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The Crack Magazine

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Unravel Your Future

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘work smarter, not harder’ before, and it rings true. Whether redundancy is looming, you’re sick of the 9-5, you don’t enjoy what you do or feel as if you’re not in control of your own destiny, sometimes no matter how hard you work, it isn’t enough. How exactly can you fix this? One option is to become your own boss.

If you’re looking for a little inspiration, Helen Stuart’s story may help. The Gateshead entrepreneur owns Knitted Up North, selling colourful, hand-knitted items. Originally a hobby that helped her unwind after her stressful day job, Helen learned how to transform her passion into a career on the Learn Smarta ‘fundamentals’ course.

“I just thought ‘what have I got to lose?’ and decided to give it a go. I loved the flexibility of how it’s delivered. The mixture of live and on-demand sessions mean you can catch up at weekends or at night and can fit it around anything. I now know how to be seen and get noticed by new customers and I have lots of ideas for marketing myself. I’m planning to expand my product line and to get out to more live events.”

More people than ever are turning to self-employment and starting their own business, but many shy away because they don’t know where to start and lack confidence. Luckily, Learn Smartais here to help. The entry-level, 6 week online programme aims to help aspiring entrepreneurs, founders and freelancers bring their visions to life, no matter how much they know about business.

You can expect to learn vital skills such as how to conduct market research, business plan development, social media marketing and applying for funding, while gaining real-world business smarts from entrepreneurial experts through interactive live learning sessions, 1-2-1 tutorials, group classes and lifelong access to recordings and worksheets. The Gateshead-based team behind Learn Smarta have supported over 10,000 business start-ups and overseen £1,200,00 in loans – you could be next.

Learn Smarta have compiled a list of the potential types of people that the course would be great for. Do any of these sound like you?

The frustrated 9–5er: You’ve got a job but your heart’s not in it. You dream of being your own boss. But you don’t know how to make it a reality…

The work-life balancer: Always dashing from work to school to home. You want to get off the treadmill and get some balance back. But need some support to make the change…

The redundancy worrier: Your job’s not secure and you want control of your destiny. You know you’ve got the skills to pay the bills. But you’re scared to take the leap…

The happy hobbyist: You’ve got a passion that makes your heart sing. You’d love to make it your living but aren’t sure if it would work…

The seize-the-dayer: You’ve realised life’s short and you want to love every minute of it. But that’s not going to happen sitting at a dreary desk...

Whoever you are, be sure to book a place at www.smarta.com/learn while they’re still available. The courses run monthly and are fully funded by the European Social Fund for people in Tyne and Wear and Northumberland; it is £499 for learners elsewhere.