My Career: From hands-on to online

We feature Catherine Clooney, Reflexologist in our My Career
My Career: From hands-on to online

Catherine Clooney, Face Reflexology, Clooney Concept

Name: Catherine Clooney 

Age: 64 (I used to chop a few years off that when I worked in recruitment. Well, 10 years off but that was before the menopause!)

Lives: Baltimore, West Cork

Job title: Reflexologist. Facial Reflexology Clooney Concept practitioner and trainer. Training is for qualified foot reflexologists who want to learn how to work on the face. The Face Reflexology Clooney Concept course is a CPD(continued professional development) training course for reflexologists.

Salary bracket: It can vary wildly, so 20,000-60,000+

Education background: B.A.(Hons)., Reflexology Diploma

Hobbies: Anything in nature, walking, swimming, scuba diving(when I can travel to hotter climes).

Describe your job in five words: Valuable, nurturing, intuitive, necessary (especially now) and rewarding.

Describe yourself in five words: Caring, nurturing, intuitive, inquisitive, always learning.

Personality needed for this kind of work? Calm, responsive, empathetic.

How long are you doing this job? Over 15 years.

How did you get this job? I was working in recruitment in Central London, and had been for many years before changing career paths. I have always been interested in complementary and natural therapies, but was working at the complete opposite end of the spectrum, in a really stressful environment in the city.

I loved the pace and demands of working in recruitment but eventually the stress caught up with me. I knew I had to change, I wanted to change, I needed to change for my health. What could have been better than to make my interest my new career? I had been having reflexology treatments and loved them. They really helped with my stress levels.

I trained in Reflexology at weekends over 18 months. After I qualified, I gave treatments at weekends before leaving recruitment.

After I left, I took the opportunity to travel for nearly a year to add cultural teachings to my knowledge of natural therapies, I travelled to the East: Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia. I had lived and worked abroad in the past, mainly in the Middle East and had learned a lot about how local women took care of themselves and each other, naturally.

However, you don't have to go as far I did to be an excellent reflexologist. You just have to train with a reputable training school, you can find you which schools are near you from reflexology associations. Here in Ireland, we have the National Register of Reflexologists Ireland, and the Irish Reflexologist's Institute. Be aware that professionalism is key. You need to study with a reputable reflexology school or body to be in a position to join an association. This enables you to get business insurance, and offer your clients cover from the health insurance companies here in Ireland.

Do you need particular qualifications or experience? To learn, no. To practice, yes, you will need to study for a Reflexology Diploma. To become a CPD trainer, you will need at least five years experience in the industry and training or teaching experience. The course took years of experience, research and anecdotal evidence before I released it.

Describe a day at work: It is all completely different now, I was working 'hands on' for treatments and 'face to face' for training. Now, I do all my work online, offering 'Bespoke Wellness Consultations' and my 'Face Reflexology Clooney Concept' course, which is now delivered via a learning platform and Zoom.

I have planned out the dates of my six week FRCC training courses, which are followed by a two week Facial Gua Sha course. I have planned these out for the year. This allows me to know which days I have available for online wellness consultations.

Each Monday, I further plan my week for tasks that need to be current, such as social media posts and post in reflexology groups. Once a month, I will be sending out newsletters to clients with tips that they can do themselves at home and for reflexologists with professional updates on treatments and trainings.

How many hours do you work a week? Less now that I am online. Before Covid, it had always varied depending on how many clients I had booked in, and when I had training courses. Also, how far I had to travel for the CPD course.

Last year, I was booked to do my Face Reflexology Clooney Concept, CPD training courses all over Ireland, some in the UK, and even in the USA and the Middle East. Now, I have no travelling, I have some students from all over the world, but all from the comfort of my office, perfect in this Covid world. However, the majority of my students and clients are still in Ireland.

I can choose how many hours a week I want to work. I have definite hours that I need to be available when I have courses running, that allows me to decide how many online clients I can see. I offer an hour consultation/treatment, which means I have to plan this out before the consultation. I have a health questionnaire that all clients receive and fill in, I then plan a treatment for them and then follow up a week later. The follow up is usually half and hour.

I can work between 25-40 hours a week as necessary.

What do you wear to work? Smart/casual for online.

Is your industry male or female dominated? Female.

Does this affect you in any particular way? No.

Is your job stressful? How? Rate it on a scale of 1-10: 4, mainly because admin isn't my zone of genius. My tech skills have come on leaps and bonds over the last year though!

Do you work with others or on your own? On my own.

When do you plan to retire or give up working? I don't have any plans to retire or give up working. I can keep doing what I'm doing for as long as I love it, and as long as my clients and students love it too.

Best bits: I can choose how to help my lovely clients and students. I can choose my hours. I can fit in what I need to do for me. I can put my walks in nature in my diary and anything else I need for me. I'm always telling my clients to do this, so I practice what I preach!

Worst bits: Working alone. Although, I am a member of the wonderful, 'Network Ireland West Cork' and other networking business groups. An absolute godsend.

Advice to those who want your job? Do it, it's good for your health too. Physical and mental. It's the sort of professional where you give, but you also receive. I love it.

You can contact Catherine on 086 724 6677, email info@catherineclooney.com

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