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Alison Mosley is passionate about working with young people and helping to support the mental health of others. Initially looking to be a full-time counsellor, she changed course and became a secondary school teacher. After 20 years in this role, Alison decided it was the path of counselling she wanted to pursue, so took the leap of faith and started her own practice.
We chatted with Alison on her journey to changing her course from teaching to becoming a self-employed counsellor and how EnterprisingYou supported her along the way.

How did you start becoming a self-employed counsellor?

Before my counselling career, I worked for 20 years in secondary education as a school senior leader and a trained Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO). I have always been passionate about working with young people and have extensive experience supporting their education and mental well-being. However, after many years of teaching, I wanted a change. Before I started teaching, I studied counselling at the University of Salford. At that time, I didn't possess the life experiences crucial for being a successful counsellor. With my years of teaching experience under me, I felt that now was the perfect time. I still needed my full-time job, so I started studying at Southport College to be a fully qualified counsellor in the evenings. I was also required to commit to over 100 hours of voluntary counselling work to get the qualification. After studying for two years, I got the diploma which allowed me to start my own business as a counsellor, with an extra year to get the cognitive behaviour therapist (CBT) qualification. Having obtained all the necessary qualifications, I was at the starting point of having my own business. 

 

How did you hear about EnterprisingYou, and how did the programme benefit your business?

I had no experience setting up and running a business, and no one in my family had either. So I started surfing the web to find small business support services, which connected me with GC Business Growth Hub. It was from there that I learned about the EnterprisingYou programme.

GC Business Growth Hub worked closely with me, guiding me on various aspects of setting up a business, such as connecting with various charity organisations that might need counselling services. This has proved to be very useful as some of these charity organisations became my clients in the early stage. As my business started taking shape and growing, I realised I needed further support, so I signed up with EnterprisingYou.

Financing my own business, determining the pricing for my services, and taking online payments were aspects I needed to learn. Marketing and using social media to promote my services is another area I have never considered before. Through the EnterprisingYou programme, I have also learned how to set up my company website and manage different social media channels so that I'm able to communicate with a range of potential clients.

How has the pandemic impacted your business, and how has it prompted you to take the leap of faith? 

The pandemic and lockdown brought another challenge. Under those circumstances, I could not initiate face-to-face counselling, so I introduced online counselling and “walk and talk therapy”. My existing clients reacted positively to these two new services I offered; some of them enjoyed the “walk and talk therapy”, whilst others liked the online counselling, which offered them more flexibility instead of always having to come physically.

It was around September 2020 when I knew I could not have my counselling services and full-time teaching job. I preach to others the importance of mental well-being and work-life balance, so working two full-time jobs goes against what I'm telling my clients.

My business had grown in the last couple of years, and with the pandemic, there was more demand for counselling services. I gave the school my notice and became a self-employed counsellor in January 2021. It is a massive leap of faith for a single parent, as I have no fallback. Lucky for me the counselling services did well afterwards. I even got a counselling services contract with my former school employer.

My business has changed massively because of the EnterprisingYou programme. My confidence has been boosted as I have gone through this journey. I might not have believed in myself and taken the leap if not for the support and guidance from the programme.
You can find out more about Alison and her counselling services here:  

Website: Home | Mysite (northwestcounsellingservice.co.uk)  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/northwestcounsellingservices/

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 info@enterprising-you.co.uk

More information about the EnterprisingYou programme can be found here.