Wow, what a year!

There have been some fabulous highs and being brutally honest some fairly epic lows. In fact, just last week (mid Dec 19 for anyone reading this) my finger hovered over the delete button on Socially Oxford, and I very nearly pushed it down hard.

Why didn’t I do it?

Because some fairly brilliant women (also working in digital marketing) persuaded me not to, restoring my belief in community over competition and that there is space for all of us to exist and earn.

I was encouraged to remember that sometimes we spend far too much time focussing on the lows and how they make us feel, without rewarding ourselves for our wins.

So, I’ve reminded myself of exactly why I set the business up, how it’s aligned with my values, what I’ve achieved and spent some much needed time working out how I’ll take it forward next year, which has meant I’m finishing the year feeling positive, thankful and most of all, really excited about 2020!

 

Remembering My Why..

 

Becoming a parent changes everything for most people, but for me it also meant a no longer viable career. After 2 years of managing a five day a week corporate job into 4 days (plus evenings and weekends) after my daughter was born I decided enough was enough. Investing in training by the award-winning Digital Mums to a futureproofed digital career felt like the right thing to do, and in hindsight it really was.

Socially Oxford allows me to be at home, to be on the school run, to head off out to nativity plays, to volunteer for Forest School when helpers are needed, and above all to be present for my kids. Sometimes I do wonder about the benefits of all this (in particular when one is shouting at me and the other is throwing a strop about not being allowed to watch a 5th episode of Octonauts), but do I want someone else to be looking after them for me? No, definitely not.

In 2020 I’ll still work flexibly around them in whatever format that takes, alongside running the business. I have been known to cart the laptop away on holidays on a number of occasions in order to meet deadlines. Sad, I know, but entirely necessary when working for oneself.

Work flexibility was even more poignant for me this year when a close family relative (my mum) was diagnosed with cancer, requiring me to be in Cheltenham on a weekly basis for several months throughout her treatment. I was able to halt some client work, and work flexibly when possible throughout this time from the amazing place that is Maggie’s Centre, who quite frankly were/are absolutely wonderful and deserve a mountain of accolades for how they support cancer sufferers and their relatives. Definitely a low of the year, and one which has made me reflect even more so on what’s important in life, which leads me nicely to my next point…

 

Reflecting on what I’ve REALLY enjoyed….

 

I’ve trained over 40 individuals in social media marketing skills this year for either their own small business, or to help them market the business they are employed in, or to increase their personal confidence digitally to help them return to the workplace after a career gap. Many of these people have been via my work with TechPixies training their Social Media Magic Programme in a face to face environment in Oxford, and some of them have booked me via my own website training packages.

I have enjoyed every minute of carrying out this training, particularly in seeing small business ideas come to life and grow, and also by seeing people feel excited about how they can spread the message about their idea. Social media marketing skills aren’t the only thing that will get your business off the ground, they are indeed just the start of learning how to market a small business, but they are a great place to start!

Being part of that journey has been really very rewarding for me, and one I hope to continue being a part of (more training anyone?).

I’ve also immensely enjoyed working with an organisation in the latter part of 2020 that is truly aligned with my love of the outdoors and nature – The Thames Path National Trail. Writing content and establishing their presence on social media for brand awareness purposes has been extremely rewarding and something I hope to continue. More walks along the River Thames anyone?

 

Plans for 2020…

 

So, 2020 will be all about FOCUS for me. Aligning the business more with my previous corporate experience and my core values. I hope to train twice the amount of individuals I worked with in 2019, and also to work more with local Oxfordshire charities and organisations I truly believe in.

I’ll also be running workshops for local business owners as a cost effective way of learning social media skills (check out my January Instagram For Business one here). More on this to come though as the year progresses!

In short, it’s going to be busy, but good!

So, as I officially sign off on 2019 and head to the local church to see the youngest small in his first ever crib service “performance” as an angel (there is an irony in there somewhere), I’d like to say a huge thank you to anyone I’ve had the pleasure of working with in 2019, and let’s raise a glass to 2020!