Do you fear change? I sometimes do. I think we all do, to some extent, because it usually means the outcome is unknown.

In truth, our brains are hard-wired to search for comfort in understanding. When we don’t know what will happen, we begin to make up scenarios, and that leads to worry.

One of the many things recruitment has taught me is that people also find it hard to move on when something familiar comes to an end. Fear of failure comes into play. If we don’t know how something will turn out, we’d rather not try because it could be risky or end badly.

When it comes to your career, it usually boils down to one of three things: the people, the role, or the environment. The good news is that these areas should all be able to be improved by talking openly with your employer.

Having said that, I suggest that you do not leave things too late. Don’t wait until things are dire before acting. By putting yourself in a position where you want out of a job as quickly as possible, you open the door to making decisions that lack the insight and information you need to make the best choice.

Then, when it doesn’t go well, there is a strong chance you will reinforce the idea that change is not good, rather than recognising it was needed earlier so your decision can be reached in a calm, knowledge-led, and balanced way.

I see this happen a lot. Where people know, deep down, that they want to move but keep telling themselves they are being too fussy, too demanding, or will just stick it out for another six months and wait for that pay rise, bonus, or promotion.

Whatever the reason, we all know that more often than not, if you do not make the change, then nothing will change at all. So, how do you know when it is time to find a new job? There are a lot of things that can trigger the search.

It could be more bad days than good. Uncontrollable or overwhelming stress levels. A lack of energy and motivation. Persistent frustration and issues you can’t seem to shake. Being unhappy in, and subsequently out of, work. These are all signs that it is time to reassess your situation and start being honest with yourself.

Right now, a lack of career opportunities and salary progression is prevalent. With promises being broken or put on hold and work-life balance suffering as a result.

While no job is completely perfect, it’s important to keep your bigger picture at the forefront of decision-making. Consider the experience you’re gaining, the networks you’re exposed to, and the kudos you get from working where you do. This will help you understand what to do next.

What you need to remember is that you are not alone. We all experience a degree of apprehension when it comes to change. That’s why comfort zones exist.

Changing your job is a big decision, but being uncomfortable with uncertainty is not a good enough excuse to avoid it. If you think it might be time to move on, my advice is to explore it. Reach out and explore what’s out there. Do some research. Speak to someone you trust. The more you know, the less scary it will become.

Of course, the grass is not always greener, but your time is very precious, and if you’re not happy, you need to make a change of some kind. Whatever you decide to do, be confident, and don’t be put off by fear, because the rewards when you find a job you love will be life-changing.

Another year has passed at lightning speed. Older? Definitely. Wiser? I hope so. It’s certainly been another unpredictable and challenging year in recruitment, but as it draws to a close, I have been reflecting on what I have learned and what the next twelve months could hold in the world of accountancy and finance.

Skills Shortages

There is no end in sight for the skills shortages that are driving an increase in outsourcing services overseas. Firms are also expanding their advisory offerings to provide businesses with greater management information, so they become much more than the traditional once-a-year annual audit and accounts service. Both areas of growth will heighten pressure to attract and retain talent and it could be a challenging time for businesses trying to keep salary demands under control.

Employee Wellbeing 

Businesses that embrace people’s desire for a better work-life balance will fare well. According to ACCA, 83% of accountants would like to work remotely at least one day per week. In a candidate-driven market, embracing hybrid working and demonstrating that you can deliver on personal development plans will appeal to a wider talent pool.

Advancing Technology

Continuing to shape the future, technology already plays a big role in the accounting sector. Moving at a relentless pace, according to the ACCA, 63% of us would like more technology training. To stay relevant, businesses need to adopt a culture of technological innovation, which includes upskilling and valuing those skills in the recruitment process.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Employers will continue to place a greater emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion in their recruitment strategies. With the benefits well documented, it is important to recognise the need for this in the accounting and finance sectors. A survey by Skills, Retention, and Attraction confirmed that 57% of UK businesses regard this as a strategic priority as it opens a wider candidate market and draws talent from all backgrounds.

Training and Skills

The ongoing impact of the pandemic and the training and skills gaps created means that while some professional roles will continue to call for college degrees, recruiters will be casting their net wider. Larger employers already target candidates in education, with entry-level recruits requiring lower salaries. Increasingly, it’s your talent rather than the pedigree of your institution or past employer that counts.

Relocate or Resign

For those not keen on hybrid working, 2024 will see a resurgence in the expectation that people head back into the office four or five days a week, meaning there are tough choices ahead. In the accounting profession, as a result, we expect to see more people choosing to move or simply resigning to find something closer to home that offers the flexibility they seek.

Generation Z

Set to become a significant part of the workforce, successful recruiters need to adapt to the distinct values, traits, and preferences of this generation. To attract and retain Gen-Z talent, companies need to leverage digital recruitment platforms, bring a focus to their social responsibility efforts, offer clear pathways for career progress and skill development, and provide a flexible working environment.

While I don’t profess to see the future clearly, I believe it will be bright for those who leverage technology, nurture inclusivity, and meet the needs and expectations of candidates and employees.

Embracing a better work-life balance and remote work preferences will widen your talent pool. Technological innovation remains key, with a strong call for more training in advancing technologies.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are rightly gaining prominence in recruitment strategies, and, with the evolving landscape moving toward valuing talent over institutional pedigree, Generation Z could be ready to take centre stage.

Despite the skills shortages driving outsourcing and the pressure to balance well-being with business demands, I remain optimistic in my outlook for 2024 as, however we see it, the journey will continue to be marked by challenges and buoyed by the resilience and adaptability of the accounting and finance industry.

Influenced by economic uncertainty and rising costs, the latest UK Report on Jobs, commissioned by the REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) and KMPG, suggests a worrying time ahead for the region’s job market.

Perhaps most ominous, the report highlights a fall in overall demand for new starters for the first time since February 2021. While the contraction is marginal, underlying data reveals a fresh but slight reduction in permanent vacancies, with demand for temporary staff moderated to a four-month low.

It appears to be the public sector that is taking the biggest hit, declining at a far steeper rate than individual or shareholder-owned businesses. In the private sector, a modest number of the 400 recruitment professionals feeding into the survey reported an uptick in clients exploring temporary staffing solutions as an alternative. Rising at a gentle pace, the figures also suggest that permanent vacancies are increasing in five of the ten employment categories, which suggests all is not lost. However, with businesses undoubtedly nervous, the result is a labour market that appears to be in a precarious position once again.

From a recruiter’s viewpoint, while we are seeing companies show a willingness to become more adaptable in their hiring strategy, there has not been a significant shift in the landscape toward temporary placements in the North East and so it will be fascinating to see if this trend continues.

Diving deeper into the report it is not all doom and gloom. There are some green shoots evident for employers who will be pleased to discover the pressure that has been building to offer inflated starting salaries is beginning to ease thanks to gradually rising candidate availability.

Regional and sector variations play a pivotal role in understanding the nuances, but anecdotal evidence from our region suggests that redundancies, increasing unemployment, and slowing market conditions are significant contributors.

In its summary, the REC reasoned that the market is finding the bottom of a year-long slowdown. The relative buoyancy of the private sector is likely to be driving this more positive outlook and while vacancies are reducing they remain robust for many industries with some sectors – hospitality, engineering, logistics and healthcare – continuing to experience very strong and growing demand.

What is clear is that depending on where you stand, the recruitment landscape is a mixed bag of challenges and opportunities. Reinforced by ONS data, there is little doubt that companies are becoming slightly more hesitant to commit to new recruitment in a bid to limit uncertainty and control costs. Whether you view this as a temporary disruption or think it will lead to permanent change, there is certainly a need to face the challenges head-on.

As always, internally, a focus on the development of skills and staff retention is prudent. In the interim, slower wage growth should also ease pressure on employers as it is likely to lead to a reduction in the rise of inflation rates.

For anyone looking to navigate the job market as an employer or job seeker, my advice is to make sure you are partnered with an expert in your field. Someone who can guide you safely through the ambiguity.

Regardless of the conditions, to be successful, you need to demonstrate what it is that makes you stand out from the crowd and, as an experienced recruitment consultancy, we can offer you support and expertise to help you find the best path forward.

When it comes to career development, the first thing that springs to mind is the pursuit of promotion and progression. We’re immersed in a culture fueled by the desire to advance, elevate our status, and take on more responsibility. Yet, establishing a successful career is only one chapter in our work story.

Recent research has revealed that most people – including those with the most enviable careers – find themselves unhappy at work in their mid-40s. This mid-career crisis occurs when we start to sense a disconnection and misalignment with our chosen path.

Reflected in dwindling enthusiasm or an unsettling inability to focus with the same vigour as before, one common cause is spending too much of your time putting out fires and avoiding bad outcomes, rather than pursuing projects with positive and invigorating value.

Naturally, when people are disenchanted, they begin to question their choices. A loss of passion and purpose drains their energy, giving way to introspection, apathy, and a growing curiosity about what might be.

Unhappy, they face the dilemma of ‘cope or quit’, but the most pivotal step is recognising these signs. A mid-career crisis may feel like you are beyond the point of return, but it is a chapter you can rewrite. It is possible to rediscover your sense of fulfilment and purpose.

Make Time to Feel Good

A negative workplace can harm your mental health. My advice is to create room for other pleasures in your life, for example, reviving an old hobby or taking up a new one. If you love travelling, take a short break and come back refreshed. If you dream of playing the guitar, while it may not seem as important as your job, it can help you to relax, feel a sense of accomplishment, and discover new ways to be happy.

Don’t Forget to Talk

A problem is better shared so talk to those you trust and seek guidance where you can. Having a mentor who has been through it before can help you navigate your way forward. If you feel comfortable, you can also approach your management or HR to share your concerns or express your enthusiasm to work on new projects or teams. Whoever you choose, use their guidance to help you make a concrete plan of action. Setting yourself new goals will also help, but if you feel like making a career change is your only choice, don’t be scared to leap.

Identify the Root Cause

Understanding what is at the crux of your crisis will guide your steps. With this clarity, you can chart a course to overcome the problems. Consider the following areas and how they make you feel:

Your position: Have you outgrown it? How do you feel about your daily tasks? How much responsibility and authority do you have? Is it time to assess whether you need a more challenging environment?

Your colleagues: Sometimes, it’s not the work. Do strained relationships or personality clashes create any problems? If so, it may be time to consider new companions for the next leg of your journey; ones who resonate with your values and aspirations.

The industry: The seemingly relentless churn of the same industry over many years can lead to disenchantment. If your skills are adaptable, consider exploring a new industry that excites you and holds more profound meaning.

The company: Has the passion for your company faded? When you feel the alignment has gone, it may be time to seek a new North Star; one where your passions and principles are met.

An unspoken reality for many people, a mid-career crisis can be hard to identify. The important thing is to keep a balanced perspective and not forget that missing out in some way is unavoidable in life. If you work through these strategies and they are not enough to reunite you with your career, then it may be time to make a change, as midlife is not too late.

If you aren’t aware, burnout in the workplace is a condition that the World Health Organisation (WHO) lay to blame resolutely at the feet of the employer.

Officially characterising it as “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”, typically, burnout occurs when someone’s physical or emotional reserves are spent. Often, the result of continued stress and dissatisfaction, burnout happens when the negative effects of pressure are amplified by a lack of support and resources, strict deadlines, and long hours.

Compounded by people’s unreasonable expectations of themselves or their personal lives, employee burnout can manifest in the workplace in many ways, from increased frustration and indifference to anger, withdrawal, reduced effectiveness, and even absenteeism.

While WHO see burnout as the consequence of mismanagement, in truth, outside factors like money worries, relationship issues and challenges in people’s home life can also play a significant role in what is a serious issue for both individual employees and the wider working environment.

Encouraging an open and supportive culture is vital, along with having a mental health policy in place but recognising the early signs and taking the appropriate action is the best way to prevent burnout.

SIGNS TO LOOK FOR:

Exhaustion – both physical and emotional, persistent fatigue and a lack of being able to concentrate after a good night’s sleep or time off are signs to keep an eye on.

Productivity Drops – a noticeable decline in motivation and performance, struggling to meet deadlines or making mistakes they wouldn’t normally make are red flags.

Detachment – people experiencing burnout might become increasingly cynical and detached from their work, colleagues, and the business as a whole.

Irritability – employees may become short-tempered, react strongly to minor stressors, and have difficulty maintaining composure in challenging situations.

Physical Symptoms – from headaches to stomach aches, a lack of sleep, and even susceptibility to illnesses can be indicative of burnout as chronic stress weakens the immune system.

Neglected Self-Care – employees might prioritise work over personal well-being, leading to the neglection of exercise, healthy eating, and spending time with loved ones.

Absenteeism – be attentive to people with more frequent sick days, personal days, or unexplained absences. Employees might feel the need to take time off to cope with their stress and exhaustion.

Being permanently “on” – with technology, people who find it increasingly difficult to disconnect from work and relax in their own time are worthy of observation.

If you notice any of these signs in your colleagues – or yourself – it’s essential to address them quickly. Having regular conversations about mental health and highlighting the support available is a good start.

Try to remember that this can be a hard topic for people to open up about. Removing the stigma and providing access to counselling can help employees to better understand and manage their condition. The NHS offers a free counselling service, as do several charities, including Mind, the mental health charity.

Burnout is a condition that is triggered by an individual’s work but it is their relationship with their work that leads to the illness. Understanding this is perhaps the most important piece of information I can share with you because your interventions should always focus on improving the relationship between an individual and their work.

Coupled with WHO’s definition, hopefully, we can identify and validate people’s symptoms as well as make sure the modern workplace can help them to make changes that will prevent burnout in the first place.

Summer is a time of relaxation, a chance to unwind and recharge our batteries. It also offers a rare opportunity to take a moment among the daily demands of work to reflect on our professional path and evaluate where we stand.

In my line of work, I often encounter people who have already decided to seek a new horizon. But let me be clear, taking stock and examining your career doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to move on. In fact, what I am suggesting is simply about taking responsibility and holding yourself accountable for ensuring your ambitions are aligned with your personal goals.

Granted, finding time for introspection amid a busy and contented life is not easy. However, it is precisely during these periods of contentment that we should evaluate our direction and progress to ensure our careers remain fulfilling. Summer gives us the extra time and space needed to reflect on this and our aspirations.

So, where do we begin? Start by asking yourself some fundamental yet pivotal questions. Are you excelling in your field? Does going to work bring you joy? Are you happy with your work-life balance? Do your values align with your colleagues and does your company’s mission still ignite your passion?

Ask yourself when the last time was that you received a performance appraisal or sought feedback from your boss. Can you outline your key objectives for the next 3, 6 and 12 months, or have they evolved since your last discussion with your manager? Being aware of these changes and maintaining open communication is essential, as your line manager will have a significant impact on your future promotion prospects.

Assuming you aspire to continue growing and developing professionally, consider the new skills you’ve acquired over the past year. Are you actively expanding your knowledge base? Are there any courses or support systems available to help your personal and professional growth?

Moreover, when was the last time you refreshed your CV? Keeping an eye on the job market not only reveals enticing opportunities but also ensures you understand your own value – especially if you have remained with a single employer for a significant period.

Even the most exceptional jobs can lose their appeal over time. Sometimes, you do need a change or a fresh challenge to reignite your passion. However, before diving into a job search, make sure you think carefully about your current role, employer, and prospects. And be honest with yourself but remember that work will never rival the joy of spending time with your loved ones, so be realistic and kind to yourself too.

To find genuine happiness, I firmly believe you need to discover a purpose in your work that aligns with your long-term goals. This requires understanding what truly matters to you in life. When your strengths align with this purpose, determining your next steps becomes more natural, and the power to make it happen lies with you.

So, embrace the summer as more than just a season of leisure. Use it to unlock new and exciting career opportunities that match your aspirations. Take charge of your professional journey, and let the sunshine illuminate your path to fulfilment.

This year, instead of merely dreaming of distant shores, why not use this break to embark on a fulfilling journey of self-discovery?

It never ceases to amaze me how small the North East business community can appear. For the most part, I believe this is one of our major strengths, but when it comes to searching for a new job, the closeness of the professional community places added emphasis on how you behave at every stage of the process.

From the initial allure of a new opportunity to attending a job interview and how you exit a business, the commitment and integrity you show to current and future employers has the potential to propel your career forward or leave a mark on your professional standing for some time to come.

So, what is the best thing to do if you start to get itchy feet? Well, the natural temptation is to quickly pull together a CV, fire up an online job board and begin submitting applications to see if you can secure an interview. If that sounds like you, before you go any further, I suggest you pause for a breath and take the time to work out exactly what it is that you are not happy about.

Ask yourself what the reasons are you want to leave your current role. Would you like to solve the issues and stay? Are you convinced it’s time for a change and genuinely ready to start a new chapter in your career?

If you think some factors can be adjusted and will make a positive difference, I encourage you to be brave and speak openly with your line manager. Whatever the motivation for change – money, progression, culture, work-life balance – it is better to understand the scope for this to happen before committing to speculatively attend an interview or use a job offer as leverage when you kick-start the conversation. No employer – current or future – will ever thank you for that.

And with plenty of exciting opportunities around, good people do not stay on the market for long so, while the conversation might seem daunting, whatever the outcome, you will have been honest and transparent from the outset. Whether you ultimately stay or go, you will have conducted yourself professionally and maturely and gained respect in the process.

In contrast, opting for what seems to be the less confrontational route of finding a new role, resigning and hoping to hear how important you are and that your employer can grant you that elusive pay rise and the flexibility for remote working is the type of negotiation that only serves to erode trust.

In my time as a recruiter, I’ve seen many people surrender to a flattering counter-offer. Again, it’s the easier choice but invariably in those cases, the true problems don’t go away. Once your employer is over the short-term worry of losing you, often, the way they view you will change; particularly when it comes to future promotions and salary reviews.

This is why it pays to be authentic and true to whatever course of action you choose. There is profound wisdom in embracing a commitment to your employer until you have explored all the options and are genuinely sure it is the right thing to move on.

When embarking on the recruitment process without a commitment to it, you have to consider your long-term career and reputation which is on the line anytime a prospective employer invests in you by meeting or offering you the chance to join their team.

And while people understand when an offer is turned down in favour of an alternative move, how you behave will affect the opportunities available next time you come to the market. Staying with your existing employer can leave a bitter taste in people’s mouths. Nobody appreciates feeling like they have had their time wasted and your reputation and integrity are hugely important in a place as connected as the North East.

When speaking with clients, there is one question I am repeatedly asked: Why are we struggling to recruit?

It’s an ongoing challenge, and a topic for a good, honest conversation but, in the past month or two it has moved higher up the agenda as businesses seek to understand why they are not attracting the right candidates and more importantly, what we can do to find solutions.

Right now, there simply aren’t enough quality people to go around and, when your company is hiring, that means you can often find yourself sharing what you believe is an attractive opportunity, but you can’t seem to find the right person.

When recruitment is an add-on to your role and you’re struggling to fill a vacancy, it can be difficult to work out why, so I’ve pulled together my thoughts on the most common issues, and what you can do if you are in a similar position.

Speed

I cannot stress the importance of speed enough when recruiting. Not only does it create a good impression about how your business operates, but it also shows you are interested in the candidate and decisive. This means you are less likely to lose out to another firm. The only potential drawback is if you move too fast without understanding how far along the “changing jobs” journey someone is, however, this can be overcome with some sensitivity.

The Interview

When someone attends an interview, if they don’t warm up to the host, it doesn’t matter how good your company or the opportunity is. If people don’t like who they meet – and have options – they will not take the job. You need the first point of contact to be an enthusiastic advocate for your business. Someone who will put people at ease, can sell the opportunity and workplace well, and is confident, friendly and a good communicator.

This extends to the interview format and what works best. Consider how many people meet the candidate. You shouldn’t need more than two, as it makes the meeting less appealing for the candidate to open up and harder to create a personal connection.

Tests to quantify values or competency need careful consideration in terms of timing. If personality is key, you may want to assess it before the interview. A technical test alongside an interview will unnerve many applicants, so is best managed carefully; with the reasons for the test explained.

Be Flexible with Experience

With the absence of the ideal candidate, my advice is to be flexible in the experience you consider. Have an open outlook toward training in some areas if you find a person who is the right fit culturally or has needs that require a certain level of flexibility on your part. As a guideline, I’d recommend you don’t dismiss a CV if it includes more than 60% of what it is you need.

Your Offer

What exactly are you offering people and, perhaps more importantly, does it align with what they see as an attractive work-life integration? The answer may well depend upon your age and outlook. What was once typical is no longer desirable for many. If you want someone in the office 9 to 5, five days a week, you will struggle to fill your vacancy. Again, flexibility is key, as you may need to consider different working patterns just to measure up to your competitors.

You may note that salary has not been mentioned. It goes without saying that you need to be competitive and know what the market rate is, as, if you do, money is rarely the reason a candidate will turn a good opportunity down.

In a difficult market, with technical shortages that aren’t going away, you have to be realistic and open to changing your approach. Whilst there is no silver bullet to solve your staffing problems overnight, these key areas should certainly help.

Have you ever gone through the recruitment process and found the ideal candidate only for them to reject your job offer?

In a perfect world, everyone would agree to join your team, but the truth is that this is an all-too-common problem for employers and a growing issue in what has become a heavily candidate-driven job market.

From my experience, when talented accountancy professionals begin to look for a new challenge in public practice, they very quickly discover they have plenty of choices; often before they’ve even convinced themselves that they genuinely want to change their role.

In contrast, when employers uncover a candidate who appears to be a great fit for their team, due to the lack of available people, they tend to act quickly. While showing early intent is the right thing to do, it is also important to remember a candidate in demand needs time to build a connection with your business before they will choose you. They need to understand why your organisation is the right place for them to progress in their career, rather than going elsewhere.

So, how do to swing the decision in your favour? The first thing I suggest is to review your current recruitment process.

Begin by asking yourself whether an hour-long interview is the right format for someone to decide whether they want to spend 37 hours+ every week with you and your team. I’m not sure it would be enough for me, but your recruitment process is probably more in-depth than that already. Even so, this question is a good place to start.

With online interviews continuing in popularity, another consideration is whether people have met face-to-face. Have they seen the working environment first-hand, or spoken to any of the other employees they could be working with?

A lot of people make their final decision based on the emotions they felt during the interview process. That is why it is important to make sure it is fit for purpose. Even if this is more time-consuming, trickier to arrange, or requires a little longer to plan, once you have a two-way process in place that allows you to get what you require from the candidate but also connect with them on an emotional level and share the benefits of working in your business, you should begin to see acceptance rates climb.

There are other factors that you can influence to improve your appeal. If you suffer from low job acceptance rates, a good approach is to tackle the issue head-on and spend time trying to understand why candidates have previously turned you down.

Your recruitment partner will be able to help with this, but knowing whether the rejection is commonly down to salary and benefits, the role itself, personal restrictions (i.e. commute), a bad feeling about the company culture, or simply a better offer elsewhere, will help you to remedy problems going forward.

Rethinking your initial screening process can also lead to being able to spend more time with the right people at the interview stage and beyond. Benchmarking your salary and benefits against competitors will help you to be more competitive with your offers.

If you are keen on a candidate, you should always invite them for a second meeting. Even if it is for an informal coffee or a tour of the office, it will give you both a chance to dive a little deeper, to ask questions that don’t always fit well in an initial interview, and it will also give them a chance to see potential colleagues and get a feel for working in your business.

Whatever your recruitment plans, the most important thing is to ensure that you treat candidates with respect and communicate with them effectively and honestly from the outset. Being genuine will go a long way toward building trust; something that is critical when it comes to making a final decision.

Bryony Gibson Consulting turned 10 years old last month. When I look back, I’m not sure what I expected when I took the plunge. To be honest, I’m not even sure what I hoped for but it has been the best experience.

Jumping from a senior role in a global company to working for yourself is a big change. Yes, the experience and training are something I have to thank for getting me to where I am, but everything you do when you run your own business is completely different.

After 10 years, I feel grateful and proud about many things, especially to have played a small part in changing the lives and career paths of many people, so here are my reflections on the things I believe have benefited me most. I hope they can also help you…

1. We all need resilience

In the face of adversity, disruption, and change, we all need the ability to recover quickly. Resilience helps you to persevere, adapt, and deal with uncertainty. Relevant in all walks of life, it’s an important skill to possess, especially if you own a recruitment business.

2. Don’t be afraid to take a step back

Often, the best way to approach the unknown is to step away and put the situation into perspective. While the devil is always in the detail, sometimes you need to remember to pause and look at the bigger picture too.

3. You win some, you lose some

Understanding that you can’t win them all and everything isn’t always perfect was a big turning point. As someone who likes to feel in control, realising that you can’t – and perhaps shouldn’t – influence every situation to turn out the way you want has made a lot of situations better. What will be, will be. 

4. Clear communication solves most problems

When people have a difficult message to deliver or haven’t been upfront and honest from the start, they often avoid the issue and stop communicating. In most cases, silence does more harm than the message you should deliver. The key is honesty. It’s a lot easier and less painful than people seem to think.

5. It’s all about people

You have to work at building good relationships because people prefer to do business with people they like. Get out and network. It’s valuable time spent and all you need to do is listen, be honest, kind and helpful.

6. Keep a positive mental attitude

Very important when you work from home or on your own, your mindset is what keeps you motivated. Of course, it’s okay to doubt yourself at times but don’t allow yourself the luxury of wallowing. Stay optimistic.

7. Trust your judgement

Soak up advice, listen to those who have been there and done it before, and absorb as much knowledge as possible but remember you know your business, so respect your expertise and trust your educated judgement.

8. Nothing good comes easy

You have to put in the work if you want good results. No one is going to give you a handout. Some days will be hard and some days even harder but, as I say to candidates, nothing good grows in a comfort zone.

9. Use your time wisely

Work, and life, can be very busy but we all get the same 24 hours every day. It’s just how you use the time that makes the difference. Successful people think smartly.

10. Always take care of yourself first

This took a long time to learn, but no job is worth your health. Yes, when I feel down or ill, I can still ignore it and push on through but sometimes you need to read the signs and rest. Slow down to speed up. Whether it takes an hour or the entire day, the most important lesson is to remember to be kind to yourself.