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Elaine Gosden, CEO of Blue Gnu Consulting Ltd

Stepped into the role of the CEO & hired top talent team to scale business

Success Highlights:

  • Mindset and operational shift from freelance trainer to CEO
  • Creation of passive income stream
  • Bringing my own values to life through the way I work and structure my business
  • Greater strategic thinking and practical planning

“What I value most about being part of Momentum is the structure and definition it gives me and the process to work through. The Momentum structure of slowing down and having a set time to focus on the important things has been instrumental to my success.”

How was business for you before you started working in the Momentum programme?

I had a good business with plenty of work – a freelance learning and development specialist working with organisations face-to-face to develop team effectiveness and leadership skills. I had great clients and loved what I did. The pandemic hit me hard as firms cancelled talent development and focused attention on other HR issues during the second quarter of 2020. It was a stressful time. I had zero income with no passive income stream to fall back on.

Coming out of the pandemic, business picked up rapidly with my clients all wanting my input again. I was overwhelmed with requests for work and found myself with a full diary. I knew I had a choice; either to go back to as it had been with me selling and delivering entirely face-to-face training which meant my capacity was quickly reached … or to change how I operated. I knew it was a time to re-look at my business model.

What was the key reason you decided Momentum was the right programme for you to join?

I knew of Momentum through a work colleague. She’d said that having access to the coaches was like having a non-Exec in the business – and that’s the kind of support I knew I could do with. Working on my own in my own business had been fine, but I was ready for the next stage. I’d started to bring a team of associates together, to make greater use of Zoom for delivery, and to think about how I could develop a passive income stream. I knew I needed some help to figure out – and take – the next steps. In short, I wanted to become more of a CEO of my business.

Joining Momentum was a considered investment for someone that hadn’t really spent money on my own development! But, in the end, I knew that the only person holding back my business and how it could grow, was me. So I signed up.

What have you worked on during your time in Momentum that has made a difference to you and your business?

The biggest success I got was working on building a team and to share my vision for the company with them, because now I feel I have stepped into the role of the CEO. One of my values is abundance and I genuinely believe there’s enough work in the world for all of us. My pool of associates could, technically, be competitors – but they’re not. What I am trying to create is something a little bit different – something more friendly and warm and supportive because I know that when you’re out on your own, you need that. 

I also believe that if you behave like the company you want to be, you will become that company. In my corporate days, away-days and team building events were commonplace and, while my business is not yet that size, I realised that I wanted to replicate that feeling of connection and common purpose. So with the help of the Momentum coaches’s advice and steerage, I took the team away for a couple of days to a spa hotel and put together a day that really pulled us together at a team. 

I work with a wide variety of brilliant clients, which I love. Budget is an issue for some, but by creating a pool of like-minded, skilled associates means that there is usually someone that can deliver the work for a client within their budget. It means that I’m not sacrificing my margin to take lower fees for work that a less-experienced person can do, and yet I retain the strategic connection with the client. I’ve now put in place the process needed to act as a distributor to other consultants for the tool that I and other L&D consultants use. So with a growing team, all buying and selling on their skills and the tool, this is where I can make margin and create passive income. Even if my clients aren’t buying from me, other trainers are buying materials through me. 

What are the key things you’ve gained from working in Momentum?

I have taken some clear and definite actions on projects I was only thinking about before, but what I value most about being part of Momentum is the structure and definition it gives me and the process to work through. Typically, I get easily distracted. I commit to a lot of things and can spread myself too thin. The Momentum structure of slowing down and having a set time to focus on the important things has really helped me.

The other huge benefit from being part of Momentum is the calibre of the others in the programme – some of whom are phenomenal business people. In surrounding yourself with really good people, there’s a very real collective benefit.

What is it like working with Karen and her coaching team?

They challenge and seems to ask just the right question, at the right time. They have helped me to address some of the trickier areas that I might otherwise ignore, and gently bring me back to it, flagging that it may need more attention. The coaches help me to spot signs of hazards long before I reach them, so I can take action.

My work with the coaching team has highlighted some of the gaps in knowledge of running a bigger business, with a different operating model. It was the prompt I needed to dig deeper and be able to access the data in order to make decisions. Now, just being in control of the model and the important figures makes me feel more like the sort of person who is strategic. I’ve been able to focus on the right things as CEO and leader of my business.

How do you feel about the year coming up now that you’ve worked in Momentum?

Momentum is powerful and offers you access to other great business minds and structures. But know that you need to put in the groundwork to get the most from it. Being in Momentum has taught me to plan and prepare, reflect and act.

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