This week I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Sharenette (@be_you_consult, a talented business coach and mentor, helping female entrepreneurs make their business dreams come true. Read all about the biggest lesson she’s learned during her entrepreneur journey. It’s truly inspiring! Let’s meet her..
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING EXACTLY?
My business is called Be You Consult. I am a coach specializing in empowerment, career and business coaching. I help people unlock insights within themselves and their business, visualize and put in place a structured plan to achieve their goals, build resilience to be able to respond to challenges effectively and feel empowered for success.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BUSINESS IDEA?
I set up my business officially registering in Oct 2020.
I was employed until Jul 2020, but I was notified that my contract would not be extended in May 2020. I think this was the best thing that could have happened to me. I expected it and I wanted it.
The year I spent at that company was probably one of the worst years of my life to date for a number of reasons:
Having joined the company I was provided with very limited support- no coaching and no training. I was literally expected to sink or swim.
1. Hardly any considerations for my other responsibilities as a working mother. There was this expectation to work around the clock- with no appreciation at the end. 2. There was a clear disparity between how senior working males could structure their day around their families and responsibilities but a different story for me. 3. I felt lonely, isolated, and felt at large that this was a huge waste of my time.
I had been coaching for a few years now working on a freelance basis for RARE recruitment – a diversity and recruitment company in the UK providing coaching, mentoring and delivering webinars for their banking and financing programs.
I was good at it and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed really making a difference in people’s lives, being able to use my background in finance to help them get their foot into the corporate world. immensely satisfying.
I also knew from the last experiences that I would NEVER want to be employed by a company again.
During the early Part of lockdown, I underwent a period of introspection and explored my interiority – my needs, my wants and desires.
I understood that the most important thing for me is to have flexibility, freedom and the ability to think creatively and strategically and something that brings me joy.
Embedded within my services is empowerment. I want to empower people to take ownership of their lives so that they can reframe their thinking and approach to overcome challenges and to move forward and achieve success in whatever ways it means for them- in their career, in their personal lives or on their entrepreneurial journey.
I’m a firm believer in meeting people where they are and helping them to become the best version of themselves through structured and tailored coaching and by providing the accountability that people need to keep themselves on track.
If you want to be challenged to think more broadly, think critically, push yourself and create a clear and structured plan then I’m your person!
I’m currently in the process of re-designing and actually narrowing down my focus to create a real impact. I’m developing my own signature programs in a way that it can be accessed by those who currently don’t have the money or time to invest in a 1:1 coaching programme with me and to build a community where people can come together to develop and invest in themselves and their ideas. I will be hoping to relaunch in June.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THIS, AND IS THIS YOUR FIRST BUSINESS?
Before I started my business I worked for several years in the financial services industry, firstly within the strategy and operations teams at BDO and Deloitte and then within the financial due diligence team at EY.
Whilst this is my first business, my goal is to be a social entrepreneur. What I mean by that is I want to establish a business or enterprises with the aim of solving social problems or effecting social change on some level. Although they may be seemingly unrelated – but my core values of empowerment, accountability, a community running through them.
I am also an aspiring children’s book author and will be self-publishing my first book before the end of the year.
WHAT SPECIFIC ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN WHO WOULD LIKE TO BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR?
I would say: 1. trust in yourself and the process. We all have it in us to create and produce a product or service which people will rally behind.
2. that you don’t need to do it alone. There are so many online communities right now targeted at female founders where you can learn a lot of useful tips, network with like-minded individuals and increase your profile.
3. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself and your business. Having a business coach or mentor, or asking for advice and help from people who have been where you are and specifically in the same field can really help to propel your ideas and make your dreams a reality quicker than going it alone.
MY GREATEST OBSTACLE AND HOW DID YOU DEALT WITH IT:
For me, that would be trying to return to myself after having my kids. For a period of 3 years, I felt not seen and didn’t feel that I had an identity outside of my children and my husband. This feeling held me back in many ways because it stopped me from listening to my inner voice to determine what I really wanted to do and how I wanted to lead my life. I took control after my lowest points: I sought help with a therapist, I got myself a personal trainer to get back in shape, I started taking better care of myself- starting small-longer showers; regular hair appointments, regular grooming, and spending more time meeting new people and exploring my interests outside of the family unit.
MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:
Building and maintaining a successful career and family life in the Netherlands after moving here 8 years without a plan. Our journey within the Netherlands has been a real roller coaster ride complete with relocation, cultural integration and transitioning with my work. After 8 years, I can finally say that I feel settled and happy living here.
HOW I BLEND LIFE AND WORK TO CREATE THE LIFE I WANT:
I choose flexibility and the ability to control my time. The most important thing for me, particularly as an expat in the Netherlands with my family (husband and 2 kids), is being there for my kids. With no family close by and a few friends, we really are all we have here. So it’s important for me that my kids have access to me, and I am able to spend time with them and observe them and create memories with them.
I AM INSPIRED BY:
My children. Every day they remind me that the possibilities are endless. Their boundless enthusiasm to learn something new each day; the ability to try things and be prepared to make mistakes and learn from them; their generosity of spirit in the way they interact with their friends, friends and other people.
WHY I CHOSE THIS CAREER:
I chose to become a coach because I realized in my life even working in financial services, I was coaching and mentoring people within both a formal and informal context. I got real satisfaction from helping people, and I was very good at it. The feedback I received from Clients and friends confirmed to me that this was what I could do.
HOW I PREPARE FOR SUCCESS:
I ensure that my mindset is right. I journal regularly as a means of working through my thoughts and expressing my innermost fears and desires. I then use this as a tool to prepare for my vision and goal setting. Success for me is having the flexibility and ability to make my own choices and live my life in a way that allows me the time and money to do things I enjoy, develop myself personally and spend time with friends and family.
DID YOU WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN? WAS IT AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR YOU?
I did write a business plan, as a way of keeping me committed to the business and the plan. It also served as a good foundation for developing my strategy and my approach to launching my business, assessing my competition, understanding my place in the market and determining my revenue model. I would recommend this as the first step when setting up a business. I have since revisited my business plan and updated the goals and milestones to reflect my current strategy.
ARE THERE SPECIFIC ADVANTAGES, DISADVANTAGES TO BEING A WOMAN BUSINESS OWNER?
The main advantages that I can think of are: 1.Women are more prone to collaboration and therefore tend to develop a holistic approach to running their business. 2. Women are pragmatic 3. Women are more likely to ask for help and seek expert input and support where required. 4. Women business owners act as role models for other women to follow in their path.
I would say that there are 2 main disadvantages. 1. Our own limiting beliefs being one. There are far fewer female business owners and entrepreneurs than men. However, this is changing and it’s a very welcome change.
2. There is still a real pressure for women to “have it all”. Women still bear the brunt of childcare and household duties, so many women, lack time, mental bandwidth and the support to pursue their dreams.
MY FAVOURITE BUSINESS TOOL IS…
Stripe- it connects to my website so it makes it easy for my clients to make payments online. It also connects to my business bank account. I can also produce quotes and invoices from the system. It’s a banking tool that can be used globally, which is good for having global clients.
THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN IS…
Just begin! If you wait until you’re ready, you will never start! It really doesn’t matter when or where you start, it just matters that you do.