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“When I signed up to EnterprisingYou, I knew I would get something out of it, but I didn’t realise quite how much I would come away with.”

 

Gary Burns started Not A Blue Tree in 2019, providing Coaching, Hypnosis and Training and is on a journey to turn the business into a regular source of income whilst maintaining a good work-life balance.

After a friend recommended the EnterprisingYou programme, Gary joined in February and hasn’t looked back. We caught up with him to find out how he’s been getting on and how the things he’s learnt on the programme so far are helping his business.

Why did you want to start your own business?

I started the business in a previous form in 2017. I did some things to promote the business without much success which I realise now was because I just had no idea what I was doing. I wanted to completely rebrand, so I did that in 2019 and became Not A Blue Tree and I was waiting for the opportunity to turn it into my only job.

Various things aligned towards the end of last year when my contract came to an end, I made some half-baked efforts to find another one and realised the reason I wasn’t getting another one was because I wasn’t actually looking for one, so that sort of sealed the deal.

The whole idea was to turn this into a regular source of income and do it in a way that gives me the balance I want in my life and the ability to deal with personal issues. One of the big issues I’m dealing with is aging parents and so having the flexibility to support them in a way which doesn’t impact on work is really important.

How did you come up with the name Not A Blue Tree?

The name comes from a frequently used reference in coaching linked to changing behaviour. If you say you don't want to do something, you first have to think about doing it and then think about not doing it. The example commonly used is that if I tell you not to think of a blue tree, what's the first thing that comes to mind?

I therefore chose the name to create the notion around focussing on positives rather than negatives, and it is a good conversation opener, because people often ask the exact same question that you have. The bottom line is that if we want to succeed, we are more likely to do so if we only focus on what we want.

What services does Not A Blue Tree provide?

My selling point is that everything is done remotely which means that I can do it very affordably. I’ve got to generate an income, but I want to make it everything I do as accessible as possible. I have three strands of work that I do within coaching, training and hypnosis.

I do a lot of work with people who are aged 35 – 50 who are suddenly feeling stuck and a bit trapped. It’s a group I’ve worked with a lot and it’s almost as though you aren't allowed to question your life choices because it gives the impression that you don’t like your life, which is true for some people but for most people it’s just a case of something that seemed like a good idea not being what they want to be doing forever.

The second strand is with people with addiction. I've worked with a lot of people who've been through addiction treatments and have not got the result that they were looking for, and so this is a slightly more bespoke tailored approach. I have some set things that we do but it's designed to offer a lot of flexibility, so if there’s a specific issue that is someone’s stumbling block, we can look at that in more detail.

The final strand is working with children with anxiety. If the anxiety is not the result of mental illness or significant trauma, if it’s just the thought processes getting out of control there’s a lot you can do quite quickly to get a really good result. It distresses me when I read the numbers of kids who are experiencing anxiety and the huge wait for children's mental health services is quite shocking in itself, so it’s a strand I’m wanting to promote a bit more.

Gary Burns, Founder, Not A Blue Tree

Gary Burns, Founder, Not A Blue Tree

How has EnterprisingYou helped you and your business? 

I feel much more focused, it’s given me so many ideas and made me realise how previously I really was only dabbling. I’m on the verge of paying for my first advert and I feel confident that it is well thought out. I’ve used a lot of what I’ve learned from the various workshops I’ve been to so, although I’m very reluctant to hand over my hard-earned cash, it does feel like a very positive step forward and it’s something that I would never have thought of doing before.

The thing that finally sealed it was the sales workshop. I’d already made some enquiries about placing this advert and as I was making notes listening to what was being said it confirmed that this was the right thing to do. It was almost as though the workshop leader knew what I was thinking because a lot of the things she said tapped into some of my reservations and concerns, so it was quite well-timed.

It’s also been useful to be able to talk to my business coach Tony Ayin (Business Coach at GC Business Growth Hub). Some of the questions he asked really got me thinking about what I’m doing, why I’m doing it and what I want from it. Just having someone who’s experienced and knows what they’re doing has been incredibly helpful and then being able to reflect on everything I’d done when we met again after a couple of months.

What have you learnt from the workshops?

The one that was an absolute eye-opener was the podcasting workshop. I went along thinking I just needed to understand it a bit more and came away so motivated that I now have my own podcast, I have three published episodes, episode four is uploaded and scheduled, and I am halfway through scripting episode five. I now need to build a following. One of the challenges during the workshop was to get a list of 50 topics, I got to 37 on the first go, and I’m now up to 47, so if I do one a month, I’m good for 4 years.

The social media workshops also gave me lots of ideas. I’ve now progressively increased my social media presence, gone are the days of one Facebook post a week, I’m posting daily now, I’ve increased my followers, I’ve increased my number of connections on LinkedIn and I’m posting more regularly on there and I’m engaging and interacting with people.

I also did the marketing workshop which made me think more about my three client groups. When I met with Tony, we had a conversation and he sent me some recommendations and questions to think about, and the marketing workshop gave me the answers to them – I was able to create the avatars for my three strands, considering their problem, the issue they want to address and how I can help.

It felt like everything came together to form the full package. The people who deliver the workshops are all incredibly passionate and knowledgeable. When I signed up to EnterprisingYou, I knew I would get something out of it, but I didn’t realise quite how much I would come away with.

EnterprisingYou event

EnterprisingYou event

What’s next for Not A Blue Tree?

I think for now it’s just refining it and getting slicker at producing all the content so that it doesn’t feel like a never-ending task. I don’t have any problem getting ideas together, it’s just the time it takes. I think it's about not making everything different and remembering that you can reuse some stuff, it’s just targeting the message a bit better and making it as quick a process as possible without it all looking like it’s just been thrown together, because I think that’s almost worse than not doing it.

It’s gradually coming together, and I can see the benefits of doing the various social media posts and making it professional with a little bit of personal stuff in there without it becoming too personal, showing my human side is really important.

 

Visit the Not A Blue Tree website to find out more about Gary and his business.

 

We provide fully funded support to self-employed and gig economy workers across Greater Manchester. If you want to learn more about EnterprisingYou, contact us now.

More information about the EnterprisingYou programme can be found here.