Learning in self employment!

I was reflecting this week that it is 6 years since I became self employed and I am in the second year of my partnership with Nic Williams as Inspiring Partnerships.  In 2007/8, it seemed a big decision – the risks, the uncertainty but I felt that after 15 years+ experience in the public, private and voluntary sectors, and with a young family, a change and self employment was the right way forward.  What I did not anticipate was that the next 6 years would teach me as much again! Self-Employed

So what I have I learned?

  • Confidence is key – quiet confidence in my ability and the value that I can add across the economic and community development fields is crucial to people buying my services
  • Balance – I like being responsive to the client’s brief but as a business I need to think what I can develop and offer and be pro-active for clients and our business – not quite sure I have reached that balance yet – definitely a work in progress!  Bid writing is underway I write.
  • Variety – this is great – having several diverse projects running at once and seeing the links and differences is stimulating and refreshing and enables me to bring something different to clients
  • Training – it is worth investing in my own training – I have paid for PRINCE 2 and Social Return on Investment training and both have given me skills I wish I had years ago and it is a very positive demonstration of my commitment to quality
  • Networking – focussed networking is particularly worthwhile – connecting with people with the same interests and complimentary specialisms is very positive.  I am also getting better at picking which relationships and networks add the greatest value – and it’s usually those I enjoy.
  • Staying local –  it is not practical to work with clients more than 30-40 miles away but this also means I know the stakeholders and can make better connections for clients in this region
  • Partnerships – this underpins so many things – the name of the company with Nic of course!  My understanding of what partnership means is much greater now – and how it can make change happen is probably the most rewarding aspect of business.  So how does partnership working deliver change?
    • Relationships are key
    • Trust and experience can generate innovation and success
    • Open and honest communication is a strong platform for success
    • Understanding of priorities is critical – the ones that align and those that don’t
    • Sharing experiences adds value and makes connections that last
    • Motivation and enthusiasm makes the difference
    • Project structures and timetables support this but alone do not reward the participants with success

So that is why Nic and I are “Inspiring Partnerships”!  Here’s hoping that the next 6 years are as fulfilling.

Have a good weekend!