Thank you 2016!

2016 was a great year
2016 has been a great year for our family. We have much to be grateful for.

It is sometimes easy to focus on the bad stuff in life – the irritations and the niggling worries. So this year I made a conscious effort to acknowledge all the wonderful things that I have to be thankful for. I sat down and wrote a list, and as I wrote I realised that I am indeed fortunate and have much to be grateful for.

Continue reading “Thank you 2016!”

Encouraging Girls to go Tech

Having fun on the beach in Summer
Summer living 🙂

It’s been a while since I last posted. Life can get in the way of blogging sometimes, particularly in Summer when the beach beckons and the heat makes you lazy.

Last week, however, something happened that kicked me out of my Summer stupor and motivated me to get writing again. If you read any of my previous posts you will know that I started a web development company 18 years ago. This became one of the leading digital agencies in my country and a few months ago I sold it to a big consultancy firm. Continue reading “Encouraging Girls to go Tech”

Entrepreneurship: a family-friendly career choice

Entrepreneurship is a tough career choice, but it is very flexible
Entrepreneurship is a tough career choice, but it is very flexible

When I started my business around 18 years ago I did not have a family in mind. The desire to create something from scratch, something that was totally mine and reflected my view of the world, was my main driving force.

However as the years passed and I got married, and I had one child, then two and finally three, I realised that my choice of career had been extremely fortuitous. Owning and managing my own business gave me a level of flexibility that my friends in regular employment did not have. I could make my own hours, work from home if necessary, and generally mould my work life around my family. Continue reading “Entrepreneurship: a family-friendly career choice”

Status update: Time is flying – and so am I!

Time is flying - and so am I!
Time is flying – and so am I!

Time really does fly when you are busy and travelling the way I have been over the last 4 weeks. I clocked 51 hours sitting on planes (covering a total distance of 45000km) in May and it is now looking like June is going to be just as hectic.

It is all very tiring but from my point of view extremely worthwhile. When I was reading up about company acquisitions and mergers, prior to taking the leap and signing the final papers, the general consensus in several articles was that there is a critical time window to capture synergies between two organisations when going through an integration. The period ranges between 6 months and 1 year, depending on the particular sector and the circumstances of the acquisition, and if this opportunity is missed the likelihood is that the resulting synergies will fall short of expectations – something that I am determined to avoid. Continue reading “Status update: Time is flying – and so am I!”

Dealing with rapid change

Rapid change can be like a sensory overload. There is simply too much going on to process all at one go.
Rapid change can be like a sensory overload. There is simply too much going on to process all at one go.

Over the last few months my world has changed dramatically. I am now immersed in a totally new reality, surrounded by new opportunities and challenges.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all. There are times when there is so much happening, so many new things to process, that it becomes impossible to keep up and you start tuning some of it out. Continue reading “Dealing with rapid change”

After selling my business – A wild rollercoaster ride!

Selling your business is an emotional rollercoaster ride
Up and down and round and round. It’s like an exciting rollercoaster ride!

It’s been a month since I jumped into a brand new chapter of my life after having sold my business and started a new career. It is also a month since I started this blog, which has proved to be a wonderful platform to get to know some really interesting people in the FI world. There are some very inspiring people out there!

Selling your business and embarking on a new career is like getting on a wild rollercoaster ride. It is exhilarating and scary and you sometimes feel like you are looping the loop, going around in circles. There are ups and there are downs, times when things are happening so fast they seem to be in a blur and you get a heady adrenaline rush and other times when things seem to be in slow motion. However totally changing my life was bound to be somewhat disorientating, so there’s no surprise there! Continue reading “After selling my business – A wild rollercoaster ride!”

Young Enterprise – the origin of Mrs Smelling Freedom the Entrepreneur

Young Enterprise empowers children to acquire important business skills
Young Enterprise changed my life. I would not be where I am today if I had not joined their Entrepreneurship programme when I was 16

I was raised in a pretty old fashioned type of family. My dad was a civil servant while my mum stayed at home. Setting up a business was not something people from families like mine did, and in fact the thought never even occurred to me as a child.

My dad used to encourage me to be a teacher or get a job at a bank, since according to him that was an “ideal job for a woman”. The general expectation was that I would get a job, get married, have a child and then become a stay-at-home mum. Continue reading “Young Enterprise – the origin of Mrs Smelling Freedom the Entrepreneur”

Debt: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Debt is a tool. If used wisely it can turbo-boost your finances while if used badly it can torpedo your financial future.
Debt is a tool. If used wisely it can turbo-boost your finances while if used badly it can torpedo your financial future.

A lot has been said about good debt and bad debt but in many cases the arguments used have been extremely simplistic. The most common line taken is that if debt is used to finance an asset that will appreciate in value or will increase your income-making potential it is automatically good, while if the debt will be used to acquire a depreciating asset then it is bad. This theory does not factor in the terms of the loan, the risk inherent in taking out any form of loan, the stage of life and earning potential of the person taking out the loan, etc.


Unfortunately many people have swallowed the concept of “good debt” hook, line and sinker, which has led them to make spectacularly bad financial decisions. Continue reading “Debt: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”

Entrepreneurial Burnout

entrepreneurial burnout, burnt out
Take good care of yourself, or the fire that drives you will slowly die out.

As I explain on the page introducing this blog, 18 years of owning and running my own business took a toll on me. By the end of it, I was totally burnt out. The inner spark that had given me the energy and motivation to build a thriving company was well and truly extinguished and at the time it felt like there was no way of getting it back.

I used to go to work in the morning hoping to feel at least a semblance of the excitement and passion that I used to feel a few years before. I spent hours reading online newspapers or browsing Facebook, instead of getting anything useful done. I found it difficult to concentrate. Everything, anything, was more interesting than what was happening at work. Continue reading “Entrepreneurial Burnout”

The Importance of a Can-Do Attitude

positivity, success, goals, achievement
If you have a dream or a goal in life there is no point procrastinating. Every journey starts with the first step, so get up and get walking!

A good friend of mine is married to a man who hates his job. He has been working in the same place for almost 20 years and has not been promoted or received a raise for years on end. Every time we meet he sounds like a broken record – “I hate my job” or “I was passed over again for a promotion” or “My boss does not like me”. It is an endless litany of complaints and misery.

One day I could not take it any more. I stopped him in his tracks and asked him why on earth he did not resign and get another job. His reaction was priceless. He genuinely looked like the thought had never occurred to him. After a few minutes all he could come up with was “Better the devil you know”. Continue reading “The Importance of a Can-Do Attitude”