Small business chat update – Helen McPherson

16 May

Welcome to another Small Business Update – this time with Helen McPherson who produces hypnotherapy CDs. We last updated with Helen in November 2013 so we’re a little out of sync with the whole “once a year” thing, but that’s OK – it’s always good to catch up, whenever that might be! Helen’s in an interesting position as she returned the world of full-time work from being self-employed, but she’s keeping her business going as a side project, and it’s instructive to see how that’s working for anyone who’s considering moving in this direction. Back in 2013, when asked about her plans, Helen replied “I can see my business being pretty much in the same place in a year’s time. I may have been able to bring out another CD over the summer, but it very much depends on how busy I am over the summer term. CD sales have continued to grow this year and I expect further growth next year, especially if I win the Mother and Baby Award”. Let’s see how she’s doing now.

Hello again, Helen! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Almost! I am firmly back in the ranks of the employed, with my business toddling alongside as a passive income stream.

I didn’t win a Mother and Baby Award, primarily because it was a very wide category of unrelated products that my product was competing in. I was competing against products that cost £1 because they were a “value” range, whereas my product was fairly firmly in the luxury end of the market, costing £20. Consequently, the £1 item won. I was disappointed but I will enter again this year, maybe even entering 2 items.

I have not brought out another product yet but I think I may be able to this year.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I am still a teacher! Everything else has changed. The one constant in my life is change. I have moved house yet again, back to where we started 2 years ago. Our previous move was never a good idea and I just longed to go back, so we moved last summer. Obviously I had to find a new job, which was not too challenging and I now teach in a wonderful school. But, undaunted, I will be changing employer again at the end of the academic year! My current school is quite a drive away from home so I have managed to find another good post at a school far closer.

I have not managed to record another CD yet, due to moving house. However, I could have made time over the past few months and I have not. The stress of the constant moving and changing is taking its toll and sometimes I need downtime, in order to get some mental headspace. I may need to push myself some more over the coming months.

CD sales are unfortunately down since last year. There may be 2 reasons for this. One is that my best-selling product received 2 unflattering reviews on Amazon, which actually seemed to bear little relation to the product, as if the reviewers hadn’t even listened to it. Since then, sales fell badly. Another reason may be that people are passing these CDs around their friends. I do want to get them onto download, so I must try to get onto that quite soon.

I recently gave a hypnotherapy session to a colleague of my husband, who has to fly a lot for her job and needed me to help get her over a fear of flying. I was concerned I would forget the techniques but it came flooding back, with good results so far.

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

I have learnt that I (still) need to be confident in my own skills. I am really good at lots of things but forget this fact most of the time. I must work on being a bit more arrogant perhaps!

I wish I had known that we would be settled and living here a year ago. Then I could have worried less.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Instinct is never wrong. Ever. You must always trust a gut feeling.

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

With my tracks available on download. It would be nice to have another CD recorded and being marketed. I must try to work on that very soon.

Helen’s CDs are available on Amazon and you can contact her by email. The new website is not quite finished yet but the old pages are available on

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 

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Posted by on May 16, 2015 in Business, Small Business Chat


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