What I learnt in my Third Year

Jan 5, 2017

In what has become an annual tradition, I’m about to take a look back at the previous year and see what went well and what (if anything) I have learnt. For those new readers you can read parts 1&2 here and here.

For me at least, my third year in business could probably be summed up in one word… CHANGE. Which at least gives me lots to write about.

The home office just isn’t good enough anymore.
One of the biggest, and most exciting, developments of last year was the gradual realisation that working from home wasn’t working for me any more. As I spent more time working in other people offices and co working spaces I began to see the benefit of having a separate work space.

I would often get more work done, gain more contacts and even get additional work from my time spent in another space. However, with two children not quite at school age yet a permanent break from the home office was not quite on the cards.

At the start of 2017 with one child in school and one in her last year of pre school it seems like the right time to make a proper commitment, break free from the shackles of a home office and have a definitive split between work and home.

Admittedly, it’s only been a few days so far but I’m not regretting my decision at all.

Find your audience.
Two years of taking almost any jobs/work I could find was starting to cause problems. A number of projects I had taken on were boring and left me feeling unsure about even carrying on running my own business.

As a ‘last chance’ to find some inspiration I took some time to sit down and work out what I would really like to be doing and what type of customers I would like to attract. This gave me some inspiration to really identify an audience and plan a new direction for my company.

Change is good.
In the summer I had a slight confidence crisis about what I was doing. I had started to drift into doing more of the work I didn’t enjoy because I felt I needed the money. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I didn’t have staff to pay, didn’t have expensive overheads and generally my expenses were minimal. It was time to take a serious look at my business and decide what to do going forward.

I made the decision to re-focus and work more on the things I wanted to do. Since then I have worked on providing more digital skills training to freelancers and community groups. As well as only taking on website and graphic design projects I have an interest in or looks fun! Along with this I decided to rename and rebrand my company to DIG LAB.

Don’t be afraid to share.
Some people think we should keep our skills a secret, on the other hand, I believe in sharing. I happily share my digital skills with anyone that will ask. And I’ve been lucky to find myself surrounded with people that feel the same.

Sharing my skills has provided proof of my expertise, which in turn has led people to have the confidence to believe in my ability to do my job and use my services because of it.

In those occasions where I haven’t been able to help I’ve been able to build up a network of people I can refer to with confidence. Because they’re confident that I know what I’m doing it has, in turn, caused work to come my way too.

It’s a cliche, but sharing really is caring!