Self-Employment Mentoring Service Success Stories

Our Self-Employed Mentoring Service supported the DWP's initiative to help people get their small businesses back on their feet after the impact of Covid-19


By Basma Aboudihaj · February 19, 2021

Intuitive Thinking Skills have been delivering a Self Employed Mentoring Service in Wales for JobCentreplus in Llandudno. The service is designed for UC Claimants whose businesses have been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 Pandemic, to provide support with re-evaluating and transitioning their businesses to be resilient and viable despite Government COVID-19 Restrictions.
Each Referred Claimant completes 6 sessions over 4 weeks with a Specialised Business Mentor over Zoom, working on both their business and also the personal impact to their mental health and wellbeing.

Case Studies

Prior to the pandemic, EJ had been receiving support through the New Enterprise Allowance Scheme to set up her own Beauty and Nails business. She was ready to start trading just before the country entered a national lockdown, which prevented her from moving her business forward.
As a result, EJ was left demotivated and lacked the confidence to consider alternative opportunities to starting her business.
EJ met with her mentor, and throughout her sessions, they explored alternative ways to generate income, begin building a customer base and start marketing despite the obvious restrictions preventing her from carrying out her business.
As a result of the sessions, EJ has identified a niche product she can offer and has begun to build a customer base selling “Personalised Stick on Nails”. She also now has social media pages to advertise the product which is gaining a lot of interest from her consumers. The product has a viable profit margin, and EJ is now confident and excited about the potential for her business when lockdown restrictions are lifted and she can begin the traditional services her business can offer.

SW is a website developer and had been working for a franchise on a self-employed basis prior to the national lockdown. The franchise company was intrinsically linked to the hospitality industry, and as such work quickly dried up.
Despite having the skills, SW lacked the confidence to transfer these skills and the thought of marketing her own services was very overwhelming for her. She lacked self-belief that she could compete with bigger digital marketing companies out there and believed that such opportunities were not within her reach.
During SW’s sessions with her Mentor, they completed a SWOT analysis of her skills and mapped out the services she could offer. SW quickly realised she has the skills and valuable USP’s that could enable her to compete in her sector. Work was done to support SW to understand her customer base and how to effectively utilise social media and business networking to market her business.
As a result of the sessions, SW now has the confidence to pursue her business and is starting to develop her customer base.

SW Feedback
“The meetings were very productive and has given me more confidence in moving forward with my business, we discussed many aspects of running my business that I had not thought about before”

PK is a self-employed black cab taxi driver, prior to the pandemic, he relied on pick up fares from taxi ranks. When lockdown restrictions were imposed, his taking was dramatically affected because customers were travelling less. PK also struggled with speaking English and was very anxious and stressed before being referred to our Self-Employment Mentoring Service.
PK worked with his mentor to complete a SWOT analysis and explore alternative opportunities for offering paid passenger transport. PK was also supported to create a website and social media pages to advertise and market his business, as well as increasing his public liability insurance and enrolled on a first aid course.
PK then approached his local authority to have access to their commissioning for school transport as well as support for the vulnerable and is now gaining contracts direct from the Local Authority.
PK also enrolled and paid for an ESOL course to improve his English Language skills and has a lot more self-confidence and is excited for his business moving forwards.

PC is a hotelier and the pandemic has had obvious ramifications for her business. When PC was referred to us she was in despair, incurring debt and very anxious about her situation.
PC worked with her mentor to explore options for diversifying her business and building business resilience. PC was supported to set up effective marketing through Linkedin, Pinterest and franchise websites. A SWOT analysis on her finances also uncovered a potential for securing Government Support funding, as well as a reduction in her business rates, things PC says she would never have known about or had the confidence to apply for without having her Mentors support.
PC is now mentally resilient and optimistic about the future of her business.

Feedback from PC
“When I signed up for this training I assumed it would be a group training session and would just be a couple of hours. So I was surprised to find out that it was a one to one zoom meeting over 6 sessions with a marketing specialist.
It meant that we could talk in depth about my business and how I could make the most of using social media to capture potential customers’ attention.
Although I already use social media as part of my business marketing, I was shown completely new areas that I hadn’t even considered. Each session gave me the opportunity to ask questions and learn from my Mentor’s experience as a successful business owner.
It really helped that they had knowledge of my industry and could guide me in the right direction for my business.
I now feel like I have a plan to move forward with my marketing to help grow my business.”

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