Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places. Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger. Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Monday, April 30, 2018

The scariest most exciting decision I've ever made


The Inspire Network, a networking organisation for entrepreneurial women, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger and soon to be managing director of the inspire network



8 years ago I went along to my first Inspire Network meeting, I met ladies who would become friends, clients, colleagues and in some cases, all three things.  The Inspire Network was founded by one of those amazing ladies, Julie who saw a gap in the market for a networking association which was child friendly, over the years we've grown from one small meeting to several around the region, we've inspired women to take the leap into their own businesses and we've seen businesses grow and become forces to be reckoned with.  We bucked the trend by not having any advertising and as a not for profit we grew to over 10,000 members in our Facebook group.

In June of this year I will be the CEO, I'm taking us into a whole new era with a team of trusted advisors behind me, late last week as the news was announced, I'd already chosen 2 of my new board of directors and my 3rd and final director and shareholder is in the works.  Together under my leadership The Inspire Network will be making the leap from not for profit to a company which will make a profit but with our community of the most amazing women at the heart of it.  

From June we are opening up our group to women all over the country and I won't stop working until we are a global brand.  We are working with our members to increase the number of groups we have and will be moving over to a licensed/franchised business model.  We will be offering new sponsorship and advertising opportunities and we'll continue to support our members at every level of business or entry into business.

For me this is a whole new challenge, it's unlike any job I've ever had before, I have been a director in name for the last 3 years but now this becomes my company, my fight, my mission to succeed.  I still have to get from no profit to turnover to profit so that I can myself even start taking a salary but I'm able to do this because I have Mandy Charlton Photography which is a success in it's own right and which will continue it's path of being known as one of the regions best photographers.

I've never been afraid of hard work, try shooting 300+ photography sessions in one year and tell me differently, try running a business for any length of time and you'll know what you have to do not only to survive but also to flourish, from small acorns grow huge oaks.

I've blogged about most aspects of my life and so it feels right that I should share this news, this journey, this monumental battle with you my readers.  I'm doing this not just for me but for my daughters and for every girl who has a dream that one day she's going to have her own business, as women we continue to break glass ceilings every day but in a world still dominated by the patriarchy our fight to be accepted as equals has only just begun.

As women we are fierce and wonderful in business, we are brave, we are daring but whatever happens we care, we are after all filled with not just business sense but we have the EQ to go with the IQ and so when you have an organisation of women supporting women in business, the most amazing things can happen and as my old mentor, the great Jane Graham MBE once told me, there's no such thing as competition only collaboration.
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