When Angela McAllister graduated from University it had been her plan to pursue a career with the NHS. “With the government cuts I found there were just no jobs, so I thought self-employment was the best way to go” said Angela.

Knowsley resident Angela contacted Business Link for guidance and was directed to women’s enterprise support agency The Women’s Organisation.

“My business adviser was just lovely. She helped me with my business plan, my costings and marketing plan. It was in speaking to her that I realised I definitely wanted to go self-employed. I also did courses on tax and basic book keeping at The Women’s Organisation which were great”

Planning her business was a real learning curve for Angela who reflected “I had always envisioned that my customers would mainly be the elderly, but while I was doing my market research I got in touch with Asda who agreed to let me test my services on staff. It was then I realised younger people could really benefit too.”

Angela was concerned knowing that there would be a lot of trained professionals leaving University in the same predicament as her and realised she needed a unique selling point to help her stand out from the crowd. “In discussions with my adviser Francine I mentioned that I had previously been a beauty therapist. I realised combining those skills with the health care training I had done would give me the competitive edge.”

Upon starting her business Angela was awarded a £200 grant from The Women’s Organisation and £600 from Knowsley Council’s Fresh Start scheme that helped her to buy her equipment. “I was delighted with the funding. It helped me to get what I needed to make me look professional.”

As well as running her own business ‘McAllister Mobile Chiropdy/Podiatry’, Angela takes care of her elderly parents. “Working for myself means that I can organise my appointments around caring for them” she said. “I can do their shopping or nip to see them at lunch or between appointments. It’s a real help.”

Angela is feeling positive about the progress of her business to date and has built up a strong client base of repeat custom, nursing homes and family groups. “Each month I have made more than the month before and that’s great. I love what I do. I love treating feet and I love that I have flexibility to offer appointments at any time between 8am and 8pm and to be able to support clients who don’t want to hang on the 4 or 5 months they can wait for treatment through the NHS. People’s feet are never as bad as they think. Any problems with feet I can either fix myself or refer a client on to the best person to help.”

Angela’s advice to other women considering self-employment is “Go along to The Women’s Organisation to get help with your business plan. I wouldn’t have known where to start without them, and they are great for continued support. Facebook has also been great for my business. I’m going into the homes of people I don’t know anything about quite often, so connecting through facebook helps you to get to know a bit about them first.”

McAllister Mobile Chiropody/Podiatry provide a mobile chiropody service which offers skin and nail treatments combined with lower leg and foot massage in the comfort of your own home. Angela is fully qualified and is registered with the health professions council, The Society of Chiropodist and podiatrist which means she has full insurance cover. For more information or to book appointments call Angela on 07548747475 or find her business on facebook.

If you are thinking about creating your own job by using your skills and qualifications to set up a small business, then contact The Women’s Organisation for advice and support on 0151 706 8111 or info@thewo.org.uk

Photography by Abi Booth