Interested in starting your entrepreneurial journey in business & personal development, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Amanda Prasow, from Vancouver, BC. Canada.
Tell us all about your business...
I'm a career coach. I help people torn between competing professional priorities cut through overwhelm to find focus. My clients are usually people who do (or have done) more than one thing and find that traditional career guidance and even entrepreneurial coaching models don't apply to them. They are typically artists, creatives, and solopreneurs, people who have experienced some twists and turns in their career story. They are usually highly motivated with maybe their fingers in a few different pies, but by the time they come to me, it's because they feel like they are just spinning their wheels and not progressing, or maybe they want to make a change and just don't know where to start.
What's your background and motivation to grow as a solopreneur?
For years, my sole focus was building an acting career, hoping that if I worked hard and was talented and trained and did all the things, that eventually, I would be wildly successful. In the meantime, I worked what felt like every day job under the sun to support myself, with this assumption that I was doomed - and even kind of duty-bound - to be miserable in any job I had outside of acting, like I'd be less of an artist if I let myself get too good at or enjoy anything else. Even jobs that really helped people and created the foundation for what I do now - I was a personal trainer and yoga teacher for many years, I marketed for small businesses, I even worked on Wall Street - everything just felt like a slog. I couldn't see how my experience and learning could ever be relevant. Eventually, I decided to entertain the notion that happiness at work was possible, and career coaching seems like such an obvious and natural choice now! It grew out of a conscious decision to start observing what I was good at, what I loved talking about, what I found interesting that other people didn't. But my process was long and slow, and there were a lot of tears. What motivates me is being able to serve a group of people who sort of slip through the cracks of all the mainstream career and business services out there - not just with big-picture strategy but also with all the practical time-management and branding decisions that can get daunting when your story doesn't tick all the traditional boxes. There are more and more of us that need that support, especially when you consider this kind of multihyphenate revolution and the gig economy, along with whatever the post-pandemic future of work will entail.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment has been helping clients to pave a practical way forward and see solutions that they simply didn’t see before. I think my former life in fitness informs my approach in that way because I’m very interested in the next action steps, execution, accountability, evaluation, and all that. I love vision boards and mindset talk as much as the next coach, but I think people can get really lost in getting ready to get ready when real-world action is what’s needed to move forward.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a solopreneur?
The hardest thing for me is taking the time I set aside to work on my own business as seriously as I did when I was working for other people. If I have a client or a workshop scheduled, of course, I'm going to honor that. But if I have set aside time to work "on" my business as opposed to "in" it, I'm very quick to dash my plans to the side when a friend wants to chat, or I see the laundry needs doing, or I just don't feel like doing that task at that particular time. There are very few real deadlines for me in my current business, which is both a blessing and a curse because I have a lot of the flexibility and freedom that I wanted, but I can also waste a lot of my own time procrastinating in a way that I would never do if I was on the clock for someone else.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run or grow a small business today?
One is: "Start messily." Stumble forward with whatever you've got and refine along the way. You don't need to wait to get all your ducks in the row for that perfectly designed website or photoshoot or business plan or opening. You'll learn more by doing than you ever could by planning anyway.
Secondly, plan ahead for the bad days. There will be days you don't sleep well, feel stupid for no reason, or everyone will annoy you. Maybe there are low-hanging fruit tasks you can reach for that don't require a lot of energy but will help you feel productive and keep your business moving forward. Maybe you have already baked in the option of 'calling in sick' on yourself and taking the day off. Plan ahead, so those days don't throw you off your game or derail your business. For those who menstruate, get to know your cycle and how that may affect your ebb and flow of motivation and confidence throughout the month.
Lastly, I'd say, be your own best executive assistant, even if you have one. Everyone talks about being your own boss, but being your own employee is just as important! Get your systems in place to handle all the boring unglamorous things, like organizing files, purchasing, accounting. Check details early and often. Even and especially when you are able to automate, outsource, or hire people to do all these things for you. There will always be some level of administration required at the top of even a large organization.
Where can people find you?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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