Bullet Beans to Big Dreams
Meet Gemma Worth, Accountant, DJ, Author and Mother
Gemma Worth is the most down to earth, and unassuming entrepreneur I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Despite starting with so little, she has achieved so much!
From the estate in Macclesfield, living on 9p value beans (good for flicking due to their hard exterior, hence the nickname 'bullet beans'), to an award-winning multi-site accountancy firm,
pod cast, radio DJ, author and mother, there is no stopping, her.
I was super excited to interview Gemma of Hayesworth and Stone Accountancy (one of our advertisers) and find out what drives her, how she stays motivated and what time she gets up in the morning; I'll give you a clue, I'm still asleep!
"If something really bad happens in my life, I turn it around into something good."
So, how did a lass from Macclesfield find her way to Chesterfield?
Gemma: Me and my ex-husband used to run pubs. We took on a pub in Blackburn, it was a right dive I'll be honest with you, but we turned it around. We then got offered the Last Orders in Claycross because that was struggling, which was in 2013 and I've lived in Chesterfield ever since. It's very much my home now and I can't see myself leaving anytime soon.
What was it like growing up in Macclesfield?
Gemma: Typical council estate kid, bunking off school, getting into trouble hedge hopping! My parents struggled with alcohol dependencies and me, being the eldest child took on the role of parenting my five younger brothers and sisters.
Sadly, it's not an uncommon story where the oldest sibling becomes a young carer for children being raised below the poverty line. It must have been tough.
Gemma: Yes, it was. School wasn't great for me either. I had a bad stutter and was bullied a lot. I ended up leaving school when I was about 15. I sat my exams but didn't reach my potential...
Well, you are certainly reaching it now and there is no sign of the stutter. I bet you never dreamed you'd be a radio DJ and a podcast creator. What an inspiring story.
How did you go from a local landlord to a qualified accountant with branches in Chesterfield, Manchester, London and Stoke?
Gemma: When we moved to the Last Orders (Claycross) I was self-employed. I hired an accountant to do my tax return and thought, these guys are making it pay. I then started doing my own books and enjoyed the process. So, I enrolled on a course at Chesterfield College. I started applying for jobs and got one at a local company in the payroll department. I knuckled down and within a year I had a great job working in the pensions department. Once I was qualified, I started doing peoples tax returns as a second job. Unfortunately this breached my employment contract and I had to leave! So, I thought right, I'm gonna make a run at my own business full-time. I remember walking past these premises in Claycross and I said to my mate 'one day that will be my office.' A few months later there was a sign on it saying 'TO LET', so I went to enquire, found out I knew the guy and he said 'there you go, Gemma, here's the keys!' That was in 2018.
Wow, so in just three year's you have gone from doing people's tax returns as a second income to having offices in three locations across the country. You turned something bad into great!
Gemma: If something really bad happens in my life, I turn it into something good and that's what I did when I got sacked! I lost my dad which was really hard, and the day after he died, I had a big exam to take. I sat the exam and passed with a 100% mark, I just wanted to make him proud, ya know. We were really close in the end. My dad was a big Stoke City fan and I was recently able to sponsor one of their matches in his memory. I still can't believe I was able to do that.
Since her dad's passing, Gemma has been completing challenges to raise funds for the hospice that cared for him. She recently donated a cheque for over £400 and plans to do more. Gemma's love and admiration for her father for everything he overcame is ever present in her eyes and I have no doubt he passed away a proud father.
How did you grow the business so quickly?
Gemma: With hard work and determination. I was on it with my social media, out delivering leaflets by hand in all weathers to homes and businesses, writing letters to loads of businesses and working every day. My Facebook page took a bit to get going, but I just persevered with it. You've just got to keep at it. I get up around 5am every day and just crack on! Now I have three offices and I couldn't be happier.
I get up about that time as well. My alarm clock is called Florie and she's three years old!
We all have slumps and some days it's really difficult to stay motivated and focused. How do you stay motivated and able to get up and at it so early?
Gemma: Obviously there are some days where I am absolutely exhausted and I have to have a break. I just love my business, it's the one thing no one can take away from me. I've had a lot of problems in the past with family and friends due to where I grew up, people taking stuff from me physically and mentally, but this business is mine, it's like my baby and no one can take it away from me. That's what motivates me and gets me out of bed in the morning! I also have a lot of pictures of my dad around me and as I said, I just want to make him proud.
So, how did you end with a radio slot on the newly formed Chesterfield Radio? It seems light years away from accountancy?
Gemma: It was really bizarre! Shaun Goldsmith (former Peak FM DJ) messaged me on Facebook out of the blue and asked me if I'd do a voice over for him and I thought, is this a scam ha-ha. So, I got in touch with the director of Chesterfield Radio and he said they are asking local people to get involved with the station and it's not a scam! So, I ended up doing a recording and they liked it and asked me if I'd do a show. It escalated quickly. My show is called Guitar Anthems, it's on a Friday night from 10pm. I'm a rocker at heart and love Oasis, Liam Gallagher! Don't forget to tune in, it’s rocking, ha-ha.
Gemma has written a new autobiography 'Bullet beans to big dreams' which is out this summer. Yes, that's right she's also written a book, in between learning to fly a plane, of course! Note to self: up your game Simon!
We'll catch up with Gemma in a few months where you'll be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of her book. Until then don't forget to tune in to her rock show on Chesterfield Radio.
T: 01246 498859
FB Hayes Worth & Stone Accountancy
Words: Simon Paterson
Images: Gemma Worth