Twelve months ago the world changed dramatically. We were suddenly faced with the horrendousness of living through a pandemic. This was something no-one had ever experienced. Its impact was global and things were scary. One thing was clear this was not the time to set up a new business but that is what I did.
Today marks my first year running my crisis communication consultancy. I started from my home office on 23 March 2020 a date I will never forget particularly because it marked the start of lockdown due to Covid-19. My carefully crafted business plan had to be torn up overnight and I was faced with building a new business in this uncertain world.
I am talking about the rollercoaster experience of this year at a PR Agency Bootcamp conference later today so have been reflecting on what I have learnt from this experience. The first thing is that if you want to do something, if you have a dream, then go for it. Life is very fragile, as we have all found out, so you need to just give things a go. Stepping into the unknown after a lifetime as an employee was worrying. I had become familiar with what to do and with the way days looked. This was new, and for me, uncharted territory.
One of the biggest things I have learnt this year is to be comfortable with me, and have some self belief. It is easy to start looking around at what others are doing and become concerned as well as doubting yourself. I went into this to try and plough my own furrow so as long as I am providing a service that people want it doesn’t matter if it is different to what others are doing. I am starting to realise that people choose to work with you because you are you and not because you are trying to be someone else.
I have been surprised and overwhelmed by the amount of support that I have been given during the past year. My family have been simply amazing being 100 per cent behind me every step of the way. Friends have been there to pick me up when I was having a wobble. I have the most wonderful friends. But beyond that colleagues and fellow PR and comms professionals have supported me throughout the year. Many will never realise how much their kind words or supportive comment has meant to me often when I was in a moment of self doubt. I am truly grateful to everyone that has helped me get to this milestone.
Being my own boss isn’t easy. There have been many ups and downs but then there have been for everyone this past 12 months. What we all need to keep doing is picking ourselves up from those tough moments, building our resilience and celebrate those successes. I keep a little jar near my desk where I write notes about what positive things have happened. When I am having a down day I can delve in a pick a note that reminds me of good things which helps to lift my spirits.
I have learnt a lot about myself during the year. I know I am stronger than I thought I was. I know I enjoy working with a whole range of businesses and organisations learning about them and helping where I can. And I know that I have to embrace spreadsheets and financial projections. My systems and processes have come on a lot since 23 March last year.
If anyone is thinking of going it alone then I will always be here to offer any help and support. It isn’t easy but it is very liberating after almost 30 years as an employee. Sometimes you just need to take a leap of faith and go for your dreams. This 12 months has been me living my dream and enjoying it. Thank you to all my clients, friends and supporters for being with me during the year. I am looking forward to what the next 12 months will bring.