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Archive for the ‘Acorn Marketing Cumbria’ Category

Juggling act

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

Running a business and being a mum really is a juggling act!  I’ve spent the day writing social media plans for next month, whilst I’ve got a roast in the oven and washing on the line.

For many years my business was my baby, I put my heart and soul into it.  It was my life.  But, since I became a mum (and step mum) things have changed.  I now have two babies to look after!  Most days I manage to do some form of work, but I’m often checking emails whilst building a jigsaw or reading a book to my little girl.

However, despite it being a juggling act I actually get the best of both worlds.  I can be at home and have precious time with my daughter, but then run a successful business as well.  So, how do I do it…

  • Be organised

My biggest tip is being organised.  There is no way I could do what I do if I was not super organised.  I have lists for each client and what we need to do, plans for social media, plans for advertising, plans for future plans.  I then have a weekly list of everything I need to get done that week with priorities, I even then have a notepad, where I write down what I need to do each day.  I know it sounds a lot, but when you’re juggling ten or so clients at a time, you need to write everything down and plan everything.

I also then have lists at home, shopping lists and lists of what we’re going to eat each day for tea.  I have a work calendar and also a family calendar, so everyone knows what they are doing and when.  My little one is only two and a half, so I think this planning is only going to stand me in good stead when she starts school!

  • Communicate

It is also really important to communicate well.  Not only does it help you to be organised, but it ensures my clients (and family) are happy.  I have a rule that I will always answer emails in 24 hours, or even just acknowledge people if I can’t give them an answer right away.  I also pick up the phone.  We often fire out emails when we’re busy and I’m guilty of that, but if I have something tricky to explain about a piece of work, or if I need a question answering urgently I use the good old telephone to sort things out – an art, which seems to be getting lost these days!

  • Support

Probably the key to my success is the support I have from family – particularly my Mam and mother in law.  Between us, we share the childcare.  If I have an important meeting to attend, I know one of these great women will jump into action, swap shifts and be there to help.  April goes to Pre-school in November, so I will have even more time to get things done!

  • Give yourself a break

I recently let things get on top of me.  I didn’t know whether I was coming or going and felt like I was doing a million and one jobs all the time with no respite.  It seemed like I put everyone at the top of the list apart from me!  I discovered a book called The Self Care revolution, which is fantastic and really gives you a handle on how to manage things, coping mechanisms, stress and how to ‘give yourself a break’.  I think we’re all too hard on ourselves to be perfect at everything whether that is work, motherhood, looks, ageing, weight loss and some times, we just need to take a step back and realise that actually we’re good at what we do.  We may not be perfect at everything, but we’re doing our best!

I now make sure I take some time out for me, cinema, spa days and a daily dose of Yoga.  Have a read…it could help you too!

  • Enjoy it 

The biggest thing is that I love my job.  I enjoy meeting clients, forming relationships, doing marketing and seeing projects come to fruition.  I also love being a Mummy (as most mothers do) and although I say I’m juggling, it’s not really juggling as it’s just life!  It’s what I do and I love it.  I get the best of both words, being a Mum whilst running a successful business.

If you are thinking of starting your own business and you’re a mum, I’d say go for it.  Yes, it will be hard, yes, there will be times when you want to go back to 9-5, but the rewards far outweigh the negatives.  There is no looking back!

Lisa gets a hat-trick!

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

Well, I only went and did it again…I got a hat-trick in the Enterprise Vision Awards.  I wasn’t sure whether to enter or not this year as I’d won twice before and thought I was perhaps pushing my luck.   However, my business has changed so much over the past few years I felt like I had a lot to tell!

This year, the main difference was that I was shortlisted in the Professional Services category – not Sole Trader category.  I was up against a firm of solicitors, HR company, recruitment firm etc.  Once you’re shortlisted you have to go through to a judging panel “Dragons Den” style.  You would think I wouldn’t be nervous after doing it twice before, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t.   In the past, I’ve talked about me as a person and the passion I put into my business, but this time around it was all about my business, why it was different and why my service offering stood out from the crowd.

This year the event at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool was even more special as Jili Allen, who does a lot of my design work was shortlisted, as well as my cousin’s wife and another colleague, so we all sat together.  I really did not expect to win this year as it was a tough category, so you can imagine when they called out my name I really was gobsmacked.  I know I say it every year, but it always comes as such a shock.  I was so happy as it is a fantastic recognition for all my hard work and effort I put into my business being successful.

Other awards

I am always banging on to clients about the importance of entering awards.  The PR you gain from just being shortlisted is brilliant, even if you don’t go on to win!  Recently my client Hunter Hall School; a primary school in Penrith has been shortlisted for several accolades.  Firstly they were shortlisted for best Marketing Campaign in the CN Group Golden Apple Awards.  Unfortunately, on this occassion, they did not win this award, but the coverage they got in local papers and our own self-promotion on social media was great.

They have also been shortlisted for two TES education awards – again in best Marketing campaign (fingers crossed!) and State School Partnership award, for their cross-country events they run for other local primary schools.  I am heading down to a glitzy awards ceremony in London in February, so I will keep you posted.

Keep an eye out for any local awards in your area, any industry awards that you can apply for – you have nothing to lose and could get a whole lot of free publicity as a result!

Being a working Mum

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Last year (October 2015) my business was turned upside down when I brought my beautiful baby girl, April Eleanor Rose into the world.  April was born 10 weeks early, so as you can imagine I’d not prepared for this.  I was in the midst of organising the Penrith Winter Festival and a plethora of Christmas campaigns for clients.  I had no option but to stop working when the doctors told me I was seriously ill.

I had to delegate delegate delegate!  I am a very organised person and very committed to my business, so it was a massive shock to the system.  One of the midwives could tell I was a bit stressed, so brought me some paper and a pen, so I could write lists and get everything out of my mind, so I could rest.  My clients were all fantastic and I think everyone appreciated the situation.  At the end of the day your health and welfare is more important than work!

2 weeks after I was admitted to hospital April was born and spent the next 8 weeks in NeoNatal and special care.  During that time I checked emails and did bits and bobs of work just to ensure things were still ticking over.  It was a good distraction and took my mind off how poorly April was, however she was my priority at that point.

However, running your own business means that I didn’t get maternity leave like other mums and come February had to start thinking about doing work again.  I had changed my business model in 2015, so instead of working for many clients at once, I could concentrate on a handful of clients…this has proved to be a wise move.

Running a business and being a Mum to April is probably one of the hardest things I’ve done.  I now have to rely on my Mam and Mother in Law to look after April while I work.  However, I’ve gone from doing 50-60 hours a week to 15-20 hours a week.  I also have to work more evenings and weekends.  One of the core values of Acorn Marketing is that if I say I will do something I do it and do it well.  I feel passionate about ensuring my clients are still happy with the work I do and try not to let having a baby affect the work I do for them.

working-mum Lisa Jackson Acorn Marketing Cumbria

Trying to work at my desk

1 year down the line, I’d say I’m still learning a lot about running a business with a baby.  There are times I wanted to give it all up and become a neonatal nurse, or get a “proper” job, but Acorn Marketing was my first “baby”.  I’ve worked so hard over the years to grow my business and wasn’t ready to let it go.  I make my business work for me and it can be flexible to fit around time with April.  I get the best of both worlds – being a stay at home mum, yet a working one.  I think the term you would use is #Mumpreneur!

I’ve had to learn to entertain April whilst checking emails, keep her quiet whilst I make calls or live on very little sleep…without falling asleep at my desk!  People used to say “you can work while she sleeps”, but it’s only now a year down the line that she will sleep in the day, so that never worked!  And frankly if she did sleep I would want to sleep, crash in a corner in exhaustion or prepare tea, or clean the house!

Going forward I would like to build the business up again gradually, so once April goes to school I can put everything back into it and move things forward.  At the end of the day, I love what I do and am passionate about the clients I have.  I’m not going to retrain as a nurse and once you’ve been self employed it’s hard to think about going back to work in an office, for someone else.

So, although the past year has been tough; particularly dealing with having a premature baby, it has been another huge learning curve – one I’m sure will make me stronger and a better business woman!

Lisa scoops 2 EVA awards

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Amidst the crazy year I’ve had, having a baby and running a business, I was proud to announce that I won an Enterprise Vision Award for the second year in a row!  I was once again shortlisted as Sole Trader of the Year in the Enterprise Vision Awards.  I won this category last year and it was a fantastic event that I decided to enter again.

Last year I was 26 weeks pregnant, so I didn’t get to celebrate properly when I won.  However, this year I was going to enjoy myself and it was also the first time I had left my baby over night.

I didn’t think I would win two years in a row and had convinced myself that I wouldn’t.  When my name was announced to say I was overwhelmed and emotional was an understatement.  I had to then give a speech to 600 people and I froze.  I could not get the words out and just burst out crying.  Luckily the audience were amazing and just cheered me on.  Last year I was cool and composed.  I deserved the award, but this year I felt like I deserved it so much more.  I have been through a really tough year having a baby 10 weeks premature (read more here), but despite everything I still managed to run a business and keep things going.  This year’s award felt like recognition for that.

Lisa Jackson wins second enterprise vision award

Lisa Jackson wins second enterprise vision award

Lots of champagne was consumed, dancing was done and a trip to the casino too!  We had a great night and really let our hair down.  Not only did we leave April, but it gave us the opportunity to reflect a bit about what we’ve been through the past year.

The awards recognise women in business in the North West and I feel so proud and privileged to have won this prestigious award once again – up against some stiff competition from other fantastic businesses.


Penrith ‘Paint the Town Red’ Winners Revealed!

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

Winners have been revealed for the window dressing competition which was held as part of the Penrith Winter Festival. Each year businesses in the town are invited to dress their windows and get into the Christmas spirit. This year the theme, as set by Penrith Chamber of Trade was ‘Paint the Town Red’ with businesses encouraged to have fun, add sparkle and be as imaginative as possible!

This year’s judges, Amyn Fazal and Heidi Marshall representatives from Penrith Chamber of Trade were certainly greeted with sparkle and imagination. The judges were impressed to find the two categories, Service Provider and Independent Retailer had received a fantastic response with around 40 entries, a higher uptake than in previous years.

Competition judge Amyn Fazal, President of Penrith Chamber of Trade commented  ‘Walking around Penrith town for a couple of hours is something we should all do regularly. The spirit that exists in the businesses and the huge variety of offerings out there is inspiring. I have a list of new places I want to visit and experience as a result!’

The judges wish to thank all businesses involved in this year’s competition and congratulate the winners. The award for Service Provider went to the Kiddlywinks Nursery display at Tim Roebucks Opticians for their fabulous tribute to ‘Save Lazonby Fire Station’, complete with mock flames, flashing lights and even a fire engine.

Kindlywinks Tim

The award for the Independent Retailer category went to Lakeland Music who created a modern and eye catching display with every single instrument perfectly showcasing the theme. With ruby red drums and crimson guitars, judges commented that sourcing this vast collection of red instruments ‘was a truly impressive feat. As a relatively new business to the town, shop owner Amanda Holiday was ‘simply delighted’ to have won.

Lakeland Music

This year a special Highly Commended award was introduced and awarded to the Ice Cream Garden and Tea Room who totally embraced the theme and quite literally ‘painted the town red’ giving their entire shop front a lick of red paint for the festive season. Other stand out entries included; Styleline for their giant Christmas cracker, Foundry 34 and Cartmell Shepherd for their impressive use of red ribbon, WCF for their fully accessorised festive model horse, Acorn Guest for recreating a mini Penrith winter scene and Maggie’s Bakery for their creative cake characters. While previous winners the Unicorn and Greenwheat Florist and Fika continue to deliver, providing strong competition with their beautifully decorative displays. A full list of all businesses who were involved in the window dressing competition can be found at

Ice Cream Garden

The Penrith Winter festival is organised by Penrith Chamber of Trade in conjunction with Acorn Marketing and Discover Penrith, funding from the Penrith Business Improvement District, the Pride in Penrith Lottery and sponsorship from the Lakes & Dales Co-Operative, Cumbrian Homes and Penrith Building Society.

We herald a New Christmas market in Penrith

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

A new Christmas market is to open this weekend as part of the Penrith Winter Festival.  The market, which has been organised and funded by the Penrith Business Improvement District, will take place in St Andrew’s churchyard, trading over two weekends, from Friday 11th – Sunday 13th December and Friday 18th – Sunday 20th December.

The market has been something organisers have wanted for several years, and now thanks to Penrith BID making this possible, the market will open bringing more festive cheer to the town centre to tempt Christmas shoppers.

Traditional wooden chalets decked out in twinkling lights stocked with Christmas gifts galore, festive foodie treats available to enjoy whilst shoppers browse and a seasonal atmosphere should really add a sparkle to Penrith at Christmas. Grownups may enjoy a glass of mulled wine while children pay a visit to Father Christmas in his magical Winter Wonderland Chalet.

The aim of the Winter Festival is to encourage people to ‘shop local’ and the majority of the traders involved in the Christmas market are local artisan producers and makers from in and around Eden/Cumbria.

Event organiser, Justin Wales from the Penrith Business Improvement District said,

“A Christmas market akin to those in larger cities across the UK was something of a pipe dream many of us involved in the Winter Festival have had for several years.  However, in 2015 we have been able to pull all our resources together to bring an exciting new market to the town.  We have over 20 stall holders attending the market over the two weekends with a wide variation of Festive treats for all generations to enjoy.”

The market will trade from 10am to 6pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 10am – 4pm on Sundays more details at

All details of the Penrith Winter Festival can be found on or pick up one of the free programmes in and around the town – which include some exclusive offers and vouchers for shoppers.

The Penrith Winter festival is organised by Penrith Chamber of Trade in conjunction with Acorn Marketing and Discover Penrith, funding from the Penrith Business Improvement District, the Pride in Penrith Lottery and sponsorship from the Lakes & Dales Co-Operative, Cumbrian Homes and Penrith Building Society.

The Benefits of Entering Business Awards

Friday, October 9th, 2015

For me, it was a huge accolade to firstly be shortlisted as a finalist for Sole Trader of the Year at the Enterprise Vision Awards 2015. But to then win was so unexpected, exciting and a massive achievement!

So I thought given this experience I would give a few reasons and words of advice and encouragement on why entering awards is so beneficial for businesses.

1) Firstly, I feel it is important to say size doesn’t matter! There are awards for all kinds of businesses from Sole Traders to Large Enterprises. So don’t let this put you off. The variety of awards around is vast. From local to national, generic business to specific industry based ones, so do your research. You can find out online or contact your local chamber of commerce for advice. Make sure you read the criteria carefully and pick the category which most suits your business and its current position.

2) The application process itself is a hugely valuable opportunity to look critically and properly appraise your business, to look strategically at its strengths and weaknesses. It encourages you to look at your business from an outside perspective.

3) An evening on glitz and glam! The evening itself is a great opportunity to celebrate and show your appreciation for your current staff. Also to network, make new contacts and showcase your business in a sociable environment in front of people who may be particularly influential in your industry.

4) Finally, believe it or not, it’s not all about the winning. Just being shortlisted for an award should be viewed as a huge achievement. This offers great PR opportunities, as well as; improving brand awareness, building a positive reputation and strengthening market positioning and profile.

I hope these are good enough reasons to encourage you to get motivated and get entering!

Best of luck,

Lisa x

And the winner is…

Monday, September 28th, 2015

And the winner is…Me!  Yes, that’s right I have won an Enterprise Vision Award (or Evas) in the ‘Sole Trader of the Year’ category.

The Enterprise Vision Awards recognise women in business from across the North West in sixteen categories, ranging from best small business to business woman of the year.  last Friday I attended a prestigious ceremony at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, with my husband, where it was announced that I had won.  Up against four other business women from across the North West, I had to undertake several stages of the competition to secure the award.

The initial stage of the awards was via an application, followed by an interview in Blackpool in July, where a panel of judges assessed me on various aspects of my business including the inspiration to become self employed, achievements and challenges to date, future plans for the business and the drive and passion behind the business.  Throughout August there was also an online vote, where members of the public could vote for me to win – so a massive thank you if you did!

I was stunned to hear my name announced as a winner at the Eva Awards.  All day I had been saying to myself that I wouldn’t win and that it would be a nice night out for my husband and I; to get glammed up and have a good time.  I really didn’t think I’d be standing up in front of 600 people giving a winner’s speech!

There were two other winners from Cumbria.  Alison Tordoff of Fidget Design in Windermere won the award for Creative Industry and Katie Robinson of Made in Flowers based in Kendal, won the Young Entrepreneur category – well done ladies!  I also met some other lovely women in business on my table who all cheered when I won!

To win a North West award is a real accolade for me and my business.  It rewards years of hard work studying, running my own company and making it a success.  I am passionate about the work I do and the clients I help and I think that is what shone through to the judges.  I felt proud to represent Cumbria and help showcase women in business in the area and I want to say thank you to everyone who took the time to cast a vote and help me win.

Feeling Festive in Penrith

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Penrith Chamber of Trade is delighted to announce that the Penrith Winter Festival will be taking place again in 2015.  Vital funding and sponsorship has been received from Penrith Business Improvement District and The Lakes and Dales Cooperative, also supported by Discover Penrith, Penrith Building Society and Cumbrian Homes.

The Festival, which takes place from 28th November to 24th December is in its fourth year and aims to add some festive cheer to Penrith and encouraging people to shop local and support independent businesses.

Over the past few years there have been significant changes to the way in which people do their Christmas shopping.  1 in 5 shoppers now choose to do the majority of their shopping online from the comfort of their own Home*.  2014 also saw some new trends such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday sweeping the market in Britain, which are set to have even more of an impact in 2015.  However, there is very strong evidence to suggest that people have a better “feelgood factor” when they shop at individual shops the Winter Festival is about bringing the whole community together to show what a great town Penrith is and to encourage people to do a little bit of their Christmas shopping here.  Buying just the vegetables for the Christmas Dinner can have a significant impact on the local economy.

Amyn Fazal, President of Penrith Chamber of Trade comments,

A lot of hard work goes into the planning of the Winter Festival and every year, businesses come up with some great ideas and there are some great ones in place for 2015.  We hope even more businesses will really get on board and join in with the Festival and that people from Penrith and right across Cumbria come and experience some of the great events, activities and promotions we have to offer.”

Planning has been happening for several months now as Penrith Chamber of Trade and the Festival team, led by Acorn Marketing have been working with and looking at new ways to get more businesses involved and to attract more people to the town.  Current plans include an #ElfieSelfie Competition, ‘Paint the Town Red’ event where you will be able to upload your images to Discover Penrith’s Festival Galleries online, Christmas Jumper Day, Christmas themed Park Run, Santa’s Post box with Virgin Trains, Totally Locally’s Fiver Fest & Small Business Saturday and festive music from the town band.

This year will also see ‘Penrith Sparkle’ with more Christmas Lights, including a Carol Concert involving local schools and community groups and also a new Christmas Market that will run in the two weekends leading up to Christmas all made possible by Penrith BID and promoted by Discover Penrith.

Penrith Chamber of Trade is encouraging schools, community groups and businesses to get in touch and get involved with the Festival to make it even bigger and better than previous years.

“The funding and sponsorship we receive for the Festival really helps get things going, but participation from the local community and businesses is what really makes an event like this special, shows off the town and encourages people to visit time and time again.”  

Further announcements are due to be made about the Festival in the coming months.  To find out more or to get involved in the Festival visit

Penrith Winter Festival funding secured

Penrith Chamber Stars of Business Awards

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Well, if you know me well you will know I have been working hard over the past few months getting ready for the Penrith Chamber of Trade Stars of Business Awards and annual dinner.

The Chamber has suffered over the past few years with a stuffy image and I was determined to shake off this image and show people what the Chamber can be all about.  This was my third Chamber annual dinner and my second Stars of Business Awards and I can honestly say I think I’ve managed to break the spell and make the event and joining the Chamber more appealing.

Our first year we had Hollywood themed with casino tables, last year we had an Olympic themed ‘do’ and this year we celebrated the “Best of British” and I was really proud to say that with a bit of hard work, some extra PR and Marketing we had double the amount of applications for the awards this year and tickets sold out in April!

The event itself went well, the food was delicious; with each course supplied by local food producers (I am proud to say pudding was supplied by my client Country Puddings and was delicious…what do you expect!)

Informative speeches by President Richard Utting and stalwart of Cumbria Business, John Dunning, founder of Westmorland Ltd.  I was touched that he mentioned me in his speech – my Grandad was the first Manager at Westmorland Services for 40 years.  He spoke about local people and the great connections we have in our county and that Penrith is the place to do business, at the heart of Cumbria!  I hope everyone took something from the speeches.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of awards with winners including Woggle Goggle, Karen James of Kiddlywinks, Cranstons and The Winter Droving (which I am proud to also be involved in as well!)

Finally we rounded off the evening with a ‘Best of British Village fete’ – Active8 events team helped me pull it together and helped entertain the guests with traditional fairground games such as Hoop la, Beer pong etc.  There were even fish (well carrots in bags) to be won.

We had some excellent feedback, though I am still shattered.  I thrive on events like this and am already thinking what we can do next year!