Behind the Business: Camilla Ackley

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What exactly do you do for work?

During the day, I work at Octopus books, a non-fiction publishing house in London. I’m in the digital editorial department, so I handle all of our audiobooks, ebooks and apps. It’s a really varied but brilliant role, and I love getting to work closely with our authors and explore newer parts of publishing. In my free time, I also run an Instagram account where I discuss everything from what I’m reading and wearing, to travel and food. I’m also the founding editor of Into The Fold, an online platform for women that I founded back in 2015. Our goal is to celebrate women and publish real stories, raising awareness for women’s issues often swept under the rug. We’ve been featured by The Guardian and BBC World News for our work in online journalism and it’s a huge passion project of mine.

When did you find the work you love?

I started blogging when I was thirteen, and I really loved that and it eventually grew into launching Into The Fold and my Instagram. I’ve always enjoyed the creativity behind those things and I wanted to think bigger. I only got into publishing last year which wasn’t easy, but I absolutely love it – the people, the work and my company. I’m such a fan of so much of what we publish.

How did you get to where you are now? What was your journey?

As I said, I started blogging when I was thirteen (so quite a long time ago, haha!), and that’s where my love of writing and working closely with really incredible women started. It was a long journey from what used to be a fashion blog, to the online platform it is today but that in turn sparked a love for editing and working with writers. That’s the reason I decided to move into publishing, and I really want to be publishing work by women who are forging new paths and taking leaps into the unknown. In a way, all the different parts of my work collide really wonderfully and feed into each other. It’s been a very slow process, but I love the creativity and variety of what I do.

Looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you were starting out?

Don’t worry if you feel a bit lost about where you want to be in ten, fifteen years – the things I love doing now are not things I even considered when I started out. It’s all a journey and you’ll learn so much about yourself along the way, any plans you make will just end up shifting and changing (usually for the better!)

How do you stay feeling creative and inspired?

Mostly by the amazing people around me – my friends and colleagues are all so creative. I also think creativity is about keeping it up – if I feel uninspired, I force myself to do something to spark it up again like painting, drawing, creating moodboards or doing research for the magazine and who we could be working with. These things really help in all aspects of my work.

What does a good work-life balance look like for you? And how do you maintain it?

I’m lucky because I’m so used to running multiple projects at once, just in virtue of having done it from such a young age. I know when I need to switch off, when I need to have time alone or when I need to socialise rather than work. I try to listen to my own body – if I’m tired, I won’t run myself into the ground. At the end of the day, burning out would mean I couldn’t do any of it. It’s not worth pushing yourself to the brink.

How does being a woman affect your work?

I don’t think it has affected my own work in a negative way– publishing is a really female-led industry, as is the more ‘influencer’ aspect of my work and I work mainly with women on Into The Fold. It has definitely made me want to focus on lifting women’s voices and discussing things that are often swept under the rug, like women’s health problems and is a strong focal point for what we do at Into The Fold. I’ve found working with women creatives a really supportive environment; there’s a great understanding of balance, and lifting others up when they need it.

How do you stay motivated when work and life get tough?

I have had a lot of difficult things happen over the last few years, when I was graduating and launching Into The Fold. I still have a lot on my plate to cope with, but it’s really driven me to focus on the positives. Even a bad day usually isn’t all bad – I’ve learnt to soak up every little happy moment, and that definitely has been integral in me keeping my head above water when it comes to staying motivated and focussed. It can be easy to be overwhelmed if a lot is going on, especially if it’s to do with loved ones, and staying positive is usually an uphill battle – it takes practise. If I have a bad day, I don’t beat myself up about it.

How do you ensure you practise self-care?

I vary really wildly between needing to be around people, and needing to be alone – I have to focus hard on how I’m feeling on a given week or day, or during a certain period to make sure I’m where I need to be. Learning to say no to certain events, even if they’re with people I love, to save my energy and just centre myself has been really important to my mental health. I used to just ignore the voice that was telling me I needed alone time and run myself into the ground socialising and going to events. Missing a dinner, or a party won’t be the end of the world (and if you give your host enough warning, won’t be the end of theirs either!)

What does money mean to you?

I want enough to be comfortable and secure, but it’s so much more important for me to enjoy what I’m doing. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to do, and when it came down to it, I didn’t want to go into something that paid tonnes just for the sake of being rich. I know myself, I know I would regret that. Money is secondary to being content -but I am lucky to come from the background I do, and to have had the support I have had, so I’m conscious not to take that for granted. That being said, I never want to have to rely on someone else to handle my finances, I’m too independent for that – and I like the feeling of security that comes with being careful with your money.

What one piece of money advice would you give to your younger self?

Start saving sooner, you mug! It took going to university for me to realise the value of having a back-up plan, and I do wish I’d picked up on that a little quicker when I first started earning. I read a piece a couple years back called ‘The Fuck Off Fund’ and that really clarified my view on the importance of having savings. It’s not just about buying a house, or nice tings – it’s about protecting and looking after yourself.

What’s next for you?

My main focus is just growing and expanding on what I’m doing now. I want to progress within publishing – my dream is to be a commissioning editor before I’m 30, which is going to be hard, and to keep Into The Fold and my Instagram going and hopefully grow those to reach more and more people. I’d love to take Into The Fold to a new space; maybe a podcast, or round-table discussions at events. I also want to get back into writing more regularly. I’ve been so focused on editing I feel I may have lost my own voice a little, and I’m excited to find that again.

You can follow Camilla on Instagram here

Or check out Into the Fold