Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ashley Kang, Founder of AHK Business Management, located in Chicago, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm a business strategist and coach for female business owners and online service providers who aspire to step into and grow in their role as CEO of their businesses. My clients are solopreneurs or owners of small agencies who want to gain back the focus, time, and energy to confidently run their businesses.
I work with clients to set up their weekly CEO Day so they can work on business growth activities and avoid getting swept up in the overwhelm of client work all the time.
Tell us about yourself
At first glance, my journey to starting my business seems like a hodge-podge of unrelated experiences, but every day in my business, I find that I pull on each one of my past experiences. My undergrad degree in social work equips me to view my clients as whole people operating in a unique system of environments and life circumstances. The time I worked as a Starbucks barista taught me valuable customer service skills. Working as a team coordinator and account manager in the corporate health and wellness field honed my leadership and management skills.
My master's degree in public policy and administration and my job as a project and policy manager defined how I approach systems, strategic planning, and analytical thinking. All of my past experiences have brought me to the point of starting my business and striving to serve my clients with excellence. I love diving in and getting to know my clients and their businesses - relationships are key to what I do. Without them, I wouldn't be able to make the informed decisions and strategic recommendations I do.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
To date, it's been building and launching my group coaching program, The CEO Priorities Blueprint, on my own. It's stretched all of my systems thinking and my organizational skills, but it's been super gratifying to do all of it and own the results (and failures) with confidence. This program brings together all of the hallmark strategies and processes I utilize with my 1:1 clients, so it's been fun to get everything into one cohesive program!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
As a business owner, especially a solopreneur, running a business can be isolating. You can get so stuck in your own head to the point that it's paralyzing. It was when I joined a group coaching program that I really started to build relationships with other female business owners. I've experienced firsthand the power of relationships - from having referral partners to a core set of business besties - and I can firmly say we are better together. As a result, there's a whole module inside my group program about business relationships.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't be afraid to try things - but don't cycle through new things so quickly that you can't track what's working and not. Give things a little time to sink in so you can make appropriate decisions.
- Keep it simple; keep it fun. Make sure things (from marketing to systems) are easily repeatable, manageable, and adjustable. And, of course, if it's fun, then you're more likely to engage with it and keep innovating.
- Find your "starting lineup" of business buddies. Form a mastermind, get on coffee chats, and approach everything from a position of service. Give more than you take in the beginning, and it comes back to impact you in surprisingly delightful ways.
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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