London mother and entrepreneur builds cleaning business after overcoming depression
A person smiling at the camera
Description automatically generated with low confidenceA London entrepreneur and mother overcame depression to found her own successful cleaning business.
Clara Velho-Ansong, 43, is the founder of Gemstone Cleaning Services – a business she created following a dark period in her life.
“Previously, I worked in business management and was going through a terrible divorce,” she said. “It put me in a bad place and I found myself not connecting with my job.
“All my life I’ve always enjoyed cleaning. I love order and cleanliness and it’s always been my therapy in response to my depression and anxiety. As a result, it helped me cope during a time when I needed that therapy most.”
Clara, of Mortlake, was attempting to balance her children and her job, however, that was causing her mental health more harm. It was in 2015 that she found a new path for herself.
“I would often have to sign off cleaning bills and seeing how much a cleaning business could make inspired me to take something I found peace in and make it into a business,” she said. “I decided to take the big step and start my own cleaning company.
“It was incredibly daunting but with my passion I found it was exciting. It also gave me the flexibility to see my children and spend time with them whenever I wanted to.
“The first year was tough, of course, as I was learning on the fly how to run a whole company – but the passion was what spurred me on.”
In just five years, Clara’s business went from having just a handful of domestic properties to a whole load of commercial ones. In lockdown, she started an idea she’d had since the business had started – to teach others to do what she did.
“It would’ve happened at some point but lockdown sped it up because of the amount of time on my hands,” Clara said. “With online training becoming so big in the last year, I created a guide in this space that would pass on what I’d learned from building a business as it grew.
“I’ve now started teaching people how to start their own cleaning business, particularly women. It’s not just because they can personally relate to my story but the cleaning industry needs more female CEOs like me.
“The corporate side of cleaning is dominated by men, which I had no idea about until I joined it, but I now want to encourage more females to run their own businesses.”
In 2020, Clara started https://www.startyourcleaningbusiness.org/, where she provides courses about the different cleaning industries, marketing a business and maintaining customer satisfaction.