Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Michelle Ward, CEO of 90 Day Business Launch, located in Montclair, NJ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm Michelle Ward, and I guide women to launch their service-based businesses in just 90 days so they can be their own damn boss!
Tell us about yourself
I became a business coach back in 2008 after walking away from my dreams of being a Broadway performer and going from one ill-fitting job to another. When I finally realized I was done trying to make my living as an actor, I came to two big conclusions:
- I refused to spend the 40ish years I had left before retiring doing work that didn't make me feel valued and fulfilled.
- If I wanted to be happy at work, I needed to be the boss.
This hit me all at once back in 2007, when I put the wheels in motion to transition out of my job as an Account Manager with a verbally abusive boss who made me psychosomatic. My breaking point came when I had to run off a rush-hour train to dry heave into a trash can at one of the busiest NYC subway platforms…but I felt absolutely fine when I turned myself around right away to go home. Talk about a wake-up call!
I decided then to pursue life coaching and secured a new job that would save me my sanity and allow me to spend my nights, weekends, and lunch hours on my entrepreneurial goals. I got my certification and built a rock-solid business foundation —- the kind that allowed me to give my notice in March of 2010, in the middle of one of America's largest recessions. I've never had to look back.
I transitioned out of that coaching business in January of 2021 after realizing that if I took an existing program, I had been successfully running since 2018 - 90 Day Business Launch - and made it my sole focus, I could help 1,000 women launch their dream businesses by 2028. Once I realized that I had a fire lit under me that hadn't subsided.
Now, I show up to work each day to show my eight-year-old daughter all that's possible, to create the kind of world I want her to grow up in, to serve my incredible clients, and to do work that leaves me feeling valued, proud and fulfilled.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Thankfully there are so many things that come to mind, but the first thing that pops into my head right now is my current program success rate. 90 Day Business Launch has launched 102 businesses since 2018, with 92% still in business - and that's when the average still-in-business rate after the first two years is only 80%. That plus a 2022 client rating of 10/10 gives me all the feels.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Having to play "the bad guy" sometimes, lol. When you're the business owner, you need to set, communicate, and enforce your policies, procedures, and boundaries. The buck starts and ends with you. And not to gender stereotype, but it's very hard for women (myself included!) to do this, especially when we value relationships and tend to be people pleasers.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't skip the foundational work. If you're working on branding, copy, website building, or marketing without knowing the problem your business solves, your ideal client's goals + challenges + demographic, your offer, your pricing, and your resonant elevator pitch... you're just procrastinating.
- Aim for B- work. I usually exclusively work with teachers' pets, always looking for the A. But the only way my clients get an A in 90 Day Business Launch is to do B- work! Stop aiming for perfection. If you don't move on after "good enough," it's never going to happen.
- Stop putting pressure (or shame!) on yourself for not making it happen on your own. This is why business coaches have business coaches - because it's so hard to do for yourself.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
That my free training is available for anyone who'd like to learn the four steps my clients take to launch their successful business in just 90 days - even when their time is limited, I'd love for you to check it out or pass it along to someone it would help: 90daybusinesslaunch.com/training.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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