Five tips to Safeguard your Mental Wellbeing












This week’s GOFISH blog is brought to you by our David Baker Foundation Board Member, Emma Roberts

Five tips to safeguard your mental wellbeing

Although the lockdown is beginning to ease in some parts of the country with positive images of grandparents being able to hold their grandchildren for the first time in many weeks; in these unprecedented times, it’s sometimes hard to retain perspective. For some isolation has taken, and continues to, take its toll – it is more important than ever to safeguard our mental wellbeing.
There are five small things I’ve tried to adopt during these times that I believe have helped me to feel more positive and get the most out of this period of uncertainty:

– STAY ACTIVE – maintaining a healthy lifestyle, with a proper diet, sleep and exercise is not only great for your physical health but by setting yourself small challenges and achieving them can be a valuable boost for your mental wellbeing. Find free activities that you enjoy such as walking around your local area, taking in the sights and make them part of your daily life. It’s a lot easier to be active when you enjoy it and this all goes to raising your self-esteem.
– STAY CONNECTED – maintaining those positive social relationships, no matter the medium, are important. They provide emotional support when you need it the most, allowing you to support others too. They build a sense of belonging and give the opportunity to share experiences, so take time out each day to reach out to your family and friends – a simple “how are you?” can mean the world to someone.
– BE MINDFUL – paying attention to the present moment – including your thoughts, feelings, body, and the world, otherwise known as mindfulness, is important to a person’s mental wellbeing. By taking stock of what is around you and focussing on the little “wins”, practicing mindfulness can help you understand yourself better and get more out of life. It can positively change the way you feel about situations and how you overcome challenges. There are a number of activities that you can undertake to be mindful – see for hints and tips.
– KEEP LEARNING – even if you feel you don’t have enough time, there are plenty of ways to bring learning into your day. From learning to cook something new or working on a DIY project to rekindling the love you had for a past hobby. Similarly, to keeping active, find activities that you enjoy and bring them into your life. Helping you build a sense of purpose – intellectual stimulation does wonders.
– BE KIND – kindness and the power of giving, no matter how little, goes a long way. By creating positive feelings and a sense of reward; small acts of kindness towards other people, or larger ones like volunteering in the community are invaluable.
How do you keep your mental wellbeing? Share your tips and tricks with us.

For more information on how to safeguard your mental health visit Mind:

5 Things to Remember when Speaking to a Customer












Eye contact – You must always remember to maintain eye contact with customers to show you are engaged in the conversation.
Listen – When selling to a customer, it is crucial that you listen to what they are asking for. Let the customer do the talking as much as possible!
Knowledge – Ensure you have the best knowledge of your products as possible. If you have made your product yourself then this shouldn’t be an issue, but always make sure you can answer any questions the customer may have.
Body language – Your body language can be the difference between a customer who wants to buy and one who doesn’t. Make sure to have open body language with no folded arms or slouching, but most importantly make sure you smile!
Confidence – This is your product, be proud and confident in what you are selling! If the customer buys into you as a person, you will make sales!

Being a Toastmaster













In these unprecedented times, it’s important to look on the bright side of things. We have been in touch with Ian who made us understand that there are many jobs people don’t even consider when searching for a new career path such as a Toastmaster. Ian has shared some information about his role as well as some of his experiences. Every job brings a lot of new skills and experiences- diversity of things you might have to undertake! Have a look at what Ian had to say:

My name is Ian Pugh, and if you have been to any of the Gofish presentation nights you will have seen me standing in the red tail coat officiating over the proceedings. But have you ever wondered if that is all Toastmasters do?

Toastmaster do not just make announcements. They are experts in procedure and etiquette for each and every occasion. My role is to control any function from start to finish. Be it a cocktail party, a business function, a Civic Event, a Show or one of the biggest days of your life, your Wedding. The Toastmaster is there to choreograph and then run the day through to its successful conclusion. Toastmasters are the “Go to” person as they stand there in their Red Tail Coat that was first worn by one of the great toastmasters of the late 19th and early 20th Century, William Knightsmith. It is a typically British tradition and will add a dignity and control to any event.

Well, that’s the advert taken care of, so let me tell you of an occasion when, despite my best efforts, things did not go exactly to plan.

Weddings are the most joyous events, but also the most emotional. One still has me wake in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. And it started two days before the big event. In one of the many meetings and telephone calls the bride will make with the Toastmaster she told that firstly they were providing a “free bar”. To any organiser this is not great news as many will drink more than they should. The most common results are rowdiness for a few and a general reluctance by the many to be moved for photos, cake cuttings, first dances etc. They just want to chill out. This is not a major problem for any skilled organiser so to be made aware was good warning. However, the second piece of information sent a shiver of fear down my spine.

The Brides mother and father had parted two weeks before!

I could say this was not the best news I had ever received, but I had hopes that they would remain dignified for their daughters sake, even though there was a free bar! Well come the big day, I arrived very early, as usual to welcome all of the guests, who started to arrive at about 1 O’clock. The first to arrive was the bride’s mother, elegantly dressed and unescorted. Ten minutes after the father of the bride arrived suited and booted, with his new girlfriend! To say the atmosphere was tense, would have been the understatement of the year. At 1.30 the Registrars arrived ready to interview the Bride and Groom. One hour later I was leading the Bridal Party into the wedding ceremony. 30 minutes later I opened the doors to

receive the latest married couple. The guests then filed out of the celebration room and, with an hour to go before the Wedding Breakfast, the newly married couple went to receive their guests. The bride first went to see her mother, and of course

there were hugs and tears of joy. The bride then moved to greet her father, who then hugged her with a kiss as any father would. She then moved to shake hands with his girlfriend, who leaned forward to greet her with a kiss on the cheek. The Bride was taken aback and moved just very slightly backwards causing the girlfriend to overstretch, when — “Splash” — some of her red wine was spilt over the pristine white bridal gown.

There came a moment of total silence in the room when all conversation stopped. Without hesitation, I took hold of the brides hand and marched her towards the ladies toilets, stopping momentarily to pick up a bottle of white wine and two glasses. Now to this day, I am still not sure why I picked up two glasses? Maybe out of habit as you are always presenting the married couple with glasses of wine for toasts and cake cutting etc. etc. We then marched into the toilets and I told her to go into one of the cubicles, remove the dress and pass it out to me. I hadn’t quite worked out how she was going to remove the dress on her own, but that was the least of my problems. Fortunately, at this moment one of the bridesmaids arrived and assisted. She passed the dress to me and I held the stained area over one of the wash basins and poured about half a bottle of white wine over the mark. I the rinsed it through with cold water until only the slightest shadow of the accident remained. It was then dried over a hot air hand dryer and passed back to the waiting bridesmaid. When the bride came out you could see that the stain was now hidden in one of the folds of the dress. If you hadn’t known it was there you would never have seen it. When the bride left the room to be welcomed back by her guests, I realised that I still had half a bottle of wine and two glasses, so I filled them both and passed one to the bridesmaid and we both simultaneously breathed a sigh of relief. It was at this point that she posed this question to me,

“What would you have done had it not been me entering the toilet but the bridegroom, only to find his new wife already stripped out of her wedding dress down to her underwear while you stood there with a bottle of white wine and two glasses?”

I still have nightmares over that!

COVID-19, Is it all bad?














We have recently been in touch with Jack, one of our GOFISH students who has been involved with the programme in the past. Since leaving college, Jack has been working to save up for what he always wanted to do; Travelling!

Due to COVID-19, Jack had to unwillingly shorten his travels in Australia and reflected on what has been going on in the world. He has shared the following thoughts with us:

“COVID-19, is it all bad?”

Yes and No, it is of course a very catastrophic disaster that we did not see coming which is having a huge impact on everybody’s lives all around the world. However, we need to see some of the good things that are occurring because of the pandemic:

That is nature!

The human species and their daily activities have been put on hold due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and this has meant that a lot of daily leisure activities and industrial operations have been put on pause. This has already resulted in a CO2 and other harmful gases drop being released into the atmosphere which was slowly killing the planet and contributing to long term problems of Global Warming. Pollution levels all around the world have been seen to be at their all time lowest because of the event at hand. Isn’t this a good thing?

Animals are getting their chance to take back what we have taken away from them. The human race is one of the most advanced species when it comes to using resources from the earth to create things like buildings and technology which has unfortunately led to us taking over most of the world and the natural areas that once belonged to animals. Dolphins in the Italian rivers, deer’s in Chinese gardens! People and animals can live in tranquillity if we just change our ways slightly which has been proven exceptionally well by this lockdown. Not saying this is the solution, but it’s a start.

The outbreak is not a good thing and it will affect billions around the world but look, nature is thriving and that is a positive and can really lift the mood of some people because at the end of the day there is nothing more beautiful than nature.

It’s very saddening that it takes a disaster like this for us to notice and realise that we are doing things wrong but hopefully we will see the other side when everything starts to improve!’

How do you sell when you don’t have a shop window?












This week’s GOFISH blog is brought to you by our GOFISH supporter, Deborah Betteridge:

How do you sell when you don’t have a shop window?

So, you’ve got an idea to bring to market. You know you can make, or source it. Suppliers are on board. You have researched your target market. You have a Business Plan in place. With all this sorted, now it’s time to take it to your potential customers, but without your own shop, or market stall, what are your marketing options?

You will know yourself, as you walk through a town centre, market or mall your attention is drawn by eye catching shop windows and the products placed there – whether you enter the shop, or not, is known as the capture rate, the percentage of passers-by that are lured into the shop, and one of the biggest factors is the window display. These windows are not accidentally put together – there is an art, or practice, to window display. The number of customers entering the shop is recorded as footfall. And without a shop to enter, we need to engage this number by other means.

Today, we are talking about what to do if you don’t have access to a shop window, so we’ll park display for another time – although if you want to find out more here is a good infographic from Retail Next – The Art of Window Displays. Now, you have your product, you decided (when constructing your business and marketing plan against multichannel retailing) to sell direct to consumers, you don’t have an offline outlet (bricks and mortar shop), so what channels remain open to you?

Direct to Consumer

Once you have decided to market via Direct to Consumer (DTC) sites, you will need to ensure you have the back-end functionality to support both the customer and your business needs.

The right solutions for finance (banking, invoicing and payment), inventory (stock storage and supply), logistics (timings, packaging, postage or collection) and marketing (communication and engagement) will be essential to ensure the customer experience is the best it can possibly be during their journey with you. Get your back-end operations and front-end customer experience aligned and test them throughout to ensure they are robust.

You need to sell – where your customer buys, do your homework and select what is right for all parties. It’s no longer a case of building e-commerce into your own website or setting up an Amazon shop. There are plenty of solutions available to you, Mobile Apps and other online channels are constantly evolving and expanding across new social media platforms. Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram all now offer consumers the option to purchase.

Research from McKinsey has shown that consumers use up to 12 different channels and devices when shopping before they ‘add to cart’ or basket.

Google has also identified that the majority of the buying process takes place before customers even discover your brand or visit your website – they call this the “Zero moment of truth” (ZMOT) referring to the timeframe a potential customer researches a product before deciding to purchase.

If you decide on multiple online channels, you will need to consider inventory controls – the last thing you need is for three customers to order the last item of stock at the same time, resulting in a poor customer experience. Remember the old adage – a satisfied customer tells three friends; a dissatisfied customer tells 10? Well, that has changed with social media and reviews, a 2008 book by Pete Blackshaw recalculates this somewhat! (A satisfied customer tells three friends, an angry customer tells 3,000!)

An inventory management system (IMS) will help you to:
1. Streamline fulfilment processes to procure, organise, ship, and arrive promptly at a customer’s preferred delivery address.
2. Help you prepare for any unexpected spikes in sales or seasonality.
3. Avoid inventory shortages when products are sold simultaneously across multiple channels.
Check out Capterra for a view of the best IMS software packages suitable for your needs. Many organisations integrate inventory management with an order management system (OMS) to pull all sales data together so you can manage it all in one place. Some software combines the two, for example NetSuite, Sage and OrderWise to name but a few.

The online approach

OK, so product, plans and back-end functionality sorted, it’s on the front-end. As said before you need to be where your customers can find you. Whether you go for one main ecommerce site or more, you will still need to promote where your customer can buy across multiple touchpoints. Think about their journey, how many handoffs, or click throughs they will complete to make that purchase – keep it as simple and straightforward as possible.

Here are a few examples to consider:

E-commerce website – add e-commerce functionality to your website – build your own shop now page and manage it via your website provider. Wix, Shopify, WordPress Squarespace and WooCommerce all have templates and themes amongst their self-build offerings. Personally, I like WordPress and find them easy to use.

Mobile Apps – There are numerous apps where you can sell your products, here is The Balances top selection. This article provides information on the top eight selling apps for 2020, including, Letgo, eBay, Facebook, and Nextdoor for local sales.

Seller Profiles on other Retail sites – You can set up a seller profile by following the simple steps on your chosen platform(s). For example on Amazon, there are 20 product categories to select from, different price plans (yes, there is a monthly or per product sold cost), then you need your contact information, bank details, verification and away you go.

An eBay Shop is a central shopping destination where customers can learn about you and your business and browse your products through a customisable shopfront. Setting yourself up as a business on eBay, may be your preference – here is a link to all the information you need.

On Facebook, you can now add a shop page, but there are terms and conditions you need to agree to called Merchant Terms when you add a shop. Your shop will appear on your Facebook Page for your customers to see after you’ve added at least one product and it gets approved. Make sure you read and understand all terms and conditions for any of the platforms or software you select. As you can see there are various options, and you need to make sure it is the right choice for you – and your customers.

The next step, regardless of platforms chosen, is promotion.

With any promotion and communication be sure to adhere to the latest data protection and communication guidelines – Data Protection Act 2018 and the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations (PECR).

Depending on your marketing plan, which should include a communication calendar/plan, you will know where your need to promote your business and products to reach your potential and existing customers.

For your customer engagement you should include a series of posts via social media (organic or paid for ads), emails, both service and marketing (which must be separate under PECR), product instructions (if applicable), reorder leaflets (included in packaging), flyers, promotional videos, instruction videos, offers, newsletters, blogs/vlogs, and product or service updates.

If you go down the sponsored or paid for social media posts, be sure to target them to your audience correctly. Select your area (if you only offer local collection or delivery), customer demographics (age, gender and interests), set your budget and timescales at the beginning. Start small as you can always extend the budget and timescales to suit – and edit the ad/post if you feel it is going well.

And remember, with your ecommerce pages and your communications (your virtual shop windows if you will) you have the same timescale to get your customer attention, just as if they were walking past your shop window. So about 30 seconds to a minute to really reel them in. So, make sure you follow the AIDA model for customer journeys.

Awareness – Make sure they are aware of who you are or what you do/sell/produce
Interest – Get them interested, be eye catching, have value for money, fulfil a need
Desire – Leave them wanting to buy your product or do business with you, have good offers
Action – make sure there is always a way to complete the engagement with a call to action – whether it’s a sale, upgrade, re purchase, cross sell, contact you or sign up to newsletter.

So not having a bricks and mortar shop – or shop window, really shouldn’t slow you down in this digital age. And in the unprecedented times we find ourselves in under the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown, you should have time to set yourselves up online. Bearing in mind that potential customers are also spending longer online at the moment and visiting shops outside of the essentials is limited until further notice.

I hope you found this interesting and informative, stay safe, stay well and good luck with your online selling!

Updating Your CV












This week’s GOFISH blog is brought to you by our GOFISH Team member, Tom Ralph:

Being stuck at home for a long period of time can be boring. I think I can safely say that we are all finding it difficult to fill our time without being able to leave the house properly. However, if you are to look at the situation we find ourselves in with an optimistic mindset then you will see this as the perfect opportunity to get yourself prepared for securing your dream job when this virus eventually blows over.

There is one particular tool that is crucial to getting you the job you desire; your CV. Why not take this extra time you have to get it updated? Here are some pointers to what you should include to create the perfect CV:

1. Contact information and your name – Many people forget to add their contact information to their CV. This is crucial! Remember to add a mobile number and an email address. Also remember when you are job searching to answer any calls from unknown numbers in a polite and professional manner. You could be talking to your next employer! If you can’t answer the phone, ensure you have a professional voicemail set up.

2. Personal Statement – A personal statement is your opportunity to explain to the person reading your CV all of your key skills, as well as a clear and concise career objective. It doesn’t have to be a mass of words, just a paragraph will be fine.

3. Employment history – This is a list of all of the positions you have been employed in. Don’t worry if you haven’t had one yet, you can simply explain that the role you are applying for would be your first job. With your employment history, you must ensure that all of your positions have a brief summary of what you did, as well as the dates you worked there. These dates must be as accurate as possible and you must explain any gaps.

4. Education and training – Here is your opportunity to explain what level of education you have received and/or any qualifications you may hold. This can include GSCEs, A Levels, BTECs, apprenticeships and many more.

5. Hobbies and interests – It is always important to add some information about you. This is your chance to tell the employer about you as a person. What do you do in your spare time?

6. Summary – It is always important to summarise your CV into a paragraph. Just briefly mention the key points but also ensure that you finish with something along the lines of; “Thank you for taking the time to read my CV, I look forward to hearing from you soon”.

7. References – It’s always important to have 2 or 3 references. These are people either from a previous job or a family member or friend. Make sure you ask the permission of your referees before adding their contact information.

8. Proof read! – Possibly the most important part of your CV is ensuring there are no mistakes! Make sure that once you have finished, read it through to check the spelling, punctuation and grammar. If these aren’t your strong point then feel free to ask someone else. The GOFISH team are more than happy to help.

9. Following on from your CV, it can also be very beneficial to add a covering letter. A covering letter is quite simply a letter addressed to the individual who is hiring for the position. For example, if the job was working in a shop, you may wish to address the letter to the store manager. The letter doesn’t need to be very long, but it must include the reasons why you are applying for the position and you should also pick out some key points from your CV such as your relevant skills and experience.

Once again, it is very important to check the spelling and grammar of your covering letter, just as you would with your CV. Read through it 2 or 3 times to make sure it makes sense and always ask someone else to check it as well. The GOFISH team will also happily help you with this.

Best of luck with you CV and make sure you stay safe,

Top Tips on Working From Home












This week’s GOFISH blog is brought to you by our Social Media and Marketing Manager and Young Ambassador, Nicola Davis.

Top Tips On Working From Home

I have been self-employed for over 5 years now, running my businesses Nicola Davis Crafts and Corsham Creative Market from home. I work from my home studio and office and over the years have learnt how to really make working from home a success.

Here are my top tips for GOFISH:

1. Start Your Day Right

Just as you would with an on-site job, you need a good night’s sleep and a healthy start to the day. I have an alarm set for Monday – Friday and before I start work, I ensure that I have had a good breakfast, a cup of tea (or two!) and am dressed for the day. If I have a creative day ahead of me, I tend to wear comfortable clothes, if I am working on admin for the day or if I have any meetings scheduled I prefer to dress a little smarter. It is very easy to fall into the habit of living in pyjamas and waking up when you feel like, but if you want to succeed, you need to set rules and follow them.

2. Have A Plan For The Day

It is a really good habit to start your work day by writing down your goals. What do you need to achieve? What deadlines are looming? For me, I have a notepad that is split into three sections: ‘Must Do’, ‘Aim To Do’ and ‘Would Like To Do’. Write a few tasks under each section and always work from the top, crossing off each task as you go. For some people it can help to have an hourly rota with regular tasks such as checking emails set to certain hours, try both techniques and see what works for you.

3. Create A Dedicated Work Space

When I am in my studio I am in ‘The Zone’. I can spend hours at a time working in there with no distractions. I have made it a productive and positive working space that has everything I need in there. It has good natural lighting and plenty of colour. My partner understands not to distract me when I am in my studio, and even my dog has learnt to understand through routine that my room is a calm area. In any other room she will be at my feet with a tennis ball! Despite my studio mainly being for ‘practical use’ where I create my artwork, I have found that if I am struggling to focus on my emails or accounts, I will bring my laptop into my studio and my focus improves greatly.

4. Have Regular Breaks

Its really important not only to have regular breaks, but ‘real’ breaks. This means put your phone on silent, close the office door behind you, and let your mind have a break too. Try to get some social interaction and talk to your family or housemates, or give a friend a call whilst walking around the garden. Being outdoors and talking to someone are both especially important if you are finding yourself stuck on a task or becoming frustrated. You will come back refreshed and ready to work.

5. Look After Your Health

Workplaces often have multiple measures put in place to look after your health such as ergonomic office chairs, monitors set at the correct working height and angle and adjustable desks. You may not be able to afford all these fancy gadgets when working from home but you have the freedom to adjust your workspace to your comfort level. Ensure you have good natural lighting, open windows for fresh air, a comfortable and safe work station, healthy snacks and regular breaks to stretch and move around. The NHS has a list of tips for sitting at your desk correctly here

6. Switch Off At The End Of The Day

This for me is the most important aspect of working from home. I often find myself sitting down to dinner and I think ‘Oh I’ll just check my emails’. Next thing I know I’m knee deep in a never ending back and forth e-mail that could have waited until the morning. When you are finished for the day ensure that you separate yourself from your work and don’t look back! Make sure to plan fun things for your evenings and days off. Not only will this allow you to forget work but it will give you something to look forward to during the week.

Enjoy working from home!

Nicola Davis

Business Plan Review












This week’s GOFISH blog is brought to you by our David Baker Foundation Board Member, Natalia Orzechowska.

In the current uncertainty and constant change, developments, news briefings and legislation updates one thing can be predicted: things are going to be different. The lifestyles we are living, social activities we do and the way we do business will change when we get to the end of the tunnel.

We have managed to rapidly adapt our daily routine, the way we are behaving, shopping and thinking about our businesses.

It’s without a doubt that self-employed entrepreneurs will find this a big challenge but as Elon Musk said: ‘’ Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.’’

The sudden stop in the world is an opportunity to reflect and innovate to take your business forwards. This goes back to your business plan.

Please consider the below as brief guidance of how you can make things thrive. You know your business best, give it your best shot.

Planning – be ahead of the competitors when you return to ‘usual’ business which will seem very different. Start looking at how things will have to be done differently to make you stand out.

Review progress – Look back to your business plan and compare you current performance. Your constructive criticism will make you think about how you could be doing things better.

Key areas – Review: finance, marketing, sales, customer relations etc. to allow you to devote your time to most important/ relevant areas.

Competitors – Always consider what others might be planning to gain a competitive edge in your industry.

Communication – Establish a clear communication channel with all suppliers, customers and colleagues, to ensure you’re present and available to assist with anything when your business returns to ‘normality’.

Whether you have made adequate changes to carry on operating or have been forced to come to a complete stop with your business, use this time intelligently and to your advantage.

Wishing you all the best!

Top 10 Productive Things You Can Do Whilst Self Isolating












Our GOFISH Ambassador and Winchester University Student, George has been working with us to give you some advice about the productive things you can we doing right now whilst self-isolating!

The last couple of weeks have brought about unprecedented measures. It is important that we all follow the government’s guidelines to help protect each other. There are many of us with more time to spare due to a decrease in working hours.

Whilst being stuck at home can be boring, it is also an excellent opportunity to stay productive, so we must use this valuable time wisely. Below are ten constructive ideas that can keep you busy.

1. Update your CV

When was the last time you even looked at your CV? For me, it’s been over a year! Spend an afternoon updating your CV with new information, rewriting your personal statement and send to family and friends who can help proofread it. You never know when it might come in handy!

2. Update your Business Plan

For those who are self-employed or wanting to start up your own business now is the perfect time to update and write a plan. If you already have a plan, spend the time reviewing what you’ve written: have you met your targets; what areas can you improve; what has changed since you started operating?

3. Organisation

Make a list of everything that needs to be done– prioritise tasks and set out a schedule of when to do them. Are there any projects you haven’t finished, or tasks you never usually have the time to do? Aim to get better organised in this time, so when things go back to normal, you are a step ahead!

4. Write a social media planner

If you run a page for your business, take this opportunity to plan ahead what posts you can make. Look at a calendar and key dates in a diary and write your planner around those. Remember consistency is key to keeping your business pages looking professional and easy to read!

5. Find a new hobby

Try something new and find what makes you happy. You might have an old guitar up in the attic you always wanted to learn – spend this time experimenting with different hobbies, and learning new things.

6. Reading in depth

Reading is vital to help learn new skills. Find a topic that interests you and read in depth about it. It can be a topic you learnt at school or something completely different. Once you’ve read about it, make notes, and use a range of sources from documentaries to news articles to get a clear picture of your topic.

7. Market research

Although you cannot carry out research face-to-face, you could use many online tools to help carry out market research to create a marketing strategy for your business. Many websites (like Google Forms or Survey Monkey) can help with this. Think about what market you want to aim your business towards and ask friends and family to fill out questionnaires to help you understand the consumer behaviour within your business and its competitors. This research can be extremely useful to add to your business plan!

8. Start a blog

By starting a blog, you are helping to develop your communication and writing skills. Choose a subject, whether it be something you enjoy, or based around your business and write about your experiences within that. It can be a great way to consolidate knowledge and help inform others too!

9. Volunteer

If you are 18 or over, you can apply to become an ‘NHS Volunteer Responder’. This scheme can help people struggling due to recent events with everything from transportation and telephone support. Find more information out here:

10. Stay Home

My final point is to follow all government guidelines that can be found here: – the website also has help and support for those self-employed, school closures and other important information.

Don’t forget GOFISH can help with many of these, from preparing your CV and writing your business plans. For any advice or support email us at: or message us on our social media accounts. Remember to stay safe!

Top Tips on Virtual Job Interviews











This week’s GOFISH blog is brought to you by our David Baker Foundation Board Member, Colin Kay.

Top Tips on virtual job interviews

Lots of organisations now use virtual interviews as a way of recruiting staff. I do some recruitment for a school in China and have been doing 2 or 3 interviews a week on WeChat since the beginning of January. It can be easy to feel relaxed about a virtual interview. After all you’re at home in familiar surroundings. That can be a mistake. You need to prepare for a virtual interview just the same as you would for a face to face one. Here are a few things to think about.


Dress smartly as you would for a face to face interview. Having said that of course only part of you may be visible to the interviewers. If you’re using a phone, then it may just be head and shoulders, as is the case with WeChat and Google Hangouts. If you’re using Skype on a laptop it may be the top half of your body. Make sure you know how much of you is going to be seen and dress that bit accordingly. But if you decide to wear a shirt and tie with shorts make sure you don’t stand up.

It’s also important to look at the picture of yourself on the screen and adjust to make sure it shows what you want it to.


The interview is in your home. Choose the location carefully. You need a good clear and tidy background. You don’t want the interviewer to see untidy piles of paper or washing up. Also make sure the space you use is well lit.


Try and avoid interruptions they can be really irritating to the interviewer. If there are other people in your home, make sure they know when the interview starts so they can keep quiet and out of the way. One interview I did was drowned out by a flatmate practising the saxophone.

Avoid deliveries. I was interviewing someone in India when the doorbell rang, and it was the local water seller. It’s best to schedule them for another time or ask someone else to take them. If you have any pets keep them quiet or out of the way.


You can’t take notes into a face to face interview. You can have notes by you in a virtual one. Don’t make them obvious. The interviewer will quickly pick up on it if you keep looking down to read out answers you’ve already prepared. They want to see you thinking on your feet. If you need to use notes make sure they’re concise and easy to read.

Eye Contact

In face to face interviews it’s really important to make eye contact with the interviewer. This can be much harder in virtual interviews, especially if you are using your phone and have 2 or 3 interviewers as small pictures on the screen. Focus on the person that asked the question and try to make eye contact with them. Occasionally look at the other interviewers to check they are still listening.


In face to face interviews you also watch the interviewer for feedback. Is your answer hitting the mark.? Are you saying to much? Are you boring them? This isn’t easy in virtual interviews but it’s really important to do it.

Repeating the Question

Sometimes sound quality can be poor in virtual interviews. This provides a good reason for asking the interviewer to repeat the question. Doing that gives you more time to think of an answer. This is a useful strategy but don’t overuse it.

Let your personality shine though

Sometimes in virtual interviews you can feel alienated by the technology. In interviews it’s really important to let your personality and your enthusiasm shine. This can be difficult in virtual interviews and you have to work harder at it. It is vital because in a competitive world your enthusiasm and personality may be what makes you stand out as much as your technical competence. Smile and use the expression in your voice to get this across. With smiles you can always have a practice in front of the camera when nobody else is looking.

I still prefer face to face interviews but the virtual one is the way things are going. At the moment of course it may be the only option. I and a Vice Principal in China can interview a candidate in Canada without leaving where we are, in an hour, at no cost. It makes sense.

Good luck.
Colin Kay