Hooray! I’m thrilled to finally share an update with my lovely friend Annabelle Beckwith of Yara Consulting and Never Mind the Buzzwords, who regular readers will remember I’ve known since our very first day at university, [many] years ago. I honestly wouldn’t have predicted that we’d both be running our own businesses now, in different areas but facing many of the same challenges. I think we both thought Anna would be an actor or On The Telly in some way, and I was obviously going to be a librarian … anyway, Anna’s been very busy so this is a bit of a late catch-up, but I’m very glad to still have her in the series. I first interviewed Anna back in 2012 and again in May 2013 and the last update was in September 2014 (I did speak to her in between, promise!). Last time I interviewed Anna, this was her plan for the upcoming year: “I want to be working with more clients on longer-term programmes, and able to invest more money in marketing and PR.” Has she achieved that goal? Let’s find out …
Hello, Annabelle! So … are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year (and a bit) ago?
Yes and no – I’m still in the same line of business, writing and delivering training programmes for various corporate clients, but have had a slight change in direction and focus!
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
I’m still working with Iain and other colleagues on specific consultancy and projects, but last year I joined an organisation called Entrepreneurial Spark (there are Espark centres cropping up up and down the country). It’s a business acceleration programme that provides free coaching and support to new and growing businesses.
They’ve encouraged me to develop my own products … which I’ve been working on for several months, and which are nearly ready to launch! One is aimed at the corporate sector, and one is geared towards personal development. I’m also working on another joint project which revolves around creating some VERY interesting learning environments.
To reflect all this, I’m in the process of changing from Yara Consulting to Yara Journeys. Watch this space!
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
I’ve learned massive amounts for the other companies and entrepreneurs at E-Spark, as well as from the coaches and mentors. I’ve often got to the point when I’ve been developing new ideas in the past of thinking ‘actually, this is rubbish!’ and just leaving them half done. This time, I’ve followed a process, tested my product and am confident from the feedback I’ve received that it’s a go-er.
I’ve been through some huge personal changes in the past year – in many respects what I knew a year ago simply wasn’t enough for what I’m doing now, if that makes sense.
Any more hints and tips for people?
Have courage in your own ideas. Test them out. Find your niche – don’t try to be all things to all people. Strive to stand out from the rest of the field.
BONUS question for other small business owners …
What’s the biggest challenge that you’ve encountered and overcome?
I’m really glad that Annabelle’s found a community of business people she can work with and be inspired by. I have to admit that I’ve let personal development in my business slide a little recently, although I’ve been modifying my schedule planning slightly … but it looks like this has come at just the right time, especially for someone in a business where things are constantly changing and adapting to fit in with customer needs and new directions in training and personal development programmes. I look forward to hearing all about the change in direction for Yara and Anna’s new products!
Annabelle’s business collaboration, Never Mind the Buzzwords can be found online at http://www.nmtbw.com/ and on Facebook. The Yara Consulting website can be found at www.yaraconsulting.com and she has a blog, too. Anna can be contacted via email or her contact page online.
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources.