Wonderful Women Interview with Technology Entrepreneur Amber Vodegel
In 2012, Amber Vodegel and her husband John Miles founded Health & Parenting Ltd, which creates apps for pregnant women and parents with young children.
Their ambition was to set up a modern app business, which they could manage from home with a remote global team of experts.
Describe a typical day for you?
Due to the nature of the business, I split my time between Skyping with members of the team in different parts of the world and designing & planning new apps.
We have a relaxed atmosphere in the office and our focus is always on quality first. Our working life is very digital and we use digital tools to allow us to work as a team with developers, writers and designers in Europe, America, and Asia.
We’ve built very good, long-term relationships with contractors all over the world.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
My greatest achievement is that I’ve built a sustainable work-life balance. Our digital company is based from home, which enables me to maximise the time I spend with my children when I’m not working. I no longer waste time commuting and can immerse myself into our studio to focus on work at any time I want.
I’m constantly striving to improve our apps and service to our loyal parent user-base. We’re incredibly proud that we have one of the most downloaded pregnancy apps in the world (nearly 3 million downloads per year), but we don’t rest as we’re constantly thinking of new ways to improve it and build additional apps to help young parents.
What’s in your handbag/satchel etc?
Not too much, although my husband might disagree! I travel light… my phone, wallet, lipgloss, Oliver Peoples Sunglasses, and car key (we just got our first 100% electric car and I absolutely love it!)
Longer term, though, I’d also love to set up a new school system one day. One where children can enjoy education in a more creative and connected way.
Where life skills, social values, and personal development are as equally important as teaching traditional subjects. Changing the world through changing education.
What advice would you give your pre-baby self that you now know having had a child?
The sum of the little things matter much more than the big things.
It’s a cliché, but they grow up so fast. You need to make sure you enjoy quality time with them every day. We have a sit-down family breakfast every morning, and even though we work hard in the day, we spend the last few hours with bath-time and bedtime stories.
This means we sometimes need to make up work time in the evening when they’re asleep, but I’d rather do that than watch TV.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Enjoying my family as much as I do now, and hopefully working on something that can make a difference. Since I have children of my own, I find saddening to watch the news. It would be amazing if we can do something that could make a difference to children’s lives.
What advice would you give a budding entrepreneur/app developer?
Focus on quality. If your basic product is not the best, you will never get there.
Bootstrap as long as you can. Do not raise money too early, or if you don’t need to. It’s the best feeling to make your own decisions and be responsible for your own future.
Talk to other developers that have successful apps in the store, ask them questions and learn from them. The apps business is constantly changing, you need to stay very connected to predict the trends.
Finally, happiness is…
Happiness is achieving. Setting a goal, trying really hard to achieve it, and then succeeding. True happiness is also in the simple things in life. Listening to my children’s stories, getting big cuddles from them, and seeing them smile.