My passion for going against the grain and the need to be different started at a young age. I remember cutting up my clothes to create something unique & unusual that showed my personality. I borrowed my Mum’s 70’s floral shirts and turned them inside out and wore them backwards tucked into my cut off denims.
I studied Business Management at The London Institute and went on to graduate with a 2:1. After which I enjoyed a fast paced freelance career working for magazines, newspapers, musicians & artists.
After a change in direction and 2 children later I began searching for something rewarding that would make a positive impact on other people’s lives and I believe everyone has the potential to be a successful business owner following their dreams.
love of events
After 5 years of writing plans in my “Business Ideas” book (which I still treasure today) I came up with the concept of The Beauty Event. This was one of those “little” ideas that exploded into something really quite big all in a relatively short space of time. Before I knew it I was hosting events all over Bristol, including The Pamper Area at “Women Outside The Box Festival” in the autumn of 2012 & 2013.
It was absolutely amazing – but I frequently struggled with getting the balance right between work, life & family. Anyone who has worked in event management will understand the singular responsibility. It is a tough, demanding job - a complete rollercoaster ride – one you cannot stay on forever!
May 2014 marked the last event for The Beauty Event, ironically it was The Merrymaking Festival! After some real soul searching it was clear I needed to put my family first, so it was back to the book of “Business Ideas”.
Retrospectively it was obvious, but at the time I had not even recognised the interest that was being shown in my social media skills – thankfully whilst running events with efficiency and intensity, my next business was sowing its first seeds all over the place!
With my mind made up it was time for me to focus my notorious 100% into making it happen. Only 7 days after The Beauty Event was put into retirement, SHC Social Media was born. Three clients were signed up in the first week, apparently both event exhibitors and therapists had been watching my successful marketing efforts on Facebook and wanted the same for their businesses – reach more people, get more bookings!
In its three year existence SHC Social Media supported over 200 business owners identify and navigate their social media needs. New clients were constantly being drawn to the authenticity of my social media presence and by my genuine, personal service approach. I was making the difference that was so important to me, helping others build business success through providing effective and practical solutions, developing their online confidence and providing consistent, unwavering support.
What’s more I was building my network online and realised that doing so put me in the perfect position to offer more than “just social media” – I could help people make the connections and find the collaborations they needed to propel their business to the next level considerably quicker than they could alone – online and offline. No need for the book of “Business Ideas” this time.
Time for reflection
The Christmas of 2016, unprompted by Prosecco, I started to reflect on the notion of face-to-face networking in Bristol. I had done my fair share and had a lingering suspicion that there was more to it than long table lunches, sixty-second pitches and a diary full of follow-up ‘coffee chats’. It was time to branch out and in usual style, I just did it. I booked a table for ten people at Goldbrick House and set about finding nine other people to join me! And so, Come Network With Me was born!
Since then, CNWM has evolved into offering networking experiences which are as diverse as the female business owners who choose to attend them. Its success is a result of constant innovation and a succession of different event types that provide value, supported by both an online Facebook Community and a Membership Tribe.
stepping up to my name
With two businesses up, running and growing exponentially things started to get a little tricky from a logistical standpoint. It was time to consolidate. It was time for me to step into the spotlight and put my business, which fills me with such pride, to my name, of which I am equally proud!
The next chapter began – sarahcook.co.uk Inspiring Passion | Creating Engagement
Social Media can be perceived as time-consuming at best and completely unapproachable at worst. My clients value that I understand this and with them from their starting point to eliminate the perceived challenges across a number of different platforms. They value that I instigate is alternative thinking and a mindset approach that presents social media as less of a chore and more of an adventure. When my clients see improved engagement and tangible results from their time investment they are inspired with confidence. They value the power of clarity, consistency and simplicity of my short term solutions and long term strategies.
I love what I do and I am incredibly grateful for my business success past, present and future. It just goes to show that if you are driven by passion and constantly move forward with decisive, strategic action – anything is possible!