08 May 2021
Words by Rachel is turning 9. I don’t have any fancy statistics to tell you how many businesses make it to their 9th birthday. And I don’t have any balloons (sob – note to self. Get that rectified ASAP. Hurriedly googles ‘party balloons West Cumbria’). I also know that it is customary to wait until your tenth birthday to make a song and dance. But after the year we’ve all had, why wait? I’ve never been one to follow the crowd. (What do you mean, that is brand new information?) And, like so many people in recent times, I’ve learned that you should never put things off. Life is simply too short. We don’t know what’s round the corner.
(Although I do hope it is balloons…)
When Covid hit last year, I honestly wondered whether I’d still have a business left by now. No-one to turn to for advice, no-one to give me a set of rules and regulations to follow, no-one to take me by the shoulders and (metaphorically) give me a shake. I wondered whether the work would dry up. I wondered whether my clients would survive the chaos. I wondered whether our ‘less than great broadband at the best of times’ would give up the ghost when faced with ‘the constant battering my family was giving it during the worst of times.’ It will come as no surprise to any self-employed mum out there who was juggling a business from the kitchen table with the challenges of Y7 maths (after all these years the adage is still true. I can tell you the answer – I just can’t explain how I got there), there were indeed times that I questioned my sanity.
I turned to my family for moral support. I sought out networking groups to stay connected. I worked out new ways of doing things. I (almost) embraced technology. (Embraced may be a little misleading. Let’s just say I didn’t smash anything.) I worked long and unsociable hours to help clients deliver projects and meet objectives. I hid my worries and concerns for my own business so that I could put on a positive face for theirs. We planned. We replanned. We replanned the replan. And we all adapted.
I questioned what I was doing. Physically, literally and metaphorically. I questioned my abilities. Physically, literally, and metaphorically. I spent much of the last 12 months completely and utterly knackered. Yes, you guessed it… physically, literally and metaphorically. (I’ll stop, I promise).
But I also learned, grew and became a little more fearless.
I hope that those around me felt supported and that they too can stand tall and proud, as I do now. (Please note that although ‘physically’ and ‘literally’ that is a tiny lie, right now, metaphorically, I’m feeling like a giant).
I know that we are not out of the woods yet, but this week, I’m proud to be marking an important milestone.
A huge thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way. You know who you are.