Tuesday, 19 April 2022
In September 2021, MasterCard launched the Strive UK programme with the aim of making digital tools and knowledge accessible to 650,000 British micro and small businesses to help them thrive in the digital economy. Enterprise Nation partnered with Mastercard and Strive to deliver an online ‘One Stop Shop’ for entrepreneurs.
Karen Oliver, a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) based coach, is one of the business owners who has taken part in the initiative. Her business Beyond the Bathroom Scale provides a self-help resource for women who want to heal from disordered eating and body image. Karen talks about how taking part in the initiative has benefited her business so far.
I'm a former social worker, but had to leave that role – in which I was working 60 to 80-hour weeks –to look after my late father, who had vascular dementia. I also had a baby during this time, so I needed work that would allow me to work from home and fit my job around my caring and parenting responsibilities.
This was long before the pandemic, so flexible and remote working wasn't as commonplace. As a result, I decided to set up my own online business, as I knew that would give me the flexibility I needed.
I joined a few business groups online – including Enterprise Nation – and leant on the support of various mentors for advice around topics such as managing business finance, legal considerations, and marketing strategies.
The Make a Plan tool helped me figure out where to look for help and advice first, and what to prioritise. I liked that everything is categorised for me, so I can choose a focus for each day that I set aside to work on my business, rather than working in it.
I remember feeling very overwhelmed! I was doing many different jobs all at the same time. Some days I was in accounting mode, other days I had to think like a marketing manager, then I'd spend a portion of my time creating and designing content or building my website and app.
In the early days of business, it feels like everything is competing for your attention.
I plan every task out for each of these 'departments' and schedule it, then look at my overall calendar to see which tasks I can delegate to a freelancer, which I can automate, and what I need to prioritise for each day.
After a year of testing my app and its content with customers, I'd like to scale my offering to include organisational licences that health trusts and education providers can buy and offer as part of their support packages to patients or students.
I'm currently retraining as a psychologist and hope to open a private practice online, specialising in eating disorders. I'd also like to offer accredited CPD courses in eating disorders to other allied medical professionals and clinical supervision services.
Ask other people for help! This was something I struggled with before I set up my business, and I started out thinking I had to do everything by myself and solve issues alone.
It's much easier when you reach out to other people in business and bounce ideas around and share knowledge. Business is a collaborative project. I'm so grateful for all the mentors and advisers who have supported me.
Are you a female entrepreneur looking to develop an idea or scale up your existing business? Check out the everywoman Self-Made hub for more inspiration and practical tips.