When I was on adoption leave with our youngest, I read a post on Instagram from someone recommending “The Freelance Mum: A Flexible for Better Work-Life Balance” written by Annie Ridout. The book is a guide for mums wanting to create a career that gives them a better work-life balance, doing something they love.
It sounded like exactly what I needed. I was unhappy at work and wanted to find a way of making a living that I could fit in around looking after our girls. I’d always wanted to turn my love of writing into a career, but felt like I didn’t know where to start.
I ordered the book and reading it planted the seeds and gave me the confidence to believe I could be successful in doing something I loved, that would fit around the kids. I started following Annie on Instagram, bought and completed some of her courses, and the rest is history.
I will always be very thankful I came across Annie and her work because it has changed my life. Annie is inspiring in so many ways so it’s only right that she’s featured in my “Inspiring business women” series. Read on to find out a bit about her and how she helps and supports women in business.
What was your first job? Did you enjoy it?
I always find this question hard as my actual first job was washing cars, aged about 10. Yes, I enjoyed it. But I wonder if this means first ‘proper’ job, in which case… it was probably working as a journalist and copywriter. And again, yes, I enjoyed it. Though the corporate setting became quite tiresome. I remember waking some mornings ahead of the commute thinking: Ground Hog day. How long will my life be like this? Now, I work for myself and never dread getting out of bed.
What do you do now? Is this what you originally trained to do?
I’m a journalist (anneridout.com / @annieridout on Instagram and Twitter) and write articles for publications like the Guardian, Independent, Red Magazine, the Telegraph. I’ve also had two books published – The Freelance Mum and Shy, which had led to lots of public speaking. I write poetry that I share online @annieridoutpoetry (Instagram) and also run The Robora (therobora.com) where I offer business courses and coaching programmes to women.
How do your services help small business owners?
My business courses teach new skills like PR, marketing, growing a brand on Instagram, how to launch an online course. And then through coaching, I help women to see how capable they are. ‘Robora’ means ‘to encourage’ so that’s what I aim to do through my business.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given? How did it help you?
Start small and prove the concept before plunging a load of money into it. This came from my dad and it means I’ve never lost lots of money on a business idea. I try it out, in the cheapest way possible, and if it flies (like the online courses have), I start investing the money I’ve made. I have no business-related debt, which feels good.
If you could give your 20-year-old self one piece of career advice, what would it be?
Never take no for an answer (from the big dogs; the people with power). But with the customers: give them space to make up their own minds; don’t force them into buying if it’s not the right time or price for them.
Which do you prefer, tea or coffee? Beach or pool? Seaside or countryside?
Coffee. Beach. Hmmm….. I live in the countryside so should probably say that but originally, I wanted to live by the sea. I decided being high up, in-land, was the better longterm decision but I really love beach holidays and day trips.
What’s your dream job or client?
Novelist. I keep trying and believe that one day, it will work.
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