Toni is the owner of A Better Bid has been a supporter of mine since I first started specialising in headshots and business portraits a little over two years ago now. I’ve absolutely loved cheering Toni on from the sidelines and watching her develop her brand with confidence and integrity. She’s my people.
I help business owners to apply for tenders and grants. When I work with a client to help them understand the way procurement works, I help them use the words they already have to prove their worth – just in a different way.
I saw how hard it was for SMEs to tender for work. They didn’t have the resources of larger companies, so they didn’t apply for contracts they could fulfil. I step in when a company’s growing – big enough to go for larger contracts but not big enough to have dedicated internal resources to write the bids.
My biggest challenge has been understanding the value of my work. Before working with a business coach, I would open my mouth and offer to work for free, at a reduced rate, or a bag of lemons. I still wrangle with pricing at times, especially since the pandemic started.
I’m very strict with my schedule and won’t work nights or weekends unless agreed in advance. I choose to enjoy healthy foods that feed my mind and body, which helps my general health and wellbeing immensely. I’m getting better at picking how – and with whom – I invest my time.
How did you prepare yourself to start your business?
I didn’t! I got made redundant, so that was the kick in the pants I needed to stop thinking about working for myself and actually do it.
How do you know when you are ready to do something?
Sometimes I know I’m ready because it feels right – there’s no emotional or cognitive dissonance.
Sometimes I don’t know but have to learn as I go.
Sometimes I don’t think I’m ready, but trusted colleagues assure me I am, so I go ahead.
Networking. I wish I’d had a mentor who had explained the importance of a positive and powerful network because I’d have hit the ground running. I still attract good clients through my network, including former colleagues.
This is not the part where I tell you I rise with the dawn, meditate for 45 minutes, have a cold shower, and cure cancer – all before breakfast.
I am not a morning person. So there’s no talking before coffee. My brain works best in the late afternoon, and early evening, so I schedule my tasks accordingly.
When I’m first at my desk, I’ll spend up to 30 minutes doing admin tasks that I can easily complete. Then I’ll work on client projects, professional development activities, and client meetings.
I do a lot of networking, so sometimes I’ll attend an evening event
When my clients realise they have a lot to offer their customers, they just don’t know how to express it.
I’m a plasma donor! It’s my way to thank the anonymous donors whose blood donations saved my life twice. My plasma can be given to a patient with any blood type.
If you haven’t started building your network, do it now!
I thought it would be vain to get my photo taken for a long time, but the importance of first impressions and web reviews meant I had to suck it up. Every headshot Amanda has taken has helped me look Like A Boss and added to my credibility.
I don’t listen to podcasts. They irritate me as I can read much quicker.
It will all be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.
I’m moving into helping clients with innovative projects. Grants are only one funding source. Helping clients understand their options and how to pursue them is fulfilling.