We are 12!

We are 12!

We are 12!

Posted: 14/01/2022

The Thinking Cap: from offline print to social media training

We are hugely proud to say we’ve reached 12! 

It's not all been straight sailing and we’ve changed our services up over the years to ensure we bring our clients the latest skills and services… but we’re celebrating in style, stronger than ever.

Now the birth of a business is often tied to personal factors at a ‘now or never’ time… mine was way back in November 2009. I’d been dismissed from my sales job because I’d needed six weeks off work for a hip replacement. My son Stanley was only fifteen months old, and it was almost Christmas… it wasn’t the happiest of times for my family as you can imagine.

The Thinking Cap was born

After about a month, I was sent a sign about my next move. Don’t you just love it when that happens…

A previous customer called me out of the blue on my personal phone, asking if I could help with an urgent print job. 

The penny dropped! 

I could carry on offering customers my print, direct mail, and data experience through my own company – I didn’t need an employer!

My husband, Martin, helped me decide on a company name, ‘The Thinking Cap’ - it suited me to a tee. I’m always full of ideas and suggestions for improvements and always wearing lots of hats (caps)… now I had a chance to implement all my ideas through my own company and offer my customers the best deals! It was a no-brainer. 

Martin created the brand, logo, and I set about and created my very own (first) website launching early January 2010.

I started generating work by calling previous clients, dropping leaflets to local companies, and using, the then-new social media platform, LinkedIn. 

Taking my past twenty years’ experience in offline services, my first clients were offered a selection of; data cleaning, data segmentation, data profiling, managing direct mail campaigns, looking at postage savings, design for print, and print management.  It now seems so strange to think that’s all I offered back then!

From offline to online digital marketing support

It wasn’t long before more and more people wanted a mixture of email marketing and direct mail, so I started offering e-shots, data cleaning and segmentation, and SMS marketing. 

Now, it wouldn’t be a business story without some challenges would it and, at one point I have to admit, I nearly gave up!

As happens in many small businesses, I had a number of clients not paying their bills on time, ended up paying suppliers from my own pocket, and hitting my marketing budget hard. I ended up taking a part-time job to relieve financial pressure for a while until the business stabilised so I could go full-steam ahead once again. 

Four years in, during October 2014, a huge milestone was reached - The Thinking Cap became a limited company and had a rebrand.

I launched an incredibly successful campaign called ‘Keep It Local’. A spin-off from the popular ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ theme about local business.  I created branded mugs in boxes with my business cards and went door-knocking. With press features in local newspapers behind me, things really started looking up and I landed three large clients, Holme Farmed VenisonCromwell Polythene and Spentex BCA.

Social media marketing began to soar!

Social media was becoming increasingly popular, and I realised I needed to upskill further through digital marketing training. This enabled me able to offer social media services into the marketing mix for my clients. 

I then began providing social media and marketing training to an established commercial finance brokerage. They asked me to help set up all their franchisee companies.

Should we stay or should we go

As a family when we had the opportunity to relocate to Melbourne, Australia, for my husband’s job, we jumped at the chance. 

I continued to work for my social media clients but also took a full-time job at a boutique printing company, called Bambra, which was great fun! It wasn’t too long though before something told us life down under wasn’t going to be permanent for us and when we returned to the UK. 

I took a sales job in the print and creative industries, but then the pandemic hit, and I was furloughed.

The Thinking Cap had been trickling along in the background for a little while.  Not being one to ever sit idle, I decided to offer social media and online digital marketing training to local businesses who were struggling during the pandemic.

I volunteered my knowledge to get them online, helping retailers set up e-commerce websites, social media accounts, logos, and other general marketing support. This reminded me of my love for my business and helping others, so The Thinking Cap was back full time – an easy decision! 

Focusing on delivering specialist social media training

I realised that no man is an island and decided to invest in myself and the business, to propel it forwards.

I hired a business coach who helped me to niche, to focus on social media training, and I began setting up my online social media courses. Over the last year, I’ve been working with some incredible customers to increase their social media marketing performance through training.

"Lisa’s design creativity, content creation skills and all round being a jolly nice person to work with has made our time working together very enjoyable. She is full of great ideas and could help any business whatever their size. Contact her and see for yourself!" 

Debbie Callaghan, RISO UK

The Thinking Cap has transformed over the 12 years, moving with personal, business, and social trends. Although social media marketing wasn’t a thing when I started the business, it’s been a natural progression from my print media and sales background … and I absolutely love it. 

The social media training I offer is for both small, owner-managed companies, and large companies with full marketing teams. A huge highlight for me during the lockdown was training the entire team at Leeds Mind Charity (around 40 staff) on using LinkedIn

"Lisa delivered two workshops on LinkedIn for the team at Leeds Mind, from the basics to some more complex elements. As someone who thought they knew all there is to know about LinkedIn, I learned a lot and felt really comfortable asking lots of questions, even some of the obvious ones!

The team responded really well to Lisa's relaxed but professional style. She is incredibly knowledgeable on the subject, and we felt in very safe hands. Thank you, Lisa!"

Kate Goldring, Leeds Mind

With social media marketing always adapting, the training I offer people does too. In 2022, a new LinkedIn Lead Generation course will be launched, alongside a new annual social media and content planner.

If you are interested in brushing up your social media skills and would like social media training, please visit my training page initially or pick up the phone and let’s have a chat! 

I have both free and paid training available.  There really is something for everyone.