Well how was it for you? 2016 I mean, how was it for you really?

My 2016 was pretty good, the first official year as a fully re-qualified event marketer. First official year as director of EWL Club. Last but by no means least, first official year as a new mum!

A pretty good year that’s absolutely 100% had its challenges however, I’ve come through the other side relatively sane. I’ve aged 10 years and there are plenty more greys beneath my 4/3 coded hair colour, but I’m still able to string sentences together.

So how have the last 12 months been really for me, and how have I managed to juggle my new family life with my professional life?

I started the year fairly optimistically, excited to be 5 months pregnant, I’d just incorporated EWL and was planning the launch event and party and had further expansion plans, and I had 3 very good freelance projects under my wing, it really was a great start to the year.

All those things you do when you’re planning to go off in 3 months time to have a little human!

Whilst swiftly having to come to grips with the art of juggling nappies, feeds and baby sensory, I’ve had to mix in financial management, cash flow and function sheets, and the art of keeping the two separate for the sake of a work-life balance. All of this operating on – according to my trusty Fitbit – 4 hours sleep a night!

There’s a lot to be said for technology and social media and the freedom and accessibility it’s given new businesses to operate during unsociable hours, a god send for so many working parents as you can only truly work in peace whilst your little one sleeps.

As we speak I’m writing this post on my iPhone, my online crm system allows me to schedule emails to send during office hours, I can change and update my websites from whatever device I have to hand and buffer social media posts. Put simply I can access anything I need, anywhere I may be, at any time and whatever I may be doing, within reason of course.

The landscape in terms of flexible working has certainly changed hugely over recent years, and for that we have the technology innovators to thank. If you’re reading this and you’re one of those guys then take a huge bow, I thank you immensely!

The tricky thing has been attending networking events, and those who know me well will know my thoughts on that.

Luckily for me I manage a networking club so it’s not been too much of an issue, however, I’ve been unable to attend the industry events as regularly as I did before and would have liked, therefore, moving forward will be taking advantage of social media and the opportunities that virtual networking have already created for me. You may not see me but you’ll hear me #eventprofs, then stand by your beds in 2018!

I delivered 25 EWL events and grew the club to 400+ members, not forgetting launching the first all-inclusive industry mentoring programme!

An even prouder moment for me was the receipt of numerous calls and emails from clients throughout the year asking “when are you coming back?”, there’s really no better endorsement for yourself as any professional than that.

I’m excited for what 2017 has in store. I may not be as visible or able to work in the capacity l could before, but I’ll certainly be vocal, and supported by an amazing team of #eventprofs.

I’ve just contracted my first team of freelancers to run EWL events, that’s an amazing move forward for any new business, and a great personal motivator to be able to say “a business I created is offering and giving people work”.

I’ve been self-employed for 2 years, EWL is 2 years old, Diary of an #Eventprof is 2 years old, and most importantly I’m doing something I absolutely love and feel passionately about. That in itself has driven me forward and kept me going all those times over the past 12 months I’ve questioned “why am I doing this to myself?”.

If my little girl wasn’t getting in there first with her early alarm call, then my ‘job’ would absolutely be getting me out of bed in the morning, and that’s it right there, I love what I do and long may it continue.

Which brings me on to becoming a mum, one of the most amazing, rewarding and humbling experiences I have encountered in my 43 years and probably my best job yet!

The big thing for me has been the confidence boost it’s given me. 

Suddenly a lot of things that seemed so important to me before becoming mummy moon now pale into insignificance and hardly seem relevant. 

I spend more time taking notice of the little things, a little hand wrapped around your finger, a giggle, a little mouth that presses against your face as they attempt a kiss. 

For example, in December I decided to take a break from social media, something I would never have decided upon previously. What stop posting and affect my ranking and follower count? Crazy I know!

With all the crazy stuff happening in the world at the moment, it’s safe to say that tensions are rife and passions are at an all time high. 

Never have I seen such social divide or if I’m entirely honest thought that a lot of views that I’ve come across were still in existence. 

Social media for all its good and purposes also has its not so good, and opens windows to some walks of life and opinions that are extremely questionable and dangerous. I call it the ‘dark side’ of social media. 

So I actually ended 2016 wanting a break from all that, to get some fresh air and flush out some of the toxins. 

It’s actually quite liberating not checking social media feeds daily, not checking your notifications and new follower count, and since making a come back I’ve bounced straight back into the top 10 of the rankings, so it is possible to live in the moment for a little while!

It’s led to an interesting start to 2017 and it’s going to continue to be interesting, challenging and downright frustrating at times moving forward, however, I’m optimistic and ready to take on anything, after all “my daughter is now watching” so bring it on!

Until next time #eventprofs…