Five businesses that made small business ownership feel better for me this year

 

2023 has been a landmark year for our digital marketing agency, marked by significant transformations and growth. As is always the case in small business-land, a pivotal part of this journey will always come down to the partnerships we’ve cultivated with various businesses. Each of these partners brought unique expertise and value, playing a crucial role in our evolution. Here, I share the five collaborations that were instrumental in reshaping our agency this year.

 

My beloved [and incredible] business coach

 

This woman has seen me at my best [right now, actually], and my worst [crying in a way I’ve never cried before on TDP’s 8th birthday in what I can only describe as my “Emma Thompson from Love Actually” moment, i.e I got so hurt on TDP’s 8th birthday last year: it’s a long story, and not one for this here blog post].

Ami and the team at Craft have been with TDP for 3+ years now, and it just keeps getting better and better, i.e she first began with me … and she now makes her way to my team [even running an emerging leaders program for my leadership team this year].

I [and now we] have benefited from her expertise in big vision mapping, strategic planning, leadership development, and organisational leadership more broadly. She has helped to really refine our vision, strengthen our leadership team, as well as influencing our operational processes. 

This partnership has been so much more than “just advice”; it’s been an entirely transformative experience that has completely reshaped not only how I approach business, but how I view myself in doing this.

The long story short? She’s helped me completely fall in love with me, and what I bring to the business world that I find myself in.

 

Creative Natives, and their powerful agency mastermind

 

An absolutely industry diamond, Ryan Kelly, and his incredibly business Creative Natives.

A recruitment agency specialising in the digital space, and who saw a real need for multiple agency owners coming together to form a mastermind via Creative Natives [which is exactly what we did, and still do]. 

This group of like-minded professionals provided a platform for shared learning, networking, and collaboration. The insights gained from this mastermind were invaluable, offering fresh perspectives and innovative strategies that directly contributed to our growth and success.

 

A really values-aligned HR boutique

 

Our partnership with a boutique HR company genuinely transformed how we manage our most valuable asset – our people. Their people-first approach and tailored HR strategies helped us enhance employee engagement, and – most importantly – roll out significantly more progressive approaches to HR in-house. 

HR Gurus also have a year long support service for $749 [don’t click on it yet, they’re only taking 50 people and I’m waiting for December cash flow to, uh, change a smidge … so I can hop on this offer].

 

More than a branding agency, a lifeline and a beacon of feminist support

 

This year, my experience with Tara from Your One & Only transcended professional boundaries, thanks to the incredible owner who became an unwavering source of personal support. In a year that presented some of my most challenging moments as a business owner, she stood by me like a rock. When I faced harsh judgments, particularly online.

During my most trying times, when I grappled with tough decisions and faced harsh judgment, particularly in the online sphere, she was there for me – a steadfast lifeline. Her check-ins during moments when I felt most alone, her unwavering support when I was at rock bottom, were not just acts of kindness, but beacons of strength that helped me navigate through the storm.

She embodies the essence of a modern-day feminist – a woman who lifts other women, providing support rather than judgment. Her approach was not only nurturing but empowering, helping me to find my footing again in both my personal and professional life. This friendship became a source of healing and strength, a testament to the power of solidarity among women in the business world.

 

An unexpected friendship with a wildly talented, Autistic copywriter [and now friend]

 

I became friends with someone I’ve been friends with for years, but … more of a “profound mutual respect for each other/never having actually met in-person, or properly spoke” kinda relationship, but that all changed this year.

I became really good friends with Shan from Wild Spark Copy.

As an aside, and an important side, she’s a fellow Autistic business owner, which has meant she has played a pivotal role in helping me embrace and normalise my own experiences. Her perspective has been invaluable, offering the kind of insights and understandings that only someone who walks a similar path could provide. 

In a world where the narrative around Autism often leans towards challenges, our interactions have been a breath of fresh air, focusing on the strengths and unique viewpoints we bring to the table as Autistic individuals in business.

Her ability to see me for who I am and celebrate me accordingly has been a source of immense joy and validation. In our discussions and shared experiences, there’s an unspoken understanding and a sense of camaraderie that’s rare to find. This connection has not just been about business growth; it’s been a journey of personal growth and self-acceptance.

 

 

These five partnerships were more than just business transactions; they were collaborative journeys that brought new dimensions to our agency. Each partner played a unique role in our story this year, helping us to not just grow, but to thrive. As we look to the future, we do so with gratitude for these relationships and excitement for what’s next.