This week I interviewed the lovely Geraldine Joaquim, Clinical Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist and asked her all about how she got started in her business and the challenges she faced on her journey.
Why did you start your business?
I was working full time as an International Marketing Consultant, and coming up to 20 years of travelling fairly extensively which is not always compatible with raising a young family. It was also time to change, the company I was contracted to had gone through political managerial changes and I found myself reporting to a particularly vile man! So I looked for an exit strategy, something I could work towards whilst still being employed.
What did you do before you started your business?
I initially looked at using my marketing qualifications and went to a Chartered Inst. of Marketing brush-up course but things have changed dramatically since I did my post-graduate diploma with them, back then it was all direct marketing and tri-fold leaflets, now it’s digital and social media (at the time I didn’t have any sm, not even personal Facebook) and I couldn’t see myself getting enthusiastic about it!
I had come across hypnotherapy years ago when I had a sports injury (ruptured my cruciate ligament) and used it for motivation to get back to fitness, and then again during pregnancy using hypnobirthing for my 2 daughters’ births very successfully – and thought this might be a good fit for me. I found a great training school (I spent a long time searching for the right one, I didn’t want to spend time and money on a ‘paper qualification’ without any practical experience, and also wanted to be accredited to the government’s complimentary therapies register the CNHC), and it took nearly a year in training, 1 full weekend every month, plus taking on free case studies from the start of the course.
I am lucky in that I worked from home (when not travelling) so could juggle the cases studies and work. I incorporated my business towards the end of my training year, got a basic website up and some business cards. Once qualified I thought it would grow ‘organically’ without putting much effort into it and also wanted to remain ‘under the radar’ workwise so no social media presence – and of course nothing happened! I continued to be employed for a further (stressful!) year before I took the leap into full self-employment.
Tell us a bit about what you do and who you work with?
Initially I thought I would be a hypnotherapist, working one-to-one with clients but I quickly realised that all I would be doing is filling my days with back-to-back appointments, trading time for a fixed fee. With my background of working with high-level boards, business owners, etc. I decided to combine my practical experience of giving workshops and talks and my passion for helping people with stress management and developed my own workshops initially focusing on mental health and wellbeing but quickly learning that stress in the workplace is more ‘palatable’ for businesses.
I work with small- to medium-sized companies giving workshops and talks to help prevent stress burnout. It’s about educating people on the causes of stress, the signs and symptoms to look for, how to prevent it and techniques to introduce balance . These are small changes in our behaviour and thoughts that make huge difference to our health both physicaly and mentally.
Is being an entrepreneur all you expected it to be?
Yes and no – yes, I expected it to be stressful especially the financial side but no, I didn’t anticipate the full-time social media/networking/marketing side! I had a good start – I was put in touch with a local company that booked one of my talks and a half day workshop literally on the day I started and they also booked a series of private 1-2-1 hypnotherapy sessions for one of their employees, but after that… it’s the filling the ‘pipeline’ that’s hard work, delivering my workshops is what I love doing.
I’m out more now that I was when employed but no nights away from home, no toxic emails, no one standing over my shoulder, no getting up at 4.30am to catch 7.30am flight to talk to people about something I couldn’t care less about, no more late flights home, no more missed sports days or being away when one of the children is ill, and I can be there for half term and holidays (I mean mentally as well as physically).
What's been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur?
Staying positive that it will all work out, it needs time and commitment to get to a level where you can see it will work out. Having to do everything is a challenge and it’s easy to second-guess your every decision. And the technology! You do have to roll your sleeves up and dive in, learn how to do websites, how to set up lead generators, sales funnels, use zoom or appear.in, do lives, build engagement, etc. etc.
What did you learn from this that will help the readers?
If you know you have a good product or service, it’s a matter of sticking with it, connecting with like-minded people. Getting out from behind your computer is key - think about your sales funnel like an old-fashioned water pump: you have to pump the handle to get the water up the pipe before it can start flowing, and that’s what we have to do as entrepreneurs, we have to pump the handle a lot (networking, communicating, lead generation, getting in front of people, etc) to initially fill the pipeline. And you are building your network of supporters as well as potential customers.
What's the best piece of advice you'd give to others who are starting their own business?
Write out your main goals – it doesn’t have to be pretty, just scribble it out – why are you doing it, what are your motivators both negative (horrible working hours, long travel to work, stressful environment, etc) and positives (freedom to choose, spend more time with children, be able to afford things, etc) and keep this to hand so that when you are feeling low, you can see it for a boost.
And get a clear idea on your business: who your ideal customer is, what are their primary needs, what do you offer that meets those needs, how do you differ from any competitors, etc. but retain flexibility – this is a journey and where you end up might not be where you anticipated! And be prepared to spend money on your own development, pay for coaching and go to live events – these offer valuable support and widen your connections.
What are some of your favourite resources that have helped you on your entrepreneurial journey?
Acuity scheduling (online calendar), canva (design platform), zoom (1-2-1 or group video calls), Eventbrite (for online tickets to events), mailchimp, I’m playing around with Typeform at the moment to come up with some online quizzes for engagement
Where can the readers connect with you to find out more about you?
Readers can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
www.questhypnotherapy.co.uk for 1-2-1 coaching or my biz-to-biz site
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