1. Who are you and where do you come from?!
I'm Annie Ridout, and I'm from London.
2. What do you do and why?
I write books (The Freelance Mum, and SHY - out next year), articles (for Guardian, Grazia, Telegraph etc) and online courses for freelancers and business owners. And I'm a consultant. I've always loved writing, and I also love running a business. The consultancy gives me the opportunity to explore other people's businesses with them, and to teach them all I've learned about how to succeed. Success, I now know, isn't just about money; it's about balance.
3. What are the biggest challenges you've faced in your career?
Losing my job after I gave birth to my first baby.
4. What have been your biggest HURRAH moments so far?
Having my first book published. Getting a book deal for book 2. More recently, finding an agent for book 3. Having over 1000 people sign up to my online courses. Being published in national newspapers and women's magazines. And launching The Robora - my newest platform, for women in business.
It gives me great pleasure to help women to make more money and feel more confident. I was recently able to donate £2000 to Refuge. This feels like a dream come true; I've wanted to support Refuge for as long as I can remember, and now all the profits from my Become Boss course go to them. It feels really good.
5. If you could give 3 pieces of advice to yourself when you started out, what would it be?
- Your hard work will pay off, keep going. And don't doubt yourself so much.
- You'll make mistakes. That's ok, you'll learn from them.
- You are doing brilliantly to have just made the leap into self-employment. So many people stay in jobs they hate. So well done!
6. What are your long-term hopes and aims?
I aim to hit 40 (I'm still a few years off) and to be spending my days writing in a shed at the end of the garden. I don't know where that garden will be, as I'm always thinking about leaving London for the countryside. But wherever it is, there needs to be a writing shed. And I'd love a caravan by the sea.
7. Which 3 books would you recommend for: a long hour train journey (with no kids!) / a mood-lifter / a fact-finding mission (ie, non-fiction)?
For the train journey: a journal. Write down your own thoughts, now that you have the headspace without the kids around.
A mood-lifter: I'd go for a podcast, instead of a book, like Oprah's Super Soul Sunday.
Non-fiction: I like all Arianna Huffington and Sheryl Sandberg's books. Business, with acknowledgment of the fact that it's different running a business/being COO as a woman.
8. What are the most common misconceptions you've found from having your own business?
Everyone said you won't make a profit in your first year. Since launching my online courses last year, it's been nearly all profit. Online businesses are so good for massively reducing overheads.
9. You’re granted 1 wish (for you / your career) – what would it be?
10. What’s your favourite biscuit?
I love all biscuits. Jammy Dodgers, maybe.
If you could choose any brand / publication / individual to style for, who would it be and why?
I'll take Beyonce's children please! Access to be as creative as I want and pick and choose from all the brands, with a client who would get it - I'm all over that.