The Big News on the Street
It is with great pleasure that I can finally share my exciting news that I have become the new owner of Colleagues on Tap Ltd. The past few weeks have been a heavy mix of adrenal filled planning sessions, lots of thinking time and becoming familiar with a whole new way of working. When I was approached by Jayne Graham earlier this year about the fabulous opportunity of buying Colleagues on Tap, I must admit I was lost for words, which is a rarity for those of you who know me well! It took me days to stop grinning like a Cheshire cat and my mind was so full of ideas that I started to take a notepad and pen to bed with me.
Although I have many thoughts on how the Colleagues on Tap community can develop and grow, I am certainly not looking to change the model in anyway. Our dedicated Associate Hosts and coworkers across the North East region have proved that the formula works – my aim is to take this magic recipe and support more business owners and remote workers in other locations and regions.
Big shoes to fill
When I started the process of developing my own business in 2012 one of the first people I spoke to at one of my first networking events was Jayne Graham. As I approached the Colleagues on Tap stand at the Inspire Network Awards event held at Bede’s World, I entered into an energetic exchange with Jayne who told me all about the exciting concept of coworking. The idea of having a community of other business owners and remote workers around me sounded like the perfect solution to me as a sole trader working from home, but I could never have imagined how significant this conversation would become 2 years down the line.
Jayne’s passion and commitment to Colleagues on Tap has been relentless over the past 5 years. As a fierce supporter and national voice of the North East small business community I certainly have my work cut out to continue this amazing pledge but I am 100% committed to the challenge. You can read a message from Jayne here.
What is my story?
Since I started trading as Remote HR Solutions in April 2013 I never envisaged the opportunities that would open up along the way. Although I do believe that the people you meet in your life are there for a reason, I also believe that everyone has the ability to change their path in life and can achieve anything through sheer determination.
Just over 3 years ago I had the perfect work/life balance of working part time in an HR role I loved and bringing up my two little girls at home with my husband in Durham, meeting my friends for coffee, going to play dates and keeping on top of the housework. That was until I became another statistic of redundancy and my whole world was flipped upside down. Although I admit I did cry for an hour as I travelled home down the A19, I had already decided my next move would be self-employment. Growing up in a family of business owners I always had that drive to be my own boss and work around my family commitments. Within 2 hours of receiving the news I had bought my domain name and started to draft my business plan. The next day I attended a networking meeting with Kathryn Clarke, Laura Kemp, Sarah Seed and Ann Williams-Maughan and introduced myself as the owner of Remote HR Solutions.
Since that point I have developed my client base across the North East and Yorkshire, moved into office space at The Rivergreen Centre in Durham, been appointed as an Associate Lecturer and Panel Judge of the Student Professional Award at the University of Sunderland and took on the role of Associate Host of Colleagues on Tap in Consett and Durham City.
As a regular host of the County Durham events I have met so many fantastic coworkers over the past 12 months, each event is always different depending on the business owners or remote workers attending. But there is always one outcome which can be guaranteed, co-workers always leave with something new; whether it be a new business idea, a piece of advice, potential business opportunities, possible collaborations, new business connections or a friend for life.
One of the most exciting highlights in my career before today was being awarded the North East Ready for Business – Best Business to Business Award, attending the award ceremony at The House of Commons in December 2013. This was such a fantastic experience and I will never forget the look of pride on my mams face when I stood up to accept the award. However, it seems like this was just the beginning of a new chapter in my life.
What a year and its only March!
As my journey in the business world takes yet another exciting twist I can’t wait to get started working with the Colleagues on Tap community. Although I have already met a number of coworkers at various events I will be attending many of the coworking days across the region over the next few weeks and months. I am also pleased to inform you all that Jayne Graham will be taking up an Associate licence to continue hosting at Clavering House, so it will all be business as usual.
I was always very proud to talk about my role as an Associate Host of Colleagues on Tap but now I can say I am the owner I will be bursting with pride to be connected to such a positive community based brand. So what this space….. there are many more exciting times ahead.