Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ava St. Claire, Owner of Ava St. Claire, Inc., located in Chicago, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a spiritual teacher and advisor. My customers are high-impact leaders who need help balancing their practical and spiritual lives. As a coach, I guide them to and through their life purpose. As a former marketing executive and tech maven, I know what it means to be a leader in corporate environments while having a Divine calling.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is being a business owner. I didn't want to be a coach or an advisor of any sort. I thought the coaching industry was oversaturated (and still do). So, I tried all other kinds of businesses and business models to get away from explicitly being in the industry. Plus, if you do it right, being a coach is a huge responsibility, and I didn't want it. But I was doing it naturally anyway.
Coaching was part of everything I was doing. In the end, you can't run away from who and what you are. I had to overcome running from myself. I've won millions of dollars in grants, and I've told heads of state how to live their lives. None of it compares to nakedly standing in this role. It is my biggest accomplishment to date.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing for me is overcoming the fear of uncertainty. I like concrete plans. I like to know exactly what's going to happen and when it's going to happen, and I prefer to be the one doing it. It's a lesson I've had to learn over and over again. You can never have absolute control over your cash flow or how your employees or clients are going to behave. The only thing you can control is how well you respond.
You have to know that regardless of the twists and turns, you can take those experiences and build on them. As the saying goes, when life throws you lemons, make lemonade. But I say screw the lemonade. It's too short-lived. You can do more with adverse experiences. Make yourself a pound cake out of those lemons so you'll have something to sell and chew on later.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't get into business when you're desperate to make money. It's generally a terrible idea to attempt to build something so long-term based on immediate need. You will either burn yourself out trying to make a quick buck. Or actually succeed in making that quick buck and lose it just as quickly as you gained it.
- Be devoted to your what you're doing. Care about the people you're serving and the product you're delivering. That love is the only thing that will carry you through when times get rough. This brings me to my third point:
- Know that everything moves in cycles, and business is no exception. However, there's a lag time when it comes to cash flow in a business. Let's say sometime in February, you get a little complacent and let operations slip. You won't see the consequences of that until sometime 6 or 9 months later when your cash is low. And you'll be trying to respond to it in the now. It's not happening now. It's never happening now. It's been happening. The same goes for when you're working hard. You might not see the fruits of your labor until much later, so keep going. You have to know the season you're in and the difference between the issues you've caused and what's out of your control so that you can respond accordingly.
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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