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After 2,000 failed job apps, I went self employed

Snubbed for 2,000 jobs, man decides to go self-employed... and business is booming

When Richard Shakespeare was made redundant in 2009 he wasted no time or effort in trying to return to the world of work.

He has applied for 1,923 jobs - almost six per day - to any employer within commuting distance of his home in Sinfin, Derbyshire.

Mr Shakespeare has attended hundreds of interviews and spent more than £1,000 on stamps for application letters since he lost his job as a customer advisor with internet bank Egg. He knows this because he kept track of every application on a spreadsheet.

In one instance Mr Shakespeare, who suffers from cerebral palsy, even scored 98% on an aptitude test but was still overlooked for an administrative position in the public sector.

But now, after 12 months of rejection, he has ended his job search to become a consultant advising businesses on disability issues.

He said: 'I applied for absolutely everything that I could physically do and didn't know how to get out of the unemployment trap.

'After nearly a year without a job offer, I was starting to get depressed and the number of suitable jobs seemed to be going down.'

Mr Shakespeare was also at a disadvantage as he could not accept a job paying the minimum wage - because he would have lost the redundancy insurance that was paying his mortgage.

So after becoming fed up of his 12-month quest for work, he was inspired to bite the bullet and set up his own business.

He added: 'Interviewers would feel uncomfortable and nervous, unsure as to how to treat someone who's disabled.

'It struck me that there must be hundreds of businesses that had no experience of dealing with disabled people and would benefit from speaking to someone with a real-life perspective on the matter.'

Mr Shakespeare attended a number of networking events to bounce his idea off of local business leaders and decided it could work, so he set up his modest office in Derby.

He said: 'Now that I'm self-employed, the pressure is really on me to make ends meet but I'm determined to make it work and I'm confident that I can.'

And business has been booming so far - with clients already queueing up, one of his first was a local Novotel hotel.

In October he visited as a mystery guest and later reported back to the manager and briefed employees on how to improve service.

General manager of the hotel, Mike Colman said: 'We do a lot of disability awareness training with our staff but I wanted a fresh look at how we treat disabled guests.

'What Richard did was to bring disabled issues to life, which was extremely valuable. He's a personable guy and very knowledgeable - he really struck a chord with my team.

'As a result of his work, we have made tweaks to how we treat disabled guests. I meet regularly with other hoteliers in Derby and I will certainly recommend that they get in touch with Richard.'

Mr Shakespeare has also worked with Nottingham-based health care practitioner Wendy Wells.

She said: 'Richard's knowledge and experience have been really useful to me while I have been setting up my podiatry practice. 'He has advised me on current legislation and has helped me with any queries that I've had.'

The article was taken from the This is Money website.