Frequently asked questions

It can be hard to take in lots of new information.

Do you provide jobs for ex prisoners?
No, not directly. We provide information that helps you become self-employed.

Can I really set up my own business?
Yes, you don’t have to be an employee, it’s a lot easier than you think!

Is an ex-prisoner barred from any of the professions in your packs?
Only sex offenders may be barred from some of our trades.

What do I say to clients about my time in prison?
They don’t need to know. That is in your past.

Will they ask me for a CV?
No. There’s a saying, ‘If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.’ So, if you tell people you’re a fitness instructor, and you look like a fitness instructor, they’ll believe you’re a fitness instructor.

When I start, will they ask about my other clients?
Most clients never ask. If you’re at Day 1, do some work for your sister and claim that as ‘one of my current clients’.

Will they ask about my experience?
Most client believe you are an expert. No matter how little you know, you will know much more than your clients. In their eyes, you’re the expert.

What if they find out about me having been in prison?
How you reply is up to you. If they already know, they may respect the fact that you’ve turned your life around and started a new business.

Do I need a solicitor to set up my business?

Do I need to hire an accountant?
No. Not at the start. Later on you may want to seek some advice. It should be free as they will want to have you as a customer.

Will I need lots of cash?
Not for the professions covered in our packs. Some people have started with just £10.

How do I get experience before starting up?
Practise at home, working for friends and family. Take a look online for demonstration videos. YouTube has lots of videos. All of our professions require minimum training, but a lot of drive and hard work. Just take the plunge and go for it.

Can I become a trainee first?
Probably not. The people who run businesses mentioned in our packs are usually one man/woman bands. They don’t take on trainees. They don’t want competition.

Who can I talk to?
We can provide general advice by email. But check out the Sources of Advice in the menu above. Many organisations will be ready to help you.

Can I get a grant to start up?
Probably not. We’ve listed some grant making bodies in the Money section (in the menu above). However, very few people get a grant. And we’ve chosen trades that don’t need much cash. Your best bet is to use your own resources and start the business. Check out our ‘How to do it on the cheap’ in ‘Money’.

How do I find clients?
See the section in the menu on finding clients. And each of the Escape Plans has a booklet on finding clients.

Do I have to do cold calling?
No. Our packs don’t recommend that. We suggest other means of finding clients.