Where it all began!
Following the success of the DM Collective Awards back in December 2017 the GoWithThePro #DreamTeam (as we like to call ourselves as much as possible) decided that we wanted to work together again. We just didn’t know what we wanted to do!
After a couple of conversations and a bit of soul searching the team became five; Cathy, Gemma, Nicole, Ruth and myself. Another couple of long, late-night Google Hangouts proved we were going to have to get together for some masterminding if we were going to create any sort of business plan. So, off we went to a little cottage in the Cotswolds, our first GoWithThePro retreat.
Gemma wasn’t joining us until the next day so we kept our plans and excitement in check a little but by the time we’d demolished an excellent pub lunch and had some tentative talks about what we definitely did NOT want to do our plan was forming.
Obviously, that meant one thing; we needed more food. Cathy’s Mother-in-law had made us a Homity Pie which just needed another 10 minutes in the oven so off Cathy went to heat it up.
It turns out that four reasonably intelligent women armed with instructions cannot turn on an oven. I like to think I’m technically able so after an hour of trying we declared the oven broken and ate our pie cold.
It was still excellent. There was also wine.
The cottage was lovely but it turns out the residents of Chipping Campden of the past weren’t quite as tall as Ruth and Nicole so if we return they might need crash helmets. Nicole appearing from the kitchen rubbing her head became a regular sight.
Gemma arrived early the next morning so we were up and about far earlier than I like to be on a Sunday and I took the opportunity to have the first shower. It turns out it was the only shower. I’ll let you guess at which point I ran out of hot water. My hair has seen better days it has to be said.
So, no hot water and no oven. At this point we scratched “organise retreats” off our notes. It turns out there’s a reason people go to hotels for these things.
With only 10 or so hours with all five of us present it wasn’t ideal having to call the maintenance man and as soon as Ruth mentioned the oven wasn’t working either you could tell we had been dismissed as useless females.
Without boring you with the details it’s amazing what you can achieve in a very short space of time. By lunchtime we had our overall business model; we wanted to create a group which gave members access to all the resources they might need to create and build a business. Key to everything we wanted to do was that there would be no jargon, no waffle and we would cover the basics and beyond.
Gemma had organised a delivery for just before lunchtime which luckily didn’t contain anything that needed to be cooked or heated (luck or strange foresight?!) so we allowed ourselves a quick break before splitting into groups to look at more detailed plans and our branding.
Friendly maintenance chap
Friendly maintenance chap arrived and looked at the boiler a bit, even producing some tools before he admitted he had no idea what he was doing. Presumably he’d only turned up to make sure we could turn a hot tap on. As he was leaving I thought I’d see if he could pass the oven test.
We walked into the kitchen together and the conversation went along these lines:
Friendly maintenance chap: “You press…”
Me: “…the end button”.
FMC: “Then you…
Me: “…turn the dial until you get to the setting you want”.
FMC: “Then you press…”
Me: “…the button on the dial”.
FMC: “It doesn’t seem to be working”.
Me: “Yes, I realised that last night when I put it on the fan setting and you couldn’t hear the fan”.
Thank goodness he was here to tell us what we already knew. Off went FMC saying he’d speak to the owner. It was a Sunday, our dreams of hot water disappeared.
Back to work
A late-afternoon stroll to the pub for some restorative drinks and chips gave us a final boost to achieve as much as possible before Gemma had to leave us for the second half of her 300-mile round trip. The rest of us enjoyed a Damson Gin Royale to toast her on her way. To be fair I sent her home with the rest of the bottle. I got this message the next day:
So, that was it, GoWithThePro was officially formed and we had a plan. We learned a lot that weekend and I’ll share some of that below, but the main thing we learned was that we could work together and that we work well together. Even tired, smelly, in need of hot food and possibly slightly concussed we achieved more in those two days than most businesses achieve in weeks.
We are so enthusiastic about this project and are working hard to create something which gives people a unique and valuable business resource. We hope you come along for the ride!
Things we learned
- You can’t buy Post-it notes in Chipping Campden
- Being short is often an advantage
- Homity Pie is very, very nice
- Old cottages don’t have enough sockets for five laptops
- Smeg ovens aren’t all that
- We’re not very good at opening key safes
- Working in pyjamas is totally acceptable
- Mastermind retreats are a must for any business
- Being hungry and smelly entitles you to a full refund
- The best ideas often come to you when you’re on the toilet!