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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ME!

October 7, 2012

And now for the next exciting phase of my journey…

Well,  today is my anniversary, a whole decade of working for myself – I can hardly believe it!

Time has gone so quickly and I have experienced so much in terms of the type of work that I do, my business name and my look.  It has been great to delve into archived files to look at my first attempts at ‘branding’ who I was and what I was offering back then.

My very first logo was designed when I was still working on contract at St Marks Hospital in Maidenhead, Berkshire and was produced by someone who knew all about DTP – however, it brought much mirth as my husband assured me that it looked like a burger bun 😀

First POL logo (2002)

Back in the early days, I struggled with what I would call myself, settling on The POL Experience, with POL standing for Personal and Organisational Learning.  The red/white colours were also a nod towards my Polish heritage and the Polish flag.

I keep true to the ‘red’ theme, even now, albeit a little more on the orange side than before.  Back then I designed the ‘looks’ myself and as you can see from the images below, experimented with many different ideas with varying success.

Experimenting with many different looks for The POL Experience

The POL Experience logo, circa 2004

In 2005, The POL Experience became The POL Group, a sort of portal gateway to things I was experimenting with, such as:  KnowledgeWorx Research Unit (a space to explore my CPD); 4XP (a business network of local providers) and OFQT (focusing on quality management issues).

Brands within The POL Group (2005)

It was clear that I was over diversifying and the branding stuff had gone too far – time to pull back and consolidate.

It was at this point, LearningVoice (at that time a small brand within The POL Group) seemed to grow in stature.  I was working on projects for the European Commission, dabbling with voice-over work, speaking at conferences around Europe and running a wide range of training and quality management programmes.  It seemed that LearningVoice was taking over… so what to do?  Develop a new logo of course 😀 and in 2007 LearningVoice became a limited company and The POL Experience and The POL Group were no more.

The first LearningVoice logo (2007)

My journey of change came just before the recession hit the UK in 2008 and, like many small businesses, I had my own rough patches along the way.  Not only was business getting tougher but I also lost two people I was ‘caring’ for, my father-in-law and my mother, both dying within 6 weeks of each other.  Work in actual fact is a great thing to focus on when times are emotionally very difficult, and though the recession was biting hard, there was never a time when I had no work at all, just much much less than before.  Not to be beaten,  I entered 2009 with a new resolve to re-establish the basics and found myself a fantastic business mentor – a dragon no less – Rachel Elnaugh.

Considering the next steps for LearningVoice

Rachel was one of the very first dragon’s on BBC TV’s ‘Dragon’s Den and, right from the start, hated the logo because she felt that it didn’t best represent me and who I was.  She started me on a path towards re-thinking the focus of the business and the way it looks.  Through her advice and guidance, I found a new lease of life for LearningVoice and even though the recession was still in full flow, began to position myself in a new and wider market place that was better for my skills and knowledge.  I even won an International Award.

Global HR Excellence Award (2009)

Since 2011, I have received excellent support from colleagues, including my good friend, Maxim Teryukhov, in Russia, who helped me to realise that to achieve the growth that I wanted, I needed to let go of things that don’t work and have a team of specialists who can ‘balance me off’. Looking back I can see how messy everything appeared, just can’t understand why it took me so long to realise it.

Fast forward to today, 7th October 2012, I am starting work on two new European Commission projects with a small team of personally chosen experts, I am delivering more training than ever before, usually bespoke rather than off-the-shelf and I am beginning to do voice-over work and developing that side of the business and running conferences around the world – to date I have appeared in nearly 30 countries on three continents!

There is a new website being developed with a look that better represents what LearningVoice has become over the last few years.  I now have a virtual team around me to take care of the areas that I shouldn’t be spending time on – these include branding, marketing,  finance, project management etc…

So my present to myself today is something that I have been eagerly waiting for these last few years, a huge bottle of POL Roger champagne in remembrance of the POL days and where all of this started.

Thank you for your continued support and here’s to the next decade of LearningVoice!

Huge thank you from Józefa

Personal website landing page:   JozefaFawcett.TV

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