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Getting together to build business

getting togetherAs some of you will already know, I run workshops and training to help business owners start writing their own blog.  Things don’t always go to plan but that’s OK.  Getting together with other business owners is generally a good thing in my book. I wanted to share a story (because that’s what I do) about how a workshop went a little bit wrong and still worked out brilliantly.

Making plans

Before the one that went wrong, I’d delivered two workshops that had gone pretty well.  They’d both been hosted by other people. One was a lovely lady called Clare Farthing that I’d met networking online.  She specialises in mentoring women and acting as an accountability partner to help them set goals and stretch themselves to get there.  (If you’d like to find out more about her Facebook group for women in business go here.)  The other workshop was arranged by one of my networking groups, who offer regular training to members.

Both workshops had been well received so I decided to strike out on my own.  I booked the room, set up an account on Eventbrite to start selling tickets and began sharing my event online.


Before I chose my date I contacted some of the people who’d expressed an interest to see what dates would suit them.  I sent messages out to let them know about the event and kept on sharing it on social media.  The early signs were good.  I got a booking almost straight away.  Then it all went quiet.

A week before the workshop date I still only had one booking.  I considered cancelling. I knew the lady who’d booked had done it to invest in herself and I didn’t want to let her down.  So I adapted.  I cancelled the room and we met in a local restaurant instead.

Getting together

You know what? I went from feeling a bit despondent at my one person to having a fantastic time.  I woke up on the morning of the workshop feeling excited.  My morning was going to be spent talking to someone that I enjoyed spending time with.

We talked about blogging and I saw lightbulbs go off in her eyes.  Best of all, I was able to tailor everything I was talking about to suit her.  I realised that I didn’t need to talk to a room full of people. It’s enough to inspire one person.

What now?

I’ve realised that you can turn things around when they go a bit wrong, but I still found myself hesitating about booking more workshops.  What was stopping me? I took my question to the place I take all of my business questions – my coaching group.  I already knew what had gone wrong the first time. Ultimately, I’ve realised that I want to take a different approach.  I still want to talk to people about blogging and teach them, but I’m not really into putting the big events out there.

All of this means that I’m changing my approach.  I’m still going to put workshop groups together, just in a different way (sign up to my mailing list using the form below if you’d like to know more about that).  Other than that I’m going to go out and talk to more people about blogging.  That could be a talk at a networking group meeting or a workshop for your team.

If you’d like to invite me along to speak to your group or deliver training to your team, send me an email at

To find out about my workshop groups, complete the form below to sign up for my mailing list.  I promise it’s a spam free zone!

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Why my workshops don’t critique your writing

workshops critique writingAre you a business owner or a writer?  It’s completely possible to be both, especially if you have a writing or marketing based business.  However for most people it’s one or the other.  If you went into business to make a product or offer a service that’s nothing to do with writing, the idea of a workshop that focuses on writing blogs could seem like a complete nightmare.  A room full of people picking your writing to bits? No thanks!  Of course, there are services and workshops that are designed to provide critiques.  They’re mostly for writers.  Here’s why my workshops don’t.

My workshops aren’t for writers

There are lots of workshops out there that are designed for writers.  They’re for people who want to write for a living or get published. Go along to one of those and there’s a general assumption that you’re already quite good at writing but you want to get better.

Mine aren’t like that.  I work with business owners who may never have written a blog or a piece of marketing content in their lives. My workshops are designed to get you writing something so you can improve it over time.  Progress over perfection.

Your writing is your own

Well *duh* (slaps own forehead for such stupidity).  Of course.  Everyone’s writing is their own.  Professional writers use lots of different copywriting techniques, but you’re probably not interested in them.  If you were, you’d be writing for a living already.  When you create your own blog it’s your voice and your audience that matters.  If you work with a professional writer we’ll get to know you and your business first then apply our own techniques to producing content for you.

The beauty of writing your own blog is that it lets your customers hear your voice.  It might need some tweaks to make it more effective but a group workshop probably isn’t the place for that.  Even if all the other people in the room are in the same industry as you, they won’t have exactly the same message or audience.  What you need to communicate is unique to you.

The follow up

My workshops are designed to let you create a plan for your first blog.  You leave with a framework then write your blog later.  That’s the time for feedback.  Everyone who comes to my workshops can send me their finished blog and I’ll provide some feedback then.

The main reason I do this is because everyone who comes to my workshops arrives with a blank page.  Workshops that are designed to critique writing will usually ask you to come along with something you’ve already written.  Either that or it’s a weekend retreat where you can create something new and get feedback on the following day.  I’m only asking for half a day out of your life so I’ll email you some notes afterwards instead.

Would you like to come to a workshop that gets you writing a business blog without picking your work to bits?  You can find out more about my upcoming workshops by completing the form below to sign up to my mailing list.

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What to expect at a blogging workshop

what to expect blogging workshopTrying something new can be a bit scary.  You hear all these people who say ‘what have you got to lose?’ and ‘you get more confident when you try scary things’.  (Actually, I do that last one.)  Asking what you’ve got to lose is a complete minefield.  We all get those questions running through our heads.  What if I make a fool of myself? What if I’m not clever enough? If you’re thinking about coming to one of my blogging workshops but have some of those pesky questions running through your head (or even some of your own), I’m here to help.  Here’s my guide to what to expect at a blogging workshop.

Say hello and have a cup of tea

This sounds obvious, but workshops work better if you know a bit about the people you’re with.  Plus my brain doesn’t function without tea.  At my favourite workshop venue* you can get amazing chocolate brownies too.

Obviously, if it’s an online workshop you’ll need to supply your own refreshments, but we’ll still make the introductions.

Think of some topics

The first stumbling block a lot of people hit when they start writing a blog is knowing what to write about. Everything’s boring, or obvious, or the topic’s too big for one blog.  We start with some ideas and questions to get the creative juices flowing.

The main aim of my workshops is to help you create a plan that will enable you to leave the workshop and write your first blog.  So, you get a few minutes to make a list of some things that you could write about.

Make a plan

Planning your blog in advance helps you to avoid blank page syndrome.  (That may not be a medically recognised condition, but it’s definitely real.)  A well planned blog gives you happy readers and makes your life easier so the next bit of my workshops focus on that.  You get advice on the different ways that you can break your topic down and present it in an easy to read way.

Of course, you’ll also get some time to create your own plan based on one of your topics.

Talk about writing

This is another massive stumbling block for a lot of people.  You might be able to explain your subject really well when you talk to people, but writing it down is another matter.  We’ll discuss some ways to overcome that and you’ll also have the chance to talk about any challenges that you have.

In my face to face workshops we also break off to have a discussion in pairs that’s designed to help you get something written down. (Another blow for blank page syndrome!)

What next?

A blog can be a wonderful thing to read but there are a few more things to think about. If you write a blog, why not get it working harder for your business?  In the last part of the workshop I talk about the importance of a call to action (CTA) and some ways that you can reuse your blog.  Your CTA and the ways you reuse your blog will depend on your business goals so most people go away and think about what they want to do.  There’s time for questions at the end and then you can go home and get on with your day.

Finally, once the workshop’s finished, you can stay in touch.  You’ll get a pack of notes and my contact details so you can always ask questions if they come to you later.  Remember, there’s no such thing as a stupid question!


*Bawdon Lodge Farm – here’s the link if you’re looking for a brilliant meeting room in Leicestershire.

If you want to find out more about coming to a blogging workshop, you can sign up to my mailing list my completing the form below.

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Do you need a blogging workshop?

blogging workshopDo you need a blogging workshop? How do you begin to decide? How do you decide what training you need in your business? Or, to put it more accurately, how do you decide what you actually need when you’ve been bombarded with an endless stream of adverts and emails telling you why this course is the one you absolutely have to have.  The minute you joined that Facebook group for small business owners or changed your employment profile to ‘self-employed’ or ‘owner’, your card was marked.

I almost feel that I should apologise.  Content and copywriters like me help to make each and every new thing seem irresistible.  It can take time to work out who you can trust to deliver something worthwhile.  Equally, it can get kind of dispiriting when you’re on the other side of the fence.  If you offer training as part your business it’s easy to feel that you’re hidden away while people with a bigger audience and a bigger budget than you get all the attention.

If you’re tempted to write a blog but aren’t sure whether a workshop is right for you, I’m here to help.  First, a disclaimer. What follows is all based on my own approach to running workshops.  Others may vary.  Here are some of the reasons why you should consider a blogging workshop as well as some of the reasons it might not work for you.

Workshops are for beginners

My blogging workshops are designed for absolute beginners. You don’t have to know anything about blogging and everyone else in the room will be a beginner too.  You’ll need to know who your ideal customer is. Also, if you’re not sure whether you actually want to blog, this isn’t for you yet.  Get some guidance on the kind of marketing you want to do first.

You’ll go through step by step

My workshop is designed to make sure you leave with a plan, ready to write your first blog.  I also talk about using your blog in different ways once you’ve written it.  There’s plenty of time so if you need to go over anything again or need to ask a question, you can.  Which brings me on to…

There’s no such thing as a stupid question

That question that’s in your head? Ask it.  You’re probably not alone. I’ve been asked some random and brilliant questions that have helped me to make my blogging workshops better.  There’s also the fact that you know your business. You might need to do things differently to make it work.  You’ve taken the time to come along so why not ask for help when it’s available?

They won’t teach you how to write

Most people can write, it just comes more easily to some people than others.  If you find it easier to talk than to write a workshop can give you techniques to help.  I can also help you with blank page syndrome if you suffer from that.  If you really struggle to express yourself, you may be better off just finding someone to do it for you.

You won’t be abandoned

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I like to offer a bit of follow up.  Everyone who comes along to my workshops gets a review of their first blog.  I love seeing people take what they’ve learned and make it their own.  Equally, if you get home and think ‘I wished I’d asked…’ you still can.  I put my contact details in the pack you take away with you so don’t be shy, ask away.

If you think a blogging workshop might be for you, complete the form below to sign up for my mailing list and hear all about my upcoming workshops and training sessions.