Years of technological disruption, tumultuous politics and an always-on workplace have left us out of breath. The end of the year gives us an opportunity to slow down and take stock. As we look towards 2020, we will not only be starting a new year but entering a whole new decade! This a great time to hit the reset button, assess what you’d really like to do and make plans.

It takes me back to the beginning of my journey 30 years ago! After graduating from Oxford Uni in the early 90’s. I spent the next decade working in The City. It was a great place to start your career with so many exciting opportunities. After having my first child, I left the City and took an extended career break. As my children started growing- up (they are now 16 and 11), I took my idea for my own business founding the Really Helpful Club (RHC) in 2014. A unique network for positive, like-minded people, RHC helps to support and connect our members with one another in their personal and business lives.

Starting or growing a business, or returning to work after a break, can be challenging and takes energy, creativity and confidence. It can be tough to find suitable training and supportive mentoring, to discover useful networking opportunities or secure funding. I’ve learnt so much since taking my first steps as a business owner and I find it hugely rewarding to see the difference that we are making. On a daily basis we meet such inspiring women and connect to like-minded people.

My journey has required a mixture of hard work, many highs and lows, stress and a real fear of failure. Having worked in a large organisation, I’d had all the support I needed to help me to succeed and thrive. On your own, you have to wear all the hats, from head of strategy to marketing, even coffee making! It’s been a totally new experience since having the idea, to establishing the concept and taking the plunge. I have had to build my own confidence and trust my instincts. Most important of all, I have discovered how important it is to have a great support network.

It’s why I am so passionate about Really Helpful Club, where community is at the heart of everything we do. Our buzzing online membership (which is free) has grown to 15,000 people and counting. Our members have access to secure online advice forums and a directory of recommended businesses, special offers and discounts, and a new Jobs Board.

In addition, our annual programme of informative, inspiring and interesting events cover all aspects of life, from health and wellbeing, to career advice. Our Back to Work programme recognises that there is a growing pool of talented and well-educated women who, after leaving the workplace, lack the confidence or opportunity to find the right role. Our workshops and seminars leave our delegates feeling empowered, learning from other women who have already done it. You can get a flavour of our most recent event in this video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqqjExecMFk

My advice to anyone looking to take those next steps and start the New Year with a bang is to know who you are and what you want to achieve and to be passionate about what you’re doing. Always believe in yourself, be brave and be prepared to have a go. Finally, build a support network to share knowledge and skills, as you can’t do everything on your own. At RHC we really can offer that support to help you move forward.

My top tip: Build a support network, you can’t do it all on your own.