Its’ that time of year again ladies and gents, Santa season. It is the time when all of us are getting ready to put on that darling “out of office” on our email, send Christmas wishes, get last pieces of deadlines done & dusted. Lets’ face it we are also dusting the office to be met head on in the new year, and breathing a sigh of relief at the delight of some well earned time off with family and friends.

Amidst it all, we will reflect, so lets’ reflect positively, build on what worked and what didn’t work, what came to fruition and what may not have.

For me and for Bofin Consultancy, 2016 has been a very positive one. The year has been filled with solid progress, lovely clients, challenging deadlines, curveballs and business evolution. It has also been one where I am emerging as my own self and the business person I have always wanted to be, one who is true to themselves, helps and supports other businesses to achieve and succeed.

2016 has been tinged with testing times personally too. First and foremost, I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister and a friend in as much as I am a business person. This year, I lost my dad who was my ally, one of the people who understood the work I do and who had an interest, I didn’t have to explain it to him plus he had that similar sense of craic and fun too. To me, that was precious and I miss it.

This year, my own husband was overseas for 6 months and I missed his support in every way, we are a good team, we are glad to have him home. I also attended my brother’s wedding overseas with neither parent present on the day and it gave me time to think about life, about business, how far I had come professionally and personally and how far we can all go when we focus and strive to succeed.

2016 was my fifth year in business and it was the year where I experienced the most growth professionally and personally. There were lots of positive progress pieces and there will be more.

I think one thing that kicked things into place for me was the death of my dad. Dad always instilled in me an appreciation for people, for helping and for hard work, use your head and “give it welly mags”. I really think thats’ what 2016 was about for me, giving it welly, to strive to exceed expectations, to build that piece of me, heart and soul into the business, to stay grounded.

2016 introduced me to more new contacts, new clients, new businesses, new opportunities and goals were achieved. Some weren’t achieved and that is okay, you will not achieve everything. Reflecting helps us all to plan going forward and to create the vision we want for the new year of 2017. Parking the business piece for one moment, reflection is something that we should all do, take a look at your year, what have you achieved, how far have you come personally, focus on the positive pieces, they are there for us all.

2016 was one where I had a lot of  ladies contact me or be referred to me about working for themselves, be it leaving the “steady pensionable number” or starting a business from their kitchen or home. I really don’t believe in playing the “poor woman” card in life or in business. I believe we should all be here on a level playing field (however, far from the reality that may be perceived at times!). When I started this business, I was a first time mammy, in a new rural area with limited links to that area and a partner who worked away. What I did have was experience, good business relationships, a record of success, a passion to succeed, defy the critics, defy the odds and do it anyway. I have always had that innate will to succeed and walk around or over obstacles and challenges and aim to get it done and to defy the odds. I went into business to help businesses solve problems and to provide solutions, to help people succeed and also to succeed myself. I have always had vision, a vision of where I wanted to go, not necessarily how to get there, that came with experience, lots of lessons along the way and I will continue to learn.

The reality is that it is more challenging for the woman in business but I believe that it makes us stronger and more durable. Speaking of challenges for women in business and I think women in general is the juggling of the childcare piece. 2016 was filled with childcare challenge but I got there with good friends, a fantastic childcare facility and tenacity, it all got done. For all that and so much more, I am thankful.

On the outside, many may see me as having the life of reilly at times. The reality is a lot of planning, scheduling, juggling sprinkled with the odd swear, sarcasm, but most importantly, fun.  Like a lot of women my day resembles the following; breakfast, child ready, dog fed, myself ready, school run (5 mins of a journey to be honest), I work a full day, somedays I am in and out of the office, on the road, conducting business with online meets, travelling cross country, juggling deadlines, phone calls, emails, etc, then home to collect the most important little girl, do dinner, let the dog out, let the dog in, shake it all about, dancing in the kitchen with my little girl, skype hubby, child to bed, a few hours of work, prep clothes and food for morning and so it goes…….Yep, the normal stuff….a friend has said that I should have been born on wheels and maybe they have a point! But it has to be said, as much as I am thankful for my business and my clients, I am also eternally thankful for my family and for my lovely friends. I really love the work I do and I have a real hunger and passion for it and that is what makes it all worthwhile. But without the family and friends it would all be for nothing.

I work incredibly hard, I genuinely enjoy working with my clients and I absolutely love to see them succeed. I also work because I have that need to do so, I have an duty and obligation to give a good example to my little girl, a future woman of the world and show her what can be achieved with positive fun and determination. I want to contribute to life in my own way.

2016 has thought us all lessons. In business, I have introduced new systems to help the business continue to operate efficiently and to nurture the work/life balance. I have also learned to take a few minutes every day and just breath, just be. The path I choose and many others choose is not easy. It is worthwhile and it is never dull. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

2016 opened new doors and opportunities for the business. I think and hope I have helped some other ladies and gents to bite the bullet, seize the day and strike out on their own to pursue their own business dream and to try. If you don’t try, you will never know. I also hope that I have encouraged clients to look at their business from an alternative and different viewpoint. In the middle of all this, I want to say to anyone out there considering a business concept, who has itchy feet to get out there and do it for themselves, do it. There is support there and guidance available. If I an do it, so can you.

What I am doing here is being real, being honest with myself about 2016. Its’ important to acknowledge how your year went, keep sweet and sour bits in the mix. That is real life, that is real business, that is reality. Ultimately, keep it real, keep it positive and learn.

So, there it is ladies and gents, the real year I have had, a progressive, positive, personally challenging, sometimes emotional but one in the words of my late dad….where I “gave it welly”.

So far, 2017 looks promising and is filled with new clients, existing clients and new opportunities. There are some exciting new businesses on the horizon here in Ireland and overseas with lots of room for helping success to happen for more businesses who are serious about that success. My own speaking engagements are now full for the first quarter, a very positive start to what will be another year of growth and progress.

To sign off, I want to say that my lovely “Out of Office” is going on shortly. I would like to wish one and all a very happy Christmas and the best of wishes to all for the new year of 2017.

We will continue to give it welly. photo-on-01-06-2016-at-15-59

Mags @ Bofin consultancy