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Nov 24, 2013

MAKE YOUR MARK - INTERVIEW WITH ANGELA CEBERANO FROM FLOURISH






I was absolutely thrilled and honoured when Angela Ceberano from Flourish PR agreed to be a part of Lona de Anna's "Make Your Mark" feature posts. 

Angela is a great inspiration to all women out there wanting to make their mark in the world. Not only is Angela a great business women , driven and knowledgeable. Angela has provided some crucial advice and key points that are imperitative when running your own business, no matter what the nature of your business is, this interview is a must read for all !



After a long and successful career as National publicity Manager for Sony music, in 2010 you decided to take the plunge and start your own business with the launch of Flourish PR, a public relations company, which since has most certainly flourished, now running as an extremely successful business. Was this always a dream of yours you wanted  to bring to fruition?


Running my own business was always a dream of mine, absolutely. In fact, it’s the only thing I’ve ever been sure of.  I’m a planner and self confessed control freak so I always knew the path I wanted to walk down and every decision I made had to help me get a little closer to ‘the dream’.   I always had that business mindset from an early age. As a kid, I would dream up different businesses and write up business plans and draw pictures of my office. I hated school and refused to go on school camps in the later years so would organise my own work experience at advertising companies, record companies and PR firms.  I’ve never been one to let things get in my way. I knew I wasn’t going to get the marks I needed (99.5%) to get into my dream degree (Bachelor of Communications in PR) so I did as much work experience whilst I was at school (mostly in my school holidays) as I could.  I knew that I deserved a place in that course so being the brazen 17 year old that I was, I wrote a pretty convincing essay with supporting evidence that demonstrated why I should be accepted into the course prior to sitting for my HSC.  I sent it to the university in the form of a press kit.  Then, I called them….every day until I got an answer. After a month of calling, the university sent me a letter offering me a place in their PR degree! It reinforced to me that you can break down walls and do whatever you want if you set your mind to it.


What aspects of building and running your own business have you struggled and have you hit any major walls that had you questioning whether you were doing the right thing?


I’ve never once questioned if I was doing the right thing.  I think if you’re going to run a successful business, you can’t let thoughts like that enter your mind.. and in any case, you’ll be too busy to have the spare time to question it! I have struggled with finding that perfect work/life balance.  For me, my work is my life and I’ve incorporated the two so I’m not sure where the balance is anymore.  I guess that can be seen as a struggle.  I have become obsessed by it and I do struggle to switch off.  You’ll soon learn that when you start your own business that your life will be very different to those who don’t run their own business. Your hours are different, your mindset is different, you don’t ever truly get a holiday, you don’t switch off, you are constantly on.  It’s not a negative or a struggle; it’s a choice and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I love what I do.


In your opinion what are the absolute 5  "Must Do's " you would like to share, for  women out there wanting to start their own business from scratch




          • 1/  Have a plan! Define exactly what it is that you want to do/offer.
            And how are you going to get there? How is your business different to your competitors? What are you offering? Who are you talking to? 
            How can you reach them? Get all your tools ( business registration, website, business cards etc) ready before you actually launch.

            2/  Find a great accountant to help you structure your business in a way that is right for you. Ensure from day one that you understand how to pay your taxes correctly and how to set up your super correctly. You dont want to finish your first year with a massive tax bill, get onto that straight away.
                
            3/  Learn to be accountable… to yourself.  You’re your own boss now!  Set yourself daily, weekly, monthly & yearly goals.  You need to be disciplined and have structure to your day.  Write your to do list the night before & put time limits on each task. Start as you intend to finish.

            4/  Cull people that are bad for you.  This is a crucial time for you.  All the nay-sayers will come out of the woods now.  Don’t let toxic people pull you down.  It’s the most exciting time of your career, enjoy it and invite only the most trusted people into your circle at this time. It’s crucial that you follow your instincts and gut feelings with people in business.  Some people just look like they are trying to help you. Identify this early on and follow your gut. You should join a women’s business group as you are going to need some other people around you who have been through what you are about to embark on.  I recommend the Little Black Dress Group.  It’s a great way to meet like-minded women who you can share experiences with and encourage & inspire each other.

                
            5/  Manage your time and always be ready.  I’ve only recently learnt this.  You will find that when you run your own business time becomes really precious. My most important strategy to get more done every day is simply always be ready. When you are ready, you have what you need, when you need it. This means you can use ‘found time’ productively to move your business forward. I try to work in 15 minute blocks.  You can get a lot done in 15 minutes if you really try. Some days I can waste 15 minutes waiting for a meeting or a conference call, but if I am always ready, then I can buy time back for myself.  I used to check emails and social media sites but now I try to do things that will benefit the ‘long term’ goal. I always carry around with me thank you cards with postage stamps in case I have spare time waiting for a meeting to begin. I can write a thank you card quickly and have it posted as I head back to the office.  I also carry things I need to approve or read over in case found time pops up. So be prepared and ready to claim back time because time is now your money.




There would be many pro's and con's to running a PR company and being your own boss, what are the pro's and con's that stand out for you?



Pros:
    1/  Choosing my team & the clients I work with; having the right people around me.

2/  Creative control & the freedom to explore any idea I have with the opportunity to make it happen.

3/  Having the ability to work from anywhere – need a change of scenery? Do it. 

4/  Personal satisfaction and feeling incredibly proud of the work I do.

5/  Learning every aspect of business first hand.

6/  Having the ability to make a huge difference to my clients businesses/products and seeing them get great results from the work we have achieved

7/  If I feel creative at 3am, then I can go into the office when it suits me the next day.

   8/ Seeing my staff grow and develop into amazing professional publicists.

9/  It’s part of my job to listen to the radio, watch TV, read the newspapers, read magazines, go to the latest movies, concerts & know what is going on in the world! (Not a bad brief!)

10/  Having the chance to make a lot more money than you can make working for someone else.

11/  The ability to give back & donate to communities, seeing how your assistance can make a difference.

12/  Creating your own work environment – if I want a pink wall, I can have a pink wall! If I want to bring my dogs to work, I can! (and I do!)









Cons:
    1/  Never really having the ability to completely switch off.  The business is always on my mind.  It’s a fast paced industry and you have to have your finger on the pulse. Yesterdays news is old.. if you switch off for a day, you will likely miss opportunities for your clients. 

2/  If there's a problem, it is MY problem. There's no one to blame but myself; it's my business and I am at the controls. 

3/  The buck stops with me – if there is a massive issue, I wear the bill.

4/  Feeling alienated from friends who work a 9-5 job; your realities are very different so this can cause some strain on friendships and bring on feelings of loneliness at times (this is why joining a business group is really important)


On your  " Vision Board" if you could pin 5 images onto it, what would they be? and why?


Quotes! I love them. I love this one  which constantly reminded me to be
to be IN the moment. Its so  important to be present.

To open your eyes and look around and actually see things as they are. 
You don't want to blink and miss the beauty that is your own life.

A photo of NYC if I can make it there, I can make it anywhere.

A calming place, at the end of the day family and our home is what is the 
most important thing to me and the reason why I work so hard.

My Husband is Hawaiian , and when we got back from Hawaii we  
promised to return every year. I cannot wait to get back there. Places 
like this make all the hard work worthwhile.

Stop and smell the roses ( peonies) My favourite flower.

They make me smile.



Finish this sentence - My greatest achievement has been.....

Marrying my husband Phil, without him I am nothing. I wouldn't have been able to achieve any of this without his love , PATIENCE, encouragement, understanding and support.





"Angela, you are a beautiful, intelligent, successful woman with a huge heart!

 Thank you so much for sharing your experience, knowledge and vision with us. You are truly a great inspiration. 

Anna x






Image source: All images provided by Angela Ceberano


.

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE - Namaste'



image via: MerciMerci Etsy

Nov 4, 2013

MAKE YOUR MARK - INTERVIEW WITH SALLY RHYS JONES INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE


1) In 2010 you decided to take the plunge and start your own business with the launch of 
Sally Rhys-Jones Interior Architecture, was this always a dream of yours you wanted  to bring to fruition?

I think I have always been destined to have my own business when I think about it. 
I was that kid selling lemonade outside her house, or doing letterbox drops offering dog walking & gardening services. Then when i was at uni had my own jewellery making business. Working for someone else straight out of university was invaluable experience though; I learnt almost everything I know {despite the 5yr uni degree!} from my boss of 7 years before I went out on my own. 


2) What aspects of building and running your own business have you struggled with and what advice can you share to help overcome them?

Obviously the first big thing is getting clients - my work is all word of mouth! You have to really hang in there, they will come - there will be very quiet periods where you might second guess yourself, then a few weeks later you could be run off your feet!

Also, this might sound obvious but make sure you let people know about your business & what you do. Just because you know the list of the services you offer doesn't mean everyone else does!
 I discovered this when early on a family member engaged someone to do their council submission not realising this was something I did!

OK, here it is, the big, practical one that no one likes to talk about - money! 

I'm not going to sugar coat it & I don't see this talked about very often, but think its really important to remember - when you first start working for yourself you are probably going to take a pay cut, as I said above it takes time to build up your clients & work load! 

You also wont have a regular weekly income - some weeks it could be great, other weeks you may send out no invoices. You need to be prepared for this. Have some savings built up first & make sure you continue to save so that when you may hit a quiet period you can still pay your bills! 


3) In your opinion what are the absolute 5  "Must Do's " you would like to share,  for  women out there wanting to start their own business?

1. Don't just go out there cold turkey - i was doing jobs on the side for people while still working full time, then cut back to 3 days a week with my old job & then went out on my own full time.
 It allowed me to build up some experience & a client base before taking the leap permanently.

2. Back yourself - be confident in yourself or your product

3. Book keeping - speak to an accountant & be organised with your records of income & expenses. It sounds pretty obvious but don't forget to set aside the funds to pay your tax at the end of the year or quarterly - if you work for yourself this is now your job!

4. Keep learning & ask for help! - Don't be to proud to ask people for advice, i am always asking my trades & suppliers questions & learning new things from them. I also try to attend events I'm invited to, as working for yourself can be isolating at times & these functions are great to meet new people in the same field & network. 

5. Have a website! - One of the most important business tools out there, even if you build a simple one yourself to start with that has a few images & your contact information. These days if anyone is looking for anything they search on the web! I have 2 projects featured in the latest Home Beautiful after the editor came across some photos of the on my website!



4) What are the Pros and Cons of running your own business and being your own boss?

Cons-
Working for yourself is a big responsibility & can be stressful at times.

No maternity leave or paid holiday leave etc

Income may be less when you start out {& don't forget you have to pay your own super etc!}

It can be hard to switch off - i am guilty of checking emails when out to dinner, weekends...the middle of the night....

Pros - 
The best part by far is the flexibility - my husband is a police officer & does shift work so we no longer have a 'weekend'.

I'll work at night or on the weekends and we may head to the beach or out to lunch on a Wednesday! 
I also find I'm more productive at certain times of the day which i use to my advantage - when I'm feeling like I need a break ill go for a run or do other chores. 

I love having the creative freedom working for myself has. I don't stick to one style & each design is different based on the client so its great exploring different finishes & design styles. 
At the end of the day though after all the stress of building, nothing makes me happier than seeing my clients thrilled with their finishes spaces & when they say they have got a better result than they imagined or that they couldn't have done it without you - that is purely why I love my job!


5) On your  " Vision Board"  if you could pin 5 images onto it, what would they be and why?


Dreaming of our trip to france next year & the reminder that I'm going to need to work like Beyonce to save for it!


6) Finish this sentence...In 5 years time I hope to.......

Continue to be working on a steady stream of jobs of different styles & have more & more clients loving their new spaces!  Oh & also maybe on a personal level, have done some more travelling, bought & renovated a house & have a baby :)

Thank you Sally for a great read and for sharing some very invaluable business advice with us, you are an inspiration to all and we truly wish you all the best with the continued success of Sally Rhys Jones Architecture.

If you would like to get in touch with Sally to discuss more about her services please be sure to pop on over to her site Sally Rhys Jones Architecture for more information.


Images courtesy of - Sally Rhys Jones

Nov 2, 2013

HOME TOUR - Actress Rachel Bilson

If you haven't had a chance to check out the latest Nov issue of Lonny...then you simply haven't added the cherry to the top of your cake yet!

With each month my love for Lonny grows and this month is no exeption, featuring the beautiful LA home of actress Rachel Bilson (who my love also grows stronger for each month) .

A beautiful collaboration with designer Kishani Perera who together created a beautiful home with a bohemian luxe flavour ( and a twist of retro ) loads of colour , art filled walls, an unprentencious and homely abode.

It certainly ticked all the boxes for me and now has my lusting over a blue velvet sofa to call my own.

To view more of Rachel's home and even more stunning interiors be sure to visit Lonny for your daily dose of inspirational interior spaces! 

Keep up the fantastic work Team Lonny!!









images via : Lonny Magazine