listen to with very practical advice. I’ve been thinking a lot about marketing and budgets this week so listening to Dessi talk about generating $40m revenue in 18 months with barely a penny spent on marketing was music to my ears.

Michelle left us with the thought that the key to a successful and enjoyable entrepreneurial career is: “Fun, Faith & Friendship” – I couldn’t agree more. Unless you’re enjoying running your business (OK some days you wont but broadly you’re having fun), truly believe in the potential of what you’re doing and that you meet and help people on the way, you might as well save yourself the stress and go back to employment. 

Day 4 started with an 8.30am meeting (love those, it’s a great excuse to get cracking nice and early) and because of the bus strike, also meant a slightly snowy walk to Parsons Green where I met Lindsay from Pure Lifestyles (http://www.purelifestyles.co.uk/). A mutual friend of ours put us in touch and said that we might have some things in common. I love meeting other business owners, learning about how they got started and sharing tips and contacts to help each other. As much as the word makes me cringe a bit, there really is such a great ‘community’ of young entrepreneurs and the people I meet are intelligent, fun and generally really great.

Lindsay was no exception and has been running Pure Lifestyles since 2011, the same time as BOKAC but she has always been full-time which is hugely impressive. We met at Cupcake Family Club (http://www.cupcakefamilyclub.com/) – if you have children or live in the area, go! I had heard of it but hadn’t yet had a chance to see the place which is beautifully fitted out with a lovely cafe at the front (since Lindsay is a nutritionist and personal trainer, I decided to go for a green juice which has been somewhat cancelled out by the Twix I am eating right now..). 

Lindsay was telling me about the weekend retreats she has recently started organising which sound amazing! She can explain them much better than I can so here is some information from her below:

After running Pure Lifestyles, for 4 years I have recently branched out to setting up holistic health and fitness retreats in the UK and Portugal. Each retreat caters for all fitness abilities but what separates them from the rest is the home-made food I cook for you daily, ensuring you are always well fuelled with the perfect balance of nutrition. In all the work I do with clients I focus on long term plans for long term gains and the retreats are no different. This ensures you won’t leave a retreat feeling lost with the risk of falling back into bad habits. If you want some R & R away from the stresses of life my Relax and Revival Retreat is for you, but if you want to ramp up your fitness, book onto the Revive and Strive Retreat. My website can tell you far more information on the weekend retreats I offer and while you’re there check out the 7 day retreat to Portugal too! 

Lindsay retreat 1 Lindsay retreat 2 Lindsay retreat 3 Lindsay retreat 4

Since BOKAC and Pure Lifestyles cater for similar customers and in very similar locations, we know there can be lots of cross-over which is great! If you’re looking for one-to-one training sessions or are interested in a retreat, get in touch with Lindsay: lindsay@purelifestyles.co.uk