There’s no new years resolutions from me this year and there’s certainly no ‘this is my year’ vibe compared to previous years. Instead, I’m mixing things up a little and giving myself a chance to undertake new challenges.

Back in 2009, whilst at University, I set up my own business, Pinnell Productions, where I would create radio imaging (the bits between the songs), produce radio commercials and edit audio for business clients. I ran this as a ‘side hustle’ whilst studying at Uni and whilst it didn’t make a me a profit (I only made about £80-100pa), it was great to do something creative alongside my studies.

After I graduated Uni, I continued to run Pinnell Productions as a side hustle, whilst holding down a day-job and eventually closed the business in 2016 when I felt like I had to concentrate on the day-job and found myself not having enough hours in the day to do both.

I’ve always dabbled creatively since, whether that’s creating material for the charities I volunteer for, doing the odd bit of freelance work for those who ask and know of my background, or just learning off my own back new creative skills.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve had a hankering for some creativity. With my day job in the NHS, managing the Remote Monitoring service, I continually access websites and mobile apps, often having to talk patients through how to use them. It’s with this in mind and seeing all these different interfaces, that I’m beginning to design and learn to design UI and UX, with a view of adding this string to my creative bow, offering this service to small & medium businesses and charities on a freelance basis.

Whilst I’m getting this new venture off the ground, my job in the NHS will of course continue to be priority, as I help develop and expand the Remote Monitoring service for Cardiac devices that I help manage. I have a few ideas that need collaboration, that could well involve some creative design too, that I’d like initiate this year too for the service.

Truth be told, I’m not sure if this will get off the ground for a variety of reasons including time and money, but you’ve got to start somewhere, right? When I remember back to how Pinnell Productions started, that grew out of my love for radio and audio production. Hearing an ad I produced be broadcast on Heart and ‘Best Bits’ packages of events I’d also produced audio and interviews for on BBC Radio Gloucestershire at the time were highlights.

I look at friends who run businesses on the side of a day-to-day job. My friend Loti Maria, in particular, who runs Mama Makes. I’ve seen her business grow from being a blog, to the successful crafting store it is today. Sell out TV shows, a popular following on social media, loyal customers and thoughtful, hand-made creativity. She does this, whilst juggling family commitments, work commitments and daily life.  I’m in awe of how she juggles these commitments and whilst it’s not easy to juggle everything, she makes it work, seamlessly. Genuinely an inspiration in focusing my mind on whether going freelance, for real, is the right thing for me to do.

With the support of my partner, who also put up with endless nights of editing audio for clients when I ran Pinnell Productions, family and friends, I’m certain that, for all my anxieties about doing this, I can do it, and should at least give it a try, right?.

For the avoidance of any doubt, I still absolutely love my job in the NHS and will continue to do this (not least because it continues to be my main source of income!) and I’m passionate about remote monitoring of cardiac devices and improving the service, not only for the Trust I work in, but potentially the wider NHS. You’ll also still hear me on the radio too, because that’s one thing that hasn’t changed since 2016!

So things may look different on my website and social channels over the year, as I begin to push towards all of this creative stuff, but I hope you’ll join me for the journey, because I’m sure it’ll be a rollercoaster of a ride!

Let’s smash 2021 together. We got this!

Read the latest update on Challenge 2021 here (June 2021)