What's your #1 tip when dealing with clients?
Communicate: be your authentic self, friendly, empathetic and reliable. Take the time to build up a relationship with your clients, show you are interested in their problems and you will get repeat business.
What is your most memorable experience as a business owner in France?
Learning how to use social media (thanks, Micala!) and starting to blog.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love learning new things from the academic work that I proofread and edit. I also love editing a particular style of legal footnotes, because it appeals to my OCD tendencies, although I have been known to complain. For example, in the thesis I am working on at the moment there are eight chapters, each has more than 300 footnotes, arghhh…
What do you do to switch off from your business?
We, husband and I, are both vegan/vegetarian, and I love exploring new recipes. I’m in a curry phase at the moment. I bake cakes for the Twilight Retirement Home for Dogs’ fundraising events and help them out whenever I can. As I sit in front of a screen every day I also make sure I get some fresh air and exercise with our two dogs, and do at least one yoga session a day.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in business in France?
Make sure that you are doing something you are passionate about, because it will be tough. Tougher than setting up a business in the UK, and keep your eye on the balance sheet. There are a lot more costs here, the cost of doing a course before you can even start your business for some professions, the social charges, the cost of a bank account, and the dreaded CFE tax; sometimes you can feel like you are working for nothing!
What's the best book you have ever read?
That’s a tough one as I’ve read so many. I love reading, it’s another relaxation trick. But paper books only. A (very) long time ago, Dickens’ Bleak House made me realise that I didn’t want to become a lawyer. The best book I read last year is a toss-up between Annie Proulx The Shipping News and Gabriel Garcia Marquez Love in the time of cholera, which I’d tried to read years ago and couldn’t get into, but this time round I loved it. That all sounds a bit intellectual, but I have read a lot of trashy stuff, too.
A penguin walks through your front door wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?
This is a totally crazy answer: He’d say: “I’m looking for Toad.” We have a vast number of real (and imaginary) animals living in and around our house that we like to make up stories about. Mr Robin, Batty-bat-bat, Mole, and Toad amongst them, a penguin would be a good addition to the family.