Welcome back to the SASS EDIT, hopefully we can tentatively call this a Spring edition but let’s face it we’re definitely having more than our fair share of April showers (here in Berkshire anyway!) Shout out to those who are still knee deep in school holidays - I salute you. I’m now at that stage where I’m eyeing up the kids' remaining easter eggs and convincing myself they won’t notice if one disappears overnight…

For this edition I had the pleasure of chatting to award winning Creator, Producer and Mentor Hannah Witton about her exciting new career direction, taking time out for herself and toddler taming. Hannah’s YouTube channel has gathered over 730k subscribers and a colossal 110 million views. Her ‘Doing It Podcast’ has been hugely successful with over 2 million downloads and her debut book ‘Doing It’ sold over 20,000 copies in its first year and her second book ‘The Hormone Diaries’ is hot on its heels. So grab a cuppa and slab of choccie and have a read!

I hope you had a lovely birthday week! Tell us about your exciting new career direction…

Thank you! It was a great week- there are pros and cons to being freelance but what’s the point if you can’t take advantage of the pros and take an entire week off for your birthday? I’ve been a YouTuber and social media content creator for over a decade and at the end of last year I closed the curtain on what was my main YouTube channel and my podcast because I was ready to move on. And now I’m in the process of building a new arm to my business which is using the skills and knowledge I’ve acquired over the years to help other creators with their creative work and businesses. It’s been really great so far, I’ve been having a lot of interesting conversations with creators about what their roadblocks are and figuring out waysI can help them. I’ve been working with some creators on Patreon strategy and building some structure behind the scenes so they can focus on the creative side of things and working with them to figure out their goals , priorities and how to best manage their time. It’s been really rewarding so far, I've had lots of good feedback and it’s also a massive confidence boost for me when I get off these calls because I think “oh, I do know what I’m talking about and I have a lot of wisdom to share!” It’s like the opposite feeling of imposter syndrome which I have known too well over my career. 

What inspired you to make such a big change?

Many things. Making sex and relationship content on YouTube and on my podcast was slowly becoming something that I was struggling to find motivation to do. And then after I had my baby in 2022, the need for something to change - creatively and in a business sense- became all the more urgent as priorities and practical situations were shifting. Ultimately, the inspiration for the change was really doing some soul searching and learning that it is ok to quit things, it’s ok to move on and try something new.

Have you found it has come naturally to create such different content?

The content I’m making hasn’t really changed because I’ve had my lifestyle channel ‘More Hannah’ since 2019 so I was always making this kind of content- fashion, books, lifestyle, work/career, parenting etc - as well as the sex and relationships stuff. So the lifestyle content has pretty much stayed the same. I’ve been making some content about the behind the scenes of starting a new business venture and pivoting careers but ultimately I see my social media and YouTube audiences as different from my potential client base. Yes there are many creators who watch my videos but that’s not the majority of my audience so I’m not planning on making any ‘How to start on Patreon’ kind of content.

What are the best and worst aspects of being self employed?

Worst- no structural safety net for when things happen. I’ve had illness, surgery and disability and now a pregnancy (which was very disabling at the beginning!) birth and parenting all during my self employed/freelance career. When you’re freelance you don’t get sick leave or maternity leave - if you’re not working you don’t get paid (unless you have built up savings and some passive income streams, which is what I had). There is no blueprint for how to handle life situations when you can’t work - what happens to your business? What about the people who work for you? And that’s even more stressful when your business relies upon you regularly posting on social media. 

Best- the freedom and flexibility of being in control of your own time. BUT this is only a pro if you actually take advantage of it! I know so many freelancers who work more and work evenings and weekends. But one of the things I’m really trying to prioritise is using the normal working day hours to do something for myself whether that’s going to the cinema or an exhibition or doing some baking at home. As a parent I don’t get a lot of time to myself so it’s all the more precious. 

Who do you turn to when you need some sound advice?

Many years ago my friends Leena Norms and Lucy Moon and I had a podcast called ‘Banging Book Club’ where we read books about sex and relationships. We’re all still best friends and all doing our own things in the YouTube and social media content creation world and very much trust each other’s opinions on things. We now regularly get together (about once a quarter) to have what we call ‘Banging Business Club’ where we share what’s going on in our work lives, share any challenges we’re facing and try to help each other. And to be honest, they are also pretty great people to go to for personal advice as well as work stuff.

The online world operates 24 hours a day - do you find you’re ever able to totally switch off from work?

Yes absolutely but it’s taken a lot of practice and using my husband as an accountability buddy of sorts. In order to participate fully in our relationship and to be engaged playing with our son, I have to switch off from work. Not always possible and I’m not always perfect at it. But when the reward for properly switching off is so damn good and special it makes it worth doing.

I had a partial colectomy in 2018 - the same year you underwent emergency ileostomy surgery so I understand chronic pain and the impact on your life. Following the surgery are you now pain free?

Yes I am for the most part! I occasionally get what I call ‘episodes’ in my rectum that remain from post-surgery but those episodes are few and far between. It flared up for a few months right after I gave birth but thankfully settled down.

I know you love art, colour and slow fashion - is creativity and self expression a big influence for you?

It’s not something I would have ever said is a big influence on me because I’ve always had this aversion to calling myself an ‘artist’ or ‘creative person’ but I’m slowly starting to embrace those titles because creativity is so much bigger than making visual art, movies, songs or novels. I try to bring my creativity to the clothes I wear, how we furnish and decorate our home, how I parent and just how I problem solve through life.

Motherhood is a whole new chapter! Is there anything about becoming a mum that has taken you completely by surprise?

Not really but I went into it not knowing very much. We’ve very much taken the learn on the job approach which has worked for us and it’s also meant we’ve not had many shocks in terms of expectations vs reality. I really don’t know what I expected. One thing that has surprised me recently though, is that it’s almost 2 years ago and the feelings of loneliness and isolation haven’t gotten better and I think have maybe even gotten worse. It’s tough. Especially where I live in London, everyone is so ‘busy’. It takes almost an hour to visit any of your friends and you have to ‘book them in’ a month in advance. It’s hard to create much of a social life when you work and have a toddler. 

Speaking of which - toddler life can be brutal! Have you learned any toddler whispering tricks you can share with us?

I can only really share what works for my toddler but I did have a recent parenting win that I feel very proud of and it’s so easy to complain about parenting. I think it’s important to also share the wins! He’s been wanting to walk home from his childminder’s more and more but he’s not quite got the patience or the stamina to make it the whole way home and so often asks to be picked up or doesn’t want to hold my hand walking. So every time I would tell him that he either has to hold my hand or get in the buggy. And when he refuses to hold my hand, cries asking me to pick him up or tries to run off I pick him up and put him in the buggy- usually with a fair amount of crying and kicking. But then after a while things just shifted. He started walking happily holding my hand and then after a while would stop and say “no walk, buggy” and then would happily let me put him in the buggy for the rest of the walk! I felt like an absolute parenting God- Haha! That example is something I remind myself of when faced with new challenges - I just have to be firm and consistent and eventually (hopefully!) he’ll get the message and the behaviour will change.

A huge thank you to Hannah for being our guest on the SASS Edit. As always make sure you’re following us on our social channels as SASS BOSS Sophie will be chatting live to Hannah very soon and you definitely don’t want to miss that! 

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