While I’ve been reasonably active on Social Media (Twitter remains my platform of preference), the articles I’ve written here on my own blog have been few and far between.
The reason? Well, let’s just say that 2016 has been an eventful year for me on a personal level…
2016: My Year in review
If I were to summarise my past twelve months as an analogy, then 2016 was Windows Vista for me. While the year as a whole had lots of downs I’d prefer not to repeat, upon reflection, lots of really good stuff happened too.
By way of explanation, let me share what my 2016 looked like and what I have learned from it (and what you can learn from my experiences too).
My new book
2016 started well. In February 2016, I completed my new book, The IT Business Owner's Survival Guide: How to save time, avoid stress and build a successful IT business . Writing this book was a labour of love for me. In a nutshell, it’s all the lessons, techniques and practices I learned to survive being an IT Business Owner and I genuinely hope the book is of help to anyone who becomes frustrated with running a business and feels like returning to employment.
Being knocked over in a hit and run
Now, if you weren’t aware I’d released a new book, then it’s not very surprising. You see, a couple of days after the book was published and I was due to start promoting it, I was knocked over by a car in a hit and run accident that put me in the hospital. Yikes!
Thankfully, I experienced no broken bones or head injuries, just some extremely painful bruising and a shakeup that laid me up for a while. I had to cancel all my speaking appointments, and, as you can imagine, work slid down the list of my priorities in the weeks that followed.
But, the show must go on, and I’m grateful that I’ve surrounded myself with a team who kept things ticking over with the minimum of input from me. I’m also very appreciative of my friend Craig Sharp who stepped in to take on my keynote presentation at the Continuum European Partner Day and my other business friends who helped me out.
The big takeaway here is yes, life really can happen to you and when it does, be prepared. For any business owners reading, then my advice would be hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Who have you surrounded yourself with to make sure that your business can perform without you?
Getting married and moving to the North-East
We had a very small ceremony. In fact, we didn’t tell a soul other than close family that we were actually getting married. We let people know the good news by taking a selfie after the ceremony, posting it to Facebook and then inviting friends to join us in celebrating for the rest of the day. It was awesome!
After 20 years living in the same home in Birmingham, I also sold up and moved to start a new life in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, in the North-East of England. It was a huge move for me, to leave behind my friends and family, and I’m grateful to say that I have quickly settled in and am loving my new life in the North-East.
So, we lived happily ever after, right? Not quite…
Bleeding out on my 40th Birthday
One week after getting married, and at 5 am on the morning of my 40th birthday, I collapsed at home bleeding heavily from my nose. Now, we’ve all experienced the odd nosebleed during our lives, but this was something else. I was bleeding so profusely that I was choking on my own blood and it’s about as pleasant as you’d imagine.
I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Five cauterisation attempts (quite literally burning the inside of my nose to try to stem the bleeding) and a few days later, and the Doctors could only intermittently stop the haemorrhaging. The decision was made to send me for surgery under general anaesthetic to correct the problem.
The surgery I underwent is called Septoplasty and is basically a procedure to correct issues inside of the nose. I had what is called a deviated septum — and it’s quite common. It’s something I’ve since learned a lot about and with hindsight, I’ve suffered with since my teenage years — although obviously, it’s never been quite as dramatic as this time!
For those who are suspiciously wondering… no, the nose injury had nothing to do with getting married (my wife didn’t smack me in the nose so soon into our marriage) and yes, she really did have to take her “In Sickness and in health” vows seriously quite quickly! 🙂
Once again, the show must go on and my fabulous team rallied around and kept things ticking over without me. Whereas with my accident in February I was able to do light work, this time around I was simply unable to do anything other than lie in bed and recover. Thankfully, I’d previously made provisions for my team to have access to my email and all my systems.
The lesson here? Ensure that the people around you that you trust can act on your behalf before you really need them to.
Make sure somebody trusted can access your email and all of your critical systems without any intervention on your part. After all, you may not be able to grant them access after the fact!
A huge shout-out to my clients who were super patient with me. After my team had let people know what had happened, everyone was very understanding. I’m forever grateful for that. I think the lesson here is that people will understand if you set their expectations accordingly.
2016 – My Windows Vista Year
So, when I say that 2016 was my “Windows Vista” year — you can now see what I mean, right?
On the surface of it, it looked like a bad year with two unexpected hospital visits.
But getting married and moving to the North-East has been amazing, and the good news is that I’m now healthy and happy.
A note on Life/Work Balance here. That mythical balance between having the perfect professional and personal life. I’m really not sure it exists. What I am sure of is that in certain seasons of your life, you need to focus on home. In others, work. As long as you’re aware of where you’re spending your time and adjusting accordingly, you’ll maintain a healthy balance.
With that said, what are my plans going forward?
Rebooting my business
Business-wise, all of the above events meant that 2016 was an unprofitable year for me. With the income I did generate, I basically paid for my team to keep the ship afloat. On a personal level, I keep reminding myself that anyone of the events I experienced (even the positive ones like getting married or moving house) could derail a business owner’s plans — the fact that I’ve weathered them all while retaining a business is something to be celebrated.
And so, in the first quarter of 2017, with my health regained, I’ve concentrated on getting back out there, meeting new people and re-connecting with old friends.
I’ve done a lot of travelling, attended a tonne of events and the result is that I’ve started to generate opportunities and to free up time to work with businesses again.
So – if you’re an IT business owner who is interested in working with me to help you grow your business, then get in touch — I’m itching to help make a difference to your life and business!
Rebooting this blog
My other immediate goal is to give this very blog an overhaul and write consistently again.
I’ve been blogging for over ten years now, and I’d like to give the blog a new coat of paint to spruce it up. So, there’s a re-branding in the works. Watch this space.
I also need your help. As a reader of this blog, what do you want to see me write about? Please get in touch. I’d really value hearing the articles you want to read, the people you want to see me speak with, the topics you want to see me cover — what can I do on this web-site that will help you and your business?
Other Plans for 2017
Some of my other plans for the second half of 2017 include:-
- Giving some proper promotion to my afore-mentioned book The IT Business Owner's Survival Guide: How to save time, avoid stress and build a successful IT business . If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your feedback and could I ask you to leave an Amazon review?
- Saying thank you to my loyal clients. For those business owner’s who decided to stick with me despite my being on the shelf during a lot of 2016, I plan on over-delivering in value through spending as much time as I can with you, offering additional workshops and exploring how else I can help you.
- Generating some revenue from this blog, my Podcast and other media channels. If you’re one of the IT vendors who I know would value reaching my audience in an authentic manner, please drop me a line and ask about my Media Kit which explains the opportunities available to you.
- Moving to a seasonal format with my Podcast. I’m currently recording episodes for three new seasons, entitled “The Vendors”, “The MSPs” and “The Experts”. More to follow.
And finally, continue to reconnect with you, my peers. I want to speak with you, to hear what you’re struggling with, to hear where you’re headed and to understand how I can help you. I’ll say it again, please get in touch.
I need your help!
2016 was my Windows Vista year. With two unexpected hospital stays, it may have been considered a bad year — but I got married and I’m now healthy and happy in a new life in the North-East, so I look back on it as simply a year of experiences.
I hope that this blog isn’t too self-indulgent and you’ve found some value in my story as a fellow business owner. The biggest takeaway I can offer is to re-iterate that life happens whether you ask for it or not, so be prepared for the unexpected and value health and happiness above all else.