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!
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!