I decided to set up my own company, Flow Associates, in early 2006, with my business partner Mark Stevenson. This was partly a decision taken out of necessity, as I had resigned from a job and needed to pay the bills. My husband is an artist, so he doesn’t earn very much at all. Partly, however, it was a positive decision. I knew that it would suit me. I like to have freedom and flexibility. It’s important to me that I can choose my partners and clients on ethical grounds and compatibility. I can do excellent and rigorous work but if I’m less than fully motivated I can struggle to do my best. I’m not sure what I think of this movement but I do feel that my personality is absolutely fitting with the Wayseer type http://www.wayseers.org/
Over 6 years, we’ve done pretty well. We’ve paid ourselves less than we would have done in ‘proper jobs’ but have paid the bills and given freelance work to at least 50 people. We run the company in a lightweight way, working from home and using free tools as much as possible. We set up a branch in India, supporting Indian people to develop capacity to deliver cultural change and education.
However, there is a real tension, which I’ve sat on until recently, between a safe approach where you apply for tenders and deliver paid contracts for clients, or a more entrepreneurial and creative approach where you design really game-changing products and services and get them out there. I’ve dithered and faffed about taking a more entrepreneurial approach. I’ve never had enough time to really do it properly because I’m too busy servicing clients. Now, I’ve decided that we’re at such a pass in world affairs that I have to go for it with a platform called Flow Future. The hope is that this will not only reflect what we really want to do for ourselves but also tap into what organisations really need and are willing to pay for. It will take a lot of time and the trick is to make sure that all the time I’m spending on creative and domestic work, and on research and development, feeds extra value into this new offer.