Welcome to another Small Business Update with Lindsay McLoughlin, copywriter, blogger and LinkedIn trainer from Proofed by Linds. We first met Lindsay in November 2012, and updated with her in December 2013. At that point, this is what she had planned for the year ahead: “When I meet people, they often say, ‘Oh, you’re the blogger. I loved your post about…’ I find this very gratifying and something to be proud of. However, going forward, I would like clients to think of me as a blogger/copywriter, and to also think of me for the following services:
– copywriting their newsletters, for example. Today’s strategic alliance with my email partners, Mmunic, is designed to support this goal
– editing & proofreading more business and marketing-related ebooks. I will be promoting these services on and offline next year.
With me, it’s all about words… I like to read, edit or blog them!” So, let’s see how Lindsay’s getting on. And oh, she’s not where she thought she’d be – doesn’t that always happen!
Hello again, Lindsay! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
No! The last year has been a fascinating and sociable, networking rollercoaster and I have enjoyed every minute of the ride. Looking at last year’s article, my aim was to establish a reputation as a blogger. To a certain extent I have continued to do that. My ‘Writer meets…’ blog profiling service has continued to grow and, with the additional bonus of Facebook’s boost a post service, this has continued to establish itself as a valid promotional tool. I have continued to post business and social media related blog posts via LinkedIn and on my own website. I was also ‘Highly Commended’ in the UK Blog Awards 2014 within the Digital & Marketing section for my Business Talk category.
My blogging, copywriting, editing and proofreading services are still available and I had plenty of this this type of work in 2014. However, the step change occurred when I opened a LinkedIn group designed to raise my profile within my home town.
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
In November 2013, I created the Henley Women of Inspiration (HWIN) group. It is open to ladies who live and/or work in the general area of Henley on Thames. Just as I would if I were networking in real life, I flit around the group welcoming people, and liking/commenting on their discussions and contributions.
The group grew daily and the atmosphere in the room is dynamic, participative and interesting. In February 2014, a member of the group asked if we could meet offline, and other members immediately indicated they would come to an event if I was to host one. This was the moment everything changed.
Henley is well known for the Henley Royal Regatta (more about that later!) but, a couple of weeks before, there is another internationally renowned event. This is the Henley Women’s Regatta (HWR). I asked the HWR Chairman if I could host a HWIN Networking Breakfast on the opening morning of her three-day event. She said yes! I then promoted the event across social media and the 90 tickets sold out weeks ahead with a waiting list for cancellations. If I may say it myself, the event was a knockout!
Through the HWIN group, I also met Kran Sondh from The CookCurry Club. We put together a pop-up curry lunch to promote her home-cooked Indian curry business, and I produced a Writer meets…CookCurry Club post to tell our story. The event was a storming success and, like the Henley Women’s Regatta, tickets sold out weeks ahead.
This set me thinking… Kran makes beautiful curries and, through the power of social media, I can bring people to the table. Together, we hosted a HWIN Christmas Curry Pop-Up Networking Lunch which, again, sold out before Kran had even put the pan on!
Another lovely thing that happened during 2014 was I was invited by Henley Royal Regatta to arrange the accommodation for all the overseas crews.
The event holds a unique place in the respect and affection of all rowers, but it is also very special to the residents of Henley itself. They open their doors and offer accommodation to competitors and spectators. Needless to say, I loved working with the Henley Royal Regatta and I have been invited back to look after the accommodation again this year.
In addition, with my love of and knowledge of LinkedIn, I have created group training sessions. The first group event in December was well received. I have now sold out for January and, as I write this, February’s session is almost fully booked.
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
In 2014 I learned to raise my head above the parapet. By taking the plunge and opening the HWIN group, I raised my profile and, on seeing the opportunities, I followed through. With HWIN, I launched and ran two successful networking events, and now I am looking at launching a series of pop-up curry networking lunches with Kran for 2015.
I have met some truly outstanding people on this journey. It has been a wonderful and magical rollercoaster, and it is mainly thanks to the invention of the HWIN group and the people within the group. I can’t think of anything I wish I had known in advance; it actually feels like all the work, networking and decisions I had made prior to the events in 2014 led me to the year I had. I am just so pleased I am able to follow through on exciting and fun projects, and I enjoy what I am doing.
Any more hints and tips for people?
One of my clients recently described me as someone who has an idea and gets on and does it. From my experience over the last twelve months, this trait does appear to have held me in good stead. With enthusiasm, energy and commitment, people are attracted to positive energy. Well, that and a good curry!
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
Looking ahead, the year will feature Henley Royal Regatta (accommodation role), Pop-Up Curry Lunches, LinkedIn training sessions, HWIN networking events, Writer meets… promotional posts, blogging, copywriting, editing etc.
If you decide to check back with me in another year to ask if it went this way, I am hoping it will have, as I am currently putting the dates in the diary.
I am nailing my colours to the mast!
However if, like last year, it is dramatically different, I simply can’t imagine what that would be and how I could be happier than exactly where I am now.
Wow – that’s a big change, and what a positive one! It just goes to show that however established you are, you should always remain open to new opportunities – I certainly don’t regret my first foray into transcription, which happened when I saw a random tweet from someone I follow, or into localisation, which happened through someone asking and me saying “yes”. So that’s a lesson to us all that it really can work. I wonder what Lindsay will be doing this time next year!
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources.