The writers assistant

The Writer’s Assistant

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
Michelle Emerson. I became a mum to Isaac when I was 31 and then to Hannah 17 months later.

What’s your business called?
The Writer’s Assistant

Can you describe it in one sentence?
I give writers the impetus to finish writing their books, the confidence to share them with the big wide world and the motivation to keep on writing.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
I started working freelance in 2006 as well as being employed part-time as a PA. During this time I was also studying an Open University English Lit degree and when I graduated in 2012, I knew I wanted to take everything I’d learnt from the world of academia and move away from being a PA.I wanted to continue to use my love of literature, books and all-things-wordy and so I created a job for myself. I’d worked in publishing on and off for 20 years by then and so I started out as a VA for writers and took the brave step of relying solely on self-employment in 2013. Very quickly, and after lots of training in Kindle publishing, my business has become a one-stop publishing support service for indie authors. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to earn an income that supports my family and lets me indulge in my passion for publishing.

How did you fund your start up?
I didn’t have much to fund, really. I already had a PC and because I work virtually, I didn’t need any premises or stock, so I was pretty lucky really. Anything I did need to fund (such as stationery and setting up my website) came from my part-time salary.

How do you manage working around your children?
As the children are now aged 11 and 12, life as a mumpreneur has got significantly easier. I try to stop working when they come home from school and spend some time with them while I make dinner. If I’m particularly busy, I’ll do an extra couple of hours from 6-8pm while they’re getting on with bits of school work or bouncing like maniacs on the trampoline (I’m sure they’ll still be bouncing on there when they’ve left school). Sometimes I have to work weekends, only occasionally, and they’re pretty good at just keeping themselves occupied, particularly when they know I’ve got a deadline to meet.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
Typically, I will walk Hannah to school (she’s in year 6 and really doesn’t need me to work her to school anymore but it’s a routine we both like – and it saves me from working in my PJs most of the day). I’ll get back about 9am (depending on how long I’ve chatted with friends), do a quick tidy round in the kitchen, put some washing on and grab a cuppa. Then I’m off upstairs. First I’ll check emails, make a little list of tasks to do for the day, post on my FB business page and have a mooch around on there to see what’s going on. Then I can spend the rest of the day either writing for my business (blogs, articles, new web pages etc) or writing for my clients. If there isn’t any writing work, you can usually find me proofreading and/or editing a manuscript to get it ready for publishing or I’ll be formatting manuscripts for Createspace and Kindle, writing descriptions and uploading books to Kindle and Createspace for my lovely authors. No two days are ever the same – it’s ace!

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges I face is the feast / famine cycle. I’m either completely rushed off my feet, working round the clock or I have little tasks that can be finished in an hour or so. Over the years I’ve learned to handle this much better. Once over, a quiet spell used to have me up in arms but now, I just thank the Universe for giving me a break, get on with doing all the things I never have time to do (like go to the gym, go for walks with friends and catch up on my paperwork) and wait for the next crazy cycle.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
Being here for my kids and not having to rely on anyone else to help me. Spending time with them when they come in from school, giving them a kiss and a hug to start their day and knowing that if they need me in an emergency, I’m always here.

What are your plans for the future?
My youngest is off to comp in September and so I’m going to have extra hours in the day. I’m therefore planning on taking my business to the next level with Kindle publishing support, more indie authors, and stepping out as a writing coach. I’ve waited a long time to reach this position and so it’s really exciting for me.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Try and go with the flow of your work cycle. If your client work dries up, keep on marketing, get your name seen everywhere you can online. Get active in social media groups, keep chipping away and your time will come.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Being a mumpreneur is the best. It’s not easy by any stretch but having the flexibility to be here for my children while doing a job I love is pretty awesome 🙂




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