Hello 2014 – a New Year message for you from Talented Ladies Club!

We last posted an update of our progress back in October, on our six month birthday. So we thought the start of 2014 was a good chance to reflect on our developments since then (and the past few months), and share our plans for the year ahead.

So here it is, our New Year message to you – with exciting news of our first ever exhibition in February, our countdown of your favourite top 10 help articles, a summary of all the amazing women we’ve interviewed this year, and our plans for 2014.

Come and meet us at the Work and Family Show

Very excitingly, we’ve booked a stand at our first ever exhibition as Talented Ladies Club. Come along to the Work and Family Show at London’s ExCel on 21 and 21 February 2014, and say hello to us. You can find us in the Career and Personal Development Zone, and can also listen to one of our founders, Hannah Martin, in the Tech Tune Up session. She’ll be talking about how freelancers and small businesses can harness the opportunities of social media to help them grow.

The show promises to be an amazing event with career surgeries, talks, workshops and loads of brilliant exhibitors all of whom want to help women just like you make your ambitions real.

As well as Hannah and fellow Talented Ladies Club founder Kary Fisher, on our stand we’ll have some of our amazing contributors to help answer questions and offer advice. We’re also planning some useful handouts to get you started, or help you along, your post-baby career journey.

If you want to find out more about the show, and book tickets, visit their website.

Mistakes – we’ve made a few

Well not mistakes exactly, but things we didn’t know, or anticipate when we launched Talented Ladies Club.

You may have noticed that our homepage changed a couple of weeks ago. We’ve been talking with an SEO expert lately about how he can help us make some changes to our site, and he gave us one big, free tip – to put some copy above the fold (the bit of the screen you see when you land on a page). Previously we had our latest five stories, and a selection of some of our older ones in this prime piece of web real estate. But following the advice, we ditched our older stories, and instead wrote some copy to introduce our site, and help readers quickly find the content they want or need.

What do you think of the new-look homepage? Personally we’re quite pleased with it. SEO aside, it instantly tells any new visitors what we’re about which is a good thing, and we think it looks better too.

A new homepage isn’t the only change we’ve made to the site this month. When we started Talented Ladies Club, we didn’t envisage just how important health and wellbeing would be. Of course we understood what a vital role it plays in success, but we didn’t foresee how many interesting stories and articles (like this one on how working can help mums to beat depression) we’d have to publish about it.

So, as you may have noticed, we redesigned the navigation in our help section. We merged previous sections that made sense to put together, and created a new category in our flexible work, freelance and business sections for health and wellbeing. Hopefully you’re finding our help section easier to navigate now, and if not, please do let us know!

Our new weekly e-mag is a hit

Back in October we mentioned how we decided to change from a monthly e-mag to a shorter weekly catch-up of our latest stories. And it seems that you really like it. Rather than having to find the time to wade through a long, wordy email from us, you like the quick update of our newest articles, as well as a few of our old favourites.

We’ve got lots of new subscribers and are hoping to add even more in the year ahead, so you don’t miss out on any great career, freelance or business advice or inspiration. (If you haven’t sign up yet, you can do so on our homepage.)

Here’s to new relationships

When we researched Talented ladies Club, we identified some companies that we wanted to work with at some point in the future. One of which was Ten2Two. So we were delighted when their CEO, John O’Sullivan got in touch with us.

Ten2Two shares the same values and drive as us – a desire to help experienced and ambitious professional women realise their career ambitions while raising their family – and we’re excited about the ways that we can potentially work together and support each other in the future.

John’s not the only inspiring person we’ve connected with since launching Talented Ladies Club. We’re lucky to have built up an amazing team of contributors and advisors who have helped us publish really interesting and useful daily articles. And an overwhelmingly impressive group of ladies have generously shared their inspiring real life stories with us.

We’ve also come across lots of other amazing resources for talented ladies – many of them established by mums. We’re looking forward to working with several of them this year, and even meeting a few in the flesh at the Work and Family Show.

Our first ever training workshop!

In the beginning of December we ran our first ever training workshop. The two hour course included an hour’s overview of social media for business, and an hour’s training on Twitter.

20 talented ladies attended the event, and the feedback was great. There was a LOT of information to take in, so we gave every attendee a thorough booklet on social media and Twitter.

The average score out of 10 for the training was 9, and one lady got in touch to say she’d doubled her Twitter followers within three days! (If you need some help with Twitter, you can get some brilliant beginner’s tips here.)

We’re planning to run more face-to-face training programmes in 2014, but we’ll change the format a little. The workshops will be smaller and longer, with plenty of time for exercises to practise your learnings throughout the day. We’ll also be able to work with attendees on a one-to-one basis, so you’ll leave the course with a month’s calendar of updates you can use.

We’re also going to create an online training programme for Talented Ladies Club members who don’t live in or near Sussex, and can’t attend our workshops.

Our top 10 most-loved articles from 2013

At the end of every year, the media love to do their roundup of the year’s top lists – from movies to books to albums. We thought it would be interesting to revisit some of your favourite articles from our help section this year. So here’s our top 10:

  1. Three words you should never use to describe your work or business
  2. Your beginner’s guide to using Twitter for business
  3. Five reasons why mums’ businesses fail and how to make sure you succeed
  4. 10 common social media mistakes and how to avoid them
  5. The five biggest marketing mistakes small businesses make
  6. Six time management and balance tips for freelance and business mums
  7. How to write SEO copy for your website
  8. Three things every home working mum must forget
  9. Three important questions to ask yourself when looking for a job
  10. How to chunk big goals down into achievable steps

Look at all the amazing women we’ve interviewed!

One of the most popular sections of our site is our real life stories. Over the past few months we’ve interviewed an amazing array of talented ladies – from a bestselling author and primetime TV presenters, to food business owners, designers, singers and a cartoonist.

Here’s a list of all the wonderful women we’ve interviewed in 2013 (in case you missed any, you can find them all here):

  • Marketing agency owner Fiona Hennessy
  • Twitter expert Alison Perry
  • Jewellery maker Lisa Coles
  • Professional blogger and slummy single mummy Jo Middleton
  • Mrs Tinks founder Julia Boddy
  • TV presenter Laura Hamilton
  • Artist Vicki Palmer
  • Beauty salon owner Melissa Currie
  • Freelance copywriter Hannah Martin
  • Board director of Mercer Siobhan Martin
  • Creative women’s network organiser Melody Bridges
  • Lampshade designer Miranda Law
  • TV presenter Amanda Lamb
  • Jam and chutney maker Serap Slorach
  • Garden designer Sharon Hockenhull
  • Higgidy founder Camilla Stephens
  • Bridal boutique owner Lucy Hart
  • Celebrity PAs Meredith and Josephine
  • Actress and voiceover artist Suzanne Cave
  • Nudge-me founder Ally
  • Errands Plus owner Oga St John
  • Designer Jane Foster
  • Australian vocal trio The Stilettos
  • Cartoonist and author Jo Sandelson
  • Luxury boutique owner Alison Roberts
  • Cancer beauty specialist Jennifer Young
  • Author and journalist Fiona Gibson
  • Leaders in Heels’ social media manager Yolanda Floro
  • Makeup artist Pamela Moss
  • Diddipix creator Kirsten Harvey
  • Miniwardrobe founder Caroline Kendal
  • PR agent Ros Fraser
  • Jewellery designer Anne Bowes
  • Cake business owner Christina Saccoh
  • Travel counsellor Helene Weedon
  • Artist Lucy Ames
  • Personal trainer Trisha Sharps

Our plans for 2014

We’ve talked a bit about our plans for the year ahead – and we touched on some in our six month update back in October. We’re planning to offer more practical advice for you over the year – and find ways to put you directly in touch with the people and companies that can help you realise your freelance and business ambitions, as well as help you find really rewarding and genuinely flexible career opportunities.

And as much as we provide plenty of advice to help you balance your career and family, we’d like to put some of our own words of wisdom – and those of our contributors – into practice! As you can probably imagine, a LOT of time and work goes into Talented Ladies Club and we could probably benefit from some better systems ourselves.

In the meantime, though, all that remains to be done is to wish you all a very happy New Year, and a prosperous and successful 2014!