Just over a year ago, I took a huge leap of faith and left my corporate life (which I’d enjoyed for over 20 years) to venture out on my own…and Pace was born.

Setting up my own agency was something that I’d considered many times in the past but there was never a good time (or maybe that was my justification for not having the courage to do it). But last year, my two young daughters were that little bit older and I realised that if I didn’t make the break now, I never would.

And what a year it’s been. It’s been exciting, exhilarating, emotional and exhausting. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

As much as you prepare for the going it alone, there is nothing quite like the realisation that everything hinges on you. There are no HR, IT or finance teams to call on; no PA to sift out the good from the bad. You are responsible for everything.

And the word ‘responsible’ is a key one. Of course, there is responsibility in corporate life. But owning a business redefines the word – the buck stops with you and suddenly it’s down to you as to whether your team will be able to pay their mortgages and bills. This alone can cause many a sleepless night.

And the team here is great. We’ve grown quickly – there are now eight of us. Each with a different and valuable skillset that collectively makes for a winning combination. I learned during my corporate life that a good leader surrounds herself with people better than her. And that’s what I’ve done – I’m very proud of the Pace team.

We’ve had an excellent first year. We’ve exceeded our targets and done some brilliant work. But it’s been a rollercoaster ride. Before I set out, someone from another agency told me that the highs would be much higher and the lows are much lower. And how true they were. I’ve had to learn very quickly not to take it personally when things don’t go to plan. In fact, I’ve had to learn a lot generally…and fast. But that’s okay. When I reflect on my old corporate life, I realise I wasn’t learning as much as I could have been. I feel that I’ve grown an incredible amount in the last year.

Agency life is fast-paced (no pun intended) and that’s why I love it. We’re an energetic and positive bunch which is important when there aren’t enough hours in the day.   And I never switch off. Even though I can’t be at work all the time, I think about it constantly – it’s relentless, but in a good, adrenaline-fuelled way. We may have a good day…or a good week…or a good month but I’m guilty of not taking the time to enjoy it…because I’m already thinking about tomorrow/next week/next month. Nor do I say thank you enough. So my New Year’s resolution is to make that time.

It’s been one hell of a journey so far. And we wouldn’t be where we are without the enthusiasm, energy, commitment and attitude of the team…so this is a big THANK YOU to them. Here’s to the next year!

Anita.

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