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Merry Christmas from Amanda

Amanda Whitley

“It’s what you do during the quiet years… the years when no one is watching, and no one cares, that will define you as a business person.”

By the time you read this, I will be in Noosa – hopefully doing little more than eating (a lot), drinking champagne (probably too much), and lazing by the pool. I promise I’ll make up for the excess in the New Year, but for now I’m going to enjoy my first Christmas – actually, my first holiday – ‘offline’ and not working in nearly five years.

You see, the nature of the internet is that it never sleeps. That means people expect content all hours of the day and night, and as a publisher it’s your job to provide it. And until last August, it was just me – aided by our amazing pool of contributors – feeding the beast. Now, for the first Christmas since 2011, I have an (incredible) team that will do whatever’s necessary to make sure I can have a much-needed break. Thanks Bea, Laura, Bee and Javier xxx

I’m not Robinson Crusoe, by a long shot. There are small business owners all over the world who can relate to never switching off; to not having clear boundaries between ‘work’ and ‘life’. Often by the time you make it into the public profile…once people start to notice you…you’ve been working away for years, often feeling like ‘it’ – that magical point where you feel that maybe, just maybe, you’ve got to where you want to be – is never going to happen.

I heard Alisa Camplin speak at a Business Chicks breakfast last year, where she shared her extraordinary journey to winning an Olympic Gold medal, and something she said really resonated with me. She talked about working three jobs and crying herself to sleep every night and, to paraphrase, said ‘it’s what you do during the quiet years…the years when no one is watching, and no one cares, that will define you as a business person.’ It gave me goosebumps, and I have repeated that sentiment to other young business women many times since.

Because the truth is that building a business is really, really hard work. You work long hours, sometimes – like me – you work another job while building it up, and it can take a couple of years before the money starts to come in. Some days the last thing you want to do is work…but you do…because if you don’t, you’re only letting yourself down. But if you keep up the effort, keep plugging away every single day, and you maintain the passion that sparked the idea in the first place, one day you will get there. And it will be worth it.

Because this ‘thing’ that consumes your life is something that you made. You. And when you see it touching other people and making a difference – no matter how small – then that’s reward enough. Although a trip to Noosa is pretty good too…

If I don’t talk to you before, thank you so much for being part of the HerCanberra community this year. It’s been a massive 12 months and we’re really excited for the year ahead.

Merry Christmas, lovelies!

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Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author

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