2inspire Network blog is one of the mediums the Network uses to empower and inspire individuals. It is used to share knowledge and messages that will make a positive impact in people's lives and is also used as a platform to promote the products, services and events of the Network and external organisations.
Anna Garcia is a playful, vivacious and inspirational facilitator/ relationship specialist committed to guiding individuals through their journey of self-discovery back to love & peace post painful relationships & events.
She is the founder of discoverME, the confidence-building programme series that has changed the lives of hundreds of women in London through its transformational work with schools and children’s centres.
Anna has dedicated the past 10 years working with women to discover how extraordinary they are, to have them know their power and to understand how to be in their relationships with others and most importantly, with themselves post loss or relationship breakups. She has been showing women how to reconnect with their own journey again, whether they are in a marriage, single or separated, she has been gifting this to women throughout the world.
Please tell us what
is a typical business day for you?
Well there’s on the stage & off the stage days!
Its very simple really; I’m either on a stage
speaking to large groups of women or on the phone to the those who are could be
coming to my next programme; and then my life is like a call centre..!
My business at the moment is focused on two key
1) Public events for women: RELATIONSHIPS INTENSIVE
2) Private training for school staff or parents:
My day starts at 5am and ends around 11 or
The first two hours are dedicated to the upkeep of
my spiritual, emotional & physical wellbeing. These are my holy hours,
which set the frame for the rest of the day.
I tend to lunch or dine with clients or prospective
clients most days of the week.
I like to work from my local Health Club I get
there for early morning workout or swim and
then use their business lounges or café areas during the day to make calls and
meet with people
Administrative work is done in the evenings or
weekends when client facing or calling isn’t a core activity.
I then make sure my last hour in the evening is for
winding down, centering and taking care of my emotional & spiritual
What made you start
the business and how did you get started?
I loved my job as a facilitator within the
employability industry but my soul was screaming for something else.
So I did something I wouldn’t do today, or
recommend, which was to leave my job and start from zero. The financial stress
was high and totally unnecessary if I'd just kept my job, but that was my
journey I guess.
I had no idea 10 years ago when I began, that I'd be
in the speaking business today.
I started as a facilitator with small employability
related confidence building programmes as a subcontractor for an employability
organisation in Greenwich.
One fateful day however, whilst delivering a confidence
& employability programme for a small group of unemployed in a children’s
centre we were hiring as a venue, the manager came up to me and said,
‘‘Who are you and
what did you just do?
How come those people
are coming out so happy,
lets talk! I want
this for my parents’’
and that’s when discoverME was born and it all
A confidence building programme for parents, which
has now been running in the south east for 7 years, successfully supporting
hundreds of women to get back into work or education or to leave abusive
Until my lifes’ most fateful day when I met my
mentor almost 3 years ago and he saw in me way beyond what I was seeing and
proceeded to prepare me for the journey of becoming a relationship specialist
speaker to the public.
Today I continue to run the discoverME programme
series during school hours from the clockhouse community centre in Woolwich
once a term for 4 Fridays. These parents are funded by their schools or self-fund.
And its work which continues to transform families.
Today I am debuting the Relationships Intensive
programme & Dealing with Break up programmes which is aimed at the striving
woman who wishes to get to know herself deeply so that she may understand and
embrace her relationships with sovereignty & power, without losing herself
These programmes will now run every other month or
so. Our debut programme is on the 19th November 2016 at the Devonport
House Hotel in Greenwich, London.
What would you say
has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
Going from small groups to mass, being able to
reach 100’s of people’s hearts at a time has been the most life changing and
business changing experience. This took getting over myself, and out of my own
way, by coming face to face with one of my greatest fears and allowing the
business to evolve as life intended. In my first year I reached as many people
as I had in the 9 years prior to that. It’s a big difference.
has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
With change and growth come challenges,
and knowing how to surf these waves is vital.
After experiencing great success for
the first time last year, I then began to experience the changes of growth, for
example; losing long term clients, receiving criticism, ‘losing’ friends,
facing fears of failure (the more you gain, ironically, the more you feel your losing)
All of these things together got to me and
I allowed fear to take over.
I was set to face one of my biggest
challenges in business; letting go of my old self.
This led to what I now describe as a
nervous breakdown / spiritual awakening. This very painful period lasted for
about 6 weeks.
It was the biggest learning curve ever,
I never ever lost faith though.
I trusted great people around me and
gave myself time to heal & grow in confidence and self love again.
Having come out the other side, today I
know it was my fear of growth and letting go of what didn’t serve me anymore
that was holding me back. And I also know there will be many more of these
times of growth but I now face them with a lot more self love, self trust,
faith & wisdom
are your future plans for the business?
Intensive & the advanced programme, Dealing with Break up, willbecome
my focus over the next two years and be run consistently in the UK and in
Australia. I’m very excited about these programmes and the plan is to love up
& empower as many wonderful women out there looking to deepen their
relationship with themselves first.
had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Get myself a business mentor from the
first moment, particularly one who’s already achieved what I would love to
achieve and follow their advice whilst still listening to my quiet intuition
I would’ve listened to the best advice
I ever got from day one, get on the phone and create momentum, quit waiting for
business to come to you. This has been KEY.
is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
Women will be the CEOS of their
families (Chief Energy Officers) and so if they’re out there realising their
dreams, they will shine a light for many with their joy & commitment to
Even in this day and age, there are
still in many families, lower expectations for girls than boys. Shining a light
for girls, shows them they can grow beyond the expectations surrounding them.
advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your
Very simple & with a lot of love:
1 *Find yourself a mentor; it’s the most
profitable & money saving investment you will make
2 *No need to reinvent the wheel, find a niche and
replicate what others have done well.
3 *Always come from love and service in business,
people buy into YOU, not your product or service.
4 *Work on YOU.. You ARE the greatest
or who inspires you in business and why?
Oprah Winfrey; what we see today is the
embodiment of mass service, but what got her
there was a massive amount of work, sweat & tears. Overcoming her
insecurities and fears seem to have played a big part and like Oprah, asking to
be made an instrument for humanity has been my inspiration.
your favourite inspirational quote?
“Out beyond ideas of wrong doing
and right doing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.”
Mel C aka The Health Carpenter has over 25 years teaching experience in the Dance, Fitness and Martial Arts Industry. She runs a successful Dance and Fitness business and also coaches/mentors several Dance & Fitness Instructors, both online and Face-to-Face. Read her inspirational interview below.
Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?Once I’ve done the school run, I check my emails and respond to anything urgent. Then I check my Social Media accounts, respond to any comments/queries, share any blogs/articles or class information and spend a bit of time engaging with my students.
I then check to see what workload I have that day (I’m doing Housework and keeping my two year old amused during all this), respond to requests for work, articles (I write a Health and Fitness column for my local paper), oh and I am continually studying so I’m usually checking/completing coursework at the same time!
I make sure dinner is sorted for the family for that evening, pick up my daughter from school, feed the kids, then I go to class when my husband gets home (I teach 5 classes a week, sometimes more if one of my team need cover or I’ve been asked to do an Ice Breaker/Team Building exercise. What made you start the business and how did you get started? I’ve always been fairly active from an early age, I did Martial Arts as a child (I was the youngest female black belt in my area), and then I moved into Salsa at the age of 22, that’s how I came across Zumba (at the age of 32), through two of my students!
I started teaching Zumba alongside my day Job (I worked in Human Resources for a large Auditing company), then when I had my daughter, I handed in my notice and started teaching Zumba as my main job. I progressed into teaching different formats and eventually became a fully-fledged Fitness Instructor in 2013.
I had previously gone under the name of Zumba Central but that didn’t really work anymore as I taught different formats. I started Cardio Central in 2013, as I wanted to teach more fitness classes and diversify.
What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date? There’s so many to choose from! In addition to teaching Fitness classes, I’m also an events promoter and I successfully ran (along with my husband and my team) one of the largest Dance Fitness events in the UK to date (we had over 800 people in attendance). That was such an incredible day, one that I’ll never forget!
What has been your biggest challenge in business so far? Finding out what works and maximising on it! I’ve taught classes that have been dying an absolute death but I’ve had a few loyal students and so I’ve continued them on, despite losing money!
I’m happy to say that I no longer run my business like that! I have a very good eye for what is new/upcoming in the industry, I’m also very well respected and so I get to try things before a lot of other people know about them!
What are your future plans for the business? I want to move more into a Train the Trainer role and run/create courses for the Fitness Industry. I’ve trained instructors and written programs for other brands and now its time to do it for myself!
I have a Tutor qualification (I did PTTLS years ago) and I have a lot of Fitness qualifications, I am very big on continuous development and I am always researching/studying something Fitness based!
It’s the next step for me, a natural progression so to speak.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently? I wish I’d started 10 years earlier!
That’s is seriously the only thing, as I believe your mistakes can make you stronger/more successful than your achievements!
Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams? Because it’s really hard to make it/be taken seriously when you are a woman in the Dance/Fitness Industry!
When I started out, it was extremely difficult to make it as a female dance instructor, it was a very male dominated arena (still is really), then I became a DJ, again it was extremely difficult! I had to fight to get bookings, it just made me more determined though!
This vein continued throughout my dance career, when I became a promoter, I experienced some real egos/backlash/negativity from some of the male artists. At the same time, a lot of the people I admired and respected gave me some great advice, which helped in my career.
I would encourage anyone to follow their dreams, irrespective of what others think, my mom is my biggest fan, she has always encouraged me, supported every venture and given me a (virtual) slap when I’ve started to doubt myself.
She’s one of the strongest women I know and I want to be exactly the same for my daughter. I have to set an example for her, I also need to show my son that women can be just as successful.
What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry? Get as much training as you can, network as much as possible and be prepared to work for free sometimes to gain experience!
I did (and still do) all of those things and it got me to where I am today!
What or who inspires you in business and why? There’s a lady called Rachel Holmes, she runs a company called Choreography to Go, she also runs a weight loss program called Kick Start Fat Loss which has Instructors world wide, she is amazing! She’s a strong, hard working woman who is not afraid to do exactly what she sets out to do!
I attended a seminar with her a couple of years ago and she encouraged me to Blog, fast forward two years and we are friends and she is very supportive, even though she is ridiculously busy!
If I am half as successful as she has been throughout her career, I’ll be happy!
What is your favourite inspirational quote? It has to be ‘Carpe Diem – Seize the Day’! You only get one life and its important that you grab it by both hands and do as much as you can with it!
Viola beauty salon in Woolwich is dedicated to providing a pleasant and memorable experience that is unique to each client. Within a relaxing, positive and friendly atmosphere we provide the best quality services, products and beauty advice available.
Services include: Eyelashes extension, female & male waxing, eyebrow and eyelash tinting, facial cleansing, facial lift, massage plus more
Meet Francesca Armstrong, Chief Operations Officer of The Connoco Group
Please tell us what is a typical business
day for you?
A typical day for me starts around 3am –
we run an online business which means our operations are 24 hours a day. Having
expanded into 3 new markets and launched several other offices over the last
year I like to check my email during the night and feel it is important during
our initial expansion period that I touch base with our other team leaders and
make sure everything's running smoothly.
After this, I go back to sleep until 7am
which is when I get up and get ready for the day.
I aim to get to the office between
8.30-9.30 depending on how long I have been up during the night or what
meetings I have planned.
We run most of our sales and support from
our office in South East Asia – they are online until 12pm UK time so much of
my morning is spent working with our team there.
Afternoons are varied and can be anything
from looking at new projects to meetings with our clients. Reviewing our own
progress is something we are really keen on and I spend a great deal of time
working with our operations and sales team leaders to review sales and
processes to look at where we can improve as well as forward planning.
What made you start the business and how
did you get started?
We (My Partner Tim and I) started the
business as a side project to our existing jobs – he was working as IT
consultant and I was studying Fashion Design at St. Martins whilst interning at
Burberry. The business began to grow larger than we had anticipated and we
reached the point where we decided in order to take it to the next level we would
need to focus on it full time.
What would you say has been your greatest
accomplishment in the business world to date?
When you are so focussed on targets
within your own business it is often difficult to take stock and look at what
you have accomplished so far – because Tim and I work, live and breath together
we are constantly pushing each other and the business to do more.
If I had to pick something personal to me
that I feel proud of it would be the year on year increase in sales or building
out international teams to manage the challenges with time zones.
What has been
your biggest challenge in business so far?
challenges are often our biggest successes because they require everything that
we have to get through.
For me so far
this would have to be overcoming the challenges of cross-border trading and
working with different time zones. When we first launched in Australia and New
Zealand Tim and I were working 20+ hour days, we would have a power nap from
10pm – midnight and then spend most of the night awake with another quick sleep
at 6am until we had to leave to go to the office. It’s amazing how sleep
deprivation begins to take its toll but we have always said if you want
something you make it happen! Thankfully we have now successfully developed
teams which sit on those different time zones and I have never been so
appreciative of sleep!
What are your
future plans for the business?
We have huge
plans for the future as a company that never wants to stop growing. Our next
project will be an expansion of our hospitality and lifestyle arm into the
Hotel/Restaurant sector - We travel approximately 200 days a year so want to
take all the knowledge and experience we have developed and put this into
creating great business driven travel solutions.
If you had
to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
(even) younger and employ faster!
Why is it so
important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
Too often young
people (especially women) are told you ‘can’t do that’ or you ‘won’t be able
to’ – our confidence in ourselves plays a huge part in our abilities to succeed
so it is critical to believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself why
would anyone else?
It is never too
late to make a change or start again. What you think is your best right now is
just the beginning of what you can do. In life, we never stop learning.
What advice would
you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Prepare to lose as
well as win, just make sure your wins are much bigger!
What or who
inspires you in business and why?
I am inspired by
anyone that can take an idea/concept and turn it into a profitable and
sustainable business. There are so many hurdles out there to overcome
especially for a woman in business that if you can make it work you really know
what hard work is!
For a business to
succeed you need to be constantly evolving and developing with the times -
Victoria Beckham is a great inspiration for this as throughout her career she
has managed to constantly reinvent herself whilst still maintaining a strong
identity - something which is key to a business succeeding.
media movement provides inspiration for us all - I truly admire the people who
have taken themselves and their passions and turned it into a Brand and then a
business, for example, fashion and interiors’ blogger Aimee Song.
Three black British business women; Katrina
Emmanuel (Mane Divas), Merissa Hylton (Sankofa Creative Co.) and Belinda Raji
(BEUNIQUE Hair Care), have united to form a unique business collective called
Ujima, to host the first annual HairStories Event. Ujima is a representation of
their organizational ethos is guided by the Kwanzaa principle of collective
work and shared responsibility.
Coinciding with Black History Month, HairStories
takes place on Saturday 29th October 2016 at the City of Westminster College,
London. HairStories seeks to celebrate African hair through the ages and the
importance of African heritage at a time when popular culture is still seeks to
place boundaries on African Hair. With courts in the USA ruling that locs can
indeed be discriminated against in the workplace and popular musician and
creative artist, Solange releasing a song entitled “Don’t Touch My Hair” it is
more important than ever to celebrate Afro Hair. One of Britain’s most popular
personalities, Jamelia, has been sharing her natural afro hair journey and is making
history by unashamedly choosing to wear her hair in its natural afro state on
British mainstream TV. The HairStories event
is designed to impart knowledge and celebrate afro hair through a range of
workshops and interactive activities covering hair, holistic health and the
African Diaspora experience in the UK. Business is also at the forefront of the
event, with a series of independent brands from the Black British community
showcasing their products on the day.
The 2inspire Network is a proud media partner of this event.
Please tell us what
is a typical business day for you?
Like many business
owners there really isn’t a typical day but the week will usually include a
number of days spent at our Bright & Beautiful Head Office in Altrincham.
From here we run the Bright & Beautiful domestic housekeeping franchise network
which provides eco’friendly cleaning, tidying, laundry and ironing and
now has more than 50 franchises nationally, employing 460 people.
have a fabulous team of women there, from Sue our Franchise Director, who has over 20 years of franchise experience, to
Julie, our Quality Manager who was our very first Professional Housekeeper and
now passionately upholds our exceptional service standards and ethics
nationwide.. Something that I’ve been
very strict with myself about is not letting work overwhelm me and that’s something
that our franchisees also really appreciate about our culture. I’m a great believer in that when you are
happy, healthy and rested you are more productive at work so I will always make
time for family activities, a lunch with friends or a trip to the gym. This has
been easier to achieve as the business has been more established and as I have
developed a Franchise Support Team at Head Office. They focus on helping
franchisees develop their businesses and visit them around the UK.
A priority of mine is running
Discovery Sessions in London and Manchester every month, which are taster
sessions for people who are enquiring about our franchise opportunity. I also
present sessions at our conferences and workshops which we run quarterly.
Technology has made life a lot
easier of course and I will always have my phone with me to check emails and be
available to the team during the day. There is definitely a fine line between
letting technology become too invasive but I believe it really has
revolutionized the way working parents in particular can manage their work and
made you start the business and how did you get started?
I was a business consultant for 15 years, managing a team of 60 and
working in London and Australia. In 2007 I took a career break to have a family
and when the time came to return to the corporate world decided I wanted to
strike out on my own. Having researched different opportunities - and
also having come to hate cleaning and ironing while I was on maternity leave! -
I found that there was a real gap in the market for an ethical, professional
and family friendly homecare business that was designed for busy people.
The opportunity arose when my husband Rob, who ran a property
maintenance business, was asked if he provided cleaning. Rob said yes and I
visited the client to create the quote. With the help of my friend Julie and a
budget of £200 to cover Julie's wages, uniform and cleaning materials, Bright
& Beautiful was born!
I invested everything I had and learnt everything I could about
maximising a business, from marketing to web design and my strategy from day
one was to grow Bright & Beautiful nationally. Today we have a highly
successful business model that is based around a franchise system that trains people
to manage a team of specialist professional housekeepers.
would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to
would have to be helping more than 50 other women and men to start up and run
their own businesses that are now employing more than 460 people around the UK.
So many of our franchisees had climbed the corporate ladder in their previous
roles but had got to a point where the big salary and big office just weren’t
doing it for them any-more. Since setting up Bright & Beautiful I have met thousands of women who have come to
feel the same, sharing our stories of frustration and exhaustion. They inspired
me to create, both for myself and for others across the country, a smart,
profitable and ethical business opportunity that allows us to have a good
career but working from home being in
charge of our diaries.
We now attract people from range
of backgrounds - current franchisees range from lawyers and teachers to
marketeers and policeofficers - all of whom want a profitable career that they
can run from home. By joining an already established and successful business
team they are able to focus on running and growing their business without
having the stress of the things that starting your own business can entail -
setting up a website, finances, H&S, legal issues etc.
we as a business are also committed to supporting underprivileged women, both
in the UK and overseas and I’m really proud of that. The business donates at
least 10% of its profits to charity, working with Compassion International and
other charities and to date has sponsored ten children and supplied equipment
to over 40 families to enable them to set up their own micro-businesses. We are
also working towards launching a school in Rwanda, using profits from the business, which will make an enormous
difference to the amazing children and families we have met in that remarkable
What has been your biggest
challenge in business so far?
It was a big
risk, especially with two small children, to walk away from a well paid job to
start Bright & Beautiful but, having worked in a corporate world for 15
years I knew I had to make this work.
We also launched
right as the recession was starting to bite in 2007 and there was a real risk
that services considered a luxury i.e. a cleaner would be affected. But we also
knew, from our research and talking to other mums, that a difficult economy
would actually work in our favour because of its effect on the labour market.
As more women were having to go back to work and people were working longer
hours, so their free time became ever more precious and they didn't want to
spend it doing cleaning and laundry.
What are your future
plans for the business?
The domestic housekeeping sector is a growing
one with a million more people today using a cleaner than ten years ago. While
many companies have sprung up to meet this demand, what we offer is a real
point of difference to clients, franchisees and housekeepers through the
quality of our service and the ongoing training.
& Beautiful has plans and an infrastructure in place to enable us to grow
nationally in all regions, and aim to double the size of the business within
the next 3 years. We currently receive over 100 enquiries per month from people
interested in franchise opportunities; a figure that has doubled since 2014.
We’re committed to remaining as eco friendly as possible and are continually
looking for new and better ways to improve that - from car sharing to using
non-toxic products. We are also growing our range of services to meet client
demand to include a number of specialist home care services such as the care of
antiques and woods; an ironing school and five star hotel standard laundry and
bed-making. I am also spearheading a move to raise standards in the largely
unregulated £4.7bn domestic cleaning industry, with many agencies and employers
offering workers no holiday or maternity pay and little quality control.
If you had to do
it all over again, what would you do differently?
Not much really! I’m
a great believer in learning from your mistakes and the beauty of what we do is
that as a franchisor, whenever we’ve done anything that hasn’t worked, we’re
able to absorb that into our franchise training. So whenever a franchisee comes to us with a
problem or an issue, chances are we’ve faced and dealt with it ourselves in the
Why is it so
important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
The world today holds so
many possibilities and what I really love is that it is more widely recognised
that a degree and academic success aren’t the be all and end all when it comes
to having a great career. Creativity,
energy and positivity go a huge way in making dreams come true! I also meet a lot of young people who are
very practical and pragmatic about achieving their dream, so they may be
working in a job that pays their rent and bills while at the same time sowing
the seeds of their own business or learning how to progress to the next level
of what they want to do.
And I also think it is
important to recognise that dreams don’t die as you get older. I’ve always been
committed to training and developing the talent within our business and that’s
not just women and girls who are starting out in their careers but also older
women who may have had a family or a challenging career and want to find a
balance between having a career and a family or personal life. We talk to women every day who had wanted to
run their own business for years and are so excited to finally be making that
dream a reality.
What advice would you
give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
I’d say to anyone
looking to start their own business within the franchise industry to find
something you think fills a gap in the market and can get really passionate about. It always makes me
smile because people think I must love cleaning and ironing but I’m just the
opposite – I started Bright & Beautiful because I didn’t enjoy doing it but
couldn’t find a professional, ethical and eco-friendly housekeeping company
that I could employ. I’d also advise people to talk to as many people running
their own businesses as they can to really appreciate the building blocks of
running a business. You really need not to be daunted by learning about
everything from running your accounts and managing HR to marketing and social
What or who inspires
you in business and why?
I’d really have to
say it is the women I work with here at Bright & Beautiful. From our Head
Office team who are so dedicated and supportive, our brilliant franchisees and our Professional
Housekeepers who take such a pride in their work. Whenever I meet with and talk
to them, at training sessions, at our annual conference or just on the phone, I
continue to be really inspired by their personal stories and journeys and very
proud to be working with them.
your favourite inspirational quote?
I love Henry Ford’s
quote: “Quality means doing it right when no-one is looking.” If you’re going
to start a business you need to be as dedicated as he was to getting it right,
otherwise what’s the point?