Newcastle Photographer and Content Creator, Mandy Charlton, Always on a quest for adventure, often seen on buses, trains and planes. On a quest to be happier and healthier. Lives in Newcastle with her 3 cats, Iris, Maggie and Arthur. Loves good vibes, musicals and cakes. Full time professional wedding photographer in the north east of england alongside content creator on Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Entrepreneur Secrets from a CEO

Being an entrepreneur is hard, being a CEO is harder, running businesses, there are no short cuts, it's like some kind of psychotropic warfare (can you imagine that?) no one knows how it's going to end and you're not really sure how you're going to get to the place you want to be.

I've been an entrepreneur all of my life, I've always had the ideas and an unusual way of looking at things, I can see businesses from the outside with great ease and I can see business ideas everywhere, this of course doesn't count for my own businesses and this is normal, it's a lot easier to look outward than it is to work out what you need to do so you can yourself achieve.  Here's the thing though, we're so lucky now in the age of the internet to have mentors everywhere, approachable business people who really want you to achieve.  At The Inspire Network, our whole mission statement is to educate, inspire and empower female entrepreneurs everywhere and that's why I'm proud today to support a fellow female entrepreneur, Jayne of Allow Focus Monthly.

You see, when you start a business you're often still working a 40 hour week, it's hard to find the time to grow your business or to go and get help with the things you need, when I started my business it was about 2 years before I found a mentor or even asked other photographers questions, I just went about things my own way, made lots of mistakes but then achieved amazing things.  Today because of the wonders of the internet there are so many people around to ask, like us at Inspire Success and there are tools to help you on the way when you are starting up whilst still running a business.

When Jayne got in touch she offered me an affiliate link but because I passionately believe in this startup I'm not going to use it, I'm simply sharing this box with my world, my network, my women because I think each and every one of you could use this in your life.

So in each monthly box you'll find tools to motivate you, things to keep you accountable, things to help you plan your future and maybe a little treat or two just for you because you're working so hard to build a better life not just for you but for your family, those who love and support you.  I think as a female entrepreneur my mark of success isn't anything to do with money, it's when my kids tell me they're proud of me that I feel like I'm achieving the best things for them and for me.

Allow Focus Monthly subscription box, Mandy Charlton, CEO of The Inspire Network

I actually don't think there's anything else like this out there at the moment and it's even better for me that Jayne is from Yorkshire as we have our own North Yorkshire Inspire group based in Thirsk so I'm hoping if I ask her nicely she might come and speak at one of our meetings.  Often I think, as an entrepreneur there's the greatest of joy in the simplest of products, they're the ones which end up being the most successful and this is simple, beautiful and full of inspiration.  I for one cannot wait to have some time to read Carrie Green's "She Means Business" and when Looby and I finally get ourselves away for a proper sunshine holiday where I can have some time to lie on a lounger and read, this book is the one I'm taking with me.

I love the Allow Focus Monthly box and really, although it's aimed at women starting a business whilst still employed I think it's got a bigger reach than that, as an entrepreneur you never stop learning, you constantly crave inspiration so you can make it to the next level, this box is for all female entrepreneurs everywhere and I just wish I'd thought of it first!!

I was kindly sent this box by Jayne and have no problem at all recommending it to all of my friends and colleagues within The Inspire Network.  I declined the offer of becoming an affiliate because for me this was not about financial gain (actually if I was more financially motivated I'd have a busier life but not a happier one) this was about supporting a fellow female entrepreneur.


Monday, August 13, 2018

Pay What You Can Mini Family Photo Shoots. 30th September, Tynemouth for Mind

Every year I try to do a little good for my favourite charity Mind and so on Sunday 30th September I'll be shooting a day of Pay What You Can Mini Photo Shoots, I'll also be giving 20% of the proceeds to Mind UK, a charity close to my own heart as someone who lives with bipolar disorder and chronic anxiety, every year I try and do as much good as I can and so I thought this would enable families who might not ordinarily afford family photos to have them as well as raising money for a great cause.

Sessions will begin at 10am and run every 20 mins until 5pm and there is a suggested donation of around £75 which is what a session like this would usually cost, you'll receive all of the edited digital images.

The available sessions remaining (early morning, 13/08/18)

Available Sessions - 
10.40 Booked and confirmed
11 - Booked and confirmed
2 - booked and confirmed 
3 - booked and confirmed 

How to book - you can either send money via my Paypal Me link making sure it's a friends and family payment to avoid the fees or you can also send a bank transfer just ask for details and then as a reference write PWYC next to your name.

Please message before sending your donation, and because I expect these sessions to go super fast I can't hold sessions without the accompanying donation for more than 24 hours.

There's been a lot of interest, and I mean a lot, you can see that on the link and that's so heartening, I've already raised money and with a bit of luck by the end of this week I'll be able to send my donation to Mind.

Last year I raised money by selling old digital images, I'd love to raise over £500 this time and there is the possibility of doing 2 days at Tynemouth instead of just the one but I don't want to get ahead of myself so I'm going to fill Sunday 30th first and then decide.

I'm thankful that I've managed to get Harriet, Abigail and her lovely friend involved, if anything, this is a portrait marathon, it's the most sessions I've ever shot in one day so if I extend it to 2 days, I think I'll need to do some training, hehe.  I may even add another 2 sessions so I can do 20 in one day.  People are being very generous and I do like a challenge.  What I would say is I won't be making a profit from this.  I'm taking an entire weekend out of my calendar to do it and I'll definitely not be working during the week after.  I do hope that everyone goes away with at least 5-10 edited digital images , for some families this may be the first time they've had photos together whilst in others, my clients are doing it simply to do a good thing!

So, I'm ready for the challenge and together we're going to do good, come book me and let's make this the biggest portrait marathon in the northeast of England ever!

Friday, August 03, 2018

Challenges, Changes and Positivity

It's been quite a week since last I wrote, this year has much good in it, granted some huge challenges as well but isn't that what life in it's essence is about, we grow from the challenges and if anything, this week has proved beyond all doubt what an amazing team I have behind me, around me and with me at Inspire.  This month is scheduled to be a quieter month, I've promised we are not launching anything until September but then we have so much exciting stuff in the works that I genuinely feel excited about the year ahead, I say year because to me, September has always felt like a natural start to the business year, perhaps because of having children and I always seem to have much more energy to put things into place in September unlike January when all I want to do is build a pillow fort and hide in it until the spring comes.
Chester Cathedral with a teenager, challenges, changes and posititivity, Mandy Charlton, photographer, writer blogger

When Inspire became mine I didn't write a whole new set of rules or a brand new constitution because the ones we already had in place seemed to more than do the job but it's really become evident that we do need brand new positivity filled policies and so that's what we're working on at the moment.  I acknowledge that for some the transition has been challenging, even in a free Facebook group but I'm 100% confident we are moving in the right direction and the team I have around me, we're excited for the future.

This week I went to somewhere I'd never been before and somewhere I'd love to see The Inspire Network launch, Chester, that historic roman city which is full to the brim of micro-businesses on the high street.  I think we could do so much good for entrepreneurial women in Chester and I hope to see groups setting up there.  One of Chester's unusual features is that it has multi-level rows of shops, it's not something I've ever seen before on any high street and it fascinated me.  It's also home to the most photographed clock in the whole world, a tribute to Queen Victoria at the end of the 19th Century.  It also has an impressive 2 mile long set of city walls, just slightly longer than those of Berwick upon Tweed.

It's a quiet city, even during the day you could tell it was nowhere near as busy as say central Newcastle.  I was shocked to find out that Uber hasn't even made it's mark there, talking to a local business person he remarked that they do occasionally come to the city from Liverpool or Manchester but they never stayed in Chester as they just couldn't make money from being there.

Looby was only really interested in 2 things, the Rhoodee, the country's oldest race-course which has existed since 1539 and the Zoo which features in it's own tv show, the secret life of the zoo.  I have to say I was so happy to sit and watch the giraffes I got a little emotional, it's these moments of great beauty which remind me just how happy I have been and how happy I'm going to be again.  Times of transition are always a challenge when you have existing health conditions but some quiet time cleared my mind enough to know that the path I must follow now is one of meditation, mindfulness and reassessment of not only my mind but also my body.  I've always had a positive mindset but  chronic anxiety has been one of the hardest things and it's so much easier to trigger it than it is to kiss it goodbye again.

I am however resolute, like a horse I shall wear blinkers and only listen to the positive, the good, the happy, it's how I've run my own businesses as a photographer, blogger and writer for the last 12 years and I've attracted so many good people, many of whom started as clients and ended up as friends, something for which I'm truly grateful.

I'm off now to shoot a wedding today, portraits and a wedding tomorrow and then portraits again on the day after, winning "wedding portrait photographer of the year 2018 UK" hasn't really impacted on my business yet (it's only been a week since it was announced) but if it's anything like winning last years "portrait photographer of the year 2017" I'm already super busy all of the time, I can't wait to see what happens next.

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