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Melanie Lonsdale Training and Facilitation Services

When Melanie Lonsdale was made redundant last year, she was uninspired by the options and opportunities available to her in a poor labour market and took the decision to create her own job. “Friends and family had been urging me to set up my own business for months but I did not know how or [...]

When Melanie Lonsdale was made redundant last year, she was uninspired by the options and opportunities available to her in a poor labour market and took the decision to create her own job.

“Friends and family had been urging me to set up my own business for months but I did not know how or where to start. I also felt very low in confidence so I was reluctant to take the leap. When I found out about Outset Bristol through the Jobcentre, I was thrilled to learn that there was free support and training available to help me get started.”

With an extensive career background in developing skills and team building programmes, as well as conflict management and mediation, Melanie decided to set up her own company offering workplace training, team building and consultancy. “After my redundancy I was invited to Barbados to deliver a week of training and a couple of local contacts asked me to run some training for them – so I guess the inspiration for my business came from other people! Or at least they gave me the impetus and confidence to progress into self-employment.”

Melanie’s new business, called Melanie Lonsdale Training and Facilitation Services, specialises in employee engagement and training. The business spans three key areas: training in ‘soft skills’ for the workplace and facilitation of team development sessions and away days; design and implementation of appraisal processes, with equal emphasis upon organisational aims and individual needs; and external consultation, particularly in areas that benefit from an objective approach, ie organisational review, conflict management and mediation.

Melanie has already received 28 hours of business start-up support from Outset Bristol and is currently half way through the Business Start-up programme. Melanie actually registered her business in March whilst undertaking Outset’s Introduction to Enterprise workshops. “As I am trading already I have been able to get advice as and when the questions have arisen, which has been really useful,” says Melanie.

“The Introduction to Enterprise course took me through a steady, step-by-step process for how to start my own business, helped me to realise my fears were natural and find ways to overcome barriers such as low confidence. It hasn’t just been through attending the course that I have received invaluable help; the Outset team are keen to offer help and advice on a one-to-one basis, answering questions as thoroughly as possible and giving guidance that perfectly matched my needs.

“The Outset Bristol course, so far, has given me the confidence to get started. Lack of confidence and not knowing where to start were my main barriers and this course has helped me overcome these barriers and to develop my ideas and get started at a pace that suits me. I truly think that I would not have gone ahead in starting my own business without the help I received from Outset Bristol.”

Melanie has already secured training contracts working for Oxford University Students Union. “I do not aspire to be the next Richard Branson! I simply want to make a living doing something I love. Conducting my work to my own values and ethics and helping others find the same job satisfaction I enjoy.”

If there's too much happening in your life to know whether enterprise is right for you, why not come along to one of our informal workshops

If you've got a seed of an idea, but not sure if it will work, or whether you can do it, our introduction to enterprise sessions are for you

If you've got a business idea, are keen to get going, and just want to learn how to do it properly, you need our start-up programme

If you've already started up your business but could do with some help, call for some 1:1 advice or choose one of our business growth workshops