Well, it’s been a few weeks since my last blog, so it is time to add a few words to update:) I have spent many weeks moodling – thinking with emotion:)- over a business idea that could make a difference. It has been an interesting journey. An idea to utilise my knowledge as a physiotherapist and experience of social anxiety; a business that people may want.
BTW, my LinkedIn profile has changed many times – to reflect different advice given (apologies if any of my connections get daily updates).
Basically, my idea was to coach people who are recovering from social anxiety disorder or struggling with aspects of social anxiety. This was after many weeks reading about the subject, checking out social anxiety forums, speaking to different people, an excellent training day with a cognitive behavioural therapist, a Skype session with a counselling psychologist undertaking a Doctorate about social anxiety disorder, and a discussion with a clinical psychologist who is a university lecturer at UEL…Phew!
Social anxiety is complex and difficult – not only from the social anxiety perspective, but also the setting up of a business specialising in it. For example, after posting many times on the social anxiety UK forum, I received little feedback for my idea despite my sustained efforts – no connection with them it seemed.
Mental health problems are complex, and, in order to have the right client, it would be safer to screen and refer by a therapist initially. I now had to win the approval of therapists for my coaching idea…Based on my NHS experience, it would be a tough nut to crack. There is a fine line between therapy and coaching and definite boundaries that the coach should not cross … There is room and a place for us all though, I feel! The business idea was always about bridging the gap between therapy and normal comfortable everyday functioning – not in competition with it.
Generally, people with social anxiety lack opportunities to practice graded activity exposure and social/assertive skills within a structured and supportive environment. I could provide a safe environment in a multitude of ways : from workshops, meet-up groups, project work for charities to name but a few. I was advised to establish if the service was wanted or needed and if people would pay for it – becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of looking for clients and areas in the UK that would pay the most 🙁 Coaching in the community (my interest) would always rely on grants and funding to sustain it…Stuck between a rock and a hard place it seems.
My reason for a career change was to: feel free to express myself the way I want to, develop creative ideas without restrictions, reach many people and not have to charge a whole bunch of money for it…But, I also need to have an income to live.
I set about compiling my fist surveymonkey targeting therapy professionals. It was a great exercise to do and placed it on a LinkedIn group. Having also contacted all the professional bodies for advice – none have got back to me. So far, there has been one response to my survey (from the USA) who concluded clients need the service, they will not pay for it, and that it will not work anywhere in the UK. My survey is lost in a sea of other discussions. People don’t appear interested in it -no need, no demand, no payment.
I am happy to accept if something is not going to work, but I need to fail fast so that time is not wasted on my MSc studying something nobody wants…..yieks!
But, could I spend my MSc time doing something I feel passionate about and links up all my interests? Hmmmmm…
On a lighter note, I cast aside my business idea whilst on holiday, and became engrossed in a book called ‘Business Model You‘. It is a structured way to reinvent yourself on a single-page blueprint using 9 building blocks. It is a very simple and brilliantly illustrated book with focused questions to learn who you really are. No words are wasted, and there are plenty of examples of real life changers that are hugely inspiring.
The book is so powerful that a ‘Eureka’ idea for my new career came to me whilst jogging; encompassing all – my abilities, values and passions. I am ‘buzzed up’ and excited again.
Though not totally giving up on my original idea, I am freer and more creatively driven to do my next business model without pushing myself into a role that does not fit with my authentic self. My social anxiety is in my past, it does not define me, and I don’t need to pull it alongside me to become just another version of my previous job. Onwards and upwards…I need to untie those ropes and set myself free… I hope you can benefit from my experiences too…