Say goodbye 2014, roll on 2015
To describe this year would be to say it has been a journey both professionally and personally. In the last twelve months so much has changed and a lot of good has come out of 2014 for which I am eternally grateful.
Professionally, my year started as many did, with goals set and a way forward planned. However, I've found in business that sometimes the best way forward is to go the way life takes you. I attended Jackie Waring's fabulous business growth course in January and that became a catalyst. My business had reached that point where I had ideas about what I wanted to do but I needed some direction and some tuition to help me make things happen. Jackie was my inspiration and with an excellent team behind her I came out of that course a whole lot more focused and confident about what I wanted and needed to do.
So I think that's where I tore up the rule book and told myself this was how things were going to be done from now on. My plans were formed and I moved forward. I was fortunate to gain some work as a direct result of that course and it helped me develop my next service which was my way to give a little bit back, my charity and social enterprise packages. I have already worked with charities providing them with professional support at discounted rates so they can move forward in their plan too. It was rewarding seeing the difference that could be made to make some dedicated workers lives easier and then in turn help many others who benefit from the charity itself.
In April I stood down from being on the Arena96 committee. Whilst I loved helping arrange the networking events and all the admin that went with it now was time for me to move on. It was a great learning experience but paid work always had to come first and I like, wherever possible, to practice what I preach so the committee role had to go.
In Spring, following that same course, I entered the VA awards and was delighted to hear that I had been shortlisted as a finalist in the Scottish round.
Summer came and went in a blur but my marketing wheels whirred into action and my blog and newsletters became a regular thing. I set up my LinkedIn company page and made more of Facebook however my true love is still with Twitter.
In September my plans turned to another diversification and product launch and I initially marketed it at the Highland Spotlight Exhibition in Inverness. Many a time I am a bridging of the gap between clients becoming overwhelmed and them taking on their first employee. It's a very rewarding role to take, nurturing them over that hurdle and then watching them grow, knowing you played a small part in helping them do so.
So for a while I had heard a number of businesses complaining about how they'd enthusiastically taken on an intern or apprentice however in reality the experience had proved disappointing for both sides as there hadn't been time to train them. This in turn left the intern or apprentice disillusioned and the business owner let down as they couldn't do the job they wanted them to do. So my solution was to step in, get that business through the busy period, put systems in place and then help them select an intern or apprentice when they were ready. By then I would know the business and could therefore train the intern or apprentice to fulfil the role the business required them to do without the business owner suffering any loss of time. It was a win – win situation and I put the idea out there in September. Initial feedback was good so that in November via my newsletter I launched this added product and it will be added as one of my many services in the New Year. I have already had interest for this service so the demand is there.
In October, I, at short notice, attended the VA Scottish awards at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow. I was shocked and delighted to be named runner up. It was a very tough competition and the other finalists were very talented.
It was so nice to have a physical memento to show for all your hard work and to say you were judged to be carrying out a good job. Whilst you may believe that you are indeed doing a good job being recognised in this way gives you renew fervour to conquer new horizons (or world domination as people joked at the time.)
Shortly after getting back from Glasgow, I then found out I was a finalist in the Moray Business Women Club Awards in the Moray Business Women of the Year category. At this point I think was still reeling from shock after the VA Awards. I knew again that I was up against some very stiff competition so I told everyone that whilst I was very excited to get this far this was as far as I thought I would go and that I was deeply humbled to be considered.
So at the end of October my husband and I trotted off to a very glitzy glam ball held at the Mansefield Hotel, Elgin. Imagine my surprise when I heard my name announced as winner of the Moray Business Women 2014 award. I was so surprised that it took me a minute to get to my feet, followed by a very emotional hug of my husband and a few tears shed.
So that's my year in a nutshell, an incredible journey professionally and one of which I am extremely proud. No-one knows how hard you've fought to get where you are but we must always remember that behind so many there has been a battle of extraordinary proportions.
May I take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy and prosperous New Year!