What do you do at CWS Creatives Meet Ups?

The Coffee Work Sleep Community was born out of a desire to find Lancashire based businesses and business owners to connect with in a more relaxed and organic way than the traditional networking events in my area currently offer. It wasn’t to rubbish the ones that already exist, I truly believe there is enough room and need for all of us. The business owners that come to our CWS Creatives Meet Ups find a home with us, and the other networking groups attract a different tribe and type of businesses.

Something I often get asked is,

What do you actually do at your CWS Creatives Meet Ups?

We’re not a secret society! I’m happy to share what our events are like! As I’ve said earlier the tone and feel of our meet ups is so different to other events that offer networking opportunities. I’ve worked hard to create a culture that is relaxed and as introvert friendly as possible. There are no elevator pitches, you don’t have to speak in front of the group, in fact if you just want to come and observe and only talk to one person that’s ok too! I want everyone that buys a ticket to feel comfortable when they walk through the door.

Thanks to the room we use at the co-working space, Society1, we have plenty of space to chat. You can walk around the room. You can move around the tables. Or just sit and let people come to you. If it’s your first time then I’m happy to introduce you to another member that I think would be a good connection or if you want you can just go mingle to your hearts content.

Liesa Jane Photography

We usually have two mini slots that will either be someone sharing about their business or running a taster workshop from the front. This very much depends on the speaker or business owner that shares. We can tailor how they present to the group to fit their business. Each Meet Up is a little different from the one before as we grow and develop to meet the needs of our members. I love getting constructive feedback so I can work to make our Meet Ups as beneficial as possible.

We’ve even branched out into hosting Meet Ups that are child friendly so mum’s with little ones and limited child care don’t have to miss out. These are co-hosted with another local business, BabyLoved Family and held every other month.

Robyn Swain Photography

Although we have a Facebook group, you don’t have to be a member of it in order to attend the Meet Ups. Members do get the ticket link first and a discount, so being in the group has it’s benefits! It also helps you to get to know people before you come along. We have name badges to help break the ice and theirs a huge sign in sheet that covers a table where we all write our names and businesses when we arrive. This helps you get to know the types of businesses that are there, if for example you’re looking to connect with a photographer.

Robyn Swain Photography

I can’t even begin to list the amount of collaborations that have started from CWS Creatives, whether it’s joint ventures, products, skill swaps or commissions. Everything that has come out of our group and meet ups has been completely natural, there’s no orchestration, just a load of like minded people looking to work together to help grow sustainable businesses.

I’m fully aware that what we do doesn’t suit everyone, and their business needs but it’s cool because like I said earlier there are plenty of networking groups with a different style that may suit others more. I’m even happy to refer people on to them! I’m not worried about getting my slice of the pie. It’s a big pie. In fact there are infinite pies!

Find out what one of our members, Rebecca, founder of Beau Baby thinks about our Meet Up events.

Whatever style of networking event you’re looking to attend I’ve got some top tips for you

-Take your business cards

-Think about how you want to present your business to people before you go

-Think about what you’re looking for, is it to meet people from a certain industry, to get connections, referrals, clients? Have some sort of loose idea before you go

-Don’t be salesy or pushy. I’d say this is especially true for our meet ups. People buy from people and if you push your agenda onto others your in conversation with them will soon shut down. No one likes to feel they are only being talked to as a potential sale or as a means to an end. 

So there we have it, a little peep into the world of CWS Creatives Meet Ups. If you’d like to know more about Coffee Work Sleep Creatives then send me a message!

Here are our currently scheduled Meet Ups in the Preston, Lancashire area.

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Is networking your jam?
Or is it something that you shrink away from?

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Coffee Work Sleep Creatives X The Northern Dough Co

We all know that working on your own can get lonely, whether that’s creating in a workshop or tapping away at your keyboard in a coffee shop or late into the night while your kids sleep. Not having colleagues to bounce ideas off to or just chat to about last night’s must see TV can soon become something you really miss. This is one of the core reasons why I created the Coffee Work Sleep Creatives, my community of creative entrepreneurs and small business owners, as much as this introvert loves having her own peaceful space to work I do miss having real life connections with people. I knew that I didn’t just want my creatives group to exist solely online but to have actual physical meet ups too. After a few months of just being a Facebook group I tentatively floated the idea of having a meet up and was blown away by the interest, not just from people I knew and already met for coffee one to one but people I’d never met in real life before. Last month we held our fourth meet up, and this one was a little different. Instead of being hosted by the team at Town House we met at the home of Amy and Chris the founders of The Northern Dough Co.

You might have spotted The Northern Dough Co products in the frozen section of your local Sainsburys or Waitrose, it’s ready to roll pizza dough. So what better way to showcase their produce to fellow Coffee Work Sleep Creatives than to host a pizza party! With cakes by Bex – The Brinscall Baker, who was our business spotlight for that month, it was the perfect culinary themed meet up.

   

 

Our members are from all over the North West of England (also a few based in North Wales and Southern Scotland!), but these meet ups usually attract those a little closer to Preston. One day I hope to have meet ups like this all over, but lets not run before we can walk.

 

Amy, Northern Dough Co and Bex, Brinscall Baker

   

 

Sometimes our meet ups are based around a particular theme, this time however, apart from quick intros from myself, our hosts and Bex the baker it was all about the mingle and the pizza and cake. Informal chatting at it’s finest. I loved having a wander and catching snippets of conversations, there was skill sharing going on, ideas being talked through as well as general ‘getting to know you’ kind of chats. 

 

 

The pizzas were delicious, as you’d expect them to be. Amy and Chris prepared them as we chatted and each pizza was stone baked in their outdoor oven. This totally got me Googling outdoor pizza ovens and imagining hosting our own family pizza parties in the garden! Of course, I’ll be hitting up my local Sainsburys to stock up on Northern Dough Co pizza dough.

 

   

If you are a female freelancer or creative business owner in the north west and would like more information about the group and our meet ups then take a look here –Coffee Work Sleep Creatives

We’ve got lots of exciting plans in September so come join in and be part of our community.

 

 

A huge thank you to Amy and Chris for hosting us and of course to Robyn Swain Photography for capturing the event so beautifully.

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Introducing the Coffee Work Sleep Creative Community

Working on your own can get lonely, and living your business life online can leave you craving some face to face time with people that just get it. Trying to find ‘your tribe’ or just other people choosing the path of self employment or business owning can be so difficult – let alone making your business profitable and finding customers and clients. This is where networking is needed.

When I say the word ‘networking’ it gets very different reactions.

I don’t know about you but I struggle at traditional, more corporate style networking events and sessions. The structures and time pressures and salesy vibes just cause my anxiety levels to shoot sky high. Yet I love making connections and collaborating with other businesses, so going to these events seemed to be a, for want of a better term, a necessary evil. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing bad about these events, per se, I just don’t think they are often set up with creative introverts in mind.

This led me to to take steps to set up my own networking group. I chatted the idea with a few fellow self employed friends to check whether I was being crazy and also whether it was something they’d find useful to join. Thankfully the people I talked it over with were just as keen as me, so with a glass of wine in hand one evening earlier this year I set up our Facebook group. From then it’s grown wonderfully organically with friends referring friends – there’s been no need to push or hard sell it to anybody.

The ethos behind Coffee Work Sleep Creatives is simple, we are a female only group, we believe in community over competition, we value authenticity and we are definitely not ‘hustling’ #girlbosses. It’s a group for female creatives that work for themselves or by themselves that live in the Preston area and the North West of England in general.

Each month we meet together to ‘network’ which basically means having chats over coffee, sometimes based on a relevant theme. The collaborations and contacts made from these sessions are not pressured and are completely organic, and this is something I love and want to continue to foster. We’ve had two fantastic meet ups so far in one of my favorite independent coffee shops, Townhouse Coffee and Brew Bar, you can read my write up of it here – The Best Independent Coffee Shops in Preston: Townhouse Coffee and Brew Bar

Instead of hearing from me tell you about it, after all of course I’m going to say how much I love it – I set it up! I’ll let you hear what a few of our members think about our online community and the meet up events –

Amy from Northern Dough Co – When you start up or run your own business (most often from home) the first thing you miss from office life is your colleagues. For me, this group provides a fantastic support network of ‘virtual colleagues’ to bounce ideas off, share experience with, and seek solidarity from when it’s most needed, whether in person at the meet ups, or knowing you can pose a question any time of the day on the group. It’s such a great resource, as well as a lovely way to make new like-minded friends. 

Leanne from The Lancashire Hypnobirthing Co – On a personal level, I’ve found it’s really helped my confidence. I’m quite an introvert and not usually found in big groups. The meet-ups are so friendly, relaxed and open. I really look forward to them. As a small business, it’s been invaluable to have such incredible, business savvy women around me to bounce ideas off, collaborate with and grow friendships with (the latter i’m really grateful for.) – I love it!

Christina from Fish 2 Photography – I enjoy meeting up with other small business in the local area. It’s great to have the ability to learn from and help each other with confidence, business and our dreams.

Emma from Isabella and Us – I loved the relax feel of the meet up. I was so nervous about coming as I’m not overly confident but everyone was super lovely! And I left feeling super inspired having met some lovely ladies.

Leona from Marsh Mill Interiors – I’ve not managed to get to a meet up yet, as I’ve always had a job on at the time. However, I’m really excited to be able to make the next one. The small business community is all about helping each other up. We are the backbone of modern society. 

Emma-Marie from  Mrsrawlinson.com– Finally a meet-up in Lancashire tailored to creative and lovely women who are running a business. It’s such a fantastic group for many reasons whether that’s to gain additional expertise to strengthen your brand or purely to feel less alone and more together thanks to the community vibe. 

The members group is currently free to join and based on Facebook. It’s a virtual group where you can ask even the silliest question, get business advice, network and make new friends. At the moment our meetings are members only, so once you’re in the group you’ll get access to tickets for the events. If you’d like more information about this group then please get in touch.

 

 

Request to join by clicking the image below

cws creatives members

You can find us on social media here – Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

 

A huge thank you to Christina, Fish 2 Photography,  for photographing our most recent event and letting me showcase the photos in this post.

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