Welcome back to my new series of ‘Meet the Creator’. I hope you all had a lovely summer holidays, whatever you got up to. I also hope any parents with children off school, survived! Personally, it was good to have a break from this blog. I took a summer off too! However now I’m back with more interesting creators to talk to for the next few months until Christmas, when I’ll probably have another break…
I’ve got a good’un for you to start off this new series. It’s none other than Annie Ridout, freelance journalist, mum of 3; author of The Freelance Mum (a book I’d highly recommend) and editor of The Early Hour. Super supportive of the online community, I recently spoke to Annie on this blog when researching about how we share our children online. I’d already read her book previously and had found it mega useful for juggling my blog around motherhood. To be honest, I found Annie to be a great inspiration; intrigued by how she had grown such a following, I went on to complete her online course on how to secure your own press coverage: well worth it too!
Annie has built up her following, writes regularly for national newspapers, has written a book and has just had baby number 3… intrigued too? Read on!
Explain to me how you came up with the idea for your business.
I’m a freelance journalist, author of The Freelance Mum and editor of The Early Hour, and I love writing but wanted to find a way to create passive income for when my third baby was born. So I decided to try launching an online course. The first one was teaching freelancers and business owners how to do their own PR. It sold out in two days. So I launched a second month of it, and a second course: Becoming your own Boss – and they sold out too. Soon, the courses were bringing in £10,000 a month. So I launched a third course: ‘How to launch a successful online course’. My husband and I run the business together, around our three children. In terms of work-life balance, it’s ideal for us. Part-time hours, that we choose, from home.
How long has your business been running for?
The online courses since April this year. But I’ve been running The Early Hour since 2015, and working as a freelance journalist for about 10 years. My first book, The Freelance Mum, was published in January.
Quite a lot has happened in 10 years then. Does it fit in well with family life then, or does it ever effect it?
Since launching the courses, it’s been very easy to fit around kids. It can be hard if I get a freelance journalism commission and don’t have childcare – but now that my husband works with me, from home, that situation no longer arises. We make it work between us. But this situation is very new. When I was writing my book, I did a lot of evenings in front of the laptop. And I’ve used ad-hoc childcare for my second son to get a journalism commission completed. Work and family blend; sometimes it’s smooth – sometimes it’s not. But for me, it’s preferable working this way to working outside of the home Monday-Friday, 9-5.
Totally agree with you there. It’s a great feeling to be able to at home with your children. So, best/worst thing about working from home?
Best: loads of family time and flexibility to start and finish whenever I like. Worst: eating too many biscuits.
Haha, I know all about that 4pm snack-raid. What time of day can you work then? Evenings? In-between naps?
I like to work in the morning – but there’s usually too much chaos. My daughter woke late as a baby, so I could get up before her and work. But my middle child has always been an early-riser so I can’t get up before him. Actually, he’s now starting to wake a little later, but this has coincided with the birth of #3, who is permanently attached to my breast. And with night-wakings, I’m not going to be getting up early as I need to catch up on sleep. It’s about taking things slow right now. So I work while the older two are out with their dad and the baby is sleeping. No evening work at the moment.
I’m all about mornings too, If I can get the baby to nap. Yes, it’s all about being adaptable, I find. Preferred beverage/activity during break time?
Chai. I’m not great at taking breaks, I don’t have a huge amount of spare time as I’m fitting work around the kids. That said, Rich – my husband – and I have just decided to have Wednesdays allocated for leaving our borough and doing something inspiring – art gallery, museum etc.
Good idea! I’m not great at relaxing too but I find it’s always a pleasure when I’m able to. Best moment in business so far?
Getting my first book deal and signing it on a top floor of the News Building with a view over London.
Amazing! Any big projects coming up that you can/can’t talk about?
Yes, one that I’ll be shouting about very soon. And some new courses launching in the coming months…
Exciting! I’ll keep an eye-out. And lastly, how do you stay so organised?
I use the ‘reminders’ app in my phone religiously – everything goes in there. Then I transfer the list on to paper or my computer when I sit down to work. I always have to have a pen or phone to hand to note down ideas because I am full of ideas but have a terrible memory.