Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Alex Poeter, Founder of Alex Poeter Coaching and Consulting, located in Somerville, MA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I coach leaders, visionaries, and creators who have dedicated their lives to service and impact. My clients include leaders, managers, academics, and creatives who have outgrown their current job and have lost the joy and passion for their work. They feel the need to change course in order to live up to their highest potential and use their skills and expertise for greater impact. Their legacy is calling to them, but they don't know how to take the leap. They sense there is something more for them to do or accomplish, and they are eager to get to it.

Tell us about yourself

People who are willing to face their fears to pursue audacious goals and dreams inspire me. I have so much respect for those who are determined to create powerful and positive changes in their lives and careers, the lives of others, and the world in general, despite the odds they see stacked against them. I also know how hard and challenging it can be to move from being stuck or having plateaued to creating exponential growth and a bigger impact. That's why I have dedicated myself to helping leaders and visionaries to live into their true potential so that they can take their work to the next level and expand their reach, multiply their impact, and create a legacy. I'm fully committed to helping people create careers that allow them to wake up excited every morning to do the work they truly love. I was born in East Germany when it was ruled by a totalitarian one-party dictatorship that encouraged everything but imagination and self-actualization. This regime wanted everyone to follow orders and march in step, and it didn't allow its citizens to travel to democratic countries. Needless to say, I grew up in an environment where I thought everything was limited. My mom, who raised me as a single parent, got separated from her siblings after the war when they were still children. So, every time my aunts and uncles came to visit us, my imagination of once living in a free country kept growing stronger.

One day, my mom received a letter saying that we had 24 hours to leave the country and move to West Germany. This was in response to her sending requests to government officials for many years asking to be reunited with her family. And that was the first time when I experienced the power of persistence and not giving up on your dreams, no matter what circumstances look like all around you. Later, when I was a teenager living in Germany, my parents tried to convince me that if I followed societal expectations, such as learning a trade, getting a stable job, and raising a family, I would be happy and without worries. However, none of the options presented to me made me feel passionate or gave me a sense of purpose. My passion was to help others to connect to their personal strengths and to help create a better world. That's when I decided to immigrate to the U.S. to pursue my passion for helping people develop as strong leaders so that they can have a big impact.

While I struggled with learning a new language and parting with everything that was so familiar to me for so long, my passion kept driving me forward. I learned how to build powerful organizations that support people in creating better communities for themselves and their families. I ended up creating and co-creating several award-winning organizations, all of which I led or co-led. Through these organizations, I was able to train many adults and students to tap into their strengths to become powerful leaders. These organizations also helped to create incredibly powerful community improvements for the tens of thousands of individuals and families they served. The success I achieved by applying the tools and practices I now teach was recognized when I was awarded the Do Something Brick Award (awarded as one of nine from over 400 applicants nationwide), a national award sponsored by Rolling Stone Magazine and MTV recognizing young leaders under 30 years of age.

During the 20+ years that I was able to build a successful career for myself, my passion for coaching kept telling me that I hadn't arrived yet at the final version of my life purpose. I finally had to come to terms with the fact that there still was a part of me that I hadn't paid attention to enough and which had wanted to be realized through a new career direction. I became certified as a Professional Coach and started my own business providing leadership and career coaching for individuals, and coaching, training, and consulting services for organizations. While it has been quite scary at times to dive into this new adventure, it has also been an exhilarating experience to overcome my fears and learn so many new skills at this stage in my life. In the end, though, seeing the individuals and organizations I work with successfully overcome the challenges they're facing on their way to achieving greatness and audacious visions is the biggest reward one could hope for. It's worth any effort and overcoming any fear or challenge, and so much more.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest achievement is to learn the skills that allow me to support individuals and organizations to live to their highest potential and to keep getting positive feedback like the following quotes from people and organizations I've worked with:

  1. "I cannot say enough good things about Alex! I consider him to be a godsend."
  2. "I cannot recommend Alex enough. Anyone who is feeling stuck will benefit greatly from his coaching. It is truly life-changing and the best investment I ever made."
  3. "Sessions with Alex are very different from timed therapy sessions. He actively engages with you and asks perceptive, contextual questions. In the process of answering these questions, he helps you to tap into deep insights and inner strengths. I went into each session as though I was talking to a wise friend. I left each session feeling hopeful and rejuvenated."
  4. "Alex is a truly transformational coach. In working with him, you will have an unconditionally supportive mentor who, through deep compassion and wisdom, will help you channel the best version of yourself based on your own terms."
  5. "Working with Alex has enriched my daily life, relationships, and career in too many ways to name. I cannot recommend him highly enough."
  6. "Alex is smart, committed, supportive, and has decades of leadership experience."
  7. "Alex is an amazing listener. He is compassionate. He's empathic; he's a strategic thinker. He is everything you would want to have in someone who you're opening up to about something such as a career choice or a lifestyle change."
  8. "I can't recommend Alex highly enough. He's really transformed the way I think about not only my work but also my life and my relationships and the interconnections between all of these pieces. I highly, highly recommend Alex."
  9. "I've gained so much from my sessions with Alex, particularly from his emphasis on finding a way to lean into my authentic self. This led me to a whole new way of seeing the world and my place in it. By listening and reflecting back on what he heard from me, Alex supported me in identifying my work values, my unique strengths, and how I can best use them to make an impact and create the experiences I want to have in life by doing what I love."
  10. "Alex is an expert listener and skilled coach. He helped me create my career vision and clarify my values. Alex helped me identify my strengths and replace obstacles with new ways of thinking. Working with Alex gave me the courage to develop my own path in order to fill a community need that is not being addressed by anyone else. It was a privilege to talk with Alex on a weekly basis, and I consider my time with him to be one of the best investments I have made."
  11. "Alex is an outstanding coach. I continue to work with him as I build my business and career, and our sessions are the highlight of my week."
  12. "Alex has a gift for coaching and consulting, and combined with his extensive learning and knowledge; he can help anyone move past inner and outer barriers and start the life they intend to live."
  13. "Alex is a dynamic, thoughtful, and values-driven leader."
  14. "Alex Poeter was one of the wisest and most strategic nonprofit leaders in Chicago for over twenty years."

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

In my experience, one of the biggest challenges as a business owner is to not fall into the "comparison trap," which makes us compare our own achievements, or lack thereof, to that of others. Getting caught up in the "comparison game" just slows us down and creates internalized self-limiting beliefs, which we then tend to project into our behaviors. And whatever limiting beliefs we project into our behaviors impact our results and experiences. That's why I believe the key is to stay focused on our vision and mission to create value for others. If we can stay focused on the understanding that our work is about serving a higher purpose that's far bigger than us as individuals, we can grow beyond the limitations of our ego and create the impact we were meant to have. To me, that's what living to our true purpose, and highest potential is all about.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Know that there is a powerful purpose within you that wants to express itself through your talents and strengths -- your purpose as an entrepreneur and business owner can always be found at the intersection of market demand, the application of your talents and skills, and in the engagement of activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.
  2. Learn to become a value creator -- if you can find a way to create products and/or services that others find valuable enough to pay for, you've found your path to business success.
  3. Stay true to your vision, mission, and values, and trust in yourself: trying to copy other successful entrepreneurs and business owners negates your own power -- instead allow yourself to be inspired by the positive qualities that allowed them to create the achievements you admire and trust that your inner wisdom will keep leading you on your own unique path of business success.

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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