At the start of the year, I always have a good think about what I want to achieve during the year. This year, I wanted to get started on hosting workshops with the business – and because of coronavirus we did this, albeit it virtually. They’ve been super popular and something we’re very keen to continue doing!
A much longer term plan would have been to speak at an event, so it certainly wasn’t something I was expecting for June 2020 at all! However, with coronavirus locking us all down, I’ve been doing a lot of networking online and wowee, has it paid off!
I’ve written a blog about the importance of networking before, and especially for those of us who are from more rural areas. I’d never have been able to go to as many events as I have during lockdown, because everything has been virtual – and that includes the hour long networking events here, there and everywhere!
All of this networking led me to becoming a founding member of the new Digital Women membership platform (which if you’re not part of, I highly, highly recommend you look at). This then led to being asked (or told, whichever way you look at it) to speak at the next digital skills summit that Digital Women have been arranging during lockdown!
FANTASTIC! I actually did a few happy dances at the thought! Then it was a case of figuring out what to talk about. With the Gwe Cambrian Web, our bread and butter is websites, but we’ve also moved hugely into social media. Thinking cap on, and knowing there would be a huge range of other amazing speakers, I decided to stick to the websites as a topic.
So, why not sign up to my talk at the Digital Skills Summit on June 30th, – level up your website. It’s a completely FREE event, with 22 speakers from 10am to 4pm, covering such a huge range of digital skills.
Almost a month has passed since my last blog post, which was at the very start of the Covid-19 “lockdown” here in Wales. By then, Emlyn and I had already closed our office to the public and gone into voluntary isolation, but now, the whole country is in lockdown. Working from home – much to the joy of our cat, Luna.
Of course the business itself can continue – websites and digital marketing means we can work from anywhere, so we’re very lucky. One of the major changes for my line of work is a huge shift into online meetings and webinars. Conferences and meetups cancelled across the UK, meaning webinars running a huge range of topics have opened up – and it is FANTASTIC.
For the past 3 weeks I’ve been enjoying attending Facebook based training sessions with Kent FSB, which would not have happened in the usual running of the world! The Digital Women conference we all missed in March is moving online next week, and I’m also attended 3 days of webinars the week after too.
Online meetings have also been a great way to attend networking events that I usually would miss because of other committments or travel problems (Aberystwyth is far from many places afterall!). Yesterday afternoon chatting to the North Wales Tweetup folk which we advertise with and support.
And finally the push… we’ve talked about hosting our own training sessions and workshops in the past but never quite got around to it properly. This year though, we’ve launched 4 webinars so far over April and May with hopefully many more to come.
So – welcome, webinars to our world. Here’s hoping that the way we work in the future may change a little! I love going away to conferences and meeting people in real life though, so not too much!
Award season is here, and we’ve been fortunate enough in the past years to have won a handful across Wales and the UK for Gwe Cambrian Web, and for myself as an entrepreneur.
I always get asked whether or not we’ve applied for awards directly, or been nominated. Well, to be honest, it’s always a bit of both! We have amazing customers and contacts who do nominate us for awards across Wales, but I do also make a point of looking at different awards, and applying myself if I feel that the award would be useful to us as a business. In my opinon, there’s little point going in for everything (if anything, it can look a little awkward if you did get shortlisted), and I do think a measured approach to choosing which award would work well for you is the best way forward.
I really do feel though, that as businesses and entrepreneurs, we don’t celebrate awards enough. The first step of actually applying is the biggest – is it because we feel embarrassed? Awkward? Not deserving? All of those personal feelings aside, awards are an excellent marketing tool and over the years have done wonders for our business across Wales and the UK.
Why? Because it adds a great amount of credibility, and if you do your marketing well, you could end up with a lot of increased exposure. I also really enjoy award ceremonies for the networking opportunities, and one of my most influential experiences as an entrepreneur so far was attending a live judging day for an award in 2018. Sounds horrible right? I came away so inspired from that day, that even though I didn’t win the national award, I felt like I’d come away with something much more valuable.
We really do need to celebrate ourselves more. If you run a business, or you’re an entreprenur, or making waves in the charity sector or community – why not get out there and see what awards you can apply for? You never know what will happen – I ended up in the top 4 Young Entrepreneurs of the Year in the UK in 2018, mingling with a whole range of business owners and inspirational people (one of them is now training to be an Astronaut, I mean, come on!).
If you don’t try, you’ll never know what you’re missing out on!
Of the my favourite things about being self-employed is the opportunity I have to network.
Sounds odd? A lot of people I know who run their own businesses absolutely HATE networking, but once you start, and build up the confidence, it’s great.
Unfortunately for me here in rural mid Wales, it’s a little tricky getting to a lot of these amazing networking events that happen across the UK in terms of digital, social media and websites. I often end up travelling across to Bristol or London for them (Digital Women, Social Media Week, Social Day being just a few I make an annual trip for), but it’s worth it.
The joy of attending networking events and conferences for me is two fold – I get to meet amazing, inspirational people along the way, and I learn so much.
It’s so easy to sit here in the office every day and assume you’re at the top of your game, but the reality is, digital is changing every hour. There’s no way you can be at the top of your game, or have all of the knowledge, without going to these events and sharing and learning with others in your field.
So, it’s important for me and my business calendar to get out there and network regularly. I really love going to the events in the cities, because it’s a fantastic way of making sure you’re keeping up with the trends.
Locally, I’ve found that a great way of networking comes from being actively a part of your community. I’m a board member for a local organisation who arranges key events in Aberystwyth over the year, as well as being a secretary for our local Place Plan campaign, and generally just proactive for anything “business” or of interest. Working on being proactive in the community really has made a difference in terms of the network of people who recommend me or my business for work.
So it really is about “getting out there”. Nervous? Why not get in touch and we can chat about it.