Micro-Businesses in the UK: The Good, The Bad and The Beautiful

rsa_second_age_of_small_preview‘The Second Age of Small’ is a new report jointly produced by artsy e-commerce giants Etsy and the UK organisation the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce).

They’ve put together a handy 9-part summary of the findings on their website, so in order to mark the 2nd Small is Beautiful conference happening this week in Glasgow, I thought I’d pick out the key points below:

Video: Edinburgh’s Secret Courtyard

This is my highly unofficial Guide to the Hidden Door Art Festival 2015, filmed on the final night (Saturday 30th May). Running time = 5:15 minutes which  admittedly is long for an internet video these days, but there was a lot to pack in. (Also, there’s some NSFW language at the beginning).

I’m convinced this was one of the best events ever in Edinburgh, thanks to the combination of the space itself and the independent artistry it hosted, plus the fact you could wander around and peek into the various buildings and rooms and there was always something interesting to experience.

Flying hot air lanterns - photo by Kamil Porembiński

Perfectionism is not an end of level boss

A bit of faith, every day. And I can be happy.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to hold myself to high standards, and often fall short of them.

I want to practice positive habits every day and am pleased when I manage it for a reasonable stretch. But not accepting that I am human, and flawed, and will inevitably fall short of my own ideals – that’s perfectionism, and it’s counter-productive to happiness.

(Un)Productivity Summit: podcast, video & photos

At the beginning of this month I attended the first ever World (Un)Productivity Summit at Gladstone’s Library in North Wales.

In attendance were:

The summit consisted of a gentle curriculum of talks, walks, chi kung, meditation, crocheting, research and writing in the beautiful library, accompanied by plenty of good food, wine and quality rum.

Recommended: Yoga With Adriene

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 15.03.33Whether you’ve tried it or not, you might have already decided yoga’s not for you. I resisted it myself for a long time after attending a few classes and struggling to keep up with the pace.

But maybe, like me, you just haven’t found the right teacher yet?

Despite my doubts about my yogic abilities, I like to keep an open mind – and I’ve seen how beneficial a regular yoga practice has been for my wife over the last few years.

I wasn’t quite brave enough to dive back into live classes again right away, so I thought that learning at home might be a good way to build my confidence.

Hear Three Successful Freelancers Tell Their Stories

Mountain-Shores-Logo-FINAL-1400On our rather infrequent podcast about (un)productivity, Fabian and I recently talked to three successful freelancers who all generously shared their stories with us.

Our good friend and regular guest Michael Nobbs even joined us on one occasion from Wales, of all places.

As if to prove how inadequate the word ‘freelancer’ is as a noun, our recent guests make a diverse trio:

  • A journalist/fiction writer who read 80 books in 3 months (as well as making a living writing for prestigious publications)
  • A comedian and magazine publisher who has successfully crowdfunded his new book
  • A web designer and illustrator who has launched two successful crowdfunding campaigns

I think these are some of the best episodes of the Mountain Shores podcast so far, so just in case you’re not subscribed yet, I wanted to share them here – hope you find them useful and maybe even a little bit entertaining!

Ambitions vs. Obstacles: My Year in Review


Eating brekkie outside in the sun – a high point of self-employment during 2014.

Writing about a year is weird. A year isn’t a ‘thing’. It’s 12 months, in which a lot happens. How to sum it up? Why do we even feel the need to?

I don’t know, but for some reason it feels cathartic to do so. It allows us to move on from the themes of the last 12 months, and see the New Year as a fresh start. For that reason, it’s a positive exercise I think. And it gives me an excuse to finally write something here again after a long break.

I’ve loosely organised my 2014 annual review chronologically to make it easier to follow – although in some cases there is overlap between the sections.

Bill Murray: “The more relaxed you are, the better you are”

804803-bill_murray“I think the only reason I’ve had the career life that I’ve had is that someone told me some secrets early on about living. You can do the very best you can when you’re very, very relaxed, no matter what it is or what your job is, the more relaxed you are the better you are. That’s sort of why I got into acting. I realized the more fun I had, the better I did it. And I thought, that’s a job I could be proud of. It’s changed my life learning that, and it’s made me better at what I do.”

via: io9.com, Winnipeg Free Press




The Long and Winding Path to Finding Your Life’s Work (in 5 Steps)

Do you know what your life’s work is?

It’s a daunting concept, isn’t it? But wouldn’t it be nice to take it into your own hands, rather than rely on other people’s permission!

There’s only one issue: how do we take our life’s work into our own hands if we don’t know what it is? For most of us, it only become clear one piece at a time, as we progress through life – like a very long and complicated jigsaw puzzle.