Susan standing in front of desk with typewriter in the background

Like the plumber with leaky taps and the painter with peeling walls, I’m the writer who has sadly all but deserted my blog. But I’m taking a moment to interrupt this program of consistent neglect to acknowledge a milestone:

The Big Speakeasy celebrated its 10 year anniversary last month!

And I totally missed it … Yikes.

Amid the disarray of COVID-19, I completely sailed through March without even remembering the birth month of what started out as a side hustle and turned into my livelihood. While it doesn’t really feel like the time to be celebrating much right now, I’m not letting this pass by unnoticed (albeit a month late!).

I’m not gonna lie — I’m pretty proud that I have been able to build a business that provides a full time income and provides me challenging, satisfying work. I get to work across many different sectors, collaborating with awesome people, and constantly gain new knowledge and skills along the way. There is no way I would get this amount of variety working as an employee of an organisation – no matter how large. That diversity keeps me fresh and on my toes, which benefits all my clients. And the fact that I’m still here after 10 years means that I must be doing something right.

Am I worried about the current climate? Well, sure. Isn’t everyone?  Am I regretting my choice to be self-employed right now? Definitely not. Running a business makes you resilient, adaptable, and resourceful. You learn to quickly wrap your head around new information and ways of working. You become nimble at switching between tasks, and focussed on delivering to deadlines.

I have a great memory of pulling an all-nighter to set up my first website. I was so excited, and was having so much fun learning about WordPress, that I literally didn’t want to stop. I was so buzzed I didn’t even feel tired. That was back in the day when you could actually muddle through a simple template on your own without too much technical knowledge.

Another great – and unexpected – outcome of this journey has been the fantastic collaborations I’ve built. I’ve learned so much about the fluidity of working with other niche businesses. Many times I have switched from being a consultant, to client, to collaborator, and back again. It’s a whole different way of thinking about achieving a common goal. It challenges traditional ideas about working relationships like employer-employee, consultant-client. And anything that challenges entrenched ways of working is good in my book.

I still have so much to learn about being a small business owner. And there are always things I can do better. But I am historically bad at pausing to celebrate achievement, because there’s always the next thing to be done. So right now, I’m taking the time to soak this in a bit – regardless of what’s going on in the world.