This interview series features inspiring female entrepreneurs who have launched and run successful businesses. Through our peers’ experiences, we can learn practical lessons and insights to empower us on our entrepreneurial paths. Crucially, storytelling de-risks entrepreneurship so we believe it is an essential pillar in closing the opportunity gap for female founders.

    Firstly, tell us a bit about you?

    My name is Katie Godfrey. I am the founder and CEO of the KG Brand, which consists of a beauty salon product range for beauty professionals, training academies across the UK and business mentoring helping others gain freedom within their business.

    Tell us about your business, how did you come up with the idea?

    I coach and mentor business owners to help them grow teams and create freedom and flexibility within their business. I mainly work with those in the hair and beauty space and work with all types of companies. I offer 121 programs along with memberships.

    I have been in the beauty industry for over 12 years now. Three years ago, I launched my podcast called “The life of KG” to create a free platform to help others, motivate and inspire them to grow their businesses. I would get people contacting me asking me to teach them and wanting to know more. After launching a successful salon, product range and training academies, others wanted to know how I did it, how I run multiple businesses single-handedly, alongside being a single mum to my little girl. So, I decided to launch business mentoring to help others achieve their business goals.

    What is your main inspiration and driver for your business?

    I live for helping others. I love seeing business owners take steps to invest in themselves, take everything on board that I teach them, for them to run with it and see tremendous results.

    Many people are reluctant to invest in themselves. They see it as spending money on “them” rather than an investment in the business. It took me 6-7 years to get to the point I wanted in my business and when I fell pregnant I thought, ‘how the hell am I going to run my salon when I’m the primary earner?’ I am the one that keeps the business afloat, and I was so stuck IN my business. It was then I had to turn my business into a “real” business. A business that can run without you, a business that is seen as a business rather than a “baby”.

    Remember, many of us start businesses not to have a job, so why are we creating one? I love that I can fast track business owners to do this within a year if they want to, rather than making costly mistakes and grinding away at their business for years and years, *hoping* it’s the right way.

    What was the moment that everything changed for you? Describe that moment when you decided to fully commit to your idea and the first few steps you took to make it possible.

    Lockdown, Covid19. Before then, I had my 121 clients, but I hadn’t done any group coaching or memberships. I saw my business mentoring as a side hustle. Over lockdown, any business owner will admit it was one of the most challenging times in the industry and incredibly lonely. Even though all the businesses I looked after were closed, they needed support more than ever. There were lots of salon owners that needed support that hadn’t even thought about business mentoring before, or perhaps couldn’t afford the investment of 121, so I created “coffee, cake & chat”, a mentoring group where we come together monthly, but also contactable as a group 24/7, which people found really useful during this time.

    Writing this, we are out of lockdown, and the membership and my 121 services are evolving all the time. I had to research memberships to create this and listen to what my audience wanted and needed. This solidified my business and my love and passion for helping other businesses. Watching others also support others, share ideas and have each other’s back is a huge motivation for this business to succeed. We all need that like-minded tribe to surround ourselves with, and I am proud to have created that for salon owners.

     

    What were the initial challenges you came up against and how did you overcome them?

    I would say the initial challenge I came across is wanting to help everyone. You cannot create a service that serves everyone, especially a membership. I found I was attracting beauty therapists, hairdressers and salon owners. With everyone being at different stages in their career, I couldn’t serve them all with their needs. I had to break it down and decide who exactly was my target audience for this membership. I would advise anyone that’s starting a business or in business to break down exactly who their target audience is, down to age, location, their income, where they are at in their career and what they like to do in their spare time. So, all your marketing efforts and advertising speak to the idea customer straight away.

    What was the first win that made you feel you were onto something?

    Receiving my first review and realising how much you can change someone’s life and business by giving them the right kind of support. When business is running smoothly, it’s amazing to see how this impacts other parts of your life and seeing this happen with my clients is just WOW.

     

    Did you take the investment route for your business or are you self-funded? Can you share some insights on your decision and the process?

    For this business, I was self-funded as I have other businesses to be able to support the process. But it wasn’t always like that. When I started my first business, (my beauty salon,) I had to take out bank loans and borrow money from my parents. I got myself into £60k worth of debt to be able to start the business. Back then, I was 19 years old, living at home with my parents, and I had no commitments, so I felt like I could take that risk. It was tough, but I gave myself a goal of paying off my debts within 5 years. Close to bankruptcy several times, but with determination and hard work, I saw it through and was debt-free within the 5 years.

    What has been your best investment?

    Definitely taking the risk of launching a business. Investment can be scary but being in business requires risks. Research the investment first. See how much you need to make to cover the investment plus your living costs and have goals to be able to hit that with an end date in mind.

    Have you made any mistakes or faux pas? If so, can you share with us?

    With my business coaching, I wouldn’t say mistakes as such but adjustments. For example, my group was based on Facebook. This was where the lives took place and the unlimited support. But the businesses I looked after didn’t love Facebook, so they were missing lots of content and support, which meant I had lost a few businesses, as it wasn’t beneficial for them. I listened to what my audience wanted and changed it to what they needed – WhatsApp support and I moved all the content over to a platform for anyone to assess when they wished, without going on social media.

    What’s your experience of being a woman in the start-up ecosystem and what in your mind needs to change?

    I personally have found it incredible. Yes, you do hear of women that haven’t felt supported or felt like they have been looked down upon starting a business as a woman. For me, it has been different. This is possible because my industry is women-led, but I am also picky with whom I surround myself with and share my experiences with. When I first started in business, it was hard to be taken seriously as I was so young. Maybe being a woman too, but I noted most of the experiences as down to my age. For example, at exhibitions when I’m buying, suppliers would assume I was in college or asked to speak to my boss and would be patronising until they realised it was my business. 

    What’s been the greatest lesson you’ve learnt since starting your own business?

    Mindset. Your mindset needs to be strong. Running any business is tough, and it is far from smooth sailing. It will be up and down all the time. With that in mind, you need to make sure you are strong enough in your mind to ride this rollercoaster of a journey. Podcasting, reading, practising gratitude, surrounding yourself with like-minded people. All of this will help. Looking after number 1, is key. Otherwise, you cannot look after those you wish you serve.

    Have you had any role models or mentors along the way?

    I invested in my first mentor around eight years after launching my first business. I so wish I had done it sooner. I went for a salon owner mentor that was based in the USA. After that, I had a business mentor based in the UK who works with businesses through NatWest bank. I have also completed many online business courses with my mentors on money mindset and expanding your business.

    What has been your biggest learning of 2021?

    That everything really can be taken away from you in a second. You need to make sure you have multiple income streams. So, if one business has a bad week, month, year, you always have the backup of alternative incomes. That and also, you need to learn to pivot. Yes, this word got used a lot over the last 18 months, but it is true. You need to be agile and think of other ways your business can bring in money or how to change your business to suit your clients/customers’ evolving needs.

    With the future in mind, where would you like to be/where do you see yourself in the next five years?

    In the next five years, I would love to see growth across my portfolio of businesses and to support as many salon owners as possible worldwide. To help others work smarter rather than harder and to free up more time with their family and do the things they love. After all, we have learnt life is too short and you need to do what you love. I would also love to publish my book on my story to show others that if I can do it, anyone can.

    What books, podcasts or resources would you recommend?

    My favourite podcasts are:

    I love reading. I would say I have learnt most of the things I know in business through books! So I have a lot on my list. So let me give you the two I had read this month.

    What advice would you give anyone about to start a business?

    Take the risk but make sure you have a passion for what you are doing. Yes, we all want to make money, and that’s part of running a business, but that cannot be your sole focus. You need to have passion behind the business to keep pushing and pushing for when it gets tough before the money even starts coming in. You need to remember business is the long game, not the short game. It’s not an overnight success.

    Finally, where can we find you/how can we support you?

    KG Business | KG Professional | KG Salons | KG Professional Instagram | KG Salons Instagram

    Leah Williams

    Leah Williams

    About your author

    Leah Williams is the Blog Editor for Found & Flourish, working with Founder Lara Sheldrake to ensure every piece of published content is empowering, inspiring and well presented, just like the women we work with.

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