The Small & Supercharged Podcast is here!

I’m a teeny tiny bit excited about this – welcome to the Small & Supercharged Podcast – episode 1…

Yep, the Small & Supercharged Podcast has officially launched! Named after the Small & Supercharged Facebook group (the group I set up to help support small businesses, particularly in the equestrian and rural sector), this podcast is going to be embody the group. It’s going to talk about PR, marketing, websites and social media (of course!), but also interview a range of business owners about their skills and knowledge too. The aim of the podcast is to be a real hub for small business. To help business owners feel a whole lot less alone, more informed and ready for whatever challenges their business life brings.

And, of course, for people who want to join the Small & Supercharged Facebook page and feel more of that community love and support, please accept this as an invitation to join the group… just please fill in the questions!

So, without further ado – here’s episode 1, enjoy!

 

If you liked the Small & Supercharged Podcast (and I’m kind of hoping you did!), the please consider popping over to iTunes and subscribing. And if you’d like to leave a review and rating I would be SO grateful. Thank you.

I’m speaking at TEDxTelford – get your tickets!

TEDxTelfordI’m really, really excited to say that I’ve been invited to give my second TEDx talk this month. The talk will be at TEDxTelford and, like my previous talk, it’ll all be about social media. Of course the actual subject will be slightly different but it’s about social media all the same. I’m really excited to have this opportunity and can’t thank the selectors and the team at TEDxTelford enough. However I want to tell you a little bit more about this talk and about the superb venue it’s being held at. At the time I write this, I know there are few tickets left. I also know that the speaker schedule is incredible. I’m really excited to go and do my talk, but I am also really excited to hear the other speakers that I and anyone attending gets to listen to on the day.

Where is it

TEDxTelford is being held at the Telford Innovation Campus, part of the University of Wolverhampton. It’s a really lovely campus (and really easy to find too!). For someone that only goes places on their satnav(!), trust me when I say it’s really easy to find! The venue is lovely and the campus is clean and there are lots of places to park to. The room that we’re in is nice and airy and as you walk into the main building there is a Formula 3 car on its side. I don’t know why, but this  impressed me, and I spent more time than I should have done taking pictures of it from all angles!

When is it

TEDx Telford will be held on Saturday 29th of September this year. Some tickets are still available, the price includes lunch and a whole day’s worth of amazing talks. When I say amazing, trust me on this. I had a rehearsal last weekend and the talks I heard were absolutely mind-blowing. The journey home was quite something as my little mind kept churning away and thinking of all the superb things I’d heard and how inspiring they were. And I only heard three of the speakers. Altogether there are 16 speakers giving talks on the day. All the talks sound really interesting. I know that you’ll take something amazing away from listening to them.

Who’s speaking?

Well as I said above there are 16 speakers talking at TEDxTelford. The theme is ‘not business as usual’, but within that the topics are hugely diverse. We have social media talks, we have talks about helping to educate children, we have talks about all sorts of things, and they all sound incredible. Here is the link to the TEDxTelford site where you can get a full list of the speakers and the titles of the talks. All the people who are giving talks have had to go through a pretty rigorous application process. Obviously I went through this process so I know(!). Not only did we have to apply giving our credentials and detail the talk and why we should give it, we also had to submit a video. From what I understand, a number of speakers applied and only 16 (including me) were selected. I think this really shows the level of the talks you’re going to listen to because I can’t imagine anybody who applied was anything less of fabulous.

Should you come?

If you’d like to listen to some really superb speakers, feel motivated, and spend the day in a really lovely inspiring setting around people who are there for the same purpose, then absolutely yes. As I said, there are still a few tickets available and I would be going if I wasn’t already speaking at the event.  Another great thing is as this is a day-long event, the speakers will be there over lunchtime and you can go and speak to them if you’d like to. I really like this idea because it means I get to speak to people who have heard or will hear me speak.  It also means that you get to interact with people who you want to ask more about. The thing about TEDx is it’s all about short and punchy talks with most ranging between 10 and 15 minutes as the limit is 18 minutes. I like this idea because it means that people have to really think about what they’re saying and condense whatever they’re saying so you get the key info. The negative side of this is if it’s someone that you’re really interested in and really like listening to you may feel that you want to know more. But you can ask them at lunchtime. How good is that?

So that’s a brief overview of TEDxTelford. I really think if you can come and you’re in the area, do. There are a limited number of tickets and it’s amazing value. If you want to get in get in now, here’s the link. I hope to see you there

Consistency is king – but what happens when things go wrong?

They say the consistency is king, and I for one preach that. But what happens when your life and work mean that you can’t be as consistent as you want to be? Do you throw in the towel? Do you just struggle on? Do you become completely overwhelmed and brand yourself as a complete failure? Well over the last few weeks I have not been as consistent as I want to be with my blog, just because I have not physically had enough hours in the day to do the work I need to do and do the blog as well. And I wanted to explain a little bit more about why that is. I’m also here to talk about how I am getting back on the path to being consistent. Because it really is important.

Ahh – September…

September is always a really busy month in my world. I have Christmas things that are kicking off for PR and marketing clients, but I also have Burghley Horse Trials and Blenheim Horse Trials. And this year I’ve chucked in a couple of extra fun things too. So first there’s Burghley Horse Trials. A number of my clients attend Burghley Horse Trials and it is a really big deal for them. I don’t actually attend in person and haven’t for a few years, but I am very involved in all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes to make the Horse Trials a big success for my clients. One particular client is Hiho Silver. Not only do they have a stand there, but the company also sponsors the best dressed at the first trot up. Because it is a sponsorship, a lot of preparation goes in behind the scenes before the event even starts. I was absolutely thrilled with how all this came together during the event, but it does take a lot of time. Worth every second though – seeing a big project come together perfectly is a real buzz and one I wouldn’t trade!

Then there was Style, Skills & Silver

A few days later we embarked on Hiho’s very first instameet which was called Style, Skills and Silver. This took place at The Fish Hotel in Broadway and was absolutely amazing on every possible level. I loved every minute, but it took a lot of work behind the scenes too. Emma Warren, Hiho’s Queen Bee, was the person who came up with the idea and did do a huge amount of work, but everyone involved also worked their socks off on their respective elements to make the day the huge success it was. 

Then there was Blenheim Horse Trials

The next thing was Blenheim Horse Trials which, again, was a brilliant event. I did actually attend on the Friday too. Again, Hiho Silver sponsored the best dressed at the first trot up, and there was quite a bit to do around that. I did go for the day on the Friday as I mentioned, and met up with a few people and had a really great time. But it’s another day out of the system and when I have a certain amount of work to do, it’s my blog and content that takes the hit (and so it should be!).

And then there’s my second TEDx talk…

And then this month, just for a laugh, I was very very pleased to accept the invitation to do my second TEDx talk. This one is at TEDx Telford in 10 days time. Not only did the application process take a little bit of time in terms of having to submit various things, but also preparing a talk. I’ve got another rehearsal to go and then the actual event itself. At every stage, this does take quite a lot of time, and so it should do. TED and TEDx are big institutions and when you have the privilege of being invited to speak at these, you need to pay it the respect it deserves. This means time, energy and a whole lot of sweat(!) go into making sure that what I am presenting is useful to the audience and withholds TED and TEDx’s values too. I take this quite seriously because I think it’s such an honour to be invited not just for one talk but for my second. I kind of think this proves that the first one wasn’t all that bad!

Excuses?

I’m not trying to make excuses but I’m being realistic here. My blog and the content I create have to support my business. When I have plenty of work to do, and the reason I have created this content (as in, to help people, create opportunities and show what I can do) has created the work I want, it would be crazy not to do those things in order to create more content, to get the opportunities that I’ve already been given. See what I mean? So the blog is the thing that’s taken a hit. I do tend to schedule my blogs in advance and I have a load saved as draft, but being a bit of a perfectionist (which is not a great thing), I like to proofread, tweak, add links and images after I’ve written them. This means that although I have quite a few saved and ready to go, they still take quite a lot of work to get to the final stages.

This isn’t a bad thing. I did really beat myself up about it because I do preach that consistency is king. I’m not changing that – it is!

But it’s not everything…

I haven’t dropped ball on everything. My social media is still pretty strong. But that’s how I think it should be. I like to experiment, try and test different things on different platforms, so I can pass this learning on to my clients and then they get the to use my ‘testings’ on their own accounts. Also, I feel that the referrals and everything else from my social media to my website and to my other social media platforms makes them really really valuable. And as someone who teaches and lectures on social media, I need to be on the pulse on that.

I really love writing and sharing what I’ve been up to with you all. Because of the amount of time and energy each blog takes to write, that tends to be the thing that gets the biggest hit when I’m busy. So I’d like to apologise. I’ve still been putting out at least one blog each week, but it can be up to three (as per my schedule). I’m thinking of revising the schedule too – but that’s another blog!

What do you do to get consistency back?

If you feel like you’ve dropped all the balls and want to get your consistency in content creation back again, I have some tips…

  1. Don’t beat yourself up. These things happen. We all make mistakes and when things get busy it’s very easy to become less consistent because you’re overwhelmed everything else. Accept that this is life. But also accept that you need to pick yourself up and crack on. Don’t dwell.
  2. Start with one thing. If you feel like you’ve dropped all the balls don’t try and pick them all up and start juggling at the same time because you’re just going to feel overwhelmed. If you think that you can pick up one social media platform at a time, for example, then do it. And do that one well. You can then add the rest in when you’re feeling a lot more confident in what you’re doing. So rather been completely overwhelmed by everything being thrown at you all over again, just add one thing at a time into your schedule so you know that you can cope.
  3. And last but not least – you need to get back on it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with work, you might wonder why you need to get back on it. Because things have been going well without being consistent in your content. But I think it’s because you’ve been consistent for so long. And this means it’s not something you should consider stopping too quickly. I’m not prepared to drop it. I’ve kept my social media channels running as I said above, but the blog for me is really really important for so many different reasons. It’s been so useful for me. I know how much it helps people and I get lots of lovely comments from people saying they’ve read something on my blog and it’s changed the way they view something. That, to me, is so important. 

So I hope that’s helped. Being consistent is king. It really, really is, but I also want to acknowledge in this blog that we all make mistakes and we all drop the ball. What’s important is how we pick it back up and carry on. 

 

Hiho Silver #styleskillsandsilver Instameet at The Fish Hotel, Broadway

The Fish Hotel BroadwayThere are going to be a few blogs about Hiho Silver’s amazing Style, Skills & Silver event, because I’m still buzzing from it. Last Thursday (6th September) was the day of the event we’d been working towards for a while. And I say we because it really was a we. The event was the brainchild of Hiho’s Queen Bee, Emma Warren, but the two workshops that were held were a huge team effort, that I will tell you about in more detail soon. Today, we’re focusing on the beautiful venue – The Fish Hotel, Broadway.

The Fish Hotel, Broadway

Based on the Farncombe Estate, The Fish Hotel is a real hidden gem. And it is properly hidden too! You clamber up a hill called Fish Hill (and it’s a serious hill with some quite surprising bends!), before taking a left down a long drive. The Estate is massive and contains three amazing venues/hotels – there’s The Fish Hotel, Dormy House and Foxhill Manor. As you turn off the main road, you are taken down an incredibly long drive. It would have been useful if I’d measured the length of the drive but this thought only dawned on me as I started to write the paragraph. The thing is, the length of the drive isn’t the thing you remember. It’s the view. I headed to the venue with Ruth (Dressage Anywhere) and as I’d been there before, I wittered on about the view for most of the drive down the drive. I’ve seen the view before but it was no less impressive second time around. Worcestershire stretches out beneath you and it’s just a sight to behold. I took a picture when I went for a recce, but it doesn’t do it justice. The scale can’t be appreciated in a picture. The entrance is impressive and sets the tone for everything else.

Springfield House

The Fish is made up of a few different areas. The Hook is the restaurant were we had a very nice pizza for dinner the night before, Springfield House is where we held Style, Skills & Silver, we stayed in the Coach House (I think). They also have a number of other buildings in the grounds, including some stunning shepherd huts by Blackdown Shepherd Huts that people can stay in too. It’s clearly a big place, but the careful design of it all means it all feels rather private and lovely. There’s also a lot of greenery – when we walked up from the restaurant the night before (we didn’t stop setting up until gone 9pm so dinner was quite late), it was lovely – tree lined, beautifully lit… heavenly.

Springfield House has quite a different vibe to the restaurant but it’s absolutely lovely too. It manages to strike the mix of modern, cosy, funky, quirky and practical. And that’s quite a combination! We had four rooms in total on two different floors. The first floor was where we held the workshops – the space and the light were lovely and worked so well with the practical workshops. Up a level we had a lovely lounge where we met at the beginning and end of the day, and the room next door where we had lunch and chatted too. The rooms were lovely and having the space over the two floors worked so well with the way the day ran.

Where we stayed

The night before I stayed in the Coach House. I shared a twin room with Ruth and it was the most beautiful room. Lovely fresh white bed linen, Galaxy hot chocolate (yes, I’m very easily bought!), a huge bathroom with lovely toiletries. Everything was beautiful. But like with Springfield House, it was beautiful but very cosy and comfy too. There was a handwritten welcome note, really lovely blankets on the bed, a wooden book with ‘All you need to know’ written on it including all the important things you needed to know, like how the wifi worked. The decor was so pretty, but so comfy. I couldn’t fault it.

Breakfast was included but as I made my way down I got summoned by Sophie and Harriet, who were also staying in the same building, to have a look at their room and give opinions on what to wear. I say summoned. Sophie shouted out the window and I decided I’d rather spend time with them than eating. I felt a little nervous anyway and the last thing I need when feeling a bit nervous is food! Their room was as lovely as ours. It was a slightly different design. It had a little hall and a gorgeous outside terrace space with a glimpse of the stunning view I have spent a lot of this blog wittering on about.

This isn’t a TripAdvisor review – I mean, why be conventional?! But I wanted to explain a bit about the venue as it was really special. It’s not your average hotel, or conference room, or meeting place. It’s way more special than that. I’m looking for an excuse to return as soon as I can!

Find out more about The Fish Hotel here…

To see more about the event, see Karen & Clan and Sophie Callahan’s vlogs.

Behind… Super X Country’s SXC Sports Leggings

Super X Country SXC Sports LeggingsIf you wandered over to Super X Country’s stand at Burghley Horse Trials, you may have seen the company’s new SXC Sports Leggings. I say may, because the stand looked absolutely stunning and was bursting at the seams with beautiful pieces. From sequin hoodies to bespoke cross country colours, new gloves to breeches galore. I took a bit of time to catch up with the lady behind the brand, Becci Harrold, to find out more about the SXC Sports Leggings. And why they’re so special.

Behind Super X Country’s SXC Sports Leggings

Leggings have become so popular, haven’t they? Why do you think that is? It always nice to have different riding pieces to choose from according to your style and the weather. I think the leggings make you
feel less restricted and also make you look more normal in the shops, when you’ve had to nip out!
What makes your SXC Sports Leggings special? I have designed these with affordability in mind. I know what it’s like wanting a new pair of breeches or leggings every few months; who doesn’t want something new! I have always found the problem is the cost! These leggings tick a lot of boxes and come well within most people’s budget at £38.99. They use good, strong, high quality Lycra that is not see through! They feature the all important gel knee, and in keeping with our practical ethos, we opted for two pockets on each side of the leg which, again, fit the biggest of iPhones. They are super easy to access too. I went for piping detail in a contrasting colour, which makes them really flattering from behind. The Lycra sock and top of pocket detail also match. The wide waistband is super strong and supportive, offering great comfort and support.
How did you choose the colour combinations you did? I have found our new colours for this season aqua & turquoise have been so popular in base layers, so with that in mind I wanted to add a touch of colour to
the grey & navy base colours we went for in leggings. Everyone loves matchy matchy too, we even have a hat silk, tops & saddle pads to match them!
What features do the SXC Sports Leggings have that make them must haves? The pockets on either side of the leg are real must haves for me. The gel knee is also a must. For the leggings, being made from Lycra offers extra support too. I love the waistband and the piping details too, anything remotely like them would
cost a hell of a lot more!
Have you been wearing them and testing them too? Yes, I wear and test all my own designs before going to manufacture with them. This ensures I get all the details exactly right. I also have fantastic sponsored
riders who help with this job too!
To find out more about the new SXC Sports Leggings, have a look at the over on Super X Country’s website here.

How to split test your Facebook advert (and why you should)

How to split test your Facebook advert - Rhea freemanHave you heard of split testing? It’s a really clever way to test two ideas and show these to a small amount of your audience (at a lower cost) before launching a full campaign. You can do this with many things, but Facebook adverts have a built in feature that makes split testing a breeze. And here I’m going to tell you the basics of how to split test your Facebook advert (and why you should have a go)

How to split test your Facebook advert

Split testing your Facebook advert is a lot easier than you might think – in fact – there’s an option on the ad platform designed JUST for this! Clever, hey?

  • Go to Facebook Ads manager
  • Pick A/B testing
  • Start creating your ad

How do you split test?

You can split test your ad in a number of ways. On Facebook, you can pic imagery/graphic, audience and caption. You do one of these at a time so you can see which variable has worked the best. If you ran two completely different adverts with different imagery, ad format, audience and caption – how would you know which ‘bit’ had worked?

If you like, you can test each area at a time.

Why would you split test?

Quite simply, to see which advert is likely to get you the best result before you put a lot of budget behind it. You can spend a few pounds over a few days split testing a Facebook advert (you can spend a lot more too, obviously!), but it is so useful. You might find a different style of image performs better, or a reworking of your caption, for example.

Have you tried split testing?