Getting the right words out can often be a challenge for many business owners. For Ange Bannerman though, it couldn’t come more naturally. As the founder and Director of local professional writing service, Get the Wordsmith, Ange spends her days helping regional businesses put their words on paper. With a career spanning across corporate communications, marketing and business development, Ange hopes to utilise her skills to help elevate the voice of Queenslanders and inspire business growth and development in regional communities.
1. What was the inspiration behind starting Get the Wordsmith?
To be honest I started Get the Wordsmith for selfish reasons, wanting to spend more of my day connecting with likeminded people who inspire and challenge me. Over the course of my career, I’ve had the pleasure of working in government, corporates and small business and enjoyed all experiences immensely, but for entirely different reasons. Get the Wordsmith is my attempt to cobble together all the elements I enjoyed, most notably the innovation, pace and agility of private enterprise with the complexity and impact of government. On a more pragmatic note, I also really like to write, so why not get paid to do it?
2. Why is it important for you to help elevate the voice of Queenslanders and create growth opportunities in regional communities?
I’m a born and bred North Queenslander with vivid and tangible memories of our region’s growth during my time here. I lived in Thuringowa when it was a stand-alone city. I remember attending the North Queensland Cowboys first ever season. I’ve walked the Strand when it was a rock wall and later as a multi-million redevelopment. The list goes on. During this time I’ve personally experienced the downward impact of government policy, export market fluctuations and once-in-a-generation infrastructure projects. At different stages I’ve celebrated the region’s resilience, lamented at the impact of brain drain on local capability and watched with anticipation as jobs in emerging industries skyrocket. Today, I see the immense opportunity North Queensland has to offer the tropical world and the growing pains that come with it, particularly where social issues are concerned.
It’s easy to think we’re a regional town when you look at our population by postcode, but when you take into account the entire North Queensland region, and its unmatched interconnectedness, we’re bigger than Canberra. This is the reason why regional Queensland voices need to be elevated – we are a powerful force when it comes to shaping the future of industry and this country’s prosperity.
3. You’ve previously mentioned that you thrive on opportunities to go ‘behind-the-scenes’ of North Queensland business to uncover what makes the economy tick. What has been the most interesting thing you have uncovered?
I’m consistently surprised by the number of local businesses offering globally-significant capability and capacity, yet few people know they exist. In an age of digital connectedness where it’s hard to keep anything under wraps, I’m amazed at how these innovators find it so challenging to communicate the best of what they have to offer. I suppose that’s why Get the Wordsmith is receiving so much attention, I think business owners recognise that issue and are keen to close the gap.
4. What’s been the most challenging aspect of running your own business?
Admittedly, the greatest challenge has been setting realistic expectations on myself and giving myself permission to rest when I’ve needed it. In these early months, it’s easy to get caught up in the belief that every interaction or activity is going to make or break the business, which it might, but you need to leave some of that control to the market. I soon realised the pursuit of perfection meant burn out, so I focused on progress instead. I chose to create Get the Wordsmith ‘from scratch’ because I wanted a first-hand understanding of the challenges of building a business, having advised businesses for so long in corporate and government roles. I can say I have now. The business has only been running for a couple of months and I have already started a waitlist for certain services, so I must be doing something right.
5. What advice would you give to other people who may be wanting to follow in your footsteps but are unsure as to where to start?
I’m going to be blunt – you’re going to feel isolated and like no-one truly understands your vision during the startup phase. When I resigned from a permanent government role to pursue Get the Wordsmith, people thought I was mad – and told me so outright. Even those who were supportive did so with a degree of bewilderment. The best thing for me was to create a network of like-minded people who could speak from experience and guide me along the way. If you don’t already have these connections, join any relevant associations or industry advocacy groups that appeal to you, attend networking events and schedule coffee dates with people you admire. Even people you might consider competitors can become your biggest allies and perhaps even referrers down the track, as they have in my case. It’s a cliché, but collaboration is the key to success.