Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in coaching, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Samantha Whitehouse, the founder of InnerVoice Studio, a vocal confidence coach, in San Francisco Bay Area and Online.
Tell us all about your business...
InnerVoice Studio is the name of my coaching company.
I am a Vocal Confidence Coach. Throughout nearly 15 years, I have helped hundreds of clients develop and enhance a broad range of voice and communication-related skills.
My approach is custom-tailored to each client and includes a combination of vocal technique, confidence-building tools, and communication skills. Through an atmosphere of non-judgement and unconditional love, mixed with decades of training and coaching experience, my coaching containers offer my clients a safe and inspirational space in which to conquer their fears, tap into their authentic self-expression, and master the art of speaking with confidence.
Being heard is a fundamental human need, and my clients often feel that their voice - or lack of voice, is the reason they feel they are not being fully heard. People often initially reach out to me with a specific issue regarding their voice or speech, such as their voice won’t project clearly in a meeting, or they feel they mumble or speak in a monotone or boring style, or they simply feel like people don’t listen to them.
The reality is that most of the issues my clients experience regarding the sound of their voices are actually just the symptoms, and the root cause lies within them - fear, vulnerability, a sense that one doesn’t belong, isn’t good enough, or that everyone else is somehow smarter. A key ingredient to a strong voice is an embodied sense of self-acceptance, inner emotional safety, and an honest connection with one’s authentic self. Weave some basic vocal technique and communication skills together with that deeper sense of self-trust and self-compassion, and literal miracles will happen for a person, both at work and home.
Throughout the past 15 years, I’ve had the privilege of working with clients at all of the top high-tech companies in Silicon Valley, up and down the org chart. One of the absolute best aspects of doing this job in the Bay Area is having the privilege of meeting people from all over the world. My clients hail from 23+ countries, as well as every corner of the US.
For many of my clients, English is their second or third language. It is an exciting and fun challenge to learn more about each person’s native culture, and help them holistically integrate who they are in their native culture with who they want to be, and what they want to achieve in a quickly moving, and highly competitive American setting.
Holistically integrating different facets of one’s personality into a felt sense of authentic self-expression in any and all conditions is a challenge for many people - regardless of being in high-tech or not, or whether a native English speaker or not. I believe that everyone deserves to be heard and that individuals, organizations, and communities thrive through purposeful communication. Anyone and everyone can benefit from this kind of coaching work. I offer customized 1-to-1 coaching, group and corporate workshops.
What's your background and motivation to grow as a business owner?
I began my coaching career as a singing teacher. Very early on I realized the inherent power of singing to help people develop a deep and strong sense of inner confidence. This newfound inner confidence had a powerful and positive impact on the lives of my singing students outside of their singing experiences and activities. They found themselves able to ask for a raise, or begin a difficult conversation with a loved one, or say ‘no’, or say ‘yes’. It’s been a somewhat long and winding road from straight-up singing and performance lessons to Vocal Confidence Coaching. You can read more here if you are inclined.
At the end of the day, I felt limited by focusing on singing explicitly and decided to expand into other areas of confidence-building, communication, and authentic self-expression. I still use singing as a tool, when the situation and circumstances are right.When I sit and think about what motivates me to do this work today, what comes to mind is that this life is an absolute gift. Back in September 2007, I almost died in a motorcycle accident. Ever since then, I’ve made it my mission to live - and help others live, a balanced, aligned, fulfilled life, full of love and healthy human connection. This looks different for everyone, so self-acceptance and confident self-expression are vital components to living the life that one desires, that one deserves, that is available to one - whether they can see it or not. Being able to help people release old fears and stories about themselves and their place in the world, and show up more fully in their lives, to help people break through invisible barriers and watch them grow and thrive and connect to the world around them, to help foster healthy individuals and communities through compassion and communication…these are the things that have me excited to get out of bed in the morning.
As an entrepreneur, what does success ultimately mean to you?
That I had the courage to close my previous company and rebuild everything from scratch after my divorce (which you can read about in the medium article shared above). It was a very difficult road, and I’m still picking my way through the debris. But it was absolutely worth it in order for me to fully unlock and own my own voice. The more I listen to and trust myself, the more impactful and honest my work is. I’m currently having my best year yet, in terms of income, life balance, and personal fulfillment.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being an entrepreneur?
When you are a solo-preneur, especially if you’re just starting out, things can feel a little lonely and overwhelming. You ARE the business. You have to create the service, market and sell the service, schedule your clients, deliver the service. You have to figure out bank accounts, billing, payments, taxes, which software and platforms to use, what systems you need, what government agencies you need to register for, and a million other little details. It’s easy to feel defeated if you don’t know where to look for help, guidance, or information, or if you don’t have the resources to hire extra hands.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run or grow a small business today?
1. They say if you follow your passion then work doesn’t feel like work. I agree with that. On the flip side, I also invite people to carefully consider whether to turn your hobby - that thing you love to do that helps you find joy and balance at the end of a long day - into your primary source of income. Your relationship with the activity will change significantly when you’ve put a business model around it that needs its own tending. Just because you love something and you’re good at it doesn’t mean that you HAVE to monetize it.
2. There are a LOT of resources for small business owners, from the SBA, to SCORE, to local organizations and industry organizations that offer totally free and insanely helpful 1:1 coaching, mentorship, and classes. Gleefully and shamelessly tap into any and all of them. There is SO much free help and guidance - and sometimes even loans or grants out there. It’s impossible to do and know everything, and there are lots of people willing to help.
3. Take breaks, set boundaries with everyone - including customers. Absolutely do not make yourself available at all hours or work on your business 24/7.
Where can people find you online?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as an entrepreneur or business coach that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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