Monthly Archives: May 2015

Michelle Taylor Speaks About The BIG Transition

After being a Police Officer for nearly 30 years (As I write this I have 194 days left to go!!!) The time came for me to start thinking of life outside of the ‘job’…It’s all I’ve ever known, I joined the cadets as a fresh faced 16 year old and the regulars at 18…My life thus far dedicated to trying to help others and make a small part of the world a safer place. I am only 48, too young to retire, but I wanted to find something that would take me on the next part of my life journey.

My husband retired from the police in 2009 and spent the first 18 months, recovering from 31 years of shifts and twiddling his thumbs before he followed his passion for photography and became a qualified Wedding Photographer….’Come and work with me’ he said…..’No chance’ I replied, ‘I’d cut heads and feet off…I’d rather marry people…..’

So the old cogs started whirring and I stumbled across the Fellowship of  Professional Celebrants, the organisation I trained with in 2011…My 5 year pre retirement plan was in place….

I am now a Wedding and Family Celebrant.

What is one of those I hear a lot of people ask……No I’m not a celibate…(although I am an old married woman so that probably goes with the territory!)

What I do, is wonderful and fulfilling, creating a ceremony that is truly reflective of the couples and families that I now have the pleasure of working with.

It’s a role I can combine with the day job and it gives me so much pleasure I don’t see it as a job…..People actually WANT to invite me into their home to discuss the biggest day of their lives and to tell me their life story.

I write and deliver bespoke Weddings, Vow Renewals, Naming and Adoption Ceremonies….In fact if you can think of an excuse to have a family celebration I can write a ceremony to reflect the love and feelings we humans can have for each other (and even the pets).

A Celebrant led wedding can be held anywhere, it does not require a licensed venue. It can include anything you wish from the secular to the spiritual.

I’ve conducted Weddings at a Zoo, In a Stately home, back gardens and Jimmy’s Farm.

The have ranged from fairly formal and traditional to Pagan and Steam Punk.

Your imagination really is your only limitation!

Everyone is different, everyone has a unique story to tell, I get to hear those stories, write a script and deliver them with warmth and humour. AND I can honestly say that all of the feedback I have thus far received has been amazing.

So as my retirement from my day job rapidly looms, I feel as ready as I can be for the transition, into a new career. A job that is so different but I think equally rewarding.

I can’t end without a shout out to Mandie and the BWN. I’m so glad that I have found her and her organisation.

I’ve learnt so much from the meetings I’ve attended so far this year…My Linkedin profile is generating contacts and views I never thought possible from just a few suggested tweaks, and the networking opportunities at the meetings have been second to none. I can’t wait until the end of the year when I can commit to attending the meetings properly…..That darn day job interfering again!

So……..What will your story be?

P.S. ….DESPERATELY looking for someone to book me for a Harry Potter themed wedding…I have the wand and the cloak….Just need the excuse……

(It’s great to have you on board Michelle and wish you every success with your new job, and will the Harry Potter wedding have a Hagrid and Dementors? We can’t wait to find out!)


  • May 22, 2015

Real Words From An Awesome Photographer

We loved this email, that much we are sharing it in its entirety here as a blog article:

I have been attending the BWN regularly for over a year now and have found it has had a Liz Leatherdalehugely positive effect on my business. Each meeting has a master class with knowledgeable speakers who give genuinely useful information I can then put into practice to improve my working methods, whether that be social media, public speaking or time management – I always come away with a set of action points.

The format of the meetings works particularly well, allowing for free networking and the opportunity for most (if not all) attendees to speak about their business in front of the whole group. By attending regularly I have built up relationships with many members, as a network of expert support and advice as well as gaining several new clients, who have since gone on to give me wonderful testimonials that I can now use in my future marketing.

Mandie Holgate and The BWN’s commitment to sharingBusiness Women's Network and promoting members’ updates and connecting people who can truly work well together is beyond any I have seen at other network groups, and as photographer for the group I am particularly proud to be a part of the continued conversations beyond the meetings themselves.

Thank you Mandie and the BWN for your valuable support and promotion!

Jayne Lloyd Photography @Jaynelloyd

If you would like more than just business card swapping, if you would like the network, connections, support, ideas to achieve more then The BWN could be for you. Our tagline is As Passionate About Your Success As You Are, why not let us prove it to you too.

Check out the fabulous corporate photographer Jayne LLoyd here 



  • May 13, 2015

Why Networking Is Not Working For You

Most businesses at some time have dabbled with networking but how is it possible that some businesses love it and think it is the key to growing and sustaining their business. When others find it a waste of their time, a drain on their resources and worse still dipping into their profits!

If you’re not getting the results you want, here’s our guide to getting it right and why you could be getting it wrong…

First of all you need to know why you are networking. If your plan was to runBWN networking 1 in a room and run out again with 30 sales, then first of all you need a reality check. Unless you’re selling designer shoes or 5 star holidays for £5 its unlikely the sales are going to be pouring in. For networking to work it needs to factor as part of a structured focussed marketing strategy.

It is important to understand that networking enables you to;

  • Get known as the thought leader in your field.
  • Raises your profile above your competitors.
  • Re-engages with past and current customers.
  • Reminds people “Why you.”
  • Ensures people know all that your company can do for them. (So often you will hear someone say “I didn’t know you did that too”.
  • Remember this key phrase “You can’t not dictate when people buy however you can have a say in who they choose to buy from.”
  • Build and protect your reputation and credibility. Valuable for creating a loyal client base.

To enable the above to happen you need to;Essex Networking for women The BWN

  • Know what outcome you want from networking. Remember the reality check? The goal is not to walk out of the door with 30 sales (although if you get your marketing and networking right, over time that is more than achievable!)
  • Do you want people to sign up to your newsletter, follow you on social media, know about an event you are going to be exhibiting at, refer you to certain trades, help with solutions in your own business, know about special offers you have. Go with a clear idea of what you would ideally be speaking about if you get the right opportunity.
  • Be interested in the other people in the room. We often tell shy people that you are in actual fact perfect people to network, because you are so scared to say the wrong thing you create a natural environment that enables the other party to share all about their business and why they love what they do. All networkers would love the chance to tell everyone why their business is awesome. The key is to build good relationships and by showing a genuine interest in other people you are helping that happen.
  • In advance prepare some questions that you could ask people, such as; Who could the ideal person be for me to be looking to connect you with? Are you based locally? Do you trade nationally or just locally? Is it okay to connect with you on Facebook and LinkedIn? Do you have any suggestions on how I could handle X within my business? Questions that are open ended that allow the other person to feel respected and listened to. (Genuinely listened to.
  • Know the answers for yourself to the above questions. Who would your ideal client be?
  • Prepare a 60 seconds. Okay so not all events create the opportunity Fiona Moonan sponsoring a BWN Networking eventfor an elevator pitch however practicing on the journey there what you could concentrate is a good idea. Aim to be less than 60 seconds, include statistics & facts and don’t try to cover too much. You can access more ideas on your 60 seconds success here.
  • Don’t apologise for having no business cards, take theirs gracefully and say that you have just run out and will email them as a one off (you don’t want to look like a spammer) so that you have each others details.
  • Don’t add people to your data base. Yes Business to Business you are allowed, however what does that say about your level of respect for that busy business owner?
  • Do find people on social media and say “Hi.”
  • Don’t find people on social media and start selling at them. Networking is about building a good reputation.
  • Know in advance the follow up strategy you will have. If you don’t follow up effectively then in theory you have wasted the time you networked, the time you travelled to and from the event and the time you could have been doing something that actually would have put money in your bank account.
  • And lastly if you don’t get a reply to an email, pick up that phone thing you carry around and talk to people.

After all great networking results are about communicating effectively to get connected.

And the bigger your network the more benefits you could be getting!

  • May 12, 2015