Anne Boswell | Passion is the principle for a thriving business
Anne Boswell is a renowned copywriter based in Bay of Plenty. She is passionate about writing customer case studies and testimonials for agribusinesses, but also writes for other industries including home building and personal development. With 12 years of valuable experience, Anne is an award-winning former journalist and an expert in her field.
1. Give us a brief background of what you do?
In April 2017, I gave up my 12-year career in journalism to pursue my dream of being self-employed. I’d never really considered the option before, but in the preceding year a few conversations had arisen that got me thinking: “why not?” I started as a general copywriter for agribusinesses, as I had been an agricultural journalist for the previous seven years. Before I left my job, I managed to get two regular clients that became my ‘bread and butter’. I started working with Auckland-based business coach James Kemp mid-year and he helped me narrow down my niche to my favourite part of the job – writing testimonials and case studies. It allowed me to write lovely on-farm feature stories for agribusinesses themselves, as opposed to newspaper articles. Since then I have marketed myself as a testimonial and case study expert primarily for agribusinesses, but overlapping into other industries as well. The real crux of what I do is telling customer stories.
2. What are the key factors that got you to where you are today?
The key factor that has got me where I am today is by not only investing time in building my business, but also investing time in myself! I knew I had the talent to do what I intended to do, but to continue on my path as an entrepreneur, I needed to build up my confidence and my resilience. I have taken up exercise and daily meditation and often revisit my goals to ensure I still have the bigger picture in sight. As always, it’s a work in progress!
3. What has been some of your greatest successes / achievements?
In 2014, while heavily pregnant, I received the DairyNZ Dairy Journalism Award for my work as news editor on NZDairyfarmer. It was an absolute thrill to be recognised for something I enjoyed so much. Fast forward to this year and every time I have a little win (new client, great feedback etc.), or even just by persevering through good times and bad, I feel a sense of achievement.
4. What has the impact of marketing & branding been on your business?
It has been huge. It’s only been recently that I’ve contracted a social media company to manage my content and advertising, which is now allowing me to do the work on the ground. It has made a real difference. One of the first things I did when starting out was to get a graphic designer to create a logo for me, and I built my brand from there. Something as simple as a business card when you’re starting out makes you feel professional.
5. What has been the hardest part of being an entrepreneur?
The self-doubt! Initially any small setback had me thinking “why am I doing this? I’m not qualified enough. I can’t do it. Why would I succeed at this? Am I good enough?” And so on! Learning to rest instead of quit was instrumental to staying in the game. I would take myself offline for a few days, do the bare minimum, and let the curiosity and momentum build again, until building my business was in full swing again! Without those rests, I would have thrown in the towel for sure.
6. How important is it to have a business coach & what significant role in change has your coach played in your business journey?
I recently undertook coaching with Rob Robertson of Unboxed Performance. I’d never used a business coach before, but I saw very quickly how much of a difference it made. I went from feeling vaguely dissatisfied with my business and personal life to having very clear goals with strategies to help me get there. Since working with him, my business has accelerated. I feel less overwhelmed and more motivated, enthusiastic and confident. I think mindset has a lot to do with success, and having a coach plays a large part in that!
7. How do you juggle motherhood with your busy schedule?
Working from home has been both a blessing and a ‘curse’. I have two young sons (2 and 5) and it is easy to get distracted by them wanting Mum - even though Dad’s quite capable! I have to be quite firm and close the door when I am working to a deadline. I try and do most of my work between the hours of 9am and 3pm, but inevitably it can sneak over into night time. Something I’ve implemented recently is the intention to spend one hour of quality time as a family away from the house during the week, and then again at the weekend. I also prioritise school and day care events over business meetings, which I am firm on. My husband is great and picks up the slack incredibly well, supporting me to be a great mom and a successful business woman.
8. What does success mean to you?
For me, success means the ability to be flexible enough to do the things that make us happy as a family. This could be the ability to drop what I’m doing and take a trip to the beach, or work remotely from a holiday destination. Success is feeling respected and highly regarded for doing a great job – by my clients, my friends and my family.