AT the age of 40, single mum Kate Mansfield found herself homeless and penniless, living in a cockroach-infested hostel in London.
Four years later, the inspirational mum has turned life around for her and her 16-year-old son, going from broke to making £500,000 thanks to her dating coaching business.
London-based Kate, 44, is the founder of Single to Soulmates, which has helped around 500 clients boost their confidence when looking for love.
And her success rate is high, with 92 per cent of customers finding love within a year – including 54 engagements or marriages and even three babies born thanks to Kate.
She’s just been named 2019 relationship expert of the year by the London Prestige Awards.
But while business is now booming, Kate was at one of the lowest points of her life when she launched her firm.
She spoke exclusively to Fabulous Digital for #BOSSINGIT, our series about ordinary women who have launched incredible ventures.
Kate got a degree in media from university and worked in TV and film for 15 years before deciding to become a life coach.
She says: “I broke up with my partner four years ago and at that time I was working part-time doing coaching but wasn’t making much money to live off.
“I tried to get jobs in media but it wasn’t happening. I was getting the odd client in coaching but it wasn’t enough. It was around £30 an hour for a few people each week.
I wasn’t on the street with a child, but I was in hostels with cockroaches in Hackney.
“It went from being OK to not OK very quickly.
“For a brief period I had nowhere to live. I had no money coming in. I was housed by the council in temporary accommodation.
“I wasn’t on the street with a child, but I was in hostels with cockroaches in Hackney.
“It was a challenging time. I stayed there for a while but went back to live with my mum in her tiny place.”
Although the time in Kate’s life was a low point, in a lot of ways it helped to inspire her to get her business off the ground.
She said: “It was scary how quickly you can get to that place.
“It was something I never imagined would happen to someone who had a Masters degree and who had earned good money in the past.”
While Kate’s coaching business previously relied on one-to-one coaching with the odd client, she decided to take the model online to reach a wider audience.
Kate said: “I did my own website by myself and learned how to do all the technical side of things.
“My strategy was just investing as much money back into the business as possible. It meant living quite frugally in the first year to make that happen.”
She developed an online programme for people – mainly women – who are looking for love, which featured modules to follow over three months.
The first month of coaching involves stopping dating completely, and then aims to boost women’s confidence and priorities over the programme as they enter the dating world.
Instead of charging customers weekly like she used to, under her online model clients sign up to the whole course and can extend to a year if they wish.
Customers get two live calls every week in a group format of around 20 clients at a time, and Kate’s helped over 200 people in the past year.
She explained: “Three years ago it really took off using a current model I’m using now.
“I took the whole thing online and I’ve shifted doing group work. I started to charge more money and it rocketed around then.”
Kate’s tips for women thinking about starting their own business
Be fearless and believe in yourself. Think big in terms of vision because one of the mistake people make is aiming too low.
I didn’t worry about having an amazing website or having everything perfect before I launched.
It’s really about clients and getting people in the door.
If you do that you don’t have to go into a lot of debt.
Learning how to do stuff myself in the beginning really saved a lot of money.
Kate says discovering Facebook ads was a turning point for getting more clients to sign up to the coaching.
She added: “It started to make serious money and in the last two years my turnover has been £500,000. The year before that it was £30,000.
“Next I hope to make £100,000 a month.
“The scaling up was really a result of learning about sales, using Facebook to find clients and charging higher prices.
“It was really exciting and quite scary as well. There are a whole load of stresses that come with big turnovers in terms of paying VAT and tax.
“I’ve had to learn a lot about budget and it was a sharp learning curve.”
Kate has gone from running the business by herself from her kitchen table, to last year employing four coaches to join the team – all working remotely.
She also has a personal assistant and three sales people, and has recently expanded globally to the US and Australia.
After paying staff and the costs of running the business, the determined mum has managed to make a profit of around £200,000 over the past two years.
It [the business] started to make serious money and in the last two years my turnover has been £500,000. The year before that it was £30,000. Next I hope to make £100,000 a month.
Kate says the best part of the job, however, is seeing women find love and get their happy endings.
She said: “Seeing women getting engaged or married and even having babies that is really the ultimate highlight of the whole thing.
“Some women are crippled with low confidence or attracting the wrong men and it’s amazing to help them start loving themselves.”
Testimonials of Kate’s dating business
Joanne, London: “I loved everything about working with Kate and the community of women that she has built.
“Kate thought about and took care of all of the needs that I have with a self-development experience that is all about incredible results! I thought I would be single forever and I just got engaged to the man of my dreams.
“I have never felt more confident, adored and valued.”
Karen, York: “Kate is my go-to coach for learning how to date, how to let love in and how to use my feminine energy to connect on a whole other level with men, but also with people in general.
“With the amazingly powerful skills I picked up from her 12 week course, I was able to land my dream job as well as meeting the love of my life.
“I could not possibly thank her enough.”
One of the challenges, Kate admitted, has been cultivating the business alongside raising son Jake, 16.
She said: “Being a parent of a teenager at the same time has been tough but scaling into group work has freed up quite a lot of time.
“I feel very grateful for that as I don’t have to work 15 hours a day, I do have time to be a mum too.”
And with the new free time, she’s even found love herself with a new partner who she has been dating for over a year.
Kate next hopes to rebrand the business as The Dating Diet and is launching a new website this month to help her clients further.
She explained: “The new brand is about finding a healthy way of having relationships that are going to stay with them.
“It’ll be quite similar to going on a detox and helping them to make decisions from a place of conscious choice, instead of just emotional.”
Visit KateMansfield.com for more information on her dating programme and relationship advice.
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