The Pirates are coming

 The Pirates are coming

That’s right I said the pirates are coming and I am taking my role as the Chair of Ryde Business Association quite seriously as you can see.. Shipwreck Isle if on 28th June and the pirates are coming so I thought it only right that I ought to be prepared. I have been to see Sally at Masqueryde, to order my pirate costume but thought I’d pop in and see Emma and Stuart at the Tourist Information Point in their shop, Kollective Gifts to see what “pirate” goodies they had.

the pirates are comingAs we looked around the shop we found quite a few “pirate” items.  We found flags

pirate flags

we found a pirate ship

pirate ship

cutlasses and hats and pirate buckets and spades. In the absence of eye patches, Stuart got creative and cut up a black piece of rubber to do the job. We planned a pirate spotting competition around the town with the help of Laura, Julie and Rhianon (manager of Costa coffee. There will be a lot of fun as we celebrate Shipwreck Isle as the pirates gather on Appley Beach 

poster - ship wreck isle

 

 

So as the chair of Ryde Business Association, I urge you all to come and enjoy yourself. For those of you across the water  board your ship and join us for what promises to be a very fun filled swashbuckling day with music, competitions, storytelling,renactment music, fun and laughter.

You arggggggh going to have a good time !  and what’s more its FREE.

 

 

 

 

The Podcast Sisters

Many years ago, when I was selling children’s books, Gary Cheeseman of WightMedia.Co.uk  taught  Polly of the Family Directory and me all about podcasting. We used to podcast with local businesses and had great fun promoting them. Now, quite a few years later, Gary and his wife Anne and Polly and I have linked up again and are now recording all sorts of podcasts. We three girls are can be found as The Podcast Sisters

Check out the latest podcast 

selfie

 

We had a great time but got a fit of the giggles when we had to take a selfie as our photographer was not available. We meet regularly to discuss issues in the news as well as other items like “green” products and shopping!

Giggly Grannies do world book day

Some of you will know I wear many hats. Today, it is World Book day

 

WBD2015_yellow_rightup

and I will be wearing my Giggly Granny hat – well actually more like a tiara. My wonderful friend Julie Jordan and I are known as the Giggly Grannies. We put the FUN into FUNDraising and get up to all sorts of mischief in the community. At Christmas, Rhiannon, the manager of Costa Coffee in Ryde, asked if we would do some story telling in the store to children.

 

costa coffee and ohoto frame We both have a background in child care so for us this was not a problem. So today – we are working on a pirates and princess theme and will be entertaining the troops after school. I’ll let you know how we get on. Now shiver me timbers it’s time for me to get going or I’ll be late. world book day 2015Why not follow us on twitter too @gigglygrannies and see how the Giggly Grannies do World Book day.

 

 

 

 

It’s the little things that count.

Blog Post 5 30 day Blog challenge

So often, it’s the little things that count. This morning, before I had even got out of bed, I had a phone call from a friend, checking I was ok. I had, for various reasons, decided to take a sabbatical from one of the groups I go to.

Phone

That phone call made such a difference. Not only that but the caller also said others were asking after me too. In this instance it was a call, sometimes it might be a card

i hear a cuddle is required

but whatever it is, it makes a difference as it’s the little things that count.

Can you recount a small guesture of kindness towards you that made a BIG difference to your day?

 

Networking doesn’t have to be serious.

Day 4 – 30 day blogging challenge

I have been to many networking groups in my time, and I have to say that some of them have been pretty stiff and starchy. Until recently , I was known as the Networking Guru of the Isle of Wight but more recently , Veronica Pullen, The Social Marketing  Queen also living on the Isle of Wight – gave me the more attractive title of the Connection Queen.

Now anyone who knows me, knows that I like to have fun – a day without laughter is a day wasted.

costa coffee and ohoto frame

 

Many will also know me as one half of the Giggly Grannies and together we put the fun into fundraising. Well just like life, networking doesn’t have to be serious.

Tonight, I have had another very successful Wightbuzz, networking meeting and it was anything but serious. There was some of the regular crowd and also, along came Paul as a visitor and potential member. I do encourage folk to try before they buy, to make sure we are the right fit. Paul is the Rodfather. He rods drains, unblocks toilets etc! If only I had known him on Boxing day!!! My mum had a houseful and we had an unfortuate blockage. Little did I know the rodfather comes out on bank holidays – didnt even know him – only actualy got chatting last night on facebook.

Well true to form, my lovely members made Paul feel at home immediately. The fun and banter started almost immediately – when I got his business name wrong and called him the Codfather by mistake (we have a local fish and chip shop that go by this name – and the old brain does get overloaded from time to time as Brian or is it George recently found out!! Brian and Sandy recently joined and have still stayed even though  for some reason I called him George!!! I’ll just put it down to being a poor old pensioner!! Well that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. But I digress – and so back to tonight. The whole evening continued with lots of laughs and a great time was had by all. I am aware that my networking group wouldn’t suit everyone but we have certainly proved that networking doesn’t have to be serious.

It was such fun I decided to make a video to share.

Do you like to have fun networking?

Can you afford not to?

30 day blog challenge post 3. Can you afford not to?

I have run a low cost networking group Wightbuzz for businesses on the Isle of Wight for 4 years.

SAMSUNG Now in its fifth year, I have linked with my son and his graduate friends to add to the local brand. We have created Allthingsnetworking.com to take our brand to a global level. As we start expanding, I have been reflecting on the past. I have been very mindful of making sure my group was affordable. Some people pay a years money up front without batting an eyelid. Others haven’t joined because they say they can’t afford it. I find this very interesting. Many of those who say they can’t afford it will happily  have coffee in local coffee shops that are part of national chains

 

Frog and snake in CostaThey think nothing of paying £3 per cup and some of them will do this several times a week – I know I have seen them (social media reveals much) I wonder why then, do they not see the value of business mentoring, networking sessions, one to ones, social media training, ferry discounts, loan of business books, plus much more as excellent value at £12.50 per month? The equivalent of just over 4 coffees a month.  It is clearly down to mindset. If they are running a business what about a marketing budget? I’m hard pushed to think of any other marketing they could get for this price (and they get me too!!) It is all about return on investment. Surely, if they gave it careful thought, they would realise that if they invested in putting in time to interact with members either in our online group or in person at meetings, took advantage of the business book loan system, or the ferry discounts etc. they couldn’t fail to benefit their business. I think I will add to my video trainings with a video about mindset.

I have to admit that recently, I was almost guilty of this (as I was in my early business days) There was a black tie, business to business event, recently with quite a high ticket price. I decided I couldn’t afford to go but after a little more careful thought, I realised I couldn’t afford NOT to go. I run a business networking group! All the attendees were connected to/ran local businesses – sheer madness not to be there. One of my members was also on the short list for an award so it was important to offer support. That was it, my mind was made up. I purchased my ticket (after a slight panic when the system told me no tickets left!! – I emailed to go on the reserve list and was rung next day – system was not correct  –  phewie!!)

I am so glad I went. My son, who works with me now (albeit from the other side of the world) asked me to trial an app which would actually put our skills in front of the attendees via the displayed twitter feed . We dominated the feed all night and it was noticed.  Result!

Suffice it to say, I am now in follow up conversations with several people who I met that night. There is much interest in Wightbuzz and our social media skills. The results will generate far more than the ticket price. I’ll make sure they do. So what do you think? Can you afford not to?

It’s a hard life!

Well, when I decided that 2015 was going to be an awesome year, I really meant it and what a start to the new year. My Wightbuzz members recently helped me celebrate  our 4th birthday with an evening full of networking and cake!! (and a lovely buffet supplied by Janine of Missy J Cafe- who kindly hosted our party too.) Photo by Wightbuzz member Graham Reading of Graham Reading Photography

4th Birthday

There was more than our birthday to celebrate. Not only had I successfully survived 4 years of networking within my own group Wightbuzz, but I was also celebrating the expansion of the business to become a global network - Allthingsnetworking.com. My son, Tristan,  wanted to help me move the business on and what an exciting time we have ahead of us as we maintain and grow Wightbuzz on the Isle of Wight but take the online networking onto a global level. Together with the expertise of 4 other graduates the scene is set for exciting times ahead.

Last night, I decided to arrange a rather impromptu meet up again in Missy J Cafe this morning. This year, on our list of things to do is lots of video marketing for the group and for the members. What better way to start than include a round up of the brilliant networking day I had with some of my members – making more connections as The Connection Queen (the name given to me by Veronica Pullen – Social Media Queen who also lives on this Royal Island ;) )

I am thrilled to see joint ventures and collaborations happening within Wightbuzz. It was a vision I had 4 years ago – to Connect lots of the Island businesses for the benefit of all – and finally – it is really starting to come together. I was taught to dream BIG by Roberta Jerram of Roberta Jerram Enterprises years ago when I joined Giant Potential. Very soon, there will be joint ventures on a national and international level. I love what I do and I love why I do it. It is such a hard life (NOT) I love that I have joined forces with my son. The dream is BIG – very BIG!!

 

When life gets in the way

 When life gets in the way

There was I, with every good intention, starting out on the 30 Day Blogging challenge. I did wonder if I was a little foolish starting out in my busiest week of the year!! Then life got in the way! I’m social media manager for my church, my Rotary group, several paying clients as well as for my own businesses, Wightbuzz, AllthingsNetworking.com (with my son)  Lyn’s Green Biz, and Lyn Blackledge Independent Phoenix Trader . I was also giving a lot of my time to another voluntary project.

I have always undertaken a lot of voluntary work. However, I don’t expect to be verbally abused for giving of my time and effort free. When I found myself faced with 5 other volunteers who saw fit to shout at me – I took stock.  Much as I had loved working on the project for well over a year using much time and effort and raising a considerable amount of funds with my friend, I decided that it was time to take a break. We were all supposed to be part of the same team – volunteers – helping those less fortunate. This wasn’t the first time this happened but this time I had had enough.  The accusations were unnecessary and unfounded. Sadly, all too often the old green eye works its way in. My social media skills had done much for the project. Obviously too much for some folk. I did suggest that we sit and talk like grown ups – unfortunately the main culprit couldn’t even bring herself to answer me directly.  I was sad at first then realised that my own health is the most important. If I don’t take care of myself, there is no way I can look after others.

I was watching my grandaughters’ dancing – they were dancing to a song from the very popular Disney film, Frozen. There, I had it . Instead of feeling bad, I just had to  LET IT GO!

 

Since I made that decision, life has improved. I celebrated the New Year last night with family and friends having  made the decision to  start the new year in very positive mode. So far, so good. I have had a very productive day achieving far more in one day than I have for a long time.

Decluttering – tick, paperwork tick, videos made tick, listening to some very soothing tapes tick. decision to tackle the weight problem tick, plotting and planning for the portfolio of businesses I run – tick. Restart the exercise regime too – tick.

So as for the rubbish in my life – LET IT GO . Sometimes you really do need to stop and take stock. So 2015 you WILL be an awesome year.

 

 

 

 

Blog Post #4 It’s party night as we celebrate Wightbuzz’s 4th birthday

Blog Post #4 It’s party night as we celebrate Wightbuzz’s 4th birthdayHappy Birthday

I can’t believe we have already reached our 4th Wightbuzz birthday and what a way to celebrate – with the launch of our global brand Allthinksnetworking . It is a very exciting time for us and so I take a few minutes to reflect on why I started Wightbuzz and how it is making my dreams come true. – So a quick flashback in history to bring you up to speed.

I am a teacher by profession and spent 30 years nuturing little people and then slightly bigger people and helping them to achieve their potential. My first jobs were in the primary sector in the state system until my first born,  Toby arrived on 24th November 1975. I spent 18 happy months at home being mum. I decided I wanted to work but didnt want to put my son in care so what better than open a nursery school and take him to “work” with me. Perfect! Baby number 2 , Natasha, very obliging arrived on 24th March 1978, (19 days late and very conveniently made it to the Easter holidays and was born on good Friday and mum and baby were back at “work” 2 weeks later – perfect!) baby number 3, Tristan was born on 15th October 1981 (would love him to have been late and arrived on 24th – do you see a pattern here? – and it would have been half term too) but as Natasha was 19 days late and a 10lb plus baby, they were taking no chances. And here they are now taken at a recent family gathering.

my gorgeous three

Well 21 years later, I began to lose the will to live as the council and government were changing my role.Had I wanted to be  secretary – that is the path I would have chosen!!!

I continued in teaching for another 7 years but along the way I had become a book seller by chance so when teaching had lost all of its appeal, I decided that full time book selling was my preferred option. I had a home based business with a children’s book publisher and I had enormous fun travelling the country in my van laden with beautiful books (I could write my own book about that too!) I won awards and had a lot of fun.

Party Plan Shining star awards

I joined a local referral  network group where I became the top referrer connecting people and introducing thousands of pounds worth of business to the group. Eventually I decided to walk away from the book company as they moved the goal posts and I wasn’t prepared to have my business compromised. Therefore I had to leave the networking group as I no longer had a business for which I needed referrals. .I then decided to take the #ecofriendly route and joined #wikaniko. I needed to find a network group so went back to the one I had been in before.  I went to visitors day, then to two trial days before filling out the application form. I got a call -The conversation went like this!  We are NOT accepting your application. Do you mind telling me why? Oh no I can’t tell you why.

Well when you are a networking guru (as the county press called me – ) or a connection queen (as Veronica Pullen so nicely named me ) you tend to have a big network so I used the network to find out why and sure enough it gave me the answers. I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say those who didn’t want me were doing a huge disservice to the group by denying them my skills. However, not to be deterred, I decided the only way was UP!! I opened up my own network group and Wightbuzz was born. Over the years I have helped very many businesses. People have come and gone and many have stayed. Sometimes, like most businesses , the ride was bumpy but we have arrived in a fantastic place as we celebrate birthday number 4.

When I started Wightbuzz, my facebook friends wanted me to bring the networking to the North Isle as we, who live on the Isle of Wight, so lovingly call the mainland. I tried but clearly the time was not right. I continued to network as hard as I could across the Island connecting many people who continue to do business together whether they are still members or not. I had the vision of helping many people. The Island is quite deprived and unemployment is high. I wanted to see more people get into work through Wightbuzz and to help and serve the community too. My perserverance has paid off. I am starting to see some wonderful collborations between members. Members support members in times of crisis and are also there to shout from the hilltop when praise is due. I love my wightbuzz family. They are really doing me proud. When I won my mumpreneur award in 2010,

and the winner is

(when I was in a very dark and long tunnel) I came back to the Island , proudly displayed it on my cabinet and determined to make good for the Island. Tonight I will be celebrating with those who have helped to achieve so much of this. Recently, my son, Tristan, who has also been through a long and very dark tunnel, suggested we join forces. He graduated from Bournemouth University last year and now lives in Sydney. No problem there though as with modern technology we can shrink the world and in fact we talk more now than when he was in Bournemouth. What he and his graduate friends don’t know about social media simply isn’t worth knowing. So together with them and my other son Toby, of Cubic Mushroom we have set up AllthingsNetworking – our global brand. Wightbuzz stays as it is unique to the Island but all my members will also benefit from being members of Allthingsnetworking. ATN will  allow us to go national and global .as we network across the world. We will be able to deliver networking skills and business mentoring and training online. What a journey it has been but I can truly say tonight I will really celebrate as we start that fantastic new journey beyond the Island. I do hope many of you will join us as we start that journey. Pop over and sign up for our newsletter and see what we are doing. We do hope many of you will join us if you like what we are delivering. Yes it has been a bumpy ride and I am sure there might be the odd hiccup but the future is looking very bright. What is this thing called retirement. It certainly isn’t for me. I’m having way too much fun and meeting so many lovely people and now I’m even learning to blog!!!!

Susan and Lyn at the B2B expo

 

 

Blog Post #3 – Passwords. Do you have trouble remembering them?

Blog Post #3 Passwords. Do you have trouble remembering them? 

Fingers in lots of pies – I have a portfolio of businesses , have social media clients as well as manage social media for voluntary organisations so how do I manage all those passwords??? My main business Wightbuzz and Allthingsnetworking I log in to every day so remember them well. I also have online shops at Lyn Blackledge Independent Phoenix  Trader and Lyn’s Green Biz but when I have to start remembering The Giggly Grannies, and the many other sites I manage it becomes a nightmare. My son sent me a very amusing card – I wish I could find it but it was supposed to be me at a desk with hundreds of sticky notes containing passwords around the desk!! It got my chuckle muscles working. How can one remember them all?