Small business chat updates – Helen McPherson and Simon Forder

20 Oct

Welcome to another two updates from my small business chats – today we’re catching up with Helen McPherson and Simon Forder, neither of whom is where they thought they’d be a year ago. But they’re carrying on, and plugging away, doing new things and getting on with it, and we have to admire that, don’t we! Interestingly, both have learned the same basic lesson from this year of trading …

Helen McPherson

Helen’s original interview was published on 29 October 2011. Where did Helen want to be at this point in time? “Moving away from pure therapy and more into coaching and corporate work, with a web-based income stream“. Well, she did move away …

Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Absolutely not. Some major changes personally have meant moving house twice in the space of 9 months. We are now living at the opposite end of the country. Moving my business would have been extremely difficult due to it’s personal nature. It takes time to get established in an area and I would still be at the same early stage in the long hard slog of building my reputation now as I was a few years ago when I started out on my own in Northamptonshire. So mentally and physically I am at a very different place now to where I expected to be  when I was interviewed a year ago.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

Not long after the last interview, some soul searching had to be done and we realised I would have to go back into paid employment. This has been strategically good for the business, strangely enough, as I am able to concentrate on the most profitable side of it, which coincidentally is also the part which takes the least amount of my time. The fact that we have moved has not affected the direction that I had planned to go in luckily. I now do not see any clients on a one-to-one basis, as I am concentrating on my CD production. This is my web-based income stream which I talked about a year ago.

I will be launching a major new CD product in the next few weeks and although it has taken time to get to this stage, I am glad I took the slow “tortoise” route, as had I taken the “hare” option I don’t think my final product would have been as good. I am very proud of the next CD.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

I suppose I have learned to be flexible.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Instinct is never wrong.  We are born with an instinct because it is a survival mechanism so we really do have to listen to it and act upon it. If something doesn’t feel right, then there is a reason for that, usually a very good reason – it is a warning which we should heed.

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

Hopefully in the same physical place I am in now!  I can see my CD sales going very well, with another one in the pipeline. I would like to say another two, but making a high quality product really does take time and I refuse to rush anything through that does not live up to the high standards I expect of myself.

Helen’s redoing her website at the moment, but her CDs are available on Amazon and you can contact her by email. It sounds like it’s exciting times for her at the moment – I hope she manages to stay put and be in the same physical location next time we’re in touch! And here’s where she was in 2013

Simon Forder

Simon was  featured originally on 8 October 2011. At that point, his plan for the future was: “I hope to be fully booked and regularly referring additional work to trusted colleagues“. Unfortunately, the continuing economic downturn has taken its toll as people turn away from this kind of service to an extent, but he’s still going!

Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

I am not in the position I had hoped I would be in a year ago, as finding reliable clients and new clients has proved a challenge. However in today’s climate, I am still trading, and that has to say something!

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

People are more reluctant to commit any resources to business development, preferring to try to stay put rather than trying to grow, despite the opportunities created by a shrinking pool of suppliers, and the need to gain new clients as client bases also shrink. People still need new leads!

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

I have learned to be more flexible, and as part of a relaunching process, have better understood what it is that I can offer my clients and why it is so important. I wish I had a clear financial forecast for the year!

Any more hints and tips for people?

Hints and tips – nothing really but to stay true to what you believe in. If what you do is valuable, it should be worth it to someone out there!

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

In 12 months’ time, I hope to be exactly where I hoped to be 12 months ago when you asked me – stable and secure.

Simon can be found at and you can find all his contact details here or call him on 01807 590 380. I do hope things pick up for him in the coming year – well done for hanging on in there! See how he was doing in a year’s time

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more freelancer chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured.


Posted by on October 20, 2012 in Business, Small Business Chat


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6 responses to “Small business chat updates – Helen McPherson and Simon Forder

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