Can you tell me a bit more about your journey and transition from the corporate world?
I’m currently a strategy director for Wunderman, a digital agency in London where I work 4 days a week. I spend the rest of my time focused on Clementine and trying to build a brand, community and app that supports women. My vision and plan is to transition to running Clementine full time. At the moment, the setup of running both side by side works well as I feel less financial pressure to make an income from Clementine so early on in the business.
What inspired you to set up Clementine?
The first thing that inspired me to set up a business was a feeling of no longer wanting to climb the corporate ladder. It just didn’t feel right for me anymore. After digging deep and thinking about what I wanted from life and my career, it became abundantly clear that the time was right to start my own business. I had dreamed about it for years, but had a massive fear that I wasn’t capable of developing a good enough business idea. Once I had decided to go for it, I spent a good few months considering ideas and I knew that I wanted to create a business that had a bigger purpose than just making money. I wanted to create something which had an impact on people in a positive way. It didn’t take long for me to look to my own experience of overcoming perfectionism, anxiety and panic attacks through hypnotherapy and many other tools to come up with my business idea. Clementine is a confidence boosting app for women who suffer from anxiety and low self-belief that helps them feel more confident and capable.
What were the challenges you faced in setting up an app based business?
The biggest challenge was around technology and not having the technical capabilities to develop the app myself. Finding the right designer/developer was important, as I was putting all my trust into them being able to bring my vision to life. I also find that it’s a challenge working on my own most of the time as it’s nice to have someone to bounce ideas off, especially the big strategic decisions like branding, pricing etc. I’ve now created a support network of people I trust to help me, but in the very early days it was just me.
Why did you choose to base the business around hypnotherapy?
My own recovery from experiencing severe anxiety and panic attacks was helped massively by hypnotherapy. I then found that hypnotherapy was benefiting me in lots of different ways, from sleeping better to giving me confidence at times when I was feeling anxious and nervous and keeping me calm. It was a no brainer for me when it came to making the decision to base my business around hypnotherapy.
Why did you choose to create an APP specifically aimed at women?
I spoke to many women about the challenges that they were facing at work and at home, and it quickly became apparent to me that I wasn’t alone in the way I was feeling – frazzled from demands of life and lacking in self-belief. I desperately wanted to help these women as I knew exactly how they felt as I had managed to overcome a lot of these feelings myself. I was certain that I wanted to aim the app at a female audience.
You’ve had some amazing press for the brand in the likes of Forbes and The Telegraph, has this helped in growing your audience?
I would say that we have been lucky, but the truth is that we pitch all the time to journalists to try to help grow the brand in its infancy. The press coverage we have received so far has massively helped in encouraging women to try the app. It has also given me more credibility, which has led to developing other opportunities too.
How do you use hypnotherapy in your own life and do you have any tips for anyone looking to explore using it as a daily tool?
I use at least one of the hypnotherapy sessions from Clementine every day, and I tend to use it differently during the week than on weekends. If I have a big presentation or meeting that I’m nervous about, then my usage changes – here’s how I prep for those:
– Usually at least a week before the big event (speaking, meeting, interview etc) I will listen to the ‘confident sleeper’ session in bed at night. This helps to build up my confidence and helps me go to sleep quicker during a time when I’m feeling a little on edge.
– On my commute to work I will listen to the ‘confidence boost’ session which is only 5 minutes long.
– I set up mantras in Clementine that will pop up on my phone in the lead up to the event which will be specific to that event so that they really resonate.
– On the day of the event, I will always listen to the ‘confidence boost’ session right before it starts to help get me in the zone.
During the week, a typical day looks like this:
– Something to perk me up on the train ride to work – ‘start the day right’ session.
– At work if I’ve had a bad meeting then I sometimes go to a quiet space and listen to ‘take a breather’ for 5 minutes. It’s a total game changer for not letting stuff at work ruin your whole day.
– On the way home if I’m super tired, I will either have a ‘powernap’ or if I’ve had a rubbish day at work then I’ll listen to ‘tough day at work’.
– If I wake up during the night and can’t get back to sleep, then I listen too ‘returning to sleep’.
In the weekends my usage changes, the focus is on trying to stay calm and get a bit more rest in when I can around the kids:
– I always fit in a powernap session when my kids sleep both days during the weekend.
– If I’m feeling a bit jaded from the day with the kids, then once they go to bed and we have the evening to ourselves I will listen to either the ‘reset’ or ‘take a breather’ session to help relax and re-energise me for the evening.
At this point in your business journey, what are you most proud of?
I get the most joy when one of the lovely ladies using Clementine, messages me directly and says how much it is helping them. This makes it all worthwhile and spurs me on. I get the same feeling when women respond well to our other supporting content from the blog and podcast. It feels amazing to know that you are creating something that resonates with women and supports them.
Are you a member of any founder/business groups which you can recommend?
I’m a member of League of Her Own which is a fab online community. They also hold events in London.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to leave employment and set up their own business?
Think creatively about your transition plan. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to leave your job to become self-employed. I have loved doing my job and running Clementine at the same time. Also, while you are still working in your current job, sit down and work out what you can learn from your current role that will help you in your new business. Even if your transition plan is years not months away, you will still be getting value from your job which goes way beyond the pay cheque.
Take time to think through what your business idea could be. I’ve seen quite a few people jump to the first idea, but once you start down the road of developing your business, it can get expensive. You want to be 150% sure that the idea is the right one for you.
How do you know that the idea is the right one? Well after checking that there is a consumer need and commercial model for your idea, it’s all about your passion for the concept. If you can’t stop thinking and dreaming about it, then it’s a good start. You need to be obsessed with the idea.
Find out more about Clementine