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Helly Douglas
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If you’re a teacher, like me, you probably spend huge chunks of time making presentations for your students, staff meetings, and parent information sessions.

After a brief flirtation with the wonderful SMART notebook many years ago, I settled with creating everything on PowerPoint. And that’s what I’ve done ever since.

I’m no visual designer. Despite my best efforts, my presentations take hours. Trawling the internet to find suitable images. Always too crowded and badly laid out.

When Visme asked me if I’d like to try out their premium features, I leapt at the chance. …


Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

How has COVID-19 affected your business? For some, work is slow or dead in the water. For others, it’s been busier than ever, which brings its own challenges.

The temptation is for many companies to drop their prices until life returns to normal. Have you considered it?

On the surface, it offers many benefits. Particularly if you need to replace clients you’ve lost or are desperate for any work right now. Or perhaps business is booming, and you want to be charitable. Maybe you’ve considered a price drop to help others who are less fortunate than you.

You might think…


Two hands stretch out across an empty space to touch fingertips
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Amidst the difficulties of coronavirus, there’s never been a better time to connect with your audience. This is the perfect opportunity to develop strong relationships with your ideal clients, and to position yourself as an industry expert.

Many businesses facing financial struggles are cutting back on marketing. But why not use these difficult times to connect with your audience? Clients might not be buying, but they haven’t gone away. They’re at home watching and waiting for this to pass.

So how do you connect to your loyal audience, and attract potential new clients? …


A young red-haired girl sits at a kitchen table completing a worksheet with a pencil.
Photo by Jena Backus from Pexels

If you’re suddenly faced with the prospect of home schooling, you may well feel overwhelmed. As school close around the world, parents are having to juggle teaching their kids around work. It’s not easy for anyone.

The key to home educating in this crisis is to remember what works for others may not work for you. Every family is different. When you read articles (like this one) full of ideas, cherry-pick ones you can action in your home. You don’t need to do everything.

Be realistic about what you can deliver. If you are juggling a job and the children…


FREELANCING TIPS

three toy ghosts with arms raised in a row
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Ghosting is a familiar and frustrating experience that has become commonplace. A pitch goes well, emails exchanged and plans made. Then suddenly it all goes silent and you never hear from them again.

Ghosting happens just when everything is going great. It’s often at the point of success that the contact is suddenly broken. And the difficulty lies in understanding what, if anything, has gone wrong.

What is ghosting?

Have you heard about ghosting in relationships? Instead of an awkward breakup, one person simply disappears. According to a 2018 study, 25% of men and women report experiencing ghosting by someone they are romantically…


Toddler reaches to type on an open laptop
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

The freelance dream of working flexibly around your young family is often shown as a simple route to happiness and financial freedom. If only it was that easy. Freelance work that gives you more time at home can require far more hours than a typical desk job. Add personal responsibility and financial pressures, and you might feel like jumping back into the security of a 9–5.

Have you seen the freelancers who seem to have it all? A daily yoga routine, before a few hours work, then back to pick up the kids from school by 3pm. …


Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Most publications have style guides detailing exactly what they want from a submission. These documents are a valuable way of ensuring you don’t waste your time. Reading and understanding the style guide requirements means you know exactly what a publication is looking for before you write.

Style guides cover a variety of areas. They explain formatting requirements, grammar, and the overall feel of a piece. Many will have links to exemplar articles to show what they’re looking for. These are invaluable if you face unfamiliar requirements or are unsure about expectations. …


Photo by Rakicevic Nenad from Pexels

There’s a widely held belief that cold pitching is simply a numbers game. Email as many people as possible and you’re bound to hit upon your ideal client before long. It’s just a matter of time. But firing out hundreds of pitches each day in a quest for work isn’t sustainable or effective.

The more pitches you send out, the less time you have to personalize them. This will damage rather than improve your success rate. Instead, identifying your target market, tailoring your pitch, and increasing research time is a simple way to increase positive responses.

Mistake 1: pitching to everyone

If you need regular…


Headphones on a bright yellow background.
Photo by Malte Wingen on Unsplash

When you work alone, silence can be loud. Small distractions, like a neighbour cutting their lawn, the washing machine beeping, or a siren in the distance can stop you working. Using background music is often suggested as a simple way to maintain focus whilst writing. But tuning into a radio station could do your concentration more harm than good. If you want to keep your productivity levels high, you need to find music that blocks the distractions but still let’s you think.

Many scientific claims have been made about the power of music. Studies suggest it could increase cognitive ability…


Black sign with neon writing on it
Photo: Nick Fewings/ Unsplash/ CC BY-SA 4.0

My love of big and important-sounding words started in the run-up to my exams. Aged 15, I thought they might help me hide my complete lack of revision and show I was a bit of an expert. Every essay I wrote was riddled with them.

Spoiler alert: It didn’t work.

Now, as a teacher, I see countless students doing the same thing. But instead of making them sound like clever clogs, the reverse happens. The long words get in the way of the point they are trying to make.

If you want to sound intelligent and well informed, share your…

Helly Douglas

Helly Douglas is a writer specialising in parenting & education. When she’s not writing, you will find her in a classroom or battling against her garden.

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