Posted: Fri 5th Nov 2021
Enterprise Nation provides a whole host of wonderful networking opportunities. However, it’s not just small business owners who benefit from the services of the expert advisers on the platform.
Over the last few years, Jarmila Yu and Jennifer Corcoran, two brilliant, award-winning advisers, have formed a friendship after meeting through Enterprise Nation and are now dove-tailing with one another through collaboration and reciprocal support.
Jennifer, a previous Top 50 Adviser category winner, is an expert in LinkedIn marketing and owns a consultancy called My Super Connector, while Jarmila is on the shortlist for that very award this year, and has founded her own marketing consultancy named YUnique Marketing.
In a rare joint-interview, Jarmila and Jennifer join Enterprise Nation’s content manager Ryan Elliott to chat through how they met, how they bring the best out of each other, and how their Enterprise Nation escapades have benefitted their brands.
Before we get stuck into how you both met, I’d love to learn a little more about your respective backgrounds in business.
JY: “So, we've been in the marketing profession for some years now. Starting back before the days of websites, the days before LinkedIn, the days before email marketing. Oh, my goodness, in marketing and advertising it was different back then, but certainly lots to do. So, we celebrated our fifth birthday this year - I set up my own consultancy, my marketing consultancy: YUnique Marketing.
“And one of the best pieces of advice I was given when I first set up my own business, which is different from just working in somebody else's business, I was told: align yourselves with some good trade and professional bodies, and then try and get as much advice as you can. Not just learning about setting up a business, but spend time with people who've already chosen that path.
“I encountered Enterprise Nation and I thought it's fantastic. There is all sorts of learning available – all-important when you're starting out. It was very economical, and still is to get access to that education. So that was my first entry point into Enterprise Nation as a member, through setting up my business, and due to the nature of my business, it was suggested I should be a business member with Enterprise Nation and so that was the membership level that I had, and things have just grown from there.
“What about you, Jennifer, how did you start out and get into it?”
JC: “I’m the reverse of you! I basically was 20 years in corporate, mainly in admin. My last role was an office manager in financial services, and I started to use LinkedIn for my current role, but it wasn't even part of my jobs spec, and I just became a bit of a social media nerd.
“I felt the power of LinkedIn for my job and did a lot of training and it was nothing to do with my job spec - I took on a voluntary role helping an organisation supporting PAs to get their voice out there, to say that they were a bit more than ‘tea and typing’, and I took on the role of essentially a PR officer for the UK for this particular branch of PAs!
“I basically came to a stop one day in my corporate career because I had back surgery, so I had six months off work and the first one was literally just lying flat on my back. And I had a lot of time to think and I kind of thought that this job does not fill me with joy. Because back in Ireland, I had studied something completely different - I was never a PA back in Ireland.
“I have an English & French degree and I just really liked communicating with people, and I think while in that voluntary role and dabbling with social media I had discovered a unique kind of brilliance, I suppose, the thing you're really good at.
“While being a PA I’d won regional awards, national awards, global awards, but I took it all for granted. I was a good connector, and then I realised that what I really like is helping people to get their voice in the room. So yeah, that's why I set up my business, My Super Connector, just to try something new as well.
“I was in my early 40s. A lot of people have a crisis, a bit of a breakdown. Where am I going? And it just felt like much more ‘me’ and then I found Enterprise Nation within the first few months of starting in business.
“I knew I needed help. I didn't come from marketing. I had studied social media marketing as a hobby, but I knew nothing about the business world and I stumbled across a coach, Alison Edgar, MBA, who was also an Enterprise Nation member. I did a few sessions with her and she gifted me Enterprise Nation membership, and straight away I was in this amazing community and got really stuck in and was introduced to Emma Jones, and became an adviser really quickly.
“Alison really was a good coach for giving me a kick up the arse - telling me to go for it and become an adviser. I've now been an adviser member about four years now, and I love it. So yeah, complete transition, doing stuff that I never did before in corporate, I suppose. I've always been a connector and a networker behind the scenes online anyway, though.”
Talk me through how you two met and how you provide value to each other, as well as your clients.
JY: “I was so super lucky to meet Jennifer this way. It was just absolutely awesome. I attended the annual Enterprise Nation event up in London at Kings College, a big, huge event, and I was there as a delegate, going to all the sessions, cramming all the different sessions in and I'd heard about the Enterprise Nation social media competition.
“And in every room where you attended a session they said: “don't forget, tweet or put onto social media about your attendance here today.” So, I did as I was told and entered the competition, and lo and behold, I won!
“I won a voucher and the voucher was to spend Enterprise Nation money on one of the business advisers’ services. I didn't actually spend it straight away, and then, of course, things occurred in the world. So, when the whole world turned fully digital, I thought I should use the voucher! So, I looked up some of the advisers and the different services, and I spotted Jennifer and her courses, and I wondered if I could use this voucher on one of her courses on LinkedIn profile success.
So, I contacted Jennifer and she said absolutely, you could use that with me. You cannot be an expert in everything to do with marketing - marketing has just completely exploded as I mentioned earlier, there's just so much to get to grips with and sometimes you're just so close to your own message and your own story. You benefit from a fresh pair of eyes, which is what I say to my clients, and how I add value to them on their marketing strategy, you actually benefit from that fresh pair of eyes on you.
“That’s exactly what I got with Jennifer and that profile review. A deep inspection of my LinkedIn reboot, which I actually thought wasn't too bad, but there's always something that you can sharpen up.
“So that's how we met, but then we kept meeting up at different events, different online events, networking outside of Enterprise Nation, and it was then that it was suggested to me I take on a local leader role, and Jennifer already was one so she was my first port of call to find out more.”
JC: “Yes, that was great. We were both part of the local leader campaign. I've since stepped down and then handed the gauntlet to two other ladies and other members in Devon, but it was great to know somebody that was also a leader and to collaborate and get tips from each other. It was good to pick each other's brains and see how to give value back to small business owners.
“As Jarmila said, we kept popping up and meeting all the time and we were part of a focus group for Enterprise Nation as well, and we didn't know we were going to be and suddenly there she was again, giving feedback on an Enterprise Nation portal and with every encounter with her she's just super professional and goes all in.
“So, I'm 100% happy to send anyone her way - she is just a consummate professional and goes really deep. I'd love to say all business owners are that professional, but they’re not necessarily.”
What is your favourite thing about working with one another?
JY: “Ah, the enthusiasm. Jennifer just oozes enthusiasm for LinkedIn, for her topic, her specialty and for what its outcomes can bring.”
JC: “For you is it's just professionalism and I know it’s a very corporate word, but I have found in the business world not everyone is super professional. You just feel like you're in trusted hands and she's going to put the work in.”
Is there anything you’re both particularly of regarding your work with Enterprise Nation?
JC: “I'm just really proud to just be associated with them and they've really helped to leverage my brand through the different campaigns such as when I was a local leader and when I first started out in business - I wasn't all in on LinkedIn. I was a social media trainer, and I was one of the accredited trainers as part of the She Means Business campaign when I was a Facebook trainer.
“I really boosted my profile, and last year I entered the Top 50 Advisers competition with Enterprise Nation and I managed to get into the top 10, and then was number one marketing!
“That was amazing in terms of PR and just raised my brand and I think when you are providing services like we do, you really need to build on that trust so it has given me a stamp of approval.
“I know Jarmila has entered this year so wouldn’t it be amazing if she won?!”
JY: “Fingers and toes – everything’s crossed!
“I have so much pride working with Enterprise Nation and it’s such a community and I've said this to a lot of my clients over the last couple of years. The number one thing that they should get involved in with their marketing is to be looking to build out community - community of their end users and of their clients.
“But being part of Enterprise Nation, whether you're part of the business adviser community or whatever else, we’re all there looking out for each other, supporting each other, popping up at different events and seeing each other. But there are just huge opportunities, and every day truly is a school day. So, whether you’re a business adviser or standard member there's lots of learnings from the education that's available and most of it for free.
“It’s phenomenal, real practitioners who are doing this stuff every single day, and it’s up-to-the-minute information. I’m proud of the work we did during lockdown with Enterprise Nation and credit to Emma Jones and the team for getting involved with the government - giving time for free to support organisations and considering how to pivot-transform.
“I think we all found it quite uplifting, giving the advice, not just the people receiving it, but I think connecting the dots at a local level. I've certainly connected Enterprise Nation to my local Borough Council, and they have now included reference to Enterprise Nation on their local website which supports local businesses.”
JC: “One more thing I was going to mention, at the start of lockdown I was part of the Small Business Accelerator with Amazon. I created a few modules on LinkedIn training, and that was amazing for me, and the fact that it was free advice and it was reaching up to 200,000 small business owners. That’s also something I’m super proud of!”
How has becoming an Enterprise Nation adviser helped your respective brands and businesses?
JC: “I think it's given me confidence. It gave me confidence when I needed it at the start because I didn't really know what the hell I was doing! It gave a plan and like Jarmila said, there's loads of training. There were so many webinars to learn from and different advisers to speak to.
“It also gave me that sense of community when I got involved in those campaigns, alongside that confidence and self-belief, and then you generate that trust with clients.”
JY: “I think for me, it's given me inspiration. And as an entrepreneur, setting up my own business five years ago and building out that business and supporting other small businesses (many of them micro businesses) - it is confidence.
“But it's the inspiration to keep going, because it's tough. You take risks. You know you're putting your life, your livelihood on the line setting up your own business. So, you need that boost. You need that self-confidence, you need the belief and that boost of inspiration from Emma, from a team, from attending different sessions from the different initiatives - it just keeps adding to that so it helps keep you going. It’s the fuel that keeps an entrepreneur going.
Finally, is there anything you’re both collaborating on in the near future?
JC: I would love to have you on my LinkedIn live show, Jarmila, you’d be an amazing guest, would you like to come on? “
JY: “Oh my goodness, I’d be absolutely delighted, thank you for the invite! Maybe we should poll the Enterprise Nation members to see if there’s a business challenge they’re facing, or a topic they’d like us to focus on in that session.”
JC: “Well, let’s get the diaries out and start co-ordinating!”
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