Aislinn Marek, Business Owner at The Calm Within

An award-winning therapist who helps people to feel relaxed and content, as well as in control of who they are

The two drivers which inspired me to create The Calm Within in 2016 were these: I realised that, as a therapist working within the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) sector, I was giving lots of nurture and attachment-related advice to parents but wasn’t spending enough time with my own children, who were six and two back then.

Secondly, my role had moved away from its initial, proactive objective of providing early intervention and prevention support to becoming a reactive, firefighting scenario. I loved my job and I love the NHS, but a lack of funding and restrictions on services – alongside a long commute – created a challenging situation.

My dream was to establish a company with mental health promotion for all at its core, but it was especially important to provide an alternative for young people who didn’t meet the criteria to access CAMHS. Today, I offer counselling to adults and children; run emotional wellbeing classes for children as part of the Relax Kids franchise – giving them the tools to recognise their emotions and have strategies for when things get tough; provide consultations; and run projects to work with schools and businesses as to how they’re providing mental health support.

This year, I teamed up with Pamela Rae-Welsh (Worsley Creative Services) to launch ‘The Mindset Series’, which supports sole traders, and won the Raring2Go! Bury ‘Best Family Service’ award… two amazing experiences!

With a new decade looming, some of you may be seriously considering going self-employed. My advice is to network because it not only prevents a sense of isolation, but also allows you to share your business successes with people who ‘get it’. It’s common to become a jack of all trades when you run your own venture – and that all kinds of challenges, plus the odd knockback, will rear their ugly heads from time to time – but having people in a networking group to bounce off and communicate openly with makes things so much easier.

We’ve all heard of 20/20 vision, so what better time to gain perfect clarity than next year? In January, I’ll be aiming to do just that – working on a vision board at a networking group I attend.

The Calm Within