Spoiler alert - I won Enterprinsing woman in business! But here's what happened at SWBOYA 2019
A few years ago Phil came home from the South Wilts business of the year awards and said to me "You should enter next year". I thought he was crazy, after all he works for Porton Biopharma which is a multi million pound company and there's just little old me, a sole trader and an artist to boot. What an earth could I do at a business awards?
These brilliant awards, attended by over 800 people are organised by SpireFM and FSB.
Last year I entered without expecting much and was delighted to become one of the finalists. This year, I felt a bit more confident and wanted to really push myself.
The process is actually quite a pleasant one. I was interviewed at The Enterprise Network by Amanda Foster. Her positivity and enthusiasm about women in business is absolutely infectious and far from being a chore it was an absolute delight to be able to talk to her and tell her about the innovations and developments I've made in my business over the past year. I was also entered into a second category Marketing excellence, sponsored by Unstuck design and my interview with Bexi was just as supportive and interesting. I came away from both interviews really enthused and excited about my own business and rather proud of what I have achieved.
The awards night is great, you're greeted with photos, a glass of bubbly and a chance to network. Networking has turned into a dirty word, but it shouldn't be - it's just making business friends. And it's nice to support each other.
Once we were all seated in the auditorium of Salisbury city hall, the opening act got us all going. It was the rather brilliant James Morrison no less. What a start to the night.
Then the awards start, each category has a short list of finalists, followed by the winner being announced, the judge for that category presents the award, with a few words about why they won.
When it came to "Enterprising woman in business" my heart leapt. Hopeful I might be a finalist again. Then Karen pointed out this category had the highest number of entries and was hotly contested. My husband squeezed my hand; you'll be alright.
I was thrilled. I'd made the short list. Then my name was read out again as the winner. Fantastic. I can't believe it. Then the dreaded walk down the stairs...I don't wear heels often, they weren't high but even so, its remarkably hard walking down stairs!
Collecting my award from Amanda was just wonderful. It is just so good to know I'm doing something right. I work hard in my business and it's great that that has been recognised and rewarded.
There was an added surprise to my night, as I was a finalist in Marketing excellence. The winners in that category were Chalk valley history festival, where I'm exhibiting next weekend. Wow, two winners in one field...I might have to take my trophy with me!
After the awards are completed I felt as if I was at the Oscars; lots of photos, a couple of interviews and plenty of congratulatory hugs.
A quick drinkie in the Old ale house to round off the night was lovely too!
So what have I learnt through all this. I have to balance my time carefully. Part of my life I'm working on my art. Sometimes just making it, sometimes making it better, but it's painting and I love it. Part of my time I'm working on my business, website updates, SEO, blog posts (!), events, doing the books. And thirdly, and this shouldn't be underestimated, I'm working on my mindset. Having a positive outlook, working on those little demons in your head who say you're not good enough, and replacing them with angels who say you are! It sounds woo woo, but it works. It's got me here.
I'm chuffed to bits.
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