Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
I am Gemma Stow I am married to Mark, and we have two gorgeous children Matilda (8) and Grayson (4). They rock my world.
What’s your business called?
Gemma Stow and I am the founder of Fiercemums.
Can you describe it in one sentence?
I empower ambitious mums who are unfulfilled and ready to be more than just a mum, to be more confident and clear on what they really want, by helping them to get to the bottom of what is holding them back.
When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
I actually started my first business when my daughter was born back in 2008. I wanted something different and wanted to work for myself to give me more flexibility, so I took voluntary redundancy whilst on maternity leave from the National Probation Service where I had been a Probation Officer for 8 years. Starting a family made me realise my ambitions and how much I love to do work I love – it is a part of who I am.
My first business was working with disadvantaged young people mainly with challenging behaviour that stopped them reaching their full potential in mainstream school. I had an amazing team of staff and the business built up a great reputation and I won a Network She award for our achievements.
However, after working with a business mentor (that was originally to help me up level and grow the business) I realised that after 7 years I wanted something different and my passions had changed.
I made the heartbreaking decision to close the centre in December 2015 and was left wondering what I really wanted.
After a great deal of soul searching and figuring out my own strengths, I decided to make steps into the coaching world and haven’t looked back. I am, and always have been, all about unlocking the potential in others.
How did you fund your start up?
My coaching business is all based online, and having debts from the closure of my previous business I needed to do something that would be easy to start and would only cost me my time.
I started my coaching business whilst working full time hours that I squashed into four days so it left me one day to work on the business plus the weekends and evening I put into it. The thing is – because I love what I do it doesn’t feel like work to me I enjoy it that much.
It was hard returning back to working for someone else at that time, but I knew it wasn’t forever and they also supported me regarding my new business venture.
My first biggest outlay was hiring my own coach. I didn’t have the funds so I used my credit card and knew deep down that I would make that investment back. I did within 6 months.
I knew that this was what I needed to really do to build my own confidence and make this business take off. It was the best investment I could have made. In myself.
How do you manage working around your children?
I have found what works for me and my family. I also love helping ambitious fiercemums with managing this juggle.
It is not easy and was one of the reasons I wanted to work for myself in the first place. I have set times when I work and have set times for fun. I changed my lifestyle so I get up super early and have time for me and my work. I can say that there are days when I would rather carry on working, but the school bell is looming and I find that hard sometimes to switch off.
Being present with whatever you are doing is the best advice I can give. Multi tasking just frustrates everyone – you and your children.
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
I get up at 515am – exercise and meditate or journal (sometimes that can mean having a cuppa and five minutes to myself before the rest of the house stirs) and then revisit my goals and I set myself three main things to get done that day – the rest is a bonus. Making time for you is crucial to getting the right mindset for success. I didn’t realise this at first but have learnt that this is a vital part of the journey.
Most busy mums, including myself, use the lack of time as an excuse, it doesn’t have to be that way and there will be a way of managing your time that suits you and your family but it will take dedication.
What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge is doing it all myself and wearing all the different hats which also includes being a mum. I am not sure there is a perfect balance to this and it is more about doing your best with what you’ve got.
Even though I have years of experience playing different roles in my previous business, our growth meant we could eventually have specialists who would take on these roles for me such as accountants, PR, team managers, admin etc – however now there is just me again and I am back doing it all.
Juggling all the many areas of business is not easy and we all have strengths in different ones. I know that as soon as I can, I will be outsourcing the bits I am not that fussed about and giving them to someone who loves it, so I can concentrate and focus on the bits I love to do which is coaching my clients for transformational change.
What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
Being my own boss! Making decisions about my work and when, where, how and who I want to work with and what I want to do.
I love it and am grateful for social media for letting me build an amazing community and making incredible connections with other women and ambitious mums who are on the same path as I am. Their support is invaluable to me.
What are your plans for the future?
To grow. Both myself and the business and help my clients do the same.
Reach even more ambitious mums and keep on inspiring them everyday to be the best version of themselves.
I will have different ways women can work with me so I can be more accessible. From online courses, to retreats, to more group programmes and 1-1 private coaching with me.
The fiercemums private group will keep growing and we are already at 1000 members.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
1. Keep going – Self belief is everything. Self doubt kills more dreams than failure ever could. And don’t be afraid of failure or getting things wrong. I really don’t believe you can ever fail at anything: You win or you learn. It is that simple.
2. Find external support – Don’t solely rely on those closest to you for support: hire a coach, join supportive communities and go out and make connections – they are what keep you going when times get hard.
3. Ditch the mummy guilt – I see this holding women back everyday. Tell your children about your business, explain it to them (when they can understand) get them onboard and share with them your vision of why building a successful business, more income and flexibility of working for yourself will only make your family have more of you. I am the best mum I can be when I am doing work I love.
4. Don’t be scared of success – If we get honest with ourselves this is usually a reason that holds us back fro going for it. We worry that we will have to spend more time away from our families or that we will have to step even further out of comfort zone that we shy away. Be bold. Be fierce.
5. Say Yes – Saying yes to opportunities that come your way and then figuring it out later. Don’t overthink and talk yourself out of it or letting others influence you. As soon as I started saying yes more, everything changed for me. You’ve got this!
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
It is so important to be passionate about what you are doing. It makes running your business so much easier and doesn’t feel like work.
Business is tough and can be sometimes be a lonely place, so make sure you love what you do and get the support you need to get you focused and clear on where you are going next.