The blogger turned entrepreneur boosting wellbeing through writing

The blogger turned entrepreneur boosting wellbeing through writing
Anita Kelly
Anita KellyFlourish Well

Posted: Fri 7th Oct 2022

Anita Kelly is a mental health awareness trainer and founder of Flourish Well, which provides courses that cover how writing can improve your wellbeing.

To develop her business skills, Anita attended a bootcamp for female founders and used the e-learning programme as part of the Amazon Small Business Accelerator.

The London-based entrepreneur shares her story.

How did you come up with your business idea?

Initially I wanted to set up a content writing and website design business focusing on mental health issues. I started blogging in 2016 during a difficult family time and found it empowering to express how I was feeling and sharing what helped me with others who may be going through similar things.

I was working in education and saw first-hand the negative impact of a heavy workload and high stress on staff. I saw about an opportunity to train as a mental health awareness trainer in an advert in a local supermarket and wanted to get involved. Unfortunately, the school weren’t willing to give me the time needed to do this.

After feeling that I was having to make choices about prioritising work over my family and my mental health, I decided to leave education. At first, I looked at admin roles but realised that I really wanted to make something of my writing and focus on making a difference to people’s mental health. I was referred to SEIDS (Social Enterprise, Innovation & Development) and suddenly I was on the road to setting up my own business!


SEIDS, an organisation in Wembley Park in London, was a big part in helping me set up my business. They support social entrepreneurs to get their business idea off the ground. They offer a one-year training programme alongside a £500 bursary.

I told them about my blogging and how I wanted to develop it into paid work. They provided training on various aspects of setting up a business, from finance and accounts to marketing and honing a sales pitch. They also provided a mentor.

I got a place on a Mind in Harrow training course to become an accredited mental health awareness trainer. This led to me changing my business idea as part of the course involved putting together a presentation on some aspect of mental health. As I’m passionate about writing for wellbeing, I chose this as my topic and delivered a 20-minute training session for the exam.

One of the other entrepreneurs I met at SEIDS asked me to run the training as part of her creative writing group. A pilot for my first workshop was done! I could see the participants were interested in the topic as I explained what writing for wellbeing was and how it can positively benefit mental health.

I got the group to have a go at writing about a recent positive memory and noting how they felt before and after the exercise. They realised it improved their mood and put a smile on their face after they had written about a subject that meant something to them.

I put together costings for this service as I learned what people were willing to pay and also thought about the different costs involved in running a workshop. We were blessed to have free workspace provided by SEIDS for the year I did the programme, so that kept costs down.

It was helpful to chat to other entrepreneurs who were at a similar stage to bounce ideas off them, get their feedback and generally support and encourage each other. I wrote a formal business plan, outlining the aims and mission of the company and thinking ahead in terms of financial forecasts for the first three years.

I used social media to promote my business and found Facebook in particular attracted interest from those who were looking for training on mental health. By posting about content I was writing and events I was doing gave followers insight into what my business is and how it helps people become more self-aware.

From that I was asked to lead a training event at my local church around managing your mental health better from a Christian perspective. This was just before lockdown happened and little did I to know that this would have a huge impact on the way we could deliver workshops. Suddenly there was an urgent need to adapt the workshops so we could work online.

How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your business?

COVID-19 had a big impact. As a service business, not being able to do face-to-face workshops was a real problem so sales did slow down for a few months. Thankfully we were able to get training in how to use Zoom from the Mind in Harrow project and this opened up the way for us to deliver online training.

Another challenge was keeping in touch with other business people socially and ensuring I had enough social contact whilst we were all locked down. There were a few SEIDS members I stayed in touch with for weekly conversations so we could share what was going on with our businesses and talk our wellbeing together. Social connection is a basic human need and COVID-19 really brought that home to me. It's something we address in our Winter Wellness workshop.

What start-up challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

Early on, I felt overwhelmed as there were so many competing tasks to complete due to being a new entrepreneur setting up a business. I had to learn to prioritise tasks and accept my limits as a one-woman band.

I designed an interactive training offering, Wellbeing for Startups, in collaboration with Jo Robinson, a fellow SEIDS entrepreneur and life coach, to tackle the early challenges of setting up your own business. These include planning and time management tools, such as reverse engineering, addressing mindset blocks and opening up conversations around the stresses of owning your own business, to realise that you're not alone on your journey.

Building a group of fellow business people around me as friends and advisers in response to feeling a bit isolated at times has been vital in maintaining social contact, especially during COVID-19. I've also got a business mentor who has been so helpful. He's particularly focused on finance and increasing sales which has really benefited my business.

What is your marketing strategy for engaging with customers?

We use social media to raise awareness of what we do and the services we offer. I use LinkedIn and Instagram as well as the Flourish Well Facebook business page and a free private Facebook group, Flourish Wellbeing Community, where we share wellbeing tips, videos and details of events we're running.

Our website has a contact page for sales enquiries. I also network with local businesses online to raise our profile and encourage referrals.

Why did you decide to join the Amazon Women Founder Bootcamp?

I really enjoy learning from other female founders. There are much fewer female entrepreneurs than male in the UK and there’s more of a focus on addressing the challenges that women face at female founder events.

What were the key benefits of the Amazon Bootcamp for your business?

I learnt the following from Ceylan Boyce, a speaker at the event.

  • "In business you need focus, clarity and momentum to succeed.

  • "Be clear about what you want and where you want the business to go, making sure these are aligned with your company vision and goals.

  • "Ensure you have the strategies in place to make the above happen, then take action and be persistent.

  • "Overwhelm can happen when we’re not sure what your focus is.

  • "SMART goals help you to have clarity and give a clear vision of where you're heading."

What actions did you take after taking part in the bootcamp?

I used the training by Ceylan Boyce to put together my business vision for the next year. I focused on a financial goal to increase sales.

Using her templates, I set what I wanted to achieve on a monthly basis and broke my goal into smaller steps. You can have an annual target but focusing on what it needs to look like each month makes it feel more achievable and gives you the motivation to keep working towards it.

What are your top tips for business success?

  • Find your tribe, a group of business people who can support and encourage you with you doing the same in return. Look for people who are at a similar stage in their business journey to you or work in a similar field. Some of the women founders I have met have become firm friends, and in some cases, collaborators at Flourish Well.

  • Learn resilience to keep going in the hard times and believe in yourself and your business idea.

  • We wear so many different hats as entrepreneurs so it's important that we take time out for self-care and our loved ones in order to create a sustainable business.

  • Find a business mentor who can help in areas you’re less knowledgeable about and to challenge you when things aren’t going so well.

What are your plans for the future of your business?

To scale the business and become a community interest company (CIC) which means we can offer more services such as life coaching and further mental health awareness training courses alongside the writing for wellbeing workshops.

I also want to offer tailored one-to-one writing for wellbeing courses for businesswomen to help with their wellbeing and make more time for their self-care. This might require funding from suitable organisations supporting mental health training.

What tips have you picked from the Amazon Small Business Accelerator e-learning programme?

The 'content creation for your brand' video was really helpful. It highlighted the need to pinpoint my customers' pain points and desires to use in pitching and marketing.

One key pain point for my customers is not making enough time for themselves. The writing for wellbeing workshops and courses address this. By coming on a session, they are making that time available and making their self-care a priority. Teaching them writing skills such as journaling gives them long term tools to keep making time for themselves and become more emotionally aware.

This in turn can help boost their wellbeing and mental health. As someone who has lived experience of mental health issues, I have a deep understanding of what that feels like and can build trust with potential clients using social media posts and other content.

How is the cost of doing business crisis affecting your business?

Less funding is available. We had regular work delivering our Writing for Wellbeing course for a local mental health charity but due to their funders cutting funding and working with a much smaller budget, we’ve lost work.

Rising energy costs has impacted our overheads. This means having to increase our service costs to customers in the long term.

The free Amazon Small Business Accelerator e-learning programme is advice from more than 30 business experts in over 200 bitesize videos.

If you're already an Enterprise Nation member, log in to your learning dashboard. If you're not an Enterprise Nation member, you can join the Amazon Small Business Accelerator for free.

Anita Kelly
Anita KellyFlourish Well

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