Jacqueline Brewster – Making You Social – NORTHUMBERLAND MEETINGS TEAM

Name: Jacqueline Brewster

Business name: Chatterbox Social Media

Website: www.chatterboxsocialmedia.co.uk

Facebook page/group: www.facebook.com/chatterboxsocialmedia

Twitter name: www.twitter.com/jacqschatterbox

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=hb_tab_pro_top

When did you start your business and why?

Before becoming self-employed in 2005, I worked in Brand and Product Management roles for 10 years for large FMCG organisations. Since 2005, I have launched and managed a number of businesses spanning domestic cleaning, video streaming and energising jewellery. In 2008, I set up and launched Virtual Assistant Online which provides virtual office support services to SME’s and Sole Traders. Services include, PA, secretarial, office admin and marketing support. It was during the Summer of 2010 that I really became aware of Social Media and its increasingly important role within business. More and more businesses were successfully integrating Social Media into their marketing mix in order to engage with and grow their client base.

This was (and still is) a revolutionary new way of marketing and it became evident that Social Media wasn’t going to be just another temporary fad for techno crazy teenagers. I enrolled on a professional training course in the Autumn of 2010 and immersed myself in this new media. After completing the training, I successfully launched Chatterbox Social Media in January 2011. Looking ahead now, the opportunity is clear, businesses cannot afford to get left behind with Social Media and the massive opportunity it presents to them.

It would be like saying 20 years ago when the Internet launched, “ The world wide what? Nagh, that will never take off”!

What gives your business the edge?

A combination of factors.  I have a strong corporate background in marketing. I have over 8 years of experience in setting up and running my own businesses – some have been successful turning over tens of thousands of pound a year and some have failed. I understand how businesses operate from the inside out and I know what it takes to make a business succeed. I use all of this operational and commercial experience combined with my training in marketing and social media to deliver real value to my clients. I’m willing and more than happy to share everything that I’ve learned over the years so you won’t just get Social Media on a plate, you’ll get much, much more.

What’s the best thing about running your own business?

Your successes AND your failures are completely, unequivocally, 100% your own.

And what is the worst?

Not being able to switch off.  It’s wonderful to be immersed in growing and developing your own business but you have to learn to be really disciplined and set a time to ‘shut up shop’. It is important to have a healthy work/life balance, but when you’re responsible for every penny you earn, temptation to keep on working ‘that extra hour’ is often too hard to resist!

Describe a typical day running your day and balancing family life:

My alarm clock is my daughter and she usually goes off between 6.00 and 7.00. Either my husband or I bring her downstairs to have a cuddle and story in bed before the day starts. Then the battle begins!  Co-ordinating showers, breakfast and who’s wearing what can be a challenge at the best of times but we aim to be at either nursery (15 minute drive away) or at Granny & Pappa’s house (40 minutes drive away) in time for me to start work at 09.30. My working day usually consists of starting with phone calls, then working on marketing & business development for the business. Next I tackle client project work, grab a little bit of lunch and I aim to wrap up my afternoon doing a little bit of my own admin between 3.00 and 4.00 – well, that’s the plan!  The reality can often be very different. You have to be flexible and prepared for any number of events to knock you off course! I’m always at home in the kitchen for 4.30/5.00 when preparation for dinner begins; with the aid of CBeebies in the background to smooth the way. My husband usually gets home about 5.30 and we all sit down for dinner at 6.00 as we consider this really important family time for us to connect and share the highlights of our day. Bedtime is at 7.00pm for my daughter (preceded with stories and songs) and then I usually sit down to start my night shift which can involve doing my own Social Media for Chatterbox, a final sift through emails and planning for the next day.  I aim to be in bed for no later than 10.30 as I like to read a chapter of a book before finally drifting off.

How do you envisage your business changing over the next 5 yrs?

This year my focus will be to bring onboard a manageable number of clients to suite my available working hours. I have an associate based in Berkshire who is currently undertaking the same Social Media training programme as me so that when my daughter goes to pre-school early next year we can form a partnership to develop the business further in different regions of the UK. I envisage that Chatterbox will continue grow through both the natural acquisition of clients and the recruitment and training of additional Social Media account managers.

Do you have any advice for other women in or starting a business?

If you are thinking of starting a business – do your homework first, thoroughly research the market you want to enter. You have to identify that there is a definite demand for your product/service first. Be certain that you are offering something that is of real value to your customers – work out what is your USP (Unique Selling Point). Unique being the operative word here. Something that no-one else is doing or offering.

Next, DO a business plan and get someone else (preferably a professional) to look this over before you embark on trading. You can download a good business plan template from the Business Link website. Make sure your numbers stack up. It’s amazing how many new start ups have not got to grips with how to financially run a business and how to evaluate its performance.  If you don’t know your numbers, you are destined to fail.

If you’re a start up or  are already in business – get yourself a business mentor.  My mantra is “if you want to be the best – learn from the best.”  Consider it your number one priority to invest in yourself. My business mentor is Nigel Botterill. (Let me know if you would like an introduction). Your mentor doesn’t have to be this famous, it could be someone you already know who is successful and running their own business. Ask them if they would be willing to mentor you or you could speak to your Regional Development Agency – One North East, the Princes Trust (criteria will apply) or Business Link to ask them to help you find someone suitable. There is no quicker way to grow and develop your business.

Gillian Rayne – No 2 Stress – INSPIRED SUNDAYS TEAM

Name: Gillian Rayne

Business Name: No 2 Stress

Website: www.no2stress.co.uk

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/No2stress

Twitter name: twitter.com/No2stresses

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/gillianrayne/

Email address:

Where are you in the North East?
North Tyneside – but work across the North East

Directory advert:
Stress can and does affect everyone differently… so we don’t work on the premise that one stress-busting solution fits all. Grab a chat and find out what we can do for you

When did you start your business and why?:
50% of all illnesses are a direct result of unmanaged stress.

I have always been a fit person and an advocate for the healthy lifestyle until in 2007 I took poorly.  I had negated to take notice of stress resting on my laurels thinking I am healthy I will be fine.  This was not the case and after a year of not feeling right my body collapsed, for months I could barely get out of bed, go to the shops or do anything remotely ‘normal’.

What gives your business the edge?:
We adapt and grow, just as the needs of stress can change, so do the services within No2stress. Most people will have a life changing occurrence every 4 years and your needs will change as a result. We will help you to Reform – Enhance – Change to meet the needs of this change.

What is the best thing about running your own business?:
It suits my lifestyle and I get to manage how it works.

And what is the worst!?:
So much to do it can be overwhelming at times and I have to carefully manage my own stress to ensure I don’t run out of energy.  Oh and the money bit.

Describe a typical day running your business and balancing family life:
This varies so much on the diary, how my energy is and what is on the to-do list.  I love the variety.

How do you envisage your business changing over the next 5 years?:
Business has already grown beyond comprehension since starting out. So in 5 years’ time based on the last 5 years, all I can say is be here and I will be very happy to tell.

Do you have any advice for other Women in or starting a business?:
If you really want to do this and see a way go for it.  Don’t underestimate yourself, take help where you can get it and don’t try to be wonder woman.

Fiona Simpson – ARTventurers – SUNDERLAND MEETINGS TEAM

Name: Fiona Simpson

Business Name: ARTventurers

Website: www.artventurers.co.uk

Facebook page/group:

ARTventurers HQ Facebook page

Where are you based in the North East?

I live in Sunderland. I am the founder and Managing Director at ARTventurers – we run colourful, creative (often messy!) art classes, parties and events for babies, toddlers and children across the UK. We’re all about learning and development through art and creative play and we’re passionate about getting children involved in creative activities from an early age – our Baby ARTventurers classes are for the teeniest artists age just 6 months plus!

When did you start your business and why, (what got you interested and what are you passionate about)?:

I am a qualified solicitor by profession but like many parents my priorities completely changed after having my children! Leaving the legal profession I started working with children in various Early Years settings and loved it and in 2008 after the birth of my second child I began running colourful art classes for pre-schoolers. ARTventurers was born shortly after that – my third “baby”!

I started expanding the business through licensing initially and then franchising in 2015. We have a fab franchise network of ARTventurers franchisees across the country and it’s amazing to now see hundreds of Little and Baby ARTventurers and their grown ups enjoying our unique brand of colourful, creative, messy fun every day in different parts of the UK!

What gives your business the edge?:

All of our team are full of energy, creative and passionate about working with children and getting them involved in art and that shines through in everything that we do. The structure of our classes is very social, allows children to explore at their own pace and in their own time (after all every child is different!), we do lots of active big scale art activities that most parents wouldn’t dare to try in their own homes – and of course we clean up the mess! We have worked really hard to develop a programme of ARTventurers weekly sessions with a different theme every week so no two classes are ever the same, the children are actively learning through play whilst having tons of fun and we firmly believe in ongoing training, support and development for all of our ARTventurers franchisees and team members to ensure that all of our branches are meeting the same standards of service delivery to the children and grown ups who come along

We won some amazing awards in 2017 which I am incredibly proud of. We won Most Supportive Franchisor and Overall Top Franchise 2017 in the Working Mums Top Franchise Awards which was a great achievement. We also won 2 major awards in the Whats on 4 Kids Awards 2017 – Best Baby/Toddler Development Activity and Best Preschool Activity (under 25 franchisees) which is a great testament to the hard work that our entire franchisee network put in day in day out.

What is the best thing about running your own business?:

I feel very proud of what I have achieved to date in building the business pretty much single handedly and being able to now offer opportunities and support to other women (mainly mums) who want to join our team and launch their own award winning ARTventurers business to work flexibly around their children is very rewarding. And going to work with a smile on my face every day – it never feels like work! I also feel very lucky to be able to work flexibly around my own children, being able to take them to school every day and pick them up at the end of the day has always been vitally important to me.

And what is the worst!?:

It can be a little bit lonely sometimes when I’ve got a major decision to make, which is why networking and support groups can be invaluable! I also like many others find it difficult to switch off from work.

Describe a typical day running your business and balancing family life:

I now work full time in the ARTventurers HQ office – we took on some office space on the riverside in summer 2017 and it’s made life much easier for me! I work around school hours so I take my youngest to school and walk the dog then go to the office. My working day is always varied – spending time every day supporting our existing franchisees – whether it’s answering their specific queries, training, making mentoring calls to them, helping them with class launches, updating plans and procedures. And I also work on developing the ARTventurers brand further, national marketing intiatives and so on….there’s a lot to juggle and get done before school pick up time!

How do you envisage your business changing over the next 5 years?:

I will be continuing the develop and grow the business and launch new branches in areas where we aren’t already sprinkling paint, glue and glitter!

Do you have any advice for other Women in or starting a business?:

I am a firm believer in the power of networking and collaboration with other businesses – many other businesses I have worked with along the way have become great friends and a fabulous source of support for me.

2016-01-14 12.38.00



South Tyneside 

The next South Tyneside meeting will be held on Tuesday 10th June at 10.00am at Jarrow Hall cafe within the grounds of Bede’s World Jarrow.

Our speaker for June is Inspire’s very own Amy Purdie from Whiteacres Design.

Amy will be speaking on the topic of branding and how to convey what your business stands for consistently at every touchpoint in your business – one not to be missed.


Members £2

Non members £3

The cost of the meeting is as above – members should bring their membership card with them to claim their discount.  A cup of tea or coffee is included in the price.  Further refreshments may be purchased from the cafe.

Children are welcome as always but please bring along something to keep them entertained.

There is ample free parking available.


Growing Your Network

Making the most of your networking contacts.  John Atkinson is a Rural Enterprise Development Office with South Durham Enterprise Agency and comes with years of experience and knowlege of networking. He will share with us his knowledge on growing your network.  How to use networking to it’s potential and the Do’s and Don’t when going to a networking event.

*******************PLEASE NOTE NEW VENUE********************************

Please book via Eventbrite Here


Look forward to seeing you

Please make your booking via

Ann Williams-Maughan

Education Takeaway

Phoenix Trader