Emma Insley, Founder of Insley Consulting Ltd
Highest grossing revenue month ever in first year of Momentum
- Taken the bold steps needed for a more sustainable business
- Gained the clarity and confidence to work with clients who are tackling some of the world’s biggest problems
- Invested in the team, systems and processes to have solid operational support to deliver multiple projects
- Embedded IP within a group programme to service non-consulting clients and increasing product range
“I had my highest grossing revenue month ever in my first year in Momentum – and a 10% growth in sales across the year which took me across the VAT threshold. I am forecasting a further 30% growth this year.”
How was business for you before you started working in the Momentum programme?
I already had an established, well-respected, and solid business that I’d built up over 12 years, working with charities to help them measure and demonstrate their impact. But my turnover had plateaued, and there was no real growth over that time.
I was working hard for all my clients, over-delivering for many, sometimes taking on the ‘wrong kind’ of work – and often relying on associate consultants to help deliver work, which meant my costs were high. I was busy but reactive. I was tired and felt my earnings compared to the time expended were out of balance. In short, the business was unsustainable. I had even contemplated closing the business and moving on. I was close to burnout.
However, my vision and commitment were strong.
I knew I wanted to work with bold, game-changing charities and social enterprises which are making the world a better place. And I knew I had so much to share to help them measure and articulate the impact they are making so that they can scale up their work.
What was the key reason you decided Momentum was the right programme for you to join?
I knew I needed help – and I wanted to work with a coach who went beyond traditional mindset coaching; a coach who really understood how to build and run a business like mine.
For me, it was not about ‘mindset shift’. I needed practical coaching on what to do – and the tweaks I needed to make to create a more sustainable business.
I had been part of other group programmes, but they seemed to adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach which were positioned as the ‘tried and tested’ way. It might suit some, but I knew that it didn’t suit my business or the way in which I wanted to work with my clients.
For me, Momentum provides the balance of practical support and know-how, with accountability, planning and process.
What key things have you worked on during your time in Momentum that have made a difference to you and your business?
The starting point was to rethink my fee structure. The coaching team helped me to see very clearly what my day rate should be – and how to present the value-add that I bring. I then moved on to look at my team and how we could optimise our working together.
I already had two strong VAs and my business model was based on bringing in associates when needed. While it meant I could ramp up support quickly, the lack of consistency in our approaches sometimes tripped us up with me then needing to rework the final client report. I knew systemisation and standardisation were the way forward.
Then a pivotal moment occurred. I found, through my network, a monitoring and evaluation specialist to work with me on the design and definition of a standard approach, and delivery of client work. Investing in her, I now have an in-house skilled consultant who can deliver across all projects and the confidence that the work reflects our agreed approach. Buoyed up by this, I’ve encouraged my VAs to look at other aspects of the business for which a defined process would help. These projects are the key steppingstones to the more sustainable and expertly supported business I want. Empowering my VAs to ‘own’ key processes not only frees up my time for other things, but also delivers a better service to clients.
My next step is to look at how the business can scale and how I can best support those clients looking for guidance but who don’t require a bespoke assignment. A series of impact workshops and a group programme with my IP firmly embedded as the core is taking shape. It will enable me to share my thinking and help multiple clients at the same time who may not have otherwise have access to such support.
What has being a part of Momentum given you?
Momentum has shown me the path to take to create a sustainable business.
Importantly, it has given me the space to refine and define my vision, made me crystal clear about who I want to work with – and how – and the practical steps I need to take. It has made me accountable, given me a support network, challenged me and held me high in celebration.
And the commercial impact is great.
I had my highest grossing revenue month ever in my first year in Momentum – and a 10% growth in sales across the year which took me across the VAT threshold. I am forecasting a further 30% growth this year. But the crucial measure for a sustainable business is profit. Profit has increased tenfold. I also now attract more of my ideal client and more of the work I want to do.
In short, I am now confident that I can run a successful, impactful and profitable business without facing burnout. My clients are changing the world and I am helping them to show how they are doing this. It is spine-tingling stuff.
What is it like working with Karen and the team?
The team really ‘gets’ my business and, having their eye on my plans, has certainly made me more accountable. Karen, in particular, balances support when needed with a firm nudge in the right direction when necessary. She is practical and challenging and I know she – and other members – have my back at all times. They have enabled me to carve out the path for my own business journey. Before Momentum, work was a drain and seemed so hard. Now, I feel lighter, less burdened and the journey feels positive and up lifting.
What words of wisdom would you offer others who were thinking of joining Momentum?
Momentum provides practical support to grow a business – sustainably.
The key is not to get overwhelmed by all the possibilities when you start out in the programme. Use the planning process wisely. Carve out the steps that you need to take to achieve your specific business dreams in a manageable way. Keep an eye on the bigger picture but focus on specifics for each cycle, and you’ll get there.