#SelfStarterStories: From being a Podiatrist to becoming a Divorce and Breakup Coach
This week's #selfstarterstory features Caroline Strawson, Founder of Caroline Strawson : The Divorce and Breakup Coach
#PickYourselfUK caught up with Caroline to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey.
What was your last job?: Podiatrist is my last profession but I have ran two other businesses over the last two years that now run themselves and lead me to my true passion and purpose.
When did you choose to PICK YOURSELF instead of waiting to be chosen by someone else?: As time was progressing in my business, I was becoming more and more aware that the need for helping people through their divorce with all the emotions was far greater than I even ever imagined.
There are so many negative connotations associated with divorce and I want to dispel this myth and almost feel I am on a mission to do that.
"Broken home" "single mum", you have to blame someone to actually even get a divorce so that immediately sets the battle scene.
I have recently become one of the UK's first accredited Divorce and Breakup Coaches and seems the right time now to forge ahead with my vision to show women that divorce can be a catalyst for a complete life redesign to be happier and more content than ever before.
What was the most challenging part of starting a business?: The most challenging part was making sure that everything had a good foundation on which to build my business before I launched it.
I knew my Divorce Coaching would cause a stir as so few are out there, so I needed to get the structure right to show others that I am professional, knowledgeable and with the right structure in place to help as many people as I could, once I started.
What is your favourite business book and why?: My favourite business book is ‘Start With Your Why’ by Simon Sinek. This for me is at the core of what makes a truly successful business.
If you build a business based on your passion, purpose and why, then you are always coming from a place of authenticity and it actually never feels like work because you are in total alignment with yourself and your values.
Do you do everything yourself? What do you outsource?: I do the majority myself and have just taken on a lady to help me with my Facebook because I have a group of nearly 3000 women and a rapidly growing business page but the majority, I do myself.
What is your favourite marketing tool ?: Facebook is my favourite marketing tool as it means I can reach millions of people and help show them that Divorce Can Be Their Superpower, just as it was mine.
How do you market your business?: I market my business by using two main methods and that is social media and face-to-face networking. I have built up a thriving community on Facebook called Divorce and Breakup Support Group for women with nearly 3000 members now in just 2 months and here I give free advice, live videos and have themed days.
I am studying for my Masters in Positive Psychology so I use practical exercises and positive psychology to shift people forward. This is not a group to simply slate your ex, but a group to take back your power of your own recovery and healing. It is a fantastic community and the engagement is amazing with friendships being formed every day.
I have an active business page on Facebook and I do a weekly Sunday night Divorce Recovery LIVE to talk about all matters related to divorce and breakup. These videos then get uploaded to my Youtube Channel.
These marketing tools enable me to then either offer one-to-one coaching services or my online courses. I also have a book out on September 12th called Divorce Became My Superpower so I am hoping to reach bestseller status and use this to share my voice about divorce and that my own debt, depression, anxiety and self-harm can now be used to show others light.
I also network locally in-person as I believe we will all know someone who is stuck and going through divorce and it is the second most traumatic life event you can go through so I just continually raise my profile locally and have appeared on the local radio.
I was also recently part of a best-selling book about female entrepreneurs and shared my personal struggles to creating a successful business.
When you first launched, how did you get your first paying customers?: I initially worked hard on raising my profile on social media. I shared my story of my £70k debt and depression and house repossession so that my darkness could be other peoples light.
I created a following and a tribe that trusted me and they could see that I had the experience from my own circumstances but also the professional credibility as had a medical background, I am a positive psychology expert and showed that I am now one of the UK’s very first accredited Divorce Coaches.
I have appeared in The Sun's Fabulous magazine, local radio and the national magazine Yours, and am about to be published in Best magazine. I am in talks with Channel 4 about being part of a documentary about positive divorce.
This all built up my profile and within my community group, I positioned myself as the expert and people would start asking me how I could help and then I could offer my coaching services and online courses. I have a global community in my group so have clients from USA as well as UK so far.
How did you get your first traffic to your website?: Blogs have hugely helped with traffic to my website and knowing who my target audience is so all my blogs are absolutely written with them in mind with the keywords that they would search for. Plus I would share my website on my social media platforms
Nominate one person/friend who believed in you from the start, and what would you like to say to them today?: Simon Rhodes, my second husband has seen me work day and night until 2am and beyond with my vison to help other women move from breakup to breakthrough and he has always supported me and given me belief in myself when on occasions I got scared or doubted myself
What would you say to someone who is toying with the idea to start a business but haven't yet?: If you are toying with the idea of a business, I would absolutely recommend it, but you need to ensure you do your homework.
Find out who your target market is and if there a space to start a business and make money from it. Make sure you prepare fully and collect data first to ensure it is even a viable business
If you could have dinner with one entrepreneur, who would it be and why?: I was lucky enough to meet Richard Branson in my early twenties when I had finished my degree and worked for Virgin Atlantic for a time. I wish, now being an entrepreneur, that I could meet him again to share how much he inspired me and pick his brains!!!!!
Caroline Strawson has qualified for the #PickYourselfUK Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award 2018. If you'd like to enter yourself or nominate a small business entrepreneur for this award, please submit your story below.