Medium – A Means to Express Yourself

I love Medium. Maybe it’s just the clean layout and attractive fonts that make almost every user-created slice of content seem like an insightful thinkpiece from a glossy magazine. Maybe it’s the fact that people put up soul-baring stories or anonymous relationship insights. Maybe it’s because interesting entrepreneurial types share their hopes and fears.

Of course there are entrepreneurs here. It’s a new technology, a shiny bauble to toy with. It’s also the product of Twitter’s co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams. I guess after creating a platform known for its brevity they wanted to try the exact opposite? But then Williams invented Blogger (both the platform and the term), so maybe he just wanted to finish what he started, or change it, or push it in a better direction.

“It turns out the Internet, like every other technology, doesn’t trend toward good or bad. It is just a convenience machine for what people want,” he said. “Television was going to make us all better people, smarter and better educated, but people ended up sitting back and watching sitcoms. We want to create something that rewards other things that have more lasting value.” – Evan Williams [source]

Lots of people talk about why Medium is great for writers generally, and trans writers in particular with its effective ways of diminishing harassment. I can’t comment on that. I’m still only a passive participant. I haven’t even left a comment. But the toolset is seductively streamlined so I think sticking a few things up there is inevitable.

It’s built with thoughtfulness in mind. Just look at the writing prompts. In my mind a writing prompt is a sentence or a paragraph that gives you a question or two to answer. On Medium a writing prompt has responses from writers, quotes, pictures, a whole host of ways to be inspired. And hey, you even have people like Matthew McConaughey give muddled inspirational screeds delivered right to your feed if that helps you put something out there.

There are obvious drawbacks – publishing regularly on a content platform instead of your site can have no SEO benefit. But the pros might outweigh the cons: a built-in audience, automatically readable-looking articles, a simple interface, a wealth of social interaction.

So check out the Entrepreneur tag, read a few thoughtful articles, and see for yourself.

Celebrate Christmas the Glasgow way

I don’t know how it’s that time again but I’m not complaining because it is CHRISTMAS and ever since I first saw it in 2003, Glasgow has been my favourite place at Christmas. I love looking at the beautiful Christmas lights, wandering around the city with a hot chocolate soaking in the atmosphere and of course, shopping. I usually love shopping but when I’m shopping for other people, surrounded by Christmas songs and wrapped up in a huge coat and scarf… bliss. That’s why this year, I wanted to share with you the best places to shop, hang out and soak up the Christmas spirit the Glasgow way.

Granny Would Be Proud Fairs

 

Taken from Granny Would Be Proud Facebook page

Granny Would Be Proud is a vintage and handmade crafts market that regularly hosts a series of vendors in either Hillhead Bookclub or The Shed. It’s got cupcakes, handmade jewelry and all the vintage goodies you could hope for. As well as this, every vendor is always delighted to chat with you whether you’re buying or not and nothing is overpriced. This weekend Granny Would Be Proud is hosting a Christmas event in The Shed. There you can find all the usual Granny Would Be Proud goodies, a retro photobooth, vintage hairdressers, massages, free shows and a tearoom!   Event page here.

Sloans EatFilm

  THE MUPPETS CHRISTMAS CAROL. If there is anything that I maintain as a tradition, it’s this film. I have been watching this every year since I was three years old and I NEVER tire of it. It’s one of my favourite films of all time, one of my favourite stories of all time and of course, The Muppets are my heroes. Well, Jim Henson is I suppose. Anyway. If you are similarly ecstatic that you can now shamelessly watch this film, why not go to Sloans Bar to enjoy it with a meal? It’s 13.95 for 2 people and it means you can enjoy this with a bunch of other supposed adults who refuse to let themselves grow out of The Muppets. If for some reason you have no interest in this, there are also multiple showings of Elf across the month as well as Miracle on 34th Street and everybody’s favourite Christmas film, Die Hard, also has a showing! Event details here 

Christmas Market

stand-11463_1280     Technically, this isn’t solely a Glasgow thing. But there is no way I could write about Glasgow at Christmas and not mention the Continental Christmas Market which is inexplicably described here as the German market. The Christmas market is one of the highlights of the build up to Christmas. A winter bar, continental foods, more Russian dolls than anybody could ever need, colourful bags and clothes, Christmas ornaments, massive wooden giraffe ornaments (because who doesn’t want one of those?) and a plethora of options for Christmas presents. My particular favourites are Russian dolls and leather notebooks, in case you were wondering. The Christmas Market is in Glasgow already and will be here until December 21st. Even if you just go for the mulled wine, this is something you absolutely shouldn’t miss.

George Square

George_Square_Christmas Finally, for plain ol’ Christmas magic with ice-skating, a ferris wheel and the most traditional Christmas lights… Look no further than George Square. This place is the epitome of Christmas and unlike some of the places I’ve listed, very suitable for children. The ice skating usually has a bit of a queue so best to arrive early but if that’s not your thing, there is still plenty to do and an atmosphere that would make even the grumpiest Scrooge soften towards Christmas.

 

Where do you like to go at Christmas? Which small businesses would you recommend? 

10 quotes to motivate new business owners

Quotes are used in all kinds of articles and situations and while I’ll never have an office like Barney Stinston‘s, I do find that quotes can help inspire and comfort people. Inspiration and comforting are two things new business owners probably need a lot of. It’s hard to step out and do things on your own and even harder when the thing you’re doing just happens to be your livelihood! Here are 10 of the best quotes to motivate, inspire and reassure new business owners:

 

“You can, you should and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

-Stephen King

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible”

-Tony Robbins

“Never, never, never give up”

-Winston Churchill

“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the
20th”

Julie Andrews

“I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often.”

-Brian Tracy

“Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it”

-Bill Cosby

“It’s always too early to quit.”

-Normal Vincent Peale

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”

-Steve Jobs

Fortune sides with him who dares.”

-Virgil

“There is no chance, no destiny, no fate that can circumvent, or hinder, or control the firm resolve of a determined soul”

-Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Quirky, handmade crafts: Interview with The Jolly Dove

As far as local businesses go, The Jolly Dove is one of the ones I’m most excited about. I’ve admired Jem’s homemade trinkets for a long while so when she announced that she was officially starting her own business, I was delighted! She has a great eye for detail and all of her creations that I’ve seen so far are quirky, cute and very unique. From hypo-allergenic earrings to mug warmers, bunting to stuffed toys, Jem creates all the cute accessories you didn’t know you needed. Earlier this month, I had a quick catch-up with her about The Jolly Dove, small businesses and other crafty creators she admires!

The Jolly Dove: quirky handmade novelties and trinkets

How did The Jolly Dove start?

I’ve always loved making homemade gifts for friends and family – recently people have been telling me that they’d pay good money for my little creations and encouraged me to go into business. I’ve just finished my degree and I’m working from home so it just seemed like the perfect time to get The Jolly Dove off the ground.

Have you always been crafty? What did you used to love to create?

I have been – my Dad is an artist and picture framer and he’s always encouraged me to create, not just through traditional art but other mediums too. When I was little I always loved to draw pictures of aliens and make up the stories behind their own planets!  I also used to love pressing flowers and making collages with them too.

Between Little Birds Market, Granny Would Be Proud & Sloans Market, there seems to be an excessive influx of craft stalls, what makes The Jolly Dove unique?

I’m eager for The Jolly Dove to become a business with a very personalised service, I love taking custom orders and being able to give my customers exactly what they want. I’m a perfectionist and I have no problem with keeping in touch with customers while I make their order so I know it’ll be perfect for them too!

You’re very, very new. What are you nervous about when it comes to starting up and selling your products?

I am indeed! I’m a bit nervous about selling to the public face to face next month as I am a bit of a shy soul – but I’m also as equally excited about it all! I work in social media marketing which has given me a lot of advantage when it comes to the online side of business. Luckily I’ve got a great support system of family and friends who are always there for me whenever I’m panicking or doubting myself and I am so grateful for that.

You’ll soon be teaming up with Liverpool based Yurei Boutique, how did that come about? Are you inspired by her range? Do you hope to do many collaborations?

Kristie-Ann who runs Yurie is in a relationship with an old friend of mine, Andy. I was telling Andy about The Jolly Dove when he suggested I get in touch with Kristie. He gave me her email address so I could properly introduce myself and it all just spiralled from there. Kristie has given me a lot of great advice already; it’s been so helpful to have this connection with someone who already has a wealth of experience in the business. I absolutely love her range – I’ve always been a fan of Burlesque and she has some amazing items, got an eye on a few things for pay day!

I’m hoping to do lots and lots of collaborations in the future yes, not just in Glasgow but all over the place!

 Handmade earrings, knitted toys & bunting

Who are some of your favourite -local and international- designers?

I am a major fan of Pretty Cuckoo who regularly sells at Sloans Market, I’ve got some of my favourite necklaces from them. Outside Scotland, there’s a fantastic little company called The Black Emporium based in Southend-on-Sea who create stunning jewellery from recycled books. There are some many incredibly talented designers all over the UK, I get so excited when I find out it’s a small company creating the items I fall in love with!

How important is it to you to support local businesses?

Extremely! There are so many wonderful little companies and businesses in around Glasgow who provide the amazing kind of personalised service you just don’t get from big businesses.  I always try and support other small sellers when getting supplies from The Jolly Dove from places like Artstore on Queen Street – I think it’s very important that we all support each other.

How are the next 6 months looking in terms of events and general business growth? What are your plans?

I’m going to be selling at The Pop-Up Shop on Ashton Lane on the 11th – 13th and 18th – 20th of June next month which will be The Jolly Dove’s first major event and I’m hopefully going to get myself booked into a few more Vintage/Craft Fairs over the Summer. I’m also in the process of launching a shop for The Jolly Dove online via Etsy which I’m aiming to have ready for the start of July!