As much as any form of networking event puts the fear of God into me, I can’t deny that you just can’t beat meeting someone in person to get a real feel for them and their business. I busted out of that comfort zone back in December 2011 when I took a spur-of-the-moment decision to go to the London bloggers meet up. It was there that I met the lovely Ana Maria Muñoz, known to her friends as Anamu. Since then, Ana has tied the knot, spent 18 months living in the beautiful Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and launched a new product business, Ring Cozy. Today, she shares a peek behind the scenes of her location-independent business…
Welcome Ana. Please introduce yourself to The Glitterati…:
Tell me a bit about your business:
Ring Cozy is a ring protector that I designed after constantly worrying about my engagment ring getting damaged or lost during hands-on activities. You can wear it while playing sports, swimming, working out, or simply playing in the great outdoors … it let’s you enjoy/do more and worry less about the state of your cherished ring. I take one everywhere I go, always ready for action!
Describe your typical day/week schedule.
It’s been unpredictable lately since my husband and I just moved from Malaysia back to my hometown, Los Angeles, for a while. Before the move, a typical day would start at 6 or 6:30am. We don’t have any children so the early rise while in Malaysia was more for checking on any urgent emails or calls from the States as we were 16 hours ahead. If there were no such emails or calls scheduled, I enjoyed taking a quiet morning to drink tea while going through personal emails and getting caught up on the news and social media. A work out would be next, followed by breakfast and a shower. By 9am I would be back at my desk ready to work on the day’s tasks. Those tasks mainly consisted of emails with manufacturers, research, design, web admin, planning, and every little bit that comes with starting a new product-based business. For lunch I’d whip something up at home or meet my husband or friends at a nearby cafe. A few times a week I’d run errands so that we could have more free time during the weekend and not have to deal with grocery or dry cleaner runs. I’d be back to work around 3pm always with the goal of wrapping up before my husband came home but you know how things never really wrap up when you work for yourself from your own home! At night I’d work on my personal blog and make any phone calls to/from the US East Coast after 9pm. Lights out was usually around 11:30pm.
Now back in L.A., my typical day will eventually look a lot like it did in Malaysia minus the time zone differences. Right now my schedule is a bit all over the place as we settle back in but I’m excited for the face-to-face opportunities I’ll have for sales, marketing, manufacturing, and events that were not possible while living in Malaysia. I’ll definitely be making the most of that during the next few months to expand Ring Cozy’s reach beyond the website where we currently sell directly to customers.
How do you plan and organise your time? What are your biggest challenges with this? What tips can you offer?
I thought I was great at time management until I started working for myself! With no one else to give me timelines and directions, I quickly learned that I had to take smaller yet more impactful steps on a daily basis to get anything accomplished. This is what I came up with: to start, I write every action item that comes to mind into either a WORK notebook or a PERSONAL notebook. Everyday I pick at least three action items from the work notebook and two to three from the personal one based on what can and must be done that day. Those selected items get written onto a notecard that I post above my desk and cross off as I go through the day completing each task. That night or the next day I cross those same ones off of the master lists, or notebooks, and start all over again with a blank notecard. I know that it’s totally archaic in a world of Evernotes but it’s the only thing that’s consistently worked for me so far. And if anything else, I love flipping through the notebooks of crossed out items and seeing how far I’ve come with each little step … It makes me feel proud and keeps me motivated to do more.
[Tweet “”With no one else to give me timelines and directions, I quickly learned that I had to take smaller yet more impactful steps on a daily basis to get anything accomplished” @Anamu via @EmmaGwillim”]
What are your essential office tools?
I keep my office tools pretty simple (I maybe use a paper clip once in a while?) but what my desk can’t live without is my drawing pad. Using the drawing pen is much easier for me than working the track-pad since I did some damage to my right hand while working in retail during college (carrying too many heavy loads of clothes on hangers). Anything I can do to avoid the redundancy of the“click” action is huge.
Are there any websites or apps that you’d recommend to other entrepreneurial women?
There are some great resources at our fingertips but I would first recommend finding local women’s entrepreneurial groups where you can engage with women who are going through what you’re going through or have been there, done that and can help guide you. I joined SMARTY here in LA earlier this year and it’s been amazing to attend Brain Circles during my visits. You just can’t beat face-time interactions.
[Tweet “”You just can’t beat face-time interactions” @Anamu on networking via @EmmaGwillim”]
Describe your workspace and how it integrates with your working style. How does it motivate/focus your work?
I always try to start off with a semi-sparse space but little by little a collection of objects and papers find their way in. I can’t help but post something that catches my attention, be it colors, patterns, texture, text, or simply a personal souvenir. That’s the designer in me and I think that it fuels the curiosity necessary to keep moving into new and bold directions…with this business or any future ones.
What book has most inspired you?
Most recently, The Lean Start Up. Though some remnants still exist, I used to be a borderline perfectionist. I say borderline because I would still move forward with something after some time even if it wasn’t perfect but that time spent always cost me too much in one way or another. The Lean Start Up clued me in on the fact that a product and a business is always a work in progress so there’s no point in waiting until the design, the packaging, the website, the master plan, the whatever is perfect because even after you think it’s perfect and spent all that time making it so, it still may need some tweaking. Actually, it will most definitely go through some tweaking. The more nimble you are, and less time you waste, the better.
[Tweet “”The more nimble you are, and less time you waste, the better” @Anamu via @EmmaGwillim”]
What’s your typical working lunch?
Me, my laptop on the coffee table, and a show via Apple TV.
And how do you switch off once the working day is done?
Cooking dinner or baking. Not that I claim to be amazing at either but being in the kitchen works all of the senses so differently from being in front (and on) the computer all day. I don’t always feel like cooking but when I do want to get in there, it’s a really enjoyable, tangible experience.
What makes your life sparkle?
Having an adventurous, silly, loving, and supportive partner in crime who believes in me in ways that I don’t even see for myself sometimes. He may have given me the sparkly ring that inspired Ring Cozy but he gives me so much more each and every day.