Redundancy was the stimulus for Ann Hutton to start her own business.
Hutton Active is unusual in that it offers holistic therapies such as reiki alongside conventional treatments including deep tissue and relaxing massage, personal training and help to combat back pain and promote weight loss.
And Ann, of Cotehill near Carlisle, has used this multi-disciplinary approach to develop a performance enhancement system for athletes.
Being able to work holistically and in health and fitness is an advantage – not many practitioners offer both.
“I had my own health and fitness studio in Lancashire in the 1990s but since 2002 I’d worked for the NHS in Cumbria helping people to stop smoking. I still ran exercise classes in the evenings though – that was my hobby.
“When I was made redundant I decided to go back to working for myself.”
Ann is a certified personal trainer, and holds qualifications in health and fitness, massage, spinning, weight training, first aid and cardiac rehab.
Initially, she worked as a self-employed personal trainer through a gym in Carlisle. She said: “If you work as a personal trainer through a gym you have to pay them between £450 and £550 a month. So you have to take that much before you make anything for yourself. I decided that wasn’t for me.”
She opted to train as a reiki practitioner after the Japanese healing technique helped her recover from a respiratory illness, and began trading from home as Eclipse Holistics offering reiki and massage.
She signed up for the Business Start-Up Support (BSUS) programme through the Chamber’s Cumbria Business Growth Hub, completing a three-day course for start-ups, workshops on marketing and Twitter for business, and attending a meet the experts event.
Discussions with her Growth Hub adviser, Justine Douglas, prompted another change of direction.
Ann said: “Justine helped me draw up a proper marketing plan. Her advice was invaluable and really beneficial, a good learning curve.
“We identified that the website wasn’t easy to use and that the business’ name, Eclipse Holistics, was too holistics-based and might be frightening some potential clients away.”
She commissioned Jili Allen Creative, of Lazonby, to design a new identity and website, and the business became Hutton Active.
Ann explained: “When I did market research I found that people who wanted holistic treatments tended to go on word of mouth – holistics are very personal, rather like getting counselling.
“Whereas those looking for conventional treatments, personal training and massage were more likely to search for a practitioner online.
“That was the thinking behind the change to Hutton Active, although reiki is still very much part of the offer.”
Ann has recently opened a purpose-built treatment room at her home, equipped with a chakra-balancing lightbox for reiki clients.
She is working with athletes including triathlete Sue Toppin, from Penrith, powerlifter Emma Cadden, from Carlisle, and Team GB badminton player Lauren Smith, from Longtown.
Thanks to Ann’s performance enhancement system, Sue has cut half an hour from her personal best time while Lauren has invited Ann to Glasgow next week to introduce her to two other members of Team GB.
Ann said: “At the moment I haven’t done any advertising but the business is ticking over nicely, and I have plans in place for the next five years.
“I want to work with more athletes, at all levels, to enhance their performance, and ultimately to open a purpose-built mind and body centre. I have land in Cumwhinton that would be suitable.”
If you are thinking of starting your own business or social enterprise, then Cumbria Chamber of Commerce and our partners are here to help with a free business start-up programme to point you in the right direction.
Our comprehensive package of support includes:
- Free meetings with a business adviser to review and develop your business idea;
- Free training covering business planning and self-employment, an introduction to marketing/market research and sales forecasts, promotion and sales, an introduction to planning and managing finance, taxation and bookkeeping, using the internet and social media;
- Free help to develop your business plan and get your business up and running;
- Access to the Subsidy Scheme to help cover the cost of buying-in expertise;2
- Free membership of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce.
The £1.1m Business Start-up Support (BSUS) project is supporting 300 new businesses and 750 individuals to start businesses, creating 300 jobs.
For more information, call us today on 0844 257 84 50 or click here to visit the Cumbria Business Growth Hub web site.
The funding that supports the Growth Hub comes from a range of sources including Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, the European Regional Development Fund, Allerdale Borough Council (Sellafield Ltd’s Allerdale SIIF, distributed by Allerdale Borough Council), Barrow Borough Council (FEDF Coastal Communities Fund Supply Chain Initiative, the Coastal Communities Fund is funded by the Government with income from the Crown Estates marine assets; it is delivered by the Big Lottery Fund on behalf of UK Government), Carlisle City Council, Eden District Council, South Lakeland District Council and Cumbria LEP.
The BSUS project is receiving up to £1,112,686 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information, click here.© Cumbria Chamber of Commerce