Tell me a little bit about yourself!
My name is Jen Jowles, I am 33 & the founder of The Goodness Guide which is a wellbeing and mindset coaching service.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
The idea for The Goodness Guide, came from grief, fear, feeling lost, a lot of soul searching & a need to do something that made me happy. The Goodness Guide saved my life.
Previously in my life I had a regular office based full time job and I was also a qualified therapeutic counsellor with a part time private practice. 18 months ago, I had just bought my first home together with my Fiancé Matt. 12 weeks to the day after we moved into that house, Matt (34) died of a massive heart attack.
Long story short, seeing how quickly life could end and how quickly everything you had known for the last 17 years can be taken away from you, made me re-assess what I wanted from life. I didn’t want to be turning up every day to a job that was meaningless to me – I wanted each day to count for something. I wanted to be doing something that used my experience and qualifications and, more than anything, made me happy and that would push me way out of my comfort zone and show me what I was capable of.
The Goodness Guide was developed from the work I had to do on myself to enable me to carry on with life. As a counsellor I knew that I had to deal with what had happened head on and using my grief as my strength in some way was my best option.
I had to change my perspective about myself, life, the world. I did not have time to sit around feeling like a victim and constantly asking ‘why me?’ Don’t get me wrong I definitely did that and sometimes still do – but instead of trying to find the answer to ‘why did this happen to me’ (which is an answer never to be found) I had to focus on what the situation was going to teach me. I went from being a naturally pessimistic person to somewhat optimistic. I kept saying to myself “you have to find the positives in life, and you have to play the cards you are dealt as well as you can” and this became my mantra.
I had to deal with my anxiety, my battered confidence, the stress and fear of living on my own. I had to set goals to give me focus, motivation and a reason to get out of my bed every morning. Everything I learnt during this time is now what I promote as The Goodness Guide.
The idea is that no matter what has happened to you in your life you can still make a shift and create your own destiny (to an extent). You have a choice - to let things consume you and drag you down or allow these things to be your strength.
My toolkits and manuals focus on the things that can get in our way of realising our worth and reaching our potential as women – recognising we all have it within ourselves to create a life we want and create our own happiness. It is a way to focus on ourselves - our mind, body and soul. Realising the person, we want to be and what, or who, could be holding us back from becoming her.
What is unique about your business?
My business brings together my knowledge of mental health and therapy experience without all the jargon and psychobabble. The manuals and toolkits are full of ways to help someone realise why they might be experiencing what they are experiencing e.g. Anxiety, and techniques on how they can help themselves overcome their mental disharmony.
They are educational resources that I hope people use to improve their level of self-awareness. As a therapist myself I am a big advocate for talking therapies to help deal with the ups and downs of life, and the toolkits are in no way designed to replace this level of help and support but to be an extra resource of self-help and education.
As they are downloadable files, they are accessible immediately which is good considering how much therapy can cost and the length of the waiting lists within the NHS and various other free services and charities.
However, it doesn’t just end with a download. I encourage everyone that purchases from me to get in touch if they are unsure about anything, or feel they need some clarification or to discuss something further.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while setting up your business?
My main challenge was dealing with my own issues and mental health while also trying to set something up that was going to be successful. So many hours went into creating not only the toolkits and manuals, but also my branding and my social media presence and content. Sometimes there were days (and these still occur ) where I am consumed with my own grief and emotions, however I have learnt to let myself have these days to ensure I am not avoiding my grieving process and that I am also taking care of myself. Doing this allows me to show up for others as the best version of myself.
I also struggle sometimes with ‘Imposter Syndrome’ – I wonder why anyone would want to listen to me – only the other day I was speaking to a group of business students at The University of Manchester and wondered ‘who am I to be telling these people how to do something?’ you have to move past this. I am qualified, I am experienced in terms of working with clients, and I am experienced in my personal life – I am passing on what I have learnt and at some point, I hope it helps someone. The truth is, setting up The Goodness Guide saved my life, and this is good enough reason to be doing all this in itself.
What are your responsibilities as the business owner?
I am responsible for everything in my business. I create and design ALL the manuals and toolkits. I create all my social media content. Prepare and dispatch any order that comes in for physical copies of the toolkits. I do my own accounts, research, website updates – the lot. The main thing to be able to do this is good time management – I have a to do list every day and start each day with worst task first, the one I know I will keep putting off.
That way I feel I have already achieved something, and it gets the job done. I allocate sections of time to each task so that I get everything done that I want to achieve that day rather than spending all my time on just one task. This also stops me from getting frustrated and keeps me motivated and focused.
What are your future goals for your business?
My future goals for The Goodness Guide are, at the moment to keep it growing. I want to add more toolkits and manuals and help more people with different issues. Setting up a business is a slow process and it takes a while to build relationships, get people to trust that you know what you’re on about and therefore it takes time to get people you buy off you.
I would eventually like to offer a subscription service, so people have access to all my toolkits for a monthly fee rather than buying them individually.
I have worked one on one with business’s to help their employees work on their mindset and goals so they can then promote these employees from within and this is something I would love to do more of in the future – I love getting out there and working with people face to face.
What advice would you give to students who what to start their entrepreneurial journey?
Make sure you are passionate about what your business is whether it be a product or a service. If you don’t 100% believe in it then you will have a hard time in getting other people believing in it and you– not just people that may buy of you but also potential investors.
The Goodness Guide was at first a ‘self-help’ for myself – I created what I needed to move forward in life and be happy and so I know that if someone Is willing to put the work in then then what I offer can help make massive changes to someone’s life.
Time management is KEY – be prepared, rested, fuelled. Have to do lists upon to do list and stick to your schedules. Also make time for SELF-CARE to avoid burnout.
Check yourself when you start to doubt yourself – do not be a victim of Imposter Syndrome. Again, if you don’t believe in yourself no one else will.
Spend time and surround yourself only with those that believe in and support you. Your circle needs to be full of positive energy and made up of those that challenge, motivate you and keep you focussed on your goals.
Set goals – annually, monthly, weekly and daily – have them somewhere where you can see them all the time, so that when you start to dip you can see what all the hard work is for and keep yourself focussed and on the outcome.
Know your customer – create an avatar of who your product or service is to be aimed at. Come up with their name, age, sex, personality traits, interests, problems, goals. Know, and let them know, how you can change their life and what problems they have that you or your product can fix.
Finally, don’t wait for everything to be perfect. Perfect doesn’t exist. Get what you can out there and make any changes or adjustments later. I spent ages messing about with my website – in the end I just got it up, so at least something was out there and I am now working on improving it.
Jen Jowles (The Goodness Guide - Wellbeing & Mindset Coach & Counsellor)
Interview by Adelina Fughina