Hello and welcome

If you're due to retire in the near future, how will you make the most of the freedom, choices and opportunities available to you?

How much thought have you given to the life and lifestyle transitions that retirement will bring?

Are you aware of the potential pitfalls associated with retirement and do you have strategies to overcome them? 

How can you make sure you get the retirement you deserve?

Titchymugshot_2Hello!  My name is Ann Harrison.  I’m passionate about helping people like you to get the happiest, healthiest, most vital, productive, energetic, prosperous and fulfilling retirement you could possibly have, whilst, at the same time, helping you to balance having the kind of retirement you want and deserve to have, with planning to meet your future needs.

I'm a Retirement Optionstrained retirement coach and trainer and a Too Young To Retire facilitator.   I'm also the author of Thought Provokers: Questions You Need to Ask Yourself BEFORE You Retire and The Retirement Detox Programme: 40 days to get your retirement back on track.  You can find out more about me here.  But enough about me.  What about you?

GiftMy free eCourse, The 6 Stages of Retirement, will give you a birds-eye view of the retirement process so you know what to expect. It includes a list of the major pitfalls at every stage of the process and self-coaching questions to help you avoid those pitfalls...

  6 stages

To start receiving 'The 6 Stages of Retirement' just fill out the sign-up box in the side bar (on the right) and I'll sort that out for you right away.

Affiliate Disclosure: I make recommendations for books, courses and other products and in many cases the link provided is an affiliate link. This means I may profit when you take action on my recommendations.


How to Turn Your Jewellery Making Hobby into a Successful Retirement Business

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Do you enjoy making jewellery and wish there was a way to make money from it? Good news - there is. You can turn your jewellery making hobby into a successful retirement business. Full time, part time or somewhere in between, you can create a business selling your jewellery. Here’s how:

#1 Research your competition and your market. The first step to creating a successful business is finding a unique niche or market. If you make a variety of jewellery types and styles, then there’s a great chance you can find a unique niche. Research online to learn who your market is and who your competition may be.

In addition to researching jewellery websites, also visit etsy.com, eBay and other seller websites to see what’s available there. Based on your research, determine the approach you want to take. Do you want to specialize in single stone rings? Do you want to specialize in zodiac jewellery? Or wedding jewellery?  What’s your unique niche?

#2 Create your inventory. In addition to having a range of stock to sell, you can take photos of your items for your online catalogue. Potential customers will want to see samples, and the photos of your jewellery will motivate them to purchase. Have fun with this part of the business-building phase and do your best work.

#3 Price your jewellery. This is the fun part; don’t underprice your jewellery because you want to sell it. Price it for what it’s worth, price it to make a profit, but price it competitively. This will require a bit of research.

#4 Create your website, or have someone create it for you. Your website needs to accomplish several goals. It needs to market your business and your jewellery and provide the opportunity for people to order your creations and pay for them. This can be accomplished by using several approaches, including ensuring your website has search engine friendly content, a product catalogue and information about you and your art. You’ll also need some way for people to order jewellery, a shopping cart system, and a fulfilment procedure.

#5 Consider creating stores on other websites like etsy.com, eBay, or even Amazon.com. These sites offer you the ability to create ‘stores’ and they manage the shopping cart and search engine aspect of business. It can be a great way to start out.

#6 Market your jewellery. There are various ways you can market your business. In addition to creating stores on the websites mentioned in #4, you can also advertise online or utilize content marketing and search engine optimization tactics to drive traffic to your website. However, don’t forget your community. Friends, family, and local advertising can be a wonderful way to get your first few clients. In fact, word of mouth is one of the best marketing tactics there is.

For example, you could host a home party to sell your jewellery, or give it to family to wear with the agreement that they hand out your card every time someone compliments them on their jewellery.

I hope that's convinced you to give it a go!  Launch your business, get your beautiful designs out there and make money from your jewellery hobby. Have fun with it and enjoy the process.

 


How Volunteering Can Make You Happier

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Have you ever volunteered for something and thought to yourself, "Why on earth did I sign up for this?", or "I don’t even know what I'm doing here". 

Sometimes volunteering is something we get roped into - or we feel obligated or guilty and say yes when we really should be saying no.

Other times, we do what we have to do for the sake of the kids or grandkids. We want to show our presence and interest in their school activities and, of course, their academic careers.

However, have you ever had the experience of volunteering just because it was something that you believe in and always wanted to do? That's where the beauty is. When you volunteer from your heart and when you're ready, that's where the magic happens.

Volunteering is Good for Your Mind

When you volunteer from your heart, you give a part of yourself to another. Which has a knock-on effect for your mental health and wellbeing. When you stop thinking about yourself and your problems and focus on someone else, your mind becomes more at ease and more at peace with itself.  Taking the focus off yourself and placing it on the good of another can result in a win-win situation all round.

Volunteering Can Have Lasting Health Benefits

Giving back has a way of boosting the feel-good chemicals in your brain, making you happier and improving your mood, as well. Not only that, the feel-good chemicals help you sleep better at night, give you more energy during the day and help you maintain better overall health.

Helping others has a way of allowing peace and serenity to enter into your life.  Now isn’t that better than taking all kinds of pills to get to sleep at night and stay awake during the day?

Giving Back does Wonders for Your Soul

Giving back feels good deep down in your soul. If you ever feel that you've lost your purpose in retirement (or you've never known what your life purpose was) then try volunteering. There are so many different organizations specialising in all kinds of different areas, that you are sure to find one that suits your needs.  Whether you want to volunteer for an elderly facility or work with children or pets, with a little bit of research you will be sure to find one that makes you feel fulfilled and purposeful.

It's Good for What Ails You

Volunteering is good for what ails you in that it will enable you to focus on someone else's challenges and keep your mind off yours. When you're helping another person to ease their loneliness or assist them in walking, you are taking part in  helping them overcome their challenges and difficulties, as well as temporarily putting yours aside.

So, as you can see, volunteering does more than just help others – it helps you, as well. Volunteering benefits your body, soul, and mind. So, if you're not already doing it, why not give it a try soon?

 


How to Turn Your Ideas into e-Books

EbooksInformation marketing is a wonderful business model. It can be quite lucrative as a standalone retirement business and you can also incorporate it into an existing business model for more profits and credibility. However, sometimes taking that leap from idea to e-book can be quite a challenge. Here are a few ideas to get your idea turned into an e-book reality.

#1 Get someone else to write it. No, we’re not talking about hiring a ghostwriter, though that’s certainly an option. Some of the best e-books are actually collections of articles written by industry experts.

For example, if you have a website devoted to dog training and want to write an e-book about training your dog unusual tricks, you could ask ten animal trainers to each contribute their favourite trick to the book. Each dog trainer would get exposure for their business in the book and you’d get a complete, and quite valuable, e-book to sell. You didn’t have to write a single word!

#2 Break it down. Sometimes the hurdle between book idea and actual product is a feeling of being overwhelmed. There’s an easy way around that challenge. Break your main topic into ten to twenty supporting topics. It may be easier to pose them as questions.

For example, an e-book on sales techniques might have the following supporting points or chapters:

  • What are the benefits of better selling?
  • How do listening skills play a role in increased sales?
  • How important is relationship building?
  • Should I network for more sales?

Each of these supporting chapters can then be divided even more into ten or more supporting points. Thus, for a ten chapter book you end up with 100 smaller, almost article size, topics to address. It makes writing a book much more manageable.

#3 Turn to audio. Some people just don’t have the time or the inclination to write a book, but still want the results. No problem. You can create an audio file instead. There are actually two ways to approach this. You can interview people on your topic, have the interviews transcribed, edited and polished. Then compile them into an e-book format.

Or you can simply speak your book and then have someone transcribe it and edit and polish it into an e-book. For some, it’s easier to flesh out their ideas if they’re talking. If this is you, consider recording your book instead of putting fingers to keyboard. Additionally, there is software like Dragon Naturally Speaking that will transcribe your audio for you. This saves you the cost of a transcriptionist, though you may still want to hire someone to edit and polish your book.

Finally, though we did mention it in the beginning, if you do have an idea for an e-book but don’t have the time or inclination to turn it into a reality, then consider hiring a ghostwriter. Look for one who is experienced with writing books. Discuss your needs and work together to turn your idea into e-book profits.


Using Tai Chi to Relieve Stress

Tai-chi"How can you be stressed?  You're retired!"

Little do friends and family members know, but retirees can get stressed out about all kinds of things... money, relationships, boredom - even too many calls on your time and attention from family members who think you have nothing better to do than pick up the slack for them!

When it comes to managing stress, the strategies are not a 'one-size-fits-all' proposition. What works for one may not work for you. And, what works right now could change in the future. If you're looking for something to try, consider Tai Chi as a way to relieve stressors in your life or to keep them at bay.

What Is Tai Chi?

Tai Chi is an ancient form of Chinese martial arts, although it doesn’t involve kicking and punching like many of the other forms. It's derived from “qigong” and emphasizes breathing, focusing the mind and fluid movement. Just about anyone, young or old, can learn to perform tai chi. It's a “soft” form of martial arts and has many hidden benefits.

“Chi” refers to the life force of an entity. It's this life force that flows freely through someone to maintain internal balance and order. According to ancient Eastern tradition, chi travels along paths called “meridians.” When there is trouble, whether external or internal, these meridian channels become blocked and the energy is disrupted. That's believed to be why illness results within the body.

Through a series of movements, balance can be restored to your body. There are many styles of Tai Chi so it's best to learn from a professionally-trained teacher. Once you gain competence in your particular style, the movements can be completed on your own whenever you feel the need to apply them.

Because Tai Chi is a low-impact form of exercise, it's perfect for those of us who aren't in the first flush of youth and most people will usually have no trouble properly executing the moves and achieving both mental and physical benefits.

The Benefits of Tai Chi

When performed correctly and regularly, the benefits of Tai cChi begin to manifest themselves in your life and your body. These benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • Increased aerobic capacity – The heart and lungs perform their functions more efficiently. More oxygen gets to the brain, increasing mental acuity and focus.

  • More energy – The lack of energy is one reason for stress. When you feel capable of doing more, it's easier to accomplish more on a daily basis.

  • Decreased anxiety and stress – Endorphins are released during physical exercise. They create a feeling of euphoria and wellbeing that can assist with managing stressful situations. They may also encourage more positive self-talk in your mind.

  • Better sleep – Sleep allows the body to repair and restore itself. Sleeping well can mean that you're ready to face the next day and whatever it brings.

  • Increased balance and flexibility – This becomes more important as we get older and affects our ability to perform everyday activities like sitting, standing, bending and reaching.

If you're looking for a way to reduce your stress levels while increasing positivity in your life, Tai Chi could just do it for you!

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What's happening in Greater Manchester this week?

Manchester retirementThere's always something happening in Greater Manchester... here's a round-up of some of the activities and events coming up for week beginning 22 June from our Manchester Retirement blog:

Fancy a dance?  Then put your dancing shoes on and get yourself over to Fallowfield on Wednesday morning to try out one of the Dance for Everyone sessions.

Is walking more your style?  Manchester and Salford Ramblers have an evening walk (Reddish Vale) and a Saturday walk (Macclesfield Forest) coming up this week...

Walking Football's becoming very popular - did you see the feature on 'North West Tonight' this week?  There are Walking Football sessions available in Swinton, Irlam, Eccles, Ordsall, Wythenshaw, Collyhurst and Levenshulme.  (If you know of any more, leave a comment below and I'll post details.)

Manchester International Festival is coming up - have a look at the programme events and plan which ones you want to attend before it all kicks off on Thursday 2nd July.

If you like to chat about art, you'll be in good company on Wednesday at one of Manchester Galleries' Art Bites Discussions.

Refugee Week (which is actually more like Refugee Fortnight) is still running at IWM North until 30 June -  explore real stories of people forced by conflict to leave their homes. Hear why Saranda Bogujevci, who escaped from Kosovo to Manchester, won the Anne Frank Award for Moral Courage and discover how aid worker Emma Kay helped people fleeing from NATO air strikes on Albania and Macedonia in 1999.

Finally, 'Ageing in Cities', a seminar co-hosted by the OECD and Manchester City Council, takes place on Friday 26 June 14.00 - 16.30 at Manchester Town Hall.

See you at the Manchester Retirement blog for more information on all the above.  Oh, and, if you have a Kindle Unlimited account, don't forget to pick up your copy of our Retirement Life Inventory, free of charge.  (If you like it, please leave some feedback!)

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What's happening in Greater Manchester this week?

Manchester retirementIf you live in the Greater Manchester area and are looking for something to keep you out of trouble this week, check out the Manchester Retirement blog where you can find information about upcoming local events. 

Refugee Week starts on Monday 15 at Imperial War Museum North. Learn about settling into a different country through the stories of Alice Brand, one of 250,000 Belgians arriving in Britain during the outbreak of the First World War, and Celia Horwitz, whose parents sent her from Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport. 

Check out the Walking Football sessions at Irlam, Ordsall, Swinton and Eccles.

Take the grandkids along to the Multimedia Animation Workshop at Pendleton Gateway.  (Don't worry if you've already missed it - the workshops runs through July and into August at various locations throughout GM.)

The Inter-Generational Climate Change Learning Project takes place on 17, 18 and 19 June.  Young people want adults to engage and join them on practical inter-generational learning projects, including a ‘Carbon Classroom’ in the Manchester Arndale Centre.