Annie is a mother of three and works full time as the founder and CEO of Vivid Reveal where she offers coaching and consulting on Emotional Intelligence Brand Strategy, Effective Communication, and Visual Storytelling Content Creation. Recently Annie has also launched the non-profit, Vivid Visionaries.
Q: Why did you decide to leave paid work?
A: I hated my job. I was an executive recruiter, full commission, cold calling people before the days of LinkedIn. All I had was the beginning of Google search and a main phone number. I would dial random last four numbers and then play dumb when someone answered and tried to figure out if I was in the right department. Even when I made six figures, I was always anxious about doing my actual job and afraid of getting fired all of the time. I didn’t know how to let go of bad situations back then.
Luckily, the birth of my first daughter gave me the courage to leave after maternity leave and never come back. Back in 2003 I really believed that by choosing not to go back that the gap on my resume would make it impossible for me to ever get another job.
Q: How long of a career break did you take?
A: I ended up being a stay at home mom for about 5 years when I decided to turn my photography hobby into a teeny tiny business for friends and neighbors in New Jersey. I photographed families, baby showers, birthday parties, flowers, NYC architecture. I was over the moon that anyone would really pay me money to do something that I loved. Even though what I was charging didn’t even cover my costs. I had a lot to learn about my value.
I stayed a stay at home mom through a move to Washington where I started up my business again while over-volunteering at my girls’ elementary school. I was getting super busy and started to grow my business. I still didn’t feel like I had a “real” business though until I moved back home to Camas, WA in 2014. I was all ready to push the button on Facebook to launch my business in my home town when our family received the surprise of our life, my niece who had just been born needed an emergency foster family. She immediately stole our hearts and we started the process of adoption. I decided that because of the circumstances of her birth and health, I would stay home with her for two years while she was fully evaluated through Oregon’s NICU follow up program. When she turned two and received the 100% healthy and happy stamp from all of the doctors, we decided it was time for pre-school. In July 2017, I finally felt comfortable restarting my business again. Since then, I’ve pivoted twice to transition away from photography to focus more on helping business owners on the brand strategy.
Q: Do you have any advice for parents transitioning from staying home to working outside the home?
A: First, listen to your gut. If your gut is telling you it feels “right” to work outside the home or to choose to stay home, there’s a reason. Don’t talk yourself out of what is best for you. Don’t let other people’s journey and opinions influence your decision making.
Second, I have found that there is no such thing as balance when it comes to work/life balance. That’s why it is so important to design a business/career around what kind of life you want and how you define fulfillment. You have the power to create any life you want.
Q: What does fulfillment look like (or feel like) to you?
Living my true-self life everyday and creating opportunities for all those around me to feel free and accepted as they do the same.
- Mental and physical health
- Peace, contentment
Lifelong learning, development, and creative expression
My Key Take-aways:
- Don’t under value yourself
- listen to your gut