Thursday, April 20, 2017

Change It and Progress to Success with Our Confidence Building Programme! 🙌

Earlier this year we launched our new confidence and resilience building programme for the women of Liverpool, and after a successful first cohort, we’re now recruiting for the next programme in May!

Change It, Progress to Success offers women the chance to be part of a circle that includes  8 personal development sessions and ongoing support from The Women’s Organisation team. During these circles, you will build a more positive outlook in all aspects of life; at work, at home, or in relationships. Our team will encourage you to think about what you would like to change and then help you to build the practical skills and confidence to take these steps.

Throughout the sessions and 1-2-1 support, you will learn more about yourself, think about how to become more assertive and break negative thinking habits. You will set achievable goals and begin to plan the future you want, and we hope that with our help, you will complete the programme with new skills, a positive attitude and a massive confidence boost!

The programme will take place in a number of Children’s Centres around the city, as well as at 54 St James Street, home to The Women’s Organisation. You can find your local ‘Change It’ here:

4-week programme:

The Women’s Organisation, 54 St James Street, L1 0AB – 16th May, 10-3pm

8-week programmes (Excluding week commencing 29th of May due to School Holidays):

Picton Children’s Centre, 139 Earle Road, L7 6HD – 15th May, 9:30-11:30am
Speke Children’s Centre, Conleach Road, L24 0TW  Fully Booked
Fountains Children’s Centre, Fountains Road, L4 1QH – 19th May, 1-3pm
Kensington Children’s Centre, 23 Quorn Street, L7 2QR – 22nd May, 1-3pm
Wavertree Children’s Centre, 85 Wellington Road, L15 4LE – 22nd May, 9:30-11:30am

We caught up with some of the women from our last round of circles to find out how they got on. Comments included:

“In June, I gave birth to my son. I used to be so business-minded but I just completely lost myself and my confidence. When I found out about Change It; Progress to Success, it gave me that confidence boost and the excitement each week to go to the Children’s Centre. I met my tutor and all the other women, they were there to listen and that was one thing I needed someone to do for me – to listen.” 

“The course and my tutor left me feeling empowered, supported and able to make the changes I want”

 “’Change It’ is boss! My tutor is great, very friendly and approachable. Positive thinking and assertiveness modules have helped me already in my day to day – I don’t want the course to end!”

“I did a ‘one-day’ confidence building course a few years ago and wanted to do more but at the time there didn’t appear to be anything between that and business start-up courses – so thanks for listening” 

Over the next three years, we intend to work with over 500 women developing confidence and helping women to see their true potential. Whatever age, background and stage of your life you may be at, Change It; Progress to Success will help you in building a better future.

If you are a woman and would like to book a place or find out more about the programme, please contact our engagement team on 0151 706 8111 or email

If you are an organisation and would like to refer someone onto the programme, or contact a member of the Change It team about opportunities, please contact a member of our engagement team on 0151 706 8111 or email

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Hectic Work Life Encouraged Laura Platt To Start Up Her Own Makeup Business And A Salon!

Working in the salon and experiencing the same thing every day was becoming tedious for makeup artist Laura Platt. So, Laura decided to set up her own freelance makeup business. The opportunities found along Laura’s journey has led her to opening her own salon in St Helens.

Prior to taking the plunge, Laura worked in a beauty salon for 12 years. Laura is still currently working here. She started off as an apprentice on a worked based learning scheme. As time progressed, so did Laura’s career and she was then promoted to Salon Manager. ‘I saw it as a great privilege.’

Laura in her own creation! 
There were a few barriers in the way for Laura. Her current employment was an issue as managers are not in favour of employees doing mobile work and working in the salon. Therefore, Laura kept her business secret for a year until she found the courage to tell her boss. In the end, I told her I’d been doing a few make ups and that now people were asking me to do more...She was very supportive of me and my business and I think it brought us closer together.’ But working 49 hours a week restricted Laura from doing make up after work.

After losing her social life and being run down by long hours, Laura decided to cut her hours down. This was vital for Laura as she needed to focus on her freelancing business. Business varied for Laura, ‘Some days I was full, some I had nothing in.’  Initially, this worried Laura as she had cut her work hours to work for herself but it wasn’t as busy as she had hoped. ‘But that soon changed!’

Some of Laura's work
Another significant barrier for Laura was her anxiety and panic attacks. ‘This has affected my business somewhat over the past few months. I’ve had to cancel or rearrange clients due to it kind of taking over my life.’ Driving around a lot and going into stranger’s houses ‘can be quite daunting and can be very stressful.’ However, Laura is determined to beat this and not let it affect her life or business.

‘I received loads of support from The Women’s Organisation.’

Laura was recommended by a friend to receive support from Enterprise Hub partner; The Women’s Organisation to help kick start her business. It was our drop-in event which Laura attended that got her initial business idea started. From there, a meeting was set up with Francine Taylor; a Senior Business Advisor, who ‘Was amazing. So, nice and friendly, and ever so helpful.’ Laura was booked onto several courses at the organisation, including: Planning for Success, Basic Bookkeeping and Become a More Confident You. ‘I absolutely loved every course I went on. I met such amazing inspiring women. Everyone had ideas and was so helpful.’ Laura stresses the fact that these courses are free and ‘Fabulous!’The help that we can get and it’s right under our noses and yet people just don’t realise.’ All the courses Laura attended gave her that boost of confidence she needed to start up her business.

There are two main aspects about running your own business that Laura enjoys. Creating a business in an industry you love is ‘Always great, most of my days are spent playing with makeup which I love!’ Laura’s income is also another factor as she is earning more money than she used to…’So I can treat myself a lot more, which is always great.’

Some more of Laura's work
Laura’s business is continuing to grow. ‘I’ve got my Facebook page up and running, my business cards are a huge hit.’ Laura’s boss has decided she is selling the salon and offered Laura to invest. So, Laura accepted! She is currently in the process of buying her own salon.

This is a fantastic opportunity for Laura as it has been established for 20 years. ‘I’ve worked there my whole time as a beautician so all the clients that come in know me, and now I have somewhere to set up a makeup studio!’ Reflecting on her business progress, Laura is proud of how far she has come. ‘I had very much started to become a plodder with my job, and now I feel like I’m an actual business woman.’

‘I’m so excited.’

For anyone thinking of starting their own business, Laura advises them to ‘100% get down to The Women’s Org, or even just look on the website at the courses they offer…I told my sister and she now has started setting up her own private therapy business thanks to the Women’s Organisation.’

So, what does the future hold for Laura in terms of her business? Laura hopes to become a ‘Makeup artist and nail technician to the stars!’

If you are interested in the service Laura offers, you can contact her using the contact details below:

And if like Laura, you have a passion and want to start up your own business, get in touch with us. Email or ring us on 0151 706 8111

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

4 Reasons To Use Instagram For Your Business

As we know, social media is a dominant platform for driving your business. Alongside Facebook and Twitter is the photo based app- Instagram. Instagram allows you to get creative to attract customers for your business. The Women’s Organisation run a monthly course- ‘Instagram for Business’ - that will take you through the fundamentals of Instagram and look at how you can use this growing Social Media channel as a business tool. This course will help you to firmly establish your brand online and by the end of the day you will have been shown tools to create an online presence at no cost. Attending this course and reading our top reasons why you should use Instagram will provide you with vital information to use the tool successfully.

So, why should you use Instagram for your business?

Visual Content:
Visual content is key to boosting your marketing success. Instagram focuses solely on the visual as it is designed to engage and entice the viewer simply by their images. This app offers you several different filters and options to edit your picture that will boost your audience interest. Instagram enables you to produce photos and videos which can be shared to other social media sites as well as being embedded into your website or blog. Creating a unique and attracting photo can increase your audience.

Unlimited Characters:
Unlike Twitter, where you are limited to 140 characters, Instagram lets you have more words to work with. Having a strong image alongside a creative description is a successful combination to boost your business. You can include various hashtags in your description that will reach out to potential customers. Using the right hashtags can help you expose your brand to large and targeted audiences. Your chances of attracting new followers, getting more likes, and increasing engagement are vastly increased using hashtags.

Tell Your Story:
Every business has a story and a personality.  You can use Instagram to flaunt this and attract customers on a personal level. The audience would love to see the progress of your business, your staff or the celebration of your business’ birthday. Take advantage of photos and videos to really showcase your personality and connect with the world.

It’s Fun!
Instagram has endless possibilities for creativity. It allows you to tell stories, get creative, and create a visual identity for your brand in a fun way. You can experiment with your photos and edits to find the best fit for your images. This is a fun platform so take advantage!

If you would like to learn more about Instagram and how this can benefit your business, come along to our next ‘Instagram for Business’ course.  You can purchase tickets here , or contact us on or 0151 706 8111 for further details and prices.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Claire Welch of Dobson Welch Received Comprehensive Start-Up and Growth Support from The Women’s Organisation

With a wealth of experience in banking and recruitment, Claire Welch was an ideal candidate to start her own business.

But some good old-fashioned ‘hand-holding’ was still important to give her the confidence to strike out and realise her business dream.

It was at this point, Claire found support from The Women’s Organisation’s Start-Up and Growth business development programmes via the Local Growth Hub, and two years down the line Claire’s Dobson and Welch office recruitment venture is already exceeding expectations.

Claire had worked in banking for 10 years, and after a further 11 years in recruitment had achieved the role of director and shareholder with her then employer.

But her career took a different turn after meeting Enterprise Enabler; Ali McGrath, from The Women’s Organisation.

Claire explained: “It was never my plan to start up on my own, but after talking to Ali, who explained about setting up in business, I decided to go for it.

“For me, it was a bit of a gamble, but The Women’s Organisation gave me the support and confidence. Without them I would not have known how to set up, because every business I had worked for had been established.”

Claire decided to take the plunge and go it alone in April, 2015, and within two months had begun a business support programme with Senior Business Adviser Francine Taylor.
Their weekly sessions dealt with issues such as, what insurance a new business would need, data protection, and the important step of creating a company website, which is vital to project the right message about what a business stands for and what it can offer potential clients.

“Francine held my hand through the whole process. Even after I had a business plan in place, she gave me advice on financial figures. She would tell me what to do, and today I do it naturally on my own.”

Around this time, and now operating from an office at 54 St James Street, home of The Women’s Organisation’s 54 St James Street headquarters, Claire was asked to tender for a contract with a major client that could be worth up to £200,000.

“Some of the things involved in the tender, I had no idea about, and I was wondering how was I going to do this, but, again, The Women’s Organisation held my hand.”

Dobson Welch won the tender and the contract is a key part of the fledgling business, although Claire adds: “The client is a big part of our turnover, but I know that you can’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

With that in mind Claire embarked on a second programme for growing her business; New Markets 2, with The Women’s Organisation last year.

She explained: “That focused on areas of the business that I had not looked at, like marketing and PR, social media, and my website.

“I wasn’t tweeting enough, or raising the profile of the business enough.

“Now we are looking at digital marketing, which has made a massive difference.”

She said prospects for her recruitment agency are immense: “Things are looking really good going forward.

“I was working from home for six months, and then got an office in 54 St James Street, and we now have five people in Liverpool and one in London.

“We have grown from one person to six people in two years.”

She said this is ahead of schedule in her current three-year business plan.

Two of her staff are consultants she worked with previously: “They have brought a lot of good clients on board.”

She also revealed that during her two years in business, turnover has doubled, and she is already planning further growth: “In the next five years we will maybe have 10 people in Liverpool, and expand the branch in London.

“I love this office, so we will probably take a bigger office in this building,” she added.

And she acknowledged the help and support from The Women’s Organisation which has enabled her to build such a strong foundation for her business: “I would recommend anyone starting a business to follow this course. One million per cent, get in touch with these guys to do it.”

Claire received growth advice through; 'Women's Growth Accelerator' New Markets 2 Programme, which is aimed at women who are running a business focussing on business to business activity in the Liverpool City Region (Liverpool, Sefton, Wirral, St Helens, Knowsley and Halton) are who are ready to take their business to the next level, expanding their team and signifcantly increasing turnover. For more information, contact us on or ring us on 0151 706 8111

Insider Media have today reported that Dobson Welch's turnover has more than TREBLED through the securing of several new clients - Massive congratulations to Claire and the team, and check out the full story here!

And thank you to Clare for this lovely feedback too! 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Inspirational Afternoon at The Women’s Organisation as we Launch New Programme 'Change It; Progress to Success' 💪💪

Wednesday welcomed the official launch of our brand-new Confidence and Resilience Building Programme, set to support over 500 Liverpool women over the next three years. 

Change It; Progress to Success will reach out to Liverpool’s communities to support women from all backgrounds, ages and stages of their lives in building a more positive future for themselves at home, at work or in relationships.

The 8-session programme was designed by The Women’s Organisation in collaboration with Liverpool City Council Children’s Services and the Children’s Centres.

To celebrate the launch of the programme, we were joined by an incredible group of speakers including; Councillor Nick Small, Assistant Mayor of Liverpool and the Cabinet member for Education, Employment & Skills at Liverpool City Council; Councillor Liz Parsons; Manager of Picton Children’s Centre and David Parkinson, Policy and Learning Manager of Big Lottery Fund.

After a welcome and introduction to the programme by CEO of The Women’s Organisation, our very own Maggie O’Carroll, we were joined by Councillor Liz Parsons, who gave an inspiring talk on the experience of women and the importance of Liverpool’s Children’s Centres.

Liz said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Liverpool’s Children’s Centres are supporting Change It, the aims of the programme address many of the problems we speak about, but they also mirror my hopes of families. Change It helps women develop the skills they need to know what they want to do, to believe they deserve the opportunity to do it and to be confident enough to go out and grab the dream with both hands”.

The programme is supported by the Big Lottery Fund through Reaching Communities, a fund that supports voluntary or community groups to use their local knowledge, strengths and resources to make a positive impact and help the communities and people who are most in need. David Parkinson joined us from Big Lottery Fund to speak on the partnership and the work of Reaching Communities. And to formally launch the programme, Councillor Nick Small spoke about how important support for women is for the development of the city.

Perhaps the most memorable moment of the launch was the contribution of the women who completed the first Change It; Progress to Success in February. Sharing their experience of the programme, one course attendee said: “In June, I gave birth to my son. I used to be so business-minded but I just completely lost myself and my confidence. I was constantly cleaning and doing chores and I thought ‘this isn’t me’ .. When I found out about Change It; Progress to Success, it gave me that confidence boost and the excitement each week to go to the Children’s Centre. I met my tutor and all the other women, they were there to listen and that was one thing I needed someone to do for me – to listen.” 

Thank you to all the guests who joined us to celebrate the launch of our new programme – your support is invaluable! And a big thanks to the speakers; Councillor Liz, Councillor Nick Small and David Parkinson, and of course the women who have completed the first programme.

Change It; Progress to Success will be back in May running at several Children’s Centres around the city and from 54 St James Street, home to The Women’s Organisation. We will be making announcements on venues in the coming weeks – keep posted via our Blog, Twitter or Facebook!

To find out more information or to speak to a member of the Change It team, please contact 0151 706 8111 or