Let's face it, coronavirus is sh*t. There's no two ways about it, it's changed the world and it's pretty damn hard (even for the most positive of people) to see the good things that have emerged from this global pandemic.
When something unexpected and challenging comes your way, it can often throw you off track. You can sometimes feel like a total fool for not seeing it coming but the best thing to do in this situation is learn to accept change and just roll with it. People who are excited by change are often the ones who benefit from it. Coincidence? I think not.
Resenting change will get you absolutely nowhere. Welcome it instead.
So let me introduce myself, I'm Gaby Mendes, founder of Talk Twenties. At 25 years old, I'm an ex-teacher turned event professional with a huge drive to want to help and support twenty-somethings. After experiencing post-graduate depression after leaving university, I noticed pretty early on in to my twenties that there was a huge gap in the market for an organisation that provided educational support and a community for twenty-somethings. Basically, I knew next to nothing about finance, health and career and when I blogged about it... most other twenty-somethings felt the same.
The initial plan when I launched Talk Twenties was to create events. These events would be a 1-day festival-style conference that would not only be a fun day out for twenty-somethings but educational and maybe even life changing for some. There would be experts talking about a range of topics and speakers would be of a similar age, so that they can relate to everything current twenty-somethings are experiencing. The event would also hold a marketplace of businesses looking to specifically reach out and support twenty-somethings. Our first event was booked for June 2020 but then (yep, you guess it) the world was hit by coronavirus and quickly those plans and dreams were dashed. Starting an event-focused company in 2020, probably wasn't the best timing.
It felt almost instinctive, but we pivoted immediately.
In the early outbreak of coronavirus I launched a weekly podcast interviewing people on various topics relevant to twenty-somethings. We now have 16 episodes of the podcast, with topics ranging from networking to body image, buying a house to crisis money management. We've had guests such as Joe Binder (CEO of WOAW), Emma Mumford (former Coupon Queen and now best-selling author) and James Wythe (Healthy Living James). We're just a few listens away from hitting 2000 listens on the podcast... in 3 months I couldn't be more chuffed with that!
We also launched an ambassador scheme where we have regular contributors to our blog writing about their experiences of being in their twenties. These ambassadors are spread out across the country and we meet once a month on Zoom to catch up and discuss ideas for the blog. Before coronavirus, I always thought it was important to have meetings face to face but, apart from Meg's bad wifi connection in North Wales (love you Meg!), our monthly catch ups feel just like we're all in the same room together, which is pretty magical.
Finally, just two weeks ago we launched an online shop on our website, initially selling colourful prints to brighten up your home but with plans to expand into notebooks, planners, mugs and apparel. I couldn't quite believe it when we made back our investment in the online shop and initial stock in just 24 hours of launch. So I cannot wait to see what the future holds for that aspect of the business.
So there you have it... Talk Twenties looks very different to what I had imagined when starting out but I actually think it's all for the better!! We still have hopes and dreams to launch our events as soon as it is safe to do so but already, due to the success of the podcast, we're looking at a bigger venue to hold more people than the 100 attendees we originally planned for.
The best advice I can give when something unexpected happens, is to be open to change and be ready to adapt quickly. Don't worry about making mistakes if it's something you've never done before. I've made a million mistakes in the past few months but it's 100% the way you learn the quickest! If you spend too long contemplating something often you can talk yourself out of it. Sometimes it's hard to let go of the dreams you once had and that there's a possibility that it might not be possible to achieve anymore. My main advice here would be to focus on the things you CAN do and be grateful for it!
Be bold, be brave and pivot those dreams!
Blog post author: Gaby Mendes
Gaby is the founder and CEO of Talk Twenties.
Talk Twenties launched in January 2020 to help support twenty-somethings through the most transformative decade of their lives.
Listen to the Talk Twenties Podcast
Follow Gaby on Instagram