Jenny Garrett is the founder of Reflexion Associates, a leadership coaching consultancy.
Founded in 2006, Reflexion Associates employs a team of seven in Hemel Hempstead and London.
The company is committed to challenging leaders to make a positive difference, motivating women to live their best life and inspiring authentic leadership.
Jenny is the author of Rocking Your Role: The How To Guide to Success for Female Breadwinners launching this month.
Why did you decide to start your company?
I found a passion for coaching. I knew that the only way to do the work I loved all the time was to become self-employed.
What was your career path prior to starting your first business?
I worked in a number of senior marketing roles in corporate organisations before securing a role at Ashridge Business School, where I discovered coaching.
While there, I took a Post Graduate Certificate in Coaching at Lancaster University and the Ashridge Accreditation in Coaching for Organisational Consultants. I then started to coach on some leadership training programmes.
I soon found that my other work was unfulfilling in comparison, went part-time in my role and built my business. Within a year I was completed self-employed.
Did you always know that you would start your own business?
No, it was never my ambition to run my own business, but I haven’t looked back, it’s the best thing I’ve done.
Did you have a business plan?
I’m sorry to say that I didn’t have a business plan. I had a vision, knew what was important to me and trusted that if I kept to these I would stay on the right path.
Tell us more about your new book Rocking Your Role: The How To Guide to Success for Female Breadwinners – how was the idea for the book conceived?
I have been the breadwinner for the last six years in my relationship. I didn’t really acknowledge it until it was reflected back to me by my clients, an increasing number of whom were mentioning their role as breadwinner to me.
I recognised that this was a taboo subject that women weren’t talking about and I set out to understand it better.
I interviewed eight women and also started some online conversations and found that I had so much material and transformational exercises to support and challenge women’s thinking, that I was compelled to turn it into a book.
Ultimately I want to bring together the tribe of female breadwinners so that they can celebrate their success and support each other.
What are you working on at the moment?
Lots! I have a new highly subsidised leadership programme that I am delivering to the charitable sector to support collaboration.
I’m mentoring women in developing countries through the Cherie Blair Foundation and watch this space for a range of programmes and services to support women to rock their role in life.
Can you describe your typical working day?
I wake up early, around 5am. I aim to meditate or engage in 20 minutes exercise with the Wii at least 3 times a week.
I will then go check my emails. If I am able to I will have breakfast with my daughter and take her to school. Otherwise I am on a train somewhere to facilitate some training. I have an increasing clientele in the US, so sometimes my day is full of coaching over Skype, which I love.
I always make time for lunch and dinner; I know that I need to keep nourished. I try to eat healthily, but allow myself treats keeping to the 80/20 rule.
I keep sacred time in the evening for family, but will sometimes have a Skype coaching session with someone who is in a different time zone when my daughter goes to bed.
I go to sleep at different times, sometimes I am exhausted at 9pm, and other times I’m still up at 2am. It depends what I have to finish and what I plan to do the next day. No two days are the same, they are full, fun and fresh.
What have been the highlights of running your own business?
I love being able to provide work for others and it’s been great to be nominated for awards. I enjoy the freedom, I make the rules and can chart my own path.
What is the hardest part of running your own business?
It never stops. Switching off is a challenge, that’s where the meditation comes in to calm and clear my mind. I also book holidays in for my sanity or I would just keep going.
I used to struggle with keeping my accounts up to date, but now I have help with that.
What has been your proudest business moment so far?
My proudest moments are when my clients call and tell me that they’ve got a promotion, or made a positive life changing decision, or their team performance is up. Just to know I had a hand in their transformation makes me really proud.
What, or who, inspires and motivates you?
This is always a difficult one, because I am not sure that I am inspired by others very much. I am all about taking your unique path and valuing what you bring. I think that we are all the inspiration for ourselves.
However my Mum’s strength, my grandmother’s love and my daughter’s happiness really do inspire me.
Fast forward five years, where do you think your business will be in 2017?
We will be a movement, rather than a company, of leaders and evolved individuals who recognise that they have the power to make a positive difference, be authentic and live their best life.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering starting a consulting business?
Your network is really important; most of my work has come through connections. Build and nurture your connections in a genuine way before you start so that you have a foundation to build upon.
Thanks Jenny, is there anything else you’d like to share?
My video “Would you follow you?” highlights the essence of me. Enjoy!
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Jenny Garrett was interviewed by Octavia Goredema, founder of the Twenty Ten Club.
Octavia Goredema was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2012 for her work at the Twenty Ten Club, supporting Black female entrepreneurs.
Do you have a question for Jenny? If so, please feel free to post a comment below: