Exhibitions – how to make your stall stand out

Make your business stand out from the crowd

A friend of mine recently posted a shout out on social media, asking whether anyone had any experience of having a stand at an exhibition and whether it was worth it. It was really interesting to see the responses. For some, it just wasn’t worth the time, money and effort. But others had stories of how it had gained them some great new business as well as exposure.

The truth is that there are many different factors that might influence your decision as to whether or not having a stall is worthwhile. How much will it cost? Are your target clients or customers going to be there? Do you have the time or capacity to man the stall for a whole day, bearing in mind that it’s a day away from your desk and your client work?

Personally I’m still wavering on some of the big events where I’d need to spend several hundred pounds on the space alone. But when I found out about the Freelance Mum National Freelancers Day event on 28 June – where stalls are just £25, or £20 for FM members – I jumped at the chance. Not only am I certain it will be loads of fun (how can in not be with Faye in charge?!) but at that price it’s the ideal opportunity to practice ‘stall craft’ and test out ideas that I may go on to use at future events.

Researching this blog post has been a fascinating experience. Because another thing I’ve realised is that the value you get out of exhibiting is as much about how much effort you put in as anything else. So here are some ways you can maximise your experience should decide to come along to Freelance Mum’s National Freelancers Day extravaganza or any other event.

Be strategic

What do you want to get out of the event? Do you want sign ups to your newsletter? Make sure you have a sign up sheet or a laptop where people can fill out their details. Are you hoping to make a splash on social media? Consider investing in an Instaframe (you’ve all seen the brilliant FM one!) and get everyone who visits your stall to use it and tag you in the post. By knowing in advance what you want to achieve from the day, you’ll also be better able to track how successful you’ve been rather than just guessing from how it ‘felt’.

Be visible

In a room full of businesses all hoping to gain people’s attention it’s important that your brand is instantly recognisable. Whether you go for a simple roller banner or invest a decent sized budget in kitting out your stand with the whole works, it’s definitely something you need to think carefully about. If at all possible, do use a graphic designer who can help you get the professional finish – we’ve got lots of lovely people in the Freelance Mum gang who can help!

Be inventive

The more outside the box your thinking, the more memorable you will be. You’ll also attract more people to your stand in the first place. I went to an event where local tech company Black Star had hired an ice cream machine and were giving away pitch black ice cream! And Faye was telling me about an accountancy firm who hired a beautician to give people mini manicures while they were chatting about their business finances. It’s worth noting that both of these companies are service based, proving you don’t need to be selling beautiful products to make getting a stall worth it!

Be memorable

Attracting people to your stand isn’t the end of the story. You want them to remember you when they walk away too. This might be because you had a really engaging video or animation playing, or everyone manning the stall was dressed head to toe in gold (well, you would remember that wouldn’t you?!). Also be sure that you have printed marketing material they can take away, whether that’s a brochure, flyer or even just a business card (you’ll need more than you think!) – something that will jog their memory when they’re clearing out their bag later and hopefully prompt them to get in touch.

Be proactive

You don’t have to wait for people to contact you after an event. If you’ve planned properly and made sure to collect contact details, you can get in touch with them. The key is to ensure you have their permission so you meet GDPR requirements (Cat Ainsworth from The Dot Project did a fab talk on this at FM this month, so she’s the person to ask for more details). Following up to say thank you for visiting the stall or perhaps offering a special discount is a great way to put yourself back in their mind and hopefully develop a relationship that will lead them to buy from or work with you in the future.

If your head is buzzing with ideas now (mine certainly is!) then why not put them into practice at the Freelance Mum National Freelancers Day event on Thursday 28 June from 10am to 4pm. You never know, you might just get the exhibiting bug!

Download the booking form, to book your stall.Stall Application Freelancers Day

This fab post has been written by Rin Hamburgh.

12 ideas to manage your business and your time without losing your mind

12 ideas to manage your business and your time without losing your mind

A guest blog from our fab sponsor, Linda Davies-Carr, aka The Master Fixer

As a busy mum of 5 ( 2 girls of my own and 3 bonus boys) who always worked as a full time freelancer I have learned the hard way how to find more time in my day.  Whilst there is no easy answers, or quick fixes (sorry there really aren’t)

I am proud to sponsor Freelance Mum and whilst I don’t always manage to get to the meetings I think what Faye does is fab and the Evening Sessions last week was lovely.

So to help and support all you FM members I’d love to share with you my time busting ideas to help you manage your time and your business without losing your mind!This is what have I learned in 2017 –  here’s my top 12 business takeaways for all you business owners 🤔

1. Be crystal clear on your goals and make sure they are written down.

2. Everyone needs a business coach – whether it’s paid, unpaid or a straight talking mate – everyone needs accountability and some straight talking!

3. You need to know your numbers – if you don’t know your numbers you won’t be managing your business. What gets measured get managed!

4. Manage your pipeline – you need to know who next week’s, next month’s customers are. You need to create new customers flowing into your business.

5. Be flexible and supportive – but don’t be a pushover.

6. Time management – it’s YOUR time, but it’s your mind that manages it. So learn how to develop MIND MANAGEMENT and you’ll find the time. You know we all have the same 24 hours in the day, so be conscious what you spend it on. If you’re not sure then complete a work day audit. If you don’t know how drop me a line and I’ll send you a checklist.

7. Work harder ON your business than you work IN your business. No one has the time – so you have to make a conscious decision to carve out the time. Refrain how you think about it. It’s not admin – its business development.

8. Ask and ask again for testimonials. Never stop asking 🙂

9. Give it away over and over again – it will serve you and your business.

10. Do what you do best and outsource the rest – my favourite and my “go to” classic advice. If you think you can’t afford it, my guidance would be you can’t afford not to.

11. Mindset – your confidence will come from your mindset, so mind your mind. Download a free app, seek help, but take action.

12. Surround yourself with an epic team of people and friends. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most amount of time with – so choose carefully.


If you’re serious about adopting a rock-solid mindset that will help you generate more sales, and lead you to new levels of monthly income, look out for a brilliant affordable coaching membership community (for less than the cost of 2 coffees a week):  The Straight Talking Collective launching in January 2018 with brilliant offers for Freelance Mum Members. Faye will have a link to share with you all soon.

In the meantime please check out my website for lots of free resources and useful information www.themasterfixer.com and pop over and say hello on social media.


Linda x

CBeebies Presenter, Katy Ashworth, becomes ambassador to Bristol business, Freelance Mum

Cbeebies presenter, Katy Ashworth, has become ambassador to the Bristol networking group, Freelance Mum.

The ‘I Can Cook’ presenter and children’s entertainer, joined Freelance Mum earlier this year, when she guest spoke at their Brave, Bold and Bonkers event in March on International Women’s Day.

A freelancer and mum to Charlie (3) Katy is no stranger to the world of freelancing and motherhood,

It’s a real honour to be ambassador for Freelance Mum. As a busy freelance mum, I know how bonkers it is, juggling your career around children. Freelance Mum gives people a chance to connect with others in the same boat. It’s a real lifeline and great to be part of.”

Founder of Freelance Mum and voiceover artist, Faye Dicker said,

“I’m delighted Katy is joining us. From the moment we first spoke, we just clicked –  we shared the same understanding of freelancing and motherhood. When Katy guest spoke in March, she instantly connected with the group. She might be a celebrity, but she ‘gets it’, people relate to her world and her to ours. The mums and little ones all love her”.

Freelance Mum runs networking events in Bristol, which allow parents in business to network and crucially, bring their children. Born of Faye Dicker’s own need, after having children, Freelance Mum started as a blog and podcast in 2013, to help freelance parents connect. The networking events launched in July 2014, after realising there was a need for parents to meet face to face.

The group now meets twice a month at Windmill Hill City Farm and St Paul’s Church in Southville. Attracting up to 40 mums and their children, to each meeting.

Katy will be speaking at their third birthday party, on July 13th on ‘Why 3 is the magic number’.

  • Location: St Paul’s Church, Coronation Road, Southville, Bristol, BS3 1DG
  • Date: Tuesday 13th July, 10am – 12 noon
  • Tickets £7.50 + booking fee
  • Book on Eventbrite 

For more details, contact Faye Dicker on 07967 135163 or email faye@freelancemum.co.uk

View the event details on the Freelance Mum website.

Brave, Bold and Bonkers – Freelance Mum reflects

Brave, Bold and Bonkers – Freelance Mum reflects on International Women’s Day

It’s hard to believe that Brave, Bold and Bonkers was a week ago. The annual Freelance Mum celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) and showcase event, went with a bang! Every last minute of planning and preparation was worth it, to see the sense of unity and magic in the room, throughout the day.

It was the third year of Brave, Bold and Bonkers and it’s grown increasingly bigger every year. A little feature added here, a tweak there – until this year we took to a new venue, in the form of the previous HTV Television Studio, now known as Bath Road Studios.

Just changing the venue alone, gave it a sense of excitement – there’s something about holding a networking event in a broadcasting studio, which had an added twist. And from a personal point of view, felt like I was going 360 degrees, returning to the place I started out with HTV Drama Workshop at the age of 14.

With it, of course, came a few constraints – with no kitchen facilities, catering needed to be brought in. It was The Chocolate Bear Kitchen – a dab hand at pop up events, who rose to challenge of feeding 50 mums and children, keeping them fed and watered. And while HTV really was a bare studio and gave us a blank canvas to work with -it also required ‘dressing’ for the day.

Fortunately, we were armed! With March 8th firmly in the diary every year, ideas had been bubbling for some time. Including, getting a piece of graffiti commissioned especially for the day, but freelance parents, Graft. Between them they provided two pieces, which added colour and style to the venue – as well as reflecting the Freelance Mum values and Bristol vibe.

And while the event was called Brave, Bold and Bonkers – it turned out to be Brave, Bonkers and Bold with a last minute change to the running order. Just what every event organiser needs! Though, like all these things – it very much worked out for the best.  Three guest speakers, each one speaking on their given topic of Brave, Bold or Bonkers – and what it means to them in their chosen business.

As the day began, every one was given Freelance Mum tote goody bags, stuffed with goodies from sponsors IPSE and Redmaids High School, plus all sorts of lovelies from fellow freelance mums. Not to mention, cut out paper hot air balloons – a key part of the day.

The Icebreaker

Like all Freelance Mum events, the day began with an icebreaker – a chance to mix the group up and get chatting instantly. As the event was held in a Television Studio, it seemed only fitting for the theme to be headlines, with the group divided into 4 smaller groups and each given an envelope of real headlines. One brave, one bold and one bonkers (are you spotting a theme yet?) the task was to ditch one of the headlines, then write their own to read as a newsreader – complete with wig and glasses! The rest of us had to guess the fake headline.

Brave – Jacki Hill-Murphy

From there to the opening guest speaker – Brave, aka Adventuress, Jacki Hill-Murphy. I first met Jacki several years ago, when working at Radio Bristol. She stayed in my mind – with her incredible tales of retracing females explorers footsteps and film making/documenting their journeys. Well, it was hardly a tale that was going to blend into the background! From the off, Jacki’s story was brave – from making the decision to retrace the footsteps, to going out there and doing it, nothing has stopped her. Yet -like many inspirational speakers, modest with it. She brought her book with her to sign and a piranha fish – as every Brave guest speaker does.

Bonkers – Katy Ashworth

As Jacki reached the end of her talk, cbeebies Katy Ashworth casually walked into the studio, ready to begin her Bonkers talk. Every inch as lovely in real life as she on the television, Katy was totally at home at Freelance Mum. You almost had to pinch yourself to when you stopped and thought, it REALLY was a CBeebies presenter, joining us for the day. Well, I did anyway!

Katy came on my radar, in a Freelance Mum way, a couple of years ago at the opening of a local Play Barn. She’d only given birth a week or so prior to the event and was juggling those early days of motherhood, with a personal appearance. I can remember looking at her and thinking ‘I get it, I know your bonkers world’. So when a mutual friend of mine, said I must introduce you, I jumped at the chance. In fact, I’ll never forget when we first spoke and I asked her if she’d like to speak as ‘Bonkers’. We both had goose bumps as Katy explained she has wanted to tell her story of life as a freelance single mum, for some time and just how bonkers it is, juggling the pains of one thing, while putting on a huge smile and entertaining children.

Freelance Mum seemed like the perfect place for that story, with Katy’s incredibly honest, comical and down to earth style – she wore her heart on her sleeve and had us both laughing and crying. She was amazing.

Bold pledges

We were particularly blessed this year, as the IWD theme for the year was BeBoldForChange – echoing our own theme of Brave, Bold and Bonkers, it was easy to weave in. As Katy wrapped her talk, she held up her paper hot air balloon and wrote down her bold pledge ‘Create More Space’. Every one was asked to write down their bold pledge on their hot air balloon (we chose the hot air balloon, as something which can be seen from a great height and show the world your message. Also, in keeping with the Bold challenge, led by Artist Emmie Simpson).

The pledges were then pegged to the pink noticeboard, for every one to see – ready for our secret surprise at the end of day. Now, in the interests of transparency, I was approached by Teacher Boards to blog about their rainbow board prior to the event. When I think of all the products I’ve been asked to blog about over the years, it might seem an unusual one to feature – but I could see it would get used. Not just at home, where it could hung on the wall – but also at outside events. It seemed only fitting to use it at Brave, Bold and Bonkers – where the Freelance Mum trademark pink, stood bright for all to see and really lit up the studio. Not to mention, did a brilliant job of displaying a beautiful array of bold pledges. I was so pleased I was able to use as part of the event, every inch in keeping with the Freelance Mum impromptu style and fun way of approaching things.


Any regular attendee of Freelance Mum, will know every meeting has a signature netwalk. It’s a key part of every minute. There’s something about fresh air, that gives fresh thinking. Not to mention, it’s a darn sight easier to talk with children in their pushchair or scooter! We were blessed with the setting, right next to Arnos Vale Cemetery – a beautiful setting. As usual, the walk was divided into three sections, with the opportunity to talk to a new ‘buddy’ at each section and be given a new focus question. A great way to get conversation started.



Bold – Emmie Simpson

And while we were netwalking, there was a whole team of people beavering away – resetting the studio, ready for Emma’s Bold workshop and turning the hot air balloon bold pledges into carefully handwritten bold key rings. An important keepsake and reminder of the day.

Finally it was over to ‘Bold’ – aka, Artist Emmie Simpson. A familiar face at Freelance Mum and some who has really grown in the group. I can remember quite clearly chatting to Emmie for the first time, funnily enough on the netwalk – as we were passing the M-Shed. She told me she was an artist and that I might know her work – in fact, it was in the M-Shed. As I looked through the window and instantly recognised her pictures, I felt slightly star struck that I was actually talking to her!

Three years on and Emmie came to the fore at Brave, Bold and Bonkers – concluding the day with a beautiful interactive giant colouring in of her work. It was the iconic balloons over Bristol image, which was blown up into 6 A1 sheets. In turn, the attendees were divided into 6 groups and had half an hour to colour in their section. No pressure then!

Some chilled out music played in the background, while I surveyed the industriousness going on around me. Groups of women, coming together, cutting out magazines, making collages, borrowing glue, chatting away – united together. It was an incredible moment.

And as Emmie joined the pieces together, the microphone was passed around and for those who were happy to share their bold pledge, announced it to the group. When the final person shared their pledge, I revealed the key ring keepsakes, their pledges had been turned into (which in true Freelance Mum style, Emmie had got her boys making, in ready preparation for the event!).

The final moment of the day came, when the giant picture finally came together. I can’t tell you how nervous I was – waiting to see if it would stand up and actually work! It did – it really did work. The sense of unity in the room was amazing, for a group of people to see the fruits of their labour, many of whom hadn’t even met before. It felt like a fitting end to a perfect day.

To me, Brave, Bold and Bonkers is the showcase event for Freelance Mum. As an organiser, it almost felt like organising my own wedding – the level of detail that went into the day. Yet much like a wedding, it was worth every minute and the love you could feel in room – wow, if only you could bottle that vibe. There is no denying, there were times in the run up, I felt I must be brave, bold and bonkers to organise such an event – but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Such a celebration of freelance mums, coming together, in a supportive environment, is an incredible occasion.

Thank you to our amazing supporters

With huge thanks to every one who helped Brave, Bold and Bonkers go smoothly – from putting up the chairs, to helping with parking duty, stuffing goody bags and stamping key rings. I couldn’t have done it without you. To sponsors IPSE and Redmaids High School, for working together to support freelancers and the next generation. To Teacher Boards, for the beautiful board for our bold pledges. Special thanks to freelance mum, Nicola Jane, for providing these lovely photos of the day and every Freelance Mum events.

Freelance Mum is runs networking events, designed to allow parents in business to network AND bring their children.

Freelance Mum At The Bristol Lido

Freelance Mum had a social, with style, at The Lido, Bristol!

We enjoyed cookery demos on the terrace with head chef Freddy Bird, before tucking in to a 2 course meal.