My name is Ani Richardson and I have been working for myself since I finished my Masters Degree in Nutritional Medicine in 2002, wow that’s 11 years now! In that time my work has evolved from being solely focused on nutrition writing to being all about holistic wellness.
Holistic wellness, to me, is about nurturing, and being in balance with, the whole self: our body, emotions, mind, soul and Spirit – this creates a feeling of ‘being well’. Halbert L. Dunn said that “wellness is a direction in progress toward an ever-higher potential of functioning”. He also stated that wellness was “an integrated method of functioning which is orientated toward maximizing the potential of which the individual is capable. It requires that the individual maintain a continuum of balance and purposeful direction within the environment where he is functioning.”
Wellness for me is a progression toward being my best possible self, it is a daily journey or even a moment to moment journey. Factors that contribute to being healthy and happy are individual and varied but may involve concepts such as:
- Exercise and other health practices;
- Psychology or counselling to explore the mind;
- Money and security;
- Family, friends and social support.
Something surprising that people may not know about me…..ummmm….let me think….I’m quite an open book and I wear my heart on my sleeve so I’m not sure I have that many secrets. People may not know that I love riding pillion on a beast of a motorbike that my husband and I own (the motorbike is called Zizi, she’s a Kawasaki ZZR1400) and that I also love long cycles on our tandem bicycle.
Now tell us about your business. What’s it all about, how do you think and feel about it now, do you have staff and premises or work mainly alone at home? What aims and ambitions do you still have for your business?
Nurture With Love – my business, is all about providing holistic wellness support for women who want to explore and transform their relationship with their body and with food. It is quite a new business, about a year and a half old so it sometimes feels like I am still finding my feet.
I work at home and don’t have any staff members, but I wouldn’t say that I am ‘alone’ I have two beautiful dog companions, Freddy and Moomin. They are such a blessing because no matter how I feel, or what the weather is, I have to walk them, so they get me out of the house and into the countryside daily. It is also a blessing that my husband, Chris, works close to home so he pops in at lunchtime. My strong spiritual life/connection also means that I never feel lonely.
Nurture With Love is certainly in the early stages and is growing and expanding all the time. At the moment I have many ideas going around in my head but they aren’t quite ready to be birthed yet. I think the next project is to set up an online community where I can support groups of women and where we can support one another and share our journey with emotional eating and health together.
This series of interviews is designed to inspire others, mainly women, on the same path. What tips would you share with them which would short-cut their journey to happiness being their own boss?
Believe in yourself and your ideas no matter what.
What did you struggle with most in your start-up phase, and how did you crack that?
Over working. I took every writing contract that was offered to me and didn’t take time off because it wasn’t paid. It was exhausting and I got quite ill. I thought that I needed to accept all the work I was offered because I didn’t believe there would always be enough available. I also found it hard to set my prices and often worked hard for less than what I was worth.
After I became ill I realised that I was worthy of valuing myself and that there would always be enough work for me if I believed in myself and my abilities. I began to take things at a slower pace and was able to say ‘no’ to projects that didn’t feel like ‘me’. When I set my prices I look deep into my heart and make sure I charge what I am worth.
What have you learned about yourself while working solo?
That it is ok to be who I am – I am quite a shy, sensitive, introverted being most of the time. Self employment suits me. People used to say “you’re so lucky to work from home” but it isn’t luck, it is a choice and it isn’t always easy. I worked hard to make it work for me. I learned that I do not have to justify my choices to anyone other than mySelf (my true Self as opposed to my ego self). It is ok to allow happiness into my working life, it doesn’t need to be a struggle. I have also learned to allow myself to take breaks and rest (although sometimes I get caught in the overwhelm trap and rely on my husband to tell me to slow down and take a rest)
Did you choose self-employment or did it choose you?
Oh it definitely chose me! I finished my Masters degree and couldn’t see any employed jobs available to me. A lovely dentist who was on the course with me told his doctor friend about me and my writing skills (I had a knack for scientific writing and did well with my course essays). This doctor was (and still is) a well known health writer and it turned out that he needed a freelance literary research and writing assistant.
We met up and he offered me the work but stipulated that I needed to be self employed. I knew nothing about self employment so I went on the HMRC website and registered myself. I haven’t looked back since. I had two wonderful years working with the doctor, researching and ghost writing for him before I moved on to take all kinds of other contracts ranging from PR to marketing. There were a few times where I had to spend a month or two in an office environment working at set times….I found it hugely difficult and draining. I am a morning person and like to get up early to work and then have my own time in the afternoon. I definitely work best at home!
What one encouraging thought sums it all up?
Honour your true Self authentically in the way that you work….trust THAT and you won’t go wrong.
What’s exciting you right now?
My book which has just been published “Love or Diet: Learn to nurture yourself and release the need to be comforted by food” NurtureWithLove.com/Book
Do you ever feel lonely and isolated when working for yourself? How do you get your social needs met? What do you recommend to others in this regard?
No, I never feel lonely when I work (I have the dogs and a brilliant husband who pops home for lunch). I am most definitely an introvert, almost a hermit to be honest! However, I have learned over the years that I can ‘be in this world’ whilst also respecting my need for silence and quiet. Again, for me it comes down to honouring my authentic needs. If I feel that I need connection I tend to phone a really trusted friend for a chat.
My dearest friend, a soul sister, is also self employed and we have a great connection and like to hand-hold one another through the tough spots. Having a trusted connection like this makes all the difference. Someone who understands you, loves you unconditionally and can be completely honest with you – this helps me to get my projects finished if I am procrastinating and also celebrates with me when I get things done.
How can we find out more about you and your work, Ani, and become fans and followers?
My website is: NurtureWithLove.com
Here I am on Facebook: facebook.com/nurturewithlove
And this is my blog over at MindBodyGreen : MindBodyGreen.com/AniRichardson