Friday, 13 March 2015

STARTING A BUSINESS WITH THE PRINCE'S TRUST: MY EXPERIENCE SO FAR


Something that has been really important for me since I've been ill is maintaining a sense of purpose. When I resigned from my job as a Speech and Language Therapist, I felt lost and missed having somewhere to channel my (limited) energy and enthusiasm.

As the severity of my condition has fluctuated, I've tried to have a variety of go-to activities from which I can draw a sense of accomplishment. These activities have ranged from working my way through an audiobook or TV episode a few minutes at a time to writing blog posts, sewing and making jewellery. More recently, as my body has been tolerating a little more between its crashes, I have decided to try something a fair bit bigger- starting my own business.

Not long before Christmas, I heard that the Prince's Trust runs an Enterprise Programme through which it supports young people to start businesses of their own. In a brave and slightly impulsive moment, having had an idea floating about in my head for a while, I sent an enquiry through their
website. I was contacted soon after and asked to attend an introductory meeting. Despite being very apprehensive about how my body would hold up against a project as big as starting a business, I went along to find out a little more about the Enterprise Programme. I came away shaking with exhaustion but feeling inspired and excited about what I could achieve in spite of my limitations. 

Since then I have attended a business start-up workshop and met with my 'mentor'. I cannot sing the praises enough of the support offered to me so far. Everyone I've met from the Prince's Trust has been supportive, understanding and accommodating of my health. I've been encouraged to work at my own pace and at no point felt under pressure. As a result, I've left each meeting feeling empowered and excited about what I can achieve around my illness. 

I am now at a point where I am starting to write my business plan. With the cognitive difficulties that come with ME/CFS, this is proving to be a challenge but I am working at it a little bit at a time, as and when I can. It is satisfying seeing it begin to come together.

I don't know how long it will take me to get a fully thought out plan in place but I'm excited about the process and what the future holds.

Find out more about the Prince's Trust Enterprise Programme here: http://www.princes-trust.org.uk/need_help/enterprise_programme.aspx

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