Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mother of 2 Hayley Patterson Is a Perfect Example of How Self-Employment Can Compliment Family Life With Her Business ‘Hayley’s Flowers and Cart Hire’

After having her second child, Hayley Patterson found it impossible to manage the work hours she had been given and was forced to leave. This left the Liverpool resident looking for other avenues that allowed for more flexibility around her family. She found this flexibility in self-employment.
Credit: Lucy Hannah Photography
Blessed with a creative streak and prior experience in floristry, Hayley decided to combine floral arrangements with a cart hire for parties and events. ‘I started by posting a few pictures on my Facebook and Instagram. I got really good feedback and as interest started to grow I started up a business page on Facebook and Twitter.’

In the early stages of starting up Hayley’s Flowers and Cart Hire, Hayley spotted an advert for free business start-up support for women in Merseyside with The Women’s Organisation. After getting in touch, she started meeting with a business advisor and booked herself onto free workshops including basic bookkeeping and tax and national insurance.

‘My advisor Jo was brilliant. It was great to have someone to help me look at things from a different point of view and talk about them. She helped me with the different aspects of setting up a business, especially the business plan, which helped me a lot. The workshops were also really good.’

‘When I first set up my business, I felt nervous and unsure but with the response I have had from people and the help from The Women’s Organisation, it has helped me be more confident and move forward.’
Hayley is very pleased with the benefits going self-employed has provided. Her business is based from home meaning that there are no overheads and no commute to work. Despite her commenting that it can get a bit hectic, it works for her because it allows for quality time with her children.

‘Being a mum of two young children makes it hard to juggle both sometimes, as I do work most weekends and evenings, but I am lucky that my friends and family are all so supportive in what I am doing.’

Things are going really well and the business is quickly growing in popularity. What makes Hayley’s Flowers and Cart Hire unique is the new addition of an ice cream car available for hire. Decorated in a walls ice cream theme, it serves Cornetto ice cream which has made it very popular.

‘The best thing about running your own business is the sense of pride and achievement you have in doing something you love doing and seeing the customer happy. I would recommend it to anyone who is really passionate about what they do.’

If you’d like to impress at your party or you would like a tasteful floral arrangement for a special occasion, contact Hayley on 07875 742535. You can also find Hayley’s Flowers and Cart Hire on Facebook.

If you would like more time to spend with your family whilst earning an income doing something you enjoy, contact The Women's Organisation for free start-up advice and support on 0151 706 8111 / hello@thewo.org.uk 

Portrait photo by Lucy Hannah Photography

By Beckie Kinsella


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

5 Benefits of Business Planning

A business plan is something that all businesses can benefit from, regardless of the stage you’re at or the size of the business. Put simply, a business plan is a document that describes what your business will do and how you will do it. Unfortunately, many people don’t see the necessity of writing one unless funding or loans are needed. 

Here are 5 ways you can benefit from creating a business plan:

It gives your business direction

Arguably the biggest benefit of writing a business plan is that it gives your business a direction. Whilst you are researching the plan the understanding of your business is broadened. It will help you identify your goals, keeping you organised and on track. If you rush into a business without a clear plan you can easily lose sight of where you want to go. Creating a plan with financial forecasts, marketing plans etc, will help you keep focus of your targets, both long and short term.

It helps you gain an understanding of your market

The research that you do whilst writing your business plan will help you to understand an industry that you may not yet be familiar with, and for those of you who are, it’ll help you understand it more deeply before you actually have a go at entering it. A plan not only helps you understand the market however, but also identifies how your business would fit into it.

It provides a deep understanding of what your business does

Business planning makes it easier for you to describe what it is your business actually does, understand who your competitors are and create a realistic plan that spans over the next few years. Knowing what you offer and what your mission statement is will be crucial in all areas of business, from interacting with a customer to building business relationships.

It identifies problems

Due to the amount of research and information you put into a business plan to address all aspects of starting up the business, any issues or mistakes will be highlighted early on. Learning this beforehand is crucial, as it gives you time to amend the plan and fix any issues before they happen. Within the business plan you will focus on both the day to day operations of the business and the financial side, such as budgeting and market planning. The attention to detail a business plan requires will ensure a smoother road into self-employment with fewer unforeseen problems.

It can secure funding and loans

Whether you’re in the initial stages of setting up a business or already running an established business, applying for loans or funding makes having a business plan imperative. The potential investor or institution will have many questions about your business and a business plan will provide them with the answers they need, as well as showing you are organised. A well written plan will increase your chances of securing funding or loans because it shows you have considered the financial, planning, legal and marketing aspects of your business.


Now that you know the importance of writing a plan, the next step is actually doing it. For many this is the most daunting part of starting up a business, but there is help available. If you are a woman in Merseyside who needs support writing a business plan, The Women’s Organisation’s free 2 day business planning workshop ‘Planning for Success’ can help.

The course covers all the basics of business planning, helping you to gain the skills to successfully build a business plan and cash flow forecast, recognise strengths and weakness in relation to a business idea and to plan your marketing strategy, including social media.

For more information, contact The Women’s Organisation on 0151 706 8111 / hello@thewo.org.uk or visit www.thewomensorganisation.org.uk to find out more about our other business start-up support services


By Beckie Kinsella


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

'Become A More Confident You' with The Women's Organisation's Free Workshop

New dates have been added for The Women’s Organisation’s popular ‘Become a More Confident You’ workshop. This one day course is free to all women in Merseyside who are looking for a boost in confidence and a more positive outlook.

The day is focused on building confidence and self-esteem and creating a more positive outlook for you to make a positive plan for your future. By the end of this course, you will have identified what qualities and capabilities you have and be more confident in deciding where your future lies.

Women who have previously attended the workshop have said it has helped them to realise their achievements, be more positive and assertive and to notice bad habits and break them. Furthermore, knowing that there are people in the same situation in itself has made them more confident moving forward. 

Here’s what some of them said:

‘I found the course very useful. It has made me realise how I think and how to adjust to situations more positively.’

‘I loved Bernie, she is a very good trainer. Down to earth and put everyone at ease. It was very relaxing and informative.’

‘It was great! It was nice to meet with new people and know that you are not the only one who may struggle with confidence. Would recommend to anyone.’

‘I have enjoyed the whole day. Bernie is very understanding, approachable and delivers all aspects of the course really well. I now feel more confident to deal with everyday situations, be assertive and believe in myself.’


Dates available are:

ON:

Thursday 9th October 10am - 3pm
Wednesday 5th November 10am - 3pm

 At:
54 St James Street, L1 0AB

Whether you are a woman facing redundancy, unemployed and keen to move forward, currently working but in need of a positive boost, a full time mum looking for some me time or a woman looking to set up her own business, join us and be encouraged to make this summer a much more positive one.

Call us directly on 0151 706 8111 or email hello@thewo.org.uk to book your free place and take your first step to becoming a more confident you!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bernie's Networking Top Tips: Part 1

Networking is more than just a buzzword. It's probably the best opportunity you will ever have to make connections, build relationships and help yourself and others in the networking group succeed. Networking with like-minded individuals is also a great way to explore new career options, learn more about a specific industry, gather insights from peers on critical business issues and grow professionally.


Networking With a Goal in Mind
Think about what you want to accomplish by joining a particular networking group.
Are you looking for a job, trying to develop new business or do you want to expand your network of contacts and become known as the go-to person in the industry?
You can choose to be either an active or passive member of the group, but will get the most out of the experience by regularly attending and participating in the activities.
Once you decide on the networking group that matches your goals, you can immediately increase your visibility by volunteering to participate on a committee.
Access and Exposure
According to Executive Career Consultant Kathleen Jennings, of The Jennings Company, "It's not who you know, it's who knows you."
Joining a professional networking group is an opportunity for you to gain access and exposure to people you might not otherwise meet: a company executive in an industry that you've always wanted to learn more about, a keynote speaker who's an expert in your field, and yes, even someone who may be in a position to offer you a job, or who can connect you to the hiring manager at a company where you've always wanted to work.
You can find out when and where networking groups meet by scanning the business-events section of your local newspaper or business weekly. Visit the website of the networking group before going to the first event to learn more about their members, mission and focus. Armed with this information, you can go to the next breakfast, lunch, or after-hours function prepared with questions for the members and guests you introduce yourself to at the meeting.
Stay Connected Between Meetings
The internet is a great tool to use to stay visible and connected to your networking group between meetings. You can:
  • Search on the internet for the name of the person you're planning on meeting for that informational interview.
  • Forward a link to an article of interest to the new member you met at the last function.
  • Send an email with contact information for a referral.
  • Post a reply to a request on the group's message board.

There's a fine line between being seen as a resource and being seen as a spam artist; don't send excessive or inappropriate email. Make sure that your contacts between meetings are relevant and pertinent to the business at hand.

Don't just take it from us, see what these women in business had to say about the importance of networking:
Subscribe or visit our blog regularly for more of Bernie's top tips and other handy business hints and tricks, including guest blogs from business services, business related articles and client success stories. 

Blog by Bernie Cox, Training Co-ordinator

Bodybuilder Turned Entrepreneur Turns Over First £1mil & Scoops Award

“Just ask” is the entrepreneurial advice from world-fitness model and female entrepreneur who scooped Business of the Year at the recent Downtown Women inBusiness Awards.

Claire Harper receiving her award
For people wanting to start their own business, fitness guru Claire Harper said that to get started, sometimes it’s as simple as just asking the right person how to do it.

Manchester based Harper founded Harper Innovations four years ago when she came across a Swedish product called “Smart Shake” at a health and fitness show and immediately loved it.

Within weeks she was the main distributor of the product in the UK. This year she turned over her first £1 million and is now on the cusp of European and global expansion.

“If you come across a product that you really love and believe in and it’s not being sold in the UK – well just ask can you be the distributor. And then go from there,” she said.

Access to capital and knowing where to find grants is one of the biggest challenges facing start-ups, according to Harper.

After launching her business from her bedroom during a recession, Harper turned to The Women’s Organisation for advice on how to get going and take her business to the next level.

“Finance can cripple you when starting a business but The Women’s Organisation was fantastic at linking us into grants and schemes that we knew nothing about before. I couldn't have done it without them” said Harper.

“They also helped with the employment side, the legal side of business growth and linked me into apprenticeship schemes.”

“I really think more people would start their own business if they knew what support was out there.”
After winning the Business of the Year Award, Harper said some of the keys to success were sheer resilience, hard graft and the assistance she received from the Women’s Organisation.

“When we first started a lot of people said we wouldn't last six months which was like a red rag to a bull. I think that just spurred us on more,” she said.

“Year one we managed to turn over £200, 000,” said Harper. “We doubled that in the second year and now we’ve just turned over £1m with our projection being £3m next year which is just amazing.”

The thing I find most amazing about it is that we started the business in a recession, if I can do that – awesome,” said Harper.

The award-winning business started with the Smart Shake which is a gym bottle with two separate attached compartments that you can put anything into – for example a gym locker key, protein shake, nuts or seeds or any other dietary supplement.

Because of the huge popularity of the product, Harper then moved on to other fitness products she loved and was confident would sell in the UK.

“With the Muscle Moose we have just secured a deal for worldwide rights and are in negotiations to distribute other products,” she said.


 “Finding a product you really love and believe in is the key to success.”

If you are a woman based in Greater Manchester looking to expand your existing business, contact our Programme Manager Mike via mikemarsden@thewo.org.uk to find out how you can receive free tailored business growth advice and support through Venture Accelerator. 










Wednesday, July 23, 2014

From Corporate to Fashion; Valerie Hughes Launches Independent Label House of Pearl With a Brand New Website

Just months after launching her very own fashion label, House of Pearl, Sefton resident Valerie Hughes is proud to announce that her brand new website is now live!

The site, which houses House of Pearl’s debut collection, has been created through a combination of Val’s complete dedication to building her brand and her strong support network.

‘It has been a long journey but I’m really pleased that we have now launched the website. I’ve had lots of help throughout especially from my brother, who’s been amazing with all the help he’s given me with the website.’

Inspired by past and present trends, high street and vintage pieces, House of Pearl’s objective is simple: a flattering cut, a stylish edge and a look to suit any occasion.


Val decided to pursue a new career path after being made redundant from her 17 yearlong corporate job. She began her journey in a high-end designer store working as a supervisor and personal shopper for high profile customers.

Despite never working in retail before, Val embraced the industry very quickly. Her passion for fashion grew into a dream of one day designing her own collections under her own individual brand.

‘With a vision in mind, an abundance of research and an overwhelming feeling of both excitement and trepidation, I set about creating my first collection of limited edition pieces.’

Val began by networking and making valuable contacts. She found a British manufacturer to work with and help bring her designs to life.

During the creation of House of Pearl, Val also sought advice from The Women’s Organisation. She was paired up with a business advisor and provided free business related workshops including Basic Bookkeeping, Planning for Success and Building a Social Media Strategy.


‘The Women’s Organisation has been fab. They were great for me because I had no business background and didn’t know how to start writing a business plan. Fran, my advisor, made me realise the importance of having a business plan. I couldn’t have had better support from anywhere else.’

She continued: ‘Fran, Beckie, Jo and Bernie have been amazing and offered me so much extra support along the way. Every time I call, they’re always more than happy to help.’

When Val first started testing the market, she had samples made in India but found that getting items manufactured abroad was not ideal for her vision. Being completely passionate about her brand, she refused to accept anything less than top quality products and wanted complete control over the fabric choices etc. to ensure this.

The biggest challenge of becoming self-employed has been marketing the business. The task of reaching the right people whilst finding the balance between making sure you are portraying your products in the right way and expressing yourself can be tricky. ‘I have had to develop myself in areas I had never had to before to make this work.’

Val manages numerous roles as part of her business including accountant, designer, fabric finder, marketing and PR, networking – ‘I’ve had to learn to be my own everything, it’s difficult but really rewarding and I’ve surprised myself at how much I’ve been able to learn.’

Although she has to manage all these roles now, she has big plans for the future, with the hope of opening up a factory and eventually going global.

‘Things are going really well and I have learnt so much in the past year. I’m looking forward to building the brand and seeing where it could potentially go’.

The best thing about self-employment is having the freedom to plan her days and weeks around doing the things she genuinely enjoys. Val also loves the possible earning potential and satisfaction of building a successful business from scratch. She notes how rewarding this is, especially whilst surrounded by lots of lovely people who are willing to support.


Val’s advice to budding entrepreneurs out there would be: ‘Firstly join The Women’s Organisation and get all the help you can. Keep pushing forward, even when it’s tough it will all be worth it in the end .’

Visit House of Pearl’s brand new website to view Val’s limited edition collection and find out more about the label http://www.houseofpearluk.com/  You can also keep updated on the latest from House of Pearl by following @HouseOfPearl1 or liking https://www.facebook.com/houseofpearluk


And if you would like to take a new career path like Val, The Women's Organisation's Start-up Programme can offer the support you need to do so. Visit www.thewomensorganisation.org.uk or contact 0151 706 8111 / info@thewo.org.uk for more information








By Beckie Kinsella


Cameron's Cabinet Reshuffle: Not Exactly a Big Leap for Gender Equality

In Cameron's much hyped Cabinet "reshuffle for women" the Prime Minister reportedly told Sky News the selection of appointments "reflects modern Britain" as he listed his four female cabinet ministers - Home Secretary, Education Secretary, Agriculture Secretary, Development Secretary.  However, if you look at the facts beyond the hype you will see that actually just two more women have been promoted to be full members of Cabinet, taking the percentage of women to 23 per cent, and only returning us to 2011 levels.



National gender equality campaign group the Fawcett Society were quick to respond to the media spin highlighting that even developing countries have better proportions than women in cabinet than we do. Quoted by Huffington Post as "concerned" by the ongoing gender divide in parliament, Fawcett Society's head of policy and campaigns Daisy Sands emphasised "With only 23% of full Cabinet members female the country is still being run overwhelmingly by men." With a population where 52% are female how can this be seen to be reflecting modern Britain?

When it was announced that Baroness Stowell, who has been promoted to Leader of the House of Lords, would have less status and pay than her male predecessor, Fawcett Society  quite rightly called on the government to take concrete action. Subsequently, the Conservative Party announced they will make up the difference in pay for Baroness Stowell from party funds.

A further blow to gender equality came via the endlessly sexist coverage of the reshuffle by the Mail and other publications who felt the most important point to comment on during the reshuffle was the fashion sense of the newly named women in cabinet.

The Women's Organisation join Fawcett Society and any other reasonable human being in the UK in the feeling of disgust at the misogynistic media coverage of the reshuffle, particularly by the Mail, and urging David Cameron to look deeper at the gender divide in this country to address the real issues.  We feel that women should have an equal voice in parliament, in leadership and management positions within business, equal pay and equal rights. The Women's Organisation would be interested to see what the governments plans are to tackle these important issues moving forward. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Twitter #Hashtag Networks for North West Women in Business

Twitter can be a powerful tool for building business connections and shouting about your brand.  Twitter has now become an online networking platform utilising the #hashtag to connect people together who want to find other people by area or interest. When you are starting your own business, the more FREE exposure you can get the better, and when you don't have time to pop to a networking event in person, networking online can fill the gap.  Below are a list of twitter networking events held by hashtag that women led businesses in the north west might find particularly useful to join in with.  Have a go and see if you can build your twitter following. 

Monday
  • 9am-9pm #bizmumfollow
  • 12noon -1pm #UKBizLunch
  • 2-3pm #BizHour (runs Mon-Fri)
  • 3-4pm #B2BHour
  • 3-4pm #FollowHour (runs Mon-Fri)
  • 6-7pm #WomaninBiz (runs Mon-Fri)
  • 8-9pm #CheshireHour
  • 8-9pm #StockportHour
  • 8-9pm #DidsburyHour
  • 9-10pm  #StHelensHour
  • 9-10pm  #Crosbynet

Tuesday
  • 9am-9pm #Queenof
  • 2-3pm  #BizHour Weekdays for business networking
  • 6-7pm #WomaninBiz (runs Mon-Fri)
  • 7-8pm #FashionHour
  • 8-9pm  #Merseybiz
  • 8-9pm #WiganHour
  • 8.30-9.30pm #BuyOnlineHour
  • 8.30-9.30pm #MallowMummies
  • 9-10pm #BlogHour
  • 9-10pm #4NHour
  • 9-10pm #SmallBizHour


Wednesday
  • 2-3pm  #BizHour Weekdays for business networking
  • 12-1pm #UDONetwork
  • 1-3pm tweet @Jacqueline_Gold #WOW
  • 6-7pm #WomaninBiz (runs Mon-Fri)
  • 6-7pm #Flutterbiz
  • 8-9pm  #NorthWestHour Connects NW People & Businesses
  • 8-9pm #OrganicHour A networking hour for everyone who loves organic we talk food, skincare, environment, fashion, policy
  • 8-9pm #SocialCareHour
  • 8-9pm #RochdaleHour
  • 8.30-9.30 #GossipGirls
  • 8.30-9.30pm #WedChat – Wedding industry
  • 8.30-9.30pm #BuyBritishBrands
  • 9-10pm #WeddingHour –Wedding industry


Thursday
  • 2-3pm  #BizHour Weekdays for business networking
  • 6-7pm #WomaninBiz (runs Mon-Fri)
  • 8-9 pm  #Womenbizhour for women in business networking
  •  8-9pm  #WirralHour for Wirral businesses to connect and network
  •  8-9pm #LiverpoolHour
  • 8-9pm #SouthportHour
  • 8-9pm #ManchesterHour
  • 8.30-9.30pm #TwitterSisters
  • 9-10pm #MumPrenuerHour
  • 9-10pm #BNIHour
  • 9-10pm #FinanceHour for those looking for finance for growth


Friday
  • 10-11am #ConnectFriday
  • 12-1pm #UKBizLunch
  • 12-1pm #SkillWillHour
  • 12-1pm #EcoHour Facilitating the exchange of Eco friendly ideas from around the world
  • 1-2pm #PartBizhour for event/party businesses
  • 2-3pm #BizHour
  • 3-4pm #B2BHour
  • 4-5pm #GBHour
  • 6-7pm #WomaninBiz (runs Mon-Fri)
  • 6-7pm #WineOClock (runs Mon-Fri)
  • 9-10pm  #NorthWestHour Connects NW People & Businesses


Saturday
  • 8am-9.15am #SatChat
  • 1-2pm  #Merseyhour
  • 6-7pm #SpeedNetworking

Sunday

  • 5-7pm Tweet @TheoPaphitis #SBS
  • 7-8pm #WomanInBizhour
  • 8-9pm #HolisticHour
  • 9-10pm #EnglandHour
The Women's Organisation offer specialist business support for women based in Merseyside and Greater Manchester. To find out more contact 0151 706 8111 or hello@thewo.org.uk.  For further support on Twitter check out our specialist Twitter Masterclass. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Knowsley Resident and Photography Graduate Jessica Lang Goes Freelance at the Age of 22

When asked what motivated her to start a business so young, Jess replied: ‘Why not? I’m only young once so I may as well take the chance now whilst I’m in a good position financially and have nothing holding me back. I didn’t want to fall out of love with the practice after working so hard at University and going Freelance was just what I wanted to do!’
Credit: Lucy Hannah Photography
Based in Liverpool City Centre, Jess shares a studio with some friends whose own businesses are complimentary to her own. This, combined with her BA(Hons) in Photography, has set her up nicely as her client base steadily grows.

Throughout her time at university, the Kirkby resident built up quite a substantial following on social media. Utilising Facebook particularly well, she now boasts over 2000 followers of her page. Already pretty clued up on networking and marketing, she felt she needed support with the paperwork side of starting up a business. Admitting that she started out ‘messy’, with odd jobs here and there whilst having no idea how to charge or bill correctly, she contacted social enterprise The Women’s Organisation who offered her support through the Big Enterprise in Communities (BEiC) initiative funded by European Regional Development Fund.
Credit: Jessica Lang Photography
‘I found The Women’s Organisation greatly supportive and understanding. My advisor was there in those baby stages so she witnessed me breaking down at times when I had no idea what I was doing. The workshops I attended were very informative and slowly introduced me to the world of tax and made it seem much less daunting. I feel taller and more confident!’

A Fashion Photographer at heart, Jess aims to work primarily in commercial and fashion in the future. For now, however, she is happy experimenting and finding out what works in regards to growing her business.

‘I’m trying loads of different genres and experiencing what sells and what doesn’t, what I’m good at and what I’m not, and which aspects I enjoy more and wish to improve. Photography is quite open and I’m doing a lot of different things at the moment because I’m still figuring out what genre I want to concentrate on.’

Credit: Jessica Lang Photography
Being a freelance photographer and having her own studio, Jessica Lang Photography is able to offer a whole range of services including occasions (weddings, birthdays, christenings), commercial, model portfolios, portraits (single, family, pet), maternity/pregnancy/newborn, fashion and editorial.

Jess has come a long way through her start-up journey and offers this advice to anyone considering self-employment: ‘Don’t rush, and don’t expect for results straight away. See it through and keep trying if it’s something you’re really passionate about. Most of all enjoy it!’

Credit: Jessica Lang Photography
Pleasing clients is the number one priority for Jessica Lang Photography. Nothing makes her happier than seeing happy customers enjoying the photographs she has shot for them.

‘It makes everything worthwhile. Also, making money doing something I love is so, so satisfying! I am very proud of how far I have come.’

Since her journey began back in an after-school class aged 14, Jess has continually grown her skills and portfolio. She has worked on a commercial campaign for a national holiday park, with local model agencies and magazines, shot weddings/events/portraits and most predominantly worked with a mass of models/stylists/make-up artists for fashion and editorial projects.
Credit: Jessica Lang Photography
If you are looking for a passionate photographer that can deliver high quality photographs on location or at her city centre based studio, visit www.jessicalangphotography.co.uk to view her wide portfolio and follow Jessica Lang Photography on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/Jessicalangphotography and Twitter @JessLangPhoto where she posts updates and news.


And if you like Jess you would love to make money doing what you love, contact The Women’s Organisation on 0151 706 8111 / hello@thewo.org.uk to access free business start-up support via one to one business advice appointments and training workshops. You can also visit our website www.thewomensorganisation.org.uk for



Portrait Photo by Lucy Hannah Photography


By Beckie Kinsella




 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Business Meets Literature at Liverpool's First Virtual Book Fair with @wowfest

Writing on the Wall hosts Liverpool's first Virtual Book Fair in the stunning atrium of Liverpool's Central Library - a day of interactive, hands-on readings, discussion and interactions with those at the top of their games in publishing.
With an introduction by Downtown in Business Director, Frank Mckenna, The Virtual Book Fair will explore business models of online publishing and encompass publishing powerhouses such as Anna Rafferty, whose innovation during her time as managing director of Penguin Digital showed different ways of marketing books to a fast-paced population, and Linda Bennett, director and editor of Crime at Salt Publishing, who will speak about the ways authors today can put themselves on the literary map.

The Virtual Book fair includes:
- Jim Hinks of Comma Press will be introducing their literary travel app LitNav
Beth Reekles whose self-published first novel, aged 15, on Watt Pad received 19 million views

- Interactive novels and apps for virtual readers at the 
Digital Station, courtesy of Touch Press.
- Webinars, including Blackwell's Digital Manager, Kjell Eldor about the future of books in a digital age.
- Children's Pod with illustrators and storytellers from The Wild Writers hosting storytelling sessions which will be projected around the pod.
- The Writer's Room and where you can get a slot with one of three fantastic writers: Caroline Smailes, Jim Friel and Deborah Morgan.  Pre-book your 10 minute slot with one of the WOW writers by emailing info@writingonthewall.org.uk or turn up and see if a slot is available!
- Digital Speak Easy - Curtis Watt, poet, author, musician and beatboxer will be there to record and stream your spoken word it straight onto WoW's Facebook and Twitter.
Other exciting highlights include our Twitter Haiku Competition, join Writing on the Wall's resident poets and write your best Twitter Haiku to be in with the chance of winning some exciting prizes!