We ask our members to share a few thoughts: to introduce themselves to fellow members, and those who are interested in our community.

In this instalment, we interview Julie Perkins of Wyseminds

Tell us about your business:
Wyseminds works with female entrepreneurs in finding their right next step to business growth. support you in growing forward in the most seamless way to bring back the freedom and joy of running – and growing – their own company. Based on the experience of 20 years of growing Specsavers in Northern Europe, we have created a purpose-led approach to growth that supports the strengths of female founders, builds resilience for the future and ensures that we never lose great ideas.

What 5 words would you choose to describe your business?
Freedom, Joy, Purpose-led, Supportive, Alignment

What are your most popular products or services?
Our programme is called “your journey”, each level finding the right next step, preparing great ideas for sustainable growth. The initial free level is the starting point, involving a bespoke personal growth guide and 2 hour interactive training on how to find the blocks in your business as it runs today, with a one to one session with a Wysemind to discover the first steps towards a seamless growth path.

What or who inspired you to start your business?
I was at a female founder pitch event and candidates were competing for €20,000. One person won and 4 lost.. “what happened to the dreams of the 4 who walked away empty handed” those dreams that were important, where did they go? Numerous conversations with female entrepreneurs with a story of business closure began me reflecting on why they didn’t reach out for support to keep these great ideas making a positive impact in the community they served. I could hear from their stories that the solutions that could have saved their companies were easily seen and more importantly easily solved. It opened up my mind to thinking about how I could take a career of building Specsavers in the UK and then into Northern Europe and create a programme designed for female entrepreneurs to enjoy growing their business as much as I had enjoyed growing Specsavers. Growth should be an adventure, exciting and full of exploration and like with any journeys of exploration having the right guides and tools reduce the risk but still let you lead the way and travel on your own terms.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
In business growing a company during the recession of 2008, we were only beginning in the Netherlands, the first new territory of the well established Specsavers brand. I leant lessons hard and fast, the greatest challenge was working in an infrastructure that was built around a market leader and creating an infrastructure that was for start up. Not sure of the greater fight at the time: external or internal ! But the journey was the learning for Wyseminds today, what matters in those early days, how to unite strangers to a cause and how purpose truly can lead the impossible. The rest is history I suppose it really made me fall in love with a country and incredible group of people and make it my home.

What advice would you give women who are starting a business?
Ensure you are beginning with your purpose and translate this into your organisation’. So many people build business around themselves and mix their purpose with their companies and end up feeling trapped. We have to create the space between ourselves and our companies, especially as women who have many “channels” of activities in our lives. We should begin with understanding our gift we want to bring to the world and then translate it into all areas of our life: Our company, our family and friends, hobbies or whatever experiences we have. If we do this we have the space to see our company growth with unlimited potential because we are not seeing the growth opportunity through what we can achieve but looking at what our company can achieve. This is my greatest advice, it brings the freedom that took us being an entrepreneur in the first place and the ability to build our companies with resilience and sustainable growth in the future.

What’s your favourite business book?
Buddha and the Badass Vishen Lakhiani: Its a book that reflects my very thoughts about the power of purpose but its written for Entrepreneur, authentic language and practical exercises at the end of each chapter.
Love a book by Ant Middleton: the fear bubble and to remind you of the importance of how you view the world:
Mindset, Changing the way you think Carol Dweck.

What are your top tips for networking?
Know who you are and what your gift is. When you know this and you are in a network event or meeting people generally, being clear within yourself prepares you as a better listener to others and who they are and what they are bringing. After all, if you are confident within yourself you don’t feel the need to have the conversation about what you do but stand there connecting and coming across as an appealing person to link into.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I think I answered this when asked about my greatest advice. If we understand our gift we have to bring the world we can translate it into everything we do effective then we dont need work/ life balance., we dont extract one channel and make it the balance with life, we strive to look at all our channels and make it a balanced life.

How do you relax?
I am a member of the 5 am club, so its meditation and qi gong first thing to start the day, Gym and whether ever I can, ski and sea swimming. And of course love a long lunch with friends.

What place inspires you and why?
The mountains, I love the space it brings me.

What are your future plans?
For the future I aim to place a monetary value on the effect of purpose-led growth plans. At Wyseminds we believe that using a purpose-led approach to growth and aligning key growth drivers will bring an increased performance in the business. We talk about having purpose in companies and how important this is, especially in post pandemic times, but leading with purpose creates a greater depth of unity, collaboration and stakeholder alliance that can make the impossible, possible. For female founders using a purpose-led approach to growth plays to more feminine traits and if we can place a monetary value on this approach we can ensure more companies remain financially viable without losing their connection with why they exist in the first place. Myself, a behavioural phycologist and a financal consultant built a dashboard that sets measures the effect of alignment into your profit and loss results as part of our programme.

Are you running any offers or promotions that you would like us to mention?
We have a free entry programme to “your journey” which includes a full package to discover the initial right next step for business growth and understand the current blocks to growth.

For more information about Julie Perkins visit Wyseminds