Keep on chipping away

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I always have a lot of personal projects on the go, like the promotion of the book I published and my involvement with the local wrestling scene here in Plymouth. Some days I put a lot of my spare time and thought space in to them, some days I don’t touch them, but they are always there in the back of my mind.

I think it is great to have things you can pick up and put down. Some days you are filled with motivation and inspiration. On those days in one night you can get the equivalent of a weeks or more work done. This is why I think it is important not to worry about putting things down from time to time, as long as you don’t put them down forever and pick them back up on a regular basis.

Bringing me back

My book titled “Unbreakable Bond” is one book, but the journey with it has now lasted over 3 years, from writing it, to editing it, to publishing it, to promoting it. It is the promotional work I enjoy, as it keeps bringing me back to the project and means the project just doesn’t get left on the shelf forever more.

With my wrestling involvement, sometimes there are mad weeks with lots of stuff going on to talk about and promote, then some weeks it seems like very little is happening. I don’t worry though as I always know something big is just around the corner and that even on quiet weeks my passion for it doesn’t change.

Unlocking potential

I know that if I was to step away from these things tomorrow, that I have done things and created things that are long lasting and will be around even after I am gone and I am very proud of that. That comfort however doesn’t stop me from wanting to do everything in my power to make them as big as I can before I stop. You see there is so much potential in everything you are involved in and its only when you push it all the way, that you find out some of what that potential is and could be.

Your projects that you are involved in are a part of you and an extension of you. It is up to you if they realise their full potential or not and it is up to you what you want to do with them. I like the constant contact and involvement in the things I do and I hope in 50 years time I am still championing and working on the book and the wrestling.

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Camping Holiday

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Last week we had our first family camping holiday. My wife and I used to go camping a little bit before we started a family but it is always something we have wanted to do again, so took the plunge and booked a week in St. Ives, to camp with our one year old. Although camping with a one year old is a bit trickier, I was so glad we did it, as it was such a fun week.

Timing

Thankfully we timed our arrival to the campsite just right as it was during her nap, so we were able to get a lot of the putting up of the tent work done whilst she was asleep, which made things a lot easier. The first night was a challenge for our little one year old to settle to sleep, but from day 2 she slept without any fuss. This all made the holiday less stressful and although you have to adapt a bit when you are away from your home comforts, I enjoyed the challenges it presented.

The best thing about the campsite was that it was next to a beach, so we had our first beach day with our little one and although she was a little apprehensive at first, she really enjoyed it and going to the beach became a highlight of the holiday. The space and freedom for our little one to toddle and crawl around was brilliant. In general life you just don’t get the expanses of space and lack of cars etc. so it was fun to just watch her enjoy it and adventure in it.

Outwell tents

One thing I can’t speak highly enough of was our Outwell Alabama 7p tent. Although there were only 3 of us the huge living space and the huge space at the front made it fun and pleasant to be in the tent, as it wasn’t too cramped and everyone had space. A 7-man tent may seem overkill for 3 people but it was perfect, plus the tent had lots of other great features, like roll away sleeping compartments. They may be more expensive than the rest but you are buying quality when you buy an Outwell tent and that is what we got.

For anyone considering taking a young one camping I would encourage them to do so. Yes it’s a bit more challenging and takes a bit more planning but we had a great week and created some fun memories that will last a lifetime.

 

Promoting an event

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One thing I am doing a lot at the moment is helping promote live entertainment shows. Whilst doing this I am always trying to think of new and different ways to get attention on the product, without having to spend any money.

There are so many platforms and avenues available now to promote events and products, the problem is that the audience you are trying to get hold of are so spread out, that there aren’t many places to go to in order to reach a big audience. This means you need to be constantly active and active across a number of places.

Converting views to sales

When I first started promoting events in the early 2000s all I had to do was buy advertising in the local paper, to the city I was promoting in and I would draw a crowd. Now we live in an era where even if you get millions of views across social media, it seems to be harder than ever to convert them in to sales.

The problem is that people aren’t actually taking in what they are reading on social media, they are just scrolling through. Liking something takes no time or commitment, so even an engagement doesn’t mean much to be honest.

Connecting audiences

What I try and do now when I promote events, is try and work in partnership with other groups, people and companies. Everyone has an audience, but the way to truly grow an audience is to share audiences. An audience is a huge asset and the more you can connect what you are offering with new audiences, the more what you are offering is worth.

I also believe that as a society we don’t hand over money for things as freely as we used to. Everyone wants a good deal and everyone’s attention is being taken in a hundred directions, so getting customers to pay for tickets for an event is harder and harder. Sadly the costs of running shows haven’t diminished so it is a hard time for an entertainment promoter, unless you have a big brand behind you. You only have to look at the number of pubs and entertainment venues that have shut down in the last few years to show you that.

Competing in the marketplace

To compete in the marketplace, building a brilliant brand is paramount to success. The better your brand is, the less you have to spend on marketing as more people care about your product and will come to you instead of you always having to go to them.

So if you are promoting a live event the thing I would advise to concentrate on is your brand, as everything comes off the back of that.

What is value for money?

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In a lot of my life I come back to the question: What is value for money? Knowing the actual value of everything in your life and what you want is so important, but what is more important, is then knowing its value to you. Different things will have different values to different people, but that doesn’t make anyone’s value they have put on something right or wrong.

Value and cost aren’t always linked

The mindset we have to get out of, is that value and cost are linked. We need to get out of the mindset of expensive things either being value for money or not value for money, based on the price tag. When you are trying to save money you can get so wrapped up in things needing to be cheap and thinking that expensive things aren’t value for money. The price you pay is the transfer you make for something, but it has nothing to do with its value. Yes you can make good deals and bad deals on things but a good deal can be a bad deal, if you didn’t really value the thing you are getting.

In a sport I love at the moment ‘value for money’ is a big subject, the sport being football. In England we are getting ready for the end of the transfer market and already, in this shopping window spending records have been set. With every player purchased the first thing that is talked about is – if the player is worth the price a club has paid for them. So even before a player has kicked a ball for the team or had a chance to make a return on the investment the club have made in them, the purchase is judged.

Return on investment

Now in football players are purchased for silly money, so it is hard to see value for money in any of it but prices are still relative to what else is happening in those markets. The one thing I question though is – how many players actually make the club back the money they invested in them? There are lots of ways a player can make a club money, like prize money for trophies won and league positions obtained, merchandise sales from merchandise featuring their name or likeness, ticket sales from people who come specially to watch because of that player and so on. Regardless of their price, some players are better value than others and I wish we knew more about which players and deals actually were.

Money may be tight for you, but I encourage you this week to look at the value of things and not at the price. Are there things you are paying for, that actually have not enough value to you to be worth paying for? Could you be getting value by paying more for something, like buying a bigger box of washing powder that might make each wash cheaper and save you money long term or a brand of washing up liquid that is slightly more expensive but might last twice as long as the slightly cheaper one and so on and so on.

The Great British Bake Off

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Now as many of you are aware, not only do I work in TV but I am also a huge fan of TV. Something my wife and I look forward to every year on the BBC, is The Great British Bake Off. Now the License Fee gets questioned a lot over here in the UK but I would pay it for this programme alone, let alone all the other amazing BBC services. I was saying the same thing last week about the BBC’s coverage of the Olympics; I would pay the fee for just that as well.

With everything that happens in the world, news and entertainment the Great British Bake off is just something I think is very much needed. It is just a nice mixture of comedy, food, inspiration, joy and heart warmingness (I know that isn’t a word) that I never tire of watching. The programme always encourages me to bake, gives me ideas and always puts me in awe of some of the amazing home bakers we have in this country.

A phenomenon

The show is a phenomenon, not only is one of the most watched shows over here every year, but it has since had many off spin off shows produced in other countries and in the UK. Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood have become national institutions because of the show and Mel & Sue have been taken in to hearts of millions.

The show needs these 4 people as they just make the show work. Every year the contestants are different, sometimes better, sometimes worse but that doesn’t always matter. The show is more about how Paul, Mary, Sue and Mel interact with the contestants, than the contestants themselves, although there have been many memorable contestants over the year.

The journey

The series progresses until they determine the champion and star baker of the series. The competition element though isn’t what is most important, which is why I like it. It’s not about everyone out to win at all costs; the winner doesn’t get a huge amount of money and a huge contract to do something. It is just more about the honour of being voted the best. Although this sounds cliché the show is about the journey we go on with all of them.

If you haven’t seen it before, where have you been? Hope you will all be tuning in at 8pm tonight on BBC One, for what I am sure will be another great series.

Making it means making it happy

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Lots of people claim to have ‘made it’ in this life. People claim to have ‘made it’ when they get a new high power job, a new car, a new house etc. etc. But to me the people who have truly ‘made it’ are those people that are happy.

Mastering skills

Some great skills to master in life are – judging your happiness by your own standards and not pretending to be happy when you think you should be happy. When you get somewhere in life, that you think will make you happy, it is also ok if it doesn’t make you feel as happy as you thought it would. If that happens, it just means to you need to keep looking and trying until you find something that does.

Don’t let the world tell you

Don’t let the world tell you what should make you happy and what ‘making it’ is. ‘Making it’ can be whatever you want it to be. Everyone is different so everyone should have their own version, of what ‘making it’ is. Don’t be jealous when other people have achieved things, as you don’t know whether they have truly ‘made it’ or not. Just because you think someone has ‘made it’ or you think you would have ‘made it’ if you had achieved what they had achieved, it doesn’t mean they have.

To me ‘making it’ is always about the next thing I want to achieve and not about I have just achieved. It’s like when I was coaching and the team I was coaching was playing – when they were playing ‘making it’ was about winning but then as soon as the final whistle had gone ‘making it’ would have changed to winning the next game in my eyes.

Whatever it is and whatever I am doing in life I always want the goal to be happiness. I might not always find it and sometimes I might not find it where I expect to find it but I know I love being happy more than anything in the world, so I am always going to be on the hunt for as much happiness as I can find.

Car breakdown

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So last week my car broke down on my way to work. I had only purchased the car a few weeks ago and after having our last car for 5 years, with no break downs, it made me wish we hadn’t changed it. I didn’t know what to do, so I rang the AA.

Friendly Advice

I had been a member of the AA for years but haven’t had to call them out since around 2006! When the chap from the AA came he looked at the car and broke the bad news. My gearbox and clutch would possibly need replacing. He took the car to a garage for me and the quote came in at £1800! But thankfully before he towed the car for me, he armed me with what to do and what to say to the place I got my car from, he didn’t have to but he stopped and gave me so much friendly advice, which I will never be able to repay him for.

The long and the short of it was, after various phone calls and emails to and from the place where I got the car from and the garage it got repaired at, I eventually got the car back with a new gear box and a new clutch but more importantly, without it costing me anything thanks to the place I purchased it from.

Consumer Rights Act

From my previous blogs you will know that I love saving money where I can, so I was so pleased with the outcome of this one. This week I would encourage anyone to read the Consumer Rights Act. Even if you are not buying anything big at the moment, a good knowledge of this will help safeguard your future purchases and will let you know where you stand, when something you buy breaks unexpectedly.

Cutting costs doesn’t always save you money

My small yearly fee to the AA given faithfully and not used for 10 years became priceless this week. My AA membership just might have been my best investment this year. Things like this are a great example of when spending money, can save you money. Don’t always think of cutting costs as saving money, think about the bigger picture and the risk you can leave yourself with if you don’t have something like AA membership.

My car breaking down was one of life’s situations where all ended well this week. It was very stressful when it happened but I dealt with the problem and felt better for it. It inconvenienced me for a little while as I had to then rely on public transport to get around until the car was fixed but it was another chance to adapt and overcome for which, I am thankful for.