Launching in Lockdown

Jeni Smith

By Jeni Smith, Founder, Networking KnoWho

It was probably Christmas time 2019 when I knew I didn’t want to return to work after my maternity leave. My daughter was four months old and I was just getting my head around actually being responsible for another tiny human.

We’d decided my husband, Dave, was going to take the last seven weeks of parental leave so he could spend time with Juno. So March 20 was going to be when I took a step into the unknown and launch a new networking business. Couldn’t have been more excited!

Anyone who knows me personally or professionally will know I love networking. It’s been such a huge part of my life since the beginning of my career, and while I was still at uni really. Having ran businesses within the realms of networking before this time it felt different. As I started to make plans for what the business was actually going to be, this time it felt more personal. It was all coming from me, for me, and of course for my new little family.

March came and the excitement was building, I had some work in the diary which was awesome, and having spent the last seven months in baby groups and singing Wiggles songs I couldn’t wait to get back to using different parts of my brain and reclaiming that part of myself.

But with March came COVID.


Something that still now, six months later, I struggle to comprehend.

It felt like overnight every plan and idea and vision of what the future was going to be just got trodden on, and smushed into the ground, never to be seen again. I’m not going to lie, it hurt. It really hurt.

But what could I do? Returning to work wasn’t an option, and getting another job was not only uncertain with everything that was happening, I really didn’t want to! I still wanted to launch a new business, I wanted to help people network and grow, I wanted to see what I was capable of and show my daughter that too.

I had seven weeks of Dave taking care of Juno. Seven weeks to come up with a new business plan, customers, products, services, the lot. I wanted to use every moment I had to lay a foundation for whatever the new business looked like so when he returned to work I had at least some idea of whatever the hell it was I was meant to be doing!

And that’s what I did: I pulled up my big girl pants and I created a new plan. A better plan! A plan that has seen me work with some AMAZING businesses over the last six months. It’s pushed me to learn new skills like video editing and remote training delivery, allowed me to work with people all over the world, and got me to think so much more strategically about the long-term objectives of the business.

Although it’s been tough, and weird (lets be honest this is all utterly bizarre!), I truly believe I have a better business because of it. Once the world reopens and we’re allowed to return back out into the wild I can’t wait to start networking again, have coffee meetings, hot desk all over the place and deliver training session in front of 3D human beings! But I’m also going to take everything I’ve learnt so far with me, the new services I’m able to deliver and new ways of working I’ve discovered, and for that I’m really grateful.

Thank you to everyone who’s supported me during my first six months; every social media post ‘like’, everyone Zoom call, every client and delegate and learner! You’re frikin’ awesome and you’ve made this first six months a time I will honestly never ever forget.

If you want to check out my new video editing skills, take a look at the ever expanding library of 2 MIN NETWORKING TIPS! Or if 2 min’s just isn’t enough, you can enrol on a feature length Remote Networking Course!

Original Blog on Networking KnoWho

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