It’s been a few months since my last email/blog update. I had an amazing time in Spain and now am half an Ascension meditation teacher! More on that to come soon.
For the 2.5 months I’ve been working long hours; finishing my second book, converting it into book format, making videos and updating my website:
This video is on the front page of my website.
Thank you very much to the people who have already pre-ordered my 2nd book ‘Screw It, I’ll Take The Elevator’. I am planning to publish it on 15th April 2018, as I need more pre-orders to have the book printed. You can order my books here and now http://stairsforbreakfast.com/buy-now
People say Stairs For Breakfast is very funny however my second book is even funnier! It covers October 2000 to April 2017. If you’ve met me over the last few years you’re probably in the elevator!
Having worked so hard I am very proud of my books and everything I have achieved. Thank you for reading this and for helping to get my second book published.
It’s been a busy month, Maggie and I finished the first revision of, ‘Screw it, I’ll take the elevator’ and my friend Roy Stannard has edited the manuscript.
I am proud to announce that we have set up this Crowdfunder page, which you can access via: www.ukpatrick.com in order to cover the costs of getting my second book published. My goal is to obtain 1,000 pre-orders in the next six months.
The 2 ½ minute video on my Crowdfunder page took two hours to make! Rather than make unscripted videos we decided to script this one and I memorised each line and tried speaking as clearly as I can. This was both a physically and mentally challenging task and took great concentration and effort but the video was more structured and a great success!
My plan over the next six months is to promote my new book on social media by providing extracts of the book and making videos.
Over the last three months Maggie and I have contacted numerous organisations in an attempt to arrange a speaking event where I could tell people about my books and my life and the general feedback is, ‘Who is Patrick Souiljaert?’, having said that we have been successful in arranging a meeting and attending training in London with Kaleidoscope Investments, which could lead to a successful relationship and speaking opportunities.
If you have any good ideas on how I can promote my books and myself, I welcome your suggestions.
Part of my journey includes property investment and finding rent to rent properties. When Maggie and I visited estate agents in Shoreham a few weeks ago, as I walked into one estate agent I didn’t realise that the chair I was about to sit on had wheels and I nearly fell on to the floor! Whilst I saw the funny side of this, it startled the estate agent. However it hasn’t put me off going to see agents! We have been to see one property which looks really good but as it has been on the market for three months, I am going to go back and see the agent about the rental price.
I have never worked so hard as I have done in the last seven years and very proud of what I have achieved. It continues to be a great journey and I cannot fail because I will never give up!
It has been two months since my last blog update and in the last couple of weeks rather than continuing to take scattered action, I focused on editing, ‘Screw it I’ll take the elevator’, (the follow up to Stairs for Breakfast). One of the things I like about the sequel is the humour. I think it’s a lot funnier than Stairs for Breakfast and I can’t wait to share it with people.
Maggie and I just have to write a closing chapter and introduction to the book. In the next couple of weeks I will start promoting my new book, sharing extracts from it and inviting people to pre-order the book in order to get it self-published.
Here is an extract from, ‘Screw it I’ll take the elevator’, of the time had a hospital appointment and had to provide a urine sample:
‘’Picture the scene:
I was standing at the toilet, with my trousers and boxer shorts around my ankles (to avoid the consequences of an overspill). I was using my right hand (and stick) to balance, and holding the little pot in my left hand. About to do my business. I didn’t know which to do first; a tiny wee in the pot or my main wee in the toilet. I was concerned that once I got going I won’t be able to stop. (I did the tiny wee first and was in perfect control at all times).
Then while we were waiting a few minutes to see the consultant, I suddenly realised that Larry was holding my urine sample. As I didn’t want to hold it, I decided not to bring it into the conversation. Talk about taking the pee.’’
Self-publishing Stairs for Breakfast a couple of years ago was a great learning experience and something which will be a lot easier with my new book. When I wrote my autobiography in 2014, I included a lot of property investment and mindset success stuff that I have learnt over the last seven years, however since the book is more about my journey in life, the property and mindset success material is not really appropriate for the book and I can turn it into a DVD and audio CD.
Once I have written the closing chapter and introduction I will pass the book on to my library lawyer and start promoting the book in ernest.
Having received so much positive feedback from Stairs for Breakfast, I am excited about promoting, Screw it I’ll take the Elevator, not only will it entail promoting the book online, it will also propel me to go out and speak to people and organisations about it.
I work at my best when I primarily focus on one thing. Rent to rent is also something I want to do and Maggie is keen to help me with it. It’s great because Maggie can do much of the legwork for me, here are few photos of when we went to see estate agents a few weeks ago.
Having set up my limited company and obtained an Access to Work grant to employ a PA, I feel a bit under pressure to make money. In order to retain the grant next year I need to make a turnover of £7K, however I am more determined to sell a thousand copies of either of my two books by December 2017.
In contacting people over the last couple of months asking if I can speak at their events, the general response is, ‘Who are you?’. The funny thing is I know that I am good at naturally inspiring people when I speak (partly because it’s something I love doing) but I am an unknown.
Having never run a business before I feel it’s something I need and can greatly benefit from, having some guidance with, next week I have a phone interview with Kaleidoscope Investments, a company who help disabled people in setting up and run their business – which is exciting!
I am writing this blog update to help people as a result of the delays and issues I have experienced with the initial payment claim with AtW.
It’s important to note that you employ your support worker (on either an employed or self-employed basis) and you are responsible for paying your support worker, which you then need to claim back from AtW i.e. Maggie is employed directly by my company and as such, I am responsible for paying her salary, as well as her tax, National Insurance, pension etc. and generate payslips, hence it is advisable to have an accountant to assist.
AtW pays you a lump sum hourly rate for your support worker, which needs to be taken into consideration when working out the salary for your support worker, as all deductions for the employer and employee need to be deducted from this lump sum.
The grant is paid in arrears and claims are submitted on the last working day of every month, by submitting completed timesheets, along with an invoice from your employee for the hours worked for you/your company. Please allow at least two weeks for the payment from AtW to be processed and reflect in your bank account after submission of all necessary monthly documents.
To prevent delays from AtW, ensure that your employees invoice reflects the following information:
Employee full names
Employee postal address
Date of invoice
Employer’s company name
Description of services, example: Support worker services (Assistance with typing, making phone calls, general office administration)
Period worked: example 1st January 2017 to 31st January 2017
Number of hours ______ (@ £rate per hour)
Invoice Total: £_________
(Very important to include)
* PLEASE NOTE:-
1. I was paid on (date) __________________
2. I am not self-employed, I am employed and paid directly by (Company name)
3. Employers Unique Tax Reference: xxxx xxxx
I have been asked to write this blog post because I have recently been successful in obtaining a grant to employ a Personal Assistant from Access to Work (AtW). It is a tedious process but if you follow the correct steps, it’s simple.
AtW use the term Support Worker rather than Personal Assistant. This is because the grant is to employ somebody for the tasks which you cannot do yourself. As my assistant (Maggie) says herself, she’s my hands and feet.
The first thing I could have done better is having a business plan before I submitted the application form. After submitting the form I had a call from someone at AtW to make a phone appointment to go through my application, the guy only gave me four days to complete my business plan. Having never written a business plan before I found a template online and spent three days completing it. When I went through my application with the guy on the phone, I said my business plan was a draft and needed more work on it. The guy said that he would take my application step by step but a few days later I received a letter from him informing me that my application for a grant had been rejected because my business plan was not viable.
I naturally appealed saying I needed more time to complete my business plan, I needed some help from someone who knows how AtW operates, it took a few weeks to find Start Ability Services who are brilliant, they gave me this simple business plan template and helped me with it. Also they advised me that I needed a business case (the tasks I need of a support worker to do).
1. Here is the business plan template, all you need to do is answer the questions in it, Kath Sutherland and Jane Hunt can help you with it and your application for a Support Worker
2. Write a business case outlining the tasks you need a support worker to do. It is advisable that it is in AtW language. Click here to download the business case that I submitted
3. Obtain a unique tax reference (UTR), you can do so by phoning: 0845 915 451
Although it may not be absolutely essential to set up a limited company, I would advise you to get advice from an accountant about doing so. My accountant is Yvonne from Frampton & Co.
I hope you have found this article helpful. In my next blog post I will let you know how the grant is paid to you.
It feels like such a long time since my last Blog update (that’s because it is!). I have done (and am doing) amazing things:
In September I went to Spain, you can read about my experience here. Ascension has become a greater part of my life and I am choosing to observe my thoughts (rather than identifying with them) more and more. It is interesting to notice how my life is changing.
Another amazing thing I have done in the last few months is being interviewed on the radio. When I think about it, it’s bonkers that I can talk on the radio! The fact is, I knew I could do it and therefore, I wasn’t worried about it, you can hear my two interviews on BBC radio here. My friend Roy presents a two hour weekly radio show on Seahaven FM, and I was his guest for the whole show one week in December. It is one of the most exhilarating things I have done.
Towards the end of last year I self-published Stairs For Breakfast as a new book. It’s here on Amazon.
Hay House has now published an American version of Stairs For Breakfast but I think that might be a dead end because they are now asking for $2,000 to $14,000 to promote the book!
The most amazing thing now is that I have Maggie my full-time PA (as a result of applying for an Access to Work grant). Maggie is excellent (and I’m not just saying that because she is typing this), she has transformed the way I work, helps me with my typing, makes phone calls for me and drives me to events. I could not wish for a better PA.
Here is one of the videos Maggie helped me to make:
Maggie’s first day was last month, when she came with me to Glenn Armstrong’s Mastermind day in Milton Keynes, Maggie says it was fun but not knowing anything about property investment, she was a bit lost!
For the last month I have taken yet more scattered action. What I find frustrating is, I understand a lot about property but am unsure what strategy to do or even if I want to do property at all.
Having had a one to one with Glenn, who advised me to decide whether I want to do property or internet marketing. Therefore I am now looking into a couple of property strategies to do in Brighton. However having written my book (and having Maggie helping me edit my second book) the most logical thing for me to do is learn how to drive traffic to my website and to promote myself online.
I am motivated by achievement and ever since reading Rich Dad Poor Dad in 2010, I have wanted to find a recursive strategy that suits me, it is obvious that when I know how to do something (writing a book and applying for a government grant to employ a PA), I do it very well. What I find really useful is having a step by step approach and breaking it down into a to-do list.
My plan for the next month is to increase my visibility online, which I am going to do by creating a Facebook page and doing a weekly video, I am also going to look into:
• Tim Grahl’s, online book marketing
• Chris Farrell’s, website on how to generate traffic
• And other ways of promoting myself online
One of the things I love is public speaking and I am looking into events I can speak at.
After all, promoting myself online and public speaking is what I said I would do in my business plan I wrote to get a grant for a PA.
Glenn advised me to go on Simon Coulson’s and Daniel Vagner’s internet business courses, however those are different strategies, which I shall most certainly explore..
I have a good product (my books), a good website and good at public speaking, all I need to do is get my website and myself more online visibility, it cant be that difficult?!?
CHOICE is an inspiration feature-length documentary film, showing the life-changing impact meditation has on a diverse range of people around the world.
In June 2015, after my meditation teacher Ananta asked me if I wanted to take part, I was filmed by the CHOICE team
When I arrived at Ananta’s house (thinking I was going to be filmed there), Ananta suggested “The guys want to come with you in your car and film you driving up to Devil’s Dyke [on the Sussex Downs]” I initially thought ‘You must be joking, there’s no way I’m doing that…” But when he then said “Do you want to feel the fear and do it anyway?” I couldn’t say no! I found myself in the present moment during the whole filming process – and beyond! The cameraman was sitting in the front of the car and the director/sound guy and Ananta were in the back. It was an amazing experience. While driving and chatting with the guys I also meditated with my eyes open. I then did a 20 minute piece to camera. I loved it and it was virtually effortless.
As someone with Cerebral Palsy, one of the amazing things of Ascension meditation for me, is the more I Ascend the easier is it to walk and to talk (when the mind relaxes the body relaxes).
After filming people across the world the CHOICE team have over 100 hours of footage. Consequently they are planning to make a series of documentaries. Although I’m not featured in the first film I hope my experience inspires you to go and see it.
The people in the film range from ballet dancers and writers to stressed businesspeople, cancer patients, foster children, and maximum security prisoners.
Their stories show that peace is possible for individuals and communities – and suggests it may be possible for all of humanity.
Here’s the trailer
You can see the film in cinemas across the UK, including:
BRIGHTON Odeon on Tue 13th December at 8.30pm. For more info & to reserve tickets CLICK HERE
The award winning production team for CHOICE are delighted that it has been accepted at Awareness Film Festival and the International Social Change film festival this year.
The specific meditation technique explored in the film is The Bright Path Ascension, but the hope is that it might inspire others to explore in what ever way appeals to them.
September at Guayrapa, the meditation retreat in Spain, was amazing, There’s something magical about being surrounded with 80-100 people from around the world, experiencing continuous and expansive, peace, love and joy. Such lovely people, reflecting how amazing and awesome I am.
A big thank you to everyone, especially George, Mahan and Mahita, for helping to make my experience so good. Ahimsa and Marilyn you are so funny!
One of the amazing things of ascension, for me, is the more I ascend the easier is it to walk and to talk. Ascension is about observing your thoughts, rather than identifying yourself with them.
When I went to Guayrapa for the first time last year, it took 3 or 4 people to push me in a wheelchair up and down the 25% gradient mountain. Therefore on returning to the retreat this year I took a mobility scooter with me.
The hired scooter severed me well – and handled the steepness of the mountain – and it was fun! Also it was surreal going through airports without assistance. It felt liberating
I love inspiring and helping people – and I love making a room of 100 or so people laugh. It’s something I do so naturally and joyfully. Also almost certainly I must be the first Guayrapa student to be given steak! It was delicious!
I didn’t go to Guayrapa to sell my book however, effortlessly, I sold 38 copies. Hence I’ve put down a €400 deposit to go back next year, with a view to completing the course.
People call me a pathfinder. The scooter enabled me to get around the retreat independently. Guayrapa has also accommodated a blind person. The retreat is accessible to everyone 🙂
It’s been a few months since my previous update – and a productive time!
After creating my limited company, I’m in the process of applying for an Access to Work grant to employ a support worker to assist me with my work.
My Stairs For Breakfast manuscript has been converted into US spellings/notation and I’m in the final production stages with Hay House, who are publishing my book in America.
I’ve been out and about on a mobility scooter and doing book signings. In the last 3 months I’ve sold 300 copies of my self-published book and also raised money for Scope.
I’m currently arranging hiring a mobility scooter to take to Spain, where I’m off to on 1st September to the ascension meditation retreat.
Each of the above has taken time and effect, I’ve learnt a lot and feel proud. Whilst going out and selling my book to strangers isn’t the smartest way to inspire people and sell my book, it has reinforced my desire to do public speaking. I see my CP as a gift because I inspire people so naturally. I’m also organising several events, including doing a talk at Brighton Library and am in touch with Waterstones about doing a book signing with them in Brighton. (I may need to visit Waterstones in London because my submission, to get my book onto their database, may have got lost on their system!).
In doing a book signing at my local polling station on the EU referendum day, I had a good conversation about public speaking with artist Alison Lapper (who I’ve been bumping into in Shoreham for years) and journalist Laura Raymond (who I know from working in radio) has offered to help me gain publicity on regional TV and in the national press. I also sold a book to a guy who works at BBC World Service and Radio 4, who, after reading my book, has offered to show me around his workplace.
Here’s a piece I did on local TV
When I started the process of applying for a grant for a support worker the DWP only gave me 4 days to write a business plan! Having never written one before I found a business plan template online and spent 2 days drafting one – which the DWP then rejected!
It took a few weeks to find the right people who could help me with a business plan – Association of Disabled Professionals (ADP) – a charity that helps people in obtaining Access to Work grants to employ support workers. Thank you to Kath Sutherland and Jane Hunt for your help and time (you are amazing people). Their business plan template is straightforward. Having now written a second business plan (and business case), Kath says it’s great and I’ve got an extremely good chance of getting a grant. My business plan needs a little tweaking (which ADP are doing) and I’ll re-apply for a grant when I return from Spain. I’m confident that the DWP will approve my application but even if they don’t, having a good business plan/case, I can approach other people/organisations for a grant. Thank you Jane West from c2cbusiness.org.uk for finding ADP.
It’s a good thing I like irony. One of the tasks I need a support worker for is to facilitate me with typing. I have done so much of it over the last weeks and months that I’ve had a left wrist ache for the last week (and glad I’m nearing the end of this update!).
A few months ago I wrote the following 3 articles. I wrote then for Scope but can get them on other websites (eg The Huffington Post).
I really appreciate my natural ability of inspiring people. I see it as a real gift. When I return from Spain, I’m determined to find a mentor who can help/advise me on how to best market myself online and gain public speaking opportunities. Finding a mentor will include making a couple of videos and going to Glenn Armstrong’s Mastermind group. I need to recharge my batteries first!
I could not have achieved what I have over the last few months without my ascension meditation practice. I feel peaceful, proud and pleased.
Thank you to everyone who helps and inspires me – including Maghavat, who found me a scooter to hire in Spain but didn’t have joy finding me scooter insurance. It’s something we both have both many hours researching. I can get insurance for a scooter that I hire/buy in the UK and take to Spain – but haven’t found any for one that I hire in Spain. Maghavat – thank you for helping me find a solution. Can’t wait to get to Guayrapa!
A few months ago, I had the idea of hiring a scooter for an afternoon to sell some books! Thank you to Alan and everyone at Churcers Mobility for your help as well.
My flatmate John and I like saying the word “Scoo’ah”!
PS If you would like to have Stairs For Breakfast you can buy it directly from me here. I’m cheaper than Amazon and I’ll send you a signed copy of the book!
It’s been about 4 months since my last email blog update and I’ve transcended all the stress I’ve been through! Since coming back from Spain in November I feel like I’ve had bump after bump. However my last bump was the best one of all because it got to prioritise my peace!
For a couple of months now, I’ve been ascending for between 2 to 4 hours a day. People have been asking me how I’ve got that much time to ascending. As a result of increasing my meditation practice, I’m waking up between 2 and 6.30 every morning – hence it’s easy to ascend for a couple hours when I wake up. When I wake up before 6am, I become tired by about 1 to 2pm – so I ascend for an hour then.
I’m very aware of my thoughts and feel like I’ve uncovered my awesomeness again! I’ve booked to go to Guayrapa in September (and need to hire an all terrain mobility scooter)
My ascension practice is also helping me in becoming more productive with my work! Thank you to my friend Paul Apps, who volunteered to coach and help me to promote Stairs For Breakfast . I’ve got a lot of time and love for Paul, he is inspiring and helping me so much.
I’ve set myself a target to sell 1,000 books (which Paul has upped to 2,000!) by 1st September
These are some of the things I’m organising.
Fund-raising (for Scope) / book signing events at supermarkets/shopping centres
Book signing events at book shops
Book signings at local events
I am applying for a grant to employ someone to help me with my work promoting my book. This will help me tremendously.
I feel when the weather gets sunnier I can sell my book in various places, out and about.
Hay House book update – I’m having my manuscript converted to US spellings/notation