YOU CAN MAKE
By the time I was 24 I had realised my dream of working on the cookery pages of PRIMA one of Britain's best loved women's monthly magazines.
This quick rise to the job of my dreams in London's busy Victoria wasn't plain sailing and two years down the line, I was very aware that it really wasn't for me.
Achieving my lifetime's career goal so fast and the realisation 'what the hell do I do now?' was a stressful, anxiety ridden and lonely time.
At a loss for what to do, my Editor Lynn Cardy - a fabulous lady, pointed me in the direction of a job at a PR company where my love of food and desire to write about it would suit me down to the ground. My PR journey on brands such as The Prima High Street Awards, Schwartz Herbs and Spices and BBC Good Food magazine had begun.
A move away from London and the hedonistic champagne and cigarettes world of 1990's PR and a new baby on the way sent me in a completely new direction that would keep me occupied for more than10 years.
A PRIMA friend introduced me to a start-up company that wanted to dominate the hosiery market selling tights online so that women wouldn't need to spend their lunch hours shopping for them.
It was the beginning of the dotcom era and I would work on the PR and marketing to make one of the most successful hosiery retailers in the UK.
Using PR to set up events, reader give-aways, magazine articles, fashion features, look books and desk visits more than filled my time as my (now) two children grew up and went to school. Then the worst thing happened my bubble burst and eventually was no more.
I had only known myself as Annalie from Tightsplease - I didn't know what to do with myself without the job title that had come to define me. So I threw myself into blogging, Chair of the PTA, School Governor but retreating into my mum self as I mourned my old life of press breakfasts, visits to Vogue and chats on the phone with Fashion Editors.
I won't lie, it's not easy to leave your old life behind, stand on your own two feet and have the confidence in your ability to make a difference to someone else's business and be paid for it.
So when I was asked to help a local photographer market his business I was apprehensive, but jumped at the opportunity and Alter Ego Portraits stepped out of the studio and into real life at MK's Vintage Fair where people could feel the passion behind the company and meet the photographer.
Marketing a Love Lana a beautiful perfume gift shop in the market town of Olney came next, where my mantra: "always give the customer more than they expect" was put into practice through exclusive shopping days and personalised newsletters. Eight years on we're still shining the light on excellent customer service, passion for perfume and growing a loyal customer base.
A gift for seeing the greatness in people and their passions helped me to promote Peak Performance Fitness & Personal Training from part-time trainer to full-time business owner with clients clambering to go to bootcamps and experience personal training sessions. Capturing the desire for people to be part of something that not only makes them look good, but feels good too, with a sense of belonging and community.
Lighthouse Learning, my most recent project - began completely from scratch. A recently retired teacher's desire to set up a tutoring business developed into a physical business in 10 hours. Its values, its desire to care for the whole child, not just high grades, set it apart as a safe, secure and happy place for children of all ages to be nurtured and succeed without the pressure.
I understand it's a scary time putting money into a business idea that you hope will be a success - but in your heart you know you need to do it. I really believe in the phrase "Born to do it."
In my experience people buy people - share your deep passion or great skill with your customers and success won't be far behind!