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Rachel Shilston | Business Skills Studio

Rachel Shilston

Rachel Shilston – Inspiring Creativity
rachel shilston

How would you describe the position of your business prior to signing up for Miranda’s strategic business forum, Adeptio?

Looking back 6 months ago, I’m not even sure I ran a ‘business’. It was something I did on a part time basis, around the children to earn a little extra cash. Due to the nature of the work, it was seasonal – crazily busy through the summer months, then very quiet through the winter, failing to provide a regular salary. I often worked alone, had no network of business colleagues to speak of and very weak business sense. I had inadequate knowledge of planning, marketing, brand awareness and profile-raising.

What was the reason you decided to commit to joining Adeptio?

I met Miranda at an Enterprise Fair back in November 2014. At that point, my ‘business’ was slow and I’d hit a low point. However, I’d just had the news that I’d been selected for the Shaun in the City exhibition and was ready to give it one more go, before scurrying off to Tesco to find a ‘proper’ job. I’m not even sure how I got talking to Miranda, whether I was introduced to her or she found me wandering around the exhibits, but we ended up chatting and she listened to me talk about my business. The one thing I remember her saying was ‘You strike me as being ambitious’. This really resonated with me as, not only did she say it, for the first time in a long time I felt someone actually believed it! She talked to me about her new strategic business forum, but it was just another flyer to go in the bag with all the other business cards/leaflets/free pens etc. I’d collected that day and I didn’t think anything else of it. But I did feel a connection to this woman who was a ‘Business Coach’ -something I’d never heard of before.

Following the Enterprise Fair, I joined a local Business Club and Miranda was also a member. Every week she would introduce her business and mention the different ways she supports businesses. It sounded great but not something a little artist like me would do or need. Looking back, I guess I felt I was still new to all this networking malarkey and I didn’t really need to sign up to yet another networking group. Miranda’s strategic business forum (Adeptio) launched and a couple of friends joined and seemed to be really positive about the session. I had a one to one with Miranda to find out more about her business but ended up talking a lot about me! Miranda was so giving of her time and advice that it was from that point I felt that Adeptio, (or rather Miranda!) was just what my business needed.

My initial concerns that it would be ‘just another networking group’ were completely wrong. It is a business forum to help grow businesses with the support of Miranda but also through the input of like-minded people. I signed up straightaway and haven’t looked back!

What are the best things you learned as a result of joining – or the best things that have happened to your business since working with Miranda

The best thing is that my confidence has grown hugely since joining. I have changed what I call myself from a ‘Community Artist’ to Artist, Designer and Creative Facilitator – which in itself sounds like I now mean business.

I find the structure, the content and the accountability of the forum to be exactly what my business needs. I feel it gives me structure, focus and goals which my business did not have 6 months ago. At first, I wasn’t sure about ‘sharing’ Miranda with lots of other businesses. I felt maybe one-to-one coaching would be better and not waste time listening to other people talk about their businesses. But that’s where I was wrong. I have learnt so much from sharing ideas, problems, worries and solutions, with the other members and look forward to our regular meetings.

How would you describe the position of your business six months since joining the Adeptio strategic forum?

I think the biggest difference is that I feel I do have a business now! I’m no longer ‘playing at it’.

I have developed fresh ways of working and explored new opportunities – which I would never have imagined possible without the confidence I have gained. I am in the process of launching a new product range, featuring my own unique designs, with the hope of providing ‘passive income’ – a term I’d never heard of before this group. I have the confidence to deliver a mosaic class, independent of an organisation and have developed a booking page on my website. I also have plans for a much larger project, which I am in the process of designing – a project that would never have arisen if I was not under the mentorship of Miranda.

In addition, my day-to-day regular work also seems to be plentiful at the moment and I also have a strong network of business colleagues and links, which is vital to help grow and strengthen my business. My business looks and feels very different to the one I had 6 months ago!

What makes Miranda stand out as a business mentor?

Miranda has the unique ability to see little nuggets of possibilities and opportunities in every business, but ones that you’d never thought about or had the confidence to follow up. She is approachable, warm and always positive but she is also very firm. She wants us and our businesses to achieve, so if we say we will do something she will challenge us if things have not happened. She wants the best for us.

I feel that Miranda believes in me and believes in my business, which as a sole-trader/self-employed person, that makes a huge impact because it gives me the confidence to achieve even more.

How much has your business grown as a result of Adeptio?

In the last few months of being mentored, I feel I have ‘blossomed’ into a more confident business person. I feel I have gained a wealth of knowledge not only in running my business more effectively, but also acknowledging that I am the brand and with that means having the confidence to sell myself, my products and my services. As a result of mentoring, I feel I have more clarity about what I’m doing and most importantly why I’m doing it.

In terms of £s and bookings, the big test will be through the winter months and whether I have more bookings as a result of all the marketing/profile raising that I’m doing. That has been my goal, to have regular work and not just a glut in the summertime.

I would like to add that being part of this strategic business forum has been worth its weight in gold. Miranda has provided me with the wings, and I’m just preparing to fly and eventually soar!