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2023: A Year of New Beginnings

I'm not known for making New Years resolutions; they're completely idealistic and impossible to keep. However, I'm all for reflecting and using that awareness to shape what's yet to come. It is exactly nine months to the day since I launched Aluna Behaviour Consultancy and my blog post just six days before was brief, but essentially screamed out: "OMG, what am I doing???"

Fast forward to January 2023, some days are still pretty much the same, but what I have discovered that in the world of business that things rarely follow the path you've envisaged. I diligently wrote a 28-page business plan and, though I still regularly review it, I could almost have been writing it for a completely different business!!

The work with schools, which is where the majority of my experience lies, has started to emerge; interestingly through networking with people outside of the field of education. Word of mouth and positive testimonials will increase this key work with pupils and professionals. I hope settings will explore staff training and parent workshop opportunities to support their pupils. Social media, which still scares me to death, is allowing me to dip my toe in the water and test out the views that are fundamental to the work I do. So far, I've only been nipped at by the piranhas once or twice and have managed to outswim the sharks to date.

After several years of delivering training I ventured into the world of Zoom, webinars and online courses for the first time. It has its benefits when delivering to a small group, but it can feel a little distant and faceless with larger groups. Obviously bigger audiences bring in more revenue, but the more intimate sessions create greater learning and are infinitely more rewarding for me. So I'm limiting the numbers wherever possible to about eight to ten attendees.

One of the unexpected but highly pleasurable areas of interest for me has been in the volunteering I do. Third sector organisations play an essential role in supporting the needs of vulnerable learners and their families. I've been severely criticised for placing such a focus on the unpaid work that has been a presence in my life since the age of 14. I've been repeatedly warned about the risk of my business failing due to the "waste" of valuable earning potential . However, those critics don't see the benefits for me if giving something of my time and skills for free - and the satisfaction of regularly putting helping others ahead of helping myself.

These special opportunities include a voluntary role with The Children’s Society as a speaker and Community Ambassador. I volunteer on the Admissions Appeals Panel for Birmingham LA. I’m involved with BRIG (Birmingham Race Impact Group) who, alongside other issues, are looking at the permanent exclusion of Black pupils and helping to draft their ten-year plan, which includes mental health and the environment. I'm fundraising for Ghana Scholarships and the Family Fund for children with neurodivergent conditions - and I'm considering becoming a school governor too!!

So, with the acceptance that I won't be making my first million in 2023, I will continue to grow the business in the direction that my passions take me. I won't be swayed by those who see financial gain only or who advise me to change my business model, whether to capitalise on my services for their benefit or to eliminate me as competition!! I hope to maintain the invaluable collaborations with individuals and organisations I would have been lost without and to secure new connections for mutual support along the way.

I'll continue to undertake as much personal CPD and mentoring opportunities as I can (171 sessions since January 2022). I'll build the concept of Diverse Enterprise Hub, supporting young people who are marginalised through race, SEND needs or at risk of exclusion whilst being failed by our education system. From January, with my accredited qualification to deliver training in Anti-Racist Practice to schools I will share my lived experience with others and shine a light on much needed awareness-raising as possible. I will eternally be committed to bettering the lives of future generations. My legacy for our children:

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