This week we hear from Anita Naik, who is one of the Captains of our Mothership. She talks about her life in North London, a glamorous career as an author and an agony aunt, and some interesting celeb moments...
I’m Anita and I live in North London with Joe my husband and two kids Bella, nearly 10 and Jimmy, 6. No pets despite the kids constantly asking for a Greyhound / Pug / Wolf (!) on a daily and loud basis. As a family we love hanging out on the beaches of North Devon, city breaks in swanky hotels, posh burgers, ridiculous YouTube videos and Star Wars. Joe is a UX designer who specialises in mobile but ironically never answers his phone, not even when I was in labour and called him seven times (he said he thought it was a different Anita calling). We are quite different. I love Pilates, he loves Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He likes drum and bass, I know the words to Taylor Swift songs. I love talking, he wears headphones and yet, somehow we are perfect together. Our kids are very funny and slightly weird and complete digital natives, who regularly ask if we got a horse and carriage to school and what CDs are for.
My favourite social media platform is Twitter as I always think if it can’t be said in a sentence, it’s just not worth saying, plus I am a news junkie and too lazy to trawl through the news apps.
In the beginning….
I was born in Hampstead, North London and then moved to Edgware, where I was the only non-Jewish girl at my school. That being said, I now know everything I need to know about authentic bagels, lox and why you have to watch Dirty Dancing. My background is mixed as my mum is from Nepal and my father from India though they met at the Spaghetti House Leicester Square when they were students and got married ridiculously quickly. I have two brothers, one older and one younger, and we grew up with my dad telling us that the ‘TV, radio, magazines and pop bands would lead us nowhere in life.’ Needless to say we all ended up in these industries, proving you should probably not listen to your parents (but don’t tell my kids that).
I hated secondary school, possibly one of the reasons I became a teen agony aunt, but always wanted to be a writer so I went to Uni in Portsmouth because it was near the sea and unknowingly to me - a radioactive waste site. Here I learnt how to drink a SnakeBite and Black and noted that you should never have a tattoo when you’re drunk and have forgotten your name (not me I might add).
Working Life pre Digital Mums…
I’ve been a freelance journalist for 25+ years and I started my career as the agony aunt on Just 17 magazine, then Closer magazine and now Woman’s Own. Back in the day I also wrote Position of the Week for More magazine (a proud moment for my mum) and met numerous pop stars while working on Smash Hits (big thumbs up to Take That)! I also used to be a travel writer (less exciting than it sounds), a celeb interviewer (sooo dull) and a beauty writer (much more exciting than it sounds). In between I wrote for lots of magazines and managed to knock out 50 books, including one for Davina McCall and two for Darcey Bussell. I now work with YouTube Vloggers who are the only people that ever impress my kids.
Journalism sadly isn’t what it used to be and with magazines going online, budgets have been cut and people now expect you to write for free. I’ve always been an avid social media fan so clients started asking me to write content for their social media campaigns and even run their platforms. I also ended up training authors in social media strategy but I knew I needed to up-skill with a good social media course that brought everything together in a less ad hoc way.
A friend had previously done the Digital Mums course, and unlike other courses, I loved the live learning aspect and the fact it was trying to help mums get back into work. Post course I found a number of social media clients but I wanted to work for Digital Mums as I love their business ethos knowing way too many mums who haven’t been able to return to work after kids.
Digital Mums life…
I am now one of the Captains of the Mothership. I do everything from answer queries in our Google+ community (metrics week regularly sends all of us into a spin), helping mums with Programme Partners, personal issues, confusion over lessons and anything else that comes up. It’s equal parts social media, reassurance and humour and it’s very satisfying. As for how it fits into the business, I think it probably stops 300 students converging on their office at Containerville with their problems.
Top Digital Mums Moment..
Best thing is definitely our team. I know I'm not the first person to say this but having worked at lots of places, the team is made up of the funniest and sharpest people I’ve ever met. Plus there’s a good dose of swearing and laughing, which is always good at work.
My #DoTheHustle tip…
Be flexible. In the freelance world clients can often be brilliant or nuts or both at the same time. This means often you have to wing it, bend a little and other times push back and stand firm. It’s just like parenting really.
As a teen I used to babysit Matt Lucas from Little Britain and once George Michael bought me a drink at Soho bar as I was too short to see over the top of the bar!