Caroline Dawe is a self-employed Therapist and Counsellor, specialising in hypnotherapy. Along with her two friendly dogs - Flo and Georgie, Caroline and I sat down for a virtual chat about life being self-employed and navigating the Covid-19 business landscape.
Hi Caroline, thanks for taking the time out to have a chat. Let’s start at the beginning… can you tell me about you and your business?
Absolutely! I worked for the NHS for 15 years prior to starting my own business in various roles which included working and living in Australia for a while. I have been running my business for three years now and as a trained Therapist, Counsellor and Hypnotherapist, offer my clients a broad range of support.
What made you start your own business?
I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and ME at 27, it was a difficult time and it was tough to stay in full time work. After a physical and mental dip, I decided to retrain and start my own business which would not only start a new and exciting chapter in my life but also mean that I could work flexibly, which would be ideal for me.
What have the last three years been like running your business?
For me personally, it’s been a very positive experience. I’m like a sponge! I’m constantly learning and developing my knowledge, especially when it comes to the business side. And with an increase in knowledge comes the freedom to live a more balanced lifestyle which for me, is very important.
You mentioned hypnotherapy, which is very intriguing, can you tell me more?
I offer a whole range of support for the people I work with. My clients are predominately people who have experienced trauma in their lives, and I support them to find out why and how they feel the way they do, and how to better understand it.
Where do you find clients?
Having worked for the NHS, I already had existing contacts, but since then, word of mouth from local people has been very important, with existing clients often telling friends and family about the support they have received.
What was your main challenge when telling local people about your services?
My challenge was changing people’s perceptions and scepticism about hypnotherapy. I do that by talking to anyone and everyone and offering advice without them committing to anything. It’s just the kind of person I am: I love to chat with people! That leads to increased confidence from people and word of mouth from that personal touch is incredible.
How has Covid-19 affected your business and how have you adapted?
90% of clients would be face to face appointments, so when Covid-19 hit, everything stopped. I have moved online and even although some clients were reluctant initially, they have thankfully adapted to the changes – as have I. The technology has allowed me to branch out and I now have clients from across the country.
How did you hear about EnterprisingYou?
I applied for a government grant initially and was unsuccessful, so I was seeking alternative support. This might sound strange, but not getting the grant was the best thing that could have happened to me. The support that Rebecca, my Business Coach, has given me is priceless - no monetary value can replace that!
What support have you received?
Initially, I had no idea what EnterprisingYou was about. After doing some research, I recognised that I would benefit from the 1-1 support that the programme offers. I don’t mind saying that I was in a heightened state of stress, and Rebecca helped unpick the issues I was facing. She listened and together we came up with new ideas about how I could adapt the business quickly, while still making it work for the future.
What were the ideas that worked?
I adapted the business and started Facebook groups and private Facebook therapy pages which I maybe would have done eventually. With Rebecca’s support, I’ve discovered that it’s such an exciting way of working – a total change for me, but like I say, I’m a sponge! I’ve been doing 1-1 and group sessions and have started writing digital course and will hopefully launch in October, which I already have people signed up for. A second digital course is also being developed, which I’d like to have launched before Christmas, exciting time ahead!
That’s incredible. We’ll keep an eye out for the courses when they launch! Finally, what would you say to other businesses considering enrolling in EnterprisingYou?
I talk to lots of other people who are therapists and I always mention EnterprisingYou. It’s been invaluable for me and I can’t recommend the programme highly enough. This kind of support is so important for self-employed people, especially if they’ve been unable to access government support packages.
If you would like to find out more about Caroline’s business, visit her website or connect with her on social media:
EnterprisingYou provide fully funded support to the self-employed and gig economy workers across Greater Manchester. If you would like to find out more about EnterprisingYou, register online, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 667 6900 to speak to one of our business coaches.
More information about the EnterprisingYou programme can be found here.