Blogfest 33: Jo Dodds and Her Biz Her Way

Jo Dodds has played many roles in the life of my book. I’m so glad that a second read-through was valuable for her. Here she tells that story, and much more besides. What a gal!

Judith Morgan is, to use her vernacular, a top bird.

We’ve know each other for many years. Initially through her and Nicola Cairncross’ business, The Money Gym, where I attended at least a couple of events, so we met in the flesh (that doesn’t always happen these days does it?), and then, in recent years, mainly on Facebook and, of course, I’m an avid listener of the podcast that she does with Nicola – often listening as I walk round Sainsburys where I get funny looks when I burst out laughing, all on my own, in the cheese section.

I like to think we’re good at Facebook, me and Judith, and our relationship has flourished in recent years in leaps and bounds. We even had lunch together last year. We are alike – we think we may be twins – and yet we are so different, so maybe not (aside from the different parents thing, of course!).

Your Biz Your Way Book and Blogfest

In the Summer of 2017 Judith wrote a book Your Biz Your Way and I proofread it for her; I can’t remember who asked whom but I was honoured and excited to get to be one of the first to get my eyes on it!

This year, she launched a blogfest and, of course, I said I’d participate. Added it to my to do list and characteristically did nothing about it until the night before it was due, and then I delayed it by a couple more weeks. I have to say, Judith is part to blame (not that I do blame, mind you) for this last minute thing and the big delay because, the week I was due to write and publish this, I decided to read the book again with less of an eagle eye for typos (I don’t want to find any now, do I?!).

The book answers 52 questions for those of us with our own businesses. I only got to Question 5 One Woman One Website…had an epiphany…I’ve been struggling with a way to amalgamate my seemingly disparate offerings up until now, and now I’ve got it…cue me working on my new one and only website from there on in…and, as a result, not publishing this blog until now…partly because it wasn’t written and partly because I didn’t yet have a permanent website on which to publish it.

So, the book is called Your Biz Your Way and my task is to tell you about how I do that.

My Business Background

I’ve had a business for 12 years now. It has been through various iterations to the point where many people now don’t know what I do (working on it Judith, promise, new one website and all that).

I started a business to enable me to leave my corporate job so that when I had children (child, as it turned out, the amazing lovely Little Doddsy) I could work from home. It was all a bit random. I had a vague idea that I was going to start a business. I didn’t know what I was going to do; I was an HR Director at the time.

I read an article in a magazine about running a publishing business, took the ‘how hard can it be?’ view and got going. I launched The Hythe Handbook in August 2005 and ended up, at one point, with eight local magazines – madness! I hated selling advertising, so I didn’t. I networked tirelessly, created an attractive product that worked and it basically sold itself.

Between then and now I helped small businesses to set up their own WordPress websites (I read a book and then realised I could teach people how to do it. That was in the days when people still didn’t realise they needed a website), taught them how to use social media (in 2009 when, again, most people had no idea what I was talking about) and then went back to my HR roots and started helping organisations to use the new digital and social tools to improve their employee engagement.

In 2012 my Mum died suddenly, followed closely by her partner and my late father in law was diagnosed with cancer. It was a bit of a wake up call. I was running my own business, working from home and basically working all hours that were available. I decided I needed to do something different and POWER to Live More was born.

Now I help…let me check what it says on my new one woman one website Engagement and Wellbeing home page:

I help business leaders and owners to improve their wellbeing whether that be physical, mental or digital, in these days of overwhelm, using my POWER to Live More 5 Fundamentals of Simplify, Systemise, Share, Self Care and Sustain. I also work with business leaders to help them to improve their employee engagement and organisational wellbeing. I believe they are interlinked in a lovely virtuous circle.

My Biz My Way

How do I run my biz my way?

Well, firstly, I work to my body clock and not to everyone else’s 9-5, except when I’m running workshops for clients and they need me to appear in standard working hours of course.

Otherwise I don’t really get going until the afternoon and often work into the early hours of the morning. I don’t follow marketing trends if I don’t like them. Live video is all the rage at the mo, as you probably know. Thing is, I hate live video, watching it and doing it, so I don’t. In fact, I don’t really do video full stop. Update…that may be changing, but only in a my biz my way style, watch this space!

Even when I used to talk social media one of my mantras was ‘you can only do what you can only do’ and I still live by that, especially when life and business feels a little overwhelming.

I don’t like the telephone, something I have in common with Judith, and by that I mean unannounced calls. I love talking to people at arranged times. To be fair, those that know me in real life know I love talking full stop.

I use an answer service for my business line and you won’t find my mobile number in many places. Someone emailed me recently and said that my email signature had obviously corrupted as my mobile number wasn’t on there…nope, it hadn’t, and it isn’t.

I don’t play appointment tennis (just made that phrase up). If we’re planning to talk, I send you a link to book straight into my diary. Many people compliment me on such an efficient service. I can’t understand why it’s so rare. I can’t be doing with all that to-ing and fro-ing to make arrangements.

I don’t like having lots booked into my diary so I plan my calls and meetings into the afternoons to keep the rest of my time clear for work to happen in a flexible way to suit my biz my way.

A while ago I was planning to launch a group mastermind programme that involved lots of individual calls and after a bit of procrastination realised that I need a different model as that wouldn’t suit me at all. In the past I’ve gone storming ahead and lived to regret it. In recent times I’ve noticed that I am getting better at thinking things through until I am clear and happy with the plan – intentional procrastination I call it. I must be getting old and learning from my mistakes.

So, I’m finding that, as my years of self employment go on, I’m increasingly crafting my biz my way. I think it’s vital for our wellbeing. There’s no point creating a ‘job’ that we don’t like or want, especially when we are in charge of our own destiny. We’re told to do that – craft our businesses to suit us (as well as our customers, clearly) – all the time but I’m not sure most of us always feel confident enough to do that; I certainly didn’t at the beginning.

Sometimes we need a bit of a helping hand to gain that confidence and my go-to person for that is Judith Morgan and her book Your Biz Your Way.

Scoot on over, do, and read Jo’s post as she intended HERE at her own website and take a squint at all those other things she’s up to – there’s another multi-talented solopreneur who gets about a bit thanks to her talent. Enjoy!

Wow, Jo – thank you so much. I begin so many of these responses with Wow but so often there is no other word to denote surprise and delight at the content. Of course, I’m not surprised at the bits about you, I know how multi-talented and competent you are. I am surprised and grateful that the book has been so useful to you, even after 12 years in business.

Like many of the Blogfest contributors, variety is the spice of your life too and I know how difficult that can be to express in one woman, one website, one business. I don’t think it’s limiting at all. Rather I think it’s liberating and, as I hoped to get across in the book, the threads that bring it all together begin and end with you, especially when you are a solopreneur.

It’s been great to spend some time recently just down the road from you in every sense and get to know you better. I can clear up one thing, you were not the woman who begged to be a proof-reader although I think you did offer yourself because (who knew?) that’s yet another string to your bow. It is wonderful to have so many talents and to be able to choose to deploy them in any combination but only when we want, isn’t it? That’s the freedom. That’s the liberation. I am so glad you got that, and that it has led/is leading to Engagement and Wellbeing, two of my very favourite words and concepts. Thanks for being the Top Bird in charge of that for us. Safe hands, safe hands.

Your Biz Your Way

If you have enjoyed reading my words here, you might also enjoy my book - Your Biz Your Way: Learning to Trust Yourself. Relax! You've Got This. Find out how to buy the book here Read My Book