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Launching in Lockdown – 2 Years Later

This week I’m celebrating 2 years since going self employed. Well, I started a little earlier, the week the world shut down to be exact, but didn’t have the courage to make it HMRC official until 15th April 2020!

I’ve learnt a LOT over the past couple of years, and have probably grown more in this short space of time than in any other period of my life.

Learning to be a Mum, navigating a global pandemic, and building a business I’m proud of has been challenge but so overwhelmingly wonderful!

But instead of reflecting on me, I wanted to reflect on how much the world has been altered over the last two years. When I look at those two images I don’t just see how much I’ve changed, but what’s happened for all of us.

On the left is me about to deliver my first speaking gig as a self-employed person (for Durham City Incubator). In the attic-office I’m sat in writing from right now, although it looked a lot different then, with a makeshift laptop stand and an external mic it took me over a week to build up the courage to buying – at that point I didn’t even have a desk and was just working from the sofa-bed in the background with an Ikea laptop cushion!

I remember how excited I was to feel like I was doing actually doing it. Someone was paying me to talk about what I loved! With a 7 month old baby, my first, it was also a time I felt I was starting to get a bit of me back. I lost myself becoming a parent, like a lot of people do, so for me this business wasn’t just about having a job, it was and still is a huge part of my personal identity.

This was also the first remote session I’d ever delivered, and the first most of the delegates had ever attended. It was on 22nd April 2020 so just a few weeks into lockdown life, and we were all just fumbling through trying to figure out how to make things work but with no idea how long it would last. I think that was the big thing, the not knowing. Back then if we knew lockdown would be for a year we’d be able to plan and invest in making the changes needed, but we didn’t have that luxury! At that point I think a lot of us still believed it would just be this was for a couple of months, tops.

I think that’s why I was so cautious back then – was there any point investing in editing software to create pre-recorded content if we’d be back in lecture theatres in a month? As time went on though it became clear that these shifts and the adoption of digital technologies to enable us to remain connected weren’t just a plaster to cover a cut, they were going to become part of our working culture and the further down the road we went there really was no going back.

Two years ago I’d never heard of Zoom. Now it’s not just one of the fundamental tools we use, it’s become engrained in our language! The shift that’s occurred in the time between these two pictures just blows me away – it gives me a huge sense of pride not for myself but for the resilience of human nature and our ability to adapt, and more importantly find ways to connect.

It feels like we’re well and truly on the curve now, so seeing how much things have changed in just two years fills me with excitement to see what’s coming up next for us.

If we’ve worked together in the last two years, or you’ve been to a session I’ve run, or even if you’ve ever ‘liked’ one of my social media posts: Thank you! Thank you for all your support – if you’re reading this, you’re my hero!

Jeni

 

p.s. over the last year (nearly) I’ve been documenting my life behind the scenes and what it’s really like running a start-up! This short film should be released June 22 so watch this space…

 

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