Those who know me well know that I never stop. The whole world stood still in 2020 and yet since then I’ve honestly never moved faster. Maybe too fast in some cases but I’m a firm believer that I wouldn’t be where I am today with the opportunities ahead of me had I not worked so hard and so fast.
Approaching the end of this year I know that the way I have been working is unsustainable. The all nighters worked fine with a newborn but with a two year old who rises quicker than the morning sun (and seemingly has forgotten what a nap even is these days), my need to be firing from all cylinders from 6am has knocked the late night design work firmly out of kilter. Like many creative minds, some of my greatest ideas are formed at the most obscure of hours so I’m not saying farewell to them entirely but I’m certainly reigning them in. So fortunately for any clients or suppliers reading this, the late night emails from me “playing catch up” might just slow down a little 😉
2022 has been a monumental year with so many wonderful milestones for Blue Moon Marketing. It’s the year I stopped freelancing, admitting to myself and to the rest of the world that I had more work than any one-woman-band could fulfil on her own. So I brought in my first employee Keera Tate. Switching my mindset as well as my business structure to the prospect of not just growing a team, but an entire agency. No longer keeping the bright ideas locked away in my head, but instead, starting to note it down on paper and through shared Google drives, because there are now multiple people that I am fortunate to be sharing the Blue Moon journey with.
This year I also turned 30, a chapter that I believe will be my best but in order to make that happen, the foundations need to be right. Becoming a mother sent me on a journey of true discovery to redefine who the new Anne was but arguably so is becoming a business owner. With motherhood I just leapt into it. I didn’t research much, nor did I read books. I simply trusted that Mother Nature would kick in and I learnt to follow my own body’s cues. Which worked to an extent. But for my new baby, the “business baby”, I feel like there’s even more growth to be done.
At the start of 2022 I told myself that one of my New Years resolutions would be to make time to step away from the screen and read a book. As of 3.45pm on 24th December I still hadn’t. Fortunately on the 23rd December when we shut up shop for the year, I Amazon-primed a book to Belgium (which is a miracle in itself by the way because until about 14 days ago Amazon in Belgium wasn’t even a thing!) but alas, a book arrived and I began to make up for lost time.
So what did I read? And most importantly what did I learn that I’m taking with me into 2023?
On the surface you might think that I’m very outgoing, confident and successful but behind closed doors there’s a bit more of a battle going on. I am in fact the greatest barrier to myself, forever holding myself back due to limiting beliefs and negative self talk. So I decided to read up on Impostor Syndrome. Like a horoscope, a lot of the “characteristics” or traits fit within how my brain seems to operate so rather than get lost in a love story and crime thriller on this occasion, I wanted to get under the skin of the topic to see how to retrain my brain. With the hope of ridding myself the years of negative self talk and self sabotage I unnecessarily thrust upon myself, and upon my family at times. Not just in time for the new year.. but for the rest of my life.
Why am I telling you this? Some might call it journaling and yes, writing everything down is a fantastic tool but really I just want you to part of my journey too, so see it as your open invitation to read and follow along 🙂
Valerie Young, author of “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It” states that you do not come by your impostor feelings all by yourself. These irrational feelings of inadequacy, no matter how big or small, are often sparked by a range of things, so it’s important to consider the source. Her book provides a list of “seven perfectly good reasons why you may feel like an impostor”. From childhood experiences to the environment of your present day, I learnt that 2 perfectly good reasons within this list are the main triggers behind my own insecurities. The irony however is that they are in fact two pillars of my success to date.
The most interesting of the two centres itself on the Creative Industry. Yep. The industry I know and love. The industry I thrive in and will continue to thrive is in actual fact a major trigger for my “impostorism”. Why? Outdated Ideologies. Keep reading…
When starting out freelance in 2020 I was everything from the office admin to the CEO. Acting in all capacities has been liberating, humbling but it’s also made me feel a fraud. How can I prove to the world that I’m an expert in accounting, commercial, design, strategy, HR and customer service? Is it really possible to thrive in them all? Maybe it is, but until now the creative industry as I know it (and many other industries I might add) along with the way we typically structure marketing agencies has conditioned me to feel that you simply can’t.
Prior to Blue Moon I’ve always specialised in client services and whether subconsciously or not, I’ve had it drummed into me that my ideas will never be as strong as that of the design studio “upstairs”. Hence why you defer a creative brief to the studio and await the “oh wow” response to return.
Likewise, no one in the studio was made to feel that they could thrive in a client facing capacity, because simply put “they are creative, not commercial”. It’s incredibly refreshing to see modern marketing agencies embracing far more collaboration and blurring of the lines but I still don’t believe all of the barriers have fully been broken down. Sure we are a more inclusive, diverse and expanding industry but we still hold a lot of judgment and limitation on career paths and personal achievements…
Not able to progress because someone is already in that role? Not being able to work on a set project because it’s not within your remit? Not able to earn what you deserve in line with the new business you just brought in? Not able to seamlessly switch between departments with your transferable skills because guess what you actually excel in more areas than one? Should I go on?
As an industry we’ve nailed hybrid working from a remote location standpoint. We’re fortunate to be one of the few markets totally geared up for “anywhere, anytime” working but what I feel is missing is taking a hybrid approach to our careers and specialisms.
My commitment to 2023 is therefore to encourage myself, Keera and my future workforce to feel capable of wearing more hats. To design our careers in line with how we design a piece of marketing collateral. We might map out the key components of what we need to reach the end goal but I want us to build in sufficient time to have fun, and experiment with how to get there. Trying different styles and combinations we maybe haven’t before to get braver and bolder in our skill sets.
Why can’t an account manager (in the traditional sense) also be a dab hand at videography? Or a technical artworker lose themselves in the magic of copywriting? Since reading Young’s book my greatest learning is that wearing several hats within your day to day doesn’t make you a fraud at all. It makes you real. You should embrace your hidden talents, pursue your interests and desires. Bring them all to the forefront and use them in your arsenal to deliver exceptional work for the brands you so proudly represent. To some you might think it muddies the waters for job titles or career progression, but to me, wearing multiple hats is actually just a reflection of who we are as humans. Within the same 24 hour period, you can be a mother, a wife, a business owner, a friend and a daughter. So why can’t you be a business owner, managing director, copywriter and designer too?
Until now I’ve never allowed myself to feel authentic about wearing all of these hats due to limiting perceptions I put on myself that you cannot excel in multiple things. As a managing director you couldn’t possibly be on the ground “doing”, but why? Some of my most humbling experiences during my freelance phase was doing what you might deem as the lowest level tasks outside of my remit. So why can’t I dabble from time-to-time to remain relevant and add real value to my organisation.
To the future…
The volume of work I churned through alone in 2021 and the majority of 2022 was unsustainable but my latest read has taught me that I don’t seek roles to solve the problem, I seek people. People who are as resourceful and willing as I am to turn their hands and creative minds to wearing different hats all the time. Just like Keera.
I want to encourage and empower my future workforce to not be afraid to try a new style they haven’t worn before, and also feeling capable of saying when a certain hat just isn’t right for the outfit. I want my team to work together, dialling up and dialling down their hats to find the perfect combination to deliver each job with passion and authenticity rather than it simply falling on person A to carry out one task and person B the other.
Valerie Young and the many anecdotes of successful women she remarks in her book have helped me to see that in order to lay the right foundations for my own growth and success, I need to lay the right foundations for my team too…
My fortune will come in the cultivation of an environment where no one at Blue Moon feels an impostor or a fraud. It’s about feeling capable to be anyone you want to be and specialising in anything you want to specialise in if you work hard enough for it. It’s about creating opportunities for my team but seeing what they do with those opportunities to take full advantage and claim the success as their own. Because THEY EARNED IT.