(And avoid burning it before it’s iced whilst starting your own business, having children, entertaining friends, really enjoying your romantic relationship, building houses, being creative, reading and living brightly whilst wearing fashionable clothes and not forgetting the gym and the dog?)
A conversation with Anna Kinworthy, President, Cosine Media
Q: What was the impetus for breaking away from being an employee to forming your own business? What sparked that change?
I opened my business in November 2005 – I was pregnant with my son and decided to do some freelance contract work and enjoy motherhood. In September 2006 I worked as a freelance marketing consultant for a satellite communications company – working 20 hours a week from home, juggling that and my son. When that contract came to an end in March 2007 I decided to go full speed ahead to expand the business.
Having my son helped me decide I wanted to be able to juggle family and work, I realized that there are many other woman out there who are in the same boat – highly experienced in their field but also wanting to spend time with their family and not stuck in traffic or in the board room. I realized that it really is possible, especially with advances in technology.
Cosine Media’s ‘Integrated Marketing Solutions’ vision was formed from this. Since April 2007 I have been focusing on bringing together the crème de la crème in this area – freelance mommies who are highly skilled and want to use their business brain but also be there for their family. The business is steadily gaining recognition and I currently have 5 stay at home mommies working for me on projects (including designers, copywriters, sales people), 1 stay at home daddy and 10 more freelancers on my books.
I have built a trusted local network of printers, designers and mailing houses, ensuring that I am keeping my business truly local, while working on a global level. I believe in encouraging local business and make every effort to use local resources. 2008 is going to be a big year for Cosine Media. This year has been about building a network of freelancers (my ‘army’) and a huge pipeline of opportunities. Things are really starting to take off!
I am so excited that I am able to put my experience and background to good use, doing what I love, while also ensuring that my son is my #1 priority. He is in daycare 1 minute drive away and I can drop everything if they need me to come and get him.
Q: How did the definition of yourself professionally shift when you became your own boss?
I became very conscious of my time – I see every minute as a cost now. A wasted call to Verizon technical support or if my email is down is billable time that I could have been earning money! I became much more confident in my abilities, and surprised myself how much more of a salesperson I became, because I HAD to sell myself in order to make my business a success! I am still driven, and see myself as a boss, so I don’t ever turn the TV on, and I am probably a harder boss now as I hardly ever give myself an hour lunch break!
Q: Do you find being a female entrepreneur has particular benefits/elements that are specific to your gender?
People are always very interested in what I do and even more interested when I tell them why I started the company, and how I am encouraging other woman to do the same.
Q: What have been some of the biggest challenges of entrepreneurial-ship and how did you tackle them?
Realizing that it’s not going to happen over night and that it’s initially more hard work than aspirational bliss to grow a new business. My husband has been so encouraging at times when I really didn’t know if I could make it work, and there was barely any money coming in and bills piling up. He told me to believe in myself. You also have to not take things personally. I found it so hard at first people not replying to me/ignoring my voicemails, emails etc, but now I don’t take things personally and realize that it is just business.
Q: If you had some advice for a woman considering embarking upon becoming an entrepreneur what would it be?
DO IT!!! It’s so empowering and although hard, it can be so rewarding. Especially if you are juggling family too – it’s wonderful knowing that you can be there for your children, even if it does mean burning the midnight oil.
So many woman I talk to say “I wish I could do what you’re doing” and I say YOU CAN!
Q: What’s the best thing about being a female entrepreneur and how do you think that impacts the world of work for women?
The empowerment and knowledge that I can balance work and family life.