Meet Your Trainer: Judith Loughlin

Introduce yourself!

Hello! My name is Judith and I’m a seamstress based in Preston. I specialise in manufacturing baby slings for some of the UK’s top brands.

I also provide education and support to families who wish to use slings.

A combination of my passion for textiles, traditional crafts and babywearing led me to growing this business.  I have a busy household, with a partner, four school-age children and two guinea pigs to take care of.

Currently most of our time is spent on planning the renovation of our home, which we bought last year, but there’s always time for a nice cup of tea and a sit down with my knitting.

What inspires you?

The thing that most inspires me is to always be learning and learning from other people. I am the sort of person who constantly seeks out information and great detail about everything I become interested in.

Connecting with others to hear their experiences and knowledge is  what makes me tick. I’m not into ‘small talk’ – I love conversations to be big and exciting and truthful about stuff that really matters!

Making sense of everything I learn and how it fits together is what sparks new ideas and innovation for me.

What made you decide to be a trainer for The Growing Club?

When I did the Growing Club programme, I travelled from Preston up to Lancaster to take part. I fell in love with the GC ethos and way of working. I wanted to bring that supportive community vibe into Preston to make what the GC offers, available here.

Being part of the GC will also give me the opportunity to meet, connect with and learn from the amazing women in Preston who I don’t know yet. That’s the beauty of the non-hierarchical/peer-support element of Growing Club courses. It’s an ongoing cycle of connection, support and learning. 

What are some of the pitfalls for women in business that you’ve experienced?

I think the biggest problem for many women in business is fear. Before joining the GC, I had a pathological fear of asking questions and putting myself out there.

The month spent working on ‘Negative Automatic Thoughts’ really helped me identify unhelpful patterns of belief. I could then challenge them so I could get rid of that baggage and take a more balanced view.

If, like me, you are sensitive to rejection, that fear can be hard to shake, but fears that hold us back need to be faced if we’re to grow. 

How can The Growing Club help women to grow their businesses sustainably?

The reality is that being in business for women is a different experience than it is for men. Social and cultural expectations, stereotypes of women, stories we tell ourselves and the day-to-day practicalities of how we live our lives all impact our ability to grow our businesses. The Growing Club recognises this.  

The year’s programme covers the nuts and bolts essentials of running any business, through business skills workshops. But skills training alone isn’t enough for women when the laundry is piling up, the school run is looming, we need to look in on an elderly relative and cook the tea – growing our business can drop to the bottom of the list no matter how many practical skills we have.

The second element of the course focuses on putting personal and business growth to the top of our agenda: self-care, valuing ourselves and our time, undoing unhelpful patterns of thinking and learning to think BIG! 

The final element is the peer network for support and accountability – you’re not going it alone. With GC, you’re in a cohort of 10 women, with whom you will buddy up with for mutual support in between the monthly sessions. 

If you could offer one time-saving tip to a woman running her own business, what would it be?

My best time saving tip is to avoid double-handling. This is logistics-speak for ‘don’t do the same job twice’. Planning and being pro-active is what helps me to approach things in a logical order. This means that time isn’t wasted clearing up problems later that I’ve created for myself by avoiding tasks or doing half a job in the first place.

Being pro-active saves time and reduces stress – and when we’re stressed, we’re even more prone to making mistakes!

Tell me about your training course in Preston?

The Growth Programme will run in Preston from 15th May 2019 on the third Wednesday of each month for a year.  We will be meeting at the Intact Centre, Whitby Drive, Ingol PR2 3YP.

We meet monthly for workshops on different topics, starting with Goal Setting and taking you through a year of business growth. Throughout the year you will pair up with other members of the group for a monthly ‘buddy session’ for accountability and support.

Anything else?

If you’re a woman running a business in the Central Lancashire area you can join our Facebook group ‘Growing Together – Central Lancashire Women’s Enterprise Network‘ for local networking and support. 


It’s all about You

You probably know by now that we run a 12 month business growth programme for women running a micro business, social enterprise or charity. Well at the end of each course we do a fun graduation ceremony where women share their journey.

This is one such story…

My Growing Club Journey

I have been running my business in North Yorkshire for  6 years. I came to The Growing Club because I was feeling a bit isolated as a woman in business, looking for support from other women in similar situations and wanting to offer support and share experiences

I was looking for some focus as I had been through a few things that had knocked my confidence, self-esteem and belief in myself that I could do this!

We started off with goal setting and I found the initial task of setting a goal quite difficult at first and had to find it in myself to apply my thinking and concentration! But once I had something written down, it started to make sense. I realised I was scared to put it down on paper for fear of not reaching those goals.

Anyway, the goals were set and on I went!

I have learnt so, so much from being a part of The Growing Club, about running a business and maybe, more importantly for me, about myself  – in particular I have learnt that if you can focus on specific things, and break tasks down into more manageable chunks, they ARE achievable.

Doing a vision board has been incredibly useful for me, and after doing the first one early in the course, I have revisited it numerous times and I have since done another one, that I have added to as I’ve gone along.

I’m absolutely delighted, and to be honest still a little surprised, to tell you all that I have actually achieved my goal from that first task. My initial goal was to increase turnover by £10k, which I then crossed out because I thought it was too challenging! So I broke it down into smaller goals e.g. check supplier costs and prices. But, in fact the yearly turnover did in fact increase by exactly the amount that I’d written!

I feel that I’ve gained additional tools for my business tool kit – confidence to make changes, analytical skills, more observant, questioning. The ability to break tasks that seem daunting into more achievable chunks.

Having reached the end of this course, I find myself in the position of feeling that it’s time to sell my business and head for a new challenge. I’m totally excited to see what the future may be, I’d like to continue in business but in a different industry, exploring my other interests and seeing if I can make a living from them.

I’d like to thank every one of you for the time we’ve spent in each others’ company over the last year, it has truly been a pleasure. Thank you to Jane for enabling this to happen for us and many other women, and for being truly inspirational.

I’m looking forward to continuing being a part of The Growing Club in my future venture.

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If that sounds like just the kind of growth support you are looking for, the next growth programmes start in May in Lancaster, Kendal and Preston.

For full details please email admin@thegrowingclub.co.uk

Meet Your Trainer: Jennie Edmondson

Tell us a fascinating fact about yourself?

I ran the Everest Marathon!

What inspires you?

People who grow through adversity.

What made you decide to be a trainer for The Growing Club?

I have a burning desire to help women be their best possible selves.  


What are some of the pitfalls for women in business that you’ve experienced?

Some issues I’ve come across personally are: a lack of confidence, a lack of support, dealing with guilt and juggling a family


How can The Growing Club help women to grow their businesses sustainably?

We help by facilitating a space to step outside of your business and look at it objectively. Working ON your business is quite different than working IN it. The Growing Club helps women to get a different perspective to take positive action.

If you could offer one time-saving tip to a woman running her own business, what would it be?

PLAN – Plan your work, work your plan. 

Tell us about your training course in Kendal?

I’m very excited to be bringing The Growing Club to Kendal for the first time. We are going to take a journey together that will push you out of your comfort zone and into a new chapter of business growth and personal development. There will be work, laughter, possibly tears – but always cake!

Anything else?

Aim for consistency not perfection: imperfect action is where growth will happen.

One of my favourite quotes is: “Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change” Jim Rohn

Jennie will be facilitating The Growing Club business growth programme in Kendal. She’s holding a taster session on Thursday 14 March 2019, 10.00-11.30hrs, at Castle Street Community Centre in Kendal. You can book a ticket here.

North West Women in Business: Do you need us?!

The Growing Club is growing once more! From Spring 2019, we’re delighted to be able to offer our business growth training course in additional locations.

Women in business! Are you looking to grow your businesses in a sustainable way, complete with peer-support and a full programme of unique training methods?

If so, you can now access our growth programme in three locations: Preston, Lancaster and Kendal.

The Growing Club is an award-winning, 12-month business growth programme, created especially for women who are running their own small businesses.

Unusually, The Growing Club benefits from being highly subsidised, which means you can access this programme for a reduced cost to yourself – just £395 for a year instead of the full price of £1200.

Benefits of Training with The Growing Club

• A supportive network of 10 women business owners
• Monthly facilitated sessions
• Regular inspiring guest speakers
• Accountability partners
• Action-based learning
• Peer support
• 1:1 coaching session
• Systematic process of growth
• Emotional support
• Confidence building
• Confidential space
• Workbook

Now you can access this unique business growth opportunity in three locations, starting in Spring 2019.

Why not try before you buy? We have created a short taster session in each location, where you can see what we have to offer you and your business, as well as taking part in a seminar on 6 of The Best Ways we Sabotage Ourselves in Business and how The Growing Club programme addresses these issues with real solutions.

Preston

Our Preston programme is run by Judith Loughlin and Jane Binnion. Their taster course will be held on Tuesday 5 March 2019, 10.00-12.00hrs, The Larder in Preston. You can book tickets here.

Lancaster

The programme in Lancaster is facilitated by Katie Birks and Nicola Garrett. The taster session is on Wednesday 6 March at 13.30-15.00hrs at The Women and Enterprise Hub, White Cross. Book your ticket here. For more information, call 07892 712417.

South Lakes

The South Lakes growth programme is run by Jennie Edmondson. She’s holding a taster session on Thursday 14 March 2019, 10.00-11.30hrs, at Castle Street Community Centre in Kendal. You can book a ticket here.

Any questions? We’d love to talk to you about The Growing Club and how it can help you grow your business. Drop us an email at admin@thegrowingclub.co.uk or fill in the contact form here and we’ll get back to you.

Business Growth for Women