Or was it?
The post received far more engagement than almost anything else I’ve shared with my professional network that I’d created (ostensibly to keep my personal and professional networks ‘separate’). When I started my Facebook and Instagram accounts, I thought it made best sense not to alienate my personal connections with business posts, lest they thought I was constantly hustling for their business! The thought of putting myself out there was frightening, so it was with horror that I’d realised I made this error last week.
This quickly turned to surprise, which turned to gratitude for my mis-step. I had over a dozen comments from friends, old and new, commending me on my blog and wishing me well. It was a good feeling to share this with them and made me re-think my strategy. People, it would seem, are thirsty for more of the ‘personal’ in business, possibly because it brings a face to the name and presents someone that they can identify with.
Another birthday for Amadeus!
Slightly ironic, really, that I made my mis-step in September, the anniversary month of when I started my business back in 2013.
As the years march on, gathering speed, I increasingly find myself remarking: ‘I can’t believe a whole year has gone by!’. I think that it must have something to do with being a parent and our lives being full to the brim with the challenges that this comes with, as well as the pursuit of satisfying and fruitful careers.
But here I am, four years on. My post from last year summarised the first three; a mix of start-up challenges, shifting gears with the birth of a new child and getting back up to speed upon my return to working on the business. The past year has contributed to the greatest period of uninterrupted focus as I approach two years since my second child started childcare, allowing me to switch identity (three days a week anyway!) back to business.
I wrote in February about how content marketing has improved my business – so much so that I haven’t had time to devote to doing it in this last six months! My books have been so full (not always in a good way I’ll admit) that I’ve not had as much time as I’d like to devote to writing. I’ve begun to beat myself up about this on a few occasions (after all, I promised myself I’d blog once per week) before I ask myself ‘to what end?’. I have a rewarding mix of business at the present moment, and whilst the freelance life is definitely an exercise in managing feast and famine, my primary focus has been delivering for my current clients.
2017: a year of growth
Business revenue continues to grow, which is a nice sense of accomplishment. But mainly, the quality of work I am now undertaking provides rich rewards in both creative diversity and the need for strategic branding and marketing, which is where my true passion lies.
I’ve surprised myself with how easily and happily I’ve dusted off my Masters in Marketing degree (which if I’m honest, I doubted at times that I’d ever use) as the Amadeus remit grows to include strategically-driven marketing and communications campaigns. It’s a great feeling to be able to take a break from creative execution to crunch numbers and devise marketing strategies to fit with my clients’ needs.
I’ve added some key contributors to the Amadeus team, which has been a great thing for my work as I can offer my clients more specialised services from really talented people. It’s felt really good to be part of a team; building the skills necessary to manage all of the moving parts. It’s also given me a new sense of pride in the output of Amadeus as we build this fledgling, and very modern-day ‘agency-that's-not-an-agency’. I’m also learning so much from my colleagues as they share their thought processes and output with me and our clients.
Mums on missions
One of the areas that I take the greatest satisfaction in is supporting other mums in business. All of my ‘team members’, bar one, are mums and it’s such a relief not having to apologise for being unavailable on certain days where I am ‘mum’, or having rowdy kids in the background of conference calls. They are the first port of call when I have a skillset that I need some outside help with. I have found these mums to be unfailingly professional, talented, loyal and with great integrity in delivering to deadlines. Whilst I would rather stick pins in my eyes than make a permanent hire for my business (PAYG! Superannuation! Consistent workflow!) I happily work alongside these other mums as we work and grow our businesses simultaneously. It really is the best of all worlds.
On the other side of the spectrum, some of the businesses that I’ve branded have been mums who are kicking goals in their various areas of expertise, and it is wonderful to know that I’m not just helping them, but their entire family, who benefit from mums building successful businesses. It’s something that I’m really passionate about, and an area of my business that I will continue to grow.
In all, I’ve made some huge leaps in my fourth year in operation. I’m genuinely excited about entering my fifth year and continuing along this enormously rewarding journey.
And when I get out of my own way, I look forward to doing some more writing and sharing more.