Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Valerie Hope, Founder of Connect Joy, LLC., located in Dallas, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is to develop the people in my community. I do it through coaching leaders one-on-one, speaking engagements, and facilitating workshops. We have conversations and activities that support them in fulfilling their personal and professional goals. We address any obstacles that may be in the way or slow them down from achieving those goals. My customers work in a variety of organizations and industries. They are leaders interested in continuing to bring life and joy to their work.
Tell us about yourself
After many years working for a corporation, I took the severance package and started out reluctantly as an entrepreneur. I didn't think I had what it took to want to run a business and didn't want the responsibility. What I learned was that my commitment to developing people was stronger than my resistance to running a business. I started out by listening to some well-meaning mentors who helped identify and affirm my abilities to make something new work and work well. Once I gave up the resistance, all sorts of helpful people came out of the woodwork from my circle to support me in everything from filing my LLC and starting my website to identifying the services I wanted to provide. What motivates me is that my business has also become a laboratory for me to practice the skills I learn. I get to apply the new insights, tools, and skills from the classes I take, the coaching I receive, or the books I read.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is getting clear that my real business was to develop people. It was not about developing a business. Once I got that clarity, everything shifted, and things became easier for me. I have more opportunities for the work I love to do, and clients who need me most come my way. I take more joy and pleasure in the work that I do. Refocusing my energy on what I do best and on what I'm truly committed to, which is the impact on others, makes my business work. Therefore, I develop my community, and my community now develops my business.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the lessons that I keep coming back to learn how to apply more effectively is to manage my time to bring me the energy I need to get things done. Managing my time means creating room in my calendar, so I have some breathing space. Sometimes managing my time means maximizing the administrative work with serving my clients so I can maintain a balance. Calibrating this is a continuous task identifying what I can do to best serve the moment at hand.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
First is to work on having a healthy and empowering relationship with money. Not the IQ of money that focuses on budgeting, pricing, or managing investments; I mean the EQ of money. The emotional intelligence behind the meaning you give money. Early on in my journey, I took a course by Ken Honda, who's known for his book "Happy Money" It made all the difference! The success of my business has a lot to do with how I view money now as a result of having done that work.
The next tip, also related to money, is finding your best style of business, ownership, and management. And I did that through an assessment called Wealth Dynamics (https://wealthdynamics.geniusu.com/), which really helped me get clear on what would be the best access for prosperity and abundance in my business.
Last tip: Keep learning. Not only is learning the best way to run your business, but whatever that skill is that enables you to serve your customers and to build the products that you have. Continue to learn and master that craft. Get mentorship and coaching on a regular basis. Volunteer your gifts and skills to places that would not only help you contribute to society but can also help you enhance your community and network.
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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