In the spirit of International Women's Day, as we’re looking at Inspirational women, we wanted to give (and get) a little insight into one of the most important and influential people here at goHenry - Louise - our COO and one of the original founders.
Louise has continued to grow goHenry from a simple idea she and two other parents had a few years ago, into a company with over half a million users across the UK.
We get lots of questions about why goHenry was started, whose idea it was, and what was the thought behind it. Well here are the answers to those questions, (and more), from the original goHenry pioneer.
What made you decide to start your own business?
I previously ran an ecommerce company which I sold to the Past Times retail group back in 2002 and had been on the lookout for new opportunities to launch another business since then. The idea for goHenry came about while chatting to two other parents about our children downloading loads of music for their iPods and not understanding that they were spending money….
What have you found to be your proudest moments with goHenry and your success?
Gosh - that’s a tough one - there have been so many. That heart stopping moment when we went live to the public and watched the very first customer sign up for an account….. big milestones like reaching 1k customers, then 10k, then 100k - and now well over half a million….. moving into our current offices right beside Angel Tube station in London and seeing everyone’s faces as they walked in for the first time and found a desk with their name on it in BIG letters...and then of course, some of the amazing letters, calls and emails that we get from customers telling us that goHenry has made a real difference to them or to their children’s lives. The whole concept was about giving parents a tool to help them teach their children about money in a practical way and that’s still what drives us today.
What have you found to be most challenging?
Every day presents a challenge of some sort - some small and some not so small! Because none of us came from the Banking or payments industry we had to learn a lot very quickly - and learn to ask the right questions. Sometime NOT knowing actually worked to our advantage and we were able to “debunk” some of the myths that we were told.
Do you have a Role Model for launching your business?
I admire anyone brave enough to stick their head above the parapet and launch a business. It’s not easy to get it off the ground in the first place - and it’s not easy to move it from being a small business just paying its way to scale up and become big - but that’s the challenge - and the joy.
Who inspired you to create your business?
It will probably sound corny, but it was my Dad. He died a couple of years ago but he always told me (and my brother and sister) that we could do whatever we set our minds to. Whenever I told him my latest plan - whether I was 25 or 45 - he would say “What’s the worst that can happen? You fail, you pick yourself up, and you start again.”
Have you struggled being a successful female in the Fintech area, which some would describe as quite a “male orientated” sector? If so, how have you overcome any obstacles in this instance?
Honestly - no. I try to ignore gender at work and focus on the skills needed and the job in hand. A good mix of people is what matters - people willing to learn and to challenge themselves.
What is the most important lesson you feel you have taught your daughter (who also works for goHenry!) and your son?
Another tough one! I hope that I manage to do for them what my parents did for me - make them believe that they can do whatever they want to - if they are prepared to work hard. And that it’s okay to fail. With that confidence behind you, it becomes so MUCH easier to try new things and to stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone. Time will tell - they are 16 and 18 now, so just starting to stretch their wings and fly the nest a little.