Want to know what went well for me in 2019?
the gory details of building a business around toddlers?
want a sneaky peak of what I'm planning in 2020?
Then read on!
So, I know I’m a bit late to the party on this one, but Christmas and New Year with a toddler and a 3 year old were absolutely crazy, and the we were hit by Chicken Pox, so it’s only now I feel like I am really starting the year!
2019 was the year I really decided to push my business, it was the year I committed to making it work as a business, rather than as nice little hobby and so I thought I should do a proper review to mark the occasion. I’ve been working with a coach this year, and she is really keen on regular reviews, and its slowly rubbing off on me.
In my review, I’ve looked at 3 things –
--> What went well?
--> What didn’t go so well (and what did I learn)?
--> What I want to do in 2020, and how I am going to make that happen
What went well in 2019?
I worked with some amazing women and a few great men
This is why I started coaching – to help make people’s working lives more enjoyable, and help them achieve the things they have their heart set on. And this year I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of a number of career development stories, all the way from people quitting the 9-5 and setting up businesses and growing side hustles, to those completely stepping out of work to do the things that make their soul happy. It’s been a privilege to able to share these client’s career journeys this year.
I started my facebook group
In July, I started The Returnity Lounge and it’s grown to almost 150 women – and it’s been a steep learning curve along the way. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the people in the group, and I’m planning lots of great content for them over the next year.
I hosted 2 free careers events in Surbiton
One of the big things I really wanted to do was to start holding events, as it’s part of the long term strategy of what I want to achieve. This year I dipped my toe in the water and had 2 great evenings chatting to people about their career change. The events taught me a lot, and I’ll be doing more later in the year.
I started working with a fab coach
I’d done a couple of group coaching programs before, but had found they weren’t a great fit, so towards the end of the year I invested in an amazing business coach to help push me out of my comfort zone and stop me playing small. She really does challenge me to do the things I know I should (but don’t want to!) and I can’t wait to see what I can achieve through working with her.
On a personal level there were also a couple of big wins for me.
Getting Teddy settled into nursery.
This was something we hadn’t planned to do until he was 2, but in November, we made the decision to start him 2 mornings a week. And he loves it. The staff are great, and he gets some time away from mummy and daddy to explore life. The difference it has made to me has been incredible – we have no consistent childcare around (as both of our families live far away) I had been increasingly finding it a struggle, and although I had the initial “mum-guilt” I think I am a better parent because of the small amount of time away (it’s only 6 hours a week – but it’s a start!).
I’ve started to feel like me again
Having a purpose, something else to do rather than solely being mummy, has given me back my spark. I hadn’t fully realised the impact that giving up my career had had on my identity, but this year I’ve started to feel like a bit of the “old me” coming back again – the drive, the ambition, the focus – and I like it!
What didn’t go so well this year
Slow business growth
Even though I’ve been busier “building” the business than I ever expected, I can’t deny that getting clients through the door has been slower than I had hoped – but I do have to remind myself that I am building this business on limited time right now, and so I couldn’t possibly get the same results as if I was working on it full time. I guess what I’m saying is that because I work very much part time hours, I’m getting part time results, even though I feel like I’m putting in full time commitment! My big learning here is that I have to adjust my expectations – for the foreseeable future (at least until Alex starts school in September, and in reality probably until Teddy starts school in 2022), the amount of time I can commit to my business is going to be limited. And that’s a choice I am making. I could send Alex and Teddy to nursery full time, but that’s not what I want to do. It’s all about choice, and I need to remember that.
I can’t deny, this year has been frustrating at times – working in snippets of time drives me mad! I generally work before the boys get up, during Teddy’s nap time and in the evenings, and you can guarantee that I am just getting into my flow as I need to stop and go and do the nursery pick up, or go make the boy’s breakfast. I know I am incredibly lucky to be able to work around the kids, but in the spirit of being open and sharing the reality of building a business, I’m sharing the annoyances too. My learning here? Just get on with it! I am better at planning my week now, in terms of the tasks I need to do, and slotting them into the relevant timeslots available, and this is helping allay some of the frustration!
Lack of boundaries
The biggest thing this year that I have struggled with is the blurring of boundaries between work and home, and I think a lot of self-employed people struggle with this. It’s easy to just do a bit more in the evening, and I’ve really struggled to switch between “coach” and “mum” and I can’t deny that it’s been a source of tension. One of the reasons I think is the necessity of working in small bursts but it’s something I am working on – I’ve turned off notifications on my phone, and I am scheduling regular nights off to spend with Rich. It’s not that romantic but it’s better than nothing!
Finally I wanted to share the biggest thing which has held me back this year as it’s something a lot of people making a big change in their careers, and that is fear – fear that it’s not going to work out, fear of what others will say, fear of what’s to come. It’s something that has stopped me being as visible as I could be online, it’s stopped me promoting myself and what I do as much as I could have done. But this year, I am stepping out of my comfort zone and putting myself out there – come what may.
What’s 2020 going to hold?
Helping wonderful women create careers they love is central to everything I do, and I want to do a lot more of it in 2020! To do this, I’m going to be focusing on growing my audience – via my facebook group, my email list and through LinkedIn. Some ideas I’m going to explore include guest blogging, doing more facebook lives and doing more local events. I’m doing my first guest speaking event in February so I am starting the year off as I mean to go on. I am also in contact with an organisation in regard to some volunteer coaching, and I’m looking forward to being able to share my skills with people who are looking for support.
By the end of 2020, I want to be generating an income in line with what I would have earnt in my previous job, considering the hours I am working. This means I need to build a solid base for my business and develop the processes required to generate a consistent client income.
From a personal point of view, I’m going to be working on maintaining my work / non-work boundaries, and being more mindful about how I look after myself so that I can show up in the best possible way for my clients. This includes not skipping runs, and not raiding the biscuit tin too much.
2020 is about stepping out from behind the protective cover of ‘starting’ a business, and into the space of ‘running” a business. It’s going to be a year of pushing my comfort zone and doing things that scare me – but I can’t wait!
I’d love to know what your big learnings were from 2019, and how you are finding the start to 2020?