Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Gemma Perkins founder The Self Leadership Initiative, provides an unconventional approach to training.

Tell us all about your business...

Inspiring and empowering people to become their best selves through practical self-development training. SLI clients are from all walks are life; corporate managers, refugees, charity leaders, teachers, and students. ALL of our clients recognize that soft skills development is the key to their success and are ready to take that step.

What's your background and motivation to grow as a solopreneur?

I experienced leadership training in my teenage years and loved it so much that I spent 9 years volunteering to mentor and train others alongside my studies. When I finally achieved my plan of becoming a qualified teacher, I realized that I enjoyed the leadership training more and that it had a bigger impact on people's lives than traditional teaching. I set up the business so that I could help to give other people the same head start that I'd had in life - knowing about your personality, goals, how to communicate, solve conflicts, navigate body language and look after your well-being are just a few of the tools that I feel so privileged to have learned early on in life and it's a joy to pass these on to others to help them overcome hurdles and reach their potential.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Designing and delivering leadership training programs in international contexts; Switzerland, Bahrain, and India. It feels significant to work in cross-cultural and contexts and still be able to deliver impact - and feel a sense of global citizenship in my work.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a solopreneur?

Being responsible for all parts of the business. There are parts of the business that I love; the training, evaluation and even doing the accounts. However, I also have to motivate myself to keep refreshing the marketing strategy, keeping on top of the website, and other tasks which aren't in my strength areas.

This leads to another interesting challenge - deciding which tasks to do yourself and when to outsource tasks to other companies & individuals that you trust to work in a way that fits your values. It can be hard for a business owner to let some tasks go over time, but it's worth it to free up your time to spend on your areas of expertise.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run or grow a small business today?

Build relationships
Whether it's suppliers, clients, venues, or even the random, 'we get on well and this may lead to something but we don't know what'. Having good relationships with people will be a huge source of support, word-of-mouth recommendations, and interesting opportunities that develop over time.

Commit sensibly
At the start of my business, I worked part-time in teaching. This gave me a financial safety net that felt sensible... but also meant that I wasn't dedicating as much time as I could to growing the business. Eventually, I leaped and stopped the part-time work to fully commit to my business and it flourished. Only you can determine how much time to allocate to your new venture, but be sensible in balancing how much you need a safety net and how much time you need to do a good job of your venture.

Love it, belief in it
Starting a business is tough, and one of the biggest things that get me through it is knowing how much joy it brings me and how much value it brings others. If you truly believe in what you are doing then you will find resilience, inspiration, and motivation when you need them.

If there was one thing you could do repeatedly to help grow your business, what would it be?

Have a coffee with old clients to keep in touch with their needs.

What are some of the things you put in place to maintain a healthy work/life balance and to keep it all together?

  • I block out 'me time' in my diary that cannot be used for meetings or work.
  • I have a gratitude journal and regularly do positive psychology exercises (get in touch for more info)
  • I prioritize my tasks by importance and urgency so that I don't fall into the trap of spinning plates
  • I set realistic deadlines and turnovers with clients to maintain healthy boundaries

Where can people find you?

Personal LinkedIn:
Company LinkedIn:

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share then email, we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.