Archive for the ‘Work Stuff’ Category

What a difference a month makes!

This time one month ago, I was almost home – having got in the car jam packed with all my belongings that hadn’t already been moved. A tearful goodbye to some dear friends and a slow drive and my life was just about to take a dramatic turn. Not only leaving a secure income, good friends and a lovely house, but I was suddenly about to embark on living not just with people again, but my parents, no job, no income and few friends left in the area.

A month on and I haven’t looked back!!!

Things are going really well with the business, old friends are peeping out of the woodwork and I have been up and down the country so much I’m yet to really annoy the parents! Fabulous!

Here is to the next few months!

Hannah x

Bright Digital Minds

If you haven’t heard by now then here is the news;

– I left Existem AM after 3 years
– I moved back in with my parents to Derbyshire
– I turned 26

Most importantly…

– I launched my very own business!

Bright Digital Minds launched on Tuesday 6th September 2011 after lot’s of late nights and long days with the lovely site designer Zak. Set up to help all the small to medium businesses out there manage their social media and blogs, something that should be done, but is quite often shoved to the bottom of the list due to time and resource constraints.
Specialising in training and consultancy along with hands on management, Bright Digital Minds offer a cost-effective outsourced solution to help grow your brand and increase your brand advocates online.

Official blurb over, I am loving being my own boss! I can spend time with my lovely nephew without having to be on a lunch break, I can nip out to the shop to get a paper and best of all – I can wake up at 9am and not worry!

Watch this space, I’ll be bringing you all updates as things move along! If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch!

x

My Top Ten A4U Expo Bits – In No Particular Order

A4U Expo London 2010 – what a blast! It was a great opportunity to meet new people, catch up with old friends, party hard (although not in my case) and learn loads about the industry I love! The new venue was great (although the walking to it wasn’t) and it was a really great, if knackering few days! I thought I’d pop down a few of my favourite bits – in no particular order!

1. The peroni glasses – there may have been some ‘borrowing involved here’ – soooo funny! the challenge was to get 4 – we got 6 – so many happy faces all round – now to get them to the other side of the world!

2. The photo booth – some absolute classics taken – I had a load taken with some very dear friends which I will now treasure! Some comedy genious pics taken too – although a health and safety warning must be given too for any necks using the machine!

3. The speed networking – Absolutely brilliant – A great chance to meet a number of affiliates and get their business cards – cracking!

4. The sausage and mash – The food was great this year – a hot meal at lunch to keep you going on a busy stand! nom nom nom! – The below pic is neither sausage or mash – but just too funny to leave out!

5. The freebies – some awesome free things given out including post it notes, pens, sweets, bags, screen cleaners, chalk mugs, normal mugs, chocolates, notebooks and so much more! Brilliant!

6. The sleeping stairs incident – *snigger* – Someone got tired and took a nap on the spiral stairs – *snigger*

7. The nipple tassles – There are no more words needed here than just – nipple tassles – they kept me and a few others entertained for a good few days after the event!

8. My Friends – I’m not going to name everyone here, because there are too many – needless to say the people know who I’m talking about when I say they all made it very special – many laughs, some good chats and a really great time had together!

9. Graham requesting then knowing all the dance moves to ‘all my single ladies’ – That’s all you need to know about that – well, OK, Graham decided to request abit of beyonce, so he steamed on up to the dj, on came the song and lo and behold – he knew all the dance moves! Legend!

10. The EAM Appartment – We all stayed together this year, in what turned out to be the affiliate pre and post party zone! It was great being with the team and having a sofa and tv to chill too! Awesomeness!

Manchester A4U Roadshow Roundup!

What an amazing few days! The second and final a4uexpo roadshows were in Manchester then Edinburgh, and fell right over my 24th Birthday! Yes I know I look older, but anyway! Mark the boss man decided he would drive us in his car, all the way to Manchester, then on to Edinburgh, then all the way back, which is where I am currently writing this from.
We left the office at 10.15 am on Tuesday morning, before heading over to get Jason from Easy Content Units. We then headed up to Bristol to get A4U Expo’s very own Chris Johnson! We were picking him up from a roundabout and the bugger was late so we spent quite some time going round and round two different roundabouts, getting VERY dizzy before he finally turned up (wearing pajamas!). There were some strange music choices which involved Oasis, Buddy Holly, Neil Diamond, and any other random act you can think of! The highlight for me was the whole cast recording of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour dreamcoat! Chris was less impressed!
We hit some traffic joining the M6 from the M5, and eventually Mark turned off and we followed his Sat Nav, voiced by John Cleese, round the back rounds until we finally arrived in Manchester at around 3.15. I breifly saw my parents who were travelling home from Liverpool and had bought burgers for the boys but not me :(, then it was into the hotel room for a quick change and straight back out again! The hotel room will be a whole new blog post! YUCK!
We were all starving after our journey so instead of going for dinner, we headed straight out for Nando’s! mmmn Nando’s! Neither Mark, Jason or Clarke from Paid on Results had eaten Nando’s before, so what a treat for them! Myself and Chris are veterans so we were chuffed to be eating one of our favourite foods. After devouring our respective chickens we headed off to the venue to find the guys from CJ already outside waiting for us! And so the partying began! CJ had kindly sponsored the bar so the 80 or so people were drinking for free! hurrah! It was awesome to finally meet people I had chatted to through facebook, and the a4u forum and twitter for the past few years! It’s a bizarre world I work in whereby most of my close friends I have only met once or twice! I manged to get through a couple of wines before insulting Alex from ASAP Ventures. When he said he was from Buenos Aires, and I said ‘thats in Cuba’! Knowing fill well it isnt, its Argentina! Stupid me! I love the musucal Evita, so what i was thinking, i really dont know! Myself and Lee McCoy drank the bars tiny stash of Mount Gay before being forced to drink other rums… yuk! I should thank him for buying me a Plymouth Gin and tonic for my birthday (which he said he will be expensing)! Helen from the it guide came out with a great idea of getting her wedding sponsored, so we had a mini plot of what we could get sponsored! God, it was a random night and it hadnt even begun!
Many people began dribbling off to various bars with shots or strippers or both but as we were travelling we all decided to go and get some food, so off we headed to China Town. We found a Chinese and myself, Chris, Mark, Jason, Darren from Linkshare and Steve from the Gift Experience headed inside. The food was, erm, not the best and I’m thankful I only ordered a starter for my main course. Now, as I was with 5 boys and it was minutes away from being my 24th Birthday I felt I would have to ask for my own cake. Which I did! They didn’t have any cake, but the nice waitress took it upon herself to find me something! So after the meal, the lights dimmed, the crazy Chinese happy birthday song came on and out she came with an icecream witha candle and an ‘ice fountain’ (which my client, Night Sky Lanterns sell).
Ice Fountains
After all the excitement, we decided to walk home, following Jasons directions… never again. We ended up having a major trek around Manchester and we must have passed the hotel at least 3 times before we finally got inside! Straight to bed to catch a crazy Ben Fogle programme on the Peak District and I was asleep.
minging bath
The next morning, I couldn’t shower as my bath had stuff growing in it, I headed downstairs for breakfast, which was yet another major FAIL… There were a few broken faces that morning as I attempted to get breakfast! It was then time to set off on the next part of the journey, up to Edinburgh!

A Truly Heartfelt Thanks

It is hard for me to believe that in October 2007 (just over 18 months ago) I didn’t know what an affiliate was, or what they did. Now I have been nominated for an award for my work in the affiliate community. It is tremendously hard for me to fathom. I guess before I go into my thankyou’s I should explain just what a personal acheivement this is for me.

It’s mid October 2007 and my current manager and boss in passing conversation say “We’ve decided you will be looking after our affiliates and white labels” – Affili-what??? The current affiliate manager, a dear friend of mine had lost interest (which he will admit) and they saw my skills coming from a sales background and my flair for talking to anyone and they put the two together.
I’ll be honest, I resented them incredibly for not even asking if I wanted the job, just thrusting it upon me. I had just left a well paid sales job and had moved from Twickenham to Watford for this one. I wanted to do core marketing, writing was what I loved so I was angry about being forced into affiliate management. Anyway, I battled on and learned the trade but faced ‘no’ at every corner. Eventually I began to understand the needs of an affiliate and how they worked and grasped the concept of cookies and tracking and the odd voucher code. Then came the time when how a feed worked really sank in! I even managed to launch the programme onto a second network!
By the spring of 2008 I was getting really really fed up of working for the company, fed up of the corporate policies and waiting months for an answer, sick of people not understanding my job and not understanding the power of an affiliate. I was ready to give in and go back to sales or another form of marketing. Then came the best news… After reading on the forum that there was a last minute place to Barbados with Affiliate Future I put my heart and soul into winning a place, I begged, humiliated myself and stayed up all night with my laptop just incase someone elses entry was better than mine. I won a ticket!!! (Thanks Sunshine.co.uk!)
Barbados was my first affiliate event, so boy was I nervous! I met some of the nicest, hard working amazing people on that trip who not only proved that yes, afterall affiliates ARE human beings, and where I had a secure salary, they didn’t. I had a few very in depth conversations with people and it was then that I realised I loved the industry, loved the people, but did not love my current company!
Returning to the UK and back into the swing of things I began looking for a new job, and tried to get to as many get togethers as possible. A chance meeting at a get together and I met Mark.

“you’ll give me a job” said a drunken Hannah… A few weeks later and another get together and again “You said you would give me a job” eventually Mark caved and said maybe. I had an interview in the late July where I met Mark and Bruce, we shook hands over a few glasses of wine and a kebab, and in the Septemeber I made the move to Plymouth.
Having never been to Plymouth before I was understandably nervous, but Mark and Lorraine and Martin soon made me feel at home, and of course I brought Monkey the cat!
Mark spent alot of time training me in the finer arts of Affiliate Marketing whilst Bruce worked from Milton Keynes teaching me the finer arts of big words and increased my vocabulary! It has been great to spend the last 9 months working with such passionate, devoted industry figures who both in their own rights deserve awards, if only just for putting up with me for such a long time! I think we make a brilliant team, constantly throwing ideas around, teaching each other tricks of the trade and most importantly we have fun and love what we do.

So I guess what I am trying to explain is that the past 18 months have been a steep learning curve, and I have gone from someone who hated all things affiliate to someone who loves affiliate marketing, I dream about it, talk about it constantly and spend my life online. I know it sounds sad, but my closest friends are in the industry, my role models are in the industry and the people learn from are in it too. It isn’t just a job to me, it is a lifestyle. I think those of you in our ‘community’ will feel the same way as I do.

Being nominated for ‘Account Manager of the Year’ came as a shock I have to say, although some people had kindly said they would nominate me, I felt that there were more deserving people in the industry, and let’s face it there are 34,493 members of the forum (at the time of typing this) so just a few people is a small snippet of all those eligable to nominate. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, trust me if there was a way of me finding out who nominated me I would thank you all individually. As it is I am having to blog about it! I wish I could thank everyone individually on here but so many of you have contributed to me either as a friend, with advice and tips or just a good gossip that I would be here all day saying thanks to you all! I guess thanks mainly to all you affiliates, Mark and Bruce for taking a chance on me, the Network staff and my lovely clients!

Thankyou, with all my heart thankyou all for the nominations, the support, the jokes and the friendships. It means the world to me. There are some great contenders in my category who are all more than deserving of the award so good luck to you all.

I hope to see you all at the awards ceremony for a drink or several. Oh, and can someone stop me flirting with Jason Manford, he is quite beautiful!

Hannah xxx

Oh if you do want to vote for me (so I can meet Jason in real life) click here.

Or if you want to vote Existem Affiliate Management for Agency of The Year click here.