30 Unusual National Days

30 Unusual National Days

Most of us have the well-known national days/weeks in our diaries, or at least we will be prompted well in advance of them via the media, but there are many other unusual ones you might want to use as prompts for your social media posts.

Here are 30 slightly more obscure national days to see you through the first 6 months of 2020.

  1. Houseplant Appreciation Day 10 Jan
  2. National Clean Off Your Desk Day 13 Jan
  3. National Handwriting Day 23 Jan
  4. National Compliment Day 24 Jan
  5. Chocolate Cake Day 27 Jan
  6. Hedgehog Day 2 Feb
  7. Time to Talk Day 6 Feb
  8. Send a Card to a Friend Day 7 Feb
  9. National Pizza Day 9 Feb
  10. Safer Internet Day 11 Feb
  11. Random Acts of Kindness Day 17 Feb
  12. Leap Day 29 Feb
  13. British Pie Week starts 2 Mar
  14. National Grammar Day 4 Mar
  15. Learn About Butterflies Day 14 Mar
  16. Find a Rainbow Day 3 Apr
  17. Tell a Lie Day 4 Apr
  18. No Housework Day 7 Apr
  19. Look up at the Sky Day 14 Apr
  20. National Tea Day 21 Apr
  21. Honesty Day 29 Apr
  22. National Walking Month start 1 May
  23. Clean up your room day 10 May
  24. World Sleep Day 13 May
  25. Brothers and Sisters Day 31 May
  26. Hug your cat day 4 Jun
  27. National Yo-Yo Day 6 Jun
  28. World Gin Day 13 Jun
  29. World Blood Donor Day 14 Jun
  30. Wrong Trousers Day 26 Jun

Look out for the second half of the year’s list later in 2020!

25 Things I have learnt during my first year as a freelancer

25 Things I have learnt during my first year as a freelancer

This month marks the first anniversary of both my redundancy after 18 years in my job and my decision to become a Virtual Assistant. So as this is a time of reflection and celebration I thought I’d share a lighthearted look at the things I have learnt in my first year as a freelancer….


  1.     I work better in the mornings, preferably after a walk.
  2.     Five hours solid at the computer is not good for the eyes or back.
  3.     I can hear the washing machine finished beep from my desk.
  4.     Prospective clients do not magically know I am sitting at my desk waiting for their call.
  5.     Sometimes I can go a whole day without talking to another person.
  6.     Talking to other people occasionally is a primative need.
  7.     All the couriers have twigged I work from home.
  8.     Couriers don’t have time for a chat.
  9.     All telephone cold call centres in the world know I work from home.
  10.   I don’t want to chat to call centre callers. Even the human ones.
  11.   The family mostly think I don’t have a ‘proper job’.
  12.   The family have enough jobs for me ‘if I’m not doing anything today’.
  13.   I love the flexibility to see friends/support family/go out/babysit/pick up prescriptions/drop off returns as required.
  14.   The Wi-Fi is not good enough at the bottom of the garden, under the shade of the tree, to work.
  15.   My inside desk space is not cool-looking enough for an Insta post.
  16.   I miss my old team. A lot.
  17.   I don’t miss office politics. At all.
  18.   LinkedIn isn’t as fun as I thought it would be.
  19.   I work better the more pressure I’m under.
  20.   I can lose a day ‘researching’ on social media.
  21.   I need coffee(s) to function.
  22.   I do not need something sweet with each coffee. Maybe just one biscuit a day. Or two. Three at the most.
  23.   Selling myself can be soul-destroying.
  24.   A great client is definitely worth holding on to. Tightly.
  25.   I wouldn’t go back to working in an office again if you paid me…….err sorry how much did you say??

Happy Business Birthday to me!  Here’s to many more years of being my own boss! 

Handwritten letters & why you should be sending some

Handwritten letters & why you should be sending some

When did you last send, or receive, a handwritten letter? 

Predictions show that in 2019 around 293.6 billion emails will be sent and received worldwide. Emails, WhatsUp and texting are quick. They’re convenient and efficient for getting your message to its recipient. Bish. Bash. Bosh. Sent. 

However, if you want your reader to notice you and your business, sending a handwritten note is a great way of getting their attention.

According to a survey commissioned by Cunard 54% of Brits have received less than 5 handwritten letters in the last decade, and yet seeing a handwritten letter or card on the door mat is an exciting sign that someone cares.

Feelings count, yes – even in business!

Business can be grey and corporate. Even if you are in a creative industry business to business correspondence is normally formal and formulaic, and rightly so. The messages are important and need to be clear, concise and functional. But let’s be honest rarely do they set pulses racing. 

Receiving a handwritten note makes one feel important. It shows somebody felt it worth his or her time and effort to sit down with a pen and write. No spell check. No back button. No delete. 

Feeling special is always worth celebrating. Clients and customers are more likely to hold on to a hand written note or card. They may keep it pinned up near their desk or decide to share the positivity on their social media. 

When might you send a handwritten letter?

With so many prospecting emails received each day yours may not even be opened let alone read!  A hand written letter on good quality stationery stands out. It will pique your potential client’s interest. You will be remembered.

Send thank you notes and follow-ups on appropriately illustrated post cards. They will show you really did appreciate their business/help/lunch and you value the relationship.

Including a written note in with an order shows a customer their business is important to you. You may not be able to do this for all orders but consider it for high value and extra special customers.

I offer a handwriting service but it would be better coming from you!

Authenticity is important. You are breaking away from corporate formality so write naturally and not forced. Keep it short and simple and if possible write it yourself. 

(If your handwriting is truly dire, or the sentiment is there but you absolutely don’t have the time drop me a message.)

Are You a Grumpy Business Superhero?

Are You a Grumpy Business Superhero?

Whatever type of business you run there are times when you just need a little assistance. It may be a one-off to get back control or maybe just an hour a week to update your Facebook page. You may need proper business support.

*  Just because you run your own business doesn’t mean you have to be a superhero and do it all.

*  Just because you are a whizz with a drill, pen, wrench or pair of tweezers doesn’t mean you love hanging out on social media even though you know it’s where your clients are.

*  Just because you chose to go self-employed doesn’t mean you can’t spend time with the family at weekends.

*  Just because you love your work doesn’t mean you don’t worry at night about getting behind with the paperwork.

* Just because you can (after a fashion) ‘do the admin’ doesn’t mean you should have to.


There’s no point being a superhero if you are a tired, grumpy, resentful one!


Why not message me today and find out how I can help you.


Why a Virtual Assistant is a Great Idea If You Are a Writer

Why a Virtual Assistant is a Great Idea If You Are a Writer

If you are a budding writer, published author or a student with a dissertation to submit, you may find the task of typing up your manuscript or notes daunting. Not everyone who writes is a typist and many people in this field hire someone else, such as a virtual assistant, to get their work ready for publishing.

However many virtual assistants offer a writer service and can provide much more. They have skills and experience in many areas, lightening your load and freeing your time and mind to write more.  Outsourcing to a VA is getting more and more popular as freelancers and small business in all fields begin to understand the advantages to working with a flexible and affordable professional administrator.


7 reasons why a virtual assistant is a great idea if you are a writer:



Of course a lot of writers like to visit the places they write about. They need to feel the atmosphere and the sights and sounds. But somebody else can easily research some of the more mundane details you may require. A virtual assistant will understand the need to research carefully, using multiple sources, and report the information found clearly with references. They can also research potential interviewees, sources and reviewers.



From formatting your work to specific publisher guidelines to getting your manuscript ready for publishing to Kindle, a VA can take on this time consuming task.


Proof reading and editing

Depending on your VA’s skillset this could just be an initial read through for spelling, grammar and/or readability while others may offer an editing service.


Emails and fan letters

Monitoring your inbox for standard queries and requests, responding if appropriate, is an easy but vital service and provides a buffer against these daily distractions. This service, along with monitoring your social media (below) could be used continually or just during your intense writing periods.


Social media

If you aren’t already promoting your writing on social media your VA can set up the relevant accounts. If you are, but you don’t have the time or inclination to keep uploading, monitoring and responding, your pages will go stale and loose interactions. A virtual assistant can do as much or as little of your social media as you require.



Setting up interviews, talks, meetings and reading events can be fiddly and can eat away at your day. Why not allow your VA to access your online calendar and schedule some of these for you.



As I mentioned at the beginning, not all writers use a keyboard. Some well known authors prefer to write long hand or to dictate their thoughts, but of course at some point these all require typing up.  A lot of VAs have worked previously as typists and secretaries and have experience of copy or audio typing. They also have the skills to do it accurately and quickly.



Why not drop me a message and take advantage of my free consultation to find out about my writer service and how I can help you.


10 Customer Service Tips for Small Businesses

10 Customer Service Tips for Small Businesses

It doesn’t matter how many customers your business has or what service or products you supply, great customer service should be your number one priority. At all times. However, small businesses need to be extra vigilant about their service as they don’t necessarily have a brand name and reputation to fall back on. Here are 10 customer service tips you can’t afford to ignore:

1. Experience counts

Make sure your customer experience is spot on from the very first enquiry onwards. Don’t zone out once the sale is complete and don’t be lax in following up and keeping in touch.

2. Make social media work for you

Interaction is key here. Show your customers you are a real person and you think of them as people rather than just potential profit. Feedback, reviews, recommendations and complaints are all very visual and a growing number of people use these platforms as a guide when choosing which company to use. Give the best customer service you can, outshine your competitors and make your clients feel extra special and you will win in this highly competitive arena.

3. Rapid response

Whether it is a letter, email or a comment on your Facebook page ALWAYS respond. And do so in good time. There is no excuse for leaving a question about your product unanswered on your selling site or not replying to an email within day or so. Not bothering to reply promptly looks like you don’t care about your customer. Customers want to feel valued. Make sure you have someone on your team checking your accounts and notifications regularly.

4. Be friendly

Make sure you interact with your followers on social media, talk to your customers, smile if you are customer facing (or even if you are on the phone). Get to know a little bit about them and remember their name and what they have purchased from you. There are various ways you can keep this information including CRMs or spreadsheets but do make sure whichever method is GDPR compliant and you have a data privacy policy in place.

5. £1 or £1000?

Treat all your customers the same regardless of how much they are spending. £10 spent on your product may have been harder to come by for that customer than the £100 or the £1000 another customer spends that day. Remember they have chosen to give their money, however hard earned, to you.

6. Promises promises

Don’t promise what you can’t fulfil. Always promise less and deliver more. Complete the work a bit earlier, add a small packet of sweets or a pen in the delivery box, do a little bit extra for free. All these ensure your customer feels special.

7. Say thank you

Always thank your customer for spending their money with you. Everyone expects an automated ‘thank you for your order’ email but a personal thank you, either as a hand written note in the delivery box or a personal email, goes a long way. What you can stretch to time and money wise will obviously depend on the size of your customer base but remember this is also a good way to ask for feedback and reviews.

8. Listen and acknowledge

Always listen and read feedback. Proactively respond highlighting something specific they mentioned rather than just a standard generic reply. For less favourable feedback ensure you acknowledge the issue and feedback to the customer what steps you will take.

9. Hire people people

Employ those who have high customer service experience and values. All your team members should have the same care and attitude for your clients whether they are standing in front of them, on the phone or miles away buying online.

10. Don’t forget the oldies

Don’t fall for the highly irritating sales ploy some big names go for by giving all the best deals and service to new customers only. Value your existing clients as much if not more. You want them to leave you great feedback, refer you to their friends and buy again. A study by The Nielson Company found people are 4 times as likely to buy something if it is a recommended by a friend. Try a loyalty incentive or a referral scheme with rewards, or ensure you send them details of latest offers earlier than they are advertised – again be clear on GDPR and ensure they have signed up for these type of emails before adding them to any mailing list.