Redundancy was turned to opportunity for Liverpool resident Emily Ross, who created her own job by setting up her business ‘EAT Landscape’. Having been employed for four years as a Senior Landscape Architect at a large multi-disciplinary architectural practice in Liverpool, Emily fell victim of the current economic climate, being made redundant in 2011 as the business were finding their workload had dramatically reduced. Although her experience and qualifications were quality, Emily found the job market a tough road to navigate.

Emily said “I spent about three months looking for work however there were very few positions for landscape architects advertised in the northwest and I didn’t want to re-locate due to my husband having a secure, local job that he enjoyed. At the same time I started to think about taking on freelance work, working for landscape and architectural companies who may have just won a large project and needed some additional resources on a temporary basis.”

Emily found comfort chatting to close friend Helen, who had been successfully working as a freelance consultant in a similar environmental field for about a year and really enjoying it.

“I asked her loads and loads of questions about whether I should be a sole trader or a limited company, insurances, did I need a Business Plan, business cards, websites, getting clients etc. I was also very keen to get some kind of business training, having had no experience of running my own company before. Through ‘Googling’ about business courses in Liverpool and the local area I came across the Women’s Organisation and found out about all the amazing services that they offer to help women set up in business.”

Although Emily had determination, she found niggling doubts her biggest barrier to achieving her goal “The only thing that stood in my way was simply my own fear and lack of self-belief. I worried about how to go about the whole process, entering the unknown and doing something completely different. However once I had met an advisor from The Women’s Organisation and starting talking things through and making an Action Plan, the fear turned into excitement and enthusiasm about getting started.”

While setting up her business Emily proved her ideas to be award winning! Having kept busy by volunteering with Family Refugee Support Project ( charity in Toxteth, Emily helped them to produce a garden at the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park to showcase their work which went on to win the silver medal. She is keen to keep the link there even while running her business through joining the Friends group that they are currently setting up, to help with future fundraising events and projects.

Having completed the courses and receiving advice from The Women’s Organisation, Emily was awarded a £200 grant to help her set up her business which she decided to call ‘EAT Landscape’.

“The business is called EAT Landscape because I am really interested in using creative ways to incorporate edible planting into designs for public and private spaces. This includes mixing delicious fruit, herbs and vegetables with more traditional planting. The result is a unique and beautiful landscape, which not only looks good but that you can EAT.”

Feeling proud of her achievement, Emily is positive that she has made the right decision going self-employed.

“I was feeling at a bit of a loss when I was made redundant last year but since then I’ve met so many interesting people and learnt so much, I definitely wouldn’t turn back the clock. My confidence has definitely increased and I think it has done me a lot of good to be pushed out of my comfort zone and doing new things all the time.”

Her advice to other women considering taking the brave step into business is “Go for it! Get some really good business training (preferably from the Women’s Organisation!) and definitely put together a Business Plan, even if you’re not looking for a business loan. All the services I have received from the Women’s Organisation have been a huge help to me setting up my own business. The staff I have met have all been very knowledgeable, professional and very warm and friendly. I have also enjoyed meeting other women setting up in business during the courses I attended, sharing stories and swapping useful tips. It’s also good to talk to friends and family, particularly ones that work in a similar field, who are running their own business to get their advice and hear their positive experiences and the negative things too. It’s good to go into business with your eyes wide open!”

EAT Landscape provide landscape design services for, 1) Commercial landscape projects e.g. schools, nurseries, hospitals, housing projects, parks and open spaces, community gardens, play areas, care homes etc. and 2) Private garden clients. To find out more about the services Emily offers through her business visit or contact Emily via 0151 494 3478

And if like Emily you are a woman looking to turn redundancy into an opportunity, contact The Women’s Organisation on 0151 706 8111/ to find out what help you can receive.