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Startup events are great way to get your name out there as  a startup. It’s great to meet other similar people, potential customers and even potential investors.  We have just ran our first ever event on Tuesday this week called Founders@Work.  It was amazing fun.

If you want to watch the recorded live stream you can here. Make sure you skip ahead to 3 minutes 30 seconds.

We will run through why and how we did it and our advice and tips to you, for smashing your first ever event.

Startup event marekting
Founders at Work poster

What’s your aim?

Apart from getting your name out there, what do you want to achieve and promote? We wanted to promote startup’s and been seen as the place Where Learning Happens’ ( visit our website to learn more). Our business equips individuals or businesses with the ability to teach and share their expertise. Individuals use us as a way to monetize their knowledge through teaching online in their own branded online school. They can reach learners across the globe with a simple internet connection. Businesses use us for the same purpose to sell courses in their expertise or to offer internal training to staff. We built a product that meant online learning could be engaging, accessible and interactive. So it made sense for us to host an event where you are learning from experts. We want to promote learning and the sharing of knowledge. We want to be see seen as the place ‘Where Learning Happens.’ That’s our aim.

What event concept will achieve this?

So if our aim is to promote learning and sharing of knowledge then our event should involve this. So we decided to host a panel discussion where our founder Nelson could ask other founders about their journey, experiences and advice. We felt a panel discussion was best as it was about sharing advice and having an open discussion rather than a presentation. During the founder’s panel discussion it would allow people to delve into their experience and personal learnings, while bouncing off other founders. We also decided a Q&A at the end was super important for involving the audience and making them feel they could connect better with the people on the panel who were inspiring them.

startup event
Great turn out at Founders at Work

Always add Networking opportunities

As we are all about promoting learning and sharing of knowledge there had to be a element of networking. However, networking is important regardless of what your business is about. If you are a startup then opportunities like this are vital to you finding other people going through the same thing. You might end up finding people to partner with or potential customers. You may also impress investors and have people knocking at your door who want to invest in your startup – that is never a bad thing. Networking allows you to share your business and your experience with others whilst also learning lots at the same time.

What other things do you need to think about?

Marketing

So how are you going to advertise your event and promote it? There are lots of great avenues for this.  Listing your event on somewhere like Eventbrite can be a great way to gain exposure and also look very professional. It’s free and will certainly make your event more discover-able.

So look at maximizing your social media channels and really drive excitement and engagement on these channels.  Make sure you link your Eventbrite page, is on all of these channels.

Instagram is a great platform to use if you have it. Make sure you do Instagram stories, and Instagram post advertising your event with a direct link to the event page in your bio.

If you have Facebook – then through Eventbrite you can create a Facebook event which you can share on your branded Facebook page and invite people to attend.

If you have Twitter, then make sure you are posting about your event multiple times a week.

Other marketing options may include posters, paid or promoted social posts and word of mouth.

Other things to consider for your event:

  • Food and drink? Are you providing booze and light nibbles? ( this is often popular for evening events or putting out tea and coffee and pasties for morning events)
  • Music? Does the venue have background music- do you want background music? ( we had Iamrisha DJ at our event, wh works at Poplify. She played great background chilled out vibes during the networking stage )
  • Promo material? Are you going to use any pull up banners or flyers?
  • Time? Morning, day or evening and how long do you expect it to go on for? ( so we allowed for 30 mins of networking before the panel and then an hour of networking after the panel).
Startup event drinks
Popilify kindly sponsored our event by providing all of the drinks

 

Benefits of planning and launching a successful event

You will love it! Maybe not the lead up to it but afterwards you will look back and think Wow! It’s a wonderful way to get your company name out there, to meet other like minded people.  That’s why its important to carry a business card so you can  exchange them with people and who knows, you might collaborate or work together in the future. You may not build a number of sales from it but you will certainly increase your reputation and awareness. Especially if your attendees are tagging all of their images from the night with your branded social tags. Capturing content is key during any event, as it’s content you can use for the following month. The content can demonstrate how successful your first event was. So when we say content, we mean anything from interviews, videos, quotes, photos, boomerangs ect.   Good luck with your first event! Do let us know how it goes and invite us! We would love to come and support fellow startups!

Here is a little bit about the companies that supported us

Poplify is a leading digital consultancy that helps forward thinking people realise their organisation’s growth potential by designing, building and scaling innovative digital businesses.

Mindspace is a great co-working space offering a creative environment for small businesses and individuals looking to hot desk.

 

Other articles you may like:

Content Marketing for small businesses

How to teach online with HowNow in a day

Free social tools for your business

I love Disney films, I am an adult but I am a child at heart. I am not entirely sure why I love them, it could be the optimism of the film or  the clever animation. It could also be the great story and it’s well thought out characters.  There is something unique about these set of films that are able to appeal to audiences of all ages. They teach audiences a lesson in something. Whether you realize it or not when you walk out of that film you have learnt something. It may only dawn on you later, it may reinforce a belief you already had. However, the key is it taught you something that will stick with you. As you read on I will point out some of the lessons you can learn and apply to you’ll own teachings from the way in which Disney has taught you.

What are some lessons they have taught you from their movies?

I am sure you will see many articles on the lessons learnt from Disney and Pixar movies like this one on Buzzfeed. So let’s have a look at some of the lessons they have taught us.

Dumbo: What makes you different also makes you incredible

Focusing on what you are, accepting what you have and choosing to celebrate it. I think how this is told is by getting the audience to feel empathy for the elephant, and display all the emotions that a child would exhibit when trying to fit in. The power of telling this lesson was connecting you an existing emotional idea you may have seen or experienced at a young age

Mulan: You have to go through a lot before people realise how much you’re worth


This is a great lesson, as it teaches, you the art of perseverance, determination and acceptance of challenges. The main character is forced to pretend to be a man in order to serve in the army.  She accepts the challenge of being a women, accepts she will not be accepted immediately. However, she continues to work hard anyway. How do they drive this lesson home to us? This film draws you in through association- you know the struggles of women and therefore you immediately feel invested in her story. You are also seeing her development and growth through the eyes of other characters. This reinforces the effort she is going through and the little people appreciate her at first.

Inside Out: Accept your emotions and understand we need a mix to be balanced

Inside Out was a critically acclaimed film that many critics and parents leap for joy at. It taught children and adults about their emotions and the roles they play. The role of emotions and how we should respond to them is very very complex.  And yet the film was able to draw a number of lessons about how one should feel. How on earth did they do this?  Well they broke it down, they personified the emotions of the brain as if they were people. Breaking down this complex idea into bite sized chunks/characters made it digestible to the audience, so they were eventually able to build up those small pieces of knowledge into a bigger picture.

 

So how can you apply this to your own teaching?

I am currently reading a book called Creativity, Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration. It is by Wallace and Edwin Catmul ( the current president of Disney and Pixar). It has helped answer some very interesting questions I had on writing, watching compelling stories. In this book they walk through their process of creating the story and the process of making the lesson ( the arch of the story) understable and engaging with the audience. This is how teaching should work too.

jacket illustration: © Disney • Pixar

In the examples above we have seen some different techniques for ensuring the audience is able to take this lesson away. Aside from the wonderful story they took you through to learn it there are other techniques which were used. They used a number of techniques such as:

 

Connecting the lesson you are teaching to a memory or experience.

This can be achieved through trying to give your learners an explanation of what you are trying to teach in a way that might connect with them. So encourage them to share memories or experiences that you can relate your teachings to as an example

Making the lesson relevant to cultural or historical events that your audience will be aware of.

You can accomplish this through looking at what you are teaching, then finding relevant current topics or historical moments in which you can tie your lesson too.

Breaking a large complex idea down into bite sized chunks that you can spend time on before sewing them together to form the larger picture.

This is especially important if you are teaching a complex idea of topic.  One way to do this is to break it down into lessons which can be any size if you are teaching online

If you’re interested in further teaching examples you might enjoy these:

Lessons from Ads

How to teach yourself your job

Does music impact our ability to learn more

 

 

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You may be starting a new job or maybe you have been given a great deal more responsibility in your current role. Working at a startup is quite different to working for a large corporate organisation. You often have to learn on the job, teaching yourself and developing your skills independently. So, here I will share with you the best ways to teach yourself your job.  Also how to self train and develop yourself further. If you work in a small business then formal training might not be available and if you work in a startup then you certainly have to teach yourself.

Ask Questions

Ok, so it may sound fairly obvious, but many people shy away from questions encase they are deemed incapable. If you work in a startup/small business any good business leader will encourage it. I would say anytime is a good time to ask questions although my school teacher’s would certainly disagree.  If you have been given a project and don’t understand something, or if you are unsure – ask away. If you  don’t understand the direction of things – ask away. Maybe you don’t know how to do something  – ask away. The worst case and I have had these a few times is the answer is ‘I don’t know, research it’. Which is fine, it just means that they currently don’t posses that knowledge either.

Google is your friend ( other search engines are available). Ask away- now when you ask try to be specific about what you want to know as that way you will get the best articles and sources of knowledge. So for example don’t ask “how do I measure performance on social?” but instead ” what are the key performance indicators on twitter that your audience is engaged with your brand?”

What do you mean picture

Have a go – best way to teach yourself

Literally the first three months of my job was all about trial and error. It is the best way to learn. It’s better to fail early and learn what you did wrong then cruise by for months and learn lessons too late. So if this means you need to go back to your boss and say look I am going to try this. That is ok , say it may fail, but we need to find out what works. Just explain that in order to learn what is needed and what the business should be doing  involves trial and error. You will have to try a lot of things to discover what works.

If you are working in a startup/ small business they will understand it’s important to embrace risk early on. The  bigger you grow the more difficult risk  becomes. It can feel disheartening to try so many things and to see so little progress. However, trial and error suits if you need to teach yourself your job because there is no formal training.  It’s the best way to test out the things you have read or watched or heard.

We have tried many campaigns that didn’t work, that I had put hours into but they taught us vital lessons. If you are worried about the amount of failure you will encounter then have a honest chat with your boss. Outline exactly what you want to try and what the possible outcomes could be. Then after your ‘tests’ then sit down and discuss your learning. You can not be seen as damaging the business if your failed tests are providing the business with vital lessons for the future. Obviously before you try something make sure you do a bit of research so you’re not just doing it off the fly.

Man discussing ideas with woman

Be Proactive

The best way to get better at your job quicker is to be proactive in your desire to learn. So this could be a range of things, from doing your own research, to attending events and taking courses.  I was overwhelmed with the amount of things I didn’t know and my team didn’t have the answers.  My proactive approach led me to listening to relevant podcasts on the tube to work. I  enrolled myself in a course on Hootsuite to teach myself more about social media marketing. I  read a lot,  around different areas.

Events are also a great thing to attend, you can network, learn more and get a fresh perspective on something you might be struggling with.  I am often looking for free events to attend that are in London and are on topic areas related to my job. As you don’t have an official path of progression , it can be difficult to find training that will aid you in your development. Therefore, seek out courses you can take or events you can attend.  Your boss will be pleased you are taking charge of your own development. Most of the time they will be happy to fund this depending on the need of the business and the relevance to your role.

be proactive- Take a course to teach yourself

Join communities in your field

Through joining a community you are  likely going to learn a lot from each other an teach yourself a lot in the process. This could be direct helpful comments, could be relevant articles/ podcasts or courses. Some of the communities that I joined was looking at Facebook groups.  I also was building up a base of twitter users who post relevant content regularly and realized that this was a great source of knowledge not only for our audience but also for myself. Depending on your role you might find that networking events and attending them regularly is a great way to discuss practices and tips and tricks.

Teach yourself by meeting new people

 

 

Music oh sweet music. What are the chances you are actually listening to something right now? Pretty high? Music plays a massive role in our life! The average spotify user listens to 148 mins of music a day! But did you know the role it can play on learning?

Does music improve learning?

Many of you may listen to or have listened to something before while studying for an exam, revising or maybe completing a long essay. It is a heavily debated topic as to whether music actually improves learning and increases the intake of information. Many articles have been written laying claim that it can alter the brain’s processing to process more information and help implant it into your memory.

“Music activates both the left and right brain at the same time, and the activation of both hemispheres can maximize learning and improve memory,” says Dr. Masha Godkin

However, there is also a lot of articles saying it actually doesn’t help and it could worsen leaning.  The reason they think it will worsen the learning process is because it will actually distract you from focusing on what you should be doing.  In this articles they discuss how in order to learn and retain information we often need to be absent of distractions. They beleive the best environments to learn are those that are silent and quite.

 

Mozart Effect

 

We don’t know  if it helps or hinders. There has not been enough research conducted and it’s also a difficult thing to measure. There is arguments that the myths of being able to learn better when listening to music came about because the Mozart effect. The Mozart effect is a term referring to the results of a study done in 1993 which claimed that “listening to Mozart‘s music may induce a short-term improvement on the performance of certain kinds of mental tasks known as “spatial-temporal reasoning;”[1]”.

If you’re going to listen to something what should you listen too?

It’s interesting to think that music could actually aid in your study and learning efforts. So if you personally like listening to something while learning and you find it works for you – what’s the advice?

So the general advice is classical is the best option as it could increase our mood and productivity. There has been research and many people including myself have felt the calming effect of classical music and it’s soothing notes. Advice of what not to listen to appears to be anything that is going to excite you. Also anything that has a beat, that  gets you dancing and tapping your feet. Also nothing that is super lyric heavy or you will be singing to your heart’s content.

Does music that relax you help?

There are a great deal of relaxing melodies and study playlists on YouTube which are a combination of gentle sounds and nature. A study by Health found that listening to nature sounds actually increased the physical and mental signs of relaxation, which in turn increases the your chance of learning. There has been new evidence in the study which looks closely at how the brain’s working memory functions when it’s exposed to different stimuli that relaxes it such as music. This is because if you are more relaxed you are likely to take in more information. “Our research shows that when memory-related neurons are well coordinated to theta waves during the learning process, memories are stronger,” said Adam Mamelak, a neurosurgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The jury is still out on the effect of music and learning.  It’s fair to say that relaxation and focus is important. If you find that music does help you, you  are probably in a better state of mind to absorb information. It seems at the moment that everyone is different so keep doing what you find works for you.

How can you use music in your teaching?

If you are an educator/ teacher/course creator who and looking for a way to teach online. Then help your students by offering them varying  content types with HowNow. 

So if you teach music- music is pretty much a compulsory part of your lesson. However, if you teach something like financial management and  you  want to incorporate  this in because you really think it will help – by all means do. How? Well let’s say there are parts of your  course that are less engaging such as reading through some theory. You can upload an audio file for the learner to listen to while reading the text. This way, for those that think they learn better with music, have recommended music by you and for those that prefer silence can take this option. Your learners will be grateful and impressed you are trying to suit multiple learner types by giving them the extra resources to learn in the way they prefer.

To create your own online school, check out  HowNow.

 

You might also be interested in:

5 Pros to video based learning

Free tools to produce professional content for your online courses

5 Steps to start teaching on HowNow in a day

 

If you’re new to setting up your own online school then setting about creating content for your courses can be difficult. It can be hard to know where to begin! How you can do it yourself but still make it look professional.  We look at free tools you can use to make your online courses look like they are worth 1,000 bucks.

High Quality images for course material and for school customization

You might not be a professional photographer and haven’t got the money to hire someone to take photos for you. So why not turn to the generosity of the internet. There are lots of free royalty images sites where you can use their high quality  images for your business.  Unsplash is one of them and the best I think we have found so far. They have so many beautiful images you can use to make your online courses look professional and make your school look sleek. We have Unsplash integrated into our platform, so you can browse and select without having to open a new window- how handy!

Our image above is from https://unsplash.com/@brookecagle/portfolio! See great images for free!

Record high quality videos of yourself sharing your screen

Now this is cool, one of our favourite free tools! So depending on what you are teaching you might find this tool super useful! For example if you are teaching something technical on the computer such as Photoshop, then the ability to share your screen so your learners can see what you are doing while you speak over it is super useful. Have a look at Loom! 

Loom is super easy to use and collects all your videos in one place.

Free tools you can use

Create infographics, visuals and more with these free tools

So I am sure you have heard of Canva, it is fantastic. Create exciting graphics that can be used as  a way to share your information in your online course.  If you need to show something- maybe your product or service being used across multiple devices during your course.  Awesome Screenshots is an excellent tool to use for  demonstrating your point and using visuals to bring your ideas to life. Annotated screenshots can be really useful for learners to see exactly what you mean.

Support your text with summary videos

There is this fantastic tool called Lumen5! Which can be a great way of supporting your text files/pdf’s with a summary video which is short and drives home the main points. What is great about this tool, is that it can also be used on social. Check one of ours below:

 

As a small business owner, you only have so many hours in the day to promote and market your products and services, and social media and pay-per-click advertising will likely be the first avenues you choose to go down. But launching and maintaining a blog for your business is one of the most rewarding methods of marketing; below, we round up some of the reasons why.

Positions you as an authority

Perhaps one of the greatest reasons why content marketing is so important for small businesses is that it can position you as an authority figure in your niche. Think of it like this: if you’re writing high-quality material that helps potential customers find answers to their questions, they’ll naturally think of you as a valuable source of information, and be more likely to recommend your website (and therefore your products and services) to their friends. As such, the more content you write, and the more value you give away for free, the more authoritative you’ll become.

Drives organic traffic to your website

One of the biggest benefits of content marketing is driving free, organic traffic to your website. If you write a blockbuster post and hit rank one on Google for it, then you can expect to receive hundreds, if not thousands, of organic hits to your website – and every person is a potential customer. The key to getting rank one on Google is to write material that’s much better than everything else that’s out there (see also the skyscraper content technique) and building links through guest blogging, blogger outreach and search engine optimisation (SEO).

Gives you material to share

As a small business owner, it can be hard to find new material to share on social media, particularly if you don’t want to share content from one of your competitors. By writing lots of content for your website, you’ll quickly be able to create a pool of valuable material that you can share on social media as and when you like. And there are even greater benefits to this; posting your own content on social media will increase referral traffic back to your website, and you can add calls to action and lead generation techniques to persuade visitors to become customers.

Encourages you to learn more

Writing quality, original material every week for your blog is harder than you might think. Sure, you will likely to be able to round off 100 blog post ideas from the top of your head, but when it gets to the nitty-gritty of writing a post for your audience, you’ll soon see the work involved. You should start every blog post by reading and researching the topic so that you have the most accurate and up-to-date information. Doing this will not only ensure your blog posts are topical and accurate, but it will help you learn more about your industry and become a better leader.

Wrapping up

There’s no denying that writing blog posts is hard work, but the key is to stay motivated and think of the bigger picture. By sticking to a content marketing strategy, you’ll quickly build up a loyal audience of readers and convert some of your followers into customers. Good luck!

 

About the Author

Max Greene is the Managing Director of Muffin Marketing, a UK-based marketing agency specialising in content marketing, social media and search engine optimisation. When he isn’t working on campaigns for clients, he loves binge-watching Netflix shows and walking his dog.

Learning Management Systems are broken. Period.

It’s in the name – they exist to manage learning data and admin, but the need is a digital learning space where teachers and learners can interact.
Rather than being a glorified file storage platform, we’re designed to engage, educate and enable. In simpler terms, a platform for teaching and learning that is interactive, personalised and encourages active participation.

We’re the interface.

Moving on from digitisation of content and running admin tasks, we’re creating a technology-enabled space to enhance learning. To deal with the needs of the modern day learner, it is going to take more than a few UX tweaks on an existing LMS framework because these things are linear in nature and were designed for a different need. What is clear is that the LMS has been highly successful in enabling the administration of learning but less so in enabling learning itself.

The pedagogy itself needs to change.

If eLearning 1.0 was about getting content online – eLearning 2.0 is about using technology to enable learning. This is about bringing together teachers and learners through a native digital learning experience – not about an over-complicated platform with a ton of niche features.
We need to turn passive learners into active learners. We need to foster a community of learners. We need to personalise learning at scale. And where content is king, context is God so we need to make learning available when and where the learner needs it.

That’s why we built HowNow.

It’s in the meaning of our name – both a jovial greeting and a teaching technique in elocution. A nod to how we’re combining interaction with education to create a digital learning space where people can communicate, share ideas, teach and learn. The way we engage with content has changed across other consumer platforms i.e. Snapchat, Facebook, but it is yet to happen in education and this is where it matters.
So dear LMS, it was good while it lasted but it’s time to hang up your coat and enjoy retirement.

We have been focusing on Mental Health this week. To continue that theme we have teamed up with nutritionist Ali Prentice from NutriknowHow, who has created a great mood food recipe. Ali is a nutritionist and wellness consultant based in London with expertise in nutrition, healthy cooking, coaching and behaviour change. We asked Ali if she could create a recipe that would be brain food for busy entrepreneurs on the go. Here is the fantastic recipe she came up with:

 

Mood Food: No Bake Energy Power Bites

Makes about 24

These portable little spheres are loaded with slow burn goodness and are easy to grab for breakfast, as a snack – or to round off a light lunch or dinner.

They are designed to deliver an intense nutrient punch – including a host of vitamins, minerals and other plant-based chemicals to support energy levels, mood and mental wellbeing.

 

 

Ingredients

  • 100g cashews soaked for a least an hour in cold water and drained
  • 100g plain porridge oats
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, or smooth peanut butter
  • 75g dates
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp cocoa, or raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Coating – choose from:

  • 20g pistachio nuts
  • 1 tbsp cocoa, or raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp grated (desiccated) coconut
  • Milled seed mix (such as Linwoods) – or make your own from linseeds, sunflower, chia and pumpkin seeds – plus add goji berries for some colour!

 

 

Instructions

  1. If possible, soak the cashews for an hour or even overnight in water to soften. Drain cashews before use.

 

  1. Blitz the oats in a coffee grinder or food processor until they resemble coarse flour. Set aside.

 

  1. Melt the coconut oil very gently. Whizz the oil (or peanut butter) with the cashews, dates, dried cranberries and vanilla extract in a food processor until they form a paste.

 

  1. Add in the oat flour, cocoa/cacao, cinnamon and salt and process until it forms a cohesive mass.

 

  1. Manually roll the mixture into balls with clean hands. If the mixture sticks to your fingers, moisten your hands lightly.

 

  1. Sprinkle your choice of coating on a plate and roll the balls around the plate to coat evenly.

 

  1. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge – where they should last for about a week, or one month in the freezer – if you can resist them!

 

Definitely give these mood food bites a go this evening or this weekend! Have you thought about consulting a nutritionist before? You can email Ali at alisonpren@gmail.com for more information on her services or visit her website.

If you want more amazing inspiration then follow Ali on the channels below:

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

If you’re a teacher, an educator then you will want to listen to these 5 outstanding podcasts.  It’s always great to find a podcast or tv show or book that you can relate to and shares some of your own experiences. We have found 5 great podcasts that will have you keen to hear the next episode.

1.Truth for Teachers

This podcast is frequently ranked highly within the educational podcast space. Angela Watson the person behind this assassinating podcast covers the day and life of a teacher while giving you stories and advice to inspire you onwards in your own educational career.

 

2.House of Edtech

Chrisopher Nesi hosts this podcasts which investigates the technology within the educational sector and how it is impacting teachers and educators as they teach. You can expect some great stories from teachers and invators within this industry on how they believe technology can take you to the next level.

 

3. Inspiring Educators

Educators can often feel like the  heros overlooked for their hard work and their passion to share their knowledge with others.  Sung Lee who started this podcast wanted to give teachers aned educators a voice. You can oftern here guest educators share their stories of success and struggle in their classroom and out of it. A good listen and hopefully something which will inspire you.

 

Elearning Coach

This podcast will keep you up to date with the latest technology and trends in elearning. Find out how it can affect you and your learners. They cover a range of hot topics. You may find yourself taking the stairs at work so you can just listen to a bit more. A podcast, great for educators and course creators alike, so, if you’re thinking of teaching online get this one downloaded into your library.

 

The Bedley Brothers

These brothers were teachers of the year! Their podcast is 30 minutes long interviewing high profile guests about their lives. They deliver great little anecdotes and practical information that will help any educator.