Well, who would have thought it? I’m celebrating my first year in business today. Can’t quite believe where the time has gone, the knowledge I’ve gained and the things I’ve achieved in the last 18 months.
The road has certainly not been a straight one. There have been lots of twists and turns along the way. I’m now involved with things I would never have dreamed possible this time last year and there are lots of people to thank for their inspiration, support and guidance. One person, who has become a good business friend, has recently posted a couple of her own quotes on her Facebook site:
‘Life is too short to fanny about. Grab your dreams with both hands and always jump in with both feet!’ – Jo Cameron 2014
‘When one door closes, another opens – stuff that! Open all your doors and windows yourself and watch the opportunities come flooding in.’ Jo Cameron 2014
Couldn’t have said it better myself Jo! I’ve always been of the opinion that you never say ‘No!’ to an opportunity – you just never know where it might lead. Because of that philosophy I have recently diversified my business, as a lot of you will know, and now offer legal services – both directly to my own clients, but also working in collaboration with providers of other professional services eg solicitors, IFAs and accountants. It has opened up a whole new area of business and that’s what continues to make life exciting and enriching.
In terms of saying ‘Thank You’ the biggest ones must go to my immediate family and friends because without their encouragement and help in the early stages I would never have got to the point of being a ‘start up’. So, to Barry, Jonathan and Nicholas a huge thank you. To Claire – thank you so much for putting up with me when we were going through the tortuous process of coming up with a name and strap line, although I think the wine helped!
To the very talented Michael Quinlyn-Nixon, who has since gone on to set up his own business (Quinlyn Nixon Art), thank you for your advice and expertise on the logo design, colours etc. You were absolutely right – taking the time at that stage is so important as it defines your brand moving forward. Carrie Dennison – I couldn’t have set up the website/blog without your help, which gave me confidence that I really was capable and would even be able to maintain the site myself!! With the exception of one or two blips you were right!!
Without the support of Gillian Khachikian at Derwentside Enterprise Agency I wouldn’t have had a clue where to start in terms of setting up the business. She gave me encouragement, but most importantly the skills to move forward – from writing my business plan, to developing marketing skills, to knowing how to deal with my accounts and HMRC. Thank you Gillian.
Most importantly during the last 18 months I have had the good fortune of meeting a host of new contacts, many of whom have become good business and personal friends. One of the first business contacts I made was ‘Mrs Consett’, aka Fran Williams, owner of Perspective Business Centre. We instantly hit it off and have worked collaboratively many times over the last year. Fran is brilliant at connecting and introducing business people and it is through her support that I have gained clients and joined some excellent networking groups.
Jayne Graham of Colleagues on Tap is known to many business owners in the North East, not least because of the brilliant support and guidance she gives through her business mentoring and Coffee Chats. I first met Jayne when someone recommended going along to one of her co-working days. From walking through the door as a somewhat nervous new start up, Jayne was instantly welcoming and supportive. I can’t thank her enough for providing the opportunity for people like myself to ‘Get Surrounded’. It has provided the
opportunity for me to make friends and also do business – not to mention the Spot Chat with cake!!
When I first started thinking about setting up as a Virtual Assistant, even though I had done lots of market research, I had no idea there was such a huge virtual world out there. I have met some very talented VAs who provide exceptional support for a wide range of organisations. Some specialise in specific types of task but many of them have such a fantastic array of skills to offer employers. You really are the Creme de la creme – you know who you are!!
I can’t end this post without mentioning two great networking groups – Medomsley Networking Group and Derwentside Business Network – that have been of great support to me during the last year. There is quite a bit of crossover, with some members being in both groups, but what a great bunch of people. These groups have provided business support, friendship and a new social avenue.
Last, but by no means least, I have to thank the clients who have put business my way. Your confidence and faith in my ability means so much to me. I am grateful for your support in allowing me to be part of your business and I hope that faith has not been misplaced. I look forward to continuing to work with you in the years to come.
As you are reading this I will be having a few days away in the Lake District – pure coincidence. We should have taken the trip a few weeks ago but had to reschedule. However, I will be returning in the evening to celebrate at a Gourmet Evening at Newcastle Falcons. Again pure coincidence, but what great timing. If you ever get the chance to go it is a fantastic evening.
So – thanks for the last year. It’s been a blast! Here’s to the next ………