The Busy Women Networking Blog 

Member Spotlight: Caroline Richards 

 
Name: Caroline Richards 
 
Company: The Joy Practitioner 
 
Phone: 01908 082411 
 
 
 
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
After the end of my marriage, and twelve years as a full-time mum of four, I found myself struggling to find work that would fit around my children. I decided that the only way I could do it would be to start my own business, and The Joy Practitioner was born. I created business cards, decided on my niche, and how I could help people, and went to my first networking event; an expo in Milton Keynes. Several of the stallholders talked enthusiastically about a network called ‘Busy Women’ and I thought this sounded right up my street. Chrissie Wingrave introduced me to Aruna and I went to my first meeting as a visitor in November 2017. Since then, I have been a member of Whittlebury group, also visiting Chicheley, and I’m very much looking forward to attending the new St Albans group, in my old stomping ground. BWN and all the wonderful women members have been a huge support to me, both personally and professionally. I joined for business support, and also for powerful female connection, to counteract the time spent alone as a solo business owner. 
 
What does your business do? 
As a spiritual wellness coach for mothers, my aim is to make the world a better place, one mother at a time, through education, personal growth and community. I offer one to one coaching sessions in three or six session packages, and there is an online programme to help mothers tap into their calm, their joy, and their power. We can change almost every other aspect of our lives if we are feeling unhappy with it, but motherhood is a role we undertake for life and so the journey of change and growth has to come from within. So many mothers, at any stage of the journey, are feeling lost, confused, unappreciated and overwhelmed, and I love to help them to let go of unhelpful feelings like guilt, to find themselves again, and to feel calm and joyful again. 
 
Over the summer, despite school holidays, I managed to produce a meditation album, ‘Awakening Meditations for Goddesses’, give a talk at the Family Festival of Wellbeing in Shrewsbury, and start a new Facebook group called ‘Ten Million Mothers’, with the aim of connecting mothers across the globe for positive global development. Although we all have our moments, mothers are so filled with compassion, patience, kindness and caring, I love to think that if these qualities can be shared more wholly throughout our world, and the wisdom of mothers respected and heard, we only create a better world for future generations. 
 
What makes you or your business different? 
When women become mothers, the focus is removed from them and diverted towards their children. There are very few people focusing on how we can help mothers. I feel that if we focus on the wellbeing of mothers, the children’s wellbeing will take care of itself. My business is different because of the years of experience I bring to it: ten years as a professional working with families, fourteen years of full-on motherhood, and twenty-five years of meditation practice and yoga as a spiritual discipline. 
 
What makes you smile or laugh? 
My children, silly jokes (like being at Piccadilly Circus when it’s busy and saying ‘It’s like Piccadilly Circus!’), good friends (the Polyzodiacs, you know who you are). 
 
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business and looking back, what would you do differently? 
I don’t think I could say what the biggest challenge is because in business every single step has been about taking me outside of my comfort zone and doing really scary things. Someone once told me, ‘If you’re not on the edge of fear, your business is probably not developing’. Having said that, I don’t think I would do anything differently because every step of the way has been part of my learning, I have met some amazing people and had some incredible experiences that I wouldn’t have had if I’d been working at the checkout in Sainsburys. 
 
How did you feel about networking before you started and what benefits has it brought you? 
I knew networking worked because I had previously had my own cleaning company and about 80% of my business came from networking. What I’ve loved about networking this time around are the friends I have made and the connections and support for my business and home life, from graphic designers, web designers and coaches to virtual assistants, financial advisers and utilities suppliers. When I came out of my marriage I left my home and a whole life behind, and networking, particularly Busy Women, has been fundamental in helping me to rebuild my life, and the connections and support that we all need. 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
My children, obviously. And motherhood in general. Since the advent of feminism, whilst I appreciate the gains women have made, we have also lost any sense of the value of motherhood. Motherhood has pretty much been brushed under the carpet. In our culture it’s become an inconvenience for the workplace, rather than recognised as the sacred and fundamental role of raising the next generation, which it so evidently is. 

Be Social with Caroline 

Member Spotlight: Clare Fogarty 

 
Name: Clare Fogarty 
 
Company: Healing Umbrella 
 
Phone: 07588 850072 
 
 
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
I knew I had to do something to get my name out there and when a friend said about Aruna and how lovely the group was, I gave it a go. I joined the Milton Keynes group in January 2017. 
 
What does your business do? 
My business is called Healing Umbrella. It’s all about healing people and animals and helping people to heal themselves with the tools I can offer. I give reiki treatments and teach it too. I sell magnetic jewellery and I’m a Forever Living distributor as well. 
 
What makes you or your business different? 
My business is different from others because I really do have personal experience of the healing process from working on myself. I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis when I was 21 and arthritis two years ago, which was caused by the tablets and steroids I’ve been on to manage my colitis. Soon after that, I was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia, so I hit rock bottom with my health. 
 
Nowadays, I wear magnetic jewellery, which really helps with the fatigue and pain. I also give myself reiki most nights, which helps me on a much deeper level, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I’ve been drinking the Forever Living aloe juice for 20 years too, which helps settle my stomach. 
 
I’ve been in remission with colitis for 10 months now and therefore haven’t had to use steroids. I’ve also been able to stop taking the heavy-duty drug they gave me for fibromyalgia, and this is all thanks to the way I’ve been able to heal myself. This is why I’m so very passionate in what I do, because it’s helped me have a better quality of life, and it can help others too. 
 
What makes you smile or laugh? 
My family and beloved dogs make me smile! All my children have grown up and moved to different parts of the country, so I like nothing better than the family getting together and watching them all laugh and catching up. 
 
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business and looking back, what would you do differently? 
One of my biggest challenges in business was just talking about my illness. I have kept my colitis quiet for years as I was always embarrassed about it; toilets are a bit of a taboo subject! I also feel there are people far worse off than I am and I feel that I shouldn’t go on about my own problems. However, I’ve realised that if people know my personal health journey, they really do listen about the service and products I have to offer. 
 
How did you feel about networking before you started and what benefits has it brought you? 
Walking into a room with a bunch of strangers was so nerve-racking, and the thought of speaking about my services for a minute in front of everyone horrified me. Thankfully, Aruna and the ladies in the Milton Keynes group were all so amazing, welcoming and really put me at ease. I can honestly say I now enjoy going to the BWN groups and meeting a lovely bunch of like-minded ladies running their own businesses. 
 
I’ve learnt so much from networking and met some lovely friends along the way. I would always recommend Aruna’s groups, especially if you’re a bit like me! I still struggle with the minute pitch but working on it! 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
I am most passionate about getting people to understand the benefits of a reiki and how it can really change your life. It helps you focus, clear out past hurts and change your thinking on all levels, and obviously helps with pain and trauma too. It’s so rewarding when a client comes into my treatment room in a very emotional state and goes away like a different person. I feel I have really helped their wellbeing. I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but there’s nothing better than helping others live better lives. 

Be Social with Clare 

Member Spotlight: Nicola Case 

 
Name: Nicola Case 
 
Company: Pink Spaghetti 
 
Phone: 0333 355 0283 
 
 
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
I was launching my business and knew I needed to start networking. I asked a friend who I knew was fab and highly experienced at networking and she recommended I contact Aruna. I went to two different groups for BWN and both were so welcoming and supportive of each other that I wanted to be part of that. I joined in October 2017. 
 
What does your business do? 
Small business is a juggling act, there is so much that needs doing and this often falls on the shoulders of the business owner. From spreadsheets to research, social media management to event support , Pink Spaghetti can take on the tasks that people do not have the time, skills or inclination to do. 
 
What makes you or your business different? 
My background is as a sales and marketing manager, running a busy department, so I know how important it is to outsource but also what a challenge that can be, so I fully understand the pain points of small businesses. The beauty of Pink Spaghetti is that it is a franchise, this means that as well as everything I can offer clients, I have the back up of over 40 other franchisees with a diverse background so clients can cover their needs through a single resource. 
 
What makes you smile or laugh? 
Honestly I would have to say most things, spending time with my family and friends has to top the bill but that first cuppa of the day always raises a smile. Unless you put a camera on me, then the smile turns into some sort of random grimace. 
 
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business and looking back, what would you do differently? 
I started my business in September 2017 and things were growing steady with a great mix of regular clients and some ad hoc work. Then in April I lost my biggest client as their business changed and they no longer needed me. This equated to over half of my monthly income. I had an elephant sized space to fill and so I made the decision to recruit a new person so I could continue to service my existing clients while giving me more time to attract new clients through networking. I don’t think I would do anything differently, with any business you get a mix of large and smaller clients and sometimes it hurts when you lose them but you adjust your business plan and grow the pipeline. 
 
How did you feel about networking before you started and what benefits has it brought you? 
I used to network years ago but my industry was IT security and very male dominated. Honestly it was not an experience I really enjoyed back then as it was a packed room and very salesy – everyone was in it to push their business on you. I am thrilled that this has changed a lot! Networking now is more about building a collaborative network of services and skills. I have not only gained business through networking but I have also been able to put clients in touch with other businesses and as a result my value to my clients has gone up – with a simple connection, I have saved them time and money as they no longer need to research these services. 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
Enjoying life and making time for the little things, life so often throws stuff at you and you do not realise how special those little moments are until it’s too late. This is one of the reasons I started my Pink Spaghetti business, it gives me the opportunity to work the hours I want but it also means that I can take on tasks for other busy professionals allowing them more time to enjoy the things that matter to them. 

Be Social with Nicola 

Member Spotlight: Trudie Avery 

 
Name: Trudie Avery 
 
Company: Avery Creative 
 
Phone: 07903 716790  
 
 
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
I’m in my second year of membership now of BWN Kettering, and also in my second year of running Avery Creative. When I started up, I had no clients but I had bucket loads of passion and I really felt that passion mirrored back at me when I walked into the room at Kettering Park Hotel the afternoon of my first meeting! From the start, I’ve loved being part of BWN, the meetings are fun and the friendship and support in the room are palpable in their abundance! 
 
What does your business do? 
I’m a graphic and web designer, creating amazing brands for companies that really want to pull themselves out of the quagmire of ordinary and get themselves into excelling. I make my clients appeal to their target market, blow their competition out of the water and also give them a sense of pride about who they are and what they represent. In short, I make them look amazing! 
 
What makes you or your business different? 
The personal touch, the knowledge, the magic. The one thing that my clients say to me time and time again is “you took what I was thinking and you made it look amazing.” My special gift is that I listen, I understand, I probe and I prod, then I create. The design is never about me; it’s only ever about the client, and I get people because I have great empathy and feeling - and 20 years' experience! 
 
What makes you smile or laugh? 
Loads of things! If you’ve ever met me you’ll know that I’m probably the happiest person on the planet! I’m totally grateful that I have an amazing job, an amazing family and just generally an amazing life! Oh, and poo jokes kill me! 
 
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business and looking back, what would you do differently? 
I started Avery Creative when I left the company that I’d spent 11 years previously building. I learned an awful lot from that experience, but the biggest thing I learned was that I should follow my own path… My passion, my beliefs, my way. 
 
How did you feel about networking before you started and what benefits has it brought you? 
Networking has always been the 2nd best way to market what I do (after word of mouth). There’s no substitute for meeting people face to face and building relationships. In previous companies, I’ve met my biggest clients through networking. Let’s hope that in this instance, history repeats itself! 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
Gosh! Loads of things! People, design, netball, learning, empowering women, Prosecco… As I said earlier, I love what I do and I’m absolutely blessed to be surrounded by so many fabulous people. Thank you to Busy Women for being there for me. I’m gutted that I won’t make the summer party as I will be on holiday but I hope you all have a great day! 

Be Social with Trudie 

Member Spotlight: Samantha Cameron 

 
Name: Samantha Cameron 
 
Company: 2Motiv8 More 
 
Phone: 07919 263 868 
 
 
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
I joined in January of this year after subbing for another member for a few months. I then decided to join BWN as I liked the idea of support from the other members, especially with having a new business venture. 
 
What does your business do? 
2motiv8 More offers social media management, from consulting and training on all areas of social media, to full social media management, where I can look after all your social media platforms. I also have a social media scheduling tool that allows you to post your social media content ahead of time at a date and time to suit you. The tool has over 25,000 images, templates and motivational quotes to help you cover your social media content for a year, if not more. 
 
What makes you or your business different? 
I’m a great believer in helping others and it's my mission to help as many business owners as I can to improve their social media so that they, in turn, can grow their businesses via these platforms. I also believe that each person and their social media needs are different, which means all of my social media services are tailor-made to suit each persons needs and budget. 
 
What makes you smile or laugh? 
From a business point of view, it's training others on how to use their social media and then seeing them implement what they've learnt. From a personal point of view, it's spending time with Rich and the children. My happy place is when we're away in our caravan. 
 
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business and looking back, what would you do differently? 
My business is still very new and I dare say as its grows, I'll encounter more challenges. I've been overwhelmed with how much I've achieved in such a short space of time, but if there is one thing I have learnt is there’s nothing wrong with saying "no" to others. 
 
How did you feel about networking before you started and what benefits has it brought you? 
I think everyone should be networking, whether it's in a same gender group, mixed groups, morning, lunch, evening, pay as you go or membership-led group. If you don't network, how can you build a network to help and support you grow your business? My business has grown with a mixture of networking and using social media, as the work I get is all referral work from both of these methods. 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
My family and my business. It’s easy to be passionate about something when you love what you do and have a great work/life balance. And not forgetting the caravan; I’m always on countdown for the next time we go away and I love the flexibility it gives me to spend quality time with the family, but also continue to work when I need to. 

Be Social with Samantha 

Member Spotlight: Julia Virdee 

 
Name: Julia Virdee 
 
Company: JuliaVDesign 
 
Phone: 07941340177 
 
 
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
I joined BWN in March 2017, so just over a year ago. I had done quite a bit of informal, drop-in networking, but wanted something where I could form some real relationships. 
 
What does your business do? 
JuliaVDesign is a graphic design business that works on all areas of graphic design, both digital and printed media, with distinct specialisms being brand development and printed media design. I work with everyone from brand new start-ups to long established businesses, and on anything from logos and stationary, to website graphics, and corporate brochures and catalogues. 
 
What makes you or your business different? 
Three things: 
(1) Me. My experience, background and how I got to where I am. 
(2) My broad portfolio: of course, this includes working with SMEs and micro businesses, but it also includes design work for big household brands. 
(3) My clients are fully involved in every step of the process, so that they feel the final design truly represents them or the message they are aiming to convey. 
 
What makes you smile or laugh? 
My family always make me smile. I have an eclectic collection of relatives who keep me very entertained. 
 
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business and looking back, what would you do differently? 
I think my biggest challenge has been switching off, especially when I started the business. I didn’t feel I could outsource anything, so aside from doing the work I had, and meeting new clients, I was spending hours doing the back office stuff. I'd like to say that if I could go back and do things differently, I’d have told myself to slow down, be more focused, and stop looking at emails at 10pm, but I’m a stubborn person, so I probably wouldn’t have listened. 
 
How did you feel about networking before you started and what benefits has it brought you? 
I was terrified of networking when I first started. I am, like most graphic designers, an introvert and preferred to hide behind my computer screen. So, going out and talking to people in person took a lot of courage. However since I've got used to it, I love it. Apart from the obvious benefits of business contacts, I have found so many supportive individuals who are a pleasure to spend time with, and who grow into real friends. 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
I have 3 passions: 
(1) My family. They are my first line support network. 
(2) My business. The work/life balance I have now is amazing and going back into the 9-5 (more like 8-6) of the ‘normal’ world would be really tough. 
(3) Caterham cars. Since I was little, I’ve always dreamt of owning one, and I’m on the way to making that a reality. 

Be Social with Julia 

Member Spotlight: Lesley Vanbeck 

 
Name: Lesley Vanbeck 
 
Company: After Premise Ltd 
 
Phone: 07468 565469 
 
 
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
 
I joined BWN just over a year ago having been invited along as a visitor by a friend. Having been a member of other networking groups I thought I knew what to expect but this was the most fun I had ever had networking. The members were passing business to each other and were clearly supportive of each other’s businesses. I signed up the same day. 
 
What does your business do? 
 
After Premise Ltd is a small software company which has two main product lines. The first is our BigBizIT website product. We develop low cost websites for small businesses and startup companies at a price they can afford. We work with the client to ensure that the website reflects them and their company. Where appropriate, we work with partners to provide specialist services such as design services and SEO experts to maximise the clients return on the investment in their website. 
 
The second part of the business develops bespoke software for small companies allowing them to automate manual process, thereby removing cost and complexity from their businesses. 
 
What makes you or your business different? 
 
We started our business with an aim to provide software solutions to small companies which, normally, only large companies an afford. We use leading edge technology to keep costs low and we are able to pass those savings on to our clients. We are passionate about providing the right solution for the client and trying to make our solutions as straightforward to use as possible. 
 
What makes you smile or laugh? 
 
My family, my beautiful dog, Oscar, and BWN meetings. 
 
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your business and looking back, what would you do differently? 
 
As a technology company the biggest challenge can be translating the technology out of ‘geek speak’ for clients so they can appreciate the opportunity the software provides to their business in terms that they can relate to. People can be frightened of technology, so we try to be as approachable as possible and get to know enough about their business to be able to provide the most appropriate solution for them. It is also important to make any solution flexible so that it can grow and adapt as the client’s business grows and matures. 
 
How did you feel about networking before you started and what benefits has it brought you? 
 
When I first started networking I was unconvinced that it would be useful for our business. However, I was very mistaken. I have met many fantastic business owners who are passionate about what they do and are open to working with each other for each other’s benefit. Many of our business partnerships have been developed with BWN members. 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
 
I am passionate about supporting small businesses in finding the right technology at the right price that supports their plans and aspirations. 

Be Social with Lesley 

Member Spotlight: Sorrel Pindar 

 
Name: Sorrel Pindar 
 
Company: Oxalis Osteopathy and Health Coaching 
 
Phone: 01234 409538 
 
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
I joined BWN in December 2016, so I have been a member for just over a year. 
 
What does your business do? 
I actually have two businesses. I run a clinic where there are a number of practitioners: a psychotherapist, a nutritional therapist, a reflexologist and Samantha Sutherland, who many of you will know, who is a health kinesiologist. My other business is me! I am an osteopath and health coach. 
 
What makes you or your business different? 
The fact that I combine osteopathy and coaching is what makes me unique. Many of my patients present with complex problems rooted in lifestyle issues, and I need my coaching skills to enable patients and clients to make the changes in their lives which will have a positive impact on their health. I see a lot of people with chronic pain, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, and for these patients it is essential to calm down their stress response (fight/flight response), and this means that they need to change things in their lives. 
 
I am an NLP Master Practitioner, which means I have the skills to work with a client’s unconscious mind. It is much easier to achieve change when the unconscious mind is on board, and the client can go beyond knowing they need to change to actually desiring change at a very deep level. 
 
NLP stands for neuro-linguistic programming, but I think it should be neuro-linguistic deprogramming, because that’s what it’s all about – getting rid of limiting beliefs and realising that you already have all the resources you need – you just need to unearth them. 
 
What makes you smile or laugh? 
All sorts of things! My daughter, my Dad, Michael McIntyre, sparrows in my garden. 
 
What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your business, and looking back, what would you do differently? 
Two years ago I would have said my husband (soon to be ex-husband); but now I can see it is myself – we all see the world through the lens of our own thoughts. It’s so easy to blame things on something or someone else, but I am responsible for my actions. However I’m not sure I would have done anything differently – I could have moved out sooner, but I chose not to for various reasons and I think I made the right decision. If I had known then what I know now, in terms of what I have learned from the NLP and other coaching courses I have done, I might have found it easier. 
 
How did you feel about networking before you started and what benefits has it brought you? 
I was terrified. My first experience was with BNI and it wasn’t very encouraging. But I have done a lot of networking over the years (WiIBN, Beds New Business, Business Buzz, as well as BWN), and it has been overwhelmingly positive. I have met dozens of fantastic women and even a handful of interesting men. The women I have met have been amazingly supportive, they have given me fresh ideas and have been a constant source of affirmation. And of course some of them have to come to see me at the clinic, and it is always a privilege to work with people you meet networking! 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
Really? Honestly? Morris dancing. Well perhaps that’s a close second to my daughters. Or maybe it’s my work – it’s hard to say really! 

Be Social with Sorrel 

Member Spotlight: Ellie Ashton 

 
Name: Ellie Ashton 
 
Company: Forever Living Products 
 
Phone: 07702 490575 
 
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
I joined BWN as I was already a member of a number of other networking groups, but I was drawn to a ladies membership group because of the different dynamic it offered. I waited for a slot to become available in my field for some months, but it’s a very popular seat and no one appeared to be budging! I eventually approached Aruna to discuss the possibility of opening a new group as there are so many wonderful women in business local to me, and she agreed it was a great place to start a new group, so Ampthill was born! 
 
What does your business do? 
My business is twofold: it offers high end health and wellness products, and it also offers the opportunity to build secondary or replacement incomes around existing commitments, making it ideal for those with young children who perhaps can’t commit to full time working yet, or for people who, like me, want a better work life balance than I had in my previous role as a city lawyer. 
 
What makes you or your business different? 
My business is different in that I have worked it from all angles! I initially started to build my business around a very, very full on career, putting in an hour here and there on the train etc, and I was eventually able to use it as a vehicle to allow me to give up that pressure and to work my own hours. However, I soon realised I enjoy variety and I started to miss my law career (although not the ridiculous hours!) I am now settled into a really fortunate position of being able to work both my Forever business and my law career on a part time basis, which gives me the balance I had always craved. I think this gives me quite a unique perspective in terms of how I work with my team, because I will never apply pressure to my team to do more than they want to do, instead I work with them to find out what they want, and then walk with them, side by side, to help them achieve that. 
 
What makes you smile or laugh? 
Everything! I am lucky enough to find joy in most things I do, particularly when I am out walking my beautiful pup, Lily, and of course now that I work part time I am able to help my daughter and her husband in their business (which really I only do so I can have extra time with my beautiful grandson, Lukas!) 
 
What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your business, and looking back, what would you do differently? 
My biggest challenge has been ignoring the naysayers and being taken seriously as a networking marketer. I think a lot of people found it difficult to understand why I would want to give up a well paid, respected career to “flog soap” (as one friend put it!) but 4.5 years on I don’t regret a single moment of it. I never could have achieved the balance I have now if I had stayed in my old career, working myself into an early grave. Changes needed to be made, and Forever allowed me to make them, and gave me the confidence to go out and work for myself in other areas as well. What would I do differently? I’d have made the jump sooner and not allowed the negativity to cause me to doubt myself and my business model. 
 
How did you feel about networking before you started and what benefits has it brought you? 
I had never networked in a business capacity before, but I have always been a sociable “people person” so I wasn’t phased about it. I did find the spotlight sessions very difficult, in fact I actually cried during my first ten minute slot (that was embarrassing!) However, it has not only helped me in my business in that I now almost exclusively use networking contacts for everything I need in my business and my home (this year alone I’ve used graphic designers, printers, builders, plumbers, photographers, nutritionists, and numerous other professions) but it has brought the most wonderful people into my life. Working from home can be lonely, so networking gives the benefits of working as a team, even if you're self employed, or in my case, where the team I work work with are all over the world. It’s nice to have a local support network, and even better when you can brainstorm over a coffee, lunch or even a glass of wine! 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
I am most passionate about seeing everybody as an individual, with their own wishes, goals, needs and desires. I don’t pigeonhole the people I work with, but help them find who they are and what they want to achieve, and the thing that gives me most pleasure in that is watching people discover their own inner strength and greatness, which in many cases comes as a huge surprise to them (but never to me!) 

Be Social with Ellie 

Member Spotlight: Tia Henderson 

 
Name: Tia Henderson 
 
Company: Tia Hair and Makeup Artist 
 
Phone: 07495784689 
 
 
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
I joined BWN in January 2017 to meet like minded business women just like me! I have been a member for just under a year now. 
 
What does your business do? 
I am a specialist Hair and Makeup Artist and I make women feel and look amazing! 
 
What makes you or your business different? 
It’s all about enhancing, not covering. I make women just like you feel and look the best version of themselves by letting your personality shine through! 
 
What makes you smile or laugh? 
The thing that makes me smile the most is spending time with my niece and nephews! They really can light up a dull day! 
 
What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your business, and looking back, what would you do differently? 
I would say the biggest challenge I’ve faced in my business is not believing in myself. To overcome this, I have worked so much on me and my mindset and this has helped me get through those tough moments we all have! If I could go back I would just tell myself to stop, take a moment and think! 
 
How did you feel about networking before you started and what benefits has it brought you? 
I was always worried about networking as it seemed daunting meeting a group of women who were so successful in so many ways, but being apart of BWN has made me so much stronger with all the support that all the BWN ladies can offer! 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
The thing I’m most passionate about is helping other women overcome self hate. Whether this is through the services I offer or just helpful advice, I know how it can feel to not love yourself but with all the hard work I have put in to help me overcome this, I know I can help any woman I meet reignite their love for themselves! 

Be Social with Tia 

Member Spotlight: Caroline Strawson 

 
 
Name: Caroline Strawson 
 
Company: Active Life Rewards 
 
Phone: 07904 557657 
 
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
I joined BWN in December 2014 and had never been networking before. I wanted to build my confidence and gain new business and that is exactly what it has done. 
 
What does your business do? 
My business is all about protection, so life insurance, critical illness, income protection and private medical insurance. 
 
What makes you or your business different? 
My business is very different from the traditional broker selling insurance because I have a passion for helping people get peace of mind through protecting themselves and their loved ones. Another differentiator is that you get rewarded for living a healthy lifestyle, with perks like free cinema tickets every week, free Starbucks every week and 40-50% off your gym membership. We also have extra rewards purely for Active Life Rewards customers, such as 15% off Whittlebury Spa, a discount for York Tests, which is Europe's leading food intolerance testing company, a free Fitbit or £100 towards any activity tracker per policy. I genuinely want to help individuals and families get healthy, so all policy holders' children also receive a free unbranded activity tracker so the whole family can actively engage in living a healthier lifestyle. All of this is also on our exclusive online group on Facebook with monthly competitions, motivation and ensuring all our customers make the most of their rewards with their policy. This is not just at the point of sale, but an ongoing relationship with our customers throughout their policy, so they get the peace of mind knowing they are protected and get lots of monthly savings so the cost of the policy ends up paying for itself. 
 
What makes you smile or laugh? 
I love spending time with my family, especially my two children, Will and Maddie, and they always make me smile and laugh as we have such a close bond. 
 
What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your business, and looking back, what would you do differently? 
The biggest challenge I have faced is my own mindset and belief that I am good enough and can have a successful business! Looking back, I would have got myself a business coach far sooner, who incidentally, I met at a BWN meeting! 
 
How did you feel about networking before you started and what benefits has it brought you? 
I was very nervous and scared about networking before I started as I thought everyone was successful, confident and knew what they were doing, unlike me at the time! However, I soon realised after getting to know the women at these groups, that we all face the same insecurities and challenges, which is why BWN is an amazing place to nurture and grow your friendships and confidence in a safe environment. 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
I am most passionate about helping people and empowering everyone to live the happiest and healthiest life they can. I want to help others have the belief in themselves that they are good enough, because for a very long time, I was none of these. It is definitely through BWN and the friendships I have made that has given me the courage and confidence to now have the business I do. 

Be Social with Caroline 

Member Spotlight: Debbie Tear 

 
Name: Debbie Tear 
 
Company: Dialect Telecom 
 
Phone: 07912 088069 
 
 
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
I’ve been a member of Busy Women for quite a few years now. It was an excellent opportunity to meet like-minded ladies who are all focused on helping each other. I think women do networking so well; its second nature for us to help others. 
 
What does your business do? 
We help businesses stay connected! Whether that’s installing new lines and faster broadband in new premises, providing a landline telephone number to give sole traders a bigger market presence or providing a VoIP phone system that gives businesses greater flexibility for an ever changing business day. It’s estimated that our internet usage will double year on year and with the pressures that we have in business, everyone wants faster broadband these days but they also need it to be reliable. We can help with that. 
 
What makes you or your business different? 
We keep our promises and we do what we say we’ll do. For us, the main thing is to help and make a difference. We see so many people being promised a new phone system that doesn’t work or they haven’t been shown how to use it or they are paying way over the odds for what they're getting. We offer good, honest telecoms at a price that’s right. 
 
What makes you smile or laugh? 
I love it when our customers tell us that we’ve really made a difference to their businesses by having the VoIP phones or faster broadband. It makes me happy to know we’ve had a part in their success. At home, my girls make me laugh! 
 
What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your business, and looking back, what would you do differently? 
When you run your own business, there are always challenges that present themselves. I think the secret is to tackle them head on and learn from the situation. Every business should evolve and needs to keep up with the times, especially in the telecoms industry, even if that means going out of your comfort zone every now and then! 
 
How did you feel about networking before you started and what benefits has it brought you? 
I had heard good things about networking so I looked forward to going and haven’t been disappointed. For us, alongside customer referrals, it’s where we get most of our business from. It’s always interesting getting to know people and hearing where they get their inspiration from. 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
I’m most passionate about helping people and spreading the word. As a busy business owner, wife and mum, I realise how important quality time is. Our VoIP phone system manages calls to give business owners their quality time back, so that their customers know when they’re available, or more importantly when they’re not available. Give us a call - we're here to help! 

Be Social with Debbie 

Member Spotlight: Ann Little 

 
Name: Ann Little 
 
Company: Pink Spaghetti Luton, Bedford and Surrounds 
 
Phone: 07818 032172  
 
 
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
I've been a member of the Ampthill group since it started in October last year. I joined BWN because I love the format, with the 10 minute 121 each month, and the support of Aruna and all the ladies, whichever group you go to. This is something I haven't found at another ladies networking group. 
 
What does your business do? 
Pink Spaghetti offers PA services. The scope of the services is huge, but the end results is that our clients can reclaim their time and do the things that really matter, growing their business, rather than the things they feel they need to do, like diary, CRM and social media management. 
 
What makes you or your business different? 
We get to know and understand a client's business, and act as though we are their employee. Friendly, approachable and efficient, we get jobs done! 
 
What makes you smile or laugh? 
My son, cat and dog probably top that list! 
 
What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your business, and looking back, what would you do differently? 
I faced several, specific challenges in my first year of business, and the challenge was keeping mentally positive in the face of them. I learnt from that, and looking back I would have put things behind me sooner; moved on quicker. 
 
How did you feel about networking before you started and what benefits has it brought you? 
I know that networking is crucial for my business, but that didn't stop me being nervous when I first started networking. The majority of my business is through networking and referrals, so without networking I wouldn't have built my business to what it is today. Aside from the business aspect, I have been lucky enough to meet some great people, make business collaborations and friendships. 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
Making a difference to people's lives. 

Be Social with Ann 

Member Spotlight: Emma Hayes 

 
Name: Emma Hayes 
 
Company: Whittlebury Hall Hotel and Spa 
 
Phone: 01327 850473 
 
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
Whittlebury Hall Hotel and Spa joined BWN approximately 3 years ago now, and I personally joined when the Whittlebury group was launched in 2015, so I've been a member for over 2 years now. I have visited a large number of other BWN groups during this time, and attended additional events that are open to us through this networking group, including the summer party and Christmas party. 
 
What does your business do? 
Located in Towcester, Northampton, Whittlebury Hall Hotel and Spa is the leading hotel, conference and event venue in the Midlands. My role within this outstanding venue is Head of Event Sales, where I am dedicated to developing new and maintaining exciting client relationships and support this in achieving their event goals. 
 
What makes you or your business different? 
We are AIM Gold Accredited – the only AIM Gold venue in the Midlands. Gold is the highest accreditation that a venue can achieve, which is governed by the leading meeting and event association, MIA. The process to get this is very in-depth (the most I have ever had to go through) and is reviewed every 3 years. You're probably wondering what this means to an event booker. It means we are governed to conduct business in certain ways, meaning you are guaranteed the best possible service in the industry – and if you, as the consumer, is not happy with how we do this and how we deal with the complaint, you can raise this with the association directly. As with everything we do, customer service is at the forefront of what we deliver and it is for this reason that we have introduced our customer service promise to event bookers. 
 
What clientele are you trying to appeal to? 
Due to the variety of meeting and event spaces we have available, our clientele can be anyone who is looking to hold an event. It can be a individual looking for a birthday celebration, hen celebration, engagement party or a wedding, to a corporate company who host conferences, meetings, corporate golf events, team building events and Christmas parties. This being said, we have a number of syndicate rooms if someone is looking for a professional environment to hold clients meetings for a few hours too. The list is endless – I hate to say it but we really are a one stop shop at Whittlebury. There isn’t anything we can’t do… 
 
What makes you smile or laugh? 
Everything makes me smile. I am renowned in work and at home to always have a smile on my face, which I pride myself on. However cliché it may sound, I like helping people - there really is no feeling like it. Whether it be helping my colleagues to better themselves, helping a client finalise a venue for their event (even it this isn’t Whittlebury!) or helping my step son at home with his homework. Just being able to help others is incredibly important to me. 
 
What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your business, and looking back, what would you do differently? 
Within a company of our size, we have a huge support network around us so it's very rare we face challenges due to the nature of our business and experience of our team. That being said, I am about to embrace one of my biggest challenges yet in my role of Head of Event Sales focusing on specific markets that I haven’t worked in for some time, so watch this space! 
 
How did you feel about networking before you started and what benefits has it brought you? 
I have been fortunate enough to network since I was in my early 20s. At the time I was absolutely petrified, however on entering the room everyone was so friendly and welcoming that I never looked back. Networking is something I have taken to every role I've been in since I started. It has developed me as in individual immensely. Improving my communication skills, my sales techniques and not forgetting my confidence. Of course, it has benefited all businesses that I have worked for as well. What we all need to remember about networking is, it takes time! You need to develop and maintain relationships, support for fellow networkers and really understand what they do before you can help. Having that support unit around you through networking is second to none! 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
People, whether they're my colleagues, clients or associated industry peers. 
My development. For those who know me, I am my worst critic and always striving to be the better me, planning ahead knowing where I want to go. 
My family. 

Be Social with Emma & Whittlebury Hall 

Member Spotlight: Chrissie Wingrave 

 
Name: Chrissie Wingrave 
 
Company: Utility Warehouse 
 
Phone: 07986073017 
 
 
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
I first joined BWN 2 years ago at the Bedford group. 
 
What does your business do? 
Utility Warehouse helps families and businesses reduce their household expenditure or costs through our unique award winning discount club. We provide all your utilities on a single bill with the addition of our unique cashback card, where the shopping you do anyway gives you extra discounts every month. 
 
What makes you or your business different? 
I think what makes me different is that I genuinely like helping people. Be they potential customers, or already signed up with the club. I am very willing to spend time ironing out any wrinkles and show how brilliant the discount club is, alongside giving time to individuals to maximise the UW potential, even if they aren’t my original customers. 
 
What clientele are you trying to appeal to? 
People who love to shop! These guys can make huge savings with the club. Equally small businesses that need an experienced eye to see if they can make additional savings. 
 
What makes you smile or laugh? 
People say I’m a naturally smiley person. I do laugh at situational moments in a Laurel and Hardy kind of way, I also laugh at our two dogs who make me smile with their shenanigans most days! I think dogs naturally celebrate every moment of the day. 
 
What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your business, and looking back, what would you do differently? 
When I’m helping people make the switch and the other provider makes unfounded allegations. I’ve learnt to say "we are recording this call." I have a strong ethical belief which is reflected in the standards UW does its best to achieve. It's part of the reason why I am so passionate about the brand. 
 
How did you feel about networking before you started and what benefits has it brought you? 
I found network marketing terrifying when I first started. Aruna's Busy Women Networking in Bedford was the first group I joined. Without their kindness and help to a networking newbie I genuinely believe I wouldn’t have been able to give up my daytime job to enable more time to do this wonderful business. I officially “retired” from my JOB on 2nd May 2017! 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
I’m most passionate about my family, health, food and UW of course! 

Be Social with Chrissie 

Member Spotlight: Heide Swift 

 
Name: Heide Swift 
 
Company: Swift Mortgages 
 
Phone: 07903 302895 
 
 
 
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
I joined BWN in January 2017 after attending a couple of the Ampthill groups as a guest, including the launch meeting last September. I have done some networking in other groups but in my view, BWN’s differentiator is that you have a one to one with another member during the meeting. At other groups, once you’ve sat down you don’t tend to get much quality time with a single individual and although everyone’s intentions are good, it’s often hard to find the time to follow up with people afterwards. Before you know it, the next month’s meeting is only a couple of days away! 
 
What does your business do? 
Part of my job is to help people secure finance for property. Whether that be a new mortgage for a property purchase or a re-mortgage. There are many reasons why people re-mortgage – the obvious one is to improve your rate of interest to bring down your monthly repayments. A report published in March 2017 indicated that more than 1.1 million households in the UK could improve their interest rate which would save them, on average, £2,500 per year. 
 
Another side to my work, however, is the creation of a safety net to protect everything that’s important to an individual. This might be their home, their income, their life, their health, their family or even their business – all of which could be adversely affected by an unexpected event at the drop of a hat. The security of knowing your future is financially protected against life’s curve balls is quite empowering. 
 
What makes you or your business different? 
Well, me! I like to think people buy people and I do like people! My clients are not with me just until their mortgage is submitted or even just until it completes – I’ll keep you informed during the whole process and answer any questions or help in any way I can. The conveyancing process can be quite complicated and people often ask for help in that area, even if they’re not first time buyers. I’ll go back to clients and review their circumstances at the appropriate times so I have a long-term relationship with them. It’s not just about a quick sale and move on. 
 
What clientele are you trying to appeal to? 
The spectrum of services I provide is quite wide, so I can help anyone no matter their age or requirements. But realistically, people who want to re-mortgage. Whether it is their residential home or investment property with a buy to let mortgage, I can help search the market and find them the most appropriate product available. People re-mortgage for various reasons but with money so cheap at the moment, it’s the ideal time to raise additional funds to pay off debt such as credit cards or loans, or even to make home improvements. Why keep paying massive interest rates on a credit or personal loan when you could raise the funds through your mortgage? There are mortgage interest rates at well below 2% currently so it can be a great way of improving your monthly cashflow if you pay off debts. 
 
What makes you smile or laugh? 
My son often makes me laugh. He’s nearly 13 and developing quite a sense of humour. Life’s short and they grow up so quickly, so cherish the time you have with your children! 
 
What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your business, and looking back, what would you do differently? 
In truth, the most difficult thing early on was actually putting a value on me and my time. When I started up, I almost felt I needed to get new business at any cost. I have learned along the way that if people don’t make a (financial) commitment to you, they are quite happy to leave you high and dry along the process and you end up feeling resentful that you’ve done much work for no apparent gain. What I’d do differently is to think carefully before saying “yes” to everything. Sometimes you need to say “no” and that’s ok. 
 
How did you feel about networking before you started and what benefits has it brought you? 
I was quite nervous about networking, particularly in women only groups. All my previous jobs have been in male-dominated environments so I’ve not really had much experience of dealing with women in such large numbers! However, I’ve learned that women are keen to help each other so although you may not get immediate business benefits in terms of income, you do get support, an ear to listen and if necessary a shoulder to cry on if you need it! You don’t find that in mixed networking groups. 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
I’m passionate about people being financially secure. The older I get, the more I realise that people’s lives can be turned upside down at the drop of a hat. People probably think I “just do mortgages” but the protection side of things is vital (whether you have a mortgage or not!) to give you peace of mind to go about your daily life worrying about the unexpected happening. If you’re happy, I’m happy! 
 
Swift Mortgages: Lending you a Helping Hand 
 
Your home may be repossessed if you fail to keep up repayments on your mortgage or other loan secured on it. 

Be Social with Heide 

Member Spotlight: Nicky Marchant 

 
Name: Nicky Marchant 
 
Company: Fox Brand Image 
 
Phone: 07880 783058 
 
 
Nicky is one of our longest running BWNers, with a heart of gold and a zest for life that's hard to beat. You're bound to have seen her happily mingling away at one of our summer or Christmas events, but if you haven't been able to get to know her properly, here's your chance! 
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
I joined BWN when it was in Olney right at the very beginning and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Networking nowadays is an essential part of the business building strategy – you find out what people are doing, how they are doing it and get business. I have made lifelong connections at BWN and made lots of business. 
 
What does your business do? 
My business, Fox Brand Image, helps people to create a brand by understanding fully who they are and what they stand for in an entrepreneurial world where you as a brand is becoming paramount. People who make all their communications focused on their unique benefits to their customer in a genuine authentic UNIQUE way are the one’s winning business. 
 
What makes you / your business different? 
Like every single business woman reading this, we all have a different mix of elements to bring to our business. I haven’t come across anyone who has the combination of skills I have - corporate brand marketing, holistic health and personal coaching, over 7 years of networking combined with a good dollop of humour stirred in with a personal caring touch! I have heard many 40 seconds pitches, seen thousands of business cards, banners, websites and Facebook pages. I know how to make all of a person’s skills relevant and powerful, and distil it down into a collection of key words in a tidal wave of global entrepreneurial change. 
 
What clientele are you trying to appeal to? 
Anyone who has their own business, or is working for a corporate company, or who represents a company such as a network marketing company, because it is possible to create standout even when there are many doing the same thing. Again it’s about being genuine authentic and totally you. If we are not careful the world creates many to be vanilla - be your own flavour! 
 
What makes you smile/laugh? 
Life! I laugh every day because when we laugh we choose life to live and be happy. It’s essential to find humour in and around yourself to stay real, otherwise what’s the point? 
 
What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your business, and looking back, what would you do differently? 
There have been no challenges, just opportunities to grow and evolve. We live in one of the most exciting times right now. I wouldn’t change a thing. Every experience I have had has shaped who I am today. 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
Life! Whoever has taken the trouble to read this I appreciate you. I hope you connect with me on Facebook or LinkedIn and let’s start a conversation, because you are AMAZING! Have a great day! 
 
Be your brand – out and loud. 
 
A definition of a brand: 
Unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. Over time, this image becomes associated with a level of credibility, quality, and satisfaction in the consumer's mind. Thus brands help harried consumers in crowded and complex marketplace, by standing for certain benefits and value. 
 
"This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!" 

Be Social with Nicky 

Member Spotlight: Jane Sumner 

 
Name: Jane Sumner 
 
Company: Image Matters 
 
Phone: 07779 585323 
 
 
Chances are you've met the lovely Jane at one of our meetings, especially if you came to our Christmas 2015 networking event where she showcased her amazing talents with a fashion show. Whether you've been friends with Jane for years or haven't met her yet, her anwers to our questions will help you get to know her a bit better and understand what makes her tick.  
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
I joined BWN when the Salford group launched about three years ago, I think. My reason for joining was I was looking for a ladies networking group to promote my Captain Tortue business. I had been part of a mixed networking group and although the guys were great, they clearly weren’t going to be as interested as the women! 
 
What does your business do? 
My business has two strands. I manage a team of women building their own businesses, which we do by promoting a fantastic range of French clothing sold direct to the end consumer. It isn’t available to buy on the high street or on the internet so we bring the shop to the you! Whether you’re at home or work, in small groups or one to one sessions, we show you how to look good and feel confident. We like to encourage you to try styles and colours you may not have had the confidence to wear before too. 
 
What makes you / your business different? 
My team and my personal customers benefit from the 21 years’ extensive experience I’ve had in the image industry. I can offer help and advice around capsule wardrobe ideas, which styles and fabrics will work on different body shapes and how blending colours correctly gives a far more congruent wardrobe, which ultimately saves our customers time and money. 
 
What clientele are you trying to appeal to? 
Our range appeals to women who are time poor, often hate shopping on the high street, can’t find anything that fits properly and are looking for some fresh new ideas for their wardrobe. That’s not to say we don’t have lots of customers who love shopping too! We offer great hostess incentives for those who would like to host an event; a host and two others is all we’re looking for. You can get money off your own clothes and receive a great hostess gift as a thank you. If that’s not for you, we can offer personal one to one shops instead. 
 
From a business perspective, we are always looking for women who love the Captain Tortue clothing and would like a business with a wardrobe of clothes for 50% less than the retail price, and in some cases, free! We all start with a business in a bag for just £150, which provides 18 garments ready for you to show and wear immediately. We offer an ongoing training and support programme and will work with you to develop the business in the way that you want to. Our consultants all have different reasons for joining. For some, it’s the free clothes. For others, it’s the social aspect, and of course for others, it’s to make money too! 
 
What makes you smile/laugh? 
What makes me smile is seeing someone look in the mirror for the first time after I’ve styled them and hearing them say how good they feel. I also love hearing the comment, “I would never have chosen that”, whether they’re talking about the style, colour or combination of clothing. 
 
What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your business, and looking back, what would you do differently? 
The biggest challenge being self-employed for over 20 years is to learn to juggle family commitments effectively with the need to earn money in a way that works around the family. What would I do differently? I’d ask for help sooner rather than thinking I can do it all myself! I now have a very supportive network of business colleagues, many of which are now friends, who I can ask anything and not feel stupid! 
 
How did you feel about networking before you started and what benefits has it brought you? 
I have networked for many years, so it’s difficult to remember exactly how I felt before I started! I do know many people expect that the only reason the people in the room are there for is to “sell” their product or service. This isn’t the case at all! It takes time to earn peoples trust and respect, which doesn’t happen over a couple of visits. 
 
There have been many benefits to networking. Finding people to assist me in my own business from my accountant, IT consultant, social media expert and financial advisor, to name a few. I have found businesses that complement my business and we have run collaborative events that benefit both of us. I have many customers now in the networking group, but that took time and effort to achieve. I have also made some amazing and very supportive friends who really understands my challenges as they have similar ones themselves! 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
My passion is to help all the women who come to me look and feel their very best, so they have the confidence to be whatever they want to be. I want them to feel safe in the knowledge that however they feel on the inside, the outside is looking fantastic! In addition, with Captain Tortue, I can give women an opportunity to have their own business and become financially independent if that’s their goal. 

2016 – What a Year! 

2016 has been a truly amazing year for Busy Women Networking. We’ve loved every minute of our meetings and events throughout the year and feel so privileged and delighted that you’ve chosen to be part of our networking organisation. 
 
We saw record numbers at our summer and Christmas events, and our meetings have continued to go from strength to strength across Beds, Bucks and Northants, so much so that we opened a new group! Our first Ampthill meeting took place in September in response to an increased interest around the Beds and Bucks border. 
 
In order for our new Ampthill meeting to run, we needed a warm, friendly, passionate and determined lady to take charge of it, and who better than Ellie Ashton! We'd like to take this opportunity to publicly congratulate Ellie on all her hard work so far and welcome our new Ampthill members to BWN. 
 
Two large highlights for us this year were our summer and Christmas events. Over 60 business women attended our summer garden party, held in the lovely grounds of Chicheley Hall, where we ran speed networking sessions and a forum focusing on getting the most out of networking. 
 
Our Magical Christmas Networking event at Whittlebury Hall was attended by nearly 100 business ladies – a record breaking attendance for a Busy Women event! We were thrilled to see so many ladies joining in with our theme, wearing black and donning their masks. Networking was in full swing throughout both events and we couldn’t be more delighted to see everyone enjoying themselves. 
 
Whether you’re spending some quality time relaxing at home with friends and family, or visiting loved ones across the country this Christmastime, make sure you take some time to look back over 2016 and acknowledge your successes. It has truly been a fantastic year all round! 
 
We wish you all a wonderful, fun-filled Christmas full of laughter, joy and happiness! 
Member Spotlight: Julie Bean 
 
Name: Julie Bean 
 
Company: Double Trouble 
 
Phone: 07801 456812  
 
Email: julie@troublex2.com 
 
 
 
Many of our members will have met one half of the troublesome twosome, Julie Bean, but most of us probably haven't had enough time to sit down with Julie to find out more about her. Here's your chance. Get yourself a cup of tea, treat yourself to a biscuit, and find out more about one of Busy Women's much-loved members. 
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
I have been a member for over 5 years initially representing a company I was employed by and then as I started my own businesses. As a self employed person I joined as my experience of BWN had been a supportive, challenging but effective place in which to make business contacts and begin to develop my business. 
 
What does your business do? 
We are a business development company, using a number of services to help business to grow and develop. We work with sole traders right up to big blue chip companies, with services that range form individual, group and executive coaching, to running a full suite of training courses for individuals and businesses around communication, management, confidence and development, plus more. 
 
What makes you different? 
Gillian and I bring together 20+ years in the private sector for me and the same in the public sector for Gillian, that means we’ve covered most things in our working lives. Our coaching and training is centred around the individual not a hard and fixed process, and we look to encourage clients to find their own path with their thoughts and learning. We give people knowledge, but without the encouragement to find a way they can use this knowledge, it would all be worthless. But also we believe in having a lot of fun and laughter as we develop and grow with our clients. 
 
What clientele are you trying to appeal to? 
Wow, that’s a question! From a coaching point of view, we are looking to work with clients big or small who are looking to develop their businesses, for people who have either a sticking block that they want to move, or have reached a point where they want to move to the next point in the journey of their business. With training we are looking for clients who what to develop themselves, their business or their teams, they are normally companies of 10+ employees who have a desire to look at the people in their business and up-skill them to benefit the growth and efficiency of the business. 
 
What makes you smile or laugh? 
Friends and family. I can often take my job too seriously and spend a lot of time thinking, then over thinking, so time with friends and family not taking the world too seriously and just chatting makes me smile. Complicated intelligent comedy makes me laugh and as a hardened Saracens rugby supporter, a good game of rugby makes me smile. 
 
What's the biggest challenge you have faced in your business and looking back, what would you do differently? 
The biggest challenge has been to get a continued flow of regular work coming through levelling out the cashflow of the business. Looking back, I’d work more on my business and not in the business. I had pretty good plans in place (as you would hope from a business coach) but there have been times when I got too involved in the actual work, and lost the momentum of promotion, marketing and visibility of the business. This creates so much hard work as it's like starting from scratch over and over. By resolving this, our business has a really strong platform for stability and growth, as well as choice. 
 
How did you feel about networking before you started and what are the benefits it's brought you? 
I didn’t really understand networking before I started, my early experiences were poor, unprepared and frankly cringe worthy. But once you understand that networking is about relationship building and not instant selling, then your on to a good thing. Also you have to look beyond the room at the connections that the rooms holds outside of the networking. 
 
For me the benefits are huge. From a business viewpoint, BWN has provide me with £1000’s of business and I have been able to access suppliers that I can trust and rely upon. But BWN networking has also provide me with a whole new set of friends who provide me with support, not just in business, but during some difficult points in my personal life. 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
The easy answer is family. Having been married for 27 years with two grown up children (a dog, cat and lots of fish) they are why I do everything and they are at the front of my mind at all times. But, on a more business note, people are my passion and supporting them to realise their potential in business, though support, challenge, fun and building long standing relationships. 
 

Member Spotlight: Heather Kynnersley 

Name: Heather Kynnersley 
 
Company: The Digital Editor 
 
Phone: 07952 403044 
 
Email: info@the-digital-editor.co.uk 
 
Heather has been a member of Busy Women Networking for almost two years now, so chances are you will have bumped into her at one of our meetings, or one of our summer or Christmas events. If you want to know more about Heather and what makes her tick, get comfy and read on! 
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
I joined BWN when the Bedford group opened in early 2015. Knowing Aruna from another networking organisation, I was keen to find out more about her groups and how they worked because I’d never been to a meeting with only women before. Needless to say that almost two years later, I’m glad I joined! 
 
What does your business do? 
I help businesses get found online using search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques, managing social media strategies and writing for businesses. They all go hand in hand as you need well-written copy and a strong online presence to help your website get found these days. 
 
What makes you different? 
I like to think I’m approachable – I hope people agree! Many people shy away from what I do for numerous different reasons. Some think they don’t need an online presence, some just don’t know where to start, others have heard horror stories and many people are highly confused about the whole thing. I like to help people understand what I do in plain English, without using jargon, and I never, ever want people to feel like they can’t ask me “silly” questions! 
 
What clientele are you trying to appeal to? 
Micro to small businesses, although I do have a few medium sized businesses on my books too, which I enjoy working for. I generally prefer working for smaller businesses though as I like helping them to achieve success and compete with larger businesses. I tend to feel more like part of their team too, which really helps me understand their business and objectives. 
 
What makes you smile or laugh? 
As corny as it sounds, my other half makes me smile and laugh all the time, which I absolutely love. Aside from him, it has to be getting together with my friends and having a good catch up. 
 
What's the biggest challenge you have faced in your business and looking back, what would you do differently? 
This one’s easy; it’s definitely working on my business. Since day one I’ve struggled to find the time to focus on my business and do what I tell everyone else to do! Once again I have put plans in motion to rectify this, so fingers crossed for me please everyone! 
 
How did you feel about networking before you started and what are the benefits it's brought you? 
In all honesty, I really didn’t want to go networking initially. The idea of mingling with people I didn’t know, talking about things I probably didn’t understand and feeling self-conscious because I’d only just started my business all made me dread it. However, my view of networking completely changed when I found membership groups. I was reluctant to spend money on a membership initially as money was tight, but as soon as I did I realised the benefits. Making connections with like-minded business people who you see on a regular basis has made my business what it is today. Those connections and friendships have filled my diary with work and referrals and I couldn’t be more grateful! 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
Obviously I’m passionate about the people I have in my life, but other than that it has to be performing. I’ve been singing, dancing and acting since a very young age and there’s nothing quite like it for me. The rehearsals, the friendships you make, the teamwork to put on the best show possible, and of course the show itself and all the fun we have backstage. Performing will always be a huge part of my life. 
 

Member Spotlight: Stefanie Price 

Name: Stefanie Price 
 
Company: Stefanie Price Wealth Planning 
 
Phone: 07887 521459 
 
Email: Stefanie.Price@sjpp.co.uk 
 
If you've met Stefanie before, you'll know she's a friendly, caring and well-respected member of Busy Women Networking. For those of you who've not had the pleasure of meeting her yet, it's definitely time you did, albeit online if not in person. Grab a cuppa, get comfy and read on! 
 
Why did you join BWN and how long have you been a member for? 
I joined Busy Women just over 3 years ago when I first set up my business. I decided to join after visiting many different networking groups as I felt that Busy Women offered the best combination of business networking, friendship and support through other business women. The atmosphere of the meetings I initially visited was open, relaxed and very inviting. 
 
What does your business do? 
At Stefanie Price Wealth Planning we provide financial advice to both private individuals and businesses. The advice we give is built around having an in depth understanding of our clients’ needs and priorities, and we’re trusted to provide advice and future plans that fit each individual client’s unique circumstances. We're passionate about making financial planning as easy as possible for people to understand, address and make positive changes to improve their financial future. 
 
What makes your business different? 
We’re different because we believe that everybody should have access to good financial advice, and that it shouldn’t be something that’s only available to the wealthy. We also pride ourselves on educating clients about their financial situation and future plans, rather than just advising them on what they should do. This is an important part of our relationship and ensures our clients are as informed as they need to be. 
 
What clientele are you trying to appeal to? 
We are currently working on quite a few tax planning cases and find this incredibly rewarding to do. In particular, planning with individuals who have an inheritance tax liability and want to look at ways to protect their estate from a 40% tax on their death, as well as business owners who want to look for the best and most efficient way to extract profit from their business’ tax. 
 
What makes you smile or laugh? 
My children. They are of an age that they are delightful and full of positive energy, from the minute they wake up to the minute they put their heads down in their pillows at night! 
 
What's the biggest challenge you have faced in your business and looking back, what would you do differently? 
The biggest challenge I've faced in my business was starting without a team of people to assist me. Albeit a small team, I now have a PA and a Paraplanner who work alongside me on all my client cases. This ensures that everything is done in a timely fashion for clients, without me having to get up at 4am to get things done! It also means that the ongoing service we can offer our clients remains at a high standard. If I were to do things differently, I would have started the business with these people in place rather than waiting until 18 months in! 
 
How did you feel about networking before you started and what are the benefits it's brought you? 
When I first started networking I was very nervous, as I'm sure the majority of people are. I was unsure what to expect and also a little unsure as to what was expected of me. The benefits are endless, and they go way beyond finding new clients, which is invariably what you are thinking about when you first start networking. I have a great network of professional women, some of whom have acted as mentors to me and my business, and many who I consider great friends. I have collaborated with networking colleagues to run joint events and have been able to grow both personally and in business through the support and advice they have given me. I have also gained many new business connections and clients over the years through Busy Women Networking. 
 
What are you most passionate about? 
I am most passionate about adding value to my clients’ futures and to my children and husband’s lives. It's always about taking that extra step to help the people that I care most about. 
 
Be Social with Stefanie 
 
 
 
 
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