Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jacqueline Keeley, Founder of Coach Keeley, located in New York City, NY, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am a financial coach and actress, and I specialize in coaching other artists and freelancers. My dream is to create a strong community of artists supporting each other and to bring financial literacy and empowerment to all artists. No more 'starving artists'!

Tell us about yourself

I first started budgeting successfully in 2014, about a year after I moved to NYC. It took a long time to figure out how to do it as there are almost no resources for artists on how to manage a budget of fluctuating, ever-changing sources of income, nor on how to be anything other than a 'starving artist'. Over the years, I found success in both 'traditional' day jobs for actors, such as bartending and tutoring, but also in salaried positions that allowed me to continue to act and pursue artistic work while still earning a steady income. I also started freelancing as a running coach (two-time All-American in track and field!) and saw how powerful it is to have multiple streams of income. During COVID, I transitioned from working for a financial coaching company to doing it on my own, and helping other artists succeed has truly been a privilege!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I love to see the reduced stress and increased comfort and pride my clients have with their finances. It is incredible to watch an artist go from hiding from bills and stressing about paying rent to having a full emergency fund, being able to pick and choose the creative work they want, and just being open and ready for everything their career brings them because they finally aren't stressing about how to earn or budget their money. There is a lot of power in that, and empowering my clients is truly my biggest accomplishment. Also, seeing clients buy a house or make their Broadway debut hasn't been bad, either.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

I do quite a few things - as I mentioned, I am an actress and a running coach, and I also contract for an IT company! - so time management and client management can be tough. I am the only one here at Coach Keeley, so at the end of the day, everything falls on me. As a neurodivergent person, a lot of the tips for entrepreneurs just don't work for me, so I am really paving my own way. I am very grateful to my team of wonderful supportive friends (shout out to The Pineapple Club!) who help me remember I'm not a failure just because I don't work the same way other people do.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

First, I'd recommend having more than one stream of income; for some, that may mean not quite quitting their job yet, but rather starting their business while at their job, and for some, that may mean picking up part-time work for a company while you build your own. Taking the stress off of your business to be the only source of income for you will allow you to build your business the way you want to, instead of the way you feel you have to just to get by.

Second, be kind to yourself. No matter what you accomplish on any given day, you are doing the best you can, and beating yourself up because you don't think you are doing as much as the other people you see out there won't help you at all. What you have to offer is of value, and you will find your people eventually if you don't give up.

Third, just START. If I had waited until my business felt perfect and ready, I would have never started. Do what you can with what you have and what you know now. You will learn FAR more by doing the damn thing and seeing what works and what doesn't than by plotting and planning. The longer you wait to start, the longer people go without the help you can give them and the unique perspective you have. Just get going and improve from there!

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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