I’m launching a new business networking group in Bedford (UK)

Update: The first meeting was a great success! Huge thanks to George Zitko of Zitko Consulting who told us about how he grew his business from his back bedroom to a highly respected specialist agency with six employees in just a few years. You can listen to a recording of his talk here.

Original article:

I’m launching a new business networking group in Bedford (UK) and I’d love to see you there. Let me tell you why I decided to become a networking group leader.

You know how working from home is supposed to be? Work whenever you want, in your pyjamas, any time of day or night? It sounds great – and the flexibility is amazing if you have family commitments – but there is a dark side. This summer it hit me that working from home wasn’t really working for me. True, it was great some of the time, but doing it all of the time was knocking my productivity, mood and my confidence. It was time to connect with more like-minded people local to me.

At about the same time Ann Hawkins began subtly suggesting I should start a Bedford group of Drive The Network. I first met Ann about five years ago at a women’s networking group in St Neots, Cambs which has now closed. We stayed in touch on social media and I really liked Ann’s style, which (as she says) is to network like a human being!  So no elevator pitches, no “you can’t come to our networking group because you’re a web designer and we’ve already got one of those”, no “here’s my business card, bye” drive-by networking, no forced referrals. Just good old fashioned getting to know, like and trust people. Both online and offline.

At that time I didn’t think it was for me because I didn’t feel I was a natural networker. Yes, whatever that means! Then I decided a) I really needed to connect with more people locally, b) I really liked Drive’s style, aims and members, and c) what the hell, you never know unless you try!

So here I am, the new group leader of Drive Bedford!

Our first event is at 44 Harpur Street, Bedford on 21 November, 10 am to 12pm.

I would love to see you there! If you have any family or friends local to me that might be interested it would be great if you could pass the message on, too.

Here’s the link with all the details:


Our speaker is George Zitko. George started his recruitment business in 2012. In 2013, working from his back bedroom, he was broke and almost decided to give up and get a job. George will share how he turned his business around to become one of the most respected and nationally recognised specialist recruitment consultancies in the UK.

You’ll also have a chance to decide what happens at Drive Bedford in the future.

See you there!

Why you should step away from the computer and network face-to-face

Last week was a busy one and this one isn’t much quieter, either!

Last Wednesday I was asked to do a short talk on creating Udemy courses for the Eastern region High Performing Women, which is a local gathering of a now national networking group. It was at the beautiful (and surprisingly local to me) Moggerhanger Park in Bedfordshire…

High Performing Women lunch at #moggerhangerpark

A photo posted by Helen Lindop (@helenlindoptrainer) on

Each time I get out and network face-to-face it reminds me of how important it is to step out from behind the PC. I’m a huge fan of social media, but nothing beats talking to people in the flesh, and if you can do a presentation that’s even better because you can reach many more people per event.

The contacts you make when out and about can last years, too. At this lunch I caught up with Liz Weston, who I first met at the Mumpreneur UK conference in 2010. My first contact with Suzanne Dibble, founder of High Performing Women was at a Mums The Boss meeting back in 2009 – and six years later I’m asked to speak at an event!

(Thanks very much to Caroline Ferguson, host of the Eastern region event for inviting me.)

This Friday, the 8th May I’ve been asked to speak about my experience of creating and selling information products at Huntingdon Business Women by Ann Hawkins, whom I met about three years ago at The Likeminded Network in St Neots. So although I haven’t been networking face-to-face very much – or even very far – over the last few years, the contacts I’ve made have been long-lasting and have lead to other opportunities. I’ve made a point of following up and staying in touch on social media though, which is very important if you aren’t meeting people face-to-face on a regular basis.

So if you’re sitting at your PC wondering if it’s worth going to a networking event, go out and do it!