What a year it has been! On the 30th April 2019, after 34 years of continuous, full time employment, I gave back my laptop, mobile phone and company car, then caught the train home to Devon! On the 1st May, I launched my limited company. I was fortunate in having the buffer of a contract with NSF, to continue providing project management for one client. I knew this would not provide me with the volume or balance of work that I wanted or needed.
2019 was a year of networking; making new connections in the first 6 months, whilst I honoured my non-compete. I learnt that networking is part of the job; I committed to attending events, conferences and shows to meet new people and to keep focused on innovations within the sectors where I wanted new work. Despite it now being my money, I could justify travel and event costs, which I would never have asked my employers to withstand! I enjoyed multiple European venues and of course Vancouver, for the Textile Exchange Conference. I have met an amazing mix of new contacts and have established a great support network. A special shout out to Chris Heron, at Time Well Spent https://time-well-spent.co.uk/tips-support/ and her Virtual Board. A WhatsApp group designed to support women running their own businesses; an amazingly supportive community.
I have invoiced 14 different customers over this first year. To each and every one of you I say “Thank you”.
It is important to me to prioritise time to give back. I have delivered my first STEM Ambassador session to a primary school and played an active part in the International Working Group revising the Textile Exchange Responsible Wool Standard and launching the first Responsible Mohair Standard.
Going freelance has been the best decision I have ever taken. Freed from the shackles of corporate governance and the energy sapping demands of supporting colleagues and co-workers, my mind is free to focus on the things that make a difference. I trust in myself; this will work. I live every day to the full and enjoy life. There is so much more to come, but year one has been a great starting point.