Go Your Own Way with Charmaine Barnes, About Feet (www.aboutfeetpodiatry.co.uk)
What is your business?
About Feet is a private podiatry clinic based in Carrickfergus. We offer a wide range of foot care services designed to do away with long waiting lists associated with NHS. Our aim is to keep people mobile, active, relieve pain and offer prompt treatment either in our comfortable and relaxing surgery or in the comfort of their own home.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up doing what you are doing now?
I am a married with three children and always wanted to be a podiatrist. I graduated from the Durham School of Podiatric Medicine and have also successfully completed and attained post graduate qualifications from Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh and the University of Ulster, Jordanstown. I have been in private practice since 1991.
Did you always want to run your own enterprise?
No I was trained and qualified to work in the NHS but it was my university lecturers who persuaded me to develop a private practice and I haven’t looked back since!
What skills/qualifications do you require for the role?
BSC Podiatric Medicine.
Good communication skills.
Be a ‘people’ person
Has your business been affected by the current recession?
Thankfully no, I am lucky to have such a loyal and supportive clientele. They have celebrated the highs and picked me up from the lows.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when setting up and what support did you get?
I was lucky to get plenty of support whilst setting up my business. Firstly, I have a very supportive family who have helped me tremendously over the years. I attended the ‘Go for It’ Start a Business programme and also got assistance from the Prince’s Trust. More recently I have received assistance from Carrickfergus Enterprise who helped me establish a website.
What three tips could you offer those considering starting their own business?
Act professionally and with integrity.
Treat your clientele as people not pound signs.
Believe in your own abilities.
What are your plans for the next 12 months?
Keep doing what I am doing and continue to provide as comprehensive a service as I can.
What do you get up to in your free time?
Spending time with my children and having fun and holidays. Our eldest daughter is getting married in July so we are all very excited about that.
If you could swap places with anyone who would it be and why?
Difficult to answer as I am happy being me. Maybe Bill Gates because of his philanthropy, he is putting his millions to good use and helping people throughout the world.