Changing Paces: The business beyond chronic illness

  • February 29, 2008
  • Bruce Bromley

by Trish Robichaud
Changing Paces

In this article, Trish Robichaud, life coach, discusses her journey with chronic illness and disability from employment to unemployment and then finally to self-employment with her own business Changing Paces.

Jump start to independence

When I lost my job and my career due to my illness, I vowed to never again feel guilty for being too sick to work. I decided that I had to work for myself so that I could manage my work to accommodate my health.

I started by connecting with a Coach who helped me objectively inventory my abilities and assets. Once we clarified what I had to offer and researched the resources available to help me, I became inspired to launch my own business.

From the beginning, I designed the structure and schedule of my business to support and nurture my health while giving me the room to grow as an entrepreneur. The following outlines the 12 steps that helped me to jump start my independence

Step 1
One of the most exciting parts of starting any new venture is defining the service; the possibilities are endless. This is where you can choose to explore your passions and harness your talents.

Step 2
The components that come together to develop your branding present your company and your service in a manner that appeals to your prospective clients while making you memorable to them.

Step 3
It is vital to create a healthy home office environment that will be conducive to optimal health and business success. It must support effectiveness but also comfort and energy management.

Step 4
Establishing and running a business is stressful enough for a healthy person. Keeping a handle on organization through effective tracking systems is essential for someone living with a chronic illness.

Step 5
In this day and age creating a web presence is essential. The good news is that there are tons of resources online for getting the job done without breaking the bank including web hosting, web design and upkeep.

Step 6
There are a multitude of marketing strategies to choose from; and marketing on a budget really is possible. Try out a variety of options and figure out which ones work best for you and your health.

Step 7
Marketing gurus talk about filling the funnel. This refers to a marketing funnel. The objective is to get as many prospects as you can to enter the top of your funnel for no or low investment.

Step 8
Marketing gurus say that it takes 5 to 9 contacts before a prospect feels like they “know you, like you and trust you” enough to purchase your services. So, you have to have follow-up systems in place for staying connected with them.

Step 9
The importance of work/life balance is key. If you don’t maintain balance between your life and your work you won’t have a business or a quality of life worth living. Your health must come first, period.

Step 10
Your long-term success depends upon you building a network of people who support you and your business. Some will be skilled in areas that you are not; others may be colleagues or even confidents.

Step 11
Successful business owners are willing and able to evolve over time. Whatever service or product that you provide now may have nothing to do with what you will be offering 5 or 10 years from now.

Step 12
Many people have very limited, material perceptions of success. I believe that a healthy perspective on success recognizes and honours the little things in life and the work that brings us satisfaction and joy.

Are you tired of living a life driven by chronic illness or disability? Have you been forced out of the “working population” by your health or your employer?

Five years ago, I was feeling like I no longer had anything valuable to contribute to the world. Well, I was WRONG. I’ve discovered a whole new purpose, and in turn, a whole new life. You can too!

Based in Canada, Trish Robichaud is a disability awareness coach, maximum life and business coach, facilitator, advocate and motivational speaker who lives with multiple sclerosis and major depression. Her one-of-a-kind Jump Start to Independence Program uncovers the empowering process of developing a business while honouring and accommodating your health.