#niWord of the Day – Tsundoku

I can’t believe I’m guilty of ‘Tsundoku’ – but I am.

toby hewson


I have lots of piles of book around the house at the moment, as the definition suggests – on the coffee table, under the bed, my bedside table, the desk in my office and even on the floor next to the bookshelves because the bookshelves are already full of books.

My saving grace here is that nowhere in the definition does it hint at or allude to intention.

The books I’ve bought are always bought with the intention of being read – and I do read a lot – but I do really love books so I regularly hit the charity shops and buy several at a time – much more than one person could read (and still have a life).

But they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions but intent alone will not get you there. The captain on the titanic probably intended to miss the iceberg.

Which of these four obstacles are getting in the way of your goals.



Sometimes obstacles can stop us from reaching our goals – but obstacles should never stop us from trying to reach our goals. Perhaps you want to start a business but don’t know where to begin? Perhaps you need to grow your business to the next level but need help with the strategy. Perhaps you just need someone who has been in your position who can give some friendly advice? The Nottingham Institute was set up with the express intent of helping people to achieve their goals together. If you can identify what stands between you and what you want to achieve, then perhaps The Nottingham Institute can help you.

The Nottingham Institute is an organisation that brings talented and ambitious people people together to help each other achieve amazing things. If you know where you want to be, but not how to get there, then contact The Nottingham Institute.

I can guarantee you this – a year from now, you will wish you had acted today.

toby hewson



D.R.I.V.E. Your Social Media Forwards!

DRIVE Your Social Media

A lot of people stall the bus when it comes to Social Media. They are all excited when they get behind the wheel, but give up too easily after a few false starts. No-one was ever an expert at anything worthwhile without practice, so if you find your Social Media vehicle just sitting there, you have to work out how to use it or it can’t take you to the new and exciting places you dreamed of.

Toby Hewson Social Media DRIVE

In short – you need to learn to  D.R.I.V.E  it!

  • D – Declare yourself to your audience. Tell them who you are exactly. Whether you are a product, brand, business owner or customer services professional, you need to make sure that your audience know who it is they are interacting with. Make sure you set up a clear profile and wherever possible – use a personal picture – people like to connect to people.
  • R – Respond to your audience. If someone likes, retweets, follows, adds, comments or even emails you – make sure they get a timely response. They have already shown a willingness to be part of something with you – don’t leave ’em hanging! In cases where you cannot provide what they want, a simple “we’ll look into that and get back to you right away” will suffice.
  • I – Involve your audience. Social Media is not just there for you to sell, sell, sell or shout about your product or services. It’s there to be, well… social. Think of ways to get people involved with what you do with your events, or their photos – even competitions are a good way to build brand loyalty without the hard sell.
  • V – Verify your audience. Once someone has connected with you, their social profile is usually available in one form or another. Check they are not spammers and if they are legit – find out a bit more about them. If you know what they want, need or use – then you have the chance to sell it to them – and the personalised approach works wonders.
  • E – Engage your audience. Ok so you have them – now what? Well to maintain your social media you will need to do all of the above – PLUS – come up with new content that is of use or interest to your audience. Please don’t try to hit them with a new offer every day – vary your content. Make it useful by giving them tips, make it funny by sharing the latest viral content, make it about the people behind your business. As long as it all ties in to you or your business in some way – it is all good stuff.

So what are you waiting for?

All aboard the Social Media Fun-Bus and DRIVE, DRIVE, DRIVE!

If you want to know more about social media or social media training, please drop me a line to toby@tobyhewson.com


Face Your Fears: Face Yourself

The following quote by Greek Philosopher, Aristotle is as relevant today as it was when he stated it originally, somewhere circa 350BC.


Last night Tim (of TJ Elliott) and I attended ‘Second Wednesday‘ (or #SecWed) at Antenna in Nottingham‘s Creative Quarter – a monthly creative and digital event involving guest speakers, networking and free beers.

There were two very good speakers on yesterday – Jack Sheppard talking about how technology must be designed with people in mind was very interesting and a talented speaker, but it was Ben Lumley‘s talk “Fear: How It Affects People Like You And How To Kick It In The A***!” that resonated more personally with me.

I’m the type of person who likes to take things head on and not let anything beat me, in fact – if you look a few posts previous to this one – you can see me holding a dirty big spider which terrified the life out of me (I asked my girlfriend Lynne to take a photo – quickly, which she did. But then she said it wasn’t a good one and said she’d take another. My response was “No! I’ve done it! Take it off me! Take it off me now!”).

I also once went up in a cherry-picker to change a lightbulb in the roof of an aircraft hanger, just to prove I could master my fear of heights. This was not a good move. Although I managed to complete the task, by the time I got down I could tell by the looks on people’s faces and the concern as they asked if I was ok – that I didn’t look well.

Ben’s talk about fear and how your brain works under fear and stress was a real eye-opener because I (and everybody else in the room) could really identify with what he was talking about. He brought in his knowledge about fear and stress in the workplace – specifically how it affects people when they are trying to be creative  – and also ways to overcome this fear and be more productive.

You’ll get no spoilers from me – I whole-heartedly recommend you attend one of his talks if you ever get the opportunity as it is an experience best delivered by the master himself, with a knowledge and wit about the subject I do not possess – but it did make me think of that famous quote from Aristotle. I had always thought before that it was these ‘other people’ holding us back, stopping me and stopping you from reaching our full potential. Last night I found out that it is me and you holding ourselves back. We have been holding ourselves back this whole time and I say now it is time for us to be honest with ourselves about our fears and be brave enough to let them go.

Go on.

Who’s stopping you?

@Antenna_UK       @madebysheppard       @benbuildsstuff       @tjemarketing

#niWord Of The Day – Petrichor



The scent of rain on dry earth.

The only thing that I love more than this smell is the fact that there is a word for it! Breathing in the subtle aroma of the earth around you changing from arid to verdant and the sense that anything could happen – anything might grow. A tree. A plant. An idea.

I can’t help but imagine the rain, too cold, giving chills – making you feel alive and aware of everything around you – goosebumps, pitter-patter, shivers.


Is there another smell in the world that makes you feel more connected to mother earth than this?


2014 – What Awaits…?


So my birthday is out of the way (yesterday, thanks), Christmas and New Years are out of the way and it is only now I find myself having the time to look ahead to what 2014 will hold in store for me.

Firstly I would like to thank Tim Elliott of TJ Elliott Ltd and Dominic Corder of The Nottingham Institute for their unwavering help and support through 2013. We have had some very successful collaborations last year and this year promises to be even more exciting!

You can read more about my services here.

There are several projects due to launch 2014 that I have to keep under wraps for now until they are more fully-fledged but so far this year I will be working on:

Komparifest – a festival promotion and information hub where festival-goers can check out what’s going on and owners can promote their events and related services.

The Americana International Festival – as Official Media Partners, Tim and I will be working to secure sponsorship for this massive festival and promoting in every way we can.

The Nottingham Barefoot Walk – we will be looking to build on last year’s successful event to raise even more awareness and much needed funds for our chosen charities.

The Big Purple Factory – Tim and I are looking to work with more brave companies who see the value in stand-out advertising to get people talking about their brands.

Construction Voice Magazine – there may be some changes this year, but the launch in October was fantastically well received and 2014 should see us build our readership levels even further.

Donkeywork – the advertising agency’s agency. This is an agency set up to look after out-sourced, white-label work for those agencies who need to free up some of their time to spend in more productive areas. Let us do the ‘Donkeywork’ for you! This venture has a real ‘feel-good’ factor to it because we have decided that 10% of all profits will go to The Donkey Sanctuary to help them continue their great work.

The Nottingham Institute – I shall continue as head of niWord and head of niEvents as The Nottingham Institute ‘concept’ is becoming more and more accepted throughout the city and the network grows ever more influential. It was a hard launch at first but people seem to be finally accepting that by working together – we can achieve more.

I am also continuing my own writing projects wherever possible, including an epic fantasy series and a mythological graphic novel. More about those as and when they develop.

Lastly, one more big thank-you to my partner Lynne who has helped me more than words can say. You’ve made me a better person.

So then – social media, events, marketing content, advertising, agency work, charity work and lots and lots and lots of writing – this is what awaits me in 2014. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Good luck in everything that you do this year – I’ll see you there!



#niWord & Christmas Message

Today’s #niWord of the day –

Around this holiday season, some people’s stress levels are increased due to the personal battles they have ongoing inside. My Christmas wish for you all this year is that you can find some time over the festive period to assess this year and your priorities. Take some time to consider if some of the things you are giving yourself a hard time over are actually worth it.
Look at how you spend your time and what is really important to you. If these two things are too disparate, you need to actively plan how you will spend more time next year on the things that really matter.
Above all, I hope you can allow yourself to let some of the little things go and enjoy yourself – find happiness and feel no guilt for it because it is what we are here to do, instead of wasting time and energy fighting your own shadow.

Merry Christmas!

Seasons Greetings

Scary Santa!
Scary Santa!

I’d just like to take a moment to wish everyone the very best of times, whether you believe in Santa or not – I hope you are happy and well. There’s been a lot of changes on the website recently and as 2014 shapes up to be a cracker – there will be a lot more changes to come. Till next time then, wherever you are, take care of yourself – and each other!




October 2013



What a busy month it was. Time was at a premium. I was all set to go to the e-commerce expo down in that London, with Tim Elliott, but some important meetings being scheduled at the same time meant that it was a luxury that we could just not afford.


I was very privileged to be invited to speak at the AGM of the Harley Davidson Riders Club of Great Britain, down in Alcester on the 6th.

HDRCGB 8bit logo-blue

It was to present to them the chance of working with us at next year’s Americana International Festival as they have their 65th Anniversary coming up next year. Incredible! HDRCGB is one of the oldest bike clubs in the world and the oldest Harley Riders club in Europe. They have some amazing items within the club (including a prototype Harley Davidson with the chassis and engine number 001 – something even Harley themselves don’t have anymore!) and they made me feel very welcome – even encouraging me to get stuck into the buffet as I arrived at lunch time. Not very much encouragement was actually needed!

The presentation was very successful, they guys seemed pleased with the answers I gave them bout the changes the Americana has made over the last few years and hopefully we’ll see a lot of their members at Prestwold Hall in July next year.

The next three days were crazy as myself, D3TJ Elliott Ltd and Larchwood Construction Marketing launched our new online construction industry magazine – Construction Voice!


Construction Voice is a FREE publication that is emailed out to a subscribers list of thousands of construction business and supporting services every quarter. There are lots of industry mags out there that say the same things, but the aim of CV is to be different. Launched in conjunction with the Business Growth Club, we are more focused on business growth within the construction industry and our content reflects that.

The launch day at Risley Hall, just off Junction 25 of the M1, was a fantastic day, attended by many industry professionals who wanted to see what we could offer.

Me with my wonky name badge!
Me with my wonky name badge!

In the same week, Tim and I both managed to attend The Big Expo in Wolverhampton at the racecourse run by Circle Events.


There were some very exciting people there (and one or two who definitely weren’t). Sean Bird of Daredevil Creative and Beuie Web Design caught our eye, as did guest speaker Michelle Mills-Porter – of Ethos Development Ltd – who was a fantastic motivational speaker and someone I would recommend to anyone looking to freshen up their sales team.

The next week was a flurry of meetings about Construction Voice, JMW Snapshots, Americana and my work with the very talented people at The Nottingham Institute, broken only by Tim narrowly beating me at squash at Chilwell Olympia. Mid-day is definitely the time to go if you can – we got there early and the courts were all free so we got a full hour instead of 30 mins. Mind you – my legs didn’t thank me for it! I had my revenge on Tim by beating him at pool over a post-squash pint in the Beekeeper.


The next week, Lynne and I went to CenterParcs in Elveden, Suffolk. We’ve been to Sherwood CenterParcs on many occasions as it is on our doorstep and we even went to Whinfell CenterParcs up in the Lake District earlier this year (where the highlight for me was bumping into Clarke Carlisle – ex-footballer, Chairman of the PFA and champion of mental health in sport and other charities to boot!).


It was really nice to wind down for a week although I did miss having decent WiFi (Lynne was glad I wasn’t on the laptop all the time though) and I read three books whilst I was there which was great. We stayed in the hotel which had a lovely view of the lake from our balcony (which we didn’t use as much as we should have because it was wet in the evenings).

The highlight of the month though, was Lynne’s mum’s surprise party. She is (something) years old in December and in order to deliver maximum surprise, we decided to arrange her surprise birthday party for 41 days before her actual birthday.

My beautiful Lynnie who did all the hard work with her sister Jayne
My beautiful Lynnie who did all the hard work with her sister Jayne

In a not so rare touch of genius from Lynne, she and her sister Jayne even convinced their mother to prepare food for her own surprise party – thinking that she was actually coming to my parents’ wedding anniversary party!

Mum, Lara, Dad, Ed and Ian enjoying the party!
Mum, Lara, Dad, Ed and Ian enjoying the party!

I took a great video of when we surprised her and just how shocked she was. My favourite part is when she realises she is holding a card and present for my parents anniversary and it’s not even their party! “What the hell have I got this for???”

Halloween this year was another disappointing night as we bought sweets and carved pumpkins – only for none of the little blighters to show up at our door. Never mind, we had fun watching scary movies and Lynne took the pumpkin that I carved into school where the kids told her it was “sick”.

In progress
In progress



A good Americana meeting was followed by lots of Americana working for me and Tim and whilst I enjoy it – the highlight of the day was going to Goose Fair with Lynnie – she loves it! Seeing her smiling face makes me feel like there is nothing I would not do for that girl – which is probably how she got me on the big wheel despite my fear of heights. The worst bit was going up, and up, and up, and up, but once we’d been around a couple of times, I relaxed enough to take a photo.

I can see the pub from here!
I can see the pub from here!

The awesome JT Beedham’s are there at the Goose Fair at the moment (cemetary end near the pavillion) selling their multi-award-winning sausages, burgers, hog roast etc. It was nice to see Jason again after he and Beedham’s had given us so much support for the Barefoot Walk so there was only one food vendor  was giving my hard-earned to!



So Lynne had a day off because of the teacher’s strike. Although she spent most of the day arguing with some very ill-informed people on Facebook about why teachers were striking. In between the FB aggro, we managed to have a lovely day out in Derbyshire, enjoying a lunch at the Chatsworth Estate Farm shop and restaurant. We also picked up some lovely food from there (including a PURPLE cauliflower which Dr.Lynne Sansom – geek extraordinaire – was keen to show me how to use as a litmus indicator) so I could make a nice sausage and mash for Lynne’s mum and granddad (officially THE sweetest man on the planet) as they were travelling back from Wales after visiting relatives.

This IS purple!
This IS purple!

We also went to see my dad too, who now lives in Landermeads nursing home due to suffering from Neuroferritinopathy (easy for you to say!). Dad was good and I pinched his photo album off him to nick some of the pictures from his mountaineering days. Enjoy!

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