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All change in Suffolk

All businesses go through change and our organisation is no different. In fact we actively look to hear from every woman in business that attends our Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk events to know what you want and if we are delivering it. (And our apologies if we are not in your region yet, we would love to be in your area, so get in touch to learn about getting paid to network.)

Therefore when Linda had to step down from our stunning Ickworth House, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk  events it was a quiet moment in the BWN offices. Mandie instantly decided that we had been supporting the success of women in business in this area for over 4 years and we didn’t want to see it stop. So Mandie hosted our September event and announced “Who would like to get paid to network?”

2 offers came forward on the day so we never got to spread the opportunity to the wider community (further proof you have to be in it to win it!) and we are delighted to welcome Nicky West, a corporate Suffolk based photographer to the team. Nicky said “I’ve decided to become a BWN co-ordinator! Let me sum up why. I believe networking is a wonderful way to empower and connect local business owners to be inspired by and inspire each other, in a friendly supportive environment, and I’m so excited to be a part of that process and grow my own business along the way too!”

We are very happy to welcome you Nicky and look forward to seeing your fabulous images and hearing your 2019 plans.

We have more exciting news coming soon and if you would like to learn more about joining the growing BWN team, we would love to hear from you. Just complete the contact us form or give us a call.

  • September 30, 2018

Funny how things happen – Norfolk Business Women You Will Love This!

Founder of The Business Womans Network (The BWN), Mandie Holgate shares her excitement and the weird coincidence that led to our newest team member joining us….

“I’d been invited to speak at the Norfolk Caistor Hall, Norwich event. And when I arrived I sat down to get a cup of coffee and this lovely lady sits next to me.

She sums up the new business women that walk through the door of our events, because she said “I’ve never been to one of these before I don’t know what to expect”. That always makes me smile, because one of the things that matters to us dearly is that everyone gets a warm welcome and that we have the same structure to every event wherever you go. I’ve been that nervous shy person (yes I used to be painfully shy and lacking in confidence!) and I dreaded walking into networking events!

From South Essex to North Norfolk you will hear business women tell you what to expect from us, and we care deeply that every single woman in business gets that networking experience – friendly, welcoming, reassuring, supportive and business focused. Denise Bretton was the coordinator at our Norfolk events and like every other coordinator at 10.30 Denise stands up and welcomes her guests and then reminds people of the structure so that those that are new to us, new to networking or nervous can feel at their ease.

To say I was sad when Denise told me that she needed to step down was understatement.The BWN laughing and learning networking at The BWN Norfolk The BWN coordinators aren’t a team, we are a family. And I respect and care about their families, dreams, businesses and big ambitions in life. What I love is that all coordinators feel the same. We meet up when they want some training or advice (I’m happy to do this up to once a month and I’m always there on the phone/text/messenger/pigeon) and so I feel we get to know each other very well and have shared a lot of opportunities between each other over the years. Not forgetting the kindness, support and friendship too.

So I’m sat here thinking “I will really miss Denise, whose going to look after our Norfolk events? And then the phone rings and it’s this lovely lady I’ve sat and got to know only a few days earlier at The BWN in Norfolk!” We chat for ages and I don’t feel like I’ve only just met her, but hey, that’s The BWN. That’s what happens, we start to build relationships that turn into good relationships and then lifelong friends. I know that some ladies that have networked with me have now moved away and will still drive for 3 or 4 hours just to meet up and have a coffee and “boost their confidence” with a session at The BWN.

I mentioned the news I’d just had and how sad I was feeling and the lovely lady says “well, I have been thinking for the last few days, The BWN was amazing, how do I get more involved in this? And so I decided to call you.”

That’s the interesting thing about us business women, we do worry far too much about phoning people. I know that there is a whole chapter in my book (Fight the fear) about picking up the phone, because;

  • We don’t want to get in the way
  • We worry about saying the wrong thing
  • We worry about what people will think of us
  • We worry about looking desperate

The list is long!

And rarely accurate! The fact is picking up the phone (instead of hiding behind email) enables miscommunication to disappear, the risk of tonality or your own beliefs being interpreted or assumed incorrectly goes away and usually the opportunity for clear focus, new action and new business.

That lovely lady is called Olivia Bucher, and Olivia is a Financial Advisor at Anderson Wealth Planning Ltd. Olivia BucherWe met up a few days later and  sat in the sun in a garden again I felt like I’d known Olivia for years. I’m really excited to welcome Olivia to the team.

That’s the thing about life, you are sat next to a stranger and you have a nice chat oblivious to the fact that this person will feature heavily in your future.

Would Olivia have joined the team if I’d have chosen a different chair to sit in?

Would Olivia have joined the team if we hadn’t had the chance to chat freely?

I don’t know, but what I do know is that when the phone rings I know it’s usually a great opportunity heading in my direction that is likely to be good for business women too.

I spend my life asking “Will this person/company make a difference to our BWN members?” and it has to be a yes for me to move it forward. With Olivia it was most definitely a yes!”

To learn more about Olivia and her Norfolk events click here

Olivia has a special offer to welcome you all to her BWN Norwich events to the end of the year – £40 for all four events to the end of 2018 AND get a free stand at any 2018 event worth £35. It’s a mini Golden Ticket! Just contact Olivia to learn more.

  • August 11, 2018

Networking Follow Up Strategy Check List

Of all the things you do for business growth and success, networking is up there with some of the best for real results – ie

  • More sales
  • Reinforcing your brand
  • Learning new skills
  • Learning new ideas
  • Trialling and researching ideas/products and services
  • Repeat business

However, if you don’t’ put in the right strategy and actions then it can be a costly waste of your time. Here is our Insider guide to getting the best out of networking. Remember to cross-reference this with your marketing production line too. You are welcome to download a copy here – The BWN follow up for networking success

Follow up strategy for Insiders

  • May 15, 2018

What to do with your old phones and cameras (and do good in the process!)

Here one of our fabulous corporate photograheJayne Lloyd for our Wivenhoe House, Colchester events, shares an exciting opportunity for you to get rid of your old junk and maybe change someone’s life;Jayne Lloyd photography

Our corporate photographer, Jayne Lloyd is Project Manager at photography organisation Shutter Hub, who have launched #CameraAmnesty to support Accumulate, an inspirational enterprise helping young homeless people to develop their confidence and self-worth through creativity.

“The Accumulate photographers exhibited the work they produced on their photography course at the Guardian offices, were featured in the national press, and some were offered opportunities to continue their work beyond this, like Eric, who was offered an exhibition at his hostel. As exciting as that was, he was limited in what he could do because he, like pretty much every student in the group, was relying on equipment borrowed from Accumulate.

It occurred to us at Shutter Hub that between us we have a few old cameras or even mobile phones with good cameras gathering dust and not worth very much on eBay, and we’re sure other people might too. What if we donated these to Accumulate so that people like Eric could continue to develop their skills and keep taking photos?

For practical reasons, we are looking for the whole package so that includes bodies, lenses, chargers, batteries and memory cards too. If you think you might have something that could be donated to a student that’s fantastic – please do get in touch.”

Links:

Shutter Hub Article: https://shutterhub.org.uk/blog/cameraamnesty-an-appeal-to-help-homeless-photographers

Guardian exhibition article: https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/gallery/2017/may/08/london-photographed-by-young-and-homeless-accumulate-made-by-us

Accumulate : http://accumulate.org.uk

Jayne Lloyd Photography

  • October 16, 2017

Launch of The Business Mans Network!

We are so excited to announce the Launch of The Business Mans Network. It matters to us greatly that we are there to support your sales, confidence and success. And for years Founder Mandie Holgate had been asked to set an event aimed at men in business. So its exciting to announce this launch on Monday the 8th May at our Wivenhoe House venue.

We know that we will have to work hard to get the right balance and create events as powerful as the ones we already host. The BMN events will have the same structure as The BWN events and there will still be no membership and lots of extra ways we can support you.

We’ve already had a policy that if a business man books a ticket then they are not turned away. We attract some of the top speakers in the UK and feel The BWN has always be inclusive and not exclusive. And the same will apply here. Although we would request that for the first event women in business given business men the chance to create their own core group before you consider attending.

It has also important to us that we do not drop the standard of support, motivation and ideas we give to women in business so please do keep in touch if you feel there is more we could be doing to support you and your success.

Here you can read the full article that appeared in the Gazette this week about the launch. Launch BMN May 2017

To book visit this page. See you there!

  • May 7, 2017

Even Our Corporate Photographers Love Us!

We work hard to support our business women and that is why we created The Insiders so we could keep that level of motivation, support and assistance every day. We also do our best for our venues, speakers and our photographers. 

Check out this gorgeous testimonial from Caroline Horne. 

Thank you Caroline!

Photographer testimonial

  • February 4, 2017

Whose In Your Success Team?

As a busy business woman there is so much that falls on your plate, right?
That is why at The BWN if we see something that needs to happen for your success we like to share it with you. And something that we are seeing a growing trend in is the need for a team. (Even for the self employed business woman!)
Founder Mandie Holgate shares her top tips and her own personal insight into the power of a team;
As a business coach and a rather sick one at that (that’s sick as is Lupus and other fun things, not “cool” and kids “dig” me which is clearly the case using words like “dig and cool!) I appreciate that if I want success I don’t intend to do that alone. In my team are some key players. Does that lesson my achievements?
Of course not!

If anything my new favourite saying is “Success is better shared” and I honestly feel that that is true,

Supporting business women success

Mandie wasn’t about to try and do it all on her own and went off to find other people to help her be awesome.

it means that the people I rely on and utilise as part of my team I can promote and recommend to others and that is of course the very ethos of so much of our work here at The BWN.

In my team firstly is my hubby. He is the one that passionately listens to me let rip in the hot tub when quite frankly he would rather be turning his brain off. (There’s a good chance he has turned his brain off and he is just making the right “Yes dear” noises at the right times!) However he tends to be critical when I need, encourage when I need it and tell me to shut up when I need that too!

Be aware of those that you love though (I know you don’t mind a bit of honesty here, because not everyone has loved ones that support their business ventures, so ask yourself “Does this person I’m speaking to believe in me or do they want to protect me first?”
Sometimes other peoples love for you can sometimes override their true opinions on what they feel you should do. They say what they think you should do for an easier stress free life not the actions that will lead you to the big goals that you seek. And yes sometimes that means some hard graft, and the ones you love will always try to protect you, won’t they?

Which leads me on to looking for other people to add to your team….
And be wary who you add. Be aware of the likers. There is nothing wrong with the people that like every word that comes out of your mouth, however how are you to grow, and develop if you are not challenged? You need to have in your team people you know that will do those things in a way that suits you. For me I like a no nonsense “Stop doing that Mandie” approach. And I attract people that suit that style.

I’ve a mentor that bounces off of me and volleys back and forth elegantly so that we can verbally challenge each other and I feel like I’ve had a proper brain work out. My whole being feels alive after a session with my mentor, and I’m buzzing with ideas, does your mentor do that?

Also I have a V.A, actually I rely on 2. Well if something works, why not go the whole hog right? I work with Genieve McAllister from Crocus Connect and Jenny Sjollema from PA Angels. The team of these 2 is just genius. It means that we can look after 70+ business women at an event, it means I can deal with my admin in record time, they are far better at copywriting than me (and can probably find a plethora of typo’s in this article!) so they are worth their weight in gold (can you tell they have the week off and I’m flying solo!)

I also have an accountant, a printer, a graphic designer, web designer and IT company and I wouldn’t be without any of them. Could I do many of these jobs myself?

You bet I could!

However is my time better suited to doing what I’m best at, you bet it is! And more to the point it means that I can be out there talking about all of these cool companies too. That’s Paul from Studio Link 11, Lara from Reflect Design for Print, Tim Wilson my IT Guru and so many others.

However on top of these I rely on The Business Womans Network. I know that by walking through the door at these events, I will not only pick up new clients, I will leave with;

  • new ideas,
  • feeling boosted,
  • motivated,
  • I will hear of some new website that is great for top tips. (Elene Marsden shared a great site to try out at my May event, Thanks Elene – it was User Testing. A great way to find out if you site looks any good from an independent viewpoint.
  • There is always someone with a great piece of advice that they are itching to share. I just love that. I always always learn.
  • And I feel supported. In business when your head is down and you are working hard looking after your business and your customers, and your own business sometimes you forget to look up smell the roses and appreciate where you are right now. Getting to these events reminds me how supported I really am. And that I too can give back in so many ways in such an easy relaxed way too. (I love win win relationships!)
  • I feel understood. Not everyone “gets it” do they. Your choice to work long hours, or to be on the lap top on a Saturday morning, (they don’t see you not working on a Friday afternoon!) They don’t get your lifestyle choice and so to be surrounded by like minded people is truly good to keep you positive and focussed on your big goals.

So put it together, with my hubby, mentor, back house team and the BWN I feel like I cover all basis to create a winning formula to ensure the success of my business. I know I can deliver to my customers and I know I can achieve my goals, and its great to know I’ve created a team that are like my very own cheer leaders.

As a passionate lover of F1. I’ve felt so much for Hamilton who just didn’t have the back up of technology to get the results he wanted. Having just moved house a few months ago I had to heavily rely on my awesome Tim (IT Guru) to get my IT working again when quite frankly the Broadband company were beyond words shocking (They will remain nameless however their name is very short!)  So I know that when I need my team, they really are there for me. Can you say that about your team? Can you really rely on them?

Look at poor Ricardo at the Monaco Grand Prix? My heart broke for him that his race chances slipped away because basically someone hadn’t got him four tyres! Another lesson that teams need the right resources right?

Can you say that your team has the right resources?

Right now for me and the growing team at The BWN (You may want to be at the 16th June event for some news on that front!) I’m very aware that our resources need to grow and change. Do you continue to reassess and consider this? A great team always looks around them, what’s working? What can we improve? What are we learning?

As I finish this article there are 2 more things I consider in my team. Firstly my children, as teenagers they can be great for being critical of your work in a great way. If you can get a teen to be engaged by your 60 second promo slot you can certainly get a room full of business women to love it!

They are also brutally honest and not likely to pull any punches, and for me that’s good. (I can take it!)

And lastly some one that so few business women tend to get on their side, have you got yourself on your team?

It may seem like a daft thing to say, however seriously do you cheer yourself and say “Yeh me, I can do this!”

Or do you walk out of the door heading to a networking event or big meeting thinking “Oh no I’m dreading this!”

One of the above could be damaging  your success, and one could be great for your team attitude, however if you get yourself along to a BWN event we can have you feeling motivated and ready for anything pretty quick too!

 

 

 

  • June 1, 2016

Charity of The Year – Why We Bother – And Why You Should Too

Every year the BWN year is choosing a charity to give a little extra love to.

If you are a charity that we haven’t chosen this year, that doesn’t mean we don’t love you. As a charity you will always get to attend our events for a discounted rate (even on the day on the door!)

We will retweet, like and share all of your content that you share with us.

(All of our social media is accessible via our website – top right.)

And when we have room we will happily let you bring your banner along to our events.

You can also write for our blog whenever you wish.

(Just ping us the details)

Got an event coming up? We are happy to mention it in our business ops slot. Just email it to your local coordinator.

(Because we really do love everything local!)

However we want to do more (well that’s typical us!) and so we thought how great it would be if we could make every business woman from across a whole county talk about one charity. One charity that works tirelessly to make a difference. As founder of the BWN Mandie Holgate has worked with lots of third sector organisations and so knows first hand the obstacles that they face. And the pots of cash are not so easy to get to any more.

But fear not, charities don’t want just your money. Here’s our top ways to support our charity of the year. If you attend our events we would adore it, love it, and thank you forever if you would do the following for our charity of the year in your county;

Retweet, like share and talk about the charity of the year on line. That way we can like your comments, and share them too. That way your followers and your brand awareness goes up too!

Want to get in the local press? (The answer to that one is yes you do!) Raise a few quid for our charity of the year, mention us and together with the charity there is good chance your smiley face and your bit for charity could get your business in the press. And that is not just good for them, its good for you too. Charities aren’t daft, they know why businesses get involved. Yes we love the warm fuzzy feeling that it gives us, but its also good for business, stands your business a part from the rest, shows you care, and a ton of other things. All good. All worth doing. So fancy sitting in a bath of beans? Giving a £1 for every sale next month? Doing a nude calendar? (We’ve done that…twice!) then go for it!

And its worth remembering your gestures don’t need to be huge. Just talking about the charity, really does help them.

Attending an event? Could you carry a few fliers for our charity of the year?

What about having a 1 2 1 with a member of the charities team, so you could understand what they do, what they need, who the would love to talk to. Knowledge is power and big powerful networks are very good for charities. Could your network be helping our charity of the year?

Add a logo to your website? Remember for charities if you knew the extent of the work that they did you would probably want to be able to do more. Could you add a logo, a mention of The BWN’s charity of the year to your website, social media, business literature. Help us, help our charity of the year.

Write a blog article? Could you write an article sharing what you know, care about? Anything. Remember a charity is not just after money. It’s after staying power. Charities are created all the time, which means that the ones that are already here have to work twice as hard. What could you write about to support our charity of the year? Raise their profile and give them staying power and ensure their future? Charities live on a knife’s edge, never knowing how they will fund the following year. Scary right?

Every £1 spent on a charity in the UK is being fought fiercely over, so if you can raise the profile of a local organisation that is helping in your community you just became a really nice person. Good feeling right?

And here are our loved up Charites of the year;

Essex – Colchester Community Voluntary Services – CCVS

The title may suggest they only work in North Essex, however their work supports groups CCVSand organisations across Essex. So by supporting them it means Essex business women really are supporting community groups. And get to attend events meeting third sector, public sector and private sector. Their Banking on business events are proving a great success and Dawn Moss our Saturday Essex events coordinator is already signed up as a Volunteer. And with over 600 volunteers, that’s a lot of good happening in Essex. Can you feel how good that is!

 

Shirley is the business woman from CCVS that you can expect to see at our Marks Tey Hotel Shirley CCVS Essexevents. Get in touch with us to share your ideas to raise money, raise their profile and get your warm fuzzy feeling that makes Essex that much better.

Learn more about CCVS here and please please, prettiest of please’s do get involved in their social media and let them know we told you to!

 

 

Suffolk – Age UK Suffolk

Our Bury St Edmunds events are hosted at Age UK Suffolk’s HQ and so how perfect to support them.

Kinsey Foster and Susan Pope host our Suffolk events and would be happy to talk about how you could get involved to support Suffolk’s charity of the yearAge UK Suffolk

Learn more about Age UK Suffolk here and please do let them know that we said they were awesome and deserve your support. You can contact your local Suffolk coordinator direct via your page. However feel free to contact us if you wish to.

  • April 6, 2016

Why The BWN Likes Competition (And Yes We Know That’s Scary!)

As scary as it may feel having your competitors in the same room as you is not bad for business. It can actually seriously improve your business success.

It’s all very well to walk into a networking event and be the only person in the room that does what you do, however real life is not like that. And we don’t want to sugar coat business, we want to help you make it really work.

And to do that, you need to be able to effectively deal with the competition.

(We also think its important that you know that we care about ALL women in business1940s woman scared and as such although we are known as a very proactive environment to gain new business we are also about business growth and don’t want to exclude someone from the opportunity to hear one of our master class speakers just because they were not first through the door with a fat membership fee – hence the no membership ever policy!)

So how can you effectively deal with completion?

Firstly as much as Tescos or Sainsburys would love to be the only supermarket in your town they are not. And the profits rise and fall as they respect and care for their customers, suppliers and staff. (Worth noting right?)

Years ago when I lived in a one street of shops town , there was one clothes shop for ladies, Dorothy Perkins. When we heard that they were building a row of shops opposite this and one of them would be New Look, the local Chamber Commerce said it would doom the town centre.

How could a town support 2 ladies fashion stores?

The fact is it had the opposite effect. Instead of people leaving our tiny town to shop elsewhere, suddenly there was choice. It didn’t damage the town, it enhanced it and caused more shops to be built. The town, grew. (Something else worth noting right?)

Lots of business women make the mistake of assuming that because there is competition in the room, they will lose out on business opportunities, on the contrary its your chance to shine. To showcase why you.

So tell me, Why you?Having fun at the business womans network

What do you give your customers that no one else can or does?

How do you make your clients feel truly loved?

Knowing this and getting it across in your marketing strategy is imperative. And when networking the same language, words, and attitude should shine through everything you say too. Remember people buy from people, not businesses, so in the words of your happiest favourite customers why you?

How do you fix peoples woes, worries, stresses and problems?

Power up your success rate by talking about real time solutions, happy customers and top tips for a happier life and/or business.

When it comes to Value Added Marketing the end goal is not just a sale. How do you make people feel special? Do you keep in touch effectively so that they naturally only want to work with you?

The lovely Di Gilbranch (The Doggy Dinner Lady from Trophy Pet Food Colchester)BWN March 2015 7 makes a point of getting in touch by text (because she knows that’s easy for me) and checks up on our dog food supply. I don’t ever have to place an order. Di does the leg work and even delivers to my door. Now that is service that I am happy to pay for and I recommend. So a national store could have my custom, but you can guess who gets it!

Tell me are Mick Jagger & Madonna the best singers in the world?

Sorry Madge but there are better, however Mick and Madge are still making records (and money) because they keep up to date and in touch with their target audience. The biggest brands in the world don’t just advertise to get your business, they advertise to keep it.

If you want to deal with the competition, you accept they exist, raise your game and keep visual. And that’s not just turning up at an event. How do you keep on peoples radar between events?

Is it consistent?

Do you go on about your products and services or are you useful, relevant and interesting?

Be confident.

The hardest thing to deal with, when you see competition in the same room is that overwhelming thing that us women are so good at, and that is to convince yourself that they are better than you, and everyone will love them more. It’s just not true. Be really confident about your price, products and services and remember that people have already chosen you. Why shouldn’t they again? (Unless your competition is offering free Ferraris with every purchase!)

I accept that I’m not the right business coach for everyone. As I like to say there are over 66 million people in the UK and I’m not coaching all of them. Horses for courses right? So accept you are the perfect horse for the perfect client.

Meeting compeititon is also good for you in the sense that it makes you raise your game. Are you doing all you could for your clients? Do you use the latest marketing technques to ensure client retention? Do you know the state of the art technologies for your industry? By meeting my competition I get to hear what other people are doing. What they are learning about. What new techniques they’ve tried. How they deal with their business problems. I don’t see competition as a problem I see competition as an opportunity. To learn and share.

If competition was so bad for business, why does every professional body have a yearly conference? Makes you think right?

If you are really confident in the person you are, the company you own and the Mandie Holgate red shoesabilities you and you company have to be just perfect for your customers, then you could really freak the competition out and work with them. What about a joint event or venture? Some of the best opportunities and most fun I’ve had in business is when I’ve worked with someone who is considered as direct competition. I get to have a great time, learn and share. And support even more people to success. So could you go so far as to work with your competition?

Could your competition lead to new opportunities? When you have too much work on (what a lovely problem to have!) could you pass on work and take a % cut? Could you work with someone prepared to be white labelled to your company because they had to do no work to gain that client?

I get it, I understand that scary “gosh did my heart just stop moment” when you meet someone networking who does what you do. However instead of hiding your head in the sand pretending you are the only person in your county that does what you do your competition is your chance to really shine.

Get known as the thought leader.

And really get known for all the right reasons.

If there are a hundred suited business men and women in the room it is not by accident that I will wear a bright colour. I’m prepared to stand out and accept horses for courses, and boy does the competition teach me so much. Especially how to prove to customers old, new and potential that I’ m right for them and more than anyone else on the planet I genuinely care about their success.

So don’t hide from the competition, accept they exist and use The BWN events to showcase that you are ready for anything. Because let’s be honest in business you need to be.

My name is Mandie Holgate and I’m the founder of The BWN. I always want to do my very best for women in business, so if you think I’ve lost the plot by inviting the competition to events, and not having block outs, I’m very happy to hear your viewpoint (negative or positive) And of course support you to effectively deal with the competition too. See you at a BWN soon!

  • January 25, 2016

Meet Essex Business Woman Michelle Taylor with an unusual goal…

Meet Michelle Taylor, Essex Marks Tey Hotel member. Michelle has changed careers and you could never guess her career choice! And we do hope Michelle gets her big wish. You can meet Michelle at our Essex events, and get to know her now and hear her big ambitions! WHAT MADE YOU SET UP YOUR BUSINESS? My husband Kev, is a retired Essex Police Sgt and when he first retired he was thumb twiddling for some time, not knowing what to do with himself…He all but fell into Wedding Photography 7 years ago and is now making great inroads into the business locally. Not wanting to be in the same position when I retired from the police, I started to think about what I wanted to do post retirement, it was still over 5 years away at the time, but I knew I did not want to be one of those retired officers that took up a Civvy post just to stay employed or focused. Kev suggested I picked up a camera and followed in his footsteps, I could not think of Essex Celebrant Michelle Tayloranything worse….Just like my cake decorating skills , I could picture in my minds eye a fantastic finished product, but lacked the skills to create said product from scratch…..I said ‘Id rather marry people’……So began my  research. I had heard of Humanists, but I believe in something rather than nothing so ruled them out of my equation…I stumbled by chance across the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants a small but upcoming organization, the cost of training was reasonable, so I took the plunge. I completed my Wedding and Family Celebrancy training in July 2011 and have not looked back since. I love spreading the love and joy that abounds at any family celebration and I was finally able to put my skills and creativity to good use, I can write a good story and what better story to tell of how two people met, fell in love and decided to get married. As well as Weddings I also write and conduct, Naming Ceremonies, Vow Renewals, Commitment Ceremonies and have (on one occasion only, I hasten to add) conducted a Doggy Wedding as a publicity stunt for the dogs owners. WHAT WAS THE REASON THAT YOU DECIDED TO BE A MEMBER OF THE BWN? In a word…… NETWORKING!!! I know someone who had attended a couple of meetings at the beginning of 2015Michelle Taylor - Essex Celebrant and she told me that the BWN was a great way to get myself  ‘out there’ …Meet likeminded business women and to pick up some tips and contacts along the way. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR YOUR BUSINESS? GROWTH & MORE GROWTH! I retired from the day job in October 2015 after a very hectic year, all of my spare time that year had been spent writing and conducting ceremonies. I always knew 2015 was going to be a tough year, two jobs and NO spare time, but it has been worth it. In my 1st 12 months I conducted just one ceremony, last year I did 16, this year I already have 20 booked in! I don’t want to be flat out like I was last year, I want to grow but at my pace, allowing me more time for family and friends, socializing etc, something that is very hard as a shift worker. I think I will find my work/ life balance…Finally…. As a self employed and very fulfilled Wedding Celebrant. I want to spread the word about Celebrants, not many have heard of us, I want the whole of Essex and beyond to learn that there is more to a good wedding than just the party after the ceremony. The ceremony itself should reflect each couple, their unique quirks and should be fun and laughter filled, not JUST a formality so we can say ‘We’re married’. I have had some cracking venues over the past few years, with more to come this year. I have worked and will be working with some awesome couples and families, and there is nothing the puts a cheesy grin on my face like saying  at the end of a wedding ceremony, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen please make some noise and be upstanding as I introduce to you Mr and Mrs………’ WHAT WOULD BE GOOD FOR YOU TO KNOW? ‘HOW, WHY, WHAT, WHEN, WHO’ We all need a helping hand to get our businesses seen and I want to learn it all….OK that may be a bit unrealistic, but each meeting is about learning

HOW to expand your business WHY you should do certain things to make your business grow WHAT you need to know to make a success of your business WHEN is the best time to do it……NOW !! WHO’S going to do it….ME!!

I’m always on the lookout for couples who want to step outside of the ‘normal’ box . I want venues to realise the worth of a Celebrant and I want to know how best to promote myself in this expanding industry… I want to be a cut above the rest and being a member of the BWN helps me to achieve all of the above. I’m up for any challenge, and the one I’ve set for this year? …Well, that’s to find a couple as mad as me who really, really want a Harry Potter themed ceremony… I have the wand, the cape and even some props…..I just need the couple now.

The BWN is a brand of excellence as far as I am concerned, and being a member shows to the outside world that I am wanting to expand my horizons, mix with some awesome women and LEARN.

Wow! Thanks Michelle, we are so pleased to hear of the benefits you get from our events and we hope you get your dream wedding!

  • January 25, 2016