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Season 1: UK Business Mentor Tackles Challenges Head On

Gemma Went, an online business mentor, responds from the United Kingdom

This interview took place on May 28, 2020.

Gemma and I met through mutual friends. With both of us having online businesses, it made sense for us to connect and collaborate. Even though Gemma is in the UK, and I'm in the US, our experiences are similar in that we've been trying to feel our way through navigating the challenges and opportunities in front of us and how to tackle them head on.

Guest bio:

Gemma Went is an online business mentor, growth strategist, mindset coach, digital marketing consultant, empath, and intuitive based in the United Kingdom. She is a master of the online business world, built on over 20 years of corporate, agency, brand and small business experience.




Sally Hendrick (00:40):

All right everybody, my name is Sally Hendrick. And today I've got Gemma Went with me for the Shout Your Cause podcast and we're just gonna [inaudible] about business and COVID-19 and what's going on in the world and how we're adjusting. And Gemma, how are you doing?

Gemma Went (00:57):

I am good. And I'm really happy to be here having this conversation with you.

Sally Hendrick (01:02):

Yeah, I'm so excited. We were going to talk before and you know, life just happens. And you know, especially with the situation we've been living in the last few months. So tell me what's going on with you. I mean, first tell me what you do, who you are, you know, how people know you, and then we'll go into what's going on.

Gemma Went (01:21):

Yeah, sure. So I'm an online business mentor and I work with small business owners, helping them to kind of create the success that they want with their online business.

Gemma Went (01:33):

So I, and I've been doing this for a while and I love it. I absolutely love it. And there's no greater pleasure for me than starting work with someone who's a little bit nervous, not sure if that, if their big idea is gonna work and that kind of pull, that passion is in it, but it's still not, not sure it's going to get the results they want and then they get those. But of course, so that's, that's kind of been my life for the last few years. Yeah. But of course with COVID-19, that kind of changed everything. And I seen a few different things since this all started. Both with my own business and with my clients' businesses. And I think because the rug has been pulled out from undressed, right. And because I think we've been a little bit comfortable that, you know, we have this security and nothing's going to go wrong and we've got what we need.

Gemma Went (02:32):

And then all of that stopped, right? And you take that stuff for granted. I think all of that stopped and it's made people realize, Holy cow, like actually life's short and things can change in an instant. And why am I wasting time doing the things that I do want to do? Why am I putting off my dreams? So I have seen for a lot of people this real surged to either start a brand new online business and they're like, right now's the time, dammit, I'm just going to do it now. Whatever. And they're coming online with that big idea and they're looking to start an online business. But similarly with the people that were already online, there's been a real surge from those guys going, right, you know what? Now or never, I'm just gonna go for this. So there's been a real kind of push towards that and I've seen a lot of money flowing.

Gemma Went (03:22):

There was, you know, at the beginning, I have been through a recession before. And so from the beginning I was very, very aware that we would end up in recession off this. Yeah. I mean that was gonna be the knock on effect. And so I was sort of readying myself for that immediately, you know, did all kinds of necessary things in my business cut unnecessary costs, like really went lean, focused in, made sure I had a really lovely buffer in my business and nice long runway just in case there was a debt and I started sort of teach people how to do that and that they needed to do that. And so there was a real kind of error of I think there was a lot of positivity and they weren't going to let it bother them. I think, and, and that has gone on a lot and I've met a lot of, my clients are turning over a lot of revenue.

Gemma Went (04:12):

I'm doing really well. I've just had my biggest month, the year so far, really pushing or trying, you know, it's, it's quite hard at the moment because we're all juggling home life with homeschooling and all that comes with that. But also I think just the sheer fact that all systems have been opened up to so much anxiety and pressure because of this unknown of what could happen and the horrible stuff that's happening all around us. I've not wanted to really push in my business cause I'm not sure. I'm not sure my, my whole system could cope with that. So I've just been like doing what I love doing it and I've had a really good, my best month of the year so far. So for me, so far it's felt very positive. And the, and the results for my clients has been very positive.

Gemma Went (05:11):

And then the other thing that I've seen, and this certainly started with me when this did first happen, it was almost like, I mean it hit me like a truck and I was like, Whoa, this is, this is huge. Like the results and the implications of this is huge. And you know, we only know half the story and we just don't know what's gonna happen. And I needed to take a step back and I in my heart was heavy and you know, I just stepped back for a few days and I just needed to process it a little bit and understand it and read some stuff that, that wasn't just media rubbish and get my head around what was happening, what was happening.

Sally Hendrick (05:59):

What was your timing on that? What, when was that for you?

Gemma Went (06:02):

Yeah, that was, so, I was slightly ahead of a lot of people in the UK because I have friends in Spain and my friends in Spain have friends in Italy.

Gemma Went (06:17):

Right. And that was when it was, it really hit Italy. And so I would say, Oh my God, when was that? I'm not, I've lost track of time. It would have been March, early March. Yeah. and you know, Spain wasn't even locked down yet. I don't think even think Italy was locked down yet. And I just saw what was happening and needed. I stepped back for a week just to process and get my head around where we were and, and, and the ramifications of it and how long this was gonna affect us. And it was funny, I kind of, you know, I sat with it and I needed a lot of silence. I couldn't hope with too much noise and I was staying off of social media and I just kind of sat with it. And what I wanted to do was just kind of think about, okay, well what's my place in this?

Gemma Went (07:09):

You know, I'm a real person that wants to save everybody. And you know, in something like this, I can't, I can't, can't save everybody. And I was, you know what, what is my place in this? What can I do that's gonna drive me through this, this, that I'm going to get really passionate about? And it kind of, it came to me that, you know, well, the thing that I can do is I can really, really help business owners keep that money flowing when we get through the recession to keep that money flowing to help us out of the recession. That's something that I'm positioned to do. So my mission all of a sudden became to get my clients to the other side of the recession with a healthy business and a smile on their face. Whether that business thrives in scales or whether they just survive when they managed to keep the lights on and they don't lose their house and everything, they don't need to lose any staff and everything keeps going.

Gemma Went (08:11):

And I realize, you know, that's my place. That's the thing that I can do to help through all of this. And once, and then, then that led on to you and I have spoken about this before, but I do have a real, and this was before this even happened. I have a real feeling that what the world needs really needs now is strong female leadership. And as part of that in my kind of mission to step up, I want it to step up into, okay, I need to figure that I need to be a leader of these people and do that the right way. And so I was thinking about, okay, how do I show up with that? Which led on to, okay, how can help empower these women that are working with me to step into their own version of leadership? And the more I can get people to do that, the better I can help what is going on. And it was, it was that mission and attaching to that mission that honestly, since then in March has just kept me going. And I, and I don't think about, and I don't prioritize the things that I used to prioritize. It's just, I'm just hell bent on keeping going and driving forward with these missions. I've gone.

Sally Hendrick (09:28):

So what do you mean by not prioritizing what you used to prioritize?

Gemma Went (09:33):

Yeah. You know what I think, I think for a lot of us in the business world, there's a lot of faffing around taking courses, trying new things. And, and for me it's like I need to focus, I need to focus on, I need quick results and I'm a client's needs the same. So it's, it's less about the nice to haves. It's I'm not even that bothered about my revenue right now. I'm, funnily enough, my revenue is the healthiest is, it's been for ages, but I'm not even, you know, that's not the thing that's driving me. I'm not looking at every month going right now. This is my revenue, this is what I want to do, this is the goal I want to hit this year. That's not driving me. Whereas that used to be more of a priority. Now it's no, it's about my mission and what I can achieve and what I can help other small business owners.

Sally Hendrick (10:32):

Yes, yes, I agree with you. Yeah. Yeah. That's so cool. So, so does that mean then your mission is about bringing forth these strong female leaders? I'd love though, just going back before, cause I know what you're, you're promoting right now or what you're working on. But before we even talk about that, I love the fact that you mentioned that you were talking to people about preparing for recession because I know that people who get anxiety and get stressed around money and around those sorts of insecurities, if you will. I know that when they finally sit down and look at things and truly budgeted out, cut the fat, get down and lean into the numbers, into the budgeting, the money and so on and so forth, find ways to make money. I know that when people do that and I take action around it, it makes them feel so much better even when the problem hasn't been solved yet. It makes them feel good. Yeah. At least women I know.

Gemma Went (11:36):

Yeah, absolutely. And you know, it's a powerful thing to understand the numbers and then to keep track of them. And yeah, I've been doing a lot of that. And, and coming up with ways to make sure that all my clients get really friendly with the numbers and they know exactly what they need to do next. Because the thing is, you know, you could, you could sit worrying about the recession and what it's going to do or you could just start to get ready for it. And then for me, it's like, look, it's going to, it's like a storm coming. Like it's coming. It's nothing you can do about it. Yeah. Just [inaudible] down the hatches, do what you gotta do and get yourself through in whatever way you can. And for me it's that, so like for me, all small business and it should be all preparing for that.

Gemma Went (12:25):

And I'm seeing one thing that's really getting my go is I'm seeing conversations around people saying, well, you know, the recession's not that bad. And I'm like, honey, we're not even any wait. We've still got support from the government. Like, wait until that goes, and then we are in this, then we're in a recession. But now we have the luxury of preparing for it.

Sally Hendrick (12:47):

Exactly. And wasting that moment in that time. And that preparation is a, it's sad because that's not looking into the future and we definitely need to look towards the next, you know, few months and even, you know, 18 months, a year, two years, whatever that may be, who knows what it's going to do. So as far as you leading people through this preparation phase and then developing them into the leaders that they are, because we all know that these women who were coming to you who were looking to build these businesses, they are leaders, they wouldn't be stepping out with these ideas that they have if they weren't already owning that for themselves is probably the hardest part of even doing a business.

Gemma Went (13:40):

Yeah, absolutely. And I think it's funny, a lot of them don't see themselves in that way and they don't even recognize, you know, the massive gamble that they've taken, the risks that they've taken to step out of being employed and being an entrepreneur. What else will business and whatever they want to call themselves, they don't even see the power of doing that. Right. So it's just kind of opening their eyes to it and saying, look, you're already on that path. You've done it already. Now step further into it because you can have a massive impact, huge impact. And I say it's particularly to women that you to get more introverted women think that being a leader is stepping out and being loud and getting on your pedestal and getting out there and sharing your message. And it's not always, and you know I've said to many of them that look, the sheer fact that you're stepping out and you've done this with your business and you are influencing other women and you also showing the younger women in your family and in your circle that women can step out and do this.

Gemma Went (14:51):

That's leading, that is influencing and showing them what's possible. So it's just kind of communicating that in different ways so that more and more women step into it. So you've started something recently called the Leaders Lounge and I've been following, I see your ads out there and I read your emails when they come through my inbox. Tell me a little bit more about what that is. Yeah, so I've, I've, you know, I've always run masterminds, which is I pulled together a group of female entrepreneurs and business owners to help them on the next phase of their, their business journey to help them grow their business, to take them to the next level. And Leaders Lounge at something that actually has been on my back burner since last summer, like 2019. Yeah. This isn't a new thing. It's funny. Consistency Club and Leaders Lounge. I had the idea for both of them last summer and then I'd put my ideas on a back burner and I was waiting for the right time and now, now absolutely feels like the right time.

Gemma Went (16:04):

And so the idea behind Leaders Lounge is really helping them not just grow their business, which obviously I'm doing for me isn't, it's about now recession proofing the business and then growing it through this and seeing, okay, how can you grow your business through what's coming up? So there is that element of it, but it's also to really freaking empower them to step into a leadership role, whatever that looks like for their business within their industry. And so it's just a container of like 10 around 10 women where we're going to spend the next six months together and I'm going to be facilitating and leading them and helping them to step into that next level leadership. And I'm really excited about it. So are they coming up with new completely new tracks, new ideas that they're stepping into and finally owning maybe like even things they've thought about before but just had no idea how they would do it?

Gemma Went (17:05):

Yeah, some of them all. So some of them, you know, I have one who I love, I met her last year actually in a, in real life and at who, who is a quiet lady. And her business is traditionally offline and hers is one of the biggest industries to be hit with, with all of this stuff that's going on. Right. But when I first met her last year, she talked about her mission and what she wanted to do specifically for women actually within her industry, which is traditionally a very, very, very male oriented industry. And she had this idea, this dream of, Oh this is what I would love to do to really turn its on its head. So now that, well her industry is basically on hold, nothing is happening there. She just said, you know what, maybe now it's my time to do this thing cause it is doing it online.

Gemma Went (18:02):

So she's coming in to shape that and take that to the world, which I'm really excited about. I've got another lady who she's going in a completely different direction and has massive ambitions with that. So yet there is, there's a bit of pivoting going on. Some of them are just coming in. They're like, you know what, I am ready to take my current business to the next level and I'm ready to be taking seriously and I want to see what that looks like and do the hard work to make that happen. So there's a real mixture. We've got a mixture across cross industries to corporate ladies that work in corporate that are joining who are doing fantastic things and very, very needed right now. So yeah, I'm really excited. I'm really excited.

Sally Hendrick (18:52):

That's, that's neat. I was talking with Sigrun, you know Sigrun, right? I do. I love her. Yeah, she's great. I was talking with her. She, she's on another episode that came out last week or the week before and she is actually working with people on a similar thing and that they're, they're, they've been doing something offline for a while and now they're finally wanting to take it online. She's definitely working with like it's different types of businesses though. It's like dance teachers or or fitness studios or which I've, I've gotten in a lot of fitness and wellness. People have come to me to start with Facebook ads because it's like, yeah, you can absolutely do fitness and wellness online. And they've been dealing with this in-person thing for so long with their studios and what have you. And she talked about a very similar path in that she cut back on the budgets.

Sally Hendrick (20:01):

You know, she went down, got lean, she encouraged everybody on that works with her to do similar thing. And then she started something. Oh gosh, I can't remember what she called. Oh, like a recession proof. Some sort of create your recession proof offer that it, I remember her doing it. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And so it's funny how you know, both of you have kind of created this path, but it's in a, it's in such a way that it's not like you just came up with it overnight with Consistency Club and Leader's Lounge. And I love the alliteration on that by the way. The CC and the LL it makes it really fun. I love the fact that you've done both of those things and and as far as Consistency Club is concerned though I was watching and you launched that before all of the craziness.

Gemma Went (20:48):

Yeah. Oh my God. So here's, here's the crazy with all of this, right? Like I said, both of those ideas I had last summer, I have a little sort of ideas less where I leave things on for a while cause I'm a bit of a Magpie and I'm like, I can have all of the ideas and I need to kind of sit with it for awhile until I actually go forward with them. And I knew that I was going to launch leaders lounge at some point this year and I didn't know when it was going to be, but I knew I was going to do Consistency Club or the beginning of the year I was like, right, I need to get myself ready to do it.

Gemma Went (21:29):

And I'm, because it's been on my website for a while. There was a wait list for it. That was all building up nicely in the background, wasn't promoting, it was just sitting on my website. Right. And so in January I decided that I was gonna launch it in February. But really softly, no big launch. I just wanted to open it up to my wait list. That's what's funny about it though. I know, right? Just open it up to my wait list and see if they loved the offer. It was a bit, it was a bit like testing, validating before I went big with any kind of launch. Cause it was very different for me. I'd never done anything like this before. And there's a very specific promise, not just like a membership club just to come and grow a business. Like this is a very specific promise, a very specific formula.

Gemma Went (22:17):

And I wanted to test it. So I just thought, why not open up the waitlist and I'll get some of them in and then I'll close it and then I'll test it a little bit and I'll see how it works with them. And then if that's all brilliant, I'll then go into launch. So I did that in February before Armageddon and about 105 people joined, which I was like, Whoa, this is amazing. Just from emails and emails. And it was like, Oh my God, this is crazy. And so then I got them in and I was like, right Brent, 105 people to test with. This is fantastic. I was just getting them all settled in and everything was going. And then of course it hit and I was like, Oh this is a low cost business support group. Like right now that's probably what people need.

Gemma Went (23:06):

So I just quietly opened the doors and I was like, look, if you want to come in, I'm helping businesses in here. I just come in and I'm re rethink cause I added lots more support. So I started off for example, it started off it was like one hour mentoring once a month. Then when they all hit I was like, do you know what? I'm going to be in the group, I'm going to have a call every week to mentor you guys and give you what you need so that you can get through this. So I opened the doors, another 50 people joined again really quietly and then, and so I've kind of, I've left it open. People are just kind of joining. I done any promotion for it yet. Like it's ridiculous. And you know, my, and it's been running now since February, and my retention rate is about 95%.

Sally Hendrick (23:54):

That's awesome.

Gemma Went (23:56):

And people are loving it and I am loving it. So it just feels like a really solid offer right now because the whole point is it's there to help them take consistent action, which is the biggest issue a lot of entrepreneurs have is that they're just not consistent. So it's about creating those habits, creating consistency in all of the right areas, and then just generally getting my support in whatever they need. So it's kind of, it's not just for newbies. I've got people that are really established in there who would like, Oh my God, I just need you to hold me accountable and make me do what I'm supposed to do and help me get consistent

Sally Hendrick (24:34):

Crowdsourcing of peer pressure. It just makes you want to do what you need to do every day and yeah. Into a routine.

Gemma Went (24:41):

Yeah. And that's exactly what it does. So it's been it's been an amazing, I've still not launched it. It just seems ridiculous. I've got this thing, there's amazing and I'm still not actually done in a launch. I'm not running a funnel to it. None of the things I do want to do are working yet. And there it is like turning over really beautifully.

Sally Hendrick (25:00):

That's so good though. I'm so glad that that worked out for you. And I love the fact that you're doing that and especially of a low cost offer because I have to say that I've been working with several clients over the last few months and you know, it's, it's funny how some of these funneling things are just kind of getting thrown out the window because they're taking too long or they're too expensive at the end of them and people are actually putting out $10 offers, $27 offers, $35 offers, whatever that may be. And they're just going for it. And it seems to be something that's more palatable to people right now with this budget mindset that everybody's in because they don't know what's coming in this world.

Gemma Went (25:49):

Absolutely. And I'm, I feel so blessed that I opened it at the right time because, you know, it is that affordable thing where they get that support. And yeah, you're absolutely right. You know, I think it's quite hard for people to commit at the higher end at the moment, even if they do have the money, it's like, do I take that buffer and, and risk not getting the ROI or do I leave it there for now? And I think, you know, if you're going to get ROI, if you're going to be, you're investing something, and I mean nothing's a promise and nothing is certain, but you're pretty certain that you're going to be able to double that investment then okay. But if you're really not sure, at least double that investment, but if you're really not sure, you know, I think some people are a bit nervous about that right now and I can totally understand that.

Sally Hendrick (26:38):

Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. I was in a similar situation and I was trying to put out some smaller offers and I haven't completely launched anything yet, but some things are just getting bought just cause they're there. They're just part of part of the path of people coming in naturally to my business. So I'm still in the middle of all of that myself, trying to get some things straightened out. It's trying, trying to get into some new different type of content that's more authentic to my passions and personality. So I love the fact that you're creating that platform for people to have a safe space to go to, to practice all of this because it definitely takes that practice. But yeah, absolutely discipline if you will.

Gemma Went (27:24):

Yeah, exactly that.

Sally Hendrick (27:25):

So as far as challenges go, we've, we've kind of talked through that, you know, some of the things that you're seeing in the industry and obviously we're having our kids at home and different things like that, but what about the future and your view of the good you think is going to come out of this when we get past it? Because we've got a big world here that has a lot of sickness in it in many ways. So what are some of the things that you think are going to happen and then we can wrap up.

Gemma Went (27:57):

Yeah. Do you know why I'm, I once we're through this in whatever way we get through this and obviously that's uncertain right now, but I believe the lessons that we've learned as part of this are I really hope are gonna make a massive change in how we treat each other. What we prioritize. I think just, I think the online world is gonna blow up. I mean you and I have been in this world for ages. I've been wishing the more things would be online or available in a digital format. And I, I think we're going to see some amazing digital transformations coming up where, you know, the, the, the more traditional companies and services that have been offline and they've been forced online now I'm going to see the, actually that's fireable and that's better. And I think we're going to see a lot more digital transformation, which I really hope cause I think there's so much that I think, I honestly think that people are starting to see the benefits of working from home, which is like what we've all been doing for years.

Gemma Went (29:11):

But the benefits of having that flexibility and then there will be more of that. And I think there should be more of that because you know, the more people that are working at home, the less cars on the road. Like the less people are on trains, the less transport. All of those things have a massive, massive effects on our world. So I think, I think we, if we can take the learnings from this and innovate out of it and make the most of it, I think we could be in a much better place once we're through.

Sally Hendrick (29:40):

I agree with you and the funny

Sally Hendrick (29:42):

Thing about it is that, you know, we're looking at education being more available to people who may not have had the best teachers or the best classes just because of how their schools are set up or where they're located or how much money they have or don't have. Colleges are about to change universities, all of that. And you've got businesses innovating. But then it's going to also then make those moments when we do get together, I think it's going to bring those big fun conferences back as well. You know, because those are so fun. I love like picking five conferences a year that I want to go to like every year. And I've been kind of, you know, dabbling in that for the last few years and picking out those ones like yours and like yours in the UK and Sigrun has one in Iceland and then you know, the social media marketing world out in California and you know, different ones that I like to go to.

Sally Hendrick (30:44):

And it's fun because these people that you've met online that have similar mindsets as you or similar issues, it's just fun to be able to finally get together. And I think that that's how businesses and schools and all these different things are going to be able to expand beyond just what they're confined to in some building on, you know, down the street.

Gemma Went (31:08):

Yeah, completely. I completely agree. Great. I'm going on. I'm really missing it. I can't wait to hold my event again next year. We've turned it to, as you know, an online event next month, but nothing takes the place of meeting in person, right?

Sally Hendrick (31:24):

No, it doesn't. It's totally different. You, you really get to know people and, and see them and hear them and feel them. It's, it's just different than having a zoom call, so. Yeah. Totally. Well, is there anything else you'd like to share, just as a note or do you are you good with what we've talked about so far?

Gemma Went (31:45):

No, I'm good with what we've talked about, but I would just, I would just love to leave your listeners with a thought that you know, all that all this is happening around us. I actually do believe that there are some amazing learning that we can come out of from this that can help us to improve our world, to innovate for the better that we can automate the most often. And I think if we focus on those things, then it's going to be a much better experience for all of us.

Sally Hendrick (32:12):

I agree. Thank you so much, Gemma.

Gemma Went (32:15):

Thank you for having me.

Sally Hendrick (32:17):

All right. Thank you.

Sally Hendrick (32:26):

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