Running your own small business can be quite isolating and I work on my own – it’s good to be part of something and have opportunities to join networking and training events, or use some of the online support and forums.
Jacqueline Carstairs - Creative Splash Art
Creative Splash Art Academy.com
I am Jacqueline Carstairs. I am 48. Having spent my life working in the creative industry I have always dreamt of running my own non-intimidating Art Academy.
I have a background in Design, Illustration and Print. I also am a Mum to three children in various exciting stages of their lives, they are a constant inspiration to me. I relocated to Cambridge in 2012.
I am passionate about creativity and its benefits to everyone. Creative Splash has been a long time in the planning but then you get to the point where you just have to give it a go! I have my first course in February 2015. I offer creativity enhancing courses and a weekly group to children and adults in the setting of Milton Country Park. I also offer Creative Team Building in the Park. My ultimate goal is to have an ART BUS which travel to the customers.
The Destination Digital courses have been comforting and supportive. I have met strong courageous women who are taking control of their lives and so generous in their support. I find at my age my confidence and gung-ho attitude is not what it was when I was younger so its important to me to have found support in women who also have the same self-doubts - together we are slaying our self-doubt gremlins and working towards our dreams. I am so excited to have found so many inspiring and encouraging people on my short journey. I am just at the start of my business run-way but am excited and positive about TAKE OFF!
Jules Williamson - Aspire, Achieve, Advance Apprenticeships
Today I attended Digital Women workshop - Setting up a home office. I, myself work for 3aaa's a company that deliver life changes opportunities to young people in the Cambridgeshire area, and support them into apprenticeships in IT and Digital Marketing.
We have so many success stories especially placing young women into life changing careers, a task that I champion and really enjoy. One of the lovely young ladies that I helped place has just finished units on computer systems and principles of networking, it has been an absolute pleasure watching her develop her IT skills, grow more confident and head the way for other women to succeed in such a male orientated field. My role within my company is Apprentice Intake, I work closely with young people and help them to find the branch of IT that they are so interested to have a careers in. There is so many talented young people out there and it is my pleasure to help find them lasting career opportunities.
As my work often means that I have to work remotely I was very interested in attending the workshop today, to pick up tips on ensuing that I organise my time well, and meet all my obligations. I was impressed with the knowledge given from trainer Angela and Farhana, not only did I pick up the top tips I was after, but it was also a good refresher on good practice in the workplace to working form your kitchen table in your kitchen.
Excellent information given on Cloud technologies, a term I am sure many have heard of, but don't really understand. The group were really engaged with learning how technology such as this can benefit their businesses. Syncing information between devises has been something that I know that I should do more, and I feel that I will do this more to help me work SMARTER!
I felt this workshop was really inspirational and good for those that were in need of the basics to find a way to move forward with their business ideas. I would happily attend any event/ workshop that Enterprising Women host.
Caroline Duffy - Freelance Graphic Designer and Lecturer
I discovered Enterprising Women approximately a year after I set myself up in business as a freelance graphic designer and graphics software trainer. Oh how I wish I had found them sooner! I am formally trained as a graphic designer but had had a long career break bringing up two children.
So after 10 years and a rather patchy CV, I was very keen to get back into the grown up world of working again. I first heard about Enterprising Women on a local radio programme and was delighted to hear of an organization that was championing women in business and running workshops aimed at helping women embrace digital technology, through the Destination Digital Women Programme.
Having been out of the workplace in a full-time capacity for over a decade I felt I probably needed to embrace new technology! I was delighted to be able to attend 4 free workshops, all of which were perfectly pitched for me. I had felt my knowledge of digital technology was a pretty rusty, so it was a tremendous boost to my confidence to gain the skills and knowledge to make the most of new trends, particularly the use of social media for business. As well as gaining lots of great tips and advice at these workshops, it was extremely empowering to meet lots of lovely women all growing their businesses, who were so willing to share their experiences and knowledge.
I now attend a regular monthly meeting in Cambridge, which has a fabulous group of women, who have become my friends. When we get together for our monthly meeting, there is a tremendous vibe in the room.
Michelle Helstrip - International Yoga Teacher, Therapist & Writer
Druva Therapy www.druva.co.uk
She has been a provider of health and nutritional care since the 1980s. Her business is now centred around helping people toward optimal health, using the powerful tools contained within Dru Yoga. As well as regular workshops and courses, Michelle specialises in the use of yoga to help during pregnancy, and to aid clients with back-related issues.
“Over the years I have seen how yoga can help people when other modalities have failed to make a difference. For example, I get a lot of clients coming to me with chronic back pain, and by the end of a relatively short programme of movement, breathing practice and relaxation, most clients have noticed a shift – sometimes a huge shift – in their ability to perform tasks without pain.”
Michelle came to the Destination Digital programme looking for ways to move her business forward, from being centred solely around her own delivery of workshops and courses, to offering other holistic choices to her clients from allied resources such as natural therapies, products and remedies.
“After attending the Destination Digital workshops, I now have more ideas about the direction in which I want to take the business. I am working with a web developer to launch an updated website, which in the future will be able to grow with my business. I have developed the confidence, and the contacts, to enable me to move toward becoming a one stop shop for natural healthcare in the East Anglia region”.
Maria Banks - Strada Innovation Limited
Strada Innovation Limited www.stradainnovation.co.uk
When I started my company, Strada Innovation Limited, over 11 years ago, the most innovative technical tool I had to master was Skype. Skype was especially important to me at that time as it enabled me to connect both with my clients and with my online coach training certification community calls worldwide for free.
Today it is very different! Over the past three year, the social media tools seem to have exploded onto the scene and there’s no stopping them!
For 8 years my business ran successfully without a website, but then it became apparent that it was imperative to have a website so that;
a) I had an online presence and
b) use the social media tools to drive traffic to my website
What I quickly realised was that although I was very good a ‘running’ my business, I wasn’t focussing on ‘growing’ my business and these tools could really help me do this!
For those of us not of the ‘social media’ generation, it can be an extremely daunting prospect to explore and understand the myriad of social media tools available
Attending the “Destination Digital Women” workshop really helped me break down the different types of social media tools available and to clarify how and when to use each tool effectively and appropriately.
There was also a very valuable exercise on ‘Building an Effective Online Brand’ with some clear and simple examples which generated some interesting discussion within the group.
I would certainly recommend woman to take full advantage of this FREE workshop offered by Enterprising Women, whether they are just starting out or like myself, have an established business and ready to take it to the next level.
Joan Richardson - Brides' Cars
Brides’ Cars www.BridesCars.co.uk
I am the co-owner of Brides’ Cars with my husband, based in Ramsey Heights, Cambridgeshire. We offer a Royal blue Rolls Royce Silver Spirit II and a matching Mercedes-Benz limousine wedding car.
I was very interested to hear that Enterprising Women were offering a course to cover digital marketing as this is an area which is very important to a small business such as ours. Although I have used various types of social media in the past, I felt that it was very useful to meet with other women who were either at the same stage in the development of their business or just setting up so that we could discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the various types of social media on offer.
Although there are many online courses available which cover social media, I feel it is far more beneficial to receive information in a classroom setting. I believe that I learn a lot more from being able to discuss experiences with other participants and this is not always possible when attending an online course. The standard of teaching was extremely good and the course notes were of a very high standard and will be very useful in the future as reference material.
Since I attended the social media course, I have decided that we needed to update our website. I have also started to use Linkedin to find wedding suppliers in the Ramsey area and updated my Twitter profile and now understand the importance of regularly updating my profiles on Facebook etc. The course was a great introduction to the various types of social media available and it was also very useful being able to ask the tutor lots of “what if” questions! I am making plans for the future including looking out for a course on Google +.
Suzi Gibbs-Chalmers - Topaz Health
Topaz Health Training www.topazhealth.co.uk/index.html
Hi I'm Suzi Gibbs-Chalmers, owner of Topaz Health Training, offering bespoke health, fitness and First Aid training for organisations, educational institutes and individuals based in Cambridgeshire. Being a child of the 70's, I have been constantly running to keep up with the latest innovations and technologies. I've always enjoyed networking face to face but found the social media revolution more than a little daunting. A friend and small business women introduced me to Enterprising Women explaining how they had helped provide training and support to set-up her business.
A quick phone call and I was emailed information on relevant training courses and funding sources to help with networking. One of the courses provided by Destination Digital was an introduction to social media marketing. The importance of how to market your business on line and some important do's and dont's on using social media. The training was informative and enabled me to share my experiences with other inspiring women also setting up or developing their businesses.
The training helped answer all my questions and provided me with a better understanding of social media. With help from Sara from Creative Remedy, I now have a business page on Facebook and feel more confident posting articles. I've made valuable business contacts from the training and have even considered signing up for Twitter - baby steps!
I hope to attend more training courses and support other women to set-up their own business.
Zarine Jacob - Passionfruit Coaching
Zarine Jacob www.passionfruitcoaching.com
I signed up to increase my know-how in the digital space, and to gain tips and tools in the session. I found the Digital Workshop really inspiring & motivating. It showed me exactly where the gaps are in my business, and what actions i need to take to align my social media strategy with my business intentions in the medium to long term. It is of course always a juggling act between daily deliverables and future strategy.
Yet this workshop showed me clearly where my priorities need to be, given the direction I want to take my business in - which is online engagement with groups and 1:1 clients, as well as Cambridge and South East face to face leadership work. Once I start implementing some of what I learned, I’m sure I will start seeing results and learning more as I go. I liked how easily one can measure the results.
The content was focused, Sara was responsive and targeted in her delivery. It was invaluable to me as an entrepreneur and business owner; and for the rest of the group too. Social media certainly isn’t the answer to everything, but it’s a great way to connect, grow relationships and deliver VALUE in a crowded marketplace. Thank you!