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Posts Tagged ‘lisa jackson’

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.