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Lisa's story: "This is where the hard work begins"

Pluss Positive People Positive People - Somerset Self employment 23 February 2022
Lisa's story

Lisa first heard about Pluss, and the Positive People programme, when she was looking at what support was available for her son when he was experiencing some health challenges.

A few years later she became unemployed and needed a bit of guidance herself. So she turned to Pluss’ Positive People once again.

Lisa lives with a condition called Fibromyalgia: ” It presents itself differently for each individual, but it feels like my body is constantly aching,” she explains. “Sometimes it can feel like my muscles are being ripped from my legs.”

“I also get too hot or too cold as I can’t maintain my body temperature.”

Lisa has worked in roles involving education, training and employment – but after a series of events in her last job, her increased stress caused her Fibromyalgia to get worse and, after being off work for six weeks to try and recuperate, she decided to hand in her notice.

“I’m also managing menopause symptoms and anxiety,” Lisa adds.

“It’s mainly about fatigue, I can be fine in the morning and then completely useless come the afternoon.”

After around six months of unemployment, Lisa discovered that she could be entitled to some assistance: “I wasn’t aware that I could get any support and I didn’t go to the job centre until someone mentioned to me that I was possibly entitled to Employment Support Allowance.”

And that’s when she decided to get back in touch with Pluss’ Positive People Somerset.

Patience and understanding

“They were great,” she says. “I met with Claire, my change coach, and we talked about my options and how to access grants and funding.

“I knew that I wanted to look at self-employment so we talked about relevant training and I enrolled on a six-week motivational course, which helped me define my life-force manifesto, to find things to try and aspire to, and make sure I tick them off each and every day.”

Lisa also met with Chloe from Cosmic, a digital training partner of Pluss, who guided her through building a website for her business.

“She was very patient and understanding,” Lisa remembers. “I was a complete technophobe at that time, but now, with Chloe’s help, I’ve built my own website!”

And Chloe enjoyed working with Lisa too: “Lisa was fantastic at asking questions and her attention to detail really shone through in the work we did together. A digital presence is a work in progress but Lisa was clear on the need to keep building on the tools she’d learnt about and it was a pleasure to support her with this.”

Lisa had regular fortnightly calls with her change coach, Claire, and her self-employment coach, Pia, supported her with completing much of the paperwork for starting her own Solution Focused Hypnotherapy business.

Chloe from Cosmic

When I started working with Lisa she had a clear vision of her business, its goals and where to get the qualifications she needed. What she didn't have was the knowledge of digital to build an online presence for that business. Through our sessions, we empowered Lisa with the foundational knowledge of how to put a business online - using tools like a website and social media.

Chloe Senior Digital Skills Adviser [Positive People]

Talking and listening

“I’ve always enjoyed helping other people,” Lisa says. “I’m passionate about supporting people’s mental health and wellbeing, so this just seemed a natural progression.

“It’s about talking and listening –  about distinguishing between the primitive and intellectual sides of our minds – looking for the positives all the time, reminding people what their strengths are and building confidence.”

A screenshot from Lisa's websiteSo how difficult was it for Lisa to separate herself from other people’s challenges when she’s also juggling some of her own?

“To be honest with you it’s been really hard,” she says. “At times I was saying to myself I don’t know if I can do this – but I persevered.”

And Lisa’s training has given her the empathy and skills to help others in similar situations. ” Even now I get ‘brain fog’. I sometimes forget straightforward words, like calling the microwave the dishwasher. But since I’ve been studying Solution Focused Hypnotherapy, I am armed with ways of controlling it.

“It’s all about talking about listening to positive language patterns, the present moment and solutions, not delving into the past. It’s about finding the positives and working to strengthen them.”

And now that Lisa has set up her own business, how does she feel?

“I’m under no illusion,” she says. “I know that this is where the real work begins! I need to promote my business and find clients.

Pluss’ Positive People’s  digital training partner Cosmic helped me use social media to promote my business. I’ve made my own business cards and flyers and I’ve designed a magnetic sign for my car – it’s all about promotion at the moment.”

“Now I just want to pass on some of the things I’ve learned.”

We all wish Lisa a successful onward journey. You can check out her business website by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.

Please note” Pluss is not responsible for the content of external websites