Looking for her next step into employment Caroline Barden took on an exciting ‘Write to Work’ programme with our Enterprise Hub partners, Writing on the Wall, lighting a spark to turn her passion for writing into a full-time business. 

Since then, Caroline has accessed a full programme of start-up business support through the Enterprise Hub programme to get her business, Caroline Barden Proofreading, off the ground.
We caught up with Caroline to find out more about her journey into self-employment and what’s in store for 2019…

Having made her career as a teacher and manager in the social care sector for over twenty years, working with young people and adults with learning difficulties and disabilities, Caroline’s journey into self-employment began in 2016 when she decided she was ready for a new challenge.

She says: “I was ready to try something different and decided that I would like to take up the challenge of starting my own business. I was keen on the idea of helping people with their writing and wanted to offer support to individuals and businesses, particularly within my specialisms of education and social care.”

And so, the idea for Caroline Barden Proofreading was born.

Caroline began her journey with our Enterprise Hub partners Writing on the Wall through its ‘Write to Work’ programme. This innovative twelve-week programme is dedicated to helping unemployed participants gain opportunities for pathways to employment, further education or training within the writing sector. 
Caroline explains that the course helped her switch on to the possibilities for her business: “The course was amazing, it came at just the right time for me and changed the way I viewed my business. As my confidence grew so the parameters within which I had set up my business started to expand.
Following the course Caroline realised a new-found interest in creative writing, winning Writing on the Wall’s flash fiction competition, with her story ‘The first step’.
She says: “I realised that I did not have to restrict my editing work to the social sciences, but I could include a wide range of other interesting subjects, novels and biographies. And not only that, I also found that I enjoyed writing so much that I knew I would have to find a way for that to become part of my working life as well.”  
With a new-found determination, Caroline got in touch with us at Enterprise Hub to take the exciting next steps into self-employment and find out more about the practicalities of running a business.  
She says: “I hadn’t worked in the publishing industry before and I hadn’t run my own business either, so I knew I had a lot to learn! I enrolled on a professionally recognised proofreading course (by distance learning) and while I worked on that I set about learning about business.
“I had brilliant support from Jo Mountfort, my business advisor at Enterprise Hub. It was great to have someone to talk things through with and to have help with my action plan. I attended all the courses I could at The Women’s Organisation, too, about business and about social media – I knew I had to get to grips with social media! I learned such a lot and talked to so many people. It was great to be in an environment with other new business owners in their base at 54 St James Street – discussing our successes and worries!”
Three years on and it’s safe to say that Caroline has taken to the world of self-employment: “I have a fantastic portfolio of clients and the number who have become regular customers has really grown over the last year or so. My prior experience in education and social care means that I have work from social science publishers and students, but my experience with Writing on the Wall means that I can reach out to independent authors writing in a wide range of topics.
“I was also privileged to be asked to proofread The Women’s Organisation’s book Twenty One – a wonderful project and a wonderful book.”
What words of wisdom would Caroline have for anyone looking to start their own business? “First and foremost, I would say seek out support from those with experience. It makes such a difference to have someone to give you help and advice through the initial stages of setting up your business. There was a lot of information relating to running a business that I didn’t even know that I didn’t know!

Keep learning, it will give you confidence and help you to stay up to date – check out the fantastic range of courses at The Women’s Organisation. Find courses relevant to your business too (for example, for me, the Write to Work course at Writing on the Wall), they keep you in touch with colleagues who work in the same field and give you inspiration and ideas.

You can find out more about Caroline’s services online, here. Or find Caroline Barden Proofreader on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.
If you’d like to find out more about how our team can help you to start a business through our Enterprise Hub programme then call us on 0151 706 8111.