Friday, 26 September 2014

2Inspire Network Profile: Jendella Hallam Benson

When The 2Inspire Network discovered Jendella's project "Young Motherhood", it made sense to find out more about the creative talents of this amazing photographer. Her work has been shown around the world and her relentless work ethic is reflected through her exceptional body of work. She is truly an inspiration, read her interview and be inspired.


Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
Working mostly from home as freelancer, there really isn’t any typical day. If I’m not shooting, I try to start off the day with meditation and Pilates and aim to start work by 10am latest. I always work best in the morning so I try to launch straight into whatever needs to be done that day without distractions. Being a photographer can sound glamourous but the majority of the time you’re at the computer editing shoots, researching, planning and contacting clients, so I’ll be listening to podcasts as I work to keep me focused on things that can be quite tedious and even lonely otherwise.
I have to remind myself to take screen-breaks regularly, and also to actually take lunch breaks because I have a bad habit of just eating while I continue to work. It’s good to get up and stretch and also let your mind breathe for a bit by looking at magazines for general inspiration or reading a bit. Mornings are the real busy times because that’s when I focus best, but after lunch I allow myself to relax a little bit more. I try to finish work by 6pm, but if there’s a deadline or a backlog of work then I will often work until I feel like I’m in a good place to stop. The hardest thing about working from home is keeping the discipline to not just work through your evenings while you’re cooking, or watching films and meant to spending times with loved ones (I’m known to half-watch an entire film while retouching shoots until late into the night).
Shoot days can vary wildly in terms of schedule though, sometimes it’s crazy early mornings, other times you won’t have to leave until late into the day so you can get other work done before that.

What made you start the business and how did you get started?
I started doing paid photography jobs while in uni on the side and since then it’s kinda just carried on until I realised that I was actually running a business, even if I’m the only employee. I started it because I enjoyed it and realised that I could do things other people can’t do so easily. It was after working for an award-winning commercial photographer that things really came together a bit more because then I was seeing how the professionals conduct themselves and could model myself on them.
A Young Mother from The Young Motherhood body of work
What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
It’s not directly related to business because it wasn’t a direct business decision, but holding my first solo exhibition was a big deal for me. I’ve always wanted to be an exhibiting art photographer since I was in uni studying all the greats, so to actually do it and have people come out and support it has been really exciting, and other work opportunities have come off the back of that.

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
Knowing how to price myself. When you’re selling your services, rejection is taken quite personally, as well as the doubt that you’re worth the money that you charge, so I really undersold myself and my skills for a long time, because I reasoned (wrongly) that any money is better than someone not hiring you because you’re too expensive, and I just wasn’t confident in selling myself. I’ve had to reassess my position a number of times but I think I’ve struck a better balance now in how to sell and price my skills.

What are your future plans for the business?
I want to move more into the art side of photography, that’s where my passions lie but that’s even more of a niche market, so I’m looking at different ways of generating income beyond simply selling my skills as a photographer, but looking at ways of selling my vision and aesthetic...if that makes sense.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I would price my skills properly from the start and be more assertive in protecting the value of what I do.

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
Because there is no plausible reason why they shouldn’t. The way the economy is at the moment there’s very few safety nets in very few places, and while you’re young you’re in prime position to bounce back from any mistakes or missteps you may make. You’re still discovering yourself and your potential, so it’s a great time to really push the possibilities to the limit.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
The best way to learn is by interning or shadowing others who are more established in what you want to do. There is so much to learn about the behinds the scenes stuff that will never occur to you initially. It’s also a valuable time of research to see where the money lies and how it circulates within the industry because there are a heck of a lot of talented creatives who are not getting paid properly, or paid at all and have to finance their lives and their talents with other jobs. This isn’t a bad thing, but if you wanna make a living off of this thing full time, you need to do some serious ground work. You need to be prepared to hustle as well. As much as the dream is to be able to do just that one thing, while you’re still building that dream that you’ve got do whatever you need to do. It’s best to work at this industry from many angles because not only do you pick up valuable skills that give you an edge, you just never know where your way in will come from.

What or who inspires you in business and why?
Marc Ecko is an amazing creative, visionary and businessman. I swear by his book ‘Unlabel: The Art of Selling You Without Selling Out’. I love how he’s turned what he’s passionate about into serious commercial ventures. I also love how at the heart of everything he’s an artist and he’s proof that art and business can mix and completely busts the myth that a lot of us creatives have about that. I also love Nicki Minaj, I think she’s such a savvy woman who is in complete control of her image, her direction and her bank balance. In a world dominated by men both in front and behind the scenes, she has grown from being an underground sensation to consistently one of the highest earners with choice endorsement deals, collaborations and the like. Simply watching her work her cross genre appeal is a serious lesson in diversification. A lot of people don’t like her image, music or whatever, but she’s about her business, and you have to respect that.
What is your favourite inspirational quote?
“You must act like it is impossible to fail.” – Ashanti Proverb
I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to them, but I’ll choose this one because it’s what I’ve been thinking a lot about recently.


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Cultured Bride: Herts, Beds & Bucks Bridal Fayre 21st September 2014

We are so excited that the Fayre is almost here!

So if you are or you know someone that is a Bride-to-be in the areas of Herts, Beds & Bucks, make sure you pop along to The Cultured Bride Fayre.

You will be hosted by a variety of great wedding industry suppliers from in and around the area from caterers to jewellery designers. 

There will be competitions, cake and food tasting on the day and what's even better, you will be automatically entered into our Prize Draw for a Spa Day at The Luton Hoo.


See you there!!!!

For more information
Call: 01322 250 015 

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

2Inspire Network Profile: Afi Ofori, MD of Zars Media

In this 2Inspirre Network profile interview we meet the inspirational Afi Ofori, MD of Zars Media, a phenomenal businesswoman. Zars Media was set up to highlight women’s leadership contributions across all careers in all business sectors. It strives to bring together women with drive, energy and passion, through our awards and leadership programs. An ethos close to The 2Inspire Network mission! 

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?  
Wake up around 6am. I get ready, get kids ready. Drop kids off then go for a walk. I usually do 6 miles in the morning. Get back have a quick shower then get down to business. (Sometimes I have a quick nap first) Most people say do the difficult tasks first but for me it’s like the warmup before the exercise, I prefer to do the simple tasks first to get me in the zone.

What made you start the business and how did you get started? 

There are a few reasons however the main one was I got tired of building other people’s dreams. I wanted to live not to survive.

For me starting was easy, I made the decision to start and I just did it. I didn’t over think it. My attitude was jump, build wings on my way down and learn to fly.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date? 

My company is still very young however my first event was a massive success and within a year I have gone from planning 1 event to 5 events on 3 continents. In the corporate scene I launch some incredible successful events that are still running today.

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far? 

I don’t see challenges I see opportunities. For me calling something a challenge makes it difficult for me to solve it however once I look at it as an opportunity everything about it becomes clearer.

What are your future plans for the business? 

Create more events and take every event global.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently? 

Nothing. Everything that has happened has made me who I am today. Wanting to change anything would mean I regret some thing’s and I regret nothing. Life is too short for regrets.

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams? 

Because we need to live not to survive.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry? 

Just do it! Over-thinking it would simply give you doubts and once doubts sets in fear takes over. Learn from others but make your own choices. Experiences Are Not One Size Fits All, Go Out And Tailor Your Own.

What or who inspires you in business and why? 

I admire many women who have made it in business however I admire and inspire me. I know some may think that is arrogant however I see me in 10/20 years and I admire me.

What is your favourite inspirational quote? 

Feel the fear and do it any way. Susan Jeffers

Afi Ofori
Managing Director
Tel +44 (0) 1252612025

Friday, 5 September 2014

Read Hazel Chawapiwa's piece on The For Harriet E-Magazine: The Truth About Single Motherhood

We are so proud that hazel's article has been featured on the popular For Harriet E-magazine based in the USA.

Please read and share @2inspireltd's Founder Hazel Chawapiwa piece THE TRUTH ABOUT SINGLE MOTHERHOOD on  @ForHarriet

Monday, 1 September 2014

Guest Blog: Winter Blues - Savings for the Budget Savvy You

No one wants to waste money. Therefore, everyone likes to save money, right? Not necessarily. The issue is, we don’t realize the little droplets of money that keep bleeding on small things. Saving money consistently is really hard work. The most vigilant budget savvy lapse on some of them from time to time-Trust me I know. The bright side, of course, is that with so many opportunities for saving money, there are bound to be a few you've overlooked.

If you are trying to trim your monthly budget, this article will help by taking a look at some common ways to save money that are often forgotten. Let’s go thru some of the ways to save the most money with each method and find out exactly how much money can be saved with each one.
The recommended winter setting for a home thermostat when people are at home is 20 degrees Celsius. If you keep yours above that, reduce it to 23. Once you've gotten used to that daytime temperature (or if you already had it set there), try setting it a few degrees lower. You'll have to experiment to see how low you can stand it -- you don't want to blow the money you saved on heat, buying mittens. The exact amount you'll save varies based on heating prices, the size and efficiency of your house and the temperature outside. 
To save even more, take the temperature down to 15.6 or 12.8 degrees Celsius when you're away or in bed. (Some people even go down10 degrees Celsius). If you work outside the home during the day and sleep eight hours a night, you will be reducing your energy usage for 16 hours per day. That will translate to hundreds of pounds in savings in just a year or two. If you're home during the day and need the heat, you'll save about half as much by just turning it down at night.
By the way, it's a common myth that you'll use so much energy getting the house warm again that you won't save anything by turning it down. When you turn the heat down, the heat doesn't run as the house's temperature falls. You save enough energy then to counteract the energy used to reheat the house, so you break even. The savings come during the time you leave the temperature down, since the heating system isn't working as hard to maintain a differential between the inside and outside temperatures. The longer you leave the thermostat turned down, the more you'll save.

Spending on clothes can be hard to track because it's not something most people do every week or even every month. First, don't focus on brand names. You are usually just paying for the name, and the clothes are not always nicer than what you would find in a lesser-known brand. Considering the insane prices for designer jeans, shoes and other apparel, you can rack up massive savings with this step alone, depending on your prior shopping habits.

Next, sort your clothes and note what you wear regularly and what hangs in the closet until you forget you even own it. It doesn't matter how little you spend on an article of clothing -- if you never wear it, it's all wasted money. Focus on versatile pieces that can be worn in different situations or that match lots of other things so you can create different outfits.
Now, plan ahead. You don't want to be buying winter clothes in November because things are most expensive "in season." Stores cycle through their clothes pretty quickly, though, so head to the clearance rack if you have to buy. You'll find incredible deals on clothes that will be in season in a few months. It takes some digging, since those clearance racks can be poorly organized, but it's worth it. Imagine a £30 pair of jeans on clearance for 75 to 50 percent off (not an uncommon sale). If you're focused on fashion, you can still save money while shopping for current styles.
Take a look at fashion outlet stores and discount Web sites. Also consider store brands that follow fashion trends without the prices of big brand names
Many goods are cheaper when purchased in large quantities. Obviously, you want to stay away from things that will spoil (In other words, don’t buy perishables in bulk). Some bulk purchases go wrong for reasons you couldn't possibly predict. The best items to buy in bulk are paper goods. Toilet paper, paper towels and printer paper never go bad and store easily. It's also sensible to stock up on cleaning supplies, garbage bags, soap, shampoo, and laundry detergent. These are things you will always need and will certainly use -- and won't go bad.
Coffee is a product with a large gap between the price at a coffee shop and the per cup price if you make it at home. If you buy a moderately priced package of coffee- If you happen to enjoy even cheaper varieties of coffee, you can get that price down even lower. If you usually buy a coffee at Starbucks every day, it won't take long for the coffee maker to pay for itself, and the savings will start piling up after that. As an added benefit, you can make your coffee just how you like it, try different varieties of coffee, and never have to deal with the hassle of trying to order coffee in a coffee shop ever again.
Public transportation is another alternative mode of travel, but riding a bike has advantages over that, too. Wouldn't it be nice to cut that expense out of the budget?
There's one more potential savings factor if you ride your bike everywhere. You might be able to skip the gym membership, since you'll be getting plenty of exercise just getting around town.
Be creative and find new ways to save those pennies so that you won't get caught out in the cold financially this winter.

Written by Tokie L Brown 

About The Author

Tokie Laotan-Brown is the author of the book “10 Steps to Managing your household budget” which provides readers with useful financial management tools to assess how their household expenditure is utilised.
Twitter - @tokielbrown