Top 5 Tips For Staying Motivated

Lacking a little motivation is something we are all familiar with. Even if you are an entrepreneur or freelancer doing something you love, you may still find yourself distracted, overwhelmed and uninspired at times. Although this is a frustrating yet completely normal human experience, I have gathered 5 tips that will shake you out of that funk. Or better still, stop you from falling into it in the first place.

These tips have come from our members at Launch22 Liverpool, a bit of research, and my own experience as a University student. The fact that there is so much information online tells me that this is an extremely common struggle. You never know when you are going to hit a mental wall and it is easy to get overwhelmed and over think your workload. Here are the top 5 tips in no particular order for creatives, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and startups.

1. Wake Up Early

Yes, one of the pros of working for yourself is that you can get up whenever you want, but many of our members would recommend getting up early. The sooner you get started, the less likely you are to get distracted or lose momentum. Establishing a quick morning routine can also get you in the right frame of mind for your working day.

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2. Write To-Do Lists

Listing your tasks, or simply scripting out your day, can be both helpful and satisfying. Ticking off tasks as you go is a good way of visualising your accomplishments. You could make your list at night, so you wake up knowing exactly what needs to be done and when. Our members would also suggest doing the difficult/‘bad’ tasks first, otherwise they will be playing on your mind all day. Leave the easier/‘good’ tasks for later when your working day is coming to an end. Giving your tasks a time frame can help you keep on top of things and manage your time efficiently. You might even realise that some tasks are unnecessary and can be discarded.

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3. Establish Your Working Environment

Being able to differentiate between your work and your personal life is important, but can be difficult to do. This is where co-working spaces like Launch22 come in! When asking our members for tips, it is clear that spending their weekdays at Launch22 massively helps them to stay focused. Being able to meet and communicate with people who are working in a similar way was top of the list of benefits. We have a blog post on the importance of collaborative working if you want to know more! However, if co-working spaces are not an option and working at home is better for you, there are plenty of ways to do that. Set aside a fuss-free area in your home, use plugins to stop yourself from visiting other sites, and remove all distractions. Whatever you do, do not work where you sleep!

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4. Take Your Breaks

Although these are the top 5 tips to stay motivated, it is obviously important to give yourself a break. Sometimes you have to accept that something is not working for you and there is a reason why you feel stuck or uninspired. Switching things up can help you understand what the problem is or just give your brain the break it needs. You will return to your work feeling refreshed and with a new perspective. Here at Launch22, our members will go outside for walks or vacate to our social area where there are comfy seats, swings, drinks and snacks, they can chat or play a game of ping pong. Ping pong is a great way to get those creative juices flowing.

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5. Reflect

Taking the time to reflect on your past achievements and your purpose can be a great way to inspire yourself. You have surely chosen something you enjoy, so take a moment to remind yourself why. In an effort to push forward and work hard, we can often forget how far we have come and how we got to this point. Look back over your goals, check your stats, and consider where your work could take you next. This should be an exciting prospect to get you going!

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Words by Jessica Greenall

November: Member of the Month

Winter is coming! To bring you a little bit of sunshine today straight from Australia, we have found the perfect treat. Here is our member of the month, drum roll…. Alice Griffin. She’s here to tell us all about her passion for writing and share some amazing tips on how to write great content.

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Hey Alice, thank you for letting me interview you today. Let’s kick off by telling us a bit more about yourself.

Hey guys, I’m Alice, a Content Writer and Editor. I just started a full-time freelance business. Before that I was working as a Content Editor for a travel start-up in London and, before moving to the UK, worked as a journalist for lifestyle magazines in Sydney. I moved from Australia to the UK in 2015 mainly because I wanted to travel more. My parents are British so it was easier to move to the UK rather than America, and it’s nice and easy to travel around Europe from there as well.

 

Do you think there are more opportunities for your area of work in the UK? What about in Liverpool?

I would say there are the same opportunities available in England as there are in Australia for my line of work. The difference for Liverpool is that it is a lot more affordable to live than London, which is vital when you’re going out on your own — that’s why I decided to move here a few months ago. The move has given me the financial leeway needed to be more creative and think outside the box.

 

It sounds like you really like living here! Is Launch22 part of the fun? How did you hear about us?

I heard about Launch22 a few years ago when I came to an event here. I really liked the event, so when I moved to Liverpool I thought of you guys straight away. It’s a really nice, light space. I think that if you are a freelancer or someone working alone it’s important to have somewhere to go to every day, rather than working from home all day alone. I have been lucky enough to always work in cool offices that help boost my creativity. As for Launch22, the events are really nice, the yoga is cool. There are also mentors and people that you run ideas by, which I love.

 

That’s great to hear. So, you are a content writer? Can you tell us a bit more about what that involves?

I do lots of different things day to day. I’m always writing and editing online content for brand’s blogs and digital magazines, as well as print pieces. My background is in journalism and I still write for magazines now. I mainly work with design, travel and lifestyle-related publications based in Sydney and London. I also work with brands, helping them to find their voice and enhancing their communication across all platforms; social media, email marketing, blogs, all that. It’s all good fun and I’m very lucky to work with some amazing companies and publishers.

 

How did you get into writing?

I never thought I was going to be a writer. I studied media at university and got an internship in Sydney at Universal Magazines, where I first started writing professionally. After a few months they offered me a full-time job — which I juggled with my uni work — so I kind of fell into my career I guess.

Until recently, I have always worked for companies. Earlier this year, I started a new job as a Content Manager for a leading hotel group in London, but the work culture wasn’t quite right for me. I decided to hedge my bets and start freelancing full-time. If it wasn’t for the situation I was in, I might have left it for a few more years before going out on my own, but it has turned out really well — it made me take a risk and push myself where I may not have otherwise.

 

What advice would you give to someone who want to start as a freelancer?

Going freelance is really tough, especially when it’s unexpected. I would say to other people; make sure freelancing is something that you absolutely want to do and are 100% committed to. Don’t have a backup job if you can avoid it. Part-time jobs are great for some, but I didn’t want to be reliant on that position and take away my focus from what I’m really passionate about. I’ve seen lot of freelance friends stuck in that in-between phase.

Growing your network before you go freelance is important as well. Reach out to your contacts, and ideally have a base of clients at the ready for when you do go solo.

 

Blogging is becoming increasingly popular; can you give us some tips on how to write an effective blog article?

There is no one size fits all. My first ever editor told me that people respond best to other people and their stories, and I always try to stick with that. For example, when I’m writing an blog article on a home renovation project, the design of course is super important, but it is how that design will inform people’s lives that makes for a great story. Also, don’t be too serious, play around with ideas and words and be original. People want to read something that is relatable, so don’t try to sound clever for the sake of sounding clever. Big words aren’t always best.

 

Where do you see your career going?

While I’m busy at the moment, I always want to be busier. I only have a few Liverpool-based clients currently — most of my work comes from clients in London and Sydney — so I’d love to work with more local businesses here, that’s a short term goal of mine. And long term, I’m not quite sure yet. I definitely want to continue working with the brands, businesses and publishers that inspire me, and create more connections along the way. So far, so good!

 

Check out Alice’s latest work here, and you can follow her on LinkedIn too.

 

Want to find out more about Launch22? Email us at: liverpool@launch22.co.uk

 

By Thomas Abbate

 

Northern Stars 2017

Northern Stars 2017

Last Thursday in Manchester, the region’s top tech startups battled to win the UK’s most exciting pitch competition, Northern Stars. 20 of the North’s finest will delivered their 3-minute pitches in front of an audience of investors, press and tech industry peers, in the prestigious Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester. With just 10 of the startups to be crowned this year’s Northern Stars, only the very best will survive.

OCTOBER MEMBER OF THE MONTH: DAVID ODDERALL

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It’s October, it’s Autumn, Friday the 13th is this month and Halloween is fast approaching. Most importantly though for us here at Launch 22 we’re celebrating our member of the month! This month we’re excited to shout about our member David Ollerhead from the cyber security consultancyDigitalXRAID (DXR). I sat down with David this week over a cup of coffee at our Liverpool office space and asked him some questions about his involvement with DXR and his experience while at Launch 22.

I started by asking David about how he got involved with DXR. David says that in his previous position he was involved in a professional manor with DXR and that “they liked the way in which I dealt with them, and asked me to join so eventually this year David joined the company as their Business Development Manager.

I then went on to pick at David’s brain about what it is DXR offer clients.Prior to meeting David, I had visited DXR’s website and came across phrases like ‘social engineering’ and ‘penetration testing’. ‘Social engineering’ had reminded me of a YouTube I had watched about hacking one late night, but that was the extent of my knowledge on the matter so I was eager to listen to what David had to say.

We started by discussing social media. The concept that social is media is a part of a lot our lives and that we need to be conscious about what we’re posting is nothing new for most. We know that it’s probably not a good idea to take a photo of the outside of our house, street name and address in full view and then caption it ‘we’re all going on holiday for two weeks!’ — a scary concept and not a good idea. However, if you imagine the house was a multi-million-pound company and instead of someone breaking in and stealing your television it was hackers gaining access to the companies accounts or client information, the odds then get significantly higher!

What attackers can do utilising social engineering is to use social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to build profiles on their targeted company’s employees. What this means is that an IT technicians page on LinkedIn can give information on software that they are a specialist in, this then can help hackers in deducing what types of software the company utilises. Furthermore, an attacker can target and build a profile on a particular employee of a company in a department they would like to access.

“For example, a hacker may target the accounts department of a company, and has identified through social engineering that “Dorris” in accounts enjoys her shoe shopping from a particular retailer. If a legitimate looking email is created and sent to Dorris offering 50% off her next purchase and she follows the link enclosed…boom goes the dynamite. Clicking on the malicious link would instantly infect / compromise the company’s entire system with Ransomware or remotely executable code.”

I get the feeling I’ve only reached the tip of the cyber-security-iceberg, but from what I can surmise DXR simulate methods that ‘the bad guys’ use to infiltrate a company’s systems, providing client’s with a thorough risk assessment of their current security posture. From there DXR advise on how to mitigate and remediate the risks / vulnerabilities identified.

David then went on to explain another extreme engagement they can provide called Red Teaming. DXR will send an employee to a company’s offices to attempt to gain access to the building, furthermore a company’s IT assets / server room / an employees workstation. I got this very excited about the method as to me it sounded like real-life spy work.

I then move on to ask David about his time at Launch 22 and his feelings about working in a cooperative office environment. David tells me that it’s great to be around driven people in an amazing environment with everyone working towards their goals day to day. David goes on to cite a benefit of working in a cooperative environment being that the discussions you have with people can be very informative for both parties.

There’s people in the creative / technology industries here and it’s great to make them think twice about the way they’re designing systems”.

Wrapping up our discussion I ask David if DXR has reached any milestones while being part of Launch 22. David informs me that they have recently gained a large client in the North West of England, after only eight days of DXR trading out of Liverpool, I may add! To finish our discussion David tells me that they’re currently planning an event for next month. The event will invite businesses along for free to raise some data protection issues (GDPR) — particular thanks to Alex Clark from Professional Liverpool network for their help organising so far.

by Bradley Welch Harley

SEPTEMBER MEMBER OF THE MONTH: DJIMA LONDON

Summer has come and gone and it’s time for our newest Member of the Month! Introducing Bismark Djima, who tells us all about his passion for shoes and his upcoming launch event for his line, Djima London.

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Hey Bismark! Thanks for letting me interview you today. If you could just start off by telling us a little about yourself.

I’m the founder of Djima London, which is a shoe brand that specialises in men’s loafers. As you can already guess, I’m very passionate about shoes, and that’s how I got started. I always used to be asked, and still do, where I got my shoes from and always received compliments on them. I have a very specific style, and people seemed to like it, so I thought to myself, why not create my own designs and my own brand.

I hear you’re launching soon, can you tell me about what you have planned?

Yes! I’m very excited about it, I’ve been working so hard to make sure it’s going to be as perfect as possible. There will be a lot of entertainment, even a fashion show with a red carpet catwalk. There’s also going to be giveaway competitions, and of course, I’m going to reveal all my designs. It’s definitely going to be an amazing night, so be sure to come it! It’s on the 22nd of September at 7 pm here at Launch22.

Sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun. So what is your experience here at Launch22 and being on the scholarship programme?

My time here at Launch22 has been really great, and it’s really helped me a lot. I started off working from home, but it was terrible, I couldn’t stay concentrated and was less productive. So I came to work in Launch22, an organisation that helps guide you and allows your business to grow. One of the key things that helped me specifically is the Launch22 events. It’s a great place for networking and meeting different people in the business sector. As a result, I’ve built up so many contacts that have all helped me in different ways, and in turn who I’ve shared my ideas with.

Further to this, Launch22 also has mentors who are experts and knowledgeable in different areas so you can always find someone to answer a question you have.  For example, marketing was really important to me so I spoke to Neil Donald, a mentor here, and the guidance has been invaluable.

I would like to say thank you to Georgina, the community manager here at Launch, she’s been the best support and she is always ready to lend a hand and do whatever she can to solve something for me.

So if you’re looking for somewhere to start your business, or to give your start-up a home, Launch22 is perfect for you.

Launch22 is such a great place, you immediately feel comfortable and there are not many working spaces like that. What are you planning to do after your launch event?

Well, I’ve been getting a lot of women asking me where my female line is, so my next step would be to launch that. I’m planning to do some samples and some researching about creating female versions of the loafers I have. Following that, I’m hopefully going to expand my brand into clothing as well, such as suits and shirts etc. Those are my next two plans, there’s a lot of work I have to do to get there though, but I have so many ideas.

I’m sure you’ll reach all your goals Bismark, you’re very dedicated. Have you had any struggles or made any mistakes you’ve learned from in your path to creating your own line?

I’ve definitely had a few troubles, for example, I made the mistake of using the wrong material when I was designing my shoes. I had to go away and look more into it, research as much as possible in order to find the right tools I needed to create my vision. There’s a lot of small details you can trip over, and I’ve learnt a lot about creating and manufacturing.

Okay, last question! What advice would you give to someone who is looking to create their own line?

If it’s your passion and your dream, and you’ve been thinking about it for a while, my advice would be to get started as soon as you can. I personally had the idea in my head for a long while before I actually pursued it and I wish I had started a lot earlier

You will face some struggles and some obstacles, but there are no boundaries to what you can do, so just go for it. It’s an indescribable feeling when you get that first sale of your service, it motivates you to do more because there’s nothing that compares to that. Also, when you do start, there is a lot of support and guidance available to you, so you won’t be alone in your pursuit. The Sky is the limit.

 

Follow Djima London on Instagram: djimalondon

Want to find out more about Launch22? Email us at: liverpool@launch22.co.uk

By Roda Musa

EVENTS: HOST YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS

EVENTS: HOST YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS

So you’ve started your business and everything is going well, so you decide it’s time to host your first event.

Here at Launch22 we know how important events are to our members, whether it’s to raise their profile or simply a way of bringing everyone together.

There are a number of ways that hosting an event can benefit you personally, and of course, your business.

60 Seconds With...

Our latest ‘60 Seconds With’ feature showcases our very own Mentor, Pauline Moran! After discovering she was dyslexic on her return to University as a mature student, Pauline has dedicated herself to facilitating fellow dyslexic and right-brained dominant creatives in the world of entrepreneurship using a variety of approaches. Read about her story and what makes her tick below!