Business Boost Health. Bolsover’s Steve Halligan has turned his family’s enthusiasm for martial arts in to a thriving IT business, LXLR.  Supported by the Work for Yourself programme, he uses his specialist knowledge to create the websites and social media outlets for martial arts clubs, athletes and other businesses.  Getting back to work has improved his health and family life too. Steve said, “I wasn’t able to work for nearly two years due to my health: one day I came in from the garden dripping with blood but didn’t know how I’d cut my arm.    After lots of tests, I was eventually diagnosed with non-epileptic attack disorder that had been causing blackouts of which I was never aware.  My wife was at least pleased to know what had been going on for years as she had thought I was ignoring her when, in reality, I just didn’t know that the blackouts were happening.  Relying on benefits was horrible after a successful career as a telecommunications retail manager.    I wanted to work but couldn’t so my anxiety got worse which caused more blackouts.” Talking about how he started the business, Steve explained: “I’d applied for many jobs and even got some interviews but found them very stressful which impacted on my health.  So I decided on self-employment so that I could control my environment, work and deadlines.  The Jobcentre put me in touch with the Work for Yourself team and my brilliant Business Adviser.  He listens and doesn’t just tell me what to do.  He gives me tips for the next steps and responds straightaway to all my e-mails. I’d already created a website to showcase my sports videos and photography and this was the basis of my business idea.  Now I get up in the morning and look forward to work which is even better when customers love what I do.  Now my health has improved too: I haven’t had any attacks for over a year and have even got my driving licence back.    My relationships with my wife and kids is so much better.” Steve and his family of fitness fanatics know all about mixed martial arts: kick-boxing, karate, Tae Kwon do and more.    When creating a club website, he talks direct with members so that the site is tailored for them. His photography and video skills capture the action while he uses social media and search engine optimisation to build the audience.  He said, “This global reach can be key for individual martial art athletes who know that high visibility and recognition helps their careers, especially for the many who move in to stunt work.  But my range goes beyond the sports and fitness industry to other businesses looking for new markets.  My clients have included a security firm and my video promotion for a community organisation helped them gain more funding.  I’m now doing every aspect of branding and promotion for a women’s fashion range – there’s something new every day.”
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