Once upon a time – a business was for life – not so anymore!. Having worked hard in my 30 year teaching career – during which I ran my own nursery for 21 years – I turned to becoming a book lady – selling children’s books via stalls at local events and book parties. When the book company moved the goal posts after I had built my business for 7 years, I decided to leave and then at the age of 58 I had to look for new ways of earning an income. I found other home based businesses and set up several. I decided to spread my eggs into several baskets. There was criticism but at the end of the day – it’s my life and I have to do what’s right for me. What is right for me is not necessarily right for others.
Coffee and cake
I love coffee and cake. Anyone following me on facebook will see that most of my business is done over coffee and cake. Why should that be a problem? Well to me it isn’t. However, there is someone who has a problem with it. That someone , I think, believes I should go suited and booted, clipboard in hand to meet my prospective clients. The truth is, my clients love doing business over coffee and cake. If I were to follow this gentleman’s advice, I wouldn’t be finding my target audience. Read more
Last night, I was delighted to be invited to attend The Picture of a Poem, an exhibition out on at Dimbola lodge, which is part of my Wightbuzz network. What a treat we had in store. We met two very talented young men who presented their poetry and photography.
I would like to introduce you to Sam Scadgell & Harrison Wavell
It was an absolute delight to be part of this preview evening.
I just love chocolate and now I am lucky enough to stock it in my eco-friendly online supermarket. Wikaniko is part of my portfolio of businesses and supplies over 900 products that are eco- friendly. Healthy, raw chocolate. Would you like a supermarket of your own where you too can sell chocolate? Wikaniko is a home based business that suits so any different people. I have a growing team and would love to help more people grow their own businesses.
If you want to know more or buy some lovely chocolate , then click http://lynblackledge.wikaniko.com/fru/pg/39835/pid/8a5581ce-e2c1-4cf5-a771-a879c50a6048/default.aspx and why not pop over to my facebook page and “like” the page. The chocolate is scrummy. I can vouch for that.
Today is the end of an era! My van and I have had some exciting adventures across the country since 2004. What fun we have had together. I bought the van back in 2004 when I was a book distributor for a well known publisher. I often used to fill it to the top with books, racks, tables and stands and traversed the country setting up at exhibitions and country fayres from the Isle of Wight to Aberdeen – often travelling on my own. I would sit in the cab, which warmed up very quickly, and pop on Classic FM and pootle along in my own concert hall!! If the van could talk it would have some great tales to tell. In 2010 my circumstances changed and I set up new businesses so have since used the van for my Wikaniko business as well as my Phoenix Trading and Primary Stars businesses. It has also served me well in getting me to my Wightbuzz networking meetings.
Earlier this year is got sick!!! £500 later and it was sorted but sadly it got sick again. The cost to get it back on the road is £1000 + so I have made a decision to part company. I felt that a £60 spend on a new pair of comfortable shoes coupled with my bus pass was a way to go. After all, I run an eco friendly business – Wikaniko -. so now for a more eco friendly lifestyle. I am already feeling the benefits as my fitness levels are increasing. I have friends who are happy to give me lifts but in the mean time – have bus pass will travel. It is amazing how much you can see and appreciate when you are not driving. I have read books and updated social media on the bus and of course there is always the chance to network enroute too. So I’m off on different adventures now – bus pass, comfy shoes and shopping trolley at the ready!!! Oh and just for good measure I bought myself a big umbrella!!
There has been much debate since the term “Mumpreneur” was included in the English dictionary. Personally, I have no problem with it and in fact embraced it when I was awarded the title Mumpreneur Best Saleswoman 2010 at the Mumpreneur UK Awards
As the winner was announced, I was enthralled. To be shortlisted was brilliant but to be announced as winner was such an honour. I have since gone on to have mumpreneur put on my business cards. I am very proud to be in this group, a group of women who juggle business and family life and as such I have connected with many similar women (although in my case – my children are older and I juggle life around grandchildren) I really cant understand why so many get their “knickers in a twist” about the title and was reading a forum thread about it where so many of the contributors were belittling the title, mumpreneurs! They clearly don’t have enough to do themselves!!
Many people really don’t get it! Life is tough and even tougher when working from home around a young family. My children are older now so its not quite so tricky for me but I take my hat off to sooooo many women who manage to balance their business around the non stop demands of children. I have connected with so many of these via social media and never cease to be amazed at what so many of them achieve. Well done all of you. Keep going! Ignore those people who have nothing better to do than criticise your title!! You are building a great future for your families and can be very proud of what you do. Don’t give up, just because their are critiques who don’t like the title!! Basically it identifies us to each other. It has helped me connect with so many lovely women. Quite frankly I can’t see what all the nonsense is about.
The mumpreneur community is a fantastic place to belong, Recently, the mumpreneurs swung into action to help fellow mumpreneur Maria Albertsen of Rag Heroes, to help her pitch to Richard Branson for funding. I picked up the story on Wednesday evening. By Thursday noon, Maria had to be in the top 4 in order to pitch to Richard. At this point she was lying in 5th place. Well, whether people like the mumpreneur title or not is really immaterial as this terrific band of mums swung into action and an exciting time followed with Maria clinching her place by just 2 points. To be honest, I am very proud of what the mumpreneurs achieved (I know there where non mumpreneurs voting too – I asked all my friends!!!) but I for one, know Maria is indebted to her fellow mumpreneurs. I watch with interest as she has now been shortlisted in The Pitch I am truly looking forward to meeting Maria at the Mumpreneur Awards 2012 where she too has been shortlisted. I am also looking forward to receiving my own very special Rag Hero – Pictures will of course follow and probably a video clip too.
Since winning the mumpreneur title, I have used the publicity to set up and grow Wightbuzz, a network for the small businesses on the Isle of Wight - Wightbuzz has gone from strength to strength and helped nearly 200 people to grow their businesses. If this is what being a mumpreneur is about then how can that be a bad thing?
of Naturally Wight (already an award winner) who has been shortlisted for an award. I for one, am very proud to be a mumpreneur!!!
I never really set out to run a network group. Often things that I do are never part of an original plan but when an opportunity presents itself, I grab it with both hands. I used to belong to a network group on the Isle of Wight when I was running a previous children’s book business. As far as I am concerned, and many will agree with me, networking is key! Word of mouth is the best way of getting business. In this network group, I was the top referrer for months. Recommending other business people to each other is one of my strengths. I always have seen how easy it is to connect people and have always done so whether or not it has been of financial benefit to me. It is just what I do and the way I operate. Unfortunately, when the company I represented moved the goal posts and I gave up that book business, I had to leave the network group. After all, I had no business so there was little point. A short while later, when I had set up my eco-friendly business, I applied to rejoin thinking it was merely a formality. Never assume anything!! My application was turned down and when I asked why, the powers that be would not give me a reason! I have since found out why! I (The beauty of having many friends on the Island!) I was regarded as unsuccessful. Hmmmmm depends how you measure success doesn’t it? Clearly in their world it meant the value of your bank balance. In my world it is very different!!! In my world it is how you relate to others and help them that is important. As the winner of two national awards and a finalist in a third, I don’t regard myself as unsuccessful. I mentor, help and inspire others to improve their lives as I indeed was helped and inspired by others.I run several home based business now and through my Primary Stars business , Phoenix Cards, Wikaniko (eco friendly products), Barefoot Books businesses I have ample opportunities to recruit and train those who want to run their own businesses. If these are not to their liking, I have many contacts in the direct selling industry so can find opportunities that do fit the bill. In financial term I have a way to go to recover from the situation I was forced into (although that is happening faster than I anticipated!) but in terms of happiness – it is immeasurable! No amount of money can replace some my recent experiences. I must say, it did seem very strange to refuse an application from the top referrer when the group is a referral group but hey ho that is their problem. Wightbuzz wouldn’t exist today if that hadn’t happened. I needed networking and if I was not allowed to join an existing group, the answer was to set up my own. This was not done out of spite but a necessity. This has become very successful. I am playing to my strengths and the group is going from strength to strength. Growth was steady over the first year but it is now set to grow rapidly. The need is becoming huge. With the abolition of the tourist information offices on an Island where tourism is the main industry, networking is the only way forward. I am now starting to recruit Isle of Wight hoteliers and b & b owners and in turn they are spreading the word. Due to facebook and twitter and other forms of social media, the good works of Wightbuzz spread and thus Bizzness Buzz was born. There is so clearly a need for affordable networking and so BizznessBuzz Kent, Bizzness Buzz Staffordshire are lining up with Hampshire, Dorset, Worchestershire following close behind and other counties will be added soon. Of course anyone joining any of the groups will naturally be linked to the others. I think you will agree this is phenomenal value for just £30 annual membership. I think that being refused entry to the other network group was actually a godsend. Not only has it saved me money but it has helped so many others. Isn’t it funny how things often work out for the best? Not only have I saved financially, I don’t have to get up early to attend a breakfast meeting when I could stay in bed longer and the benefit to others is growing on a daily basis. Am I enjoying life? That would have to be a resounding YES!
And I would like to share those moments of pride with you for being recognised as successsful!
and the finances – well that success is following but it has never been my main goal! Funny though, with personal success comes the financial success. You will read it in my book!!! Hmmm better get that started then and when you read my journey, you will read how ordinary people doing extraordinary things has influenced my life. You will also read about those who tried to crush me, only served to make me successful!! Funny old life isn’t it? And I am a great believer in Karma!! So my advice has to be “treat others as you would wish to be treated!” (or watch out for the consequences!!!)
When I was recently shortlisted as a finalist for the Party Plan Shining Star award I was thrilled. I had been a previous winner of awards and I knew what a difference it could make to my business. I had won previous awards with a company I represented for 7 years. When they moved the goal posts and I was totally devastated financially, the glamour of those awards seemed a long way away. Life took a downward turn and I found myself in a long dark tunnel through no fault of my own. I had to move in with my parents due to my financial situation – not really something I wanted to do at 58! However, the upside was that I got to spend my dad’s last months with him and for that I am very thankful. I had no money but I had a roof over my head, food in my tummy and I was warm and I enjoyed an incredible amount of happy banter with my dad. During this time I started to rebuild my business – deciding that the best plan for me, was to spread my eggs into more than one basket. In fact I chose several party plan business opportunities. I became an ambassador for Barefoot Books, I am now a Primary Stars Advisor and a trader with Phoenix Trading. I also enjoy being a distributor for Wikaniko, marketing a range of eco friendly goods. Back in February 2010, I was criticised for choosing more than one business. I was told it was foolish. In my mind, given my previous circumstance, it would be foolish not to!! I wonder if my critique would have had the same conversation with Richard Branson. I do wonder about the sanity of the man that criticised me – especially as he stood to gain financially from me! He sponsored me into Barefoot books and guess what – I asked the company to move me to a new sponsor which they did! What a silly man! Not only did he tell me I was foolish but he went on to tell me my team members were being critical of me. I was told that they didn’t like my rants on facebook nor my happy banter! One thing I never do is rant on facebook. I do share happy banter and find that I attract people to my business as a result. Most people hate doom and gloom and a bit of fun tends to cheer them up and they constantly tell me so! I am not going to give up anytime soon. As for being an inefficient leader – I don’t think so. I have a long string of testimonials from team members – so if one or two had a problem well then they were right to leave me. I have been rewarded for the hard work I put in. The journey has been very long and very dark! I knew that one day I would emerge. I worked hard, perserverance and persistance were key! I never gave up believing in myself. Well I think I have proved a point now. In 2010 I was awarded the Mumpreneur Saleswoman of the Year
and in 2011 I was runner up in the Hampshire Winning Women Business Awards Networking category. On winning the Mumpreneur award, I used it for the good of the small businesses on the Isle of Wight were I live. Life is tough, very tough and I knew in order to survive, we needed to pull together. In the wake of the award, I set up Wightbuzz, an affordable networking group. It has gone from strength to strength and is expanding to the mainland as Bizzness Buzz. Winning the Party Plan Shining Star Award is thrilling. Although it is only just over a week since I won, I have set to work on another project for the good of the Island in the absence of our tourist board (The council closed them all to save money but maybe not their best idea yet given our main industry is tourism!!) I am working with my son who runs Cubic Mushroom and a new website will be online shortly. To say I am excited about my new project would be an understatement. Am I proud to have won this Party Plan Shining Star award. I most certainly am. I am grateful to the Party Plan Guru for setting up the conference and awards and I am grateful to all the postive people I followed (shedding many negative ones enroute ) There are those who dared me to dream big along the way, Roberta Jerram being one. She created the Giant Potential website for ladies who dare to dream big.( It is undergoing a revamp but you can connect at the facebook page She certainly encouraged me to do that. My dreams are huge. Winning awards can really have a great impact on your business (and on your community). I urge you all to enter next time.