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Gemma Whates helps mothers to start and grow a business alongside raising a family, via start up courses and the ALL by MAMA community. 

She shares 10 practical steps you can take to get your business started.

  1. Map out your vision
  2. Work on your business model
  3. Define your ideal customer
  4. Identify your USP (Unique Selling Point)
  5. Decide on a name for your company and set up at Companies House
  6. Design a company logo
  7. Get an online presence (website and social media)
  8. Make yourself accountable
  9. Work out (realistic) timings for your goals
  10. Create your personal finance plan


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Episode 9 – how to carry out your own customer and market research guidance for business

Lean Start up book


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Vicki Weinberg (8s):

Welcome to the Bring Your Product Ideas to Life podcast, practical advice and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products. He is your host Vicki Weinberg. Hi, and welcome. So if you're looking to create a product to sell it, chances are, you're also looking to set up a business around your product, and it's of course, you'll be doing this for a hobby or for fun.

Vicki Weinberg (54s):

So we speak a lot, a lot on this podcast about sort of the elements involved in creating your product and getting it ready to sell. But what we haven't really spoken about is kind of the business elements. So what do you need to do to get a business up and running? Well, today's guest is going to tell you 10 Practical four steps you can take to get your business started. So Gemma Whates helps mothers to start and grow a business alongside his rate in a family via start up courses and the ALL by MAMA community. So Gemma was the world with lots of start ups to help them to get their businesses on the ground. And I think that what she was going to share it with you today will prove really useful. So here we go. Love to introduce you to Gemma So welcome.

Vicki Weinberg (1m 33s):

Gemma thank you so much for being here. Could you just tell us a little bit about yourself and your background please?

Gemma Whates (1m 39s):

I think he thanks so much for having me today. So I'm Gemma I am the founder of All by Mama. So I launched that business about six years ago now, and prior to that, I worked in marketing. So it was a marketing director at an agency in London and focusing on customer and retail marketing. So basically putting together a strategy for brands like Disney, about how they could get their product sold at retail. Umm, so probably a familiar story. I had a, my first son and I went back to work in that role and a job that I absolutely love loved and the, I was very intense and the, we wouldn't see my son and a half. It just wasn't working for me.

Gemma Whates (2m 20s):

So I decided to leave that job and start my own business. The background to it all by my mind is actually a, an idea that I came up with when I was working at a township, it was volunteering at a township in Cape town and South Africa. And I was, this is before I had my own children. I went over and did a month's worth of volunteering work, looking after kids while their parents were making products out of the most, it was really amazing. And they don't know if anyone's listening has been to Cape town, but lots of people in the townships will make products that are then sold in the shot in that in Cape town. And they make things out of tin cans or out of newspapers, things like ornaments or prints for the water or pictures of the wall.

Gemma Whates (3m 3s):

And I first had the idea of supporting parents while I'm trying to sell products. When it was, when I was there,

my initial idea was to come back to the UK, import, these products sell them. And then as a social enterprise and the funds back at the time, I didn't have the business knowledge or expertise to get that off the ground and just kind of ended up having it is an idea in the back of my head then going back into my life and go back into a marketing job. And when I have my first child and I decided that job didn't work any more for me, I kinda came back on to that idea. Let's do it again. And it still was just hit by so many barriers that I thought, okay, I need to start somewhere that I can manage.

Gemma Whates (3m 44s):

What's a version of this that I can kind of achieve. And that was to help mums in the UK creative mums in the UK sell products. So that is probably where the idea came from a, obviously a background in marketing. So I knew a little bit about how to do that. So I'd been running all by me for six years and there was an e-commerce site and a community that I attached to that business now.

Vicki Weinberg (4m 9s):

Yeah. Thank you. So you're here today to talk to us about 10 things to do when you're setting up your product business, because obviously it was not just about the Product. I talk lots about how to source product and how to come up with Ideas and validate your Ideas. So today you going to talk through 10 things that people need to think about when they're setting up as a business. Umm, so the first is working on your vision and can you just stay in a little bit or what you mean on that?

Gemma Whates (4m 34s):

Okay. So when you start a business, if you, we realized very quickly how tight and tense it is and you therefore really need to know why you're doing it. So when I talk about vision and why I always get people to do that at the very beginning of the process is because if you don't know why your building your business and what the vision for your business it is and what that ultimately means for you in your life and your family, it's very easy to become. De-motivated very quickly. And also it's very difficult to make decisions. If you don't know what you want your business to be in, to be calm, it's very difficult to make decisions.

Gemma Whates (5m 17s):

So when I talk about your vision, it means sitting down and it's the most basic fall and thinking, what do, what does this business mean to me? Why am I starting it up? Where do I want it to be in five years in, in 10 years? And I also personally, or what do I want from it?

Vicki Weinberg (5m 38s):

That was really helpful. Thank you. And I think you're right, because as we were just talking before we started with a cold and it can be really tough and knowing why you're doing it does kind of helps you get FREE some of those tough at times, doesn't it?

Gemma Whates (5m 51s):

Absolutely. Yeah. And I think if you do stop and you don't have that vision set out, you seem to realize that you need it. And I think it's, you always might, your vision might change as your business grows and as you grow as a person and as time goes by, but you need that for, to guide you on your decisions and to motivate you.

Vicki Weinberg (6m 11s):

Yeah. Thank you. Okay. So the next part is working on your business possible. So how do we do this? Gemma

Gemma Whates (6m 19s):

So when I say this, a, it sounds quite kind of like, Oh, in your lots of people kind of start with a business idea, like a creative business idea and think, Oh, I know I've got this idea. I'm just gonna go and pull it out there. And that is great. And I, I do kind of also stand by the, just to get out there and just get it done. But it's really important to actually look at how the business makes money, because I ended up working with and talking to so many small business owners and women or the mother's kind of running that business around family life and that haven't taken the time to look at the business model and how it scales and when it will make money, does it actually work?

Gemma Whates (7m 3s):

Because say for instance, you know, if you are selling a product, you're thinking about selling a product, you need to make sure you put the right margins built in their, you could work really hard getting that product out to a wholesale and then realize it there's hardly anything left it at the end. And so the business model is really, really important at the beginning and you should be getting your spreadsheet and running lots of different scenarios. So for instance, if you will buy my community, which I know as a service business, but you can run that in many different ways. And the only way to really come to the right conclusion about what way to run it is to do the business is to pick up the figures into a spreadsheet from all the different scenarios in Work out, what one work's. So you can get tripped up by this and it's best as early as possible to go and look at the business model.

Vicki Weinberg (7m 51s):

Yeah, absolutely. And for products, business, I mean that's umm, so the advice I would give here is to look at the different scenarios for selling your product because depending on which market places you sell on his way up, you sell on Amazon or eBay or, or buy MAMA or anywhere else, there might be surface fees or commissions, you pay on your sale's and you kind of needed to run through all of these scenarios. They could, if you base your business idea around, I'm going to sell on Amazon and then you work out what actually these fees or a bit steep And I, you know, I'm not with any money. So as you say, it is definitely worth looking into all of this upfront rather than just sort of like you say, it was always good to push ahead with an idea or you've got a good idea to move forward with it, but yeah.

Vicki Weinberg (8m 32s):

Spending some time thinking about, well this actually Work out and what is the best way to do this is yeah. Definitely worth it. Definitely worth spending time.

Gemma Whates (8m 40s):

Yeah. And I think sometimes there's an assumption that people have the start. One of the easier things to do is you look at your competitor's and you need to look at that price thing and you think, Oh, well, you know, a promote, my product is a bit like that or it's slightly better quality or a slightly better value. I'm going to price it

around that. But you're making an assumption that that competitor is making a profit or has done that a business model and you know, you know, and it's working for them. So I would always say just exactly Your and figure it is right at the start because it's, it's quite hard to change what you're charging. It's not impossible. But if you get yourself in just about the right ballpark to start with it, it'll be a lot easier.

Vicki Weinberg (9m 21s):

Yeah, absolutely. And also you don't know about anyone else was paying for their products. That's another thing, because as a difference between a company whose at the stage where they have water in thousands and somebody who is already been on hundreds and the differences in what you be paying per item, it's going to be a lot more. So if there's a way, so yeah, there's a lot so consider. Okay. So the next part is understanding your ideal customer.

Gemma Whates (9m 47s):

So understanding your ideal customer is as much as you can niche your customer as possible at the beginning, it, the better 'cause you might say my products for everybody or my products for mums, but really that's not to say my products for mums. That's not really defining who your customer is for your customers, for us or your products for, if you able to really identify who your ideal customer is going to be much easier to find them and they are going to find you, the other reason to Identify your ideal customer early on is because you need to understand not who they are. Not just here we are, I should say, not just the fact that they are remodeled, they have two kids or they live in Scotland or what if it has to be, what is the insight around that customer?

Gemma Whates (10m 33s):

So what is that pain points? Where do they struggle with what keeps them up at night? Those kinds of questions you need to be asking yourself and what value am I bringing to my ideal customer? And if you haven't got a niche customer or a specific type of pass, and you can answer that because they're all going to have different problems. So the clearer you can be on your messaging at the start talking in a particular type of person, the more likely you are to attract those initial customers.

Vicki Weinberg (11m 1s):

All right. Thank you. So we've done a few episodes about talking about customers before. So I'll link to these

in the show notes because I absolutely agree that it's, you know, you need to do it. If you're not, you need to know exactly who you're selling the product to. And yeah, as you say, Gemma the more detailed or you can go in and see the, the, I think it makes the marketing a lot easier. It doesn't it, if you know exactly who you're

talking to you and what sorts of things, concern, and they're looking for, it just makes, it just makes it, even though it is a bit of work up front or do you think it makes the marketing a lot easier?

Gemma Whates (11m 33s):

Yeah. And I think, you know, there's an expectation sometimes or you put products out there and you know what the benefits, and even if you communicate the benefit, it soft or whatever that benefit is. And one thing that you can always test yourself is by, is it by saying and say what you know, that it doesn't necessarily mean that you're ideal customer really knows Y that's a benefit to them. So you want to talk to them in the terms of what the benefit is to them. And you can't do that unless you really know who they are and what they need.

Vicki Weinberg (12m 0s):

Yeah, absolutely. I think I talk about that a lot when I'm writing product descriptions, because often people will list that you say benefit's like soft. Whereas if, I don't know, if you can say something like, you know, your baby will get out of the bath and this will be like a lovely, warm experience. It was just like, I'm having a lovely, soft cuddle and this really lovely towel, for example, that came with the top of my head. So it didn't sound that polished, but I think that kind of pain is a bit more of a picture for a month. And just saying, this is soft, which, and absolutely soft is a benefit, but like you say, and if you, if you know that Actually your customer as a parent and the parent have a young baby and something that is going to be important for them is when their baby gets out for the bar and they wrapped up in the towel, the baby is going to feel warm and dry and safe.

Vicki Weinberg (12m 46s):

I think knowing your customers and that sort of levels, definitely it makes it easier.

Gemma Whates (12m 53s):

Yup. Absolutely.

Vicki Weinberg (12m 55s):

I would say the four things to do when you're setting up your products company is identifying your USP or Unique Selling Point.

Gemma Whates (13m 5s):

So this is a really important 'cause you don't necessarily need to be the first person to have an idea. There's lots of examples of massively success, successful businesses. That weren't the first, I'm not suggesting you ever copy somebody. The idea that is not what you mean, but there's obviously lots of different types of

towels or for example, just using the sample of towels again, randomly, but you know, what, what makes your product different? Is it a product benefit that's unique to you? Or is it a branding element that's unique to you? Is it something that you are bringing if from your experience or your knowledge? So what is the differentiator to your product? And this is where it is sometimes beneficial to look at what competitors are doing and what what's on the market already so that you know, why you can stand out, because ultimately if you're bringing your product to the market, there's got to be a reason that someone's going to choose that over another products and that's going to be your USP or your differentiator, why you are different.

Vicki Weinberg (14m 1s):

Yeah. And it actually coming back to the point before about understanding your customer, or just the fact that you understand your customer might be a USP and it depends what kind of product you are going for. If you are, you know, if you've got a really good understanding of your customer and what they need, but none of your competitors do that might be your USP right there, which is why I definitely think it's worth taking the time to, to think through both of these elements

Gemma Whates (14m 25s):

And yeah. And it has to be linked to your customer needs, obviously, you know, and there is no point to having a differentiator that your customer is not interested in. So it has got to be linked to exactly that exactly where it needs,

Vicki Weinberg (14m 34s):

Which I guess in a way, which also comes back to your business model and your visions, it all ties together brilliantly. Okay. So we're going to get now into some of the more practical things people need to do. So I guess these first four steps you can say is kind of the, some of the fault Work that you need to do. But then obviously there are some practical steps that you need to take when you're setting yourself up as a company. And the next one is setting up a Companies House. So I always say that

Gemma Whates (15m 2s):

I put this in because you know, you need to set your business up properly from the start. So whether that is you investing in an hour or have an accountant's time and understanding the different ways you can set your own, set yourself up as a business, as a limited company, or as a partnership or as a sole trader, whatever, when your going to pick M you gotta do that properly for the Start. You need to check out that your name is not a trademark at, and it's not taken at Companies house. So go through those kinds of things. You need to look at another thing you need to do with your name is type into Google. Is there a million names coming out that sounded like yours, or there are a similar to yours and you are going to be really hard for you to rank.

Gemma Whates (15m 44s):

So there's a lot of thought and research to be done around. And when, when your name and your company, and when you're selling your company up around and going and making those cheques and checking in to

making sure your doing everything correctly, I would always recommend, you know, you can find the stuff that you can go on, took up the door UK and looked at all of the ESS and find all this stuff out for yourself. But a conversation with somebody who knows is really going to help you because you can't kind of find yourself looking through loads and loads of webpages and getting yourself into a bit of a, a ball of confusion, but you need to set it up or get a claim in your head, what type of business Your you are setting up and making sure that you can, you can claim the name that you want and that kind of thing.

Vicki Weinberg (16m 28s):

Yeah. And I think that is something that people can get a little bit of a hung up on it as well, because I know at the beginning, when I set up my company, certainly, or whether it be registered as a company or to go as a sole trader was something like agonize Deva. And actually all I needed to do is pick one and, and go with

it. And I think the same topic has to be said about names as well, providing the name is quite good and no one else has taken it and you can have an online presence. Sometimes you just need to make a decision and move forward because I do think, yeah, it definitely people can get help myself included people will definitely get held up here. Yeah. And I'd think, well, I think that your advice to talk to somebody is a good two, because I don't think there's necessarily a right or wrong answer.

Vicki Weinberg (17m 11s):

I have that as the best way to structure your company because there were so, you know, so many differences, aren't there for things like tax and little, all kinds of different implications. Yeah.

Gemma Whates (17m 21s):

It can depend on how you want to grow for instance, on how you want the company to be calm. And those kinds of things, a little bit of linked back division, but talking too, just spending some time either at seeking some of the By somewhere within the network somewhere or reaching out to you and accounts and or something like that. I think it's really beneficial for an initial conversation at the early stages, because I think not only you're reassured that you are doing it properly, it, it just, it gives you that a little bit of confidence that right. I've made that decision to, like you say, don't need to just say you don't get held up at that stage when it comes to the name. You know, if the name broadly represents something that you know, that your company is associated with or what you're, it doesn't have to necessarily to describe exactly what you're just what your company does, but yeah, you're right.

Gemma Whates (18m 11s):

People do you really get held up and what do I call, what should I call it? It works like all of that. So I think there's a check-list and a few basic checks and things to run through 'em and once you've done that make the decision and you get going,

Vicki Weinberg (18m 25s):

I think I'm right in thinking as well, that to set yourself up as a company to register it as a company, it doesn't

actually take that long. And doesn't actually costs a lot of money. Am I right in saying that?

Gemma Whates (18m 34s):

Yeah. So I think it's 40 pounds. It's like 15 or 10, 15 minute process. You fill out some, some forms are on a company's house website and it gets it to some emails and you need to register, or you need to work on where your registered address is, whether you're gonna have that at your home address or whether you're going to use a coworking office or a pair box address. Or if you, if you Google mission of the dresses, because some people don't like that to be the home address, because it depends on the internet, obviously. Yeah. It's very quick. It's a very quick process.

Vicki Weinberg (19m 5s):

Okay. So hopefully if you're listening to this and feeling a bit daunted, that's going to give you a little bit of reassurance and coming back to the name. So what are the basic checks you would go for it before? Just deciding that the name was okay. So it definitely

Gemma Whates (19m 18s):

Looking at companies have a number one and check there. Isn't the business with that name, like at trademarks take this nature is not trademarked. I'm looking at Google, go on to Google and type in the name. C what happens is anybody else has got that name go to a few pages back on, or how likely are you gonna be to be able to rank Heidi when that if somebody searched for your business? So for instance, if you had an old by Mama, it will come up. If I pass and evolve, that's got to lose a business is called evolve. Just a random example. So it depends, you know, it's going to be harder to run with that business, a on a Google, umm, also you might want to reach out to our network and say to them, what does this name mean to you?

Gemma Whates (20m 4s):

Or does this name and present anything to you? Do you have a story? Have you decided to call it your name, that name 'cause there's a story behind the name or is it because it is, the name actually says what you are doing. So I guess as long as you're clear on those kinds of things, you probably get to go.

Vicki Weinberg (20m 21s):

Perfect. Thank you. Okay. So once you've got your name, the next step is designing a logo. So how might we go about this?

Gemma Whates (20m 30s):

So there's a book called the lean startup on my wish I had posted about for a month to grab it. And it's a really good place to start if you are just starting a business, because what you wanna do is do everything as quickly as possible in the most cost effective, active way as possible. So you can test it because guaranteed it will change once you adapt and learn when you start learning in listening to feedback. So, you know, if you're depending what your skills or like you can go on to Canva and design yourself your first logo, if you

wanted to take, I know that lots of people that have successfully done that and then rebranded two or three years down the line when they've got more money behind them, or they know that businesses going in the direction that you thought it was going to go in and then once to kind of a rebrand or that we did that with all by MAMA we'd we branded it two years, then we actually chose, we changed the logo, changed the colors, change it, it changed everything.

Gemma Whates (21m 27s):

Or, or, you know, if Your, I would, I would have to be honest advised doing something like that, just start with this. Website's like five and 99 Designs and those kinds of things where we can get our logo design and creative, it, it can sometimes be a great cause sometimes be a bit hit and miss, or you could work with a designer and obviously ask them to a design, a logo for you. In that instance, you're going to have lots of upfront work to do whether she should be doing any way of thinking about what is yours, what is your brand represent and what your brand values, if you know, what brand colors have you chosen, why have you chosen then? What does that represent it? You should be doing all that thing. You can yourself anyway. But if you are literally just at the point of, I just want to get this idea of, and this concept is out there to see if it's going to fly.

Gemma Whates (22m 12s):

I just don't get caught up on the logo is what I would say.

Vicki Weinberg (22m 16s):

That's great. Thank you. And I think, yeah, I think not getting caught up on Things is actually a sort of a key message. If all of this isn't it just don't let things. So don't let things that are relatively small in the scheme of things to just hold you back. I actually use 99 designs for my life, a and have quite a lot of the night. She quite liked it. The reason being, and I will share every one is that I had no idea what I wanted. I didn't really have a bit, this is a tiny chipmunk and I didn't know what colors I wanted. I didn't know what fonts I wanted. I literally had a name and the fact that I was going to be selling baby products. And beyond that, I didn't have a clue. So for me, that actually works out brilliantly because I got such a variation. Actually, when this episode goes out, I'll post it.

Vicki Weinberg (22m 57s):

Maybe I'll post on Instagram and share some of the ones that I didn't choose. 'cause it was really interesting, but I think, yeah, I will. I'll link to 'em. I put a link to know how to die. And Designs in the show notes. If anyone who hasn't heard about it, because that's a great place. If you don't have a clue because you will get, you have been inviting lots of designers to, to work and you will only pay for the one you ultimately choose. And actually I believe that if you don't like any of them, you don't need to go ahead of anything. So that might be an option. But as you said, Gemma is definitely something you don't need. You can do yourself. I don't think for canvass, so easy to use is not, I don't think you need any kind of advanced design skills or use it for everything. And yeah, I think my stuff looks okay.

Vicki Weinberg (23m 39s):

And so you've got a name and a logo and the next thing is getting an online presence. And I guess it also links into the name because when we talked about the name of it, I think another thing that you probably want it to do when you're thinking about, and what's the name of your company is checking that you are by far was actually available.

Gemma Whates (23m 55s):

Yeah, absolutely. So on the online presence. Yeah. That's a good point. You need to get back into it, back into the, what the checklist for the name's you're right. If you need to go on to social media channels and Czech that you can get that name and spell the names that you've chosen. If he can just, just start, just start at the profile on Instagram, on Facebook or Twitter or wherever channel you are on. I'd just pick a coming soon. So just reserve it then, you know, you've gotta it and it's there. And the last thing you want to do as much as your company, and then you've got, you know, the process of the, and your logo. So we'll take it. And then all of a sudden you're like, Oh, you haven't got the Instagram if I did check it out and then somebody else is taking it. And then you're like, ah, so yeah, good to just get that quickly.

Gemma Whates (24m 36s):

Say online presence. Now this is going to span a course loads of different things. So obviously setting up your social media pages, Facebook pages, although it's not like people searching the pages are weeding a lot of the content all the time on the Facebook page itself, or massively engaging with those Facebook pages any more. But they're really important if you're going to go to any Facebook ads or if you're going to do a shoppable Instagram. So get yourself a Facebook page and Instagram, if you put up a business, Instagram probably be a good place to be as well. Don't undervalue LinkedIn and you're in networks. I think a lot of it is when it passes. And in my experience, when I had, when I was just starting a business, I got a lot of support from my networks on LinkedIn. I don't have a lot of people who have had that same experience.

Gemma Whates (25m 18s):

So don't underestimate. If you have got a LinkedIn using that website now the whole domain names, where did I start? I guess if you want to look at buying a domain. So one of the easiest places to do that, if you go Daddy, I'm just one of the examples, you know, the places that you can use it as a few different places you can go to, you want to look at buying your domain name and then building your first website. Again, there's lots of different ways you can get that built. I wouldn't go overboard was spending lots of time or money

again, building your first website at this stage. It's just the case of getting a presence. So whether that's a sales page explaining what you're, what you're doing or whether it's a basic website or a basic, very basic website that you built on Shopify or have had WEX is I haven't used to it personally, but I've heard that that's come quite good.

Gemma Whates (26m 12s):

Or when the press just start out with the basics and get your spouse out there, I massively massively advocate the absolute kind of brilliance of networks of, of course I run once I'm slightly biased, but whether it's my network or somebody else's network, I'm also in lots of other networks at the level at this very first stage of getting your business started and set up. If you are in a community, have any sort, or you can get some visibility. So whether that's, I've just got this out there, I can cook and everybody kind of give it a P S or kind of a buddy, give me that comments on that feedback or being a network's is really important for those, that first bit of visibility.

Gemma Whates (27m 2s):

So yeah, I think once you feel like you've got all of that stuff out there in set up, it also starts to feel more real. So then you can feel it like right now I've done this. Even when that, if that's not perfect, it doesn't need to be perfect at this point. What's my next step.

Vicki Weinberg (27m 19s):

Yeah. I think that's a really good advice. And I'm just coming back to the website because I, something that I people will say to me, but I think it's worth mentioning is while I was planning to sell on Amazon and eBay, wherever I'm planning to sell on this first party website. So why , and I didn't know what your thoughts are Gemma but I still think you need to have your own website because that is yours and anywhere else, your Selling, you know, you could be taken, you know, it can be, I don't think at Amazon is going away for example, but people do get kicked off if it happens and other market places can shut down. I do you think it's worth still having your own web presence? Would you agree with that?

Gemma Whates (27m 59s):

Why would a 100%, I agree that that's your, that's your own presence. So you went on that website, you can start, you should be starting to see straight away building up your meeting list, which you own. And like you say, obviously, you know, I'm like, you know, Amazon is going anywhere in the immediate future right here, right here right now, but that's not an owned a presence on the web and you might not even sell anything to your website or hardly anything at all. But to start with, we might just to get some revenue go down in every way of using a marketplace. But yeah, I absolutely agree. You should, you should build up some owns presents something that you have controlled over a decade.

Vicki Weinberg (28m 38s):

I think more and more of as well when people are shopping on the Mark or whatever the marketplace might be. I know I sat and they do it this way. If I see a sell out that I've never heard of before, I sometimes will Google them just to see if they're a legitimate, what people say about them. And I think if they didn't have a web presence that would give you calls to go, why is that? Because everyone's online now a days aren't they, if a company doesn't have a Facebook page or is it just doesn't feel quite right? Not saying there is anything wrong, I'm sure there are plenty of companies out there about Facebook pages for good reason. But I feel like, yeah, if you are just getting started now is definitely something to get in place.

Gemma Whates (29m 13s):

Yeah. I think it helps with, like you say, trust because consumer confidence exactly. That as well. So yeah, I would agree.

Vicki Weinberg (29m 22s):

And the mailing lists was ready to get points as well. And I have to admit, I was like, I was hoping at least a year in my business before I actually thought about setting it up MailChimp, I'm getting a mailing list. And it's one of those things where we feel, think whenever you do it, unless you do it with that one, you're always going to where she did it. So, you know, because it just makes life so much easier. If you have a list of people you can email when you release the new products or do you have a say or so any time, you know, anything going on, and if you have a like people you can just get directly in to their inbox, it is because no matter how many followers you have on social media, and I'm sure it will have this and not everyone sees what you paste on social media, if we can get it in someone's inbox, that was really important. So yes, it was my I'm a little bit here.

Vicki Weinberg (30m 3s):

It was to get it, to build up on my email list

Gemma Whates (30m 6s):

And conversion rates or a female as much higher than social. So you're much more likely to convert from an e-mail. Then you went out from a social media post. So it is a really important thing to do, but you are also, you, you know, if you can weave in some consistency around a mailing list, it's again, it starts to build up your presence at loads and loads of reasons to build a mailing list.

Vicki Weinberg (30m 34s):

Oh, thank you. I didn't know that about conversion rate. I guess it makes sense because we have email someones actually given name, address. So presumably they wanted to hear from you. So yeah, that's really interesting. Okay. So the next thing we're going to talk about is making yourself accountable.

Gemma Whates (30m 51s):

So I think this is really important because you know, trying to start up a business, you may or may not be surrounded by somebody else is done it maybe in. And so firstly there is that it's quite an intense thing. I think, especially if you're doing it around kids, it feels very, it, it is time intensive at the start and you need to be, if you're not around somebody that understands why you working at midnight, I can all of a sudden, but just to get this thing off the ground, it can be really hard to stay motivated into and to kind of keep yourself going.

Gemma Whates (31m 31s):

When I talk about Make yourself accountable, what I really mean is like goal-setting. So, you know, like we talked about earlier, you can get stuck on all of these different stages, but there's always an answer and there is always a way to get through then. And if you don't have your own goals set, then it's probably going to be very easy for you to kind of drift and, and not get and not get through. And then before you know it, a few months had passed and you feel that you haven't made any progress. And again, you become more motivated. The, one of the best things that you can do is tell somebody's. So it may be tell somebody eval, if you could tell, I didn't know that your mom, because she was probably not going to come or she might, she might not be the ones to say, why have you not done that?

Gemma Whates (32m 12s):

You know, you said you were going to do that. Why have you not done that? You might think about putting it out there and just pay it. If you've got to start in a social media presence. So you could start to just pull it out there. So say I'm doing this, this was coming on Monday. You've made yourself accountable there and, and you know, you've got to get that done so you can find a coach, an accountability partner. So if someone else

that's in the same kind of phases, you that's starting to set up a business and you can hold each other accountable. Have you done this yet? Now? Have you done this? No. Right. That's both a bit by X or I'd get yourself a mentor. Is there someone that's been there and done that that's happy to give some time to support you that will help guide you along that process and can help you stay accountable to doing what you need to do because you know, it's, it's an up and down an emotional roller coaster running the business.

Gemma Whates (33m 2s):

So I think every, everybody that runs one talks about, honestly, it will say that and you need to have not any support, but you also have a need for accountability to get through the hardest stuff. So I think that's important from the start.

Vicki Weinberg (33m 17s):

Yeah. And, and coming back to what you said, right. Begin, and Gemma, again, thing, having a vision and knowing why you're doing it. It's also helpful because it is not always fun to be working at midnight or getting up at five or whatever it is or missing something because you need to get your website, it sets up or whatever. But I think if you know exactly why you're doing it and you can see, so what at the end looks well at the end that you can see what progress looks like and why do you want to get to it? I think that definitely helps. I can say, so the next thing is working on a timing. So do you mean timings around when you'll get things done in this part of keeping yourself accountable? Or is this something different?

Gemma Whates (33m 54s):

Ah, kind of, yeah. So I think that's a case of looking at it, right. And in January now by June and I want to have done this by September. I want to have done this by the end of year, once it's a little bit LinkedIn to goal setting, but also, I mean, I don't know. I think in lots of people are guilty of it. I was certainly guilty of this. When you start your business, do you think like when I launch it in January by February, I'll probably

have about 10,000 shoppers by you. And all of a sudden you say, you know, you've got you've, you've set yourself, these wild kind of targets and you think things are going to happen really quickly. And the truth is at the beginning of a business, not only are you finding your feet and you're working out what your audience are, your ideal customer once, and you are going to shake, get feed back from it and you probably will therefore change your proposition slightly or your business slightly, but you are, or, you know, you, you're also, you're learning for that.

Gemma Whates (34m 46s):

So things take time. And I think 90% of all business owners, they will probably say it's taken longer than they thought. Or the first year things take longer than they thought to happen. Whether that was getting the website up and running and pricing go up or building a certain piece of tech or finding that 20th customer or most of the time, it takes a little bit longer than what you think initially, if you haven't done it before. So I would say when it, when it comes on and talk about working on timings, that's timings for you. So where do you want to be by when, but also in terms of the business and the aid, but, but not just doing some, talking to other people that have been there.

Gemma Whates (35m 26s):

So you can really try to get some realistic kind of assumptions around timings as well. And actually it leads into the next point in your personal finance plan. But what you, what that means what these times is that actually mean for you in your business? So I'll, I'll wait for you. I want to talk about that. Get to her on it.

Vicki Weinberg (35m 45s):

No, that's fine. Let's talk about the personal finance plan. Cause I think that probably it makes sense to talk about while we're talking about timing is good. I think the, the two are linked aren't they?

Gemma Whates (35m 54s):

Yeah, absolutely. So with the personal finance plan, I think everybody is going to be coming to starting a business from a different place. You might be coming from a point of having nothing to invest and really leaving it to work. You might be coming from a point of security and having some money to invest and therefore not necessarily financially needing it to work as necessarily, you might be coming from a place of having a little bit of savings. Then you do need to have financial to do it by accident. And everybody is coming from a different place when they're starting their business. So it's really important to look at how, if especially, if you are leaving a job I'm to do this, what were you expecting from your business and financially?

Gemma Whates (36m 38s):

And at what point are you thinking you were going to get that? And what does that mean? Does that mean that you have to have a part-time job that runs along the sides? I've done bits of food arts before at the beginning of that and go buy Mama to run alongside It. Because I knew that I was times when it was going to

be making enough money from it, mapping out your finance plan so that, you know, you have got, you're either going to get bigger than the money that you do need from the business, or you didn't need to worry about that. Or if you can't get it from the business by X point, where else it might come from 'cause if you

have not got that sorted, if you're not going to be able to focus on what you need to do to grow it. So I think just sitting down at the start, having a really honest conversation with yourself about right, this is how finances look for me, and this is how much I have to invest either do, or I don't, this is how we can spend that.

Gemma Whates (37m 27s):

And this is what I would like to get from that and where that leaves me or my family. Ah, it's a good thing to do.

Vicki Weinberg (37m 34s):

Definitely. And I think obviously they will say might be people who have to sort of perhaps ba-bye money to get set up as well. When I guess that's something to take into consideration is OK, well, how much is that? And how are we going to pay it back? And by wearing the same, as you say, everyone's situation is different, but I think you're right. It's, it's good to think about this at the beginning, rather than getting six months in and thinking, well, actually I've made no money and I've spent this money and what do I do now? Because as you say it, you don't want to start something. That's just not going to be sustainable.

Gemma Whates (38m 10s):

Yep, exactly. Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg (38m 13s):

I will. Thank you so much. Gemma so if you were listening to this and thinking, Oh wow, this is a lot of this is quite scary. And I thought it was the only created a product that I didn't even think about all these other things I had to do. First of all, just as they don't be disheartened put up off because yeah, we have shared a lot with you today, but it's all, I think it's all things I think would say that you need to know, you need to be thinking about. And so I think knowing it, just knowing or having somebody to in your head now is, is a really good start because we might've talked about things that you'd never even considered, but definitely don't be daunted because it's all doable. It's you don't need to do everything at once.

Vicki Weinberg (38m 54s):

You don't need to, to, to do everything, perfectly things can be changed and you can make a steaks and it's, and it's, it's all going to be okay. But I think that the key thing I want you to take away is to just be aware of it at the start, what you need to do and, and start doing it. And don't be afraid to do some of the thinking as well. So while it might be really tempting to start, do you know, do the more fun stuff, get your product created and build a website. Don't, don't skip over some of these like foundational steps because they are, I think they are key to having a successful business rather than just having a product that sells. Is there

anything you wanted to add?

Vicki Weinberg (39m 35s):


Gemma Whates (39m 36s):

No, I agree exactly what yeah. I, I totally agree on. I agree with what your saying about don't be daunted. 'cause like you say the case of just getting it out there and getting it done and starting where you need to start as a person, you will learn along the way and you'll have these experience. I've just talked about where I have some of the things that I've learned and some of the things that are great to do at the start, but it is in that it stop you from getting started. All of these things are down a bit and you come to them at some point, if you can do it earlier, then, then. Great.

Vicki Weinberg (40m 7s):

All right, fantastic. Thank you. So Gemma, I know that you are about to open up, I think it's the second phase of your course. So your business start up costs. Is that right?

Gemma Whates (40m 19s):

So I've, I've got a lot of course before, or a marketing course, which had been running for a while now, which is promoting product or service and retail, but I'm learning, don't share it. I've actually sets up a second business separate at all by my mouth. So it's a company called a Gemma Whates and That's exactly why they did it. And it will be teaching moms and start businesses. So you can start a business without any help, but some people need the help. And I learnt a lot of things in a very expensive way when I launched your wine on her six years ago.

Gemma Whates (41m 6s):

And what I want to do is teach others what I've learned along those kinds of sex years. So since launching ive kind of put everything together in one course that will help you go from either. And what I think I have an idea, but I'm not quite sure what my idea is. So how do we validate the idea and then how do we get the business set up? And then how do I find a customer and what do I do after I've got my first customer that kind of journey or people that have just started a they'd might be a couple of months in or in, within the first year. And they made it the launching a new product or service or their thinking of kind of get it out there. And I'm really pleased, and this, this, this is happening, but now we're going to go back and looked at some of the things that we have just talked about and, and guiding people through that process.

Gemma Whates (41m 52s):

So I've spent a lot of money on coaches in my, in my time that I've had, since I launched or by ma I've attended a couple of different accelerators, which, or fantastic and learn a lot from that. And obviously had the experience of watching more by Mama, but I'm also working with over 500 business is run by bum's. And

that's where all my memories it's a community of business is run by a mom. So I've had this conversation for the last six years, with many, many different people. I've got some kinda, quite unique insight and experienced from that. So the courses that I'm running are three month courses we do as a community of small community. And I work at one to one with people to help them get that business or idea or validated and up and run in there will be a version that doesn't include the ones, that one, that, that is going to be outdated this year.

Gemma Whates (42m 43s):

So the first one is kicking off on the 17th of August and yeah, that's the bits. Of course,

Vicki Weinberg (42m 50s):

That was a fantastic, thank you. So if you're listening to this and you know, this does set up, this sounds daunting and you'd like some expert advice and definitely do we take a look at Gemma? Of course it will be linked in the show notes. Umm, and if you've listened to this point in the future, it is now August, 2020. If you're listening later, I'm then obviously still going to take a look, look because Gemma, you will be doing more of the intakes IPG at a later date,

Gemma Whates (43m 15s):

I'll be doing three a year and I'll also have a product that you can do and take it as a self-paced product or a self paced course without the ones that were, which will be for your listing in the future, it would probably be available.

Vicki Weinberg (43m 26s):

Oh brilliant. Thank you so much. What will you share today, Gemma? Is there anything else that you wanted to add before we finish today?

Gemma Whates (43m 32s):

I just thank you so much for having me. And if you wanted to have a look all by mama, then you can go to all by Mama dot com. That's the marketplace. If you can find us on Instagram at, or by my mind and just go and network and thank you very much. I really appreciate your opportunity to come and share that with you. So thanks for having me.

Vicki Weinberg (43m 51s):

Oh, you're welcome. And thank you so much for all of that. You've shared and I will also add the, I am also part of the All by mama network I sell on the market place. And if you are a parent and you are looking to create a product to sell it, it's definitely worth going over and taking a look because well, as the market place, if you're a part of the network, you'll get a lot of support as well. Which for me certainly has been really, really valuable. So yeah, really recommend taking a look. Okay. Thank you so much. Gemma thank you. I really hope you found this interview of Gemma myself. USEFUL as I said, I had to get it. It's meant to support you

and not don't you. So if you do need any further support, please do reach out either of us. Please also do take look at the checklist that I mentioned earlier, which you can find at checklist dot Vicki Weinberg dot com forward slash free.

Vicki Weinberg (44m 39s):

And that checklist is a list of all of the things that you need to do to create your product, but also the temp things that Gemma outlined today in terms of starting off your business. So that might be something really useful for you to work through and just take small steps towards it, to get your business and your products

off the ground. Thank you so much as always please do rate and review this podcast. I would absolutely love to hear what you think and see you next week.