2016 – A year of new connections
Posted: December 21st, 2016 by Alison
It's the last few days before Christmas and no better time to reflect on the past year at Joshi was Janes. In January I will have been back at work for a whole 12 months after my last run of maternity leave. I can't actually believe how fast it has gone and come April my little boy will be 2!
2016 has been an interesting year politically and professionally. Let's not talk about the politics here... we all have our own opinions on the situation! Professionally it all started off quite slow when I first came back to work, which suited me fine as it took a while for my brain to adjust and start thinking about design and being creative rather than nappies and feeding times! Unfortunately taking off 9 months from work when you work for yourself does make it even harder and I lost a couple of clients along the way; either down to marketing re-structures, budgets overhauled or because they needed to find a designer whilst I was off. So I started 2016 with the plan to make new connections and get new business.
Back in 2014 we moved out of London to Burnham and before I went on maternity leave I was very much connected to London professionally. I hadn't made any work connections in the local area prior to 2016 and so it felt a good time to get out there and see what Buckinghamshire and Berkshire had to offer a small business like me.
I must admit I was very London focussed previously and was probably a bit narrow minded as to what the surrounding counties had to offer me. In actual fact I was pleasantly surprised as to the mix of talented business owners in the area. I joined a local Athena network in the early part of the year and immediately started making connections with business women who had the same struggles as myself. Working for yourself from home can at times be lonely and so meeting up once a month with the same group of ladies is great and we are so supportive of one another.
Once I started making connections I found out about more networking groups and have now joined another 2 groups. They all offer something different and there is a small crossover of people which I think just further cements your relationship with them.
Through networking and word of mouth the plan to get new clients in 2016 has worked. It has been hard work and at times I have wondered if I am doing the right thing but I think looking back I can see that the business is moving in the right direction. I start 2017 designing a small cook book which is very exciting and I have plans on collaborating with some fellow Athena members with a new offering so watch this space!
Have a good Christmas and see you in 2017.
(Now I just need to update my portfolio!)