The pandemic has been the weirdest of times for everyone. It’s been weird for me too, but mostly in that it’s made it possible for me to avoid some of the things I am anxious about, while making it impossible for me to achieve some of the things that drive me.
I’m an introvert and I am scared of flying. So being a consultant is harder because I am not naturally a gregarious person, plus I prefer to work from home or from a steady office. The pandemic made it possible for me to do just that. I could work from home, remotely and nobody could make me feel guilty about it. We all had to.
However, towards the latter part of the second lockdown, something started to change. I felt comfortable doing the things I was expected to do at work, and was quite happy being at home but I started feeling like I was stuck. I stopped writing my blog posts, I stopped reading, I stopped engaging on social media. I went into a period where any kind of intellectual endeavour aside from my work was hard. I started running more so I’d have something to give me a sense of achievement. I started obsessing over any small idea I had, and restarted my habit of taking notes at all times so I didn’t forget something good, even waking up at night to scribble down ideas. I felt dried up.
And then in January I had an idea and instead of trying to write it down, I decided to do something about it. I spoke to a couple of friends to validate it and then started drawing up what I thought it could be. A good friend, who is a serial entrepreneur, advised me on the type of people I should surround myself with. And I got incredibly lucky to have found the right co-founder on the first try. We are now working towards an alpha stage and I am having initial chats with potential advisors.
But that was not all. In February, a good friend and former colleague approached me with a question about a podcast. He wanted to talk some things through and needed and interlocutor. I had wanted to do a podcast for a while, having started with a few episodes for the APG and recorded three episodes for a Strategy 101 series which never came to light. I thought “why not?”, I had always wanted to clarify some industry buzz words by talking them through with someone who approached the topics with the same enthusiasm as me, but from a different direction. So we started recording.
That was 2 months ago.
I am not sure whether my start-up idea will every fully actuate. I think it’s a good idea but then again, I am its founder so I should do, really. I also don’t know if the podcast is just another marketing podcast that nobody needs. But these two things have given me an increased sense of purpose and a great reason to read more, meet more people, engage more, write more.
Which is why I am writing this. Not to plug my new idea or my new podcast but to say that some of the things I will be writing about might have more to do with how I think of marketing for the start-up I co-founded than mass marketing or digital marketing. Since the start-up is a platform business, I expect I won’t be straying too far from that conversation (digital marketing) though. I think it’s an interesting process, that of having a marketing strategist do marketing for her own company and I am already struggling with so many dilemmas. I thought writing about them might be fun.
My start-up is called Aaino. It’s a platform that aims to bring together people with a knack for interior design and people who want ideas for their homes without wanting to go the traditional route. Because it’s the routine to call it “the something of something”, we’ve said it’s “the Airbnb for interior design”. You can find Aaino on Instagram and at www.aaino.co.uk but the beta will only go up in September.
The podcast is called The Interpreters. It’s hosted by me and Nik Roope and you should be able to find it on most major platforms. We’d love feedback so @ me on Twitter with thoughts.
I think I have my mojo back but it took a while. I hope whoever’s reading this is feeling the same but if not, leave me a comment and I can share some more on how I got to where I am after my “dry patch” at the end of 2020.