Reflections on my Business Consultancy in a year of lockdown craziness.
Oh, my goodness, what an important and very interesting thing to do – to reflect over the past locked down year.
Literally, a few days before lockdown #1 in 2020, I had a fab proactive business meeting, talking through my ideal client and how I could find and consequently support them. Then, I had my 41st birthday.
Then, the very next day, lockdown numero uno kicked in
I thought, given I’m a specialist in time management and productivity, that I’d easily be able to overcome the challenge of having no childcare and the fact my two boys are generally awake from 5am to 9pm between them.
I was wrong.
March and April last year were HARD. The emotional impact, the scaremongering from the media, having only a small backyard and two energetic boys, as well as the fact that my eldest is neurodivergent and suffered dreadful anxiety for at least five weeks, was HARD. I was kinda drained – and realised that trying to make my business work within that was just adding to my own overwhelm. I’m pretty good at recognising it in myself.
So, I packed my laptop, my notebooks, and my hopes and dreams for my business away
Just for a bit… to concentrate on my boys.
I extremely reluctantly paused my MINT membership – a really hard decision as I’d been one of the first members, and had stuck with it even through a premature baby, post-natal depression, lots of health challenges, and PTSD a couple of years previously. I knew it wasn’t forever though. My ambitions would have their time to shine once again.
The sun definitely helped – and my boys and I spent lots of time out in the back yard playing with toy cars, Lego, reading, throwing sand around the decking (the youngest), and splashing in the paddling pool – often saving on bath time (and yes, I often got in too 😊).
The first change in mindset for me came in May
My hubby was able to work from home for a few weeks (he’d been having to make the 70-mile round trip every day for work), and I was sick of watching children’s cartoons, talking about children’s topics, and fighting over home learning with a 5 year old who had no interest in doing any of it, despite his really high levels of intelligence. I was bored. I felt boring. I felt fat. I felt like I needed to remember what my name was.
I love being ‘Mam’ – but it’s not the whole of who I am.
So, to reclaim ‘Laura’ and my sanity, I started going out for a run each morning. That was amazing until I overdid it, ended up with chronic fatigue, my knees gave way, and I ended up with some worrying initial blood test results, that gave a few anxious weeks, but very thankfully righted themselves. So, I stopped giving myself a hard time. I’m VERY demanding of myself. And I gave myself permission to heal – both physically and mentally from all the stress that the media was throwing at us.
Every. Single. Day.
July and August were fab
The boys and I had lots of walks, picnics, and footie games – all socially distanced of course. Once you’ve done 3 months with school age children, six-week summer holidays are nothing.
By the end of August, I felt ready to pick my business back up. And, more than that – I was really excited to do so.
So, I began to ruminate, and I began to plan. I have a wealth of ideas, but I wanted to make sure that what I wanted to do was manageable in the (probable) event of another lockdown, and a lack of childcare.
I got all of my ideas together, then I reached out to Lesley Gordon at Business Northumberland for some advice. We had a good couple of chats, and she arranged for me to have some funded mentoring with the BIPC, which was hugely important for me. We talked about money and we talked about cost and we talked about audience and we talked about marketing strategies. I was buzzing with ideas and plans, and my head was completely back in the game. I came away with a new logo, and new branding colours, and I completely revamped my whole website (more than once).
I made a concerted effort to network properly again
It was fab finding new and old groups to attend, and to meet new people as well as reconnect with others. I’d forgotten how much I valued human contact on a business level – discussing business topics, thinking about business strategies, positives, negatives, and generally being back in my business head.
A hugely important moment for me was to get in touch with the very inspiring Nicola Jayne Little and re-sign up to MINT. I was so excited to get in touch, and it totally felt like coming home.
I got to talk about the changes I’d made in my business, playing with the language of how to describe what my consultancy business does – how I help people with their overwhelm, how I support them to become productive again. I reached out to help people with advice in various ways, and with offering my services to make a difference. That’s what I love best – making a difference to someone’s life and seeing their overwhelm swept away.
I’m now back. With my business head screwed firmly on. I’m very focused. I’m hugely passionate. I’m super excited. I have new clients on board and I’m LOVING making that difference in their lives. I’m loving all of the MINT training and networking, and the fabulously supportive tribe of MINTie members. Just mint.
On reflection, would I do anything differently? No. I’ve learnt a huge amount about my own resilience over the past year. It’s been one of the hardest years ever for a multitude of reasons. There have been a LOT of additional challenges that have nothing to do with lockdown. But, I’m a positive person.
My children hum or sing to themselves often as they play. They’re happy. I know I’m a bloody good Mam. I know I’m a kind and caring person.
I know I’m a damn good business consultant.
I’m in a fab place with my business, and I’m massively excited about the future.