Liz Weston on … why I’m going on a #LearningJourney

One of the reasons why I’m going on a #LearningJourney is represented by the image below. It’s a granny. And she’s wearing purple. She looks all soft and fluffy but she’s actually made of strong stuff. Her core is made of wood, for a start ;)

I’ve deliberated over sharing this post online because I don’t want people to think me soft, or not made of strong stuff myself. But the truth is that I think there is a place for being up front about what inspires and motivates you.

This small, but perfectly formed granny reminds me of my own mum. (And my dad, but I didn’t get a grandad in the post, just the granny). So she’s going with me to San Francisco and Silicon Valley, to remind me of my parents who are one of the reasons why I’m going.

My parents are some of my biggest and best supporters of my decision to become self employed, to build a big office in our garden, to get out of my comfort zone, to take risks and to make the most of the opportunities that come my way. This trip is a perfect example of me doing many of those things – going out of my comfort zone, taking risks and making the most of opportunities.

So when you see the Granny popping up in the photos I take on the #LearningJourney, you’ll know why :) See, it’s good to share!

Liz Weston on… going on a journey

This time tomorrow, I’ll be packing my suitcase, ready to fly to California. Why? To go to San Francisco and specifically Silicon Valley to meet top bods from Google, LinkedIn, Whipsaw, DPR Construction, Bridgebank, Berkeley University, Obscura Digital,, Stanford University, Keiretsu Forum and Plantronics.

Some of them are household names. Some aren’t. But I think I’m going to learn as much from the lesser known names as the big ones. Something tells me that they are on the list for a *reason* :)

I will do my best to blog about different aspects of the trip – the practicalities, the people I’m travelling with, the people we meet and the businesses and institutions we are exposed to.

If you want to keep track of my tweets about my experience over the next week, check me out on twitter @TheLizWeston – I’ll use #LearningJourney wherever possible and hope that although I’ll be travelling out there solo, I’ll be able to share as much of it as possible with everyone who would like to be with me, but isn’t for this particular trip.


Liz Weston on … getting on with it.

Liz Weston is a business owner, entrepreneur and is getting on with it

Image credit:

When times are difficult – whether it’s in the business, at home, or in your own head, you know what you have to do, don’t you? Get on with it. A couple of things I’ve learnt since becoming self employed and then, a business owner…….

If someone is, shock, horror, saying things about you that you feel are not warranted – ignore it. Get on with it. Spend your time doing things that will outshine the comments that have probably come to you third hand and are not 100% accurate.

If your home life is impacting on your business, accept it, and do the best you can despite this. And make up the time when people are asleep, watching TV or napping. Don’t let it absorb your outlook for the entire day.  If you are a mum with kids, ask someone to have the children for 3 hours – do a swap! Then you get something done if all else is failing.

If your head is messing with your ability to manage your business either get someone to help you with your head, or, to help you run your business whilst you sort your head out.

I know that there will be so many people reading this and saying “yes but….” Don’t say yes but… just get on with it. We all have times where we are up and down in being business owners. I do. But I have things in place to make sure that when it’s a down time, I have a network of people to call on for help, to share my concerns with and laugh at the absurdity of things which today, seem HUGE news but in reality, will be tomorrow’s fish and chip paper.

When I look back at the time that I started out in business, I am amazed at how much time I’ve spent thinking about how different scenario’s could play out. I am amazed at how much I’ve taken to heart comments that come to me third hand. I am amazed at how I have allowed others to influence my thinking. It’s like becoming a parent – you can’t explain it until you’ve done it. Here’s hoping that this post helps someone to make that progress quicker, and sees the benefits of it.

And on the other hand, if someone asks you for help, to enable them to get on with it, please go out of your way to help them. They will really appreciate it.

Are you getting on with it? How are you doing it?



Liz Weston on the power of being personal

So after voicing my frustrations with people over sharing on social media yesterday, now I’m waxing lyrical about the power of being personal in your communications with people. We’ve just sent out 67 emails, all on the same topic. We could have done a mass email, but instead, we’ve done individual ones, tailored them to the people we’ve written to and shared our experiences with them because we’ve done the same thing as them previously.

It’s for a client, so I can’t share more than that. But what I do want to tell you is that of those 67 invitations – we’ve already had more than 10 replies. I am really pleased with this. It shows that our research and taking the time to write to them all personally, has had a really good effect. And we want to work with them, on behalf of our client for the long term, so it was really important to get this first bit right.

Sharing your experience – your highs and lows in a previous role, that the reader is participating in or experiencing themselves at that point is a good thing. It’s about empathy, transparency and supporting people in the work they do. We’re about to add a small admin job to their work, so it’s good to start off as best we can together with them.

Anyway, was going to have an early night but replying to the emails, answering queries and  being available to the people who’ve replied has taken me up until now. Fingers crossed there will be lots more in the next 48 hours….


Liz Weston on “over sharing” when you are online.

This is my blog, so I get to express my personal opinion. You are welcome to disagree, share or whatever you like but I get to go first….

I can’t decide if I think it’s acceptable, when you are online, to think it’s a place where you can share your distress, woes or negativity about something. And on the whole, I think that it is a bad idea. I used to write emotionally charged statuses when I felt short changed or hard done by. But really, aren’t they just a bit, well, inappropriate? Or showing that you are upset/offended/wounded by what someone has said/done/written? And people just talk about the status or tweet and wonder if they’ve not got more profitable things to be doing with their time.

But then, as usual, there are going to be exceptions aren’t there?

1. If you are raising money for someone who is poorly, or who has sadly died and are fundraising in their memory.
2. If you are explaining why you can’t do your work.
3. ???

I’m sure that there must be instances which are OK to share emotional, hurt, wounded stuff in your personal and professional life, I just can’t think of them.  So what do you think? Is it acceptable to “share” online?

Liz Weston on the Design Essentials Speed Networking evening…

Hello everyone.

This is a quick post as I’m 20 minutes away from my first client catch up of the evening and need to kiss our tiddlers good night before then as well!

Tomorrow night will be the first Design Essentials Speed Networking evening. We’ve been asked quite a few questions, so here’s the Q & A for everyone.

How does it work?
I have been asked by Wendy Howell, Founder of Design Essentials to come and co host a speed networking evening. I’ll come with my whistle and if I can find one, a gong.
  • Everyone will pair up with someone they don’t know, or want to get to know better.
  • I then blow the whistle and you tell them all about yourself for one minute.
  • I blow the whistle again and you stop talking, whilst the other person talks.
  • I blow the whistle again and shout “find someone new” (or something witty if I can think of it) and you find a different person to talk to.
  • It sounds terrifying I know, but it is so much fun and you find out all sorts of things that you wouldn’t do normally in a networking situation. By the end of it, people are laughing at themselves and each other, so please come with an open mind and be prepared for laughter. And the point of it is, that there’s very little time for change over, so make sure you’ve got a drink in hand to be able to keep going. We don’t take ourselves seriously and it’s not a “pitch” in any sense of the word. It’s making relationships and laughing at ourselves whilst getting to know other people.
How many people are coming? 
30 people – so bring at least 30 business cards.
What time do I need to be there? 
8pm – and we mean 8pm please, as we need to get started so everyone has a chance to meet each other. We’ll be done by 10pm at latest as we all have busy lives and people at home keeping the “fires burning”…
Where is it?
Goddards Interiors, Salomen House, CB10 1EH. Wendy tells me that the best thing to do is to park in the Waitrose car park and to park at ground level, not underground. Goddards is accessible from the car park. (Can you tell I’ve not been there before?)
What do I need to bring? 
Yourself, and your business cards, pen and note paper
And answers to the following questions:
What’s your name?
What do do?
What’s your twitter name and facebook url?
What’s the best thing that has happened in your day?
Who is your favourite business person and why?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
What’s your favourite piece from the Design Essentials collection?
Have you done speed networking before?
[You don't *have* to know the answers to these things, but it's good to have different things to talk to people about...] 
What if I get lost? What if I have a question I want to ask beforehand?
Call me, on 07515 910231 and we’ll help you find us / work out the answer with you…

What does it cost?
It’s free, but I think Wendy may have a charity in mind that she would appreciate £5 donations to, so don’t be surprised if she asks for them. You don’t have to donate at all, but if you’d like to you, I’m sure she’d appreciate it….

Liz Weston on … being yourself

You can’t please everyone all of the time – it’s a really popular saying, isn’t it?

But I also think that you can’t please everyone at any one time and that we shouldn’t try to. This blog post for example, won’t be for everyone. And that’s ok. Because I’m developing enough of a niche to be confident that there’s a group of people out there who will relate to, be challenged by or agree with what I’m writing and want to hear more of it. They will be entrepreneurs, future entrepreneurs, marketeers, business owners, investors, family and friends, competitors – all sorts of people. And that’s good, because it takes all sorts of people to make the world go around.

I caused offence today online by saying that if you’re going to go to a networking meeting, you should go for it when you do. Don’t stand in a corner, or at the sides, waiting for people to come to you – put your head up, project confidence and smile at people. We all want to hang out with people who make us feel good – we don’t go to a networking event to have to work hard at conversation. Lord knows, we’ve all got extended family members who can do that for us in an instant!! ;)

If you’ve got enough brains and get up and go to set up a business, or become a franchisee or partner in business, then you are truly letting yourself down if you don’t get out there and tell people about it. Do yourself and your business the justice it deserves – make relationships with people who can get out there and tell others it in your absence – give power of word the best chance possible! You never know, by telling someone about your day, and the interesting things you’ve done, you could end up hosting your own radio show on a commercial radio station, buying a business, getting a national contract that becomes your biggest client or meeting someone who looks like they could become a business partner for a future project that you’ve not told anyone about yet!

And yes, all of these things have happened to me within the last 12 months, from “having a chat” with people whilst out and about. What has happened for you, when you’ve been yourself?


Liz Weston on… a world of opportunity

Oh, the irony – I couldn’t spell the word opportunity correctly in the title! That’s made me laugh. Here’s my first post on my new url – – the place to find all the things I’m doing with my team, my thoughts on business, entrepreneurship and of course the eternal question – “can anyone have it all”??? ;)