My Blog’s New Focus – Spotlight on Scottish Businesses

spotlight on Scottish Businesses

A Spotlight on Scottish Businesses

So I’m not really promoting the makeup anymore so the blog has been gather digital dust. I have been considering that it’s high time to to do something new with it. This is what a came up with, a Business Blether. So I will use it to talk about my own businesses but more so conversations with friends who are business owners and other people in my wider network. Much of my blog’s new focus will be a spotlight on Scottish Businesses, and more specifically conversations with their owners – from one man bands all the way up to international enterprises.

Due to my line of work (as a Canva trainer), and a keen networker (both offline and currently on), I come into contact with amazing, inspirational business owners almost daily. For a long time now, I’ve had the idea of doing this as a blog or as a podcast, but never did anything about it. Now, as we in the UK head into our fourth week of “lockdown” due to the Covid-19 outbreak, it simply seems as good of a time as any to pivot into something new.

What Questions to Ask?

The first challenge has been sourcing questions to ask. I used to love reading a section in the Media Guardian, in the early 2000s, where my friend Hamish used to do short interviews about tech. Those little interviews have come into my mind of late and made me go back to see the types of questions he asked. His were all tech-related but I thought it might give me some inspiration of what to ask business owners.

In any case I have come up with a list and I’ll be emailing the questions to some people I’ve lined up to kick off the series. They will be questions about who they are, how they started, what they view as successful, what inspires them…and a few curve balls to keep it interesting.

The last question which I want everyone to answer is: “Finally, if you could read an interview with any other Scottish business owner, who would it be?”

If I know that, then I can find Scottish business owners, creatives, entrepreneurs and so forth – that people want to read about. Then, it won’t just be my own biased selection. For starters though, it is my selections…because, hey, after all it’s my blog.

what interview questions would you like to ask?

So as for My Spotlight on Scottish Businesses, Watch This Space…

Ok so I’ll be sending out the emails tonight and hopefully before too long I can kick off my series highlighting Scottish businesses. And with a bit of luck, I may just turn it into a podcast too.

If you’re in business in Scotland, and looking for some FREE webinars to attend, be sure to check out the Business Gateway website. I am currently doing Canva and Blogging workshops as normal (well, apart from the fact they’re online and not in person at the moment).

Dan Spicer talking HootSuite at Working Digital

Working Digital – Day 3 recap


Day 3 of Working Digital – well what to expect? After Day 2 of Working Digital, I didn’t think they could top it. To be honest, they didn’t, but they did make a damn good effort!

Dan Spicer talking HootSuite at Working DigitalThe final day did feature some of the most useful talks from the whole event…Namely one from Ryan Bell, an American who’s head of Corporate Sales at Hubspot – based in Dublin (the lucky lad). Hubspot’s one of the biggest inbound marketing companies in the world. They distribute a ton of FREE resources that are helpful to SMEs the world over. Well worth investigating them if you haven’t come across them yet.

The other helpful highlight of the day for me personally was Dan Spicer (right), Community Lead, from Hootsuite. As someone who uses Hootsuite Pro everyday, I figured I might get a tip or two…

Like Ryan, Dan had a good, humorous, informal way of delivering his brand of social media trends and tips. Plus he offered promotional codes for people looking to try out HootSuite’s Pro version and their University.

My Table: Working Digital - crisps, chocolate, and fruit too!I clearly picked the best table to be at (pic right). We had the largest supply of food – chocolate, fruit, and crisps. Plus it was an all around great group of funny associates!

There were a few other speakers on the day as well – such as Guillermo Amodeo from IBM and the final keynote delivered from Michael Williamson. Michaels talk, Tracking Your Digital Footprints, was one that would make you wand to revert back to your Dumb Phone. Many-a-cautionary tale was rattled through at break-neck speed. No one tweeted – out of respect for privacy of his work

If you missed out on the day, then it might be worth watching some of the Working Digital 2014 presentations on the internet. And make sure you do your best to make it along next year…assuming it goes ahead again. A big well done to NSDesign and East Ayrshire Council too for making it happen again this year.

Twitter Links: @DaveCarroll | @boagworld | @HubSpot | @ryanlball | @DanSpicer | @HootSuite | @guilleibm | @IBM |@halogencomms

Training room at the Park Hotel, Business Gateway Ayrshire

More on Facebook & New Social Media Training Course


John MacKay & Thea Newcomb - after appearance on Scotland TonightYesterday, on my personal blog, I posted a piece about a recent appearance on Scotland Tonight discussing Facebook’s 10th Birthday. Due to a fuzzy head, I hadn’t really responded in a way I’d hoped to whilst on LIVE TV, so I did a little “do ever” and expanded some more thoughts about the platform and why I “love and loathe it in equal measure”.

Also on the subject of Facebook, was another, great, video from Veritasium posted this week. Love this guy’s work on the subject of Facebook.


Since arriving back to Glasgow, (after five, fun weeks in Silicon Valley), it’s been nose-to-the-grindstone working on a half day and full day  social media training course every day since.

I’ve spent countless hours sourcing material, reading articles, listening to podcasts to try to come up with the most relevant topics, stats and apps to cover on these two courses.


Screenshot of SpundgeThis new course is aimed at people who are brand new to technology and social media. It’s very much aimed at newbies to Social Media platforms and applications like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogging and the Cloud.  We’ll also look at tools like HootSuite, Spundge

It can be run as a three-hour, broad overview class, or a six-hour more in depth training session.


This course covers much of what the Intro to Emerging Tech course covers, but covers more tools like Survey Monkey and participants will leave with a social media strategy they can then leave and apply in their own business or organization. This course is a full day course.

NOTE: These can be delivered 1-2-1 or as part of a group. 50% funding may be available for either course. Ask for more details.

How Blogging is Essential for Businesses (Big & Small)

Why Blogging is EssentialBlogging is Essential

Most of my personal blogging seems to be done over on and this, my new company blog, has been a tad neglected.

Like the majority of small businesses out there, I find blogging can be a real challenge to fit in to my schedule. Despite knowing all the reasons we NEED to blog, even I don’t
end up doing nearly as many blogs as I intend to or would like to.

“Why Should I Blog?”

Google, its ever-changing algorithm and 89% marketshare of the UK Search Market means that we need to constantly aware of what it takes to be found in its SERPS (Search Engine Results Page).

With its latest change, which is not really much of a change, it is saying it’s all about “Fresh Content” which is updated regularly.

I train a lot of businesses in Scotland who hadn’t even thought about blogging and don’t think their business is one that even would lend itself to blogging. I’ve yet to come across a business that couldn’t benefit from blogging.

If this sounds like you, then take a look at this:

21 Benefits of Business Blogging and 22 Tips [INFOGRAPHIC]

21 Benefits of Business Blogging and 22 Tips [INFOGRAPHIC]October 6, 2013 · · Like it? 39 Posted October 6, 2013 Keywords: Content, Blogging, Community, Engagement, Social Media Combine “web” with “log” and you get “blog.” It’s a funny word, but serious business. Of course, there are millions of blogs that aren’t about business. Music, fashion, travel, food and beauty top the long list (according to this research). This post isn’t about them. This post is about blogging for business—with a purpose. We have a lot to cover, so we’ll knock it out as...Open this article

And if you’re short of ideas, here’s a fun, little tool that might just help you come up with those creative content ideas.

Content Idea Generator

July 27, 2013 · Portent, Inc – Content Idea Generator · Why Break Ups are Afraid of the Truth The eternal question… You might work nicely here. Appealing to Fears 101. YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH. Did the Content Idea Generator fail English? That’s unpossible! See below for tips on how to make it work better. FOR BEST RESULTS: Don’t capitalize keywords (except proper nouns) Use the singular version of your keyword Revise the result to create your own fantastic (grammatically correct) headline It’s funny when Ralph Wiggum invents his own grammar,…Open this article

One Final Tip

Another tip I recommend is to have Google Analytics on your site and study what you can in terms of what people searched for to find you. Of course a lot of that keyword data is now “Not provided” by Google (much to the annoyance of all us of who manage websites for ourselves and clients)…But if you do have a decent amount of traffic, in the content area of Analytics, you can filter by “How” or “What”, and you’ll likely find that people have typed questions into Google to discover you. Those questions can be a good source of what to call your next blog!

Google SEO Keyword (Not Provided): Organic Search in Google Analytics

Google SEO Keyword (Not Provided): Organic Search in Google AnalyticsSeptember 25, 2013 · · Most Organic Search Data is Now Hidden Over the past couple years since its launch, Google’s keyword (not provided) has received quite a bit of exposure, with people discussing all sorts of tips on estimating its impact & finding alternate sources of data (like competitive research tools & webmaster tools). What hasn’t received anywhere near enough exposure (and should be discussed daily) is that the sole purpose of the change was anti-competitive abuse from the market monopoly in search. Open this article

Networking News

Two events of note! On Friday, this month’s New Media Breakfast takes place in 29 Private Members Club. These are often very good – especially for people who are just starting out with Social Media.

Next week on October 30th we’re holding our next Networking @ 29 event (also at 29 of course). This time it’s about Google. In this post “How Can I Help Your Business” (over on my personal blog), there are more details about the event and a link to RSVP. Very excited by our second event. We’ve got some great speakers and attendees who’ve RSVPd already.

1) “21 Benefits of Business Blogging and 22 Tips [INFOGRAPHIC]” · Oct. 6, 2013 ·
2) “Google SEO Keyword (Not ProvidOrganic Search in Google Analytics” · Aaron Wall ·  Sept. 25, 2013 ·
3) “Content Idea Generator” · July 27, 2013 · Portent, Inc – Content Idea Generator.