Starting your own business really can change your life, whether it's making your passion your job or empowering yourself to make different decisions about what you want. We chat to Robert Adams, founder of coaching business Creative Coaching Creative Cultures, about his business journey. Robert is supported by our Virgin StartUp delivery agents at Yorkshire Coast Enterprise.

1. Explain your business in thirty seconds or less

Creative Coaching Creative Cultures supports individuals or business that are looking to change, improve or transform through personal, team, or leadership and management development. Our starting point is to raise self and other awareness through DISC personality profiling to support:

  • taking people from being stuck to unstuck,
  • taking them from lacking focus or decisiveness to a place of clarity,
  • for the purpose of unlocking potential and improving performance,
  • through increasing confidence, communication and motivation,
  • which supports people and teams to make small changes for big transformation.

2. Where are you based and why is it a good location for your business?

I have just recently moved from being home-based to an office at Woodend Creative in Scarborough. Being homebased for the first year was good as it kept costs down. However, the move to Woodend is great as it places me in an environment full of creative and entrepreneurial people for engagement and inspiration. It also gives me a higher level of confidence in IT stability and access, an issue of high importance when much of my coaching is done via Skype and my developing course offer is online. The move is psychologically important at this time as it signals a higher level of commitment, professionalism and frequency; it sets the bar higher.

3. How did you come up with the idea?

To answer this question is a life story in itself (see my book DISCover the Power of You). But the short version:

I was at a major change time in my life. I had experienced three deaths in the family and what I saw as a personal failure at work. I felt like I’d failed at everything. As an artist, as a leader and manager, as a son and as a partner. My life just seemed to be rolling on, purposeless, unravelling to nowhere and my relationship was suffering. It was my partner who saw the advert for a  two day Free Introduction to Coaching course through The Coaching Academy, and I went along with a rather skeptical manner. This led to the Diploma in Personal Professional Coaching, to me becoming a Licensed DISC Trainer, and a real bringing together of all the previously DISConnected strands in my life I hadn’t realised had actually enriched me and what I have to offer.

When I first came upon DISC personality profiling, I was blown away.  It opened up an understanding of not just myself, my family and our dysfunctional past, of work cultures and the almost inevitability of the resulting successes and failures, but also of the whole gamut of interpersonal relationships we struggle with daily in our lives. It helped me understand my own and other people’s identities and behaviors, and gave me the route map to a transformed future. I came to realise I could use all my previous learning to support others who were looking for positive change, either in themselves or their business.

4. What stage was your business at when you applied for the Start Up Loan?

My business had been running for 11 months when I applied for the Virgin Start Up Loan. In that first year I have exceeded my 2015/16 financial forecast. My business though had seen a shift from coaching (which is a one-to-one business approach) to online training and events (which are one-to-many business approaches). This required a different marketing approach and a shift in my mindset (and financial outlay).

5. How have you used it to grow your business?

It is early days yet, but I have used the funds to outsource admin and marketing work and am currently in discussions around new branding and automation processes. To support my improved online course offer I have enhanced my videoing equipment and skills, and have updated my marketing and automation knowledge. I am also undertaking coaching of my own to keep me on track.

6. Who helped you get a Virgin StartUp loan?

Peter Mitchell from Yorkshire in Business was my mentor through the Virgin Start Up Loan application process. Peter was excellent in helping me bring a focus to my business plan, financials, and in generally keeping me on track.

7. Biggest achievement so far?

There have been a number of key achievements:

  • Secured key contract with North East Lincolnshire Council, including leadership team development sessions and training sessions for tutors.
  • Completed my book, DISCover the Power of You: How to cultivate change for positive and productive cultures, and secured publisher (John Hunt Publishing) for launch in August 2017.
  • Developed and launched my on-line course offer, including my V.A.L.O.R. approach to improvement.
  • Ran Safeguarding and Prevent training for Northern Regeneration.

8. What’s next for your business?

My key next steps are:

  • Write and publish my second book looking at self-awareness and personal development and how, and if, they interact with creativity and an entrepreneurial approach. And indeed if there is overlap between the ‘creative’ and the ‘entrepreneur’. Being based at Woodend is the perfect setting for researching this book.
  • Set up and gather an audience for my new YouTube channel, based initially on video interviews for the above research, and personal development sessions.
  • Looking at rebranding and automation for my online course offer in particular.


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