This week marks the one-year anniversary of Nicola Connolly Byrne and I working together. What a year it has been! To mark the occasion, I had a chat with Nicola about her business journey to date and her experience of working with Brava Virtual.
Nicola Connolly-Byrne is a multi-award winning Empowerment Specialist. She helps individuals and businesses become the best possible version of themselves by teaching her self-awareness tools. Nicola developed these tools while she dealt with the many challenges she faced throughout her life. She felt passionate about sharing the tools to help other people going through similar circumstances. And so she founded her business with a clear mission:
To help each and every client to empower themselves, should they choose change.
Today, Nicola supports her clients through one to one sessions, private membership groups, round table sessions, school wellness programs and corporate speaking engagements.
Nicola describes the growth of her business as something that happened very organically. She listened to each individuals’ needs and developed her services as a result of those needs.
While that approach brought the business up to a point, it wasn’t all plain sailing. There was a lack of structure and organisation in the business and Nicola was constantly chasing her tail. Spending so much time working in the business left her with very little time to work on the business. She felt distracted during her downtime with her family because the cogs were constantly turning in her head. She couldn’t switch off.
Working with Brava Virtual
Nicola contacted me last year after deciding that she needed additional support in her business. We already knew each other from Network Ireland Louth – in fact we were both finalists in the Network Ireland Louth Businesswoman of the Year Awards just a few weeks earlier. Nicola won the Emerging New Business category and Brava Virtual was highly commended in the same category. So it’s safe to say that the “know, like, trust” factor was already taken care of.
Nicola chose to work with Brava Virtual because she saw how I operated within Network Ireland Louth. She could tell that I was serious about my business and the services I offer to my clients. She liked that fact that I’m open and direct and that she always knew where she stood with me. Given the sensitive nature of Nicola’s work, she needed to work with someone who operated from a space of confidentiality, discretion and trust. Our relationship has all of that, with a side helping of fun and laughter!
Over the past year, Nicola and I have worked together to streamline the processes within her business. The result – Nicola is now free to be creative and work with more of the clients she loves. Examples of some of the systems and processes we have put in place include:
- SOP’s to ensure consistency in key areas of the business
- Scheduling of social media, freeing up more of Nicola’s time to engage with her audience
- Branded social media images to give a more professional image
- Email marketing to bring even more value to Nicola’s audience
- Improvements in the functioning of private membership groups
Adapting to a new environment
The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the cancellation of Nicola’s in-person events and workshops. It wasn’t long before Nicola saw the opportunity to bring her workshops online and we quickly got to work in order to make it happen. That ability to adapt in such a short space of time not only made Nicola’s business stronger, it also enabled Nicola to deliver the tools to her clients at a time when they needed them most.
It doesn’t feel virtual
One of the biggest surprises for Nicola in working with Brava Virtual is that “it doesn’t feel virtual”. She describes it as feeling like someone is standing beside you, even if they are not physically beside you. She feels fully supported and guided and bounces ideas off me, safe in the knowledge that I will always act with her best interests at heart. We both approach things in very different ways, which gives us a more rounded view before we take action. Nicola says,
I’ve found somebody to work with that takes my business as personally as I do. I didn’t think that was going to be possible and it is. My business is my baby and the work that we do is so personal to other people. That comes with a lot of responsibility. It’s wonderful to know that you mind it as much as I do.
I used to feel like I needed to know everything. That I had to have my fingers in all the pies. That leads to exhaustion and anxiety. Now, I know that you will point out the potholes, so I don’t need to know every detail. I have to be able to hand over the responsibility to somebody and I can’t think of anybody better to hand it over to.
Nicola’s business is on a growth trajectory (watch this space!) and has doubled in size over the past year. Working with Brava Virtual gives Nicola the sense that she is standing on a solid foundation with somebody solid beside her. As someone who cares deeply about the success of her clients, I can’t tell you the sense of fulfillment that brings me.