I explained in this post why I started working for myself, after having my first baby.
And why I decided to launch digital parenting platform The Early Hour.
I also mentioned the fact that after the birth of my second baby, I couldn’t keep up with the workload.
Writing, editing, uploading and sharing an article every day at 5am (weekends included) was no longer sustainable.
With a potty-training two-year-old and a tiny baby, I was tired.
I didn’t burn out but I felt very stressed.
For ages, my husband and sister had been saying: just put out less content.
But I’d been rejecting this idea, feeling as if I’d be letting people down, or failing in some way.
However, six months in to double-motherhood and keeping up with The Early Hour, I realised I couldn’t do it any more.
So I said I’d reduce the articles to one a week.
Then that became one a month.
And soon, it was just when I had a good idea or interviewee.
What happened? NOTHING.
People continued to read through the content I’d created between 2015 and 2017, and enjoyed fresh content when it came.
In late 2017, I had a book idea off the back of The Early Hour.
The platform had always been a celebration of parents from different backgrounds, and so the book would be along those lines too.
Now, I say that when I started producing less content, I freed up space in my life for what happened next.
But that’s doing myself a disservice.
What happened next came about because of The Early Hour, not because I’d stopped spending time on it.
I had a meeting with Michelle Kane, publishing director and editor at 4th Estate books, which is part of Harper Collins.
We’d met through a friend and she was interested in my book idea.
It all looked set to go ahead.
But then it didn’t.
However, alongside the book idea, I’d mentioned a column idea about being a freelance mum.
On reflection, it wasn’t very neatly linked to my book proposal (which will always be boosted if there’s a good PR angle).
But Michelle came back around six months later and said: that’s the book – The Freelance Mum.
And so in March 2018 (on International Women’s Day), we signed a book deal.
In January 2018, ‘The Freelance Mum: A flexible career guide for better work-life balance‘ came out.
I went on Woman’s Hour to talk about it with Jane Garvey, had a double-page spread in the Telegraph and was invited to speak at events.
It was all very exciting.
At this stage, I decided to change my social media handles from @theearlyhour to @annieridout.
And a few months later, something very exciting happened…
(More on that in another.post).