The entrepreneur helping people overcome anxiety and low self-esteem

The entrepreneur helping people overcome anxiety and low self-esteem
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2021

Sarah Jane Phelps is the founder of Practically Positive in every way, a coaching company that teaches techniques to build self-confidence.

She came up with the idea for the business after overcoming her own anxiety and lack of self-esteem. The founder also runs a nail bar and while that was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, she used the time to build her new company.

Sarah shares the story of her new business and explains how the Amazon Small Business Accelerator e-learning programme has boosted her entrepreneurial skills.

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 here.

How did you come up with your business idea?

“I had a huge life shift about 18 months ago after struggling with anxiety. I lost my self-confidence and felt like I had no control over my life and where I was going. However, with lots of support around me and using various techniques I realised there was a different way to look at the world and I found my way.

“Now I live a life beyond my imagination and I wanted to pay that forward. I used the forced time off when my business Polished Nail Designs was closed during lockdown to learn how to share this with others. I set up Practical Positive in every way and developed a programme called Positive Focus.

“During the second lockdown, I taught people how to help themselves feel more confident and believe in themselves. I help them consciously retrain their subconscious brain with one-to-one sessions and group workshops. I use teaching techniques to help people feel empowered, more resilient and able to achieve whatever they set their mind to.

“I joined an amazing business network called The Northern Lasses Lounge. I learnt skills and tools to develop my business on social media and found a network of women who support, encourage and cheer each other on, sharing experiences and knowledge to help each other do better. I have never experienced a group of people so willing to help each other out, expecting nothing in return, and we are all stronger for it. It was inspirational.

“Move to a couple of months ago and I did an Empowerment Arrow Break. It was an unbelievable experience and I want to give that sense of achievement to others, to be able to step into the future knowing they too can achieve whatever they set their mind to.”

What start-up challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

“Marketing and strategy were my biggest obstacles. Although I had been self-employed before, it was a totally different industry and while we are getting better at talking about mental health there is still quite a stigma attached to it so knowing how to find my ideal client was a new challenge.

“I did some training on social media and business planning which really helped. I have invested in myself by paying for free training and I have also taken every opportunity to access free support such as through the Amazon Business Accelerator e-learning programme.”

How has the Amazon Small Business Accelerator e-learning programme benefited you?

“The ‘build online via content and community’ modules were really useful. I realised that getting to know my ideal client and where they hang out to makes it easier to connect. I have built a strong community in a Facebook group which is now helping me share my knowledge to potential customers. I have also learnt how to interact and network with other business owners who could collaborate with me.”

“Other videos that I found useful were the advice on making sales. Going from a nail business which is very visual and easy to understand to a wellness and coaching business which is still quite misunderstood was causing me some issues. Tips such as including customer pain points and my solutions along with my unique selling point helped me to craft my pitch.

“I also loved the advice on communicating your why. I am doing this because I have experienced severe anxiety and low self-esteem but overcame it. I honestly believe there is a different way to live and want to share that with as many people as possible. I want my journey to be someone else's road map and sharing my own experience will hopefully get people to feel they can relate and trust what I am teaching.”

What are your plans for the future of your business?

“I want to grow the business from coaching personal clients to developing a corporate programme that helps employers create a better workspace for their team, reduces staff turnover and improves productivity.

“I also want to have a schools programme which teaches the next generation about resilience and growth mindset. That will be offset in cost by the corporate programme, making it more affordable for schools and helping companies meet their social responsibility.

“I have arranged an event on 8 January 2022 to give 100 North East businesswomen the empowerment I now feel. I have got permission to host this incredible event at Bamburgh Castle. We will be building a fire in the grounds of the castle and doing a fire walk!

“I was going to be able to say that for the first time in hundreds, if not thousands, of years the castle will have been set alight. That was until Harrison Ford rocked up a few months ago to do some filming for the new Indiana Jones film!

“It will be an incredible experience and it will be an amazing opportunity to showcase the North East and the amazing people we have here.”

Which other entrepreneurs inspire you?

“Kylie Dixon, who runs The Northern Lass Lounge. Not only is she an artist and illustrator, but she has also written two children's books. She took the knowledge she gained in building her social media presence and created a group to help other small businesses. I am inspired by her because instead of keeping her knowledge to herself she has used it to help others flourish. This is the kind of business owner I want to be too.

“I also love the example of Walt Disney. He was once told he had no imagination, yet he believed in himself and kept going because he knew what he had was special. Can you imagine a world without Disney?! I love this as I believe growth mindset and the power of self-belief can make amazing things happen.”

What are your top tips for business success?

“Planning, time management and structure. When speaking to other small business owners at networking events, I have realised the common theme is overwhelm at having to do everything yourself. This can so easily be relieved by a little bit of simple organisation.”

Watch an e-learning video with tips on improving your productivity here.

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 here.

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance content creator and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I'm also Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I have 19 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from billionaires like Sir Richard Branson to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I now freelance for Enterprise Nation including hosting the Small Business sessions podcast. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community in my role as Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I also have strong connections with other major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 100 events including conferences with an audience of hundreds for international brands like Xero and Facebook and live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography.

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