Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kate Stranks, Owner of BeanStalk Learning Ltd., located in Coventry, Warwickshire, UK.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
BeanStalk Learning is all about creating better workplaces by developing great leaders. All the services we offer are aimed at those leaders who have been promoted without any support or development and/or those who want to keep their people knowledge and skills up to date. We specialize in leadership development and help companies change the way they work with their people by offering flexible development and support. Continuous development ensures businesses can reduce their costs, e.g., within recruitment, and develop their own to win the war for talent.
Tell us about yourself
In 2018, my role was made redundant, and I left a business I had loved working in for a little over eight years. I spent the first six months of 2019 scouring the job pages to find a company that had the same values and beliefs and attended many an interview - I didn't want to work somewhere stuffy or corporate or where everyone believed HR was responsible for looking after their people and their needs. I wanted to work for a business where everyone was treated as an adult and managers/leaders were given the skills they needed to look after their people themselves. One company fitted the bill, and at the final stage interview, I was very excited, but I was pipped to the post by another candidate who had a slightly different experience. I felt distraught.
Almost everyone I had worked with at the company I loved suggested I start up on my own, and after a few days of weighing up the pros and cons, I took the plunge and set up BeanStalk Learning. The name is inspired by my height! Pre-pandemic, I would wear heels every day and could often be the tallest person in the room, so it has personal meaning to me. Being completely in charge of yourself and your work is liberating, and I get to make a difference to a much larger group of leaders! I can also be myself completely because it's part of the reason I've been asked to do the work in the first place. I love the challenge of learning new skills every day, meeting and inspiring new people to work differently, and being in charge of myself!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment is making it through the pandemic and various lockdowns to reach my third birthday in September this year. It has taken resilience, patience, proper grit, and determination, but I'm still here. I have learned so much and been supported every step of the way by ex-colleagues and great friends. I've also built new relationships with fellow business owners that I cherish deeply.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing is not knowing if you are going to be able to pay the bills in six months' time, even more so at the moment with the current economic situation. I have never worried or had as many sleepless nights as I've had over the last three years - but I wouldn't change it either.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Show up consistently. Especially if your main platform for raising your profile in social media, feeds change almost every minute, and if you aren't there all the time, no one will know who you are.
- Be patient and hold your nerve - it takes time to build a sustainable business, and there will be days when you question giving up that regular income every month.
- You can't please all the people all the time - not everyone is going to like you, let alone what you are selling, but it's okay because there will be many others who will.
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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