Tag Archives: business tips

Social Networking Pioneer and Ecademy Founder, Penny Power, to Headline Thames Valley’s International Women’s Day Centenary Celebration

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Social Networking Pioneer and Ecademy Founder, Penny Power, to Headline Thames Valley’s International Women’s Day Centenary Celebration

Monday 7 March 2011, 18:00-20:00 HSBC, Green Park, Reading 

Success Network, in partnership with the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Group and HSBC, is inviting business women to attend a champagne reception on Monday 7th March 2011 at 6pm in Reading to celebrate 100 years of International Women’s Day.  The keynote speaker will be Penny Power, the inspirational author, entrepreneur and business speaker who founded Ecademy with her husband in 1998.

Fittingly, one hundred women are expected to attend this popular annual networking event, now in its sixth year and the theme for this special celebration will be networking – social networking in particular.  According to a survey carried out by Forbes.com last year, over 60% of women-led SMEs use no social networking whatsoever for business, revealing an area with huge potential for growth.

Ute Wieczorek-King who runs Success Network says, “Many women business owners that I talk to are aware of the benefits of social networking but are not quite sure where to start. I am, therefore, delighted to welcome social networking guru, Penny Power to our IWD centenary celebration. There is simply no one better than Penny to inspire women to join in the social media buzz that will be so beneficial to their businesses in 2011.”

In the past year, Success Network has led the way in encouraging female business owners to tap into the power of social media.  With more initiatives planned for 2011, the organisation plans to help even more Thames Valley businesswomen realise the benefits of using social networking as a tool for business growth. 

Ginette Gower, Head of Communications, Thames Valley Chamber comments; “We are delighted once again to support this inspirational business event. We look forward to welcoming ladies who would like to make connections with other like-minded businesses, as well as learning from Penny’s experiences.”

The event starts at 6pm and includes a glass of champagne and finger food. Tickets cost £25+VAT and can be booked via. http://www.thamesvalleychamber.co.uk/event/44378 or by calling 01753 870500.

The event will benefit two local women’s charities: Utilivu women’s group in Reading and The Parapet Breast Unit Charitable Trust in Windsor.

ENDS

Notes to editors

About Success Network:

The Success Network is a business support community which runs training and mutual support programmes for women members across the Thames Valley. Members work in all sectors, both as business owners and as employed professionals. www.successnetwork.org.uk

About International Women’s Day:

This event has been celebrated annually for a century. The day unites thousands of women all across the world in a global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women. 2011 is Success Network’s sixth International Women’s Day celebration.

About Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce

Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Group works with businesses across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire to help them achieve their full business potential through: meeting new customers; cutting costs; developing their workforce; influencing local decision makers; and arming them with business intelligence. Membership is available to all businesses.

Maidenhead Advertiser Business Monthly, February 24th. 2011

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The Rise of the Freelancer – 5 Reasons to Hire One and 5 More to be One

[tweetmeme source= “catherineosborn” only_single=false]Tough times often result in tough decisions and if you have ever been called in to see your boss and watched him or her squirming uncomfortably and using words like “consultation”, “at risk” and “best of luck”, then you belong to a growing army of experienced and valuable workers whose skills are “no longer required.” 

Or are they?

How many of us offer ourselves straight back to our former employers?  You may think you’re the last person they want on the team but it’s not necessarily the case.

How often have you had to let valuable members of staff go and wished you could have them back, if only for a few hours a week?

I found out almost by accident that my last two employers had work for me when I asked them for references and happened to mention that I was thinking of freelancing and they went on to become my first two clients.

Five Reasons to Hire a Freelancer

  1. Make savings without compromising the high standards your clients have come to expect.
  2. Gain immediate control of your finances by hiring people only when you need them.  Some freelancers will be willing to work without a weekly minimum number of hours because they know it will encourage repeat business – I’m one of them.
    Note: This is not the same as taking someone back as contractor – a practice that will invariably cost you a small fortune and could land you in trouble with HM Customs and Revenue!
  3. Benefit from an increase in productivity and quality – your freelancer values repeat business and will make every hour count.
  4. Relax, knowing that you can end the arrangement whenever you like and without causing offence – a good freelancer will know that it’s just business.
  5. Focus on doing what you do best.

Five Reasons to be a Freelancer

  1. Be your own boss – a particular boon if you don’t enjoy office politics.
  2. Work flexible hours and achieve work-life balance without feeling guilty.
  3. Choose your clients – you’ll be happy and they will as well, knowing that you really want to work for them.
  4. Enjoy every minute that you are working knowing that you don’t have to accept projects that don’t interest you.
  5. Focus on doing what you do best.

Can Anyone be a Freelancer?

No, but if you enjoy variety and can accept some uncertainty, it could be the best move you ever made!

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My Recipe for Success!

[tweetmeme source= “catherineosborn” only_single=false]This article was originally published on the Success Network blog, a great resource for women in business!

My Greatest Success in Business

I measure my success on an ongoing basis by the amount of repeat business I get.  There are individual achievements that stand out though and one was when the BBC published a press release of mine unchanged on its website.

My Greatest Challenge in Business

When you run your own business or work as a sole trader, you take on everything and become MD, employee, PA, IT Consultant, Sales and Marketing Director and HR Manager all at once!  Sometimes it can be frustrating when all you want to do is focus on what you do best, whilst keeping your overheads down. However, it has given me a greater understanding of the challenges that my clients face and, if I’m honest, I took a lot of these support services for granted when I was an employee.

Just over a year ago, I joined one of Success Network’s Inner Circles and when I’m really stuck, I look to my fellow members for ideas and support. I’m also considering hiring a virtual PA.

What I do Outside of Work

When I’m not working, I am looking after my children, aged 4 and 2, and ferrying them to and from swimming and music lessons – I never realised that the taxi days would start so soon!  I try to get out in the garden when I can; my grandfather was a professional gardener and I like to think I have inherited his enthusiasm, if not all of the talent!

After writing, music is a real passion for me.  It’s not so easy to spend time playing the piano with two `helpers’ at my side but I am a member of the Elentone Singers, based in Cox Green, and this means I can indulge myself with a bit of `me time’ every Thursday.

I also enjoy photography.  I have an entry-level digital SLR, which produces great results, but I still go to my friend and fellow IC member, photographer Alison Crown, for the really clever stuff.

How I Achieve Work-Life Balance

It’s hard!  When I first started out in business, I was working evenings so that I could look after my son during the day.  It was stressful because my husband couldn’t always be home early, so I would sometimes be working into the night.  We also missed out on valuable time together.  Now that I have part-time childcare, the pressure has eased.  It’s not easy with small children though and you really do need to feel passionate about what you are doing to make the sacrifices worthwhile.

Words of Advice for Women in Business

  1. Working from home can be great, but you need to be careful not to be distracted by domestic pressures.  Even when you plan your day really well, you can be knocked off track by appliances breaking down, unexpected visitors and calls, sick children or building projects.  Yes, all of these things have happened to me!
  2. Don’t count on being able to work and watch your children at the same time – you can’t. Try to arrange childcare and/or work in the evenings when they are asleep.  The biggest mistake I ever made was to take on a project on the basis that my son had two naps a day.  On the first day, he decided to switch to one!
  3. Try to switch off when you have finished.  If you can work in a spare room and shut the door at the end of the day, so much the better.
  4. Value yourself and your work – it is important, not just a hobby.
  5. Seek support from other businesswomen who will all be facing similar issues and challenges.

[tweetmeme source= “catherineosborn” only_single=false]Catherine Osborn is a freelance writer who helps to take the pain out of creating well-written, compelling copy.  Find out more at catherineosborn.wordpress.com.

His and Hers Rules for Working From Home

Do you work from home? Are you thinking about it? I’ve been home-based since 2007 and I love it – I relish the autonomy, the flexibility and simply being able to look out of my window and see the red kites soaring over the garden.

Like all good things though, it doesn’t come without a few disadvantages. The fact that I am also self-employed means that my income is variable and not guaranteed, domestic responsibilities often compete with my work and one thing I learnt early on is that you definitely can’t work and look after kids at the same time – childcare is still a must.

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Don’t Leave it Too Late – How Social Networking can Kick-Start your Writing

This morning, we woke up to the news that Boyzone’s Stephen Gately had died suddenly, at the age of 33. 

When young people die, it is always shocking but particularly so when it is unexpected.  It is not so much the reminder that we are mortal or that life is short – we all know that don’t we? – but the realization that this was not in their immediate plan.  Like Michael Jackson earlier in the year, Stephen was on the verge of a world tour.  Dying wasn’t on his agenda just like it isn’t on mine.  It’s the thought that I could pop out for milk and never drink that cup of tea on the worktop that I find particularly chilling.

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Four Tips to Avoid Email Misfortune

Doh!If you want to send a newsletter to your clients, there’s nothing simpler – you can sign up to a package and manage your newsletters online. 

When HTML newsletters were new, however, these services did not exist and it fell to me to design a template to be used with the company’s two email clients – Outlook and a sales database with an email add-on.

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Knowing your Audience

When I worked in IT, one of our US clients, who was completely unaware of that variety of English often referred to as ‘British’ or ‘International’, wrote to us to say, “If you can’t even spell properly, how do you expect us to trust your products?” 

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