The next business owner in the series is Louise Worsley from Worsley Training. She shares how she has grown her business over the years, how it has evolved and how she is preparing for relocation this summer. Make sure you read all of the way to the end…she surprised me with her answer to the last question! Although it did leave me with one more question – why??!
How do you describe your business to your friends?
I teach practical, memorable First Aid courses to Parents, Childcare professionals, Children and Small Businesses in an enjoyable manner which brings First Aid to life. My specialism is Paediatric First Aid. I’m currently focusing on working with schools to train the pupils, teachers and parents.
How long have you had your business?
I’ve been teaching First Aid for over 11 years, initially as a freelancer, but almost entirely with my own clients for 6 years.
Where are you located?
Worsley Training is currently based in South West London but will be moving to Wiltshire on 20th July!
What inspired you to start your business?
First Aid is a skill for life so I am passionate about ensuring everyone knows the basics, as you never know when you might need to save someone’s life. I love teaching and know lots of first aid from 8 years of leading overseas expeditions so it was an obvious path for me. Also living in South West London a.k.a nappy valley, the demand for paediatric courses is huge so it was easy to grow the business by word of mouth recommendations.
What problem do you solve for your customers?
How amazing would it be if everyone knew basic first aid and had the confidence to step forward and help when needed?
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I always finish every course by saying I hope you never have to use any of it – but when I get emails saying that something happened and they did the right thing it makes it all worthwhile.
For example one of my students came across an incident where a cyclist had been hit by a lorry, pulled under it and was actually trapped under the wheel.
“When I got there, I did all the checks for bleeding, someone was already calling the services – he was conscious and talking, but shocked and found a bit of blood. We kept him still and stable until the paramedics arrived about 5 mins later…he’s going to be ok!!! Thanks to your course, I knew exactly what to do to help so thank you very much! I had hoped never to have had to put it to the test, but I did, and it paid off. Thank you!”
What’s the biggest frustration with working for yourself?
Actually I love my work life balance and wouldn’t be able to achieve that if I wasn’t working for myself. Our children are 4 and 6 years old so I want to be around for them too.
What are you working on right now?
My new website – which has required a 3-month long branding exercise that has been so worthwhile – really nailing what I do, to whom and how. Then ensuring that all the text and images appeal to that target audience. I have been so lucky with word of mouth recommendations while living in London but will need to start again when growing the business in Wiltshire.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own business?
Don’t try to rush it – organic growth has been key for me to establish what I am best at and who my target audience is. When I started I was offering everything to everyone, but have now accepted that some markets are best served by competitors who are more knowledgeable in that industry sector.
Do you have a favourite food?
Anything Thai or Lebanese.
What was your first ever job?
Washing dishes in the local pub in Lyme Regis followed by packing T-shirts in a factory in Exeter.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
What is your favourite song?
Currently the whole of the Greatest Showman soundtrack – I sing it at top volume with the kids in the car.
Who would play you in a movie about your life?
Sandra Bullock – I love her!!
If I gave you an extra day in the week, what would you do with it?
Keep trying new activities – I went Stand Up Paddle Boarding with a friend last week and loved it.
What is the weirdest thing you’ve been asked lately?
What else should I know about you?
I was the runner up female in the world stinging nettle eating championships 15 years ago! (It was fuelled by a glass or two of Sauvignon blanc).
What a great skill to teach people! That student feedback is incredible, and I love Louise’s thought about how it would be if everybody knew first aid and could step up when needed.
For Louise, self employment gives the flexibility to spend time with her young children. Her observation that her business has evolved into paediatric courses as it has grown was interesting, she found her niche as she went. Has your initial business plan also evolved over time? Are you doing now what you thought you would be doing? I’d love to hear, let me know in the comments box.