Following on from our recent interview with Marissa Holden, a small business owner based in Cookham, we thought it was time we shared another instalment!
For this instalment of ‘Interview with a small business owner, we’ve been chatting to Clare Cogan, a Teenage Anxiety Specialist from Clare Cogan – Creating Calm, based in Marlow. Here’s what she had to say.
1) Tell us about who you are and what you do
I am Clare Cogan, the founder of Creating Calm. I am a solopreneur, a wife and mum to to teenage boys. Professionally, I work as a Teenage Anxiety Specialist, supporting teenagers and their families to help them understand how their mind affects their mood and introducing tools and techniques which they can incorporate into their everyday lives.
2) What made you decide to work for yourself and why did you choose to set up the business that you run?
I made a decision to retrain as a reflexologist when my son was ten months old. At the time I was working part time as a social worker and finding the work, alongside being a parent, physically and emotionally draining. My hope was that by focusing on working for myself I would gain more flexibility in my work and I could be more available for my children as they grew.
The business itself has evolved as my children have grown, my oldest is now nearly 16 so I have been on quite a journey! From reflexology, I developed an interest in all things holistic and developed a specialism in pregnancy, supporting clients with hypnobirthing and running classes as well as individual treatments. This led me on to my love of hypnotherapy, which, through hypnobirthing had developed my interest in the power of our mind and how we can truly affect the way we feel through using positive language while in a state of deep relaxation. My interest in neuroscience led me on to working with young people as well as adults as I became fascinated by the complexity and intricacies of the teenage brain and how it changes and develops and can become more susceptible to anxiety and stress during this time. This led me into further training specifically related to young people and supporting their mental health, helping them to understand what is happening for them during these years, and how they can develop effective coping strategies.
The purpose of explaining my journey is because I believe that all businesses evolve over time, and often follow our personal experiences and pathways. My business is no exception, it has not stood still at any point and is a combination of all of my skills and experiences.
3) What makes your business special?
I have true passion and motivation for supporting teenagers and their families who may be struggling with mental health challenges. I believe that I have a unique approach which brings together all of my skills and experience from a 20-year working history of working with families and young people in a variety of capacities. When I support young people and speak to parents, they are getting all of that experience and knowledge, not just a set of qualifications.
4) What has been your business highlight for 2021?
I have managed to write, and self-publish, two books. One, called ‘Reopening the Slammed Door’ is a book for parents to help them understand what is changing during the teenage years and how we can get a perspective on it so we can support and guide them. The second is a journal, ‘Creating Calm – Journal for Teens’, aimed at ages 12 upwards which helps them understand why they are feeling the way they do, and some of the tools and techniques they can use to support themselves.
5) What are your goals for 2022?
To continue on my journey of supporting families and their teenagers understand that they are not alone feeling the way they do, and provide accessible resources to help them build confidence in themselves through understanding what is happening during the teen years, and why.
6) What piece of advice would you give to anyone either running or thinking about running their own business?
Go for it! If you have a drive, a passion or a motivation then it can be the most fulfilling thing ever. However, it can be tough at times, and you need to have that real drive to keep you going during those moments, which will happen. Often, we are seduced by the flexibility of running our own business, choosing our hours etc (that was key for me) but what people (including myself) often don’t realise is that there are time commitments behind the scenes, especially in the early days when getting a business started which may mean you are working more than you expect. Strong boundaries are really important, making sure you don’t burin yourself out and reminding yourself every day why you do what you do.
7) Tell us about your experience with Tabono – what has being involved with Tabono brought to your business and what’s your favourite aspect of what we do?
I love Tabono. During the pandemic I described them as my ‘lockdown survival kit’. They were and still are integral to my business, supporting me to maintain consistency and to navigate the inevitable ups and downs of running a business as a solopreneur. It can be lonely sometimes, and the community which Chloe and Anna have built up has helped me feel supported and understood by other likeminded business owners.
My favourite part is the co-working and networking in person. After meeting so many lovely women online during the pandemic, seeing them all in person has been my absolute highlight of 2021. No matter kind of day I have been having in my business or even personally, just being in the room with them all lifts me like nothing else, and Tabono has facilitated that which I am incredibly grateful for.