Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in professional development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shelly Stotzer, Owner of Crosworks | Career and Talent Strategists, located in Worthington, OH, USA.

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

Crosworks is a career and leadership coaching group. We empower people with clarity and focus to perform their best at work. Crosworks' clients are organizations, from multi-billion-dollar international firms to start-ups and non-profits, as well as individuals seeking career services. Depending on the client and their needs, we offer a custom approach, including proven programs and assessment tools. We can also tailor our approach to make the most impact on their performance. Did you know that according to a Harvard study, about 95% of people think they are self-aware, but closer to 10% to 15% actually are?

Tell us about yourself

People have described me as an entrepreneurial and forward-thinking leader recognized for making things happen. I can be thoughtful yet decisive, both practical and emotional, but most of all, I love empowering others to use their natural talents. I do not sit still very well or for very long. Throughout my career, I found myself fascinated with what motivates people on an individual level and as part of a professional team.

I believe in continuous learning and development and have consistently brought that to the teams I’ve led. Several years ago, I had the opportunity to work with my own executive coach, and I was hooked. Having an objective, resourceful and confidential person to talk through challenges can be game-changing.

I wake up every day excited to help professionals find and develop into their best selves — this means they maximize their professional talents, reduce their stress, and are personally fulfilled, too. I love nothing more than feedback from the people we serve. Whenever I hear a success story or receive a handwritten note or gift of thanks, I celebrate! Our clients do the hard work, and I am fortunate to relish with them their successes.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I’ve learned that I need to see tangible results to feel fulfilled. Here are just a few:

  • Year-over-year, Crosworks' business has grown almost 30%.
  • Our team of coaches is exceptional — and it shows in our consistent 5-star reviews.
  • We earn a lot of referrals. About 50% of our new business comes from referrals!
  • Most importantly, though, the clients we work with keep coming back to us for additional workshops and services because they know we are committed to their success.

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

It's hard to walk away for a day or for an hour. If I am not developing the business, then no one else is. I must be very disciplined to let the business out of my mind so that I can fully engage with my family and friends. That said, I love what I do and am endlessly passionate about coaching, so work is enjoyable and fulfilling to me.

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

  1. Treat people the way they want to be treated, regardless of the way we, ourselves, want to be treated. Anytime someone says, “Doesn’t everyone want...” I pause and say, “Not everyone.” You can lead from any personality type, but regardless of whether you are more decisive or thoughtful, emotional or practical, organized or flexible, be aware of your style – it works sometimes, and sometimes it doesn’t. Take the time to get to know each person’s needs and give them tools to communicate their needs. This will save you a lot of time, resources, and heartache.
  2. There’s more than one way to solve a problem. Take the time to listen to others. And, just because they are right doesn’t mean you are wrong, and vice versa. Understanding people who are different from you can be a key factor in finding creative solutions and ultimate success.
  3. Tough decisions are sometimes necessary. When you make tough decisions, be kind. Running a business is not easy. It’s not for the faint of heart. Whether it’s a capital or cashflow issue, a problem with your value proposition, a challenge with a person’s cultural fit, changing marketplace demand, or other - leaders must make difficult decisions. How you handle these situations matters. You don’t have to tear others down to get the desired outcome. You can be both direct and kind.

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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