I came across Susannah Conway last year and immediately signed up to her Autumn Unravelling Course - a brilliant journey into self discovery. I thought running e-courses was a fabulous idea. As a result I asked to meet her to speak to her about how she got started. Susannah's generous spirit meant she said, yes. I was thrilled. I got to meet her and chat, and as a result she will always have a special place in my heart. Also, like me, she is a lady who is not supported by anyone other than her good self. I love ladies who are making it work for themselves. Here she shares some insights on having your own creative on-line business and life, and making 'it work' by sharing a passion . . . . .
AC: Tell us a little bit about your journey into creating a successful on-line business, eg. key moments or things that led you to where you are today…
SC: I didn’t know I was creating an online business when I first offered my Unravelling e-course back in January 2009. A few months before that I’d been leading a photography class locally and when a friend suggested I try teaching it online I thought it sounded like a good idea. I only knew of one other blogger who was offering an online class at that time so I had no concept of how this could be an actual business - it was a total surprise when it took off! All the way through the last 18 months I‘ve had to learn everything from scratch; my original intention when creating a real-life class was to share what I’ve learned using photography and writing, and that is still my goal today.
AC: What is one of the best things for you about what you do today?
SC: I really appreciate being able to set my own hours, even if that means I work late into the evening. I was never happy working in an office so working from home is an absolute joy and privilege that I treasure.
AC: Please could you describe a typical working day?
SC: I get up when I wake up – usually around 8: 30am. Check email, Twitter & Facebook while eating breakfast. Shower. Spend the morning on my current projects - creating new workshops, looking after my Unravellers if I’m running a course, blogging, scanning Polaroids, attending to the constant stream of emails, etc. At the moment all my time is devoted to writing my book. Make lunch around 1:30pm. Do more of the same in the afternoon before I have to force myself to break for dinner. I work in the evenings too; when your job is also your hobby and passion you never really have time off (which is not healthy, I know!)
If you had another dream to add to your business what would it be? (I know you have a book coming out next year)
SC: Yes, my book is a big dream I am realising right now – it’s due to be published in autumn 2011. I’d like to take my book and the Unravelling classes on the road and lead retreats around the world. I want to create a safe space where women can gather and be themselves as we use our cameras to rediscover the world.
If you had three wishes right now, what would they be?
SC: I’d wish for one more weekend with my partner, who died in 2005; for the ability to teleport myself anywhere in the world, so I could visit friends for coffee and read my nephew a bedtime story whenever I liked; I’d also like to never have RSI (repetitive strain injury) again. Typing kills me.
What advice would you give to people wishing to carve a business out of their creative dreams?
SC: Be prepared to work harder than you’ve ever done in your life! ‘Business’ had always felt like a dirty word to me but I now see there are ways to mindfully do business that adheres to your own values and views; having said that you must realise that it will still be a business that requires bookkeeping and marketing and the endless never-ending admin. One day I hope to employ an assistant but for now I do everything myself and wear so many hats in a single day I get dizzy :)
AC: If you could meet one ‘famous’ person and ask them a question, who would it be, and what would you ask them?
SC: I’d like to meet either Diane Arbus or Francesca Woodman to ask them why they committed suicide. I love their photography so much and I’d like to delve in to their minds and see what was going on in there. We lost them both too young.
Is there anything further you would like to add?
SC: Simply to say thanks for having me in your blog house, Amelia!
You are most welcome Susannah. It feels great to have your words and inspiring photo's over here in my on-line home ;)