I was inspired by friends who made great year-in-review posts to do my own reflection of the year that passed. In particular I hope to inspire other women to dare to do what I did, that is working while having a small baby by my side. As 2017 kicked into action, our son Olle was five weeks old, and it was my wish and determination not to take one year off as is common in Scandinavia, but instead to try to continue to work with my companies while still doing the mum-thing. My expectations for this experiment was that I would be very tired, earn less and get less stuff done, but I'd be ok with that for a year.
Well, here’s how the year went:
January With new assignments landed just before Christmas, I started prepping for an educational workshop for a Danish medical company who wished to train their clients in social media marketing. Lucky for me, Olle sleeps twice a day so most of this gets done during nap time. We also kick off the planning for the program for The Conference with the wonderful friends at Media Evolution.
February Had an inspiring chat with “Radicals” author Jamie Bartlett, who later did a talk at The Conference. An upcoming training for Tetra Pak took a lot of time, but still manage to do a fun (and a bit messy) live streaming from House of Ada with social video expert (and veteran) Björn Falkevik. Blogged about it here.
March Celebrated the first anniversary of co-working space House of Ada that I run together with co-founder Tomas Wennström. Wow, that year went fast, and what a boost to see our members making new friends and connections in the house. Do a full-day creative workshop with a real estate company on how to better utilize digital services in their business. Finally decide that a taking a baby to a two-day board meeting is a bit much.
April Do three training workshops in three different cities for veterinarians (that’s a first!) on content and video marketing in social channels. This is such a blast. The trips took a bit of coordination and mostly I just took the entire family along, which actually made the usually a bit lonely business trips much more fun. At home I obsess over the SKAM series.
Above: bringing the family along on a business trip.
May The Conference program is coming along nicely, very happy to get Yousef Tuqan on board and I also start hunting for SKAM speakers (because still obsessed). Start digging into research on online shopping behavior and e-commerce trends for a startup. Fascinated by the speed of changing behaviour in most segments of consumers. Finally able to launch a customized two-day training at Tetra Pak. Inspiring to meet and discuss with participants from all around the globe.
June A lecture on digitalization for NIBE almost didn’t happen due to transportation failures, but manage to get on stage with five minutes to spare. The baby logistics are getting more manageable as Olle start eating solids. Eats absolutely nothing at first, until he tastes Pasta Carbonara, and it’s a smooth ride from there. Have very nice feedback on a trend report for a client which makes my day. Program for the Conference is announced.
July Mostly vacation time. Weather is awful, which is just fine when vacationing with a seven-month-old. Do a short trip to London to explore opportunities for a new business idea.
August Finally manage to book Mari Magnus, the web producer of SKAM for The Conference. This month is a flurry of emailing back and forth with speakers to get all details right for the big event. Kick-ass program manager Cecilia is the best support in this hectic period. On top of it all, the entire family catches pneumonia and me and Tomas take turns staying at home with sick kids for a record of three weeks in total.
September Showtime for the Conference, you can watch all the talks here but to take part of the great atmosphere you need to sign up for 2018. :) Kick off the second round of training at Tetra Pak.
October The family goes on a well-deserved last-minute trip to Greece. Our five-year-old almost learns how to swim. At home I’m approached with a flattering job opportunity, but running my own show is just too fun at the moment.
November I do a complete remake of how I run workshops and creative meetings. Over the years I’ve moved closer and closer to the Google Design Sprint model and with the remake it was like taking the final step in this process. I wrap up November with workshop for a housing company as a first live test, and I loved how all the exercises turned out, plus the level of energy over the day. This is definitely how I’m doing things from now on. Olle turns 1, which feels like a major milestone.
December Wrapping up the year and planning for new adventures. Attended a very positive board meeting at the Faculty of Technology and Society. Malmö Högskola will become Malmö University in 2018, and there’s a lot of excitement around that. Finally check out of 2017 just before Christmas.
Final thoughts Somewhat surprisingly, 2017 turned out to be a very productive year in spite of only having a couple of days a week to work, sometimes just two hours a day during nap time. Reflecting on this, I think it’s because when your time is limited, you have to plan meticulously to get things done. Also, working with a baby was much less stressful than I Imagined. Clients were always extremely helpful and understanding when I had to bring Olle along occasionally, and in fact, these meetings were more fun and relaxing than my ordinary meetings.
Looking back, I had a great year not in spite of working with a baby, but because of having Olle along. This made me challenge myself to solve things in new ways and prioritize. I hope this can inspire other women who have their own businesses to find a way to make it through that first year, and not to view family and business life as something incompatible.