Setting up a new business might not have been your ‘Plan A’. That’s 100% okay. Contrary to popular belief, not all business owners are born entrepreneurs. More often than not, sole traders evolve; they take the lessons they learn during their corporate life and use them to work independently.
Coronavirus has been a game-changer for many of us. Maybe, just maybe, you’ve been using this time to develop a new interest or passion that could become a source of income. This interest might yet prove to be a valuable investment in yourself and your future, as it grows from an idea into a business.
That’s certainly true for me. Five years ago, I was a corporate management accountant in a global IT company that was heading into an age of uncertainty. Now, I’m a successful therapist and wellbeing coach who supports people in recovery from chronic fatigue conditions such as M.E./CFS and fibromyalgia. My business was borne from interest, but it’s supported by good business planning and the skills I learned at work. It CAN be done.
Before you rush to start your business, it’s a good idea to seek help and advice from as many people and places as you can.
My Five Top Tips:
1) Seek support from your local and regional advisors. Advisors are available through government-funded Growth Hubs for social enterprise.
I worked with a fantastic coach from the Growth Hub. Not only did he help me formulate my plan, but he was also able to signpost lots of different resources, courses, networking, and large organisations.
2) Conduct in-depth research: Who else is doing what you’re thinking of doing? Arrange a chat with them to pick their brains. Information is power and you need to power up!
I spoke with three chronic fatigue specialist practitioners. I told them I was thinking of undertaking the training and asked for their honest feedback. Their information helped me to make the decision to niche down so that I could target my activities and marketing.
3) Find a supporter - someone outside of your family to whom you can speak freely about your business, and who you know will give you an honest response.
I have a friend who’s been a sole trader for fourteen years. I value her perspective and feedback. She’s kept my feet on the ground as well as help me take stock and celebrate how far I have come over the past four years.
4) Trust your gut and follow your heart. Bit of a cliché, I know; however, they’re clichés for a reason.
My work is all about boosting my clients’ energy levels. The most common factor that pulls energy levels down is when my clients do work they don’t love or that doesn’t sit well with their personal values. Check-in with your gut and heart to see if what you’re thinking of doing makes you feel good.
5) Surround yourself with people who inspire you.
Inspiring people help you get over any resistance you may encounter. They help to keep you focused, excited, and committed to your plan. You’ll probably need this kind of support because setting up a new business can be challenging at times. Also, who wouldn’t want to be around inspiring people?!
One moment I was on top of a mountain, literally. I was in full health; I was a successful management accountant, a wife and a mum of teens who was enjoying skiing in the French Alps. The next moment I caught an edge, crashed, and tore two ligaments in my knee. Back at home and housebound, I found even simple things—like going to the loo and taking a shower—were complex operations, as I tried to not jostle my knee and make it sore. At the same time, whilst off work to recover, there was an office reshuffle and change in values. The company was preparing to outsource some of our work to Lithuania.
When I went back to work all the productive work relationships we’d had were broken, and it was clear more disruption was on the way. Everything was changing and the future looked uncertain. I realised that I didn’t enjoy working there anymore.
I took the plunge and left my corporate role. For a few months, I didn’t know what to do. My initial thought was to get a similar job in accountancy, but my heart wasn’t really in it.
Whilst working, I’d trained in Health Kinesiology and I knew that it was a therapy with a great deal of potential. I decided to take the plunge, change my career, and work full-time as a therapist.
I did a lot of learning in those first twelve months. I completed five training courses to become a member of the Federation of Holistic Therapists. I learned more in that year than I had in eighteen years of being a Management Accountant—and I loved every minute of it.
I found my tribe at the Silver-web Centre in Clay Cross. Here was a group of like-minded people talking and working energetically with others, bringing about positive change for their clients. I eventually decided to specialise in fatigue problems. Finding the Chrysalis Effect Online Recovery Pathway has taken my work to another level. It’s a collaborative way of working with clients who want to understand what’s driving their fatigue, so that they develop tools to support themselves towards full recovery.
I’m now in a position where I can look back at my journey and those of my clients. I can confidently say two things: recovery from M.E/CFS and fibromyalgia is 100% possible, and I have a 100% success rate in reducing fatigue and pain. I offer my sessions online and I’m therefore fully accessible to clients anywhere and everywhere.
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