Well, where do I start?
2020: the year when the little things became the big things, and we all started using expressions such as 'social distancing', 'furlough' and 'the R rate'.
It would be easy to say that 2020 is a year to forget. But is that the way it should be? I don't think so. We are living through history. What's happened this year will, one day, be written about. It'll be taught in schools; documentaries will be made - maybe even a new blockbuster movie. This time, it won't be coming purely from the imagination.
I don't need to dwell on the negatives. We all know that lives are being lost, businesses devastated, and redundancies are escalating.
My heartfelt sympathy goes out to all those who are affected.
Concentrating on the positives - and I believe there are some - is, I feel, a healthier mindset right now, as we push into what I believe is going to be a long, tough January (but then January never is the best month of the year, is it?)
So, here we go - my positives from the year 2020:
- Business community - I believe the business community has shown tremendous solidiarity and support for one another. I've felt a sense of 'in it together', helping each other through.
- Small businesses - there has been a swell of support and appreciation for small businesses, particularly those in the retail sector. Hopefully, as we emerge from this crisis, this will continue. However, I do believe there is room for everyone. The 'big boys' employ a lot of people on a local level, as does their supply chain. Let's hope there's enough pent up business to go around.
- Retail - certain retail sectors have done very well - DIY and garden centres, for example. Of course, business at Zoom Video Communications Inc must have 'gone through the roof'.
- NHS - rarely have we taken so many moments to appreciate the NHS and all keyworkers, which leads me to...
- Community - we came together as a community each Thursday evening to show our gratitude. As the business community pulled together, so have local communities, all looking out for each other.
- Cleaner air - as we were all in lockdown, there were reports of wildlife reclaiming its natural habitat and pollution levels falling.
- Brexit - we have a deal! Although I'm uncertain of the details at the time of writing this, I feel that a deal has to be better than no deal. Let's see what transpires from here.
On a personal level, my business took a hit earlier in the year like many others. Being a virtual assistant, this may come as a surprise. However, several (but certainly not all) of my clients were affected - as were their clients. We all learned to 'pivot' and tailored our offering to add value in the 'new normal' situation we find ourselves in.
I took advantage of the quieter time to complete my proofreading qualification, gaining a distinction. I'm happy to say that this has led to further work proofreading books and web copy, as well as the usual shorter material such as brochures, reports and social media posts. I love my proofreading work and feel proud to be able to help indie authors and business owners present themselves in the best possible light.
As a virtual assistant, I'm always looking for ways in which I can provide further support and add value to my clients and their business.
Many trainers and coaches have adapted their offering to an online version via Zoom. Recognising the challenge they faced in building that all-important rapport with their delegates while also concentrating on their delivery and handling the tech, I completed a course and launched a new service
- Zoom hosting support.
I've admitted participants from around the world through waiting rooms. I've brought people from around the globe together in breakout rooms and supported them with any technical issues they may have had.
It's been tremendous!
I've designed sessions alongside my clients to keep delegates engaged and been proud of the outcome and feedback.
As always, I'm thankful for the support I've received throughout what has been a challenging year for all of us - from clients and my business network, through to family and friends. Everyone brings something a little different, which I appreciate a lot.
As we look forward to the new year, none of us knows what lies ahead - this year more than ever. We must put our faith in the scientists who have worked so hard to produce the various vaccines and treatments and in all those tasked with the logistical side of rolling out the vaccine just as quickly as possible. At least it gives us reason to be cautiously optimistic for 2021.
Let's take forward the positives from 2020 and keep our fingers crossed that we can leave the rest behind us.
I'd like to wish you all a happy, prosperous, and above all, safe and healthy 2021.