Hi Annie! Please tell me a little about yourself and your background.
I'm a writer (of books, articles and online courses), a business consultant and mum to three young kids. We live in east London.
You’ve gone from working for others to starting your own business, that your husband is now also involved in. Please tell us about this transition and the benefits of this new way of working?
I spent five years freelancing from home, while raising the kids, and making ends meet as a writer. But then last year, I launched an online course (on how to do your own PR) and it quickly sold out. I launched another, on becoming your own boss, and that one did too. Soon, I'd accidentally built a business around these courses. When my husband saw how quickly the business was growing, he decided to join me on it full-time, as marketing manager.
Work-wise, it's been the best year of my life. We had our third baby last August, and have co-parented (rather than Rich leaving home at 8am and returning at 6pm, Monday-Friday). Now, the baby goes to him as happily as he does me. It was a different story with the other two kids, when they were babies.
On the whole, we work very well together. We decide what needs to be prioritised and the person who needs to do that works, while the other looks after the kids. We are blunt, and sometimes quite rude, to each other - but it means less tiptoeing around, trying to soften the blow. I can't imagine we'll ever work for other people again. We'll grow this online business, while also pursuing other projects. Rich makes films, I write books. And running this business together means that once childcare resumes, we'll have time for both.
Does ethics and sustainability come into play at all with what you do?
Yes, in terms of how I treat the people I work with. And putting back in through charity initiatives.Tell me about a particular highlight you’ve had within your career? What are you most proud of?
Getting a book deal with my dream publishers (4th Estate) was a big deal. Being published in the Guardian for the first time. Growing a business that earns us enough to put money into savings and live the life we want with our three kids. And more recently, working with a group of women through The Robora - supporting them with their businesses. It has taught me a lot. I've loved it, and feel really proud of what they've achieved.
Has COVID-19 impacted on your business / your way of working at all?
We operate entirely online, and work from home, so in that respect - no. We had the same panics as most business-owners, as lockdown began, about whether anyone would be spending money on our products and services. But as we help people to start and grow the online side of their business, we have been fine. Business has kind of boomed, in fact. I feel a certain amount of guilt about it, but I've also been donating a lot of money to Refuge, from the sales of my 'Become your own Boss' course.As a mother, what do you look for in baby and children’s clothing?
My main value in life is 'comfort'. That runs through everything I do. And certainly, with kids' clothes, that's what I look for first. Nothing fussy, or superfluous: soft cotton that fits them well, and that they can move easily in.