It’s time to celebrate our 5th birthday.

It’s time to celebrate our 5th birthday

5th birthday

5 years ago today I founded Wightbuzz - unable to find the right networking group when I started amy new business as I emerged from a long dark tunnel, I set up my own. Times were hard and life stressful but undaunted I grew my network- 5 years on I have helped well over 200 businesses to make good connections earning the title The Connection Queen along the way. They also called me Mummy Buzz as I nurtured new businesses as I buzzed around .

me with banner and atn small banner

 

Members have come and gone as their needs changed. Many have remained.The successes are many -Graham Reading Photography  has made many connections but one of the best was for the Mardi Gras. I was to be a VIP guest at the lunch before the Mardi Gras (I’m Chair of the Ryde Business association) and I was in front of my computer during the morning. I spotted a cry for help – The allotted photographer was unable to cover the event and there was an appeal opn social media. I knew Graham was covering the round the Island Yacht race from a boat in the solent but I contacted him to see if he could help. He thought he could but wasn’t sure he would be there right at the start. I put him in contact with the New Carnival Company and they engaged him. Things turned a little hairy as Graham was still in Cowes (having to negotiate very heavy traffic as the MArdi Gras started from the top of Ryde ) All was not lost as I kept him up to date with what was happening and he managed to come round a different way so he didn’t get stuck behind the procession. He managed to catch up with the parade and get pictures of the whole parade .Our service was much appreciated.

Another success story that has appreciated our networking is Neil Southwell of Oasis said  “And without you, I wouldn’t be working for Wightlink and Bestival.” What a lovely testimonial that was at our Let’s Leverage conference –

In 2014, my son Tristan (who lives in Australia), suggested we join forces with my networking skills and his social media skills and we have now become a global brand Allthingsnetworking.com – we are able to offer 24/7 support to our members – so today it is time to celebrate and its double celebrations as I have been shortlisted in the Venus awards. – influential woman category. I have just been to face the camera –

face the camera

making a one minute recording to support my entry (and I thank the 4 people who nominated me) Now it’s on to a public vote in January.

 

So here is to the next 5 years as we build our brand globally – helping businesses to grow and prosper – leading them through the social media minefield and helping them master all the latest platforms – Currently we are embracing livestreaming such as periscope and blab and now we are working on snapchat.

why not check us out on facebook and twitter ?

 

 

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?

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?

Social media training – can you keep up?

In the very fast moving world of social media, there is always something new to learn and as I want to keep ahead of the game I follow the experts. This way, I can help my Wightbuzz members keep up to speed with their social media training. One such expert is Jo Barnes of Jo Barnes online and she always has new information to impart. Why not check out her online academy here?

 

you will be glad you did. She will help to guide you through the maze.

Wightbuzz does Cowes Week

Wightbuzz does Cowes week

Wightbuzz does Cowes week

When the opportunity presented itself, for me to represent my Wightbuzz members at Cowes Week, it was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. So here is my report on Wightbuzz does Cowes week.

I saw this as such a fantastic opportunity and offered it to my members for just £10 each. It was a no brainier really. Which members could refuse the option of such a fantastic baron – the chance for their businesses to be represented to a massive crowd for such a small fee. There was, not surprisingly, a high take up and all members had to do was to get their literature or goodie bag items to me in time for the set up. The goodie bags has been supplied by Beta pak and I was lucky enough to have wifi sponsored by Wightfibre. This meant I was able to promote the sponsors and members all week on social media live from the sea front! Members dropped in to see me and pictures were taken. It was a long and tiring but fun week. It was made so much easier when Chris Cardy of Staddlestones garage offered me the Nissan Leaf, ( an electric car ) for the week. Having no vehicle at the moment, this proved to be a godsend. Not only did  I drive it, but as the networking guru, I also heavily promoted it and have raised a lot of interest in the Nissan leaf, a perfect car for driving in the Isle of Wight.

The week was very successful. We have many potential new Wightbuzz members as well as many members of the public who would like to receive a Wightbuzz customer newsletter. It was tiring but fun land Soo worthwhile. I’m grateful for all support but especially to pin cola Broadsmith , Charlotte Smith and Debbie Frost for helping me man the stand and to Sean of A1 garage doors who helped me break down the stand at the end of a very tiring but productive week.

Doing Something Funny For Money

 

 

DOING something funny for money

When I opened a new bank account with Barclays Bank recently, I had no idea of the fun that lay ahead. I love to have fun while working my business and as a self employed work from home mum and grandmum, this is so easy. For most of my working life, I have been self employed and so I set the rules. I enjoy what I do and having fun whilst doing it makes it even nicer. No boss to relate to. No boss to set my hours. I work as and when I want to. I work hard but I also play hard.

Well, on the day I  opened the new account, my new Barclays manager, Wayne Child,  told me about the back to business scheme that Barclays run. The managers are encouraged to go out with a client and spend a day with them in their business. Wayne asked me if I would like to participate in the scheme and I was very keen to take part. When I set the date, I had a client who wanted a video made so thought this might be quite interesting for Wayne to watch. After all, he had told me he didn’t want a boring day in the home office. Unfortunately, my client had to postpone my appointment with her but I decided to keep the date with Wayne.

When I set the date, I hadn’t realised it was Comic relief day. However, it soon occured to me that this was a day that could be a lot of fun and during the day we could do something funny for money. Why ever not?

I checked with Wayne to see if he was prepared for a fun day and he had absolutely no problem with it – in fact he sounded as though it was right “up his street”.

I am, very much a community person and I love to fundraise and encourage my Wightbuzz members to do the same. I spotted an opportunity and ran with it.

I sent out a letter to my Wightbuzz members and was offered raffle prizes. Jade Thornton of Petticoats and Frills offered us a box of red nose cup cakes. She even dressed in red to deliver them to the Wightbuzz office. She was truly embracing the “doing something funny for money” theme.

Cupcakes from Petticoats and Frills

Doing something funny for money - fun cup cakes

Michael of the Dorset House, offered us a Sunday lunch for 2

Dorset House raffle prize

Michael, of the Dorset House, donates Sunday lunch for 2

Susan Revell, also a Wightbuzz member, donated a free first aid course and Jayne Read of Island Memories, donated a family ticket for the VE celebrations being held in May. Claire and Ann of Attraction, a lovely gift shop in Cross Street Ryde, donated a jewellery set. I am very grateful to all these ovely people.

With all these lovely prizes, I knew my super Wightbuzz members would be happy to part with their money.

Before my bank manager came to pick me up, I uploaded a video clip to you tube,

 

My bank manager turned up to pick me up at 9. We needed to decorate the collecting tin and Wayne even obliged with this!

Then, after a quick coffee we were off on the start of our very exciting day. First stop – Jo of Wightcakes

who supplied us with coffee and

scrummy cake! It was going to be one of THOSE days :)

We then popped along to Missy J cafe  where Janine insisted on tweaking my nose before parting with her money – well the theme was doing something funny for money!

Next stop - Wightsight for a quick laugh and joke with Mandy and Adrian who also bought raffle tickets

then a few doors along to Attraction to see Claire, one of the raffle prize donators.

We just HAD to stop at Barclays in Ryde. Well it would be sily not to as I was with my Barclays manager!!

a few more stops in Ryde then we zoomed over to Sandown and to the lovely gift shop Che-Sands

then we popped across to Rapaunui where we also met the lovely Emma from Island Voucher where there was time for a very quick photo call!

then over to recruit Wendy of Deeva into Wightbuzz before selling her raffle tickets too

by the time we got to the wightbuzz office we were really beginning to flag but Liz supplied us with coffee to keep us going

and it was here we stopped to make a couple of video clips about our day.

 

 

and

 

Our final stop was with Julie Jones Evans of Dragonfly i Nodehill – (my fellow shock cash mobber )

We rounded off the day with a lovely sit down and chat with Julie and more coffee and cake!

 

We had a brilliant day – it was manic, it was fun and we did something funny for money. We raised about £75 for comic relief and my Barclays bank manager and I now know each other much better! It truly was a fun day. (I spent the weekend chilling as I was quite exhausted!!)

I did pop in to see Wayne’s boss on Monday to report on what an excellent experience it was! Praise where praise is due. I have had friends, who bank at other banks,  who don’t even know if they have a bank manager, let alone know his name!

I made a you tube clip of the day

Do you have stories to relate about your bank manager? Have you had a fun day out with yours? Pop your comments below :)

 

 

 

 

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