How this marketer took control of her career – embracing motherhood and moving to the seaside.

#Lovewhatyoudo Series

I am a Marketer. I spent many years in corporate life in international brand management and I now support businesses of all shapes and sizes with their marketing, on a freelance basis. Marketing strategy is my big passion, helping a business identify an opportunity, building and activating the best plan possible to make the most of it.

How did you figure out that this was what you wanted to do?

I studied business and decided early on that marketing was what I wanted to do. It seemed like the perfect blend for me of strategic thinking, project management and creativity, all of which I love!  

Why do you love what you do?

I’m a bit obsessed with making things happen. I love being able to turn thinking into action and mobilise teams. I’ve often been asked by family and friends when pointing out an advert that I’ve worked on, ‘What did you do?’ It’s a very valid question, as in my background, you don’t come up with the creative ideas, you don’t film, you don’t act, but if it wasn’t for my thinking and management, it wouldn’t have happened. Being that central role is what I love.

What have been some highlights of your career/some cool things you have done?

I launched Smirnoff Gold to the European market and smashed its sales target in year 1. I ran the Pimm’s events calendar which was a brilliant summer, spent at events such as Henley and Wimbledon. Managing the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction sponsorship meeting with some of the most inspirational women I have ever met was also a great experience. A 3-day team meeting in Ibiza a few summers ago will always stand out as a highlight too!

What limitations or struggles did you experience when you worked in a more traditional 9-5 format?

I loved the office environment. I’m a creature of habit and enjoyed going to the same desk every day and working as part of a close team. When I had my first child (now 3), I relocated to be closer to family and live by the sea. Going back to work after maternity leave meant I had a 2-hour commute each way and was working 3 days a week.  

My company were very supportive and flexible, they let me work from home a lot, but the reality was that my whole team were still in the office. Missing out on those desk-to-desk conversations and not really being present meant I didn’t feel I was able to give my best and the team missed having me around. I also spent a lot of time away from my family and quickly realised the 9-5pm life wasn’t working for me anymore.

Why did you decide to join the Hoxby Collective and the workstyle movement?

I set up my own business as a Marketing Consultant in January 2017 and have already had the opportunity to work with a large number of local businesses, but I was missing being part of something bigger and having the opportunity to work on bigger projects. I heard about the Hoxby Collective and thought it sounded like the perfect opportunity to do more of what I loved, on my terms. I was also looking for something that would give me that sense of belonging and access to a great team of people that I was missing.

Do you love what you do more now that you have the freedom to work how you like? Why?

Yes! I love the variety of projects I now get to work on and the amazing people I can work with. The ability to say no to projects is also really liberating. The genuine freedom and acceptance that it’s ok to switch off for one day if the sun’s out and the power to manage my workload in the way I want to is amazing.

What’s your #workstyle?

I work Monday and Tuesday evenings once my children are in bed and all day on Wednesday and Thursday when they’re at nursery. I probably work the equivalent of a 4 day week in hours but only have 2 days without my children, meaning I get to spend so much more quality time with them than I would be able to in a traditional job (and I save a lot on childcare!).

Any advice for anyone else thinking about leaving the 9-5?

Have confidence and make a plan. I’ve been amazed at how well it has gone for me. I spent a lot of time thinking about it, but freeing myself up to put all my energy into making it work was huge.

The 9-5 suits some people brilliantly but if it’s not working for you, then try doing things differently.

And remember if it doesn’t work out, you can always go back to a traditional job –  everything you have done can add great value to your CV.

Any advice for anyone struggling to find their passion?

Think about the things that make you happiest and make time for them. Whether that’s in regards to the work you do or changing your workstyle to fit in more of the things you love. You shouldn’t have to choose one thing over the other.

Anna is an experienced marketing strategist, having spent many years as Senior Brand Manager for major alcohol brands including Smirnoff and Baileys. She now runs her own marketing consultancy, is Brand Director for The Hoxby Collective, and is the mother to two beautiful children.

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