Annabelle Drumm is a producer, presenter and broadcaster, as well as the Managing Director of DrummRoll.tv, a platform to promote digital concerts.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
My background is mostly show business. I was nine years a professional Performer for stage, corporate events and television.
Six years running a self sustaining Dance company, fifteen years running a multi-national Booking Agency for Performing Artists, nine years as a Business Coach for creative professionals.
Wrote a book during that time titled 40 Ways to Make Your Agent Love You with career advice for new Performers and Models which is still available on Amazon.
I’ve been a part time Broadcaster for about five years now and am just launching DrummRoll.tv a platform to promote digital concerts.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I’m not wild about rigid routines! To be a creative person there must be some activities that have a natural rhythm and others that must come on inspiration.
Self discipline came to me from a background of strict ballet training but I found, especially over the past ten years or so, that if my heart is not in a project then getting myself on with the job is like pushing poop up hill.
When something really has to be done and I’m feeling scratchy about it, I deliberately visualise how wonderful it will feel once it’s done, perhaps even visualise enjoying doing it. When the vision is strong, the inspiration often appears and then the job is easily achieved.
I wake at different times of day through the week. 4.30am for radio work, between 5 and 7am more naturally. Being winter right now, I might do some planning or research while still in bed.
Get up and go for a walk amongst nature to allow the new ideas to flow. This is a walking meditation, a time to be completely present. Smell the leaves, touch flowers, admire the clouds or a passing dog (or bloke).
If I ask a question while on these walks, then leave the mind open and blank, the wisest answers can come through which sets my day in motion.
I might sit down at my computer around 11am or 12 noon and then work on and off through to about 9 or 10pm, depending on my mood or meeting schedule.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
I’ve worked for myself since I was 21 so, many of my hours are flexible. Having a passion for what I’m doing and a clear goal of what I want to achieve has been absolutely essential for me. I think acting auditions in my twenties also built my resilience.
Law of Attraction is something I’ve studied for the past 11 or 12 years now and I realise that those early acting days were affected by it just as much as I am now. Back then, once I got short listed on an audition, my confidence in myself would grow and then I would win the next 4 auditions in a row.
I soon learnt to sort of “ride high” on the emotional front, constantly improving my craft, being amicable/professional with the casting agents/clients and confident with the expectation that another job is always close at hand.
This built a fairly consistent flow of work and a great reputation to the point where I would be given jobs without any audition. I’ve aimed to carry that sturdiness through all my other projects and businesses.
High integrity and being honest is key with no secrets to hide, then your conscience is less burden to carry. When people like you and trust you, they will follow you to the next project making your growth curve a little shorter and easier.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
To me it means designing a life and career that gives me flexibility. If I fancy going for a 3 hour lunch with someone, I can make room. If I want to go away for a few days I can choose to leave my work behind and go off grid or take it with me.
In my creative Business Coaching I would work with clients on this as well. There’s no point earning a 6 or 7 figure income if you make yourself sick working long hours every day. No point having loads of money if you lose your wife and never get the chance to truly know who your children are.
Media and society often dictate the highest priorities are material gain yet, I’ve spent time with some very rich people who are unhappy, finding themselves slaves to their business. Why are they doing it? Who do they need to impress? What’s the point?
We also have computer games teaching our children and teens that fancy cars and a house on the cliff is worth gaining, even if you have to harm someone to get it. These games destroy a young person’s mind and flip their values upside down.
It’s worth taking a whole day off by yourself really taking a serious look at what you value the most, then assess if those values need an update. Burnout happens when your job does not match these values.
For me, the highest value for business is working smarter, not harder. I would regularly invest much of my time into making my internal and external processes as efficient as possible to free up more time for me. That makes sure I’m never left with a laborious job that will kill my spirit. This was particularly important when running the Booking Agency whilst raising very young children.
I limited my working hours as much as possible to school hours and managed to seal more than 600 contracts a year for my performers with one part time employee and an answering service to collect the enquiries about 3 months during the busy season. Efficiency is the key!
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Last 12 months have been fascinating, that’s for sure. I think most people would agree with that. I actually got stuck for a while wondering what my next project would be.
In the past I’ve always found the next project when I’m ready for a change, jumped tracks and got moving again very quickly. This time though, I’ve had a gap with a big question mark over my head. What to do? Where am I meant to be going? How am I to serve now?
The answer was always “WAIT”. Now the covid event has started and the digital concerts are launching, this feels like a good fit for me.
On DrummRoll.tv I can use my interview and editing skills to promote digital concerts helping performers earn income and will be doing career development interviews for a subscriber base.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
Many of the books I read these days are spiritual so not really business books. Podcasts I listen to are about the news that the media does not expose which is more exciting than the biggest thriller movie you’ve ever seen.
One series of books I would recommend to anyone is The Ringing Cedar series from Russian author Vladimir Megre. These books are astounding in bringing your values back to where they belong.
The way they are written, by a business man who’s never written before, is so deep that it changes people when they read, often inspiring creativity in them that they didn’t know they had.
There is a black cover version of the series on Amazon though I would recommend the green cover translation that pays royalties to the author which you can buy directly here.
7) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
My view is that stress, burnout and toxins are the greatest threats to our emotional, physical and mental wellbeing. They seriously shorten our lives.
If you want maximum productivity and vitality; a clear focussed mind and a body that doesn’t slip under the table by 3pm, keep all food, drink and substances you are putting in your body clean, organic and suitable for you personally.
It might work for some health nut with a million followers but if it doesn’t work for you then throw the idea away and go to a reputable Naturopath for some individual advice. If you are very busy, make sure you schedule quality time in every day to NOT work.
Some of it with your loved ones/pets, some of it to be creative doing something not related to money, some of it doing nothing at all – even if you just sit silently in the car and do some deep slow breathing.
Learning to love and value yourself sounds rather woo woo advice, I know. One day I did some couch time, lying there staring at the ceiling and asked “What would it feel like if I really loved myself? What is that like?” I lay there for a while and then the big “aha” moment arrived. “My God! I have to look after myself!”
That was the answer. You are way more precious than you could possibly imagine. The relationships with everyone around you are important. The way you project yourself out makes a butterfly effect with the connotations rippling out to infinity. Make that ripple pleasing, joyous and loving so you’ll make the world a better place each day!
Before you go…
If you’d like to sponsor or advertise with Balance the Grind, let’s talk here.
Join our community and never miss a conversation about work, life & balance – subscribe to our newsletter.