interview: Anna Considine on running a slow, gentle + profitable business

One of my key values is community: I love connecting with other small business owners and get inspired by how they run their businesses and live their lives. In this interview series I’m asking lovely small business owners to share how they run a slow, gentle and profitable business.

In this post, Anna Considine shares her journey to a slow, gentle and profitable small business: I love how she writes about her personal (health) needs, how she balances work and rest and the practical tips she offers. Enjoy!

Anna Considine on running a slow, gentle and profitable business.

Anna is an Edinburgh-based brand photographer working with creative kin across the UK.

She loves helping even the shyest clients feel comfortable on camera, and when she’s not shooting, you’ll probably find her cosied up under a blanket with a fave magazine.

Find out more about Anna and her work as a photographer on her website, through Instagram, on LinkedIn and by listening to her podcast.

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What does living a slow and gentle life, and having a slow, gentle and profitable business look like to you? What does a day look like for you?

A slow and gentle life for me centres around honouring my health needs as a psychosis survivor and someone recently diagnosed with endometriosis. My business is probably my most extensive support in achieving that, as I know I couldn’t stay well working in the rhythms of the average workplace. 

My psychotic episode happened back in 2017 after I spent too many months burning the candle at both ends, so I’ve had to make some considerable changes to my day-to-day! I used to get up at 5, though I’m definitely a third bird, to do what I now refer to as “stress yoga”. I’d work from about 8 to 6 (often later), and knowing what I do now it is no wonder I ended up burning out so spectacularly.

Nowadays, I wake up at 8:30 ish, always try and make a good brekkie and avoid rushing my mornings when I can. I start work at 10, always starting with something slower first because I don’t tend to feel fully in flow until at least 11 am. I work with a Pomodoro timer to nudge me into taking breaks during the day and aim to start wrapping up at 5, with most Fridays off. It’s a much lovelier way to be than my old hustle days, but I privately wish I’d found this routine and given myself permission to live slowly without having a psychotic episode!


It’s a much lovelier way to be than my old hustle days, but I privately wish I’d found this routine and given myself permission to live slowly without having a psychotic episode!


What inspired you to live this way? Which choices and changes did you make, or have to make? 

I wish I had a more beautiful answer, but it really is all about staying well. When I first received my diagnosis of psychosis, my psychosis team helped me to decide to cut back my hours so that I spent about three months off work altogether. I then did around two days a week for another three months before slowly returning to a schedule more like the hours I do now.

I now work about 22 hours a week, which is much better than the 8 am – 8 pm upwards 7-day weeks I did at one stage. I also try and take a week or two weeks off every other month, and I took three weeks off last Christmas. It’s a shame that we always feel the need to bolster the value of rest by discussing productivity, but I’ve never felt I’m compromising in taking time off. If anything, I feel like the work I am doing is better! I’m more creative and much more focused when I know that my next day or week off isn’t too far away. I also get unwell less than I used to and recover faster whenever I am ill.


It’s a shame that we always feel the need to bolster the value of rest by discussing productivity, but I’ve never felt I’m compromising in taking time off. If anything, I feel like the work I am doing is better!


The choices and changes I made essentially boil down to setting work boundaries. I have a work phone so that I can’t chat with clients on the weekends like I used to previously. I’m super upfront about my health situation so that clients are prepared for any challenges I might face as we work together. I even have an alarm that goes off at 5 pm to make sure I remember to log off!

What three tips would you suggest for readers who also want to create a slow, gentle and profitable business? 

My first tip is to ensure you’re charging enough to cover for leave. Here I’m including unplanned sickness as well as holidays! So often, we price our services by working out our annual costs and target salary, and then we don’t consider that we might have a few or even many weeks in the year spent unwell. Almost every freelancer I know is undercharging, so if you’ve not crunched the numbers recently, please do take this as your cue!


Almost every freelancer I know is undercharging, so if you’ve not crunched the numbers recently, please do take this as your cue!


My second tip is to decide what leave you want to take at the start of the year or, at the very least, at the start of the quarter. I find that it’s too easy to talk ourselves out of a break when we try and plan them on the fly. I’ll block them out in my calendar, and one of my retainer clients likes it when I invite her to the calendar event so that she knows when I’m offline. I use Zapier to send out an automated email two weeks before any leave to my retainer clients, but if you’ve got a better memory than me, you could do it manually!

My third tip is to use your email settings to your advantage. This next step is one that lots of my clients have copied since I started doing it, which makes me incredibly happy! The tip is simply to add a little sentence saying when your next annual leave is to your email footer. It’s such a quick step, but my clients love it, and clear communication is the bedrock of great work boundaries. I pair this with another step I see lots of folks doing now, which is to always have your Out Of Office on, with an email telling folks when you’ll respond. It feels really good knowing that any time someone gets in touch, they’ll be made aware of when I’m next online.


Thank you Anna, for sharing this peek into how you are running a slow, gentle and profitable business. Reading these answers I found myself nodding along to so many of them, and I’m sure you’ll feel similarly inspired reading this. I also love the tips Anna shared at the bottom, and can whole-heartedly recommend charging enough, taking breaks and using your email to your advantage.

Find out more about Anna and the beautiful work she does as a photographer on her website, through Instagram, on LinkedIn and by listening to her podcast.

If you’d like to answer these questions on slow, gentle and profitable business, do get in touch with me. More interviews on how to run a slow, gentle and profitable small business are coming soon! Sign up for my newsletter below so you never miss one.

And, if you want to create that slow, gentle and profitable business that truly nourishes you, discover how we can work together here.

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Anna Considine on slow, gentle and profitable business.