Taking time for yourself - Virtual Assistant Annie Browne

Tidying her child's room Annie suddenly found a name for a business. With it she found a way to make work fit with family, she found meaningful work in a remote location and found a community of other freelancers to help her along the way. Now all she has to do is find time for herself...

Hear Annie's journey as self-employed virtual assistant 'Hello My PA', becoming one of the freelance heroes. We chat co-working, being a freelance parent, managing your time, dealing with isolation and more.

By the way, if you've ever asked 'how do I find my first freelance clients?' - Annie's answer is a new one for this podcast! And it definitely worked.

More from Annie

Annie on Twitter

Hello My PA

Freelance Heroes


Who the hell is Steve Folland?

Steve's a freelancer helping businesses use and make video & audio content in much better ways. Find out more at stevefolland.com, track him down on Twitter @sfolland or lay a trail of cake and he'll eventually catch you up.

Check out Steve's Being Freelance Vlog that documents his weekly wanderings and wonderings as a freelancer.


Steve Folland:      Hey all! I'm Steve Folland. Thanks for listening. This time, let's find out what it's like being freelance for virtual assistant, Annie Browne. Hey, Annie!

Annie Browne:       Hi.

Steve Folland:      So, how about we get started hearing how you got started being freelance.

Annie Browne:       Okay. Well, I guess my freelance journey has been a very gradual progression. I guess, in one way or another, I was always sort of self-employed. So, straight out of university, I went into a full-time position in a serviced office center and found myself making and selling cakes to the little café that was in the reception area just because I love cake, and anyone who knows me will know that was sort of where my passion started after doing a sugar decorating course.

Annie Browne:       And then, I moved away from ... That was in Sheffield, and then I moved away, and I was lucky that the owner of that business allowed my to continue my marketing efforts for the company from home, in Cambridge, while I sort of set up home. So, I had a little bit of a taster of what it was like to work from home, rather than be self-employed again there.

Annie Browne:       And then, I found myself a full-time job, and I started working as a PA. And then, I had a baby. And I suppose, having children was sort of the turning moment for me, really. I had my baby, and I went back to work, and my work position became a job-share, which didn't really work for the position that I was in. And I started to train as a child-minder on the side, which is a little bit random, but I just felt like it was the right thing to do at the time.

Annie Browne:       And then, I started my craft blog. And with my full-time position, I guess one thing led to another there. I became pregnant again and had a few health issues. My husband had a turn of ill health, and things just weren't right. I didn't feel like I was giving all in my job, and I wasn't giving all at home, my child, I didn't feel was getting what he needed from me as a mother.

Annie Browne:       And so, I handed in my notice with no real plan other than to be a child-minder. And unfortunately, I lost the baby that I was pregnant with at the time, and I threw myself into child-minding and my craftwork really, and I started setting up a social enterprise, and working with lots of craft businesses, and blogging, and setting up craft groups and craft workshops, and it was all based around craft for therapy. And sort of ... That's where I was really going with it all.

Annie Browne:       And then, a sort of life-changing moment for everybody, I think, was our move from Cambridge to Wales when I found myself in the position of not knowing the market. I didn't know anybody, I have no family here, and I didn't know what to do. And in my networking with all the craft businesses over the past year or so, I had found people saying to me, "Oh, I really need help with my Twitter. Can you show me how to use Twitter?" Or, "I really need help with blogging. Can you help me with this?" And people saying things, "Oh, you should do this for a living," and I guess that was always in the back of my head.

Annie Browne:       And so, I think one afternoon while I was tidying up my little boy's bedroom, I just sort of ... You know? I had been toying with the idea, "Do I go back to work full-time? Do I get a job and go back to work full-time, or do I try and make something of this and become self-employed?" And where I live in Wales, it's not an easy commute to anywhere that would have a job that was worth it in the end with regards to childcare, and I just found it was an impossible venture to become employed again with the cost of childcare.

Annie Browne:       And so, yeah. One afternoon, I was just sitting in my little boy's bedroom tidying up and just decided, "I'm gonna do this." And then, I went into the little room in the back, and got my laptop out, and set up a Twitter account, and set up Hello My PA.

Steve Folland:      Wow. It's an amazing story, but I love that turn of, "Right. I'm gonna take action. I'm gonna do this."

Annie Browne:       Yeah. It was literally, just in that moment ... It had been leading up ... Like, every since I'd left this company in Sheffield, and all my time at Cambridge, my old boss, who I was actually really good friends with kept saying, "You should do this. You should work from home and help people with this stuff." And it had always been in the back of my mind, and I don't really know what snapped in my that day, but I just ... "Well, shit. I'm just gonna do it. Let's just do it."

Steve Folland:      And just to put this in perspective, when was that? When did you start Hello My PA.

Annie Browne:       So, that was 2015, so that moment was in April, May time, and I didn't actually send my first invoice or anything like that until July. So, officially, I say Hello My PA started in July because that's when I had my first bit of paid work. But that moment, that decision, was in May 2015, and it was ... We moved to Wales in October, 2014. So, it wasn't too long after we'd moved.

Steve Folland:      And you decided straightaway to go with a sort of brand name, a company name, if you like rather than just Annie Browne Virtual Assistant?

Annie Browne:       Yeah, I did. And this is something I've been thinking a lot about recently because I don't ever really ... I never created a marketing strategy or such in terms of promoting my brand and creating a brand. And whenever I talk to people, or whenever I sign off things, I always refer to myself as Annie B. I'm a virtual assistant. I'm always very personal about it.

Annie Browne:       But I guess in the beginning, I sort of saw businesses grow from one person ... You know? Like, a freelance, lifestyle business, if you like, to a brand with a team, and I always thought, "I'd love to be able to create jobs and have a small team of people," and as time has gone on, I have toyed with the idea. I was very close to employing somebody towards the end of last year. And I'm not really sure I want to go down that route now, or if that is what I'm gonna do, but I always just wanted to have that option, I guess, of it being a brand.

Steve Folland:      So, how did you go about getting those first clients now that you'd decided, "This is what I'm gonna do?"

Annie Browne:       So, in my networking with craft businesses, I ... When I say networking, I was working with brands on the blog, and I was covering events like ICHF Crafts and the NEC in Birmingham. I would go there and meet lots of businesses, and connect with people, and I'd run craft fairs, so I had a big database of people who had come to my craft fairs, like small craft businesses.

Annie Browne:       And so, I had this network of people, and I had a network of bloggers as well. And so, rather than trying to start from scratch and think, "Right, this is gonna be my market, and this is where I'm gonna find customers," I made the most of what I had. So, on that very first day, I created a market research survey and I put together everything I wanted to know about what people would find useful about this service that I wanted ...

Annie Browne:       At that time, I didn't know that virtual assistants were a thing, I hasten to add. I didn't know that there was this massive VA industry. I hadn't looked into it in that much detail. I just knew I had these skills that people were looking for. And so, I sent this market research survey out to all of my contacts, and all these small businesses in Cambridge, and these people that I'd met at these events. And I asked them to fill out this survey, and for everybody who filled out the survey, I would enter them into a prize draw to have a four-hour session from me helping them with whatever they needed help with, a PA for the day, I phrased it as.

Annie Browne:       And then, I had something like 200 responses because people forwarded it on, people filled it out, I shared where I could, and the four people that I drew to have these services became clients. And the rest ... Going forward, the rest of my clients were then referrals from those people.

Steve Folland:      Fantastic. So, not only did you get a minefield of information, but it publicized what you were doing, and actually brought you your first clients.

Annie Browne:       It did. It was really, really hard work because I really did proactively go out and contact ... And I didn't blanket anybody, blanket email anyone, I didn't spam anyone. I sent everybody personal emails and said, "I've decided to do this. This is what I'm gonna do. Please take a look at this survey and fill it out if you've got two minutes." And yeah, it was ... People were really supportive of that, and my niche with regards to my target market has now moved slightly in terms of the services that I'm offering, but I didn't see the point in trying to create a new market for myself when I had this wealth of contacts, a network. I just felt it was important to make the most of that.

Steve Folland:      Yeah, so your craft blog had created this audience. So, that had actually grown pretty big in itself, had it?

Annie Browne:       It wasn't huge. It wasn't huge. It wasn't massive, but the people that I networked with and spoke with, I was close with. You know? So, it was more about the quality of the contacts that I had rather than the quantity. It's always been that for me. Like, I am really passionate about customer experience and the experience that somebody has with you as a person, or a brand, or a blog, or whatever. And I feel like it was a personable thing for me.

Steve Folland:      So true, isn't it? Like, ten people who actually care about what you're doing is worth more than a thousand who kind of, "Meh."

Annie Browne:       Yeah, it is. And it's the quality of that experience that those people have with you.

Steve Folland:      How do you give a great customer experience? What does that look like?

Annie Browne:       I believe in really good communication. First of all, I keep that balance of, "You're not my friend. You are my client." So, I think it's really important to have that balance and set boundaries. You are open, and honest, and available within reason, and I'm really passionate about helping my clients. Being supportive, on a whole, is really important to me. You know? Helping them to achieve their goals ... And that, for me, is how I give that good customer experience. And really good manners. Always have good manners. That's top of my list.

Steve Folland:      How do you manage your time? So, here you are helping other people manage theirs. How do you manage yours?

Annie Browne:       With difficulty. I have two very young children, and I have a husband who is an academic, and is always away. Well, not always, but he travels a lot. And so, it's a huge balancing act for me, and at first I, regrettably, watched what other people were doing, saying things like that they were working at home with their children 24/7 and this, but I just couldn't work like that.

Annie Browne:       So, now I have set hours in the week where I work for my retainer clients. So, I have a co-working space that I come into three days a week, and the other two afternoons, I work from home with my little boy that ... I have the mornings where he's at school, but I basically split out my time. So, I have my retained client hours where I will ... My children are in nursery or care, and I will be available to my clients from my office. And then, the rest of my time ... My own business building stuff is then worked around family. So, it's making ... Setting those boundaries and trying to figure out that work-life balance, for me, is very important.

Steve Folland:      Hmm, and with the co-working space, was that something you did straightaway, or did you think, "I just need to get out of the house?" How did that come about?

Annie Browne:       I actually looked for a co-working space, I think, before I even moved to Wales. So, when I was in Cambridge, I started going to a co-working space that's run by Ed Goodman. I was using that co-working space when I was doing my blogging work and setting up my social enterprise. So, I knew that these places exist. My first job was in a serviced office center, so I always knew that there were communities and places where you could hire an office.

Annie Browne:       And when I became a virtual assistant, I found that I was very easily distracted by the washing, and the dishes, and the Hoovering, and other things that might need doing that I could do because I was at home. And I was finding it difficult to separate out that work-life thing at home and work.

Annie Browne:       And then, it became really apparent to me that community actually is really important when you're working for yourself. And I think there's this huge misconception that working for yourself means working by yourself, and I'm quite a social person, so I found it difficult to be at home all the time with no adult company, nobody there except maybe some people online in the background.

Annie Browne:       And so, I got funding for an office for a year in a place in Caerphilly down the road from me, and it's just great. I love it. There's so many people all on the same journey, starting up their businesses and moving their businesses forward. And it's a really collaborative community, and I feel like I've thrived since I've been here for sure.

Steve Folland:      That's great. When you say you got funding, what do you mean? Did you start the co-working space?

Annie Browne:       No, no. So, the co-working space receives rounds of funding occasionally to fund office, co-working space for businesses. So, I applied to have funding for an office for a year within the co-working space. So, the company is Welsh ICE. The building is Welsh ICE. And Welsh ICE received funding from the Welsh government to give 12 or 15 start-up businesses an office for a year, and I applied for that, and I was one of the people that was chosen to have an office for a year.

Steve Folland:      Cool! I love it when this ... I keep stumbling across this. The fact that, actually, there's organizations out there with pots of money wanting to give it to people, and you kind of need to figure out who it is, and where it is, and how you can get your hands on it. I love it.

Annie Browne:       I couldn't believe that I'd actually managed to convince them that I was worthy of having that office for a year, but yeah. I'm coming up to the end of my first year here, and I'll stay here. I've got my business address, and my phone, and my office, and it's great to have this space, and the community here is amazing.

Steve Folland:      And you're part of other communities online, aren't you?

Annie Browne:       I am. Yes, I am. So, in May, 2016, Freelance Heroes, which is predominantly a Facebook group and was set up by Ed Goodman. And in the August of that year, he asked me to help him with that community, and we are now over 2,000 members. And this is essentially, a Facebook group of freelancers. The basis of it is that it's non-sales-y, non-spam-y, we are all there to support and encourage each other with our freelancing journey. It's like an empathetic community because that's really hard to ... When you start out as a freelancer, it's really hard to find that empathetic support, really, because people don't really get what you're doing. They don't really know. They're just like, "When are you going back to work?" Or "When are you getting a proper job?"

Annie Browne:       And so, having a community that's at your fingertips if you can't work at a co-working space, or you are at home, or you do find that people don't understand you, the Freelance Heroes group is there, and it is literally just over 2,000 freelancers all in the same boat as you, and it is absolutely amazing. It's got ... We haven't advertised it, it's completely grown organically, with people inviting people to the group. It was really great, actually. Last year, we celebrated Freelance Heroes Day, which was a year since the group was set up. And for me, it was a massive achievement to be at the top of the Twitter trends for the UK without a hashtag. It was just amazing to see so many ... Like, the community is genuine. You know that we were saying about quality over quantity? All of the members that are in that group wanted to be involved. It wasn't like everybody was just there, and only half wanted to be involved. It is a really proactive community, and it's great.

Steve Folland:      Yeah, that's a special thing. What would you say have been the biggest challenges of being freelance?

Annie Browne:       Hmm, it's hard to pin one down, isn't it? I would say getting the balance right with life and work, and having the confidence to know and the conviction to know what it is that you're doing and how you're gonna do it. Trying to do things guilt-free, so trying to find the balance of ... Like, my little boy always says to me like, "Oh, mommy. You're always on your phone," or "Mommy, when you finish sending that email, can you do this?" And it's really important trying to find that right life balance, and separating the two out because when you're working in a nine to five job, you go to the office, and you do your work, and you come home, and you can switch off. But it's not really like that with freelance, and I always question why. Why isn't it like that? Why can't I shut my laptop at five p.m. and be done for the day?

Annie Browne:       So, yeah. Trying to find that right balance for you, personally, cause it's not gonna be the same for everybody.

Steve Folland:      Do you find it possible to take a break?

Annie Browne:       I have to. Yeah. I didn't in the beginning. So, I am a person that is very aware of my limits, if you like. So, in the past, I have suffered with depression, and it's not something I talk about a lot. I'm not worried to talk about it, but I think it's ... The mental health issue is really prominent for me. And I think I as always guilty in the past of not being aware that I needed to look after myself in order for everything else around me to run smoothly. I was always last on the list.

Annie Browne:       Over time, I've sort of learned that, actually, I'm putting pressure on myself to make sure my kids have everything they need, and home has everything it needs, and my husband has everything he needs, and my clients have what they need, but I'm last on the list. And it's taken me a long time to realize that actually, in this whole scenario, I am the central cog. So, I have to look after myself in order to be able to fulfill the needs of everybody that's around me, business and home. So, I've made sure now that I do take time for myself. And I've actually started going to the gym quite a lot. So, I started going to the gym in October, which is a shocker probably to most people who know me cause I'm not really a big fan of exercise, more cake. But I go to the gym three times a week, and I try to make time for myself. It's been a long time to learn that lesson, but yeah. I make sure I make time for myself now, and take that time out.

Steve Folland:      Yeah. How do you find that exercise ... I mean, I'm with you, by the way, on the exercise and the cake thing.

Annie Browne:       Yeah.

Steve Folland:      But -

Annie Browne:       Which one? That you should do exercise, or you should eat more cake?

Steve Folland:      Well, yeah. I have been guilty of that for the past ... I don't know, 20 years of working or whatever, of going for the cake over the exercise. But yeah. How has putting exercise into your week made you feel?

Annie Browne:       You know? You listen to all these people that are like, "Oh, exercise makes you feel so amazing, and it's so great, and you really wanna do it ..." And I'm like, "Oh, yeah." And up until the point where I actually started doing the exercise and taking that break, I just didn't wanna hear it.

Annie Browne:       But now, actually, I ... So, I go to the gym on a Sunday morning, and I try to go early in the morning on a Monday and a Thursday, and it really does give me that ... It gives me like a head space. And not only do I ... You know? The first few times, you're sick of it, and you don't wanna do it anymore. You really have to push yourself. But I get this rush of endorphins, and I can go to the gym, and be home, and sit back down at my desk, and I feel proactive. Like, I have that head space to be able to be creative, if you like.

Annie Browne:       So, it sort of gives me that time to think and switch off my mind from other stuff. You know? Just be there with myself, and have my thoughts, and it does make me more productive. I can get much more done in a morning having gone to the gym and then coming back to everything, and know what I need to do because I've had time to just re-assess everything. It really does make a difference, genuinely does make a difference. I'm not just saying that. I'm not trying to plug any gym, anything like that. Like, I genuinely do feel better for it. And ... You know? And because I'm burning off those calories, I can eat more cake.

Steve Folland:      Excellent. Making time for yourself first ... Now, it doesn't need to take lots of time.

Annie Browne:       No, just a little bit here and there. Sitting down with a cup of tea for ten minutes. Like, I've always been the kind of person that would eat lunch at my desk, but now I try to come away from my desk, and just go and have a cup of tea and a sit down. Even if it's just ten minutes, just come away and re-assess. Because if you don't come away and take time to assess what it is you're doing, you just get lost in it all, and then, you sort of go off-task. Yeah. So, it doesn't have to be a lot of time. Like, I don't spend hours in the gym. I do a circuit that's half an hour. So, it's three times a week, half an hour each time. It doesn't have to be an awful lot of time, but something is better than nothing for sure.

Steve Folland:      Yeah. Awesome. Okay. Now, I always do this thing where I ask for three facts about yourself. Make two true, one a lie, and let me figure out the lie. What do you have for me?

Annie Browne:       Okay. I found this really difficult because I am a terrible liar, really bad. So, let's see if I can do this. So, number one. I once ate breakfast with Hollywood actor Sean Bean.

Steve Folland:      Ooh.

Annie Browne:       Number two. I was an extra in the Theory of Everything, and I made the final cut in a scene with Eddie Redmayne. And at the age of 27, I played the role of Mary in a live nativity with my youngest son playing the role of baby Jesus.

Steve Folland:      Oh, my goodness! Okay.

Annie Browne:       Where to start?

Steve Folland:      Well, presuming Theory of Everything was filmed a lot in Cambridge?

Annie Browne:       Yeah, they did some filming in Cambridge where I was living, so the scene that I was actually in was ... Have you been to Cambridge? Do you know Cambridge at all?

Steve Folland:      Yeah.

Annie Browne:       Yeah? So, you know the The Backs behind King's College? Like, where all the colleges sort of back onto the river camp?

Steve Folland:      Yeah, yeah.

Annie Browne:       They were doing some filming there, so yeah. So, I played part there where they did a scene.

Steve Folland:      What did you have to do?

Annie Browne:       I just had to walk up -

Steve Folland:      Were you punting?

Annie Browne:       No, I really ... Do you know in all the time I was in Cambridge, I never went on the punt?

Steve Folland:      What?

Annie Browne:       How terrible is that. I know, I know! It's so bad.

Steve Folland:      That's probably ... To be fair, that's probably the sign of a true local. It's -

Annie Browne:       Yeah, nobody's interested. No, I just had to walk over a bridge.

Steve Folland:      Yeah. Don't undermine your role in this. Walking over a bridge is important.

Annie Browne:       It was. It was. It set the scene for the background, you know?

Steve Folland:      Was that when they had a kiss on the bridge or something like that?

Annie Browne:       No, no. It wasn't. I can't remember the name of the other actor, actually, but they had cycled over the bridge, and I was sort of in the background on the bridge.

Steve Folland:      How many times did you have to walk over that bridge?

Annie Browne:       I think like four or five.

Steve Folland:      Wow.

Annie Browne:       Not very many.

Steve Folland:      Yeah, but you -

Annie Browne:       I wasn't that important really. I was just the background.

Steve Folland:      Good bridge walker. I hope you've added that to your LinkedIn profile.

Annie Browne:       Not yet, not yet.

Steve Folland:      Well, you haven't ... Maybe it's a lie. Okay, you and your son were in a live nativity.

Annie Browne:       Yeah, it was ridiculous.

Steve Folland:      What happened?

Annie Browne:       I was asked to be part of a live nativity, and I thought that that meant that I would just sit as Mary, and be outside the church at Sidney Sussex College. My husband was a fellow there, and I thought I would just sit outside, and we would just be there while people were walking in, but it turned out that actually, I would be up on the alter with my husband playing the role of Joseph, my eldest being a shepherd, and my newborn baby being passed to me halfway through. And I have to add, there was ... When I went to ... I had to actually walk because it was an actual active thing, so they were doing their carols, and I had to come in and walk down the middle of the church and sit. And as I was standing outside, a woman handed me ... I'd seen this live donkey outside, and I thought, "What's that doing here?" She handed me the rope to a donkey. I had to walk down the aisle of the church holding a donkey, a real live donkey. Ridiculous.

Steve Folland:      Okay. Did you get to keep the gold frankincense and myrrh?

Annie Browne:       No, there was no gold frankincense and myrrh. I just had to sit there.

Steve Folland:      Okay. You had breakfast with Sean Bean?

Annie Browne:       So, I lived in Sheffield for a few years, and my husband rented a house from Sean Bean's nephew. And we were sitting having breakfast in a little backstreet pub in Sheffield, and this guy came in with Sean Bean cause they'd been to this award ceremony thing. He'd come in, and this guy was making small-talk with my husband while Sean Bean was just sort of standing there looking at the pictures on the wall behind us, and his nephew didn't actually directly introduce us or make any introductions. It was so awkward. And then, they sat on the table next to us and had their breakfast, and his nephew was sort of making idle chit chat with my husband. So, technically, I had breakfast with Sean Bean.

Steve Folland:      These are all ... These are weird because I'm not sure where on earth Sean Bean comes from if that isn't true. The Theory of Everything ... Because you lived in Cambridge and you thought, "I could've been an extra." Nativity ... There's quite a lot of detail in there. Oh, God. I don't know. Alright, I'm gonna say Theory of Everything is the lie.

Annie Browne:       Yeah. Yeah, I wasn't an extra in the Theory of Everything.

Steve Folland:      Yes! You know what it is?

Annie Browne:       I totally thought ... I thought if I could convince you that that was true, this would be like that ultimate ... Cause I'm such a bad liar.

Steve Folland:      No, I mean, I totally believed you, but out of those three, it just seemed like the most easy to make up.

Annie Browne:       Oh, darn it.

Steve Folland:      I think that's what it ... You told the story very well, but I wanted Sean Bean to be true.

Annie Browne:       It was true. It was true. And to this day, my husband has never forgiven me because I wouldn't let him ask for Sean Bean's autograph. I was just like, "Mate, he's just a man having his breakfast in the pub. Leave him alone." It's so random. So random.

Steve Folland:      If you could tell your younger self one thing about being freelance, what would that be?

Annie Browne:       You can do it. Yeah, you can do it. I think when you start out as a freelancer, unless you are already in the communities of people that are doing the same thing, you don't have that ... I didn't have that sort of supportive voice in my ear telling me that actually, you will be able to do this to the point of ... Actually, a couple of months in, I took a position at some council offices down the road from me for six months, and I hated it, but I didn't have that confidence in myself. And I know that's really cliché, and I probably think that most of your guests on this podcast will all say the same thing. I would go back and tell myself, "You can do this. Have the confidence and believe in yourself," but I do think that is what freelancers starting out need to hear. I think they need that, and that's why I value the Freelance Heroes group so much, is because as a freelancer starting out, there are lots of people in there that are gonna give you that support.

Steve Folland:      Yeah, it's like that period after the initial excitement of starting where it can be a struggle for a bit, but you come out the other side.

Annie Browne:       Yeah. I took my first client end of July, and a job came up down the road from me, and it was literally like a two-minute drive from my house, and I had a wobble, and I thought, "Actually, if I could have a job down the road here, that would be ideal." And it was only a six-month contract, so I sort of took it thinking, "Oh, I'm just gonna test this and see what I want to do." So, I did my freelance work on the side, and I worked this job. And I put some money aside while I was working for childcare because I knew when that contract came to an end, if I decided to go back to being freelance, I would need to have childcare so that I could focus on my business. I couldn't build a business ... You know? People do build businesses around children, don't get me wrong. But for me, I needed to have that head space to really focus on doing what I needed to do.

Annie Browne:       And at the end of that six months, I was offered a full-time position. And I think, by that time, I'd restored confidence in myself and my abilities and realized that what I was doing was something I truly believed in doing. And I genuinely wanted to help people to achieve their goals. And I knew that I could do it. And so, that made it clear to me that this was what I was going to do, and it gave me that boost of confidence. And so, I said no to that job and continued being freelance. And I'm glad that I did.

Steve Folland:      Yay. It's a good point. It's a nice thing actually, is that difference of working in a company may be ... And this isn't always true, but working in a company, and you're just sort of helping that company. But as well as the flexibility that being freelance has given you, it's also ... It makes that direct connection to ... You can see what your work is doing, this difference that it makes in a way that maybe you don't get in a company role.

Annie Browne:       Yeah. I mean, the people that I was working for, they were doing really good work in the community, don't get me wrong. And I felt good that I was supporting those efforts, but with my job, I have six clients on retainer, and every week, one of those clients will have something that they've achieved, and I ... I'm not taking credit for that, but I have helped them to achieve that by taking something off of their plate so that they can focus on that. It genuinely is pleasing to me. I enjoy that. I love to help people, and I love to see people progressing. And in doing that, I'm also progressing myself. And when I look back over, actually, at what I have achieved in a short space of time, for me personally, with the barriers that I have with children, and childcare, and things, it's amazing. Yeah.

Steve Folland:      Annie, thank you so much. Go to beingfreelance.com, and there will be links through to Annie's site and also to Freelance Heroes, things like Twitter, so you can reach out to Annie if you want to. Beingfreelance.com. While you're there, sign up to the mailing list, check out the vlog where I chart my freelance week, and ... Well, what's the other one? Oh, yes. Of course, over a hundred guests. I'm used to just small ... Idiot. Yeah, all these other guests and their stories. Remember, it's not ... It doesn't matter what their role is. It's more about the being freelance, and how they get by. And Annie, it's been great hearing how you've done, and how well it's going. And yeah. All the best, being freelance!

Annie Browne:       It's been an absolutely pleasure. Thank you very much.