So, in my path to become self employed, we were as far as: I need help from Access to Work in order to work, I need a business plan in order to get help from them as a self-employed person. I contacted Business Link (who, as you can see, are a .gov.uk and therefore official) and they referred me to a local business development agency.
The local business development agency said yes, we run free informal courses for people starting up their own businesses, during school hours, locally. Great! Except "locally" is apparently Coventry. To a Normie living where I live, that's £5 for the return train ticket and maybe £2 for buses at either end. For me, it's over £20 each way in taxi fares (big thank you to Warwick District Council for removing the accessible transport scheme).
I'd pay that money quite happily for a one-to-one session with someone who would check that I had ticked all legal boxes for my specific situation - or more importantly, tell me which ones I missed and what to do about it - and confirm with authority that I was ready to start trading. But I don't exactly have it knocking about as spare cash to hazard on fuzzy informal courses that may or may not have any relevance to my business.
Oh, they said.
So they in turn have passed me on to something which might be called the Regional Disability Infrastructure Support Service, or might be the Council for Disabled People, or might even be something else entirely. I'm not sure what this multi-monikered organisation's remit is - whether it's helping with the transport issues or helping with the "setting up a business" issues - but it doesn't matter for now as they can't see me until mid-December.
Meanwhile, I am apparently welcome to use the resources and forum at the website of the Coventry-based business development organisation. The resources are... well, they're very good, nicely laid out, but I am worlds away from their target audience. Here's a small quote from the section on Personal Development and identifying transferable skills that may be of use in your business:
Do you organise yourself, your children and your partner?
Organise the playschool’s fundraising activities?
Act as secretary to the tennis club?
Organise lots of social functions for you and your friends and family?
Cook and shop?
Organise who does what in the local community fair?
In other words, am I a vision of middle-class feminine perfection? Well, no. I have many skills that I use, as an employer of a PA, as an employee of my bosses, as a "customer" of the DWP and Social Services, as a blogger, as an active participant in the disability community, as a friend, as a supportive partner, and as a housekeeper. But I am, in short, not their kind of person, and knowing that makes me wonder how much they will actually help me.
For now, I continue ploughing through pages after page of information that for the most part doesn't apply to me, gleaning out the little germs of usefulness.