Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Jackie O’Carroll Knew the Time had Come to Make Space in her Life for her New Business Venture...

Having worked in the public sector and later in consultancy, Jackie O’Carroll knew the time had come in Spring 2014, when she had to focus on her business idea entirely to let it realise its potential.

Jackie O'Carroll

Make Space, a social enterprise, is a developing community of people who are seeking more joy and fulfillment in their lives. People who are committed to a journey of self-discovery, of finding more meaning and more spiritual self.

Jackie says that Make Space is; ‘a reflection of my own spiritual journey – learning to get out of my own way, learning to live from my heart and less from my head.’ With the assistance of a mentor who had set up a similar membership community in London, she was able to focus on her vision and starts to see the possibilities of her ideas.

Holding her back were two aspects, her initial vision for the community and her own self-belief. Realising she wanted to find someone to help her take her first step and start the business, Jackie wrote an ‘intention’ for ‘someone with the right skills to come into her life’. A month later she met Karen at Liverpool’s ‘Soul Full Reading Group’, an events manager with experience in communications and project management. Jackie says; ‘I found it hard to believe she was real.’

Working together with Karen, Jackie approached The Women’s Organisation and worked with Business Adviser Janine to register Make Space as a Community Interest Company (CIC) – a social enterprise – earlier this year. Launching in 2014, Jackie has begun to enjoy the freedom that comes with working for herself, after nearly 25 years of working for others.

Make Space is growing and developing every day, not just encompassing events, but a whole calendar of exciting workshops, meditation groups, reading groups and speakers taking place in Liverpool and Chester.

As well as this, Make Space is becoming what Jackie hoped it would be; ‘A community for people who are beginning to recognise, or already know, that life can be much more meaningful and want to explore that at a deeper, more spiritual level.’

Make Space is now 8 months old and the community is growing fast in terms of numbers and in commitment. One of the most important things that Jackie has come to realise through launching her business, is to keep focussed and trust your instincts. The self-doubt that she was feeling, just a few months previously, she believes was clouding what her intuition was telling her; ‘take time to focus on your vision – for yourself, your purpose and passion.’

Doubting whether people would ‘get’ what she was trying to accomplish, or making assumptions about whether people would want to hear about Make Space, is a thing of the past. Jackie continues ‘Now I speak to everyone I meet about the possibilities in our lives.’
The plans for 2015 are taking shape, with a full list of all of Make Space’s events on Eventbrite;

Their next events will be on November 27th and 28th, hosting Molly Harvey, a renowned public speaker, at her only open event in the UK this year.

Molly works with CEO’s of top companies and teaches them about working in a different way, leading projects such as taking some of the top 1% of CEO’s to Nepal, and other remote areas of the world, involving them with the local communities to take the learning back to the working environment.

Jackie says; ‘Molly has been an inspiration for me. I have heard her speak on a number of occasions and love that she speaks from the heart, how open she is and how ready she is to offer her wisdom and insight.’

On the 27th November, Make Space will host Molly Harvey, speaking about ‘Making Changes, Not Excuses’, and on the 28th November, there is a day-long workshop, looking at a five step approach to living from the inside out, from the heart, rather than the head.
If you are interested in attending these events, please head over to Make Space’s Eventbrite page to book your tickets!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mum to be Danielle Smallwood has battled through, and overcame, health issues to start up her own health and safety consultancy business, 3D HSE LTD.

With over 10 years’ experience in the industry and fully qualified, 3D HSE LTD provide concise and relevant advice to ensure businesses are up to date and well informed at all times. Their method of delivery is simple and effective, with a friendly yet informative manner, ensuring health and safety can be engaged in a way that makes it anything but a chore.

Credit: Barbara Idasiak Photography
‘We have vast experience working within a variety of sectors, from construction sites and offices, through to factories and oil refineries. With our thorough and knowledgeable attitude we will provide you with excellent service. We hope to not just become your consultant but a valued member of your team and by doing so creating a positive culture within your workplace. Our skills not only lie with carrying out the work but with engaging others to do so.’

Whilst working as a health and safety consultant, Danielle decided that she wanted to set up her own consultancy that she could use as a platform to change perceptions of health and safety. This would give her the opportunity to run it with the unique style she had developed for communicating health and safety.

When Danielle was unfortunately diagnosed with a range rheumatoid and connective tissue conditions, she decided to use the situation she had found herself in as the catalyst for starting up in business.

‘With everything that was happening with me medically, I decided it was now or never. It had been a struggle for the past few years but finally getting diagnosed actually made me realise just how well I had been doing to hold things together.’

‘Accepting my conditions has been the hardest part as it has meant I have had to make drastic changes to my life as a whole. It set me back a lot but I have always been very determined and I feel like this made me even more so.’

Danielle admits that the initial stages of setting up her business were difficult as she had many hospital appointments. This left her with little time to promote her newly established business but her persistence and dedication to her venture spurred her on.

‘I was slightly disheartened that I haven’t been able to give it the initial care and time it required but feel like now I am turning a corner and am getting things up to scratch. I am however really happy with the standard of the documentation I have been putting together and producing and feel proud to put my name to it.’

In the process of starting up her business, Danielle contacted The Women’s Organisation who she knew offered advice and support workshops to women in Merseyside, as she conducted the fire risk assessment on their building in the construction phase.

‘I received so much valuable support from The Women’s Organisation. The business templates they sent me were so useful as I needed to try and catch up on things I missed out on early on. My adviser was amazing and the training workshops offered were great for business.’

Despite being held back initially, business is steadily building and 3D HSE LTD is eager to assist small to medium sized businesses in becoming compliant with their health and safety legislative requirements. The business will be resuming normal operation throughout and after Danielle’s pregnancy.

Danielle is a shining example of what can be achieved if you are dedicated and determined enough to work through any barriers that present themselves, medical or otherwise. If you would like to contact her regarding any health and safety matters, you can find out more about the services 3D HSE LTD provide on the website You can also contact directly on 07540 800 535 or email

And if you would like to become your own boss, why not explore the idea you've been considering with The Women's Organisation - 0151 706 8111 / 

By Beckie Kinsella

Portrait photo credit: Barbara Idasiak Photography

Friday, November 7, 2014

For Interior Designer Cynthia Brown, ‘Success is Doing Ordinary Things, Extraordinarily Well.’

After graduating from Liverpool John Moores University with an Interior Design degree, Cynthia Brown found it very difficult to find paid employment.  She began to feel like the interior design world has a very limited opportunities for an aspiring designers looking to work, especially for an architectural practice.

Photo Credit: Barbara Idasiak Photography
"I thought the best way to overcome this barrier would be to create a job for myself by setting up my own upcycling furniture business" Cynthia told us, "now I can enjoy giving design advice as well as furniture restoration, not to mention, meeting brilliant clients."

Housed in her very own premises on Smithdown Road, Crafted Interiors sells and upcycles furniture and offers a quality interior design service.

"I found the idea of starting up really daunting, I had the skills but had never run my own business before, so after hearing about The Women’s Organisation at a job fair, I booked a meeting to get some support."

Cynthia was paired up with her own qualified business adviser and offered a place on a range of relevant business workshops that she greatfully took up.

Liverpool resident Cynthia  said "My adviser was very helpful. I had one to one support and went on all the great free workshops, including Understanding Tax and National Insurance, Selling Online and Basic Bookkeeping. I came to feel that I wasn’t alone; I wanted to hear other women’s stories and those courses allowed me to do that. It gave me a lot of confidence."

She continued "I found the business planning workshop [Planning For Success] particularly useful as having the business plan really helped me to identify how much funding I would actually need and how much income to expect over the coming months. I had some funds to put into the business but you never know quite how much you need, the business plan was perfect for that."

Despite Cynthia not being able to promote her business as well as she would've liked in the early stages, it took off within the first month.  At the rate her products were selling and commission works, it allowed her to turn her focus to marketing and actually pay for adverts on Facebook, website and other marketing materials.

Cynthia is very passionate about her work, which adds to the uniqueness of Crafted Interiors. Furniture is never resold in the condition it is bought, she is dedicated to spend as much time on each piece as it needs to make it perfect, from mixing colours to experimenting finishes.

The interior designer is now to develop her business by looking for commercial premises and a potential investment to allow her to expand and upmarket her products.

"I believe success is doing ordinary things, extraordinarily well" she told us. 

To find out more about Crafted Interiors you can visit their facebook page

If like Cynthia you are looking to create your own job by utlising your skills to start a business, get in touch with The Women's Organisation today via 0151 706 8111 or 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Gemma Scattergood Turned Her Passion for Crafting into a Thriving Business

University of Liverpool graduate Gemma Scattergood quickly realised that job opportunities were scarce, especially in her desired field. Whilst struggling to work full time and volunteer for a drugs support agency, she made the bold decision to turn her passion for crafting into a business. 
Credit: Barbara Idasiak Photography
After graduating with a Psychology degree, Gemma found herself struggling financially. Noticing that she was receiving quite a few requests for crafted items from family, friends and co-workers, her boyfriend suggested that she should turn it into a job as it made her happy, when the minimum wage jobs didn’t.

‘First step for me was to design, design and design. I saved my holidays in work to take bulk time off to work on things and that started a few years ago now. I think only a handful of the original designs have made it to now as they were, a lot have either been modified or scrapped completely.’

‘I didn’t know where to start with business plans, finances, workspaces, legal requirements etc. It was terrifying. It got to the point where I realised I was only doing things for myself and talking about it, so I decided to look for direction.

The self-taught crafter contact The Women’s Organisation to help support her in setting up her own business.

‘I’d gotten myself stuck in a position where I didn’t know what the next step was and if I’d covered everything I needed to. They took all my ideas on board and helped me make sense of everything. The fact that this service is free is outstanding!’

‘My advisor Francine was my lifeline through all stages of my business plan and the workshops are tailored in such a way that they apply to all yet feel very personal. Everything from confidence building to tax is covered, and for the first time it made it feel exciting rather than daunting and that feeling has stayed with me. They also made it painless, I had my first meeting in January and launched by April after 3 years of trying to do this on my own. I could not have done this without them.’

Through her business Girl on Purl Action, Gemma celebrates everything to do with the wool and craft world. GOPA provides high quality, hand-made knitted and crocheted items that are sold through the online store, as well as custom bespoke services for that extra personal touch or special occasion.

Expanding on this, the Liverpool resident is now hosting weekly craft groups in various locations across Liverpool, as well as workshops and classes for all skill levels, currently in partnership with The Crosby Tea Rooms.

When asked what she likes best about self-employment, Gemma replied: ‘The freedom of it all. I am my own boss. I can create what I am in the mood to create (most of the time) which makes working so enjoyable! Having worked in so many minimum wage jobs over the years always answering to some faceless companies’ expectations and goals it’s wonderful when you achieve your own.’

Gemma does not have any ‘take over the world’ style plans, as she put it, but would really like Girl on Purl Action to be such a success that she is able to leave her day job. She is also aiming to branch out more into clothing, but I’m told those plans are top secret which is exciting.

‘I’m really proud because I felt like I was never going to get here. I feel that out of all my life achievements; learning to drive, moving out of my parents’ house, getting my degree, above all else, this is my biggest so far.’

To have a look at GOPA’s items, or to find out more about the groups and workshops that are running, visit You can also contact Gemma directly

Why not follow Gemma’s adventure on social media. Twitter: @GOnPurlAction & Facebook: - She’s always happy to chat craft! 

If you have an idea or a passion you would like to make into a career, contact The Women's Organisation to find out how they can help you do so on 0151 706 8111 / 

By Beckie Kinsella

Portrait Photo Credit: Barbara Idasiak Photography