Cornwall businesses help raise money

Why I chose to #FollowTheFairies anyway

More heavy rain tapped on the streets of Falmouth this morning as somehow another Friday has sneaked up and hoodwinked us into thinking this means a day of rest. Sometimes this is the case, but this week doesn’t seem like one of those weeks.

Gearing up for all sorts of things that need to be sorted for my trip to help families in Ecuador prepare small cacao plantations; whilst trying to meet deadlines for clients from Truro to Trowbridge and ‘Cisco to Singapore; something about those pesky fairies goaded me into ditching the pressures of PR; the wonders of writing; and use my words for free.

If corporations are helping people does it really matter?

Marketing magic or fairy dust?

Arguably, a marketing campaign on both their part and mine, the fairies tell us to help people; as they are doing. To raise brand loyalty, yes. But also to actually help people. Unlike the M&S campaign, I don’t have heaps of money to throw at sensationalising my ‘good deeds’. I just work some extra hours and – yes – probably feed my Florence Nightingale complex. Will I gain recognition by working for free? I doubt it. I’m an atheist so I don’t think it secures any afterlife for me.

But I didn’t get into this industry to make loads of money, though. I did it to feel empowered and move away from an education system I felt was demonstrating the wrong values to students; perpetuating stigmas. I did it because I actually love words. I did it because I want to empower local communities to create opportunities for young people. And I continued with it because I have started to see the changes taking place.

Albeit subtly.

I wax lyrical about patience and tenacity; the two being major players in the long waiting game of content marketing. At the same time, I run consuming PR campaigns, liaise with businesses from foragers to wine experts; cacao farmers to counsellors and most things in between. I type and tap and edit and ponder and I feel permanently unable to catch up with my to-do list.

And yet in the middle of this frantic world of rushing photos here and articles there, and getting x linked up to y; sometimes it’s good for me to just remember what’s really important. So, when a little girl I used to babysit for (who is now 30…) asked me if I can help to raise awareness about her campaign to help Abi walk, I took the fairies’ advice and I used some of my day to help get this campaign some traction.

I’ve always felt with charity that I can give time more than money; having still not got out of my student overdraft. So even though I know my ‘good deeds’ are perpetuating a campaign for a big corporation, and even though writing about them instantly devalues their altruism: hopefully they will help, in some small way, to make a difference to someone’s life.

Professional writer and press manager

What are Cornish businesses doing for equality?

The living wage is now £7.65, whilst the minimum continues to fall short by an unjustifiable £1.15. I’d argue that although the Guardian claim that over a fifth of people earn under this figure: most people in Cornwall do.

Hire Cornish copywriters, web designers, cleaners and drinks providers

Cornwall has a history of hard work and innovation

Being only a small startup myself, I am committed to redressing the stark disparity of wealth I have seen in Cornwall since I grew up here. As a teenager, I slaved for 70 hours some weeks earning £3 an hour in one of the county’s popular tourist cafés. As an adult I taught children whose families were often surviving on a collective income of less than £20,000 and recently Cornwall has been pronounced the poorest area in Europe. I feel very strongly about the incredible work organisations such as Whole Again Soups, Slow Food Cornwall and The Cornish Seaweed Company carry out; empowering people within the community through food education.

As a food writer and social media maven, my role, I feel, is to help create opportunities; empowering people to start their own companies and raise their standard of living. This will come in time, but is a strong part of my business plan. I can’t do it alone. Despite having had a Florence Nightingale complex most of my life, I need the help of other local businesses.

What can local businesses do for equality?

We can buy local!

Support local businesses in Cornwall by finding local writers, designers, artists

Shop local, eat local: Cornwall

Copywriters are everywhere. And what’s great about us is that we can work remotely. However, just because I live in Cornwall, this does not mean I should be paid less to do as good a job, if not better, than my London counterparts. Local businesses should be keeping their focus on employing local people; from web designers to illustrators; from cleaning companies to drinks providers. Similarly, it means that anyone carrying out any work for me should be paid fairly. If I can achieve this on my profit margins, then big business sure as hell should be doing so. I am confident that other local businesses are doing their best to provide opportunities and support locality in our beautiful county.

I wrote recently about Cornwall’s fantastic entrepreneurial spirit. Despite this social disparity, communities work together and there are people with excellent minds and ideas innovating daily within the county.

Through supporting local, buying local and eating local, we can create our own economy down here and keep the innovative and hard working spirit of our tin toiling predecessors very much alive.

Professional writer and press manager

The Launch 2014: Celebrating Cornwall’s Innovation

In weather that can only be described as pathetic fallacy this week, Falmouth has seemed at once chaotic and beautiful; windy and mild; now exciting and nerve wracking. Last night I took my notebook to The Launch 2014, where we donned branded waistcoats and chatted words, branding and strategy with some of Cornwall’s finest bright minds. Professional journalists, Copywriters in Cornwall, innovators, artists and crafters.

Empowerment

Along with its unrivalled beaches, diverse scenery and friendly manner, Cornwall has been receiving a lot of attention recently for its innovation. The Launch celebrated this. In a place with such stark inequality and disparity of wealth, one of the things I have enjoyed the most is seeing Cornish people take back some power. Where we can’t find jobs, we create them.

It’s core to my business ethos.

Boscastle attracts copywriters

Artists, Writers and creatives are drawn to Boscastle

Growing up in Boscastle meant I was blissfully unaware of how stunning where I lived was, in comparison to the rest of the UK. I mean, I thought everywhere was like that. Everywhere was full of creative people: writers, artists, and musicians. Cornwall is a breeding ground for excellent writing.

Don’t get me wrong: Dorset is biscuit tin cuteness; Wales’ dramatic black mountains conjure somewhere between Middle Earth and Narnia; the lakes and peaks ‘oop North’ are gorgeous. But, for me nothing beats a good sunset at Widemouth or Trebarwith. These places are seared to my brain, since I played there as a child. Even after living in some interesting and exotic places, such as San Cristobal on The Galapagos Islands, I can’t find beaches that match their beauty.

Cornwall, you see, is a brand

In many ways the iconic landscapes, the rises and falls of tides, and the association with DuMaurier, Hepworth and good old Richard Lander demonstrate Cornwall’s eminence exuberance and infamy. In a place famed for toiling tin, for hard workers and innovators, Cornwall is still resplendent on the international stage; putting its unique stamp on products from handmade pasties to bespoke websites; from agile and creative words to hand made artisan chocolate.

Even beaches in the Galapagos Islands don't rival the scenery of Cornwall

La playa de Chales Darwin, Santa Cruz, Galapagos

The seed cracks open

I may have quoted Occelli before, so I’ll paraphrase: to achieve its best, a seed must crack open and turn inside out; externally this appears as destruction, but essentially, it is regrowth.

Cornwall is an impoverished area. Eurostat reports released earlier this year, claim that due to its disparity of wealth; cost of living for the poor leverages less spending power than anywhere else in Europe. Yet the launch last night told me that innovation is very much alive, and leading aspiration in the county. Local businesses in Cornwall need to create opportunities for young people in the community.

Cornwall is also a hub of innovation. Over 20 startups exhibited at The Launch yesterday evening, and I have spoken with and met several others this year at various food fairs and networking events. We may be lacking support from a London-centric government, but we won’t go down with that ship. We will come up fighting, like the Celts who crafted us and we will persist as a brand.

Cornish creativity is some of the best

Emerging from Cornwall are some of the finest ideas, usually at prices that London companies could not afford to roll them out at. Having once been a pupil within the county, and since been a teacher; the minds being shaped beyond Brunel’s bridge (the gateway to the county) seek to extend this creativity and bolster the Cornish brand.

And long may it continue.

How being a teacher prepared me as an excellent employee

Awoken by another dream of standing in a classroom unprepared for a lesson, whilst paper balls fly around my head, my eyes focused on the sandy graveyard for flies encasing the windows. Panicked breaths punctuated the morning’s motoring murmur as I began to prepared for another day of battle.

Whilst I always loved teaching and seeing the creative young minds develop, I also lamented the loss of time for writing. I worked hard and was dedicated, but most of the reading I did was educational or children’s books, and the longest writing I did was producing resources for lessons. I gave up teaching to become a full time writer and I haven’t looked back since.

When I first thought about leaving teaching, I was terrified but below are some reasons why teaching has prepared me to be an excellent employee. (I should know, I employ myself!)

#1 Teachers are organised

Having to prepare lessons and their related resources, books and homework takes inventing an organised system. Teachers have to develop their own way of being organised, which also means they are independent. As a writer, prioritising and creating timetables helps me to be efficient, meaning I draw upon these organisational skills daily.

#2 Teachers work long hours

Most teachers like to get into school to have a little bit of time in their domain before the students arrive and will spend several hours after classes in that room, tidying, making displays and marking books. Particularly when starting my business Palaver Maven, I worked really long hours. This included writing for many hours of the day, but also tweeting regularly and creating and updating my own website as well as the many clients I was lucky enough to have found. I thought then, and still think now, nothing of working 12 hour days: it’s just normal to me.

#3 Teachers are resilient

No matter how bad things got in teaching and no matter how exhausted I was, I still had to come in refreshed the next day. Teachers are some of the most resilient people I know. This has been really helpful when setting up a business. I had to be persistent in contacting people and resilient to inevitable criticism in order to persevere.

#4 Teachers are diplomats

“OK, so Adri, please apologise to John for calling him stupid and John please say sorry to Adri for pulling her hair, and now have a hug.” Teachers are almost always negotiating and being diplomatic. Be it between learners, or colleagues and parents, these skills of diplomacy are invaluable in any profession. Particularly as a writer, sometimes it’s necessary to liaise between different departments or to make suggestions for edits. How you frame this is key to getting good results.

#5 Teachers are intuitive

One of the things that makes great writers really great is their intuition. As teachers, we get to know a variety of people from all sorts of backgrounds and have to make a connection with them all. This means we have to be empathic. This is great in any job, but especially as a writer because writing excellent copy is about creating worlds that include people.

#6 Teachers are reflective

As par for the course in teaching, we constantly analyse and reflect upon lessons and how to modify them in future. Making small adjustments minute by minute, teachers are always striving to achieve more, which makes them progressive and reflective workers. Being able to adjust and improve my practises as a writer has really helped me to grow my business.

#7 Teachers are fantastic editors

Well versed in common mistakes, teachers can spot an error a mile off. Admittedly, I had the upper hand here as I was an English teacher. Misplaced commas or incorrect capitalisation were my bread and butter, but it makes error identification and correction quicker, the more you do it.

#8 Teachers know their subject

The best way to really understand something is to teach it. Again, having taught Media, Journalism and English I had a massive advantage for my industry, but teachers will have a very thorough knowledge of their subject and probably a good understanding of related areas too. Also teachers are really good at explaining things.