Throughout my time overseeing various business support programmes at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), I have seen thousands of individuals come through the doors to receive advice on self-employment. Once they have started their own business, I tend not to see them again unless they need further support from a business adviser.
When I do on the odd occasion meet up with past clients it’s great to see how they are doing, and how self-employment has changed their lives. This brings to mind a networking event I attended last month where I met Klaire Ferry.
Klaire came to us 20 years ago and started her business Natural Selection Therapies. I didn’t know Klaire at that time, as my role was a little different back then. It was 1996 and the BIC was very new, with only two buildings in comparison to the 14 acre site we have today.
Klaire explained to me the support she’d had and how things have changed in the business world since she first started out. After attending our self-employment workshops and receiving a grant to help with start-up costs, Klaire launched her business. But at that time there was not enough demand for massage therapists so hairdressing became her main business.
The business was very successful, however, when Klaire had her second child she decided to give it up to concentrate on being a mother and continued with her part time job.
Interestingly, Klaire decided to go back to running her own business in 2013 after being made redundant. This time round though, there’s a lot more demand for massage treatments so she can focus on doing what she loves, and make it a viable business. And as well as having new clients on the books, some of her old clients have returned too!
Klaire is a great example of someone who has reviewed her business model and changed with the times. She loves being her own boss and although various funding avenues come and go, the BIC are always here to provide free advice to anyone looking to start a business.
To start your journey to self-employment call 0191 516 6149 and make an appointment with our Start Up team.