End of year learnings

So as most of my time this week has been spent on ‘end of year’ review type email campaigns, blogposts and reports I thought, hey why not do my own! I do have this shiny new site to share it on after all…

2016 – Things I’m grateful for and proud of

New site, new brand! 

As you can see I have a shiny new brand presence under ‘Gladstone Digital’ and a nice new website which I’m super happy with. My old website was one I’d pieced together in WordPress and I was never fully happy with it. As always happens, I was so busy doing everyone else’s marketing that I kind of forgot to do my own! So I was determined to get something new up and running before the end of the year and I just scraped it!

The reason I went with ‘Gladstone Digital’ was primarily because of going Ltd earlier this year. I needed a Ltd name and didn’t really want it under Beth Gladstone. Also, having taken on an assistant to help out with some of my tasks I thought it would give them something nicer for their CV rather than working for some woman that no one’s ever heard of….

My plan is firmly still to remain as a solo freelancer (great post on that here), working with great clients on great marketing projects – running a big marketing agency will never be for me and I don’t really think there’s a need in the market for another anyway. However, having more of a ‘brand’ and business name opens me up to more opportunities and also allows me to get a bit more into sharing my learnings/inspiration with others in the industry which I’ll be doing from this blog, some big content pieces I have coming up and also my new Instagram. Follow along if you’re interested!

Business coach

In October I started working with the lovely Jen Carrington, a creative coach who’s focused on helping entrepreneurs and freelancers like myself to define a business that they love. I had a few reasons for doing this:

  • To say I was feeling overwhelmed with work was an understatement. I was working a ridiculous amount of hours each day yet never feeling like it was enough – I needed a plan to get me out of the hole I’d dug myself into.
  • I knew I wanted to redo my personal/business brand but felt a little lost as to the direction to take it in. In 2014/2015 I spent a lot of time and passion writing and managing this blog and since then any other creative projects had come to a bit of a stand still.
  • I originally went freelance on a bit of a ‘let’s give this a go‘ and it took off more than I could have dreamed but after nearly two years it was probably time to stop and reassess how and what I was doing!

Anyway, the long and short of it was that this was one of the best decisions I could have made. Jen (and any business coach) is not really there to say ‘you should do this’ but what they do is help you carve out the space to work out what you want in your business. Jen helped me work out what an ‘ideal’ week would look like, the weak spots in my business processes, my ideal clients (and my not-so-ideal clients) and how to create a business and brand that I love. Without doing this I’m not sure I would feel quite so excited about 2017 and the year head.

Getting engaged!

Not very business related but myself and my partner Jim got engaged in June this year in one of our favourite spots in London. I cried a lot and naturally started planning our wedding as soon as I woke up at 6am the next morning! Taking on a two-day wedding in what is essentially a blank canvas, alongside running a business and being a dog mum is not one of my best ideas but I’m also so excited to see what we create. None of the venues we looked at really felt right for creating what we wanted so we ending up using Air BnB to hire someone’s country home and are creating everything ourselves – from the power to lighting and decorations! My background in events is definitely helping and I’m glad we stuck to our guns and decided to create something that was very ‘us’ from the ground up (including the pizza trucks!) rather than going with something just for traditions sake.

All change now

I realised a little while back that 4/5 of my core clients have worked with me for over a year, with a couple nearing two years. This makes me super proud but also means it would be easy to always do what we’ve always done. With marketing, you have to be able to constantly adapt and change, or risk falling behind. It’s my responsibility to ensure this doesn’t happen. To stop, reassess and look at where we’re going next.

This year I’m proud to have kept continually learning, going out of my comfort zone on new initiatives or in marketing areas that aren’t necessarily my forte and seeing tiny buds of ideas grow into huge campaigns. I certainly wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

2016 – Realisations

  • “Everyone is just doing their best” – one of the best books I read this year was Rising Strong by Brené Brown. If you’re feeling disenfranchised by 2016 then go read this, particularly the chapter about the Sewer Rat. It gave me a bit of an epiphany that we are all just doing our best and that we should be kinder to ourselves and each other.
  • I can’t work at my best when I don’t have a break. I think you have periods of graft in business and I can honestly say that I’ve never worked as hard in my life as I have this year. However, a week off in September also taught me that I’m at my best when I have some time away from the laptop and my work. That week, I had more good ideas on that sun lounger and while having Lilo races with my family then I’d had in the previous six months before it.
  • I love working with great people. People who ‘get it’, who are passionate, inspiring, who have trust in me and what I do, who care about the customers or people they serve. I never feel more alive in my work than when I come out of a meeting with great people. I am lucky to have lots of clients who inspire me and who I feel privileged to work with and in 2017 I’d like to find more of these greats to surround myself with.
  • I got my pup Bodie in November last year so this has been my first ‘full’ year of being a dog mum and although at times it’s hard (I’ve just found him with the entire contents of a tissue box strewn across the living room as I write this) it’s also one of the things that makes me happy each and every day. For some I know I may seem like a crazy dog lady but I also think it’s an important realisation that isn’t dependent on other people, my work or money. For example: Bodie means that I now have a friend called Marilyn who’s in her sixties and who I meet up with two mornings a week to walk with. I love that when I’m stressed I can disappear into the woods with Bodie for an hour, or head to the park with my sister and her dog. Lastly, I love how nonchalantly he pulls of a Christmas jumper –

Bodie Christmas Jumper

2017 – Three Future Goals

  • Work with more great people and great clients
  • Take time off in August to enjoy our wedding, the planning process and a break somewhere hot!
  • Go back to attending one event/exhibition/gallery/talk a week to fuel inspiration!