Woohoo, we’re one year old!

Wednesday 30 April 2014 may have been an ordinary day for most of you, but for us it was pretty special – because it was exactly one year since we first went live with Talented Ladies Club.

It’s hard to believe – looking at everything we’ve accomplished and how much experience we’ve acquired – that it’s only 52 weeks since we started. But it’s been a really eye-opening time, and we’ve really loved (almost) every minute of it.

We’ve met some lovely people

One of the best parts of the past year is meeting so many inspiring and really lovely people. We’ve been lucky enough to share some fantastic guest articles from our contributors, and we know from the feedback we get on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn how much they’ve helped many women (and men).

Our regular diarist Lucy Mason has also really impressed us with her enthusiasm in learning how to blog for us (plus meet our nagging weekly deadline!), and we feel really blessed to have the friendship, support and style expertise of our fashion editor Karen Skagerlind.

We’ve also connected – through Twitter, Facebook, email and in real life with some amazing people, including other bloggers and business owners all trying to help ambitious mums in their own talented ways. And we feel lucky to be part of such a supportive community of people who are genuinely trying to make a difference.

As a result of some of the connections we’ve made, we’re honoured to be talking at the launch of Ten2Two Sussex on 14 May, and to co-host a networking event for female freelancers with PCG (the UK’s leading authority on freelancing) on 29 May in London (we’ll be announcing more details about this event soon if you want to come and join us there).

What have we learned this past year?

We have learned SUCH a lot this past year. And one of our biggest lessons has been the importance of failure – and being prepared and happy to fail.

Some of the things we’ve tried over the past 12 months (like paying to attract traffic to our site) haven’t worked out for us in the way we hoped. But by getting things wrong in the beginning, we were forced to test out completely new ways of trying things. And through these we acquired much more knowledge – and slowly inched towards the success we wanted.

So now we aren’t afraid of embracing new things with gusto. We don’t always wait until they’re perfect, we test things and see what happens. If they are successful, we try to understand why and replicate them. If they weren’t, again we try to work out why, then try another way.

This new approach has led us to launching our first ever video. We wrote it, recorded it, edited it… then hated it! Almost as soon as we’d finished it we could see at least three things we’d change about it. But experience taught us that if we re-did it once to ‘perfect’ it, we’d re-do it 100 times and never be happy.

So we launched the video as it is (you can watch it here if you haven’t already), and are making sure that our second video is even better! (It should at least have better sound thanks to the generosity of Faye Dicker from Freelance Bristol Mum, who very kindly gave us her spare mic.)

Our plans for the next year

We’ve got lots of exciting things planned for the next 12 months. Having just finally launched our resources section, we’re putting together some online training workshops.

Much as we love doing our face-to-face workshops, there’s a limit to the amount of people we can help. But by putting our training workshops online, many more people all over the world can benefit from them. You can also watch them at times that suit you, pause them to come back to later if you need, and even re-watch them if you need a refresh.

As well as our video tutorials, we’re planning a host of useful ebooks (you can download our first one – five easy steps to change your life – here).

We’re launching our own training programme!

But the big project we’re really excited about is our online training programme. We’re currently working hard to put together a step-by-step course to help you launch a successful post-baby career – whether you want to look for flexible work, become a freelancer or start your own business.

We’re teaming up with some brilliant experts to provide us with fantastic content, case studies and exercises. The course will take you from frustration at not knowing what you really want to do, inspire you to set an ambitious but realistic goal, and equip you with the knowledge, experience, confidence and resources you need to make it happen.

It will be the only course of its kind, and we’re very excited about it. The course will start in September this year, so stay tuned for more updates!

We’re now accepting advertising

Up to now, we haven’t opened our site up to advertising – we wanted to concentrate on building the right kind of content and audience before offering the opportunity to reach out to our readers.

And now we’re finally ready. We’ve just put the finishing touches to our advertising page – and for the first time ever you can arrange for your ad to appear on one of three sections in our site, for the introductory rate of just £30 a month.

We only have a few spots up for grabs, so to ensure that the ads on our site are genuinely useful for our readers (and deliver maximum value for our advertisers) we’re only accepting ads from businesses or people that we believe fit our key audience profile – ambitious women looking for ways to realise their work, freelance or business ambitions, and balance them with their responsibilities as a mum.

If you want to know more about advertising on our site, check out our new advertising page.

We’re (almost) famous

As you may have noticed, we’ve been working hard to get our name out in the past year – after all there’s no point in creating great content if only a handful of people benefit from it.

And we’ve had some fantastic exposure as a result. We’ve been featured in The Sunday Times money section, written an article for The Guardian, and appeared in Woman & Home magazine and a number of local publications. We’ve also guest blogged or been interviewed for over 20 websites. You can see most of these on our brand new press page (created using advice from Dina Behrman’s PR course).

But the best bit of exposure we’ve had this year was exhibiting and speaking at the first ever Work & Family Show at London ExCeL in February. It was our first exhibition and we absolutely loved it. We met hundreds of very talented mums looking for inspiration and advice, and lots of brilliant people and businesses exhibiting.

The show will take place again in February 2016, and we will definitely be there again, if you want to come and say hello!

Bring on the next year

One year ago when we launched, we thought we knew quite a lot. We’d done our research and had plenty of theory to back up the decisions and predictions we made then.

But if this past year has taught us anything, it’s that the only way you’ll really ever be able to test your dreams, ideas or even yourself is to just go out there and do it. And that’s exactly what we want to help you to do – through our articles, the links we share on social media, and on our ebooks, video workshops and online training programme.

So we’re excited about the next 12 months, and seeing where it will take all of us, as we all work hard to make our ambitions happen, and live more authentic and fulfilled lives.

One last quick thank you

Before we sign this post off, there’s one more important thing we want to do. As you can probably imagine, creating and running Talented Ladies Club is a LOT of work.

It’s more than a full time job seven days a week (I’m sitting writing this inside on a sunny Sunday when the rest of my family are playing a noisy game of cricket in the garden – without me yet again). And as a result we’ve been pretty rubbish partners, mums, daughters, sisters, and friends at times over the past 12 months.

So we just want to say thank you to everyone know knows us and has had to put up with ignored texts, Facebook messages and emails, short, terse phone calls, missed birthdays, forgotten promises and generally found us tired, distracted and often absent. Thank you for your continued understanding and patience – and hopefully we’ll follow some of our own advice and find a way to juggle things better soon!