Jen Richards

Tell us about yourself?

I’m a writer and mum of three. I have over 20 years experience as word-wrangler in a variety of different contexts. And I love food!

Tell us about your small business?

I provide copywriting, content marketing and sustainability research to food businesses - especially the ones that are working to make the food system healthy and sustainable.

Are there any areas you’re particularly seeking progress in for your business right now?

  • My overarching mission has always been to make the food system more healthy and sustainable. This was what inspired me to undertake a Masters in Sustainability. For a while after I finished that I wondered how writing would fit into my mission. But this past year has been empowering for me as I have set up my writing business and decided on my direction. I have a handful of great clients who keep coming back for projects, but I’m looking to add a solid retainer client who shares my mission to partner with on an ongoing basis.
  • I’m building a team of complementary professionals (web and graphic designers, editors, illustrators) who care about working to create a healthy and sustainable food system to collaborate with on projects.
  • I’m also concentrating on my fundamental business skills to make sure my own enterprise is strong and sustainable.

How could you or your business help others?

  • I can provide high quality content marketing and copywriting services to help businesses sell themselves to their customers. That might be a great website, blog or app content or a even cookbook for your company. I work mostly with food businesses, but my diverse background means that I can write across a range of subject areas.
  • I also have special expertise as a sustainability researcher and help businesses find their place in the wider landscape of a healthy and sustainable food system.
  • Businesses often don’t have time to attend properly to grant or award submissions and tender responses because they are so busy working for current clients. I can project manage these so they can look after current clients as well as win business for the future.

What has been one of your best business decisions to date?

Backing myself in my own business and committing myself 100 per cent to writing has been one of the most personally rewarding things I’ve ever done. Each day I gain confidence in myself and master my craft just that little bit more.

What are your three favourite business tools and why?

  • Asana - a cloud-based project management tool
  • Paydirtapp - for easy time tracking and invoicing even with multiple clients
  • Google Suite - for working and collaborating with clients

Could you share a time when you failed and/or succeeded and what you learned?

I am a kinesthetic learner (I learn by doing and feeling) so I am always trying new things and experimenting to see what works for me and what doesn’t. That helps keep me pushing forward - whether in success or failure - because I am learning for next time.

I once took on a job that I knew after three days was wrong for me. It was horrible, and I quit after two months feeling like I’d failed in an important career step. However, I often look back on the knowledge that I gained in those two months and am amazed at how much I learnt. It also taught me what square-peg-in-a-round hole feels like - and whenever I start to have that feeling again, warning bells go off and I am now equipped with how to deal with it.

What would you like to see more of when it comes to helping women in small businesses succeed?

An understanding that success looks different to every business mum. Some of us want to build our businesses into multi-million dollar enterprises, some of us use them as a vehicle for flexibility. Life has its seasons and at different points in our lives we need different things from our businesses. It’s OK for our expectations to shift and change as our lives do.

What’s your approach to dealing with the pressures of running your business?

I remind myself that I am privileged to be able to work in the way I do. I love spending my days writing and having a home-based business gives me the flexibility to look after my family in a way that makes me happy.

Any productivity hacks you swear by?

It’s old fashioned, but I love lists! I am a huge list maker - putting things down in a list helps my imagination (and panic) from spinning out of control about the size of the task at hand.

Taking breaks and going for walks (or, more likely, putting on a load of washing … ) when I have a creative block is not procrastination. It tends to jolt my brain in the right way to get back on track.

People you admire / quotes or mantras that you live by?

One of my children was recently diagnosed with dyslexia. To see her embrace that and flourish by understanding that her brain worked differently to others is a huge inspiration to me. It taught me a lot.

I used to lament that my career path was unconventional. Now I know that it’s my greatest selling point because of my diverse, transdisciplinary experience. It’s tempting to compare myself to others, but I have learnt to embrace the ways that I am different. So, I guess 'Embrace your uniqueness' is a mantra that I try to live by.

What’s the last read book / visited bookmark / podcast that you’d recommend to a friend?

I’m a massive fan of the podcast Chat 10 Looks 3 by Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb. Smart, funny women who support each other are the best.

Finish this sentence: “Business mums …

... will be a force to be reckoned with in the future as society gets smarter about how we work."

Connect with Jen

Via her website, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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