Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in professional training and coaching but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lisa Baker, Founder of Ascentim LLC, located in Towson, MD, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Ascentim is an executive coaching firm that empowers high-performing professionals, women of color in particular, to get the promotion and pay raise they desire. I work with my clients to leverage their strengths, purpose, and passions so they can clearly communicate what they want and why they deserve it – and then go out and get it. We look at three core pillars: connections, careers, and finances.
Tell us about yourself
I spent three decades in the corporate world, working my way up through the ranks and into executive leadership. Beneath that extraordinary success was my own turbulent journey through bankruptcy, divorce, and career setbacks. I overcame it all and thrived in my work, but my true calling is to guide others, people with tremendous potential, on their way to a meaningful and abundant life. I founded Ascentim to inspire the kind of woman I was – a highly-capable professional who feels undervalued – and help her rise. My client's success is my motivation.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Helping women overcome obstacles, pursue purpose, and live their dreams is what I do. The best thing about what I do is celebrating the success of my clients with them every day. From the little wins, like landing an interview, to the big wins, like being promoted or reaching a financial goal, I get to experience those milestones vicariously. Being able to help my clients achieve their stretch goals and live out their dreams is as big of an accomplishment as I could ever hope for.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I hear from women every day who struggle with imposter syndrome, that little voice in our heads that tells us we can't do it, we're not good enough, and people will discover that we don't belong. It's simply not true. As business owners, we take that leap of faith every day to trust ourselves and to trust that if we do our part, the universe will provide. To own a business, you have to find the strength to silence that inner critic – some days, that's hard to do.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
First, I want to stress that there should be far more female founders in the world. For that to happen, we must remove the barriers that make it hard for women to start businesses. My advice is to:
- Remember that you are powerful. Shake off imposter syndrome and let go of fear. As Audre Lorde said, When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid."
- Know your passion and purpose. Build a business around what I call your "area of greatness" by aligning your strengths, passions, and purpose.
- Make sure your financial foundation is solid so you can overcome any lack of funding. Meet with a financial advisor and actively seek out grants, sponsorships, and investors. You can crash through barriers to start, run and grow a profitable business!
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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