Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in career development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Foram Sheth, Co-Founder & Chief Coaching Officer of Ama La Vida Coaching, located in Chicago, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Ama La Vida is an innovative career, leadership, life, and health coaching company centered around the understanding that you can and should love your life. Ama La Vida uses a proprietary blend of online eCoaching modules with one-on-one virtual sessions with your personally matched coach to help its members create meaningful, measurable changes in their lives.
Tell us about yourself
I don't think of myself as a natural entrepreneur - those who have a knack for building something from nothing. This goes back to my roots and how I was raised. I was born in India and moved to the US when I was 9. I didn't speak English and was dropped into a new culture, country…everything. We started all over again. We went through a lot of hardships that most immigrants do. We left our stability and comfort to take a chance on new opportunities. What we valued was stability - a steady paycheck, healthcare, money for college, to afford a home, and to live independently. In my eyes, entrepreneurship risked what we strived so hard to achieve.
I got into coaching when I was given a coach during my Masters in Learning and Organizational Change. After the first session, I was hooked. Hooked into the power of coaching. I was obsessed with how powerful the interaction was and the changes I saw. I knew more people needed this but didn't have awareness or access to it. This led me to pursue my coaching certification. Once I learned about coaching, it shocked me that I had never heard of this profession. When I asked why more people don't have coaching, the answer I received was that it was reserved for executives. That's an answer I couldn't live with. Everyone needs to have someone help them think differently and see the potential in their current situation. This is what drove me to start Ama La Vida, despite my fears of giving up the stable life that I worked so hard to establish.
I LOVE being part of something that is bigger than me. I love seeing my team rally around our shared vision and the impact that is felt by clients who otherwise wouldn't have had this opportunity.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Building something into existence that was just an idea. In the beginning, I thought we would only reach a small population, given it was just me and my business partner, Nicole. Now, we are serving thousands of people. It's incredible to me. I love hearing stories about people who receive a 50% increase in salary because they now believe in themselves and feel the confidence to ask for what they're worth. Or the clients who find their sense of purpose after feeling so lost. It's incredible seeing the rise of organizations investing in people managers earlier on rather than waiting until they reach executive-level positions.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The responsibility of growing and scaling while maintaining the culture. It feels like we are pulled in different directions often. We want to grow, but not so fast that we lose the incredible culture we have. We have to make tough decisions to standardize and have more processes which some people don't love. It's often a question of what's right for the business AND what's right for the team. And the answers can be hard to find.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- There is no such thing as overnight success.
- Stay focused. It's easy to want to do everything right. Pick one thing that you're going to do SO well.
- The culture you build internally is what's felt outside. You want this to be a place that you're proud of, and people love working with you and what you stand for. When that happens, they'll be your brand zealots and do more than you ever thought possible.
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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