Learning new Skills

Although personally up until now (is it week 5 or week 6 ??  who knows) in my lockdown I have been quite busy with my ‘day’ job, helping people understand the furlough grants and supporting my clients with their bookkeeping, I know there are many who are finding the time to learn new skills or try new hobbies.

So what have you tried out since lockdown?  What have you learned?  Can you share resources in the comments here that others might find interesting or useful?  If you fancy writing a blog post about something you have enjoyed, found useful or want to share then do get in touch as I’m always happy to feature guest bloggers here if I feel my audience would appreciate the information.

So what have I learned that’s new?

I have been following a Keto (low carb low sugar) lifestyle for over a year now and my health is so much better for it.  So even though I have been busy working I’ve been cooking from scratch from home every day, and so I don’t get bored and tempted to dive on my old favourites of highly processed sugary foods I have been trying different recipes.

The reason I have been able to stick to this way of eating for so long, and not drifted back to bad habits sooner, is that I have fallen in love with this food, and I have the support of my friends at the Keto Fitness Club, run by Mark Brereton and his family, who keep me engaged, amused and motivated in equal measure.

This week I mastered the Megga Bread recipe, which you can get from the free recipe library on the Keto Fitness Club link I have posted – I am so happy to have a decent slice of low carb bread to eat now that I am going to be using this one a lot.  Initially, I was short of yeast but I managed to get a delivery from BuyWHoleFoodsOnline.co.uk , and they supply the vital wheat gluten you need too – and I have plenty of the Oat Fibre but this can be replaced by ground Chia seeds which are more commonly available in supermarkets if needed.

Here is a little montage with a few of my favourite recipes like the Toad in the Hole, , Chicken Pizza, Haloumi Fries, Scotch Egg, Berry Bake, Megga Bread, Cauliflower and Broccoli Bake and my absolute favourite crumble and custard! IMG_20200422_110354-COLLAGE

If you want to try some of these recipes then you can download them for free at their free online recipe library, then if you like them as much as I do you can then support Mark and his family by buying their recipe books also available on the site.

And the other bonus is some of the recipes use protein shakes in them to up the protein levels of the recipes, and I can use my Forever Lite Ultra Vanilla or Chocolate shakes in those recipes too.  Double Bonus!

Aloe Aly x

 

Week 3 – is anyone buying?

Right now we are just entering the 3rd week in the UK of our social isolation and distancing, for those who can work from home.  There are many people who have lost their income totally, and many others who may be on Furlough or shielding themselves or family members, or looking after the children, so they can’t go to work.

In my other business, my ‘day’ job with Silicon Bullet Ltd, I train bookkeepers and I have been super busy as everyone struggles to work out what they are entitled to from the daily government announcements, writing blog posts with practical tips on processing payroll and how to manage the grants and allowances when you claim them.  But for many people, it’s still a waiting game to know what they will be entitled to, if anything, and when they might get it.Aly Zoom Background

Remember though that in a couple of weeks time there will be people who are earning their 80% pay but they have greatly reduced their outgoings.  No daily commute to pay for, no take out coffees, no meals out or trips to the pub.  Also, the novelty of staying home will be wearing off and boredom will be setting in.  I know my daughter, at 20 , is starting to look at online shopping sites so when she gets her furlough wages from her part-time pub job she can buy a nice outfit for when she can go and see her friends again.

So don’t think that there is no-one around to buy your Forever Living products, or your home crafted items, or whatever it is that you sell.  Now is the time to use your enforced lockdown to be your most creative, learn how to use TikTok, learn what to post on Instagram and how to connect with people on LinkedIn, learn how to promote your business and build your connections with online networking on zoom. Whatever tasks you have been putting off because you never had time, now is the time to get on with them.

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Do your ‘homework’ now so you can grow your business, whatever it is, in the future when you are once again free to go out and socialise. Personally, I am also advocating the self-employed getting your tax return done and submitted now while you have admin and downtime, so when you are free to get out again you know a) how much tax you are needing to save up and b) you can concentrate on income-producing activities when you have more freedom.

So that’s one of the reasons I have returned to blogging here when I’ve not had time to love the last year, and I’m talking about how the wonderful Forever products are so kind to the skin when you need to wash your hands so often.  What ‘homework’ can you do ?

Aloe Aly

 

Back to School tips for parents

With schools going back this week in England and Wales getting your mindset sorted for term time and away from holiday mode can be hard for everyone.  There are a million things to plan and think about from school uniform, maybe first day nerves at a new school, and planning healthy school dinners or packed lunches.  Here are a few back to school tips I have learned parenting my two, who are now 22 and 19!

Re-establishing a Bedtime Routine

During the holidays the children have most likely enjoyed later bedtimes on the long summer nights.  Getting back to a good sleep routine can prove challenging.  Children aged six to twelve are meant to get 9 to 12 hours of sleep per night, and teens need 8 to 10 hours.  Enforcing a regular routine by switching off electronic devices at least an hour before sleep time, a bath and teeth brushing and maybe reading a book together will really help.  Remember our Forever Bright Toothgel contains Aloe Vera and does NOT contain fluoride.

Forever Bright Toothgel

Forever Bright Toothgel

The Best Start to the Day

Mornings can be busy and stressful trying to get everyone out the door with all the right kit and uniform, but you should never let your children skip breakfast.  Arriving at school hungry means they are less likely to concentrate in class.  Establishing a routine of sitting down to have breakfast together can be a great start even if it means getting up that little bit earlier.  They need plenty of protein and fibre in their breakfast to keep them satisfied until lunch.

A Healthy Lunch

Planning for a healthy and nutritious lunch for your children is not always easy, I know mine got bored easily with sandwiches and it could be difficult to think of alternatives.  Thinking outside the (lunch) box mine enjoyed cold leftovers of favourite meals, scotch eggs and other savoury snacks as a change, plus at least one piece of fruit and veg in their lunch box each day.

Some children though no matter how hard you try just won’t have a varied diet, I know when I was a child I was a right pain in the neck to my parents.  If your children will try the Forever Aloe Vera Gels which are in plain, Berry or Peach flavours you know they are getting plenty of nutrients including vitamin C.  Also we have Forever Kids supplements which will give your child vitamin A, C, D and B12 as well as iron and zinc.  See how the drinking gels have changed in my previous post.

Forever Aloe Gels

Forever Aloe Gels

Get their Brain Trained

After being away from the classroom for so long your children may not have been exercising their brain much in the summer.  Try and help them do the activities they enjoy which involve reading and writing in the holidays.  Maybe a game of Scrabble or Rummikub with older children will start to get them thinking again.  They also need a quiet place to work available to them away from siblings and distractions if that is possible once they are back at school so they can concentrate.

Keep Getting them Outside

Going back to school doesn’t mean the end of outdoor fun.  September is a month when the weather often improves to give us all a last taste of summer before autumn and shorter days are with us.  Try and go for a walk after school, call in at the park, or for me, I’d go for a walk with the dog in our local forest.  Get outside somewhere that your children have space and can climb, jump, run and just be kids rather than being stuck indoors.

What tips do you have for parents getting back into the routine of school?  It might be you are sad to wave them off at the school gates, or are you skipping home feeling ready to get back on with your life and your business again after 6 weeks of family fun.

If you have been thinking of joining Forever Living but you couldn’t over the summer with the children under your feet, then get in touch now and I can support you in getting your business going.  School gates are a fabulous place to share the Forever opportunity too.

Business Networking for Network Marketers

I have been attending business to business networking events since 2009 and I have met many other network marketers at my meetings over the years.  Some who totally get business networking and others who you can see just don’t get it.

In fact, when I started networking back them I wasn’t a network marketer myself, I was promoting my bookkeeping and IT business Silicon Bullet. I met a Forever Living distributor and tried their products and fell in love with them so decided to join.  Then I learned about the business behind the products.  It’s a slow conversion but a comfortable one, and I am proof that Business to Business networking works for a Network Marketer.

Don’t go in for the hard sell

We are often taught in Network Marketing to introduce the opportunity to everyone we meet, get names on our who do you know list, and it’s a numbers game, to get people to attend our presentations so they can then make an informed decision about if the opportunity is for them.

Business networking though is different.  People do not necessarily attend networking groups to buy. Everyone is there with their own business and won’t take kindly to a hard sell, or to an invitation to a coffee or ‘one to one’ where you whip out your presentation if they have not expressed an interest in your company previously.  Don’t meet people and be the one to do all the talking.  You will make a far better impression if you are the one doing the listening.

How can you make  Networking work for you if you are a Network Marketer?

  • Go with the mindset of getting to know the people in the room.  Listen to them and see how you can help them.
  • Take your products along and talk about the benefits of using them, but don’t take too much, focus on one thing at a time.  Have samples for people to try, taste or rub on, whatever is appropriate.
  • If it’s possible, get involved with running the meetings. I now attend 4 Networking where the meetings are run by members who take on a team role.  It increases your visibility in the group and enables you to show off your organisational or other skills to members.  It also brings you closer to the other team members at the meetings.
  • Try and do something memorable in your 40 second or one minute pitch (I quite often sing as that’s my hobby).
  • Be a product of your products and a shining example of your company.
  • If the networking group allows it – offer to give a talk about something related to your business or an area you are knowledgeable about.

Meeting 4 Sight photo Aly MK Lunch

Don’t give up !

Give it time.  Don’t expect quick results.  I was attending a group for over 6 months before I started to get any sales.

If you follow these simple tips you are bound to make connections with people who will become your customers first and may go on to be team members later, or who might refer people to you who could join your team.  When you start to make sales then always ask for recommendations within the networking community to use in your social media.

When I think back to the lady I met all those years ago who did Forever Living at my first networking group, I think at least 50% of the people in the room are now her customers or team members so I can see from example how it really works.

4 Networking

I joined 4 Networking in 2017 and quickly joined a team to help run the local meetings.  In 2018 I was promoted to being a Regional Leader for the network, overseeing a number of meetings in my local area.

If you would like to find out more about this business networking organisation, which prides itself on it’s relaxed but still business-like meetings then do get in touch I can share the details of local meetings.  You can take a look at the 4 Networking Website yourself to see where the nearest meetings are to you, they are spread all over the UK, but not yet available in other countries.

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Making Networking Work – Givers Gain

Some people get networking and some people don’t.  If you arrive at the meetings with the wrong mind set and attitude then you won’t get anything out of it.  You will leave thinking this networking group is rubbish, I didn’t get any business.

The first thing to need to do when you arrive at a networking group is think about why you are there.  Are you there to spend money and buy products and services?  No? If not – then why would you expect anyone else in the room to be any different to you?

If you arrive thinking I must tell people about the wonderful services I offer because I need to sell sell sell to the room, then you will most likely go away disappointed. You need to change your own mindset first in order to make the most from a business networking environment.

MK Lunch Nov 2017 OPen networking

 

Networking is about making connections. The clue is in the name!  You are building a network of contacts.  Linking with people from many different business backgrounds and really getting to know them which is the first step in a longer relationship which will in all likelihood lead further down the line to useful referrals and more business.

Recently I joined a different networking group, 4N.  Their Mantra is Meet – Like – Know – Trust.  These 4 steps take time, dedication, regular attendance and actually showing an interest in the people you meet, and in my 6 months in 4N I have seen first hand how this change in mindset really works.

Towcester Lunch 2017 Duncan Brad

If you take the time to really get to know the people in the room, see how you can help them, connect to them outside of meetings on social media channels then the old mantra of givers gain comes into play.  Imagine if everyone in this room had this attitude then you will find you will be on the receiving end of others generosity just as you give to others.

MK Lunch Squats November 2017

Thank you to 4N Member David D’Souza Photography for allowing me to use his pictures from 4N Towcester Lunch and 4N Milton Keynes Lunch.

If you would like to learn more about 4 Networking then do get in touch and you can come and visit one of my meetings in Olney, Towcester or Milton Keynes.

 

Don’t Take It Sitting Down: 4 Great Standing Workstations You Can Afford

As more and more of our work even as Network Marketers seems to be done online, I thought a post about the choices on the market for standing desks and why they can be good for us would be really useful, so this post was produced with the help of www.reviews.com :


Office workers everywhere are taking a stand against sitting.

Increasingly, the modern workplace is a competition to see who can sit and stare at a computer monitor over the longest stretch. Workers often find themselves trapped behind a desk – usually while seated – for weeks-worth of extended workdays. Often, they barely move through each day.desk2

When the dangers of this new immobility started coming to light, media sounded the alarm. Headlines shouted the news: remaining seated for extended periods hurts circulation and correlates with the onset of type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Dr. James Levine of the Mayo clinic set off a mini-firestorm in 2014 when he coined the phrase “sitting is the new smoking.

One answer to the problems of sitting is to stand up. As the awareness of the threat of sitting has grown, so has the popularity of the standing workstation. Standing relieves many of the circulatory problems of extended seat time, and demands the use of more muscles in our bodies throughout the day. Who knew the answer could be this simple?standing-desk-infographic

Recently, the market for standing workstations – and those able convert from sitting to a standing configuration – has exploded. This is especially true among those who work from home and aren’t bound by office design standards or low cubicle walls. Today, workers who refuse take it sitting down have many affordable options for taking a stand.

A standing workstation can be as simple as a high-top bistro table crowned with a cardboard box to raise the working surface. But for those with a little money to spend, there are some great commercially-available desks to get you on your feet. Most can be configured to your specific needs at the time of purchase. As an important bonus, many can go from standing to sitting with the touch of a button.

Reviews.com recently spent six weeks researching and testing 67 adjustable standing desks to create a guide including several outstanding options suitable for a variety of budgets, design aesthetics, and work space needs. Their full guide is available at http://www.reviews.com/standing-desk/, but here’s a selection of retailers where you can get standing desks in the UK :

  • http://uk.varidesk.com/ – This style is a desktop modifier, so it sits on top of a standard seated desk and adjusts from there. It’s a very cost-efficient model for those who want to try an adjustable desk without going all-in.
  • http://www.conset.org.uk/ – This company allows for lots of customization in all their models, but it looks like they may only sell through brick-and-mortar retail locations, as opposed to online.
  • https://www.electricstandingdesks.co.uk/ – This company when they found they could not get Conset desks online created their own online shop so you can get hold of them in the UK.  The desks are rebranded from the Conset range, and although the website only shows the most popular models you can get in touch with them to build any of the range of desks Conset offer.
  • http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/ikea/campaigns/standing-desks/ – Ikea is an affordable and accessible retailer for a great many people!
  • http://www.posturite.co.uk/desks-furniture/height-adjustable-standing-desks.html – Posturite looks like a great retailer for those especially concerned with health and comfort, as they specialize in ergonomic furniture. They also include free setup with delivery, which is a real perk! Those desks can sometimes be tricky to set up.

When shopping, keep in mind differences in warranties and standard features. Be aware there are some manual crank-up desks available that cost no less than the electric kind, but come with the added drawback of shaking the contents of the desk with every adjustment. In this world, electric is the way to go.jarvis-desk

The strong advantage shared by the desks listed here: They’re easily convertible from sitting to standing and back again. In the rush to avoid the plague of sitting, many workers have gone too far in the opposite direction. It turns out standing for too long can have its own drawbacks. Foot problems, varicose veins, and back issues can dampen the enthusiasm of those who have thrown off the chains of the desk chair. As in so many other things, moderation is key: A workday spent in a variety of postures – including sitting – seems to offer the best shot at comfortable and healthy productivity.

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.  I am so pleased with how well my blog has worked for me in 2015.

I have recruited 6 new team members this year as a direct result of them finding me through my blog.  They are from Northampton, Nigeria, Tyne and Wear, Glasgow, Ipswich and Oldham. That spread would never have been possible without my readers, so thank you for reading and sharing my words.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 230,000 times in 2015. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 10 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Now let’s see what 2016 brings !

Aloe Matters Magazine

When you join Forever Living as an independent business owner, then you may be your own boss, but you are definitely not alone.  As I have mentioned in my previous post about Online Resources you have a huge amount of support and information from Forever Living to support you every step of the way.

Aloe Matters

Aloe Matters

The Aloe matters magazine, which is published periodically throughout the year, is one of these support tools we have.  The magazine is available in traditional paper format, as featured in the current Aloe Matters Competition, but also it is available as an on line magazine full of interviews, product information, hints and tips and recipe ideas for those following the Fitness Program too.

This is a great magazine to read as a customer to find out about new and exciting products, but also as an independent business owner it’s a great resource we can use to support our business.

Example Content

The current magazine, which is available until March 2016, has the following articles available – either click on the links to view, or get in touch via the Contact Me link above for your own paper copy.

  • Build your summer body this Winter – Forget crawling away; prepare yourself for the coming year with Forever’s tips to super-sizing your workout.
  • Marcus Leach:Standing at the centre of the world – Not everyone is bold enough to face their fears, but Marcus Leach was determined to battle through.
  • Winter walks – The UK can be truly spectacular this time of year.  Breathe in its beauty on one of these four fantastic featured walks.
  • Be your own boss – Former PE teacher Chloe Edwards shares how she made a dramatic decision that transformed her life.
  • A flawless makeover – Find out how our flawless by Sonya makeup transformed one reader’s look, plus tips on how you can easily transition from day to evening in just a few easy steps.
  • Beat the chill – Don’t let the cold air ruin your holiday. Find out how you can beat the chill with the help of Forever.
  • Pet-friendly products – Forever love animals so much; we even have a pet friendly product range, designed to benefit our 4 legged friends.
  • Why Forever? – What exactly makes Forever stand out from the network marketing crowd.

So what are you waiting for – request your copy now or have an good browse on-line.  And if you are interested in starting your own Forever Living journey then get in touch now and see how you can join my team.

Success Day

It’s a dark wet December Day,  wet and miserable outside,  but I’ve come to the NEC in Birmingham for the last Forever Success Day of the year.  The energy and excitement levels in this room banish all thoughts of the dark dreary weather outside.

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So what is a success day all about?

First it’s about recognising the accomplishments of business owners who are working in their business,  whether you are new to Forever and you have had your first promotion,  or if you’ve been in the business for a long time and built your own team to hit the higher levels.

Those successful business owners all started on the first rung of the ladders like myself and the rest of my team.  At success day you hear many business stories which are wonderfully inspirational,  and you never know when that little nugget of information will inspire you.

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Sharing tips for success

As well as the recognitions,  the other huge part of success day is learning from successful business owners.  It never ceases to amaze me how the top leaders in our business are so happy to share their top tips,  about the products,  recruiting team members and how to build your own business.

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Marketing Tools

At Success Day all of the recommended retailers who supply the information and tools which can make your Forever Business so much easier also have stalls where you can pick up fantastic products,  books and advice to help you run your business. It’s a great place to pick up banners,  display materials,  and fantastic personal development books.

Personally I can never resist the product offers and I always go home with a bag full of products I can then pass on the offers to my customers.  I always save more money on these offers than I spent on my success express ticket!

So what are you waiting for.  Dates for Success Express in 2016 are already set.  Get those dates in your diary and come and be inspired in 2016. #successday

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Keeping Moving – Testing a Fitbit

So I have to admit, since my post about the Blacklight Run I have become a lapsed exerciser again.  Not totally, I still love my high energy classes with Red Squirrels Zumba twice a week, and go to a local Pilates class with Nikki from Move Better Fitness which I love, but the running has ground to a halt.

I think this is because I am not entirely happy when I am running. I don’t enjoy it but I also worry as I run.  The main reason being my total right hip replacement, which was carried out when I was 36 in 2007.  In the back of my mind I know my hip has a limited lifespan, and running just feels like too high impact.  Basically I don’t want to wear out my lovely titanium and ceramic hip.

My day job is very sedentary.  I basically sit in front of a computer all day either bookkeeping, training or promoting my business.  I need some kind of motivation to keep moving between my fitness classes.

Fitbit Review

So I am trialling a Fitbit Flex which a friend of mine is wanting to sell.  I’m going to see if this piece of tech is the kick up the backside I need to get moving again, and watch my food intake more closely. I am a user of Endomondo and My Fitness Pal, and with both these apps they were very motivational when I first started to use them.  I walked a huge 1300 miles in 2012 by following the 100 miles a month challenge on Endomondo, a fact I am very proud of. But the novelty has warn off and I need something new.

Setting up the Fitbit Flex

Once I realised the app wouldn’t work with my Nexus 10 tablet, it was really quick and easy to set up my Fitbit on my Nexus 4.  I was able to set up my profile with ease and the first thing I did was log my first nights sleep.

You do have to remember via the app to say when you are going to sleep and when you wake up, then the fitbit tracks your restlessness and gives you a great graph to see how well you slept.  Not enough is the answer at the moment!

Linking Fitbit to MyFitness Pal and Endomondo

How the apps fitted together got me scratching my head at first, but with trial end error I soon sorted it out. I had to log into my individual accounts for My Fitness Pal and Endomondo on my PC in order to set up the new link to the Fitbit.

In Settings -> Connect you can link Endomondo to your Fitbit

In Settings -> Connect you can link Endomondo to your Fitbit

Historically I logged my exercise on Endomondo which then fed into My Fitness Pal to ‘buy’ me extra calories   I have now had to switch off this link as Endomondo feeds into the Fitbit app with my exercise, then the Fitbit app feeds this information into My Fitness Pal in the form of a Fitbit Calories Adjustment.  If Endomondo also feeds the exercise into My Fitness Pal then the exercise is double counted.  It makes your stats look great but won’t help much with my weight loss target!  The exercise from Endomondo in My Fitness Pal was also fed back into the Fitbit double counting there too – are you still with me?

Fitbit Calorie Adjustment in My Fitness Pal

Fitbit Calorie Adjustment in My Fitness Pal

I do however love the fact that I can still log my food in My Fitness Pal and this then gets automatically fed into the Fitbit App in the form of a calorie value per meal.  I’ve used My Fitness Pal for years now and I have a database of favourite meals already set up, I am a creature of habit, so I dreaded having to recreate all this in the Fitbit app.  Now I don’t have to.

Early Signs

So early signs that having this new Fitbit will hep me get back on track with being more active are good, as I am itching to get out and increase my step count (currently at 4000 steps at 2pm in the afternoon) , I’ve drunk more water today, and I’m not snacking as I’m back to logging all my food.

Let’s see how long this new inspiration lasts.