Communities are much less stable than they used to be. Support structures are harder to find even though people may have a greater need for them, trying to cope with life’s incessant demands.
When a problem arises not everyone has access to supportive friends or relatives. Others would rather not share problems with those they know. If you have a talent for helping others sort out their lives, you could turn it into paying work and a way into self-employment
At present you need no special qualifications or licences to set up a counselling service. But although you may be naturally gifted in this field, training would be a good idea. There’s a difference between telling someone what to do and helping them reach the right decision by themselves.
Problems which people may bring to you could range from stress and bereavement to money problems and life crises. You could decide to specialise in one particular area. For example, if your experience has been in the business world you could counsel people in business. Phone around and find out what the going rate is.
Rent a small office, preferably with a waiting room, or if your home is suitable you could even start off from there. Advertise in your local paper, church magazines or a specialist magazine if you decide to target your work. Health food shops and ‘alternative’ magazines could also be worth investigating. Before long you could be running a very successful business, one of the few which benefits people directly in a very real sense.
This will appeal if
– You have good interpersonal skills.
– You have an analytical mind.
– You have a common-sense approach to life.
– You’re non-judgemental.
– You have the ability to be objective yet still empathise.
– Low cost start-up.
– Potentially large market, especially if you’re in or near a city.
– You’re offering a valuable service to people.
– You can take on as many or as few clients as you want.
– Training is advisable.
– The work can be emotionally demanding.
– Establish a practice which brings in others with different counselling skills to complement those which you offer.
– Give talks.
– Run training courses.