So, having started this blog to reflect on my 2017, on the 28th December whilst sat at my in-laws under a Snoopy duvet in a tiny bed, I’m now revisiting this on the 14th January, sat at my desk on a Sunday evening, quite happy to be here, but also quite keen to watch the rest of the Oasis documentary, which we started watching last night (but sensibly paused so we could go to bed at 10pm, because that’s how our household rolls these days on a Saturday night). It’s a good documentary – weirdly inspiring given how un-role model they are – crystal meth, trashing hotel rooms and generally being massively anti-social. It’s a fascinating journey of a few blokes who came from a council estate but really ‘f*cking’ wanted to be in a band. Passion and perseverance – a common theme of any success story.
Anyway, I digress. So this is a reflect-digest-project in bullet-point style. I was in a less-than jolly mindset recently where I was giving far too much headspace and thought to the stuff I haven’t achieved, so I thought I’d reflect on the stuff I have in 2017. Try it for yourself and see how you get on. I guarantee you have achieved so much more than you remember!
Proudest moments of 2017
1. The launch of Another Mother
So, my little hobby birthed into a business on the 25th September 2017 at the Mums Enterprise Roadshow (http://www.mumsenterprise.events/). I decided about a month before the event that I wanted a total refresh – new name and new brand (we were Working Mums Club), which meant a new website and new products. It was without doubt the most intense period in my working career. I was beside myself with excitement, fear, stress, vulnerability (and pretty much every other emotion) and my husband watched me bounce off the walls one minute and be near tears the next. But I felt so alive! And I felt like the “me” I really wanted to be. It sounds so cheesy to say that but I truly did. After my second maternity leave, it felt like an enormous (if somewhat intense) “I’m back”! I felt so bloody proud to stand in front of my double-sided (yup, went all out on that one) roller banner that day. Without doubt one of my proudest life achievements.
2. Delivering my talk at the Mums Enterprise Roadshow
So in addition to the launch, I delivered a 30 minute talk to about 150 women, and numerous stage-bombing toddlers. I absolutely love public speaking but I was VERY nervous. The topic that I’d agreed with Lindsey, the organiser, was “A simple strategy to starting a business”. The outline I’d provided prior to the event was very much of the practical steps needed to get your business off the ground but I really wanted to cover the mindset space of mums starting a business – vulnerability and fear, leaving old identities, developing faith and trust – which felt a bit ‘off topic’ and a risk. It totally paid off – I had some truly lovely emails after the event and most referenced how they resonated with the mental space I’d described. (Here one attendee, now coaching client, wrote a blog article: https://fromfleetofree.wordpress.com/2017/11/03/a-turning-point/.) My learning? Go with your instinct and talk about whatever really resonates with you – it will probably resonate with your audience.
3. Learning the value of investing in me and my business
Prior to this, I’d had some sort of strange pride in the idea of succeeding without spending any money. At all. I was trying to do everything on a next-to-nothing budget. The kudos of having a successful business having spent nothing on it somehow appealed to me. However, a few things changed this. Firstly, the phrase “buy cheap, buy twice” has come to light this year more than ever. Whether that being getting a logo done on the cheap, doing a website myself, not developing myself. Secondly, I have realised that I simply cannot do everything myself. It is too much.
So I have invested in a year long contract with a coach, a great quality designer to do the logo, a super local team to do the website, and have found a VA that has far surpassed expectations. Funnily enough, when I’ve paid for high quality, there’s not a pound I’ve regretted investing, compared with some of the ‘on-the-cheap’ efforts which I’ve instantly binned. I’ve also learned how important the essence of ‘high calibre’ is to the Another Mother brand and how important it is that the brand is one I’m happy to present to the world.
4. Launched a co-working trial
Popworkspace was a local two-event trial of a pop-up coworking event which rocked! I’ve always dreamed of having a community coworking hub but the idea of the overhead of a space doesn’t appeal, so I thought, why not do a pop-up. It was brilliant and such a confidence boost. Both events sold out and we got amazing feedback. I’m still figuring out how/ if this sits with the AM strategy going forward. But it was a great example to myself of “giving it a go.” And proof that I can get myself out there.
So, some other things I’ve learned quick-fire style:
- Spend money on high quality services otherwise I’ll just end up canning them and starting again
- Doing something that scares the pants off me makes for lifelong memories
- Every time I do a coaching session or a meetup, it reiterates to me that I’m here for the long haul, and that takes the pressure off the short-term decisions
- There is never enough time for blogging!
- You can never plan out a week/ month as a working mum. I have lost so many days to illness during the Autumn term that December was practically a write off
- Establishing the ‘me’ in my business is harder than I thought
- Sometimes decisions weigh over me like black clouds but I’ve learned it’s better to confront them and ‘lean in’ (sorry for the cheesy phrase) and it takes the heat out of them
- I have focussed way too much on what I haven’t achieved and it is completely demotivating. Focus on the fact I’ve turned up and delivered, and I have so much more to congratulate myself about
- People are my single biggest inspiration
- I’m rubbish at working in the evenings, unless I have a chat with a like-minded Mum about 7pm then I’m raring to go for the rest of the evening!
- If any of our children are ill or need time off school, that lands on my lap, which can be really frustrating
- I love being able to say ‘yes’ to pretty much every school concert or event and not check with my boss
- I miss London and an office, and having a job title and a regular income – and being dressed for office life. I miss my established career more than I thought I would
- Launching Another Mother spurred me on to do other new things – I’ve taken up drumming lessons and got the guitar out of the loft
- Doing this makes me feel really alive
- I can honestly say I’m passionate about what I do and love doing it
- I can tend to hide behind my laptop – I need to get out there and work my contact list more
- Telling people about my new company on Linkedin scares me
- I love doing FB Lives!
- I love doing PR stuff
So, Goals for 2018
- Make the Facebook Group brilliant – an awesome place where cool ladies hang out, unite and collaborate, and is full and brimming of useful stuff that will help mums along their way to being successful entrepreneurs
- Make the signature Another Mother course truly brilliant and life changing – reiterate and refine the programme so it’s spot-on and delivers truly high calibre content and coaching to every participant, so they walk away focussed, clear-headed, sassy and ready to take on the world. Aside from just having really bloody practical with loads of useful stuff, I want it to be a life-changing course, where women flourish, become more whole as an entrepreneur and expand into that role with rooted confidence and self-assuredness
- Develop courses/ products that come in at a lower price point to make the Another Mother services more accessible – a mini-course on vision and goal setting are in development as we speak!
- To speak at at least 2 industry events
- To write every week – blogs/ guest blogs/ book chapter
- To get a great business coach who will kick my arse and make me feel really uncomfortable in the name of progressing my business
So that’s me!
What are your reflections of 2017? What have you achieved/ learned this year and what are your plans for next year?
The Another Mother new website is soon to be released! Check it out for details on meetings, courses and more. Next meeting is 25 January in Berkhamsted. Get tickets here. www.another-mother.co.uk