Hello, I’m Arianne Foulks! Here’s a bit about me, and then I will introduce you to our friendly design team. I am a reformed shy child and picky eater, and you can now find me teaching at creative events and digging into Thai curries. I started making websites for friends in 1997, and never lost interest in building online homes for fascinating people. I have a great boss (me!) and I’m unafraid to play hooky to head out on an adventure. Some day I’ll tell you about the time when, as a marine biology student, I was bitten by a baby elephant seal.
What do I do?
I’ve been working for myself for over a decade. I have only ever had one “real” job in my life, and its reality was dubious, even at the time. I originally did everything for Aeolidia, as most small business owners do: designed websites, developed websites, did customer support, accounting and money stuff, the works. Shoshanna (my best friend) and Chris (my best and only husband) joined my team, and we were often so busy that we had to turn away most of the project requests that we received.
We slowly added new workers to our team to accommodate new client work, and after a while (and after having two babies), I realized that I didn’t have enough solid blocks of time to devote to client work. We had added enough new people to our team and were working on enough projects that I found myself busier and busier, until I realized something had to give. I hired someone to “be me,” and since then have been building the business, marketing our work, strategizing and planning, and my most favorite task of all: making things work better for our clients and our team members on a regular basis.
How do I balance my work with my family life?
This changes all the time, of course, but I’ve found a rhythm that works for me, and that I can shift back towards when I find myself veering off course. It’s structured enough that I can get my most important work done, and loose enough that I can arbitrarily take days off to play with my young boys (4 and 6). I can tell I have my rhythm right when the house is clean-ish and I’m making progress on a good book.
I am very very lucky to have the World’s Best Dad (just about literally) who cares for my children every weekday from 11-5 (and does a sleepover night once a week – I’m most productive on a quiet morning, which can be scarce with young kids around). Our eldest will be in first grade this year, and I’m interested to see how productive I can be in another year, when they’re both in school.
One thing I enjoy about having kids and working from home is that they come home around dinner time every day, and I have to shut off my computer and join my family again. It has really helped me divide my work day up into “work” and “other,” whereas pre-kids I’d be half working, half othering at any given time, and I had no boundaries in place.
What are the essential tools for my work day?
I like being able to move upstairs, downstairs, or out of town and still be able to get all of my work done. I’ve moved all of my files and work to the cloud, and I recently switched from a clunky old PC laptop to a MacBook Air – my smoothest computer transition ever, since all I had to do to get back on track was log in to Dropbox and sign in to Adobe Creative Cloud! I detail how to move your stuff to the cloud here, and my essential software & tools here.
What tip would I give others who are contemplating working from home?
Be a good boss to yourself! It’s ridiculous how hard we can be on ourselves when we’re our own boss. Would a beloved boss force you to stay up until 3am to complete a project, or keep you inside on the weekends? Make you work through lunch or eat lunch at your computer? Don’t burn yourself out! Learn to recognize what’s important, what’s not, what can be delegated, delayed, or let go of completely. It doesn’t all have to get done, and maybe you could get some help for what does need to be done.
Favorite thing about my working setup?
Having Chris’ company every day, and being able to jump up and go for a walk with him in the sunshine when the mood strikes and the weather allows. Really, the sun does shine from time to time here in Seattle! Also, the talent, dedication, and cheerful demeanor of the people I’ve surrounded myself with at Aeolidia. They are all so good at what they do and with how they treat our clients that our days are nearly problem-free with very little “management” effort on my part.
Favorite recent project, and why?
Of course the Aeolidia redesign! It has been so fun seeing it all come together, and with it all in place, there is nothing holding us back.
Meet the team!
Meet the Aeolidia team! Learn who pretended to be a chef to secure a first job, who has a crush on Art Garfunkel, which one of us has a full sleeve of Beatles tattoos, and which one doesn’t like cake (hint: not me!). I will be sharing faces and fun facts on our Instagram account once a week for 20 weeks – there are a lot of us. :)