Eight months ago I set up my own business and it’s one of the most exciting and brave things I’ve ever done. I’ve learned so much about business, relationships and fundraising. So I thought it would be interesting and useful to write down some of what I’ve learned.
People are generous
My previous experience of fundraising consultancy was being the client, so I wanted to meet people who had made a real success of it. I contacted some of the most influential people in the sector and every one of them said they’d be delighted to meet. And they were so generous with their advice. I walked away from those meetings feeling clearer about how to deliver value for my clients and how to market my business. So I want to say a massive thank you to Beth Upton, Howard Lake, Ken Burnett, Lucy Gower and Rob Woods. You are all awesome and you have made me feel so welcome.
Networking is vital
I’ve enjoyed doing a lot of networking over the last eight months. It’s a great way of learning what matters to people in the charity sector and I’ve met some valuable new contacts. The “First Thursday” events organised by the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) London are particularly useful. I believe the IoF is delivering great value for our profession, and I hope that more fundraisers become members and make the most of what they have to offer.
I started off working from home or working in the members’ area at the Royal Festival Hall (RFH), but it became apparent that neither of these is an ideal working environment for me. Home is where I usually relax and it’s full of distractions, whilst the RFH can be very noisy and quite hot in the summer. So recently I started using an open plan office environment called “ClubWorkspace” in Kennington Park. It has great air conditioning, lots of space and I’m in the company of other focused and motivated people. As a result my productivity has increased dramatically. Soon I’ll be moving into an office in Vauxhall, so we’ll see how that works out.
Inspiration is important
Hard work isn’t enough on it’s own. I also need to feel inspired to do my best work. So every now and then I book myself an inspiration top-up. In January I attended Seth Godin’s launch of his new book “The Icarus Deception”. The audience was captivated by his talk as he said:
“What’s scarce right now is brave work…Innovation is doing it wrong until you do it right.”
His words were exactly what I needed to hear. So with the first eight months under my belt I’m looking forward to the next eight years!