Starting Anew: Re-discovering Passion

Meet Anna Dixon and her unforgettable experience.

by SHFamily | Wed, January 10, 2018

By Jenna Schmitt

As we ring in the New Year with holidays in the East and West, it’s a traditional moment to reflect on time itself: how we measure it, control it, plan it, and ultimately, just hang on and experience its passing. Particularly in Shanghai, we are often asked to start over more than our loved ones back home, beginning again and adapting to change, voluntarily or not. New relationships, new jobs, and an ever-evolving environment can bring overwhelming struggles just as quickly as they bring thrilling opportunities.

Re-discovering passion

Anna Dixon“We were broke. We had no money,” Anna Dixon recalls with a chuckle. As a co-founder of 247tickets, an online event ticket and tour sales platform, she and her now-husband Pete and business partner Greg Charlton worked together in their local bar after founding the company in 2012.

“I still remember one day [in 2014] so clearly: Greg and I met one morning and he said, ‘If we don’t put some of our own money into this company, it’s done today...and it was quite a scary amount of money. But it worked!” The company survived and continued to grow, and perhaps you’ve already purchased tickets there for a fun night out. But Dixon eventually stepped away to spend more time with her young son, Theo, and took a different job without the around-the-clock entrepreneur life-style. Then, in 2017, she felt it was time for a new beginning at her “old” business.

“In the end, 247tickets is my home,” Dixon admits. “I’ve been there from the very beginning, so although it was scary and sometimes it’s still scary, it felt like a very natural move and I think the timing was right.”

Starting fresh had its own challenges, one of which was running a company alongside a spouse. About keeping a balance of work and family, she says, “It’s hard and it can consume your home life as well as your work life. We [Pete and I] set some ground rules. We sat down and said, "OK, we need to allow ourselves a little bit of work talk in the evenings . . . but we need to ensure that it doesn’t dominate the conversation five nights a week."

247tickets team

This year of entrepreneurship brought financial and emotional pressures, the responsibility of taking care of a much larger team of employees, and sometimes just the homesick days of living and working in a foreign country. But whenever the tough moments come, Dixon’s positive attitude helps her “look at everything we’re doing with the company and be excited about it.”

Now, as Head of Communications, she lights up describing how she tries to bring the cheeky, friendly attitude of the business’s origins into everything they do.

“In addition to spreading our wings geographically in China, we’re eager to serve the growing number of inbound tourists coming to the country and looking for the best tours, events, and tickets.”

247tickets recently expanded to Shenzhen and Beijing, so the company is right on track. In fact, the best moment of re-discovering life at 247tickets was when Dixon walked back into the thriving office for the first time in a long time. She remembers “scanning the room and thinking, ‘Wow, we did this from nothing.’ To see a tangible result — [employees] laughing or enjoying what they’re doing or working hard — was something I don’t think I’ll forget.”


Want more? Meet Arthur Burnand as he discovers family and David Hinton as he embraces creativity in 2018.