Melanie Holland – life by design (Plymouth)
Sometimes the regular treadmill of 9-5 working can become too much, and the appeal of being your own boss becomes too strong to ignore. Melanie Holland is a prime example of somebody who paid her dues and finally decided to take control of her life.
Melanie had worked in the public sector with children and families for 14 years, but began to feel deeply unfulfilled. After hearing about life coaching, Melanie took a course that fitted around her work commitments. Then, after qualifying a year later, she left her job to start up her own business.
“I decided that to live the life I wanted (more time for friends and family, as well as freedom and adventure), I would have to work for myself. I began to build my business doing the things I liked, such as writing blogs and going to networking meetings. I already had a few adult clients, but it quickly transpired that I was not a businesswoman!”
Matters came to a head in October 2012 when Melanie panicked about how much she didn’t know about running a business.
“I cried to my best friend about how I felt. It seemed I had come to the end of the road; I just didn’t have the business understanding or knowledge that I needed and felt that I didn’t have time to learn.”
Two things then happened that turned things around for Melanie.
First, she heard about the fully-funded business workshops run by Outset Plymouth and immediately joined the Business start-up course. The routine of the sessions, and the support of others like her, proved invaluable in helping Melanie to begin taking her business in the direction she wanted.
“Outset has been amazing. The course leader had a great deal of time and energy, making the sessions fun and informative, but also held me accountable for completing tasks that would help my business to succeed. The course also helped me to identify skills gaps and encouraged me to look into how I could fill them.”
Having found that one of the biggest challenges had been a feeling of isolation, Melanie particularly valued the classroom environment provided by Outset.
“I often felt lonely when I didn’t have another person who shared my goals. But when I started with Outset, the support of others in the same boat was very helpful and allowed a mutual bouncing of ideas off one another.”
Second, Melanie’s best friend Annie Swift became her business partner, bringing a wealth of business knowledge to the company. With Annie’s guidance and a new, shared vision, the company was rebranded in January 2013, becoming “life by design (Plymouth)”.
The company now operates from its own premises and offers a coaching service to children and adults, helping people to work out where they want to be, what skills they have and how they are going to reach their goals. It also offers “Confident Kids!”, a four week educational programme which focuses on building children’s confidence for life, and which is available to primary schools across Plymouth.