Before the second national lockdown, we sat down (Virtually) with Janine McDonald, a passionate business owner and EnterprisingYou client and we spoke about life, work and Janine’s EnterprisingYou journey.
Hi Janine, I guess we should start at the beginning, can you tell me about how you became a business owner?
I started the business in February 2020 – I know what you’re thinking, great timing! I had previously worked in banking and after being made redundant, I wanted to do something that worked around my lifestyle and other commitments. I was passionate about helping others and all those ingredients together lead me down the path I’m now on.
And now you are the proud owner of Clear the Clutter Now?
The business actually started because of a small amount of ‘stuff’ in the corner of my lounge believe it or not! I had a few items I had to clear, and it sat there and sat there for longer than it should. One part of me knew it would take no more than 2 minutes to do, and the other part of me felt like it was an impossible task, and it started having a negative effect my mental health. Once I finally got around to clearing it, it made me feel great and it got me thinking ‘I can’t be the only one who feels this way.
And how did that then form a business?
After organising my own living and workspace and recognising the positive effect on me and my own mental wellbeing, I started to do the same for friends and family, helping to clear their spaces and the feedback I was getting was astounding, and I personally was amazed at how much of a positive experience it was on everyone I helped, and the rest was history as they say.
What kind of customers do you attract and what benefits do they see?
I have a real mix of customers, lots find me on Facebook, I run special offers on social media and as a result, have worked with clients from across the UK. I work with people who tend to hoard, people who have a good useable space but aren’t utilising it effectively and everyone in between. One client I worked with lived in a 2 bed apartment and he was keeping lots of personal items from years gone by, and after speaking to him about why, we identified together that he was keeping these possessions just in case his life went back to how it used to be. Every client has their own reasons and own stories for reaching out but they all say they see an improvement in relationships, sleep and productivity - which is great feedback for me to hear.
How have you diversified the business during Covid-19?
I’m lucky that I can virtually see a space without standing in it, I can keep in touch with people on messenger and Zoom and I have some great examples of people I’ve cleared clutter for, and all done remotely. I’ve also focussed on marketing on social media, attended groups as a speaker including international speaker spots. From September I could go back into people’s homes which was wonderful but what this year has shown is that I can diversify my business.
What happens to the goods that your clients no longer want, need or use?
I am very passionate about recycling, re-purposing and up-cycling. If customers have furniture that they don’t want, I work closely with a charity in Swinton who work with people with substance misuse issues and rehome some of the unwanted furniture.
Fantastic! How did you hear about EnterprisingYou?
I heard about EnterprisingYou through the job centre and came on board in March time, right around the same time we went into the full national lockdown.
Can you tell me more about your EnterprisingYou journey?
I’ve had regular meetings with Nick, my Business Coach. The catch ups are a great way to share ideas keep me on track, he has pointed me in the direction of different networking groups to help grow my customer base and been there when I’ve needed someone to talk to. He has also referred me to Shahin Chowdhury, the EnterprisingYou Finance Specialist which was nothing short of life changing.
Amazing, how was working with Shahin life changing?
Shahin helped me open doors that I wasn’t aware of and his knowledge was invaluable. Because of the support from Shahin, I managed to access support for my daughter who as a result, finally got an official diagnosis for Dyslexia. That diagnosis has made an incredible difference for me and for the whole family.
You mentioned the regular contact from Nick, what kind of things has he supported you with?
Working with Nick has been an incredible experience, Nick has been championing me and my business and I can tell this is not just a job to Nick, he genuinely cares about how I evolve the business. We’ve focussed on marketing and social media and moving my business online, and I’ve also accessed support from the mentoring programme with EnterprisingYou, all with Nicks guidance.
Finally, would you recommend EnterprisingYou?
Juggling family and starting a business has been very tough, long and difficult days, not to mention lockdown! Working with Nick and the EnterprisingYou has been incredible and I would recommend the free service to anyone who is self employed who might benefit from business support.
You can find out more about Janine and Clear the Clutter now using the contact details below.
We 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 or email email@example.com.
More information about the EnterprisingYou programme can be found here.