Tell us a bit about YOU and your family (where you are based, single / married, number of kids, etc)
I am a writer, based in beautiful Knysna, along the Garden Route. I’m newly married and stepmum to Katie, who is 6. I love animals, and am particularly interested in wellness, environmental responsibility, and tourism in South Africa. I write loads of online content; as well as coffee table books, novels, and corporate material for clients all over the world.
What is the name of your company and when did you start your business?
I started working for myself under the name of Voxate Writing & Editing in August 2008, after having worked in an advertising and media agency.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I studied Film & Literature at UCT, always with the aim of using my degree to fuel my creative process. Of course, over the years, my vision evolved. I’d initially intended to get into advertising and, specifically, script writing. But, I moved to Port Elizabeth when I was 22 and got married, needing to make ends meet doing something other than what I’d intended.
When I was 27, I’d reached the stage at which no other job was going to make me happy. I simply had to write. And, of course, get paid for it 😉 I was able to pay my accounts off and be debt-free, and this was the perfect time to take the plunge.
What are the challenges you face or have faced being a working Mom and how have you overcome them?
Time management is crucial. I’m fortunate enough to be able to squeeze my work into the mornings, when Katie is at school. Once she’s home, it’s lunch, homework, dinner, and meaningful time and conversation in-between.
When I’m working to deadline, I may have to close the office door and just knuckle down. At these times, my husband and daughter give me the time I need.
Working from home means that cabin fever is also a factor. When this happens, I take the laptop or iPad and get comfortable in a local restaurant that has Wi-Fi. A new scene helps me to pull myself towards myself, refocus and get the work done.
What is the hardest part or have been some of your struggles starting your own business?
I find that relatively few people and businesses see the importance of having well-written, professional content for their corporate material and websites. So, my biggest challenge has been to get clients on a regular, ongoing basis. This means that my income is unpredictable. I have good months and not-so-good months.
How do you balance your business and your family?
When I was divorced, I could put a lot more time and energy into my work. Now, I have a little girl and a glorious husband that need that time and energy. I have my daughter sit with me when I’m preparing supper, just to chat about our days. My husband often helps to prep dinner, so he’s in the mix too. Then, we often do things together that are far away from computers – we fish from the jetty, go on volunteer work together twice a week (once with Katie, once as a couple), visit friends together, and talk openly with one another. My husband and I make time for each other every evening after supper, when Katie has been put to bed.
What or whom has been the greatest support for you and your business?
I have had several loyal, wonderful clients that have stuck with me through highs and lows. My husband is also very supportive of my work, and is invested in my success, as well as in my personal happiness. He plays a massive role in keeping me encouraged and content.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Are we talking professionally? Because, if not, I certainly wouldn’t have married that first guy J In terms of working for myself, the only thing I would change is to charge more! I went in too low and worked so hard for very little in the beginning.
What advice can you give other Moms out there who are starting a new business?
All too often, I find that people are venturing into careers because they like the sound of it. This is especially true of writing. So many people think that, because they did well when writing school essays, for example, they have a career in writing. Make sure that, if you choose to do something, you can deliver on what you’ve promised. You need to be really good to go on your own. If you’re not good yet, learn for a little longer. While I’m speaking from a writing perspective, this applies to all career choices. If you’re not confident that you’re good at what you do, you’ll be drowned by those that are.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us that I may have missed?
Becoming a mom wasn’t planned. It went along with falling in love with a man that had a little girl. But, I believe that a mom is the one that makes themselves a mom to a child and cares for them like a mom should. This has been such a happy, exciting challenge that I have started blogging about it on Suddenly a Mom (www.suddenlyamom.wordpress.com). Moms are welcome to follow me and give me feedback on their parenting experiences – I need all the help we can get from those in the know!
If other Moms would like to keep in touch, how can they contact you?
- Email: amelia (at) voxate.co.za
- Website: www.Voxate.co.za
- Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/VoxateWritingEditing?fref=ts
- Blog: www.suddenlyamom.wordpress.com
- Blog Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SuddenlyAMom?fref=ts