A former social worker and mother of three, Ashlene McNamee puts these techniques into practice every day after starting her own holistic therapy business through the Go For It program in association with Mid Ulster District Council.
Ashlene set up Ashlene Rosanne Holistic, offering reflexology, reiki healing and also offering sound meditation classes in Cookstown, Dungannon and online.
She offers reflexology to clients at her premises outside Cookstown and also in the cancer patient community with Care for Cancer in Omagh.
Reflexology treatment is based on a theory that different areas of the feet are connected to different organs and body systems. Reflexology is a form of massage that involves applying different pressures to the feet to provide health benefits.
Ashlene only started her business in 2020, but developed her passion for reflexology years ago when she treated herself to a session.
She said: “I did it years ago when I was stressed and loved it. I was mesmerized by it, loved it and came home that night and I slept like a baby. I thought it would be fun to take a reflexology class, but I never thought I would change careers. But it was a light bulb moment when I entered this class After completing the course we had a room set up in the house and I would have had clients come to me for foot treatment.
In November 2020, the mum-of-three considered changing careers in order to spend more time at home with her children.
Ashlene said: “It was lockdown and the kids were homeschooled at this point. I had to pay someone to come home to homeschool them because I was at work and my husband was working and farming. So I just made the decision to quit work and when the lockdown is lifted I will give it a good try.
During this time when Ashlene was at home with the lockdown, she wrote and self-published the ‘Truth Who Am I’ ebook and audiobook, available for purchase on Amazon.
Ashlene now has a good clientele and she also teaches sound meditation classes in Cookstown, Dungannon and online.
The Go For It program is delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business mentors through Northern Ireland’s extensive network of business agencies. He provides expert advice and assistance in developing a solid business plan to help turn ideas into a business venture.
Ashlene came into contact with the Go For It program on the advice of her sister who had previously started her own business.
“She said to give a ring to Go For It because they might have grants. Go For It didn’t have grants, but they could do a business plan and I thought I might need that little bit of backbone,” she explained.
“I never had a problem getting the job done, but I found it a bit scary to push myself for more work. I was hoping it would give me the confidence to keep going and that was it – the plan for me. ‘business.
Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councilor Córa Corry, congratulated Ashlene on her success: “The Council is delighted to support new ventures like Ashlene’s. She is a perfect example of what is possible with just one good business idea and the right support.
“Central Ulster is home to the largest business base outside of Belfast, with 98% of our businesses being micro or small. We pride ourselves on our strong entrepreneurial culture, of which Ashlene is a fantastic example. I wish him and his flourishing business much success in the future.
Shauna Rooney, Business Advisor, added, “Ashlene approached Go For it with the goal of turning her passion for holistic therapies into a viable business opportunity. We were delighted to help her realize her dream by providing the support and advice she needed to develop a business plan.
“The business plan has really helped Ashlene focus on the financial side of running a business, such as developing a two-year financial forecast and costs for her target market, as well as technical sales and marketing necessary to launch the business.
“It’s fantastic to see Ashlene’s business grow, and we have no doubts that she will continue to thrive, we wish her well for the future.”
The project is partly funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Northern Ireland program (2014-2020) and the 11 councils.