New Year is all about reflection and for me, 2017 was quite a year! So much so that I decided to make some resolutions for 2018. I don’t normally but this year I have made two; the first is to rebalance my life and reflect on how I can be more present, which is hard when you are a Virtual Assistant working online offering online business support and social media services for clients!
So inspired by some brilliant news to start 2018 that I have passed my Digital Mums Social Media Management course for entrepreneurs and small business owners it now feels like the right time to talk about my time studying with Digital Mums and the reason for my New Year’s resolution!
I always like to keep learning and I applied to do the Digital Mums Social Media Management course because I wanted to know how to be a proper Social Media Manager and to promote my own business and my clients properly, everything I had learnt until that point had been self-taught.
So, I was thrilled when I was accepted on the course and I started in June 2017 which seems like light years ago and finished in early December. Which meant that no planning for Christmas happened until the 12 December!
Despite my blog that gave all my usual Christmas hints and tips away…the only thing I managed to do that I had suggested for ‘Getting ahead for Christmas’ was eat the contents of the freezer – more of that below!
It started out as a relaxed stream of learning in early summer with peer group google hangouts discussing what we had learnt and how we could improve our assignments to writing and discussing our individual campaign strategy looking at our target audiences personas and critiquing each other’s campaigns.
Evolving into running a busy engaged social media campaign for 8 weeks posting at optimum levels of 10+ times a day on Twitter, which was full on! Plus taking part in Twitter chats and even hosting one with some of my fellow Digital Mums!
My theme was #DoubleYourTime. I needed someone to double my time and wave a wand as I was seriously juggling everything not to mention never to be seen by friends and long-suffering family!
The nitty gritty
Creating all my own content was no mean feat it’s amazing how much time and thought can go into a single image and caption. It’s also incredible how your mindset changes so much so, that everything you see, look at and hear makes you wonder if you can spin the content into something for your campaign.
Storm Brian for me was an amazing newsjack! I needed to write original long-form blogs for my content led brand awareness campaign and having not written since I completed my dissertation about Hampton Court Palace when I was at university – it was quite a daunting prospect.
However, our lovely course guide Becca was very inspiring she just told me to go for it and write about what you know and it soon flows! It did! I was soon writing about ‘How your monthly cycle can affect your Productivity’, and creating Infographics.
It was quite something planning the campaign and the hook, creating and curating content, finding the right audience and platforms and then testing and reflecting and refining the campaign.
Creating the advertisements, setting target KPI’s analysing the statistics and analysing my campaign and finally writing about my learning in the final report. It was an incredible learning curve and an achievement that took me so far out of my comfort zone and beyond where I ever imagined I could go.
The fear of having an empty Buffer queue will never leave me. Mentally it was exhausting but so rewarding.
My peer group are an amazing group of business owners and we supported each other through the days of overwhelm. We were all running a business, a household, dealing with family and personal matters, house refurbishments and still completing the lessons and assignments!
Generally, for me it was Sunday evenings! Finally making it through our 8 weeks of running a campaign; which at the test week 2 stage felt like a long way still to go to get to the stage of writing our final reports. Setting KPI targets and achieving them was a fantastic achievement and demonstrated how much we had learnt and how far we had come.
Having the accountability and support of a peer group who are I am now lucky to call my friends is amazing. There’s a saying that you get out what you put in and it’s so true! The skills I have learnt and developed doing the Digital Mums course will be with me for life.
The family coped
My children (10 and 11) coped with the whole thing marvellously in their true resilient ways and became quite apt at turning the cooker on and having a look in the freezer and reminding me about meal times.
They also told me that when my course finished I had to close down every single tab on my laptop. My husband coped but at times I feared my constant tweeting would send him over the edge.
Food deliveries were essential as was dry shampoo for when I had to venture away from my laptop. Housework just didn’t get done.
I also managed to devour the entire two series of ‘The Handmaiden’s Tale’ and ‘Stranger Things.’ Netflix was my social life and my friend as I created content late into the night peering over my laptop.
Would I do the course again? Absolutely. My second resolution is to keep on learning but this time to be a bit more present and maybe plan some meals better as eating out of the freezer gets a bit boring after a while..!
Learning, evolving and adapting has served me well in my quest for flexible, remote working and it’s something I recommend to anyone that can do it. Never be afraid to try and you will always be rewarded by the effort that you put in.
If you need someone to help with your social media, online business management or business support please do get in touch.
More reading on how you can Double Your Time