Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Kate Williams Got Her Creative Spark Back When She Set Up Her Business

Kate Williams has her hands full at the moment as she grows her young business Kate Williams Photography, especially now as the summer season has started which means one big thing for photographers, lots and lots of weddings!

Kate is a Wedding and Portraiture specialist who describes her style as a mixture of ‘Fine Art and Reportage’ She says; ‘I am passionate about capturing real moments as they happen, but also love creating those stand out and unique shots that people will remember’ as her fantastic portfolio on her website (kate-williams.co.uk) clearly shows.
As well as running and growing her business, Kate is also a part time Art and Photography teacher at Byrchall High School two days a week, leaving every other day, minute and hour spare to run her business. ‘For the most part of my working career, I’ve been a teacher and my creative energies have been fuelled towards developing that spark and practice in others. This has been incredibly fulfilling, but I reached a point for a variety of reasons where I knew I couldn’t ignore my own creativeness any more,’ This is when Kate made the decision to start exploring the possibilities of running her own business, and delving back into her photography and using this to be able to make a living; ‘It’s weird, but not having that in my life made me feel slightly incomplete, and it took me a while to realise what was missing!’ Kate says that she wanted to have more energy, and to feel more balanced, she needed to make a change.

Rather than jumping head first into this decision as you may expect a typically creative person to do, Kate very much thought through her decision and spent a great amount of time preparing herself and getting the ball rolling. ‘I tried to fully re-immerse myself back into the world of art and photography. Obviously I had never really left it, but I needed to do things to get back in tune.’ Kate did this by attending lots of exhibitions, taking her own photographs and creating her own work. 

Next she researched the areas of photography she knew she wanted to specialise in and made sure she brushed up own her own skills that she knew needed improving; ‘I undertook some training to develop in areas that would enhance my skill set, things like working with light in a studio environment and specialist editing techniques’ as well as researching her competition in the local area. Only when she had ticked all of these tasks off of her to-do list did she feel totally ready to make the leap!
After photographing many of her friend’s weddings over that summer, building her own website ‘A massive learning curve!’, and signing up to every Social Media platform that she could, Kate began to get bookings for her business.

To balance starting her own business with still being a part-time teacher has been something of a juggling act for Kate, as she gradually reduces the time spent at school as she gets more and more work. ‘It’s been hard in terms of sharing my time, and I have to be quite disciplined about when I work on the different parts. I still absolutely adore working with young people, and have found that doing both jobs gives me more energy in both areas!’

But for Kate it wasn’t the balancing act that she found most difficult about starting up her own business, it was, in fact, more of a psychological barrier that she faced. As she moved away from her five days a week secure job, and took the risk, it was something that she found quite daunting, as many women who start their own businesses do. ‘I guess it was the fear of failure’, as well as the confidence that she needed to put herself out there, and show her work to others; ‘I think when you work in the creative industry, it feels very personal to share your work, and this can be quite hard to overcome at first. That was a leap of faith and it meant that I really had to try and build up lots of confidence. I was lucky to have the support of an amazing husband and supportive friends.’

As well as having the support of family and friends, Kate also got in touch with The Women’s Organisation and has been working with Senior Business Advisor, Claire Pedersen; ‘Initially being able to talk through my ideas with my advisor was really helpful, and that little bit of reassurance and direction went a long way. More recently Claire has been helping me to organise my ideas and think about the future with planning strategies.’ Kate has also attended our courses on Tax and National Insurance and Bookkeeping which have helped her with the practicalities of business management. ‘The support from The Women’s Organisation has been absolutely fantastic. People are always amazed, as I was, when I first found out that this level of support is there for women who are trying to start their own business. I also just find being at The Women’s Organisation and being around other women who are doing the same thing really inspirational’.

At the moment, Kate says she is loving running her own business, especially the flexibility that it gives her. ‘I have time to think and reflect. But I can also be integral to my own creative intentions and there is a great sense of satisfaction from when I see people’s reactions when I deliver the work!’ Kate already has lots of weddings booked for next year which she is looking forward to, being a self-confessed wedding lover herself! ‘I’m so excited at the thought of working with more amazing couples. I’m a total sucker for a wedding and I always cry during the ceremony! It’s such a joyful and happy experience to be a part of!’

And finally, Kate’s advice to any women out there who are looking to start up their own business! One of our firm favourites; ‘Do it!’ Kate says; ‘I think a lot of women, understandably, feel really nervous about doing something different, or about taking the risk, but I believe it’s all about confidence and there is no reason why women are any less capable – it’s all in our heads! Get involved with The Women’s Organisation and speak to other women who are doing the same things.’

To find out more about Kate and her photography, you can use the contact details below! And if you were inspired by Kate’s story and want to find out more about starting up your own business, please get in touch with us by emailing hello@thewo.org.uk or telephoning 0151 706 8111.

T: 07930270138

Twitter: @KateWillPhotos

Photography by Kate! (Please check out her other fantastic photographs that Kate has taken of our clients like; Joanne Finnerty, Nicola Cookson and Erica Wildflower

Monday, June 29, 2015

Welsh project is making WAVE's in Female Entrepreneurship

We were delighted to welcome our Welsh friends from WAVE (Women Adding Value to theEconomy) last week to 54 St James Street. Christine Atkinson and her colleagues from the project came up to visit and tell us all about the project that has been developing research and making things happen for female entrepreneurship in Wales. 

During their visit, we sat down and shared best practice and research findings from the field. They were inspired by the facility we have here at The Women's Organisation and likewise, we were by the tools and materials that they have developed as part of the project.

WAVE is a three partner, three year European Social Fund project created to address workplace and labour market practices, specifically the issue of gender earning disparities in employment and self-employment.

The three main partners of the WAVE programme are:
Cardiff University who developed tools and techniques based on research with employers to challenge gender based inequalities in organisations. This includes the development of an innovative equal pay analysis method which has been recognised in the Welsh Ministers Report on Equality.

The Women’s Workshop Project @ BAWSO Ltd who worked with women and employers on initiatives to maximise women’s potential to progress in work, with a focus on the IT and Construction sector.

The Women in Self Employment Resource (WISER) team at the University of South Wales, has up-skilled women who are in or aspiring towards self-employment and developed sustainable peer support in the form of women’s business networks and mentoring 

Through a series of events, research and campaigning, the project has gathered some great research for the cause. One of these was their ‘National Conversation: Let’s Talk about Pay Campaign’ this was a national conversation started through a series of hashtags to raise awareness of gender pay disparities in Wales. Key findings from this were:
  • Women typically undercharge for products and services at start up
  • Women and Men are motivated by money when starting a business but women are less likely to say this.
  • The average annual income for self employed women in the UK is £10k 
  • There are over twice as many self employed men than women in Wales
  •  If the same number of women as men set up a new business there would be 150,000 new businesses in the UK each year.

The message is clear: we need to encourage more women to set up and run businesses and we need to help them achieve their personal and business potential. The purpose of the WAVE Women in Self Employment Research has been to address this in the Welsh context and we are looking forward to seeing what happens in the future as the findings from the project continue to evolve. 

To find out full details of the project and the work that has been done, visit their website. As as for what happens next, you will have to watch this space but we hope that exciting things are to come from this great partnership.  

Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer Speed Networking At The Women's Org with Liverpool Loves & Thought Leader, Lisa Pearson!

We will be hosting our Summer Speed Network on Tuesday 14th July from 9:30am-11:30am, at 54 St James Street, L1 0AB

Media, Marketing, PR and Events experts will be joining us for our speedy session, and as we whizz around the room they will be divulging their top tips to get your business noticed in a facilitated networking session. Bring your ideas, and bring your notebooks as there will be some fantastic hints being shared between our panel and yourselves!

Our guests are from a host of backgrounds covering Media, Marketing, PR and Events. So make sure you get to meet them and all the business women that will be attending, by booking your ticket fast!

Summer Speed Networking at The Women’s Organisation, your speediest networking event of the year!

Meet Josh Boyd, Managing Director of Orb Event SolutionsCIC, and the brains behind this year’s Liverpool Loves Festival (which The Women’s Organisation are proud partners of), will be joining us to give his hints on events, trade shows and making connections.

And Lisa Pearson, Head of Marketing and Business Development with the HHL GroupLisa was also the winner of Best Marketer at the Downtown Women in Business Awards for 2014, and part of our Thought Leader series of interviews too! 

To find out more about this event, please email us on hello@thewo.org.uk or ring us on 0151 706 8111 and book your spot using the link below!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

After 20 Years Working in Recruitment, Joanne Finnerty Made The Leap To Start Her Own Business

Joanne Finnerty has the perfect strapline for her business, JF Recruitment, it’s punchy and snappy and would definitely make you stop and listen if you met her at a networking event; ‘I’m Joanne Finnerty, and I help companies make more money by recruiting the right staff for them.’ – And she does, and has done since she launched her business in June 2013. After working for 20 years in the recruitment industry, and at companies like Adecco and Kelly Recruitment, Joanne finally took the plunge (after much pestering from her husband), and started her own business.

‘I kept saying yes, yes, I’ll get around to it, but you just carry on and you think it’s going to be easier just to stay safe and not take the risk. But I really wasn’t happy and I wanted to do my own thing.’ – So after returning from a holiday, Joanne handed in her notice and that very evening wrote the business plan for JF Recruitment. She had clear ideas about what running her own business was going to be like, saying she wanted to work Monday to Thursday only, play golf on Friday and get a dog, joking; ‘I’ve always wanted a dog, one of the main reasons I started my own business was to get a dog!’. But it soon became clear the JF Recruitment wasn’t going to be a 4 day-a-week, work from home business.

‘Within the first year, I realised that I had so much business that I needed to recruit staff to help me. I’d attended the opening of every envelope across Liverpool and the Wirral; and networked like crazy. I was starting to have to turn away business, and that’s when I knew, I needed to take staff on, and if I have to take staff on, then I’m going to need premises!’

Something that has always stayed with Joanne throughout her working life has been the idea of having her offices in Hamilton Square in Birkenhead, as she lives in the Wirral and has always liked the area. Fate was on Joanne’s side, as one of her business networks let her know that there was an office available on the ground floor of a building in Hamilton Square. ‘I had a look, and it was beautiful!’ Now, settled into her office in Hamilton Square, with enough space to grow, Joanne took on her first member of staff, Julie in October 2014, and her second member of staff, Natalie in February 2015. In the future Joanne is looking to grow her own consultants from scratch and take on an apprentice. But is still incredibly careful, and forward thinking; ‘I won’t be in debt, I don’t want to owe any money, so I will only take a member of staff on when I know there is enough money in the bank to cover 6 months of wages.’

Being in the office is a great step forward for Joanne, after working from home at the inception of the business, which she found to be one of the more difficult parts of setting up the company. ‘It can be quite lonely, working from home, even though I am in the ‘people’ business. I’m constantly speaking to clients and candidates, but to actually run the business on your own, and make all of those decisions, can be quite lonely.’ The things that helped her through this first year were, she says; ‘The Women’s Organisation, BNI (Business Network International), Wirral Chamber of Commerce and Liverpool Chamber of Commerce.’

Joanne heard about The Women’s Organisation about four months after she started the business and came to see Senior Business Advisor, John Jones. She took advantage of the courses available such as Building a Social Media Strategy, Understanding Tax and National Insurance and Basic Bookkeeping, all great resources for women who are newly starting up their own businesses or want to brush up on those skills.

As well as getting support and advice from The Women’s Organisation, Joanne is a business owner who thrives on surrounding herself with other business owners, in particular; ‘people who are doing better than you are.’ Joanne says; ‘You have to meet with those people and surround yourself with them. Because you will learn so much, I’m like a sponge, I will sit with people and listen to what they’ve done, and the struggles they’ve gone through, and how they have got to where they are.’

By using these support networks, and running a tight ship, Joanne’s business is growing and growing and she has big plans for the future to expand into other areas of recruitment!  Joanne also met James Caan from Dragon’s Den, who was interested in helping Joanne make this growth vision a reality.
Although, she is clear to point out, that, although her business is very important, she wants to be able to live her life, and show her team that it’s possible to do this too. ‘Recruitment can be seen as quite a ruthless industry to get into and stay in successfully, long hours, late nights and weekends. But it doesn’t have to be! I want to have the ethos that you can work 9-5, 5 days a week with an hour for lunch and still provide a great service to candidates and clients – and make money!’, Joanne is keen to show her team that if a job becomes more than a job, then you can start to resent it and end up not enjoying it, which is the last thing she wants for her team!

So as her business grows, her team grows, but her working hours will stay the same, has Joanne Finnerty got the ultimate work/life balance figured out? We think she might have!

To find out more about JF Recruitment, please use the contact details below. And if you are a woman starting up your own business, or growing your business, then get in contact with The Women’s Organisation by ringing us on 0151 706 8111 or emailing hello@thewo.org.uk

Joanne Finnerty Recruitment Limited
49 Hamilton Square, Birkenhead CH41 5AR
T: 0151 601 5288
F: 0151 601 5299
M: 07952139740

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Have You Got To Grips With Hootsuite? The Women's Organisation Are Here To Help!

Hootsuite can change the way you manage your Social Media for your business. Figure out the basics, and you you will be well on your way to creating great social media content and scheduling it out in advance! We've put together the basics on Hootsuite right here, but if you want to know how to use this fantastic platform, we have the perfect course for it! Join us as we explain Hootsuite for Business on our half-day course, subsidised to just £20. You can book your spot on this course through our Eventbrite, or ring us to find out more! 

But first...

What is Hootsuite?
Hootsuite is a social media management system for businesses. The system takes the form of a dashboard and supports many social media sites such as:

·       Twitter
·        Facebook
·        LinkedIn
·        Google+
·        Foursquare

Additional integration are available for on a Paid For system which includes:

·        Instagram
·        MailChimp
·        Reddit
·        Tumblr
·        Vimeo
·        YouTube

How popular is Hootsuite?

Hootsuite hit the 1 million-user milestone in 2010 (it was launched in 2008), and consumers and businesses had shared some 500 million messages by then. Now they are close to 7 million members.

3.3 billion followers and fans were reached by messages sent using Hootsuite. That’s more than the population of America, Africa, Europe and Australia combined.

These messages can be sent through over 35 social networks and apps.

Although, the most popular are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Hootsuite is designed to save you time, and make your life easier, and it can do that, with relative ease. It makes it easy and less time-consuming to manage several different social media accounts.

If you’re having trouble keeping up with your social media account, this simple step of not having to log in and out of multiple accounts and updating multiple pages, means you save a lot of time. By scheduling posts and updates, you can forecast and plan a week or more in advance for your social media accounts.

Although there is an argument to not scheduling weeks worth’s of social media content. Sometimes the best thing about Twitter, Facebook or other social media channels, is that it’s natural and organic. Conversations and interactions can happen in real time on these channels. So although it is a great idea to schedule posts and updates, be sure to spend some real time on these channels interacting and making connections with people and businesses. This is just as useful and is quality over quantity.

Hootsuite for a SME is perfect, and is free also. All the major social media accounts are free to link up to Facebook but if you want to add more premium apps and start looking at your analytics, then you will need to pay. Although be sure to shop around as there are great websites where you can study your social media analytics for free, rather than paying for Hootsuite’s own branded analytics.

Working out how to use the Hootsuite dashboard can take a little time, and can be overwhelming at the start. But it is worth it for the amount of time that you will save in the future, and you will find that Hootsuite is a great asset to the social media of your business.

If you want to find out more about Hootsuite and how to get to grips with it, then join us on our Hootsuite for Business course! Follow the link below, and book your place! Fully funded places may be available for eligible women in Merseyside, to find out more ring us on 0151 706 8111. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Get LinkedIn For Business And Perfect Your Profile...

LinkedIn is a powerful tool, a professional network with a big focus on hiring, selling and learning. If you want your profile to be noticed in over 300 million users, then you need to make sure that it is LinkedIn perfect!
We have a couple of tips to get your LinkedIn profile polished up, and if you are keen to learn more about LinkedIn and how you can make it work for you, then join us on our LinkedIn for Business half-day course, here at The Women’s Organisation.
But first, a few tips to get you started…
Personalise – Don’t be tempted into using the names and titles that LinkedIn offers you, try and opt for one that is unique to you. But remember to include keywords that can help people find you. For example; ‘Lucy James, Social Media Whizz at ___________) Here you are using your name, the area that you are involved in, and importantly, the name of the business or company.
Influence – Using tools which save you time, but still keep you engaged in a conversation is great. So to make sure you are maintaining a great LinkedIn profile, update your status! You can use tools such a Hootsuite to prepare content that will go out when you schedule it. Find out more about Hootsuite on our Hootsuite for Business course too!
Accessible – Make sure you make yourself easy to find, that is such an important thing to remember when using LinkedIn. One quick and simple way to do this is to customise your profile URL, this can easily be achieved on the homepage of your profile, or you to find out how click here ) Other tips could include putting your CV onto your profile, adding a ‘Connect With Me’ button onto your website, or integrating a slideshow using SlideShare into your profile, this could show off your most recent work.
These are just a few quick hints and tips to get you started on making your LinkedIn profile as professional as possible! To find out more join The Women’s Organisation as we get you LinkedIn for Success on our half-day course, booking is available on Eventbrite, or you can get in touch with us to find out more! Ring us on 0151 706 8111 or email hello@thewo.org.uk

Monday, June 15, 2015

Erica Wildflower Nominated For Fashion Award With Diamonds Are Forever Vintage Style Clothing Line

Erica Wildflower is nothing if not passionate! Her business; Diamonds Are Forever is going from strength to strength, with her original ready-to-wear designs storming the catwalks at fashion shows all over the North West, most recently Erica showcased her clothes at Manchester Fashion Week and has been nominated for Best Fashion Designer of the Year award, at the North West Fashion & Beauty Awards. 
Erica showed off her first collection from Diamonds are Forever back at Liverpool Fashion Week in 2014 and launched her latest collection ‘Modern Day Flappers’ in Manchester this year. Manchester Fashion Week wrote; ‘They are an exciting, new and innovative women’s vintage style, ready-to-wear designer clothing label and all their designs are inspired by the past. What makes Diamonds are Forever unique, is that they design most of their own fabrics and in this exclusive collection, they have printed 1920’s images onto pure silk in a collection of cute, little mini-dresses…Diamonds Are Forever aims to put the fun and excitement back into fashion.’

This collection really stood out, and a lot of that is down to the way that Erica designs and makes her clothes. She is one of the rare fashion designers who focus on embellishing her fabric. As well as being a talented designer, Erica is also a fashion illustrator, and designs and draws art work for her fabric which she embroiders on. She says; ‘My fabric is my unique selling point, I just love illustration.’ 

Erica studied Fashion and Textiles at the University of Central Lancashire before working as a fashion designer at Jo Y Jo in Manchester. After this she began to sell vintage clothing, and from there she says; ‘The business just built itself up.’ Erica is a business woman who is incredibly clear on the vision of her business. She says Diamonds Are Forever is all about portraying the idea that there isn’t just one type of beauty, and you don’t have to look or dress or act in the way that society might want you to. ‘I’m offering more individuality and more choice; you pick the look that suits you.’ From 1920’s flapper dresses, to 1950’s floaty skirts, Erica offers variety from every decade. 
With every single design being innovative and original, it is clear to see that Erica has a lot of creativity to go around, and running her own creative business is perfect for her. She says; ‘I’m lucky because I get the chance and the opportunity to do this, which a lot of people don’t get. When you’re creative and you can’t express it – it’s horrible! I get to express my creativity, that’s the main reason I love what I do.’ 
As a new business, Erica got in touch with The Women’s Organisation at the beginning of this year, and has been working with Senior Business Advisor; John Jones to grow Diamonds Are Forever. She says; ‘I don’t know what I would have done without The Women’s Organisation, they are a genuine help that you can trust. I’ve worked with John to get my business plan done and I’ve got guidance and support.’ 

The future looks bright (and sparkly!) for Erica as she continues to show her exclusive collections at fashion and trade shows, with her designs about to go into production, here in the UK: for retailers across the country, as well as in New York.

If you would like to find out more about Erica’s Diamonds Are Forever collections, visit her website and shop until you drop! Or check out her Facebook and Twitter! 

If you are a woman living in Merseyside who is interested in starting her own business, get in touch with The Women's Organisation and see what we can do for you! Ring us on 0151 706 8111 or email us at hello@thewo.org.uk 

Photography by Kate Williams

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Should You Wholesale? The W.O Found Out With Rex Liverpool & Retail Biz Queen

Yesterday marked the second in our series of ‘Should I…’ events, after the success of ‘Should I Franchise’, next up, The Women’s Organisation were helping the ladies of Merseyside to decide whether or not they should wholesale or not.

We were joined by a great group of women who came down to 54St James Street, as well as two special guests, the experts in retail, who were to lead the session. The Women’s Organisation welcomed Matt Bell, who was one of the brains behind Liverpool One, and who went on to open REX: The ConceptStore that until last week was housed in the basement of Rapid and showcased over 80 local businesses. 

As well as Matt, the Women’s Organisation welcomed Vicky Carden, the Retail Business Queen (also known as RBQ Consultancy), who has over 20 years of experience as a Buyer in high and low-end retail stores, as well as becoming the Head of Buying for Liverpool Football Club.

The event got off to a great start with a full room full of women who were making and selling, with some even bringing in their wares to show others. As Matt and Vicky spoke and the women asked those burning questions, here’s a few of the top tips and quotes that we got from the event. Maybe they can help those who couldn’t make it event on those tricky details and intricacies surrounding retail, buyers and wholesaling…

On the importance of Social Media…

When Matt was running REX he told us; ‘I could draw a graph and it would show you the correlation between how many tweets people did, and how much they sold. It’s that simple.’

On the relationships between suppliers and retailers…

Matt - ‘You have to have respect between the retailer and the supplier. The retailer does a lot for a supplier; they sort marketing, staffing, events, shop environment. One can’t exist without the other.’

On Shop Windows…

Matt – ‘Visual Merchandising is a lost art. Window dressing should be a lot more exciting! Look out for what you notice, and recreate that.’

On Buyers…

Vicky – ‘Start off with a punchy and different email, and always follow up!’

Vicky – ‘Keep a look out for Open Buy Days, where the buyers will see anyone who comes in, even if you have to sit in the waiting room for 8 hours!

Vicky – ‘Don’t take it too personally if they don’t like or want your product, but always ask for feedback and persevere.’

The event was a real success, and the women that attended were able to ask Vicky and Matt all the questions they wanted the answers too. To be able to interact with retailers and buyers face to face, and demystify them was a great opportunity. 

The women who attended told us…

‘I enjoyed the session; it was helpful to have the guest speakers coming from different backgrounds to show a different perspective.’

‘Fantastic! Thrilled I saw it on Facebook and attended. I hope to spend more time at these events.’

‘Great event, very informative, the retail fog is lifting!’

We at The Women’s Organisation would like to say a BIG thank you to Matt and Vicky for coming down to 54 St James Street and making the event so useful and informative for the women who came along!

Remember to keep your eyes peeled for future events in this ‘Should I’ series on Facebook, Twitter and Eventbrite!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Nicola Cookson Runs Charlton Recruitment With Teamwork At The Forefront Of Her Business

Nicola Cookson, founder and director of Charlton Recruitment enjoys her job and that’s easy to see from the smile on her face as she talks to us at our PR Day back in March. Charlton Recruitment is a hospitality recruitment agency that supplies staff, whether these are waiting-on staff, bar staff, Event Managers or chefs to clients around Liverpool.  Nicola has branched out with Charlton Recruitment and has been working also in Manchester and London too as the business grows month by month.
She is well versed in the management and organisation of staff as she was Staffing Manager at Compass Group for 15 years and says ‘I wanted a change, and thought, let’s give it a go!’, Leaving the security of a job you’ve been in for such a long time was never going to be easy, but at that point Nicola had a good group of contacts and networks and was able to start up contracts when she began Charlton Recruitment.

It wasn't until January 2015 that Nicola came across The Women’s Organisation on the internet after being ‘nosey on the internet’, and rang to see what we could do for her. After meeting with Senior Business Advisor; John Jones, Nicola was able to attend our fantastic Planning for Success Course and spend many hours with John speaking about her plans for Charlton Recruitment.

At the moment the system is simple for Charlton Recruitment and Nicola. She has a book of staff that she sends out the events to and those that can make it get back in touch with her and attend the events. But running a recruitment business isn’t as simple as it looks on the surface, and a lot of work goes on behind the scenes. As well as recruiting the staff and interviewing the staff, Nicola trains the staff to and ensures they are fully briefed on what they will be asked to do.

But one of the most important parts of running a successful business for Nicola is making sure the team that she sends out to events are happy and work well together. She says; ‘Team mentality is important. It’s great because a lot of the teams become friends, they work together and socialise together.’ Nicola likes to send the same team to the same client time after time, whenever possible and has received great feedback from her clients about her team. ‘I always pass this onto the team, it’s really important. It’s not me the client should be thanking, I just got them there, and they did the work!’

One of the things that Nicola did find a struggle when starting Charlton Recruitment, was the hard selling that is involved in recruitment; ‘You’ve got to be quite motivated to get onto the phones and continue to interact with new people. But you’ve got to do it, because when you meet a new potential client, that’s the moment that you get excited and carry on.’

As well as juggling the many roles of heading up Charlton Recruitment, Nicola also has an 8 year old son, but has found becoming self-employed has made juggling these roles easier. ‘Having the flexibility is great. When I worked at Compass, if there was ever a race on at the weekends, then I had to be there. So I did miss quite a few things when he was younger. Now it’s great, I can pick him up from school which I was never able to do, and work from home.’

And for the future? Nicola is currently securing more contracts, always looking for staff and growing her business step by step; ‘It would be great to take someone on in the next year or so, and in the long term get a premises if I had more staff.’ The Women’s Organisation are sure the future is bright for Nicola and wish her the very best of luck with Charlton Recruitment!

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Women's Organisation May Business Club...Did You Meet The Media?

Back in May, we held our well-loved, annual ‘Meet the Media’ Business Club event. Local business women came together to meet a panel of media experts and discuss how they as businesses could engage with different media forms to get coverage.

The panel was made up on Print, PR, Radio and Newspaper journalists with a combined experience of over 30 years within the field...

First up was Nicola Pink of Pink Media Ltd who took the opportunity to dispel some of the myths about what PR exactly is, and how businesses should engage with a PR agency. Nicola is the director of Pink Media Ltd, and started her PR Company in 2011. Previously she has worked for Granada, Trinity Mirror and many other newspapers across the region, working for a couple of years at the Southport Visitor where she had her own column. For 6 years she worked with a PR company building relationships with brands and businesses across the North West, using her skills as a journalist to secure coverage and results. Her client list at the moment includes Hard Day’s Night Hotel, Sefton Park Palmhouse, Delifonseca and The Epstein Theatre.

Next up was Tony McDonough from the Liverpool Echo. Tony talked about the transition of newspaper news in a digital era and about how journalists needed stories from local businesses to keep their content fresh. Tony gave the audience on his preferred method of Press Releases, saying he wanted facts that were easy to transfer and all the details straight away. Tony McDonough has been a journalist for 23 years, working mostly in newspapers, but also in television and radio. In 2004 he was named Business and Financial Journalist of the Year at the UK Regional Press Awards. In 2002 he joined the Liverpool Daily Post as a business reporter, eventually becoming a deputy business editor. Since the closure of the Post he has worked as a senior multimedia business journalist at the Liverpool ECHO.

The Women’s Organisation also welcomed Melissa Bragg from Let’s Go! Publishing Ltd, who spoke to the audience about niche magazines, the growing trend of them, and how they can be used by businesses to engage with the magazines. Let’s Go! Publishing is an independent publishing house based in Birkenhead with a portfolio of magazines with a niche target audience and specialist directory websites offering highly effective marketing solutions. Melissa’s background centres on advertising sales for newspapers and magazines with over 10 years’ experience in this sector. In addition to this she spent two years as a recruitment consultant in Liverpool. Let’s Go! Publishing was first formed in 2007.

We also heard from Jimmy McCracken from BBC Radio Merseyside who gave the audience a few insider tips and told the women there that their stories needed to have ‘The Gee-Whizz Factor’. Jimmy is a reporter, a producer and a presenter. He gets sent out on jobs and has to make them interesting on the radio. He decides what items get included into a programme and also who gets on air to talk about them. He’s happy to say he also does some acting as well, when he can find the time.

The panel were inviting and open and welcomed lots of questions from the audience, and all in all, the event was a great success! Feedback from the business women present said the same…

 ‘Really interesting view on the Liverpool communication world’
‘I fully enjoyed this evening. Excellent speakers once again’
‘It was a brilliant event. Really very useful. Full of hints and tips. Thank you’
‘Really informative. Great Panel. Thank you so much’

Check out what our fantastic panel have to say all of the time, by following them on Twitter...
Nicola Pink of Pink Media Ltd - @pinkmedialtd
Tony McDonough from Liverpool ECHO - @tonymc39
Melissa Bragg from Let’s Go! Publishing Ltd - @school_select
Jimmy McCracken from BBC Radio Merseyside - @jkmccracken