Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in leadership development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dante DiBattista, Founder of Dante DiBattista LLC., located in Summerville, SC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a leadership development consultant, coach, and public speaker. My enterprise-level customers range from colleges and universities to Fortune 500 companies, while my coaching clients are typically C-suite executives across industries. My customers are individuals or teams who want to increase the engagement of their teams to produce stronger results while simultaneously improving the satisfaction and well-being of their teammates.
Tell us about yourself
About a decade ago, I met a mentor who would change my life, Dr. Arthur Schwartz. He was the Director of the Oskin Leadership Institute, and through the time I spent with him, I learned that leadership development was my passion and my purpose. Since then, I've spent the last ten years building programs for leaders in a variety of capacities. From student leaders on college campuses to executive leaders of startups. I am now lucky enough to be considered a subject matter expert in the area of leadership development working with companies that partner with prestigious institutions like MIT's Sloan School of Management to build programs that will shape the leaders of the next generation. That is what motivates me each day to do what I do. I know the better I prepare the leaders of the future, the better the world will be for my children and grandchildren.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Receiving feedback from participants in programs I've put together. Quotes like "you changed my life" or "this is exactly what I needed." It's not about the money or the accolades; it's about the impact I can create. I want each reader to think about the impact their supervisor and the leaders of their company have on their lives. Think about the best supervisor you've ever had compared to the worst. How strong is the influence your supervisor and the other leaders of your life have on the quality of your life? The truth is that influence is very powerful. If I can turn every "worst supervisor ever" into a great leader, I am profoundly impacting the quality of life for everyone in that organization and the customers that the organization serves. That level of impact is my biggest accomplishment.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
This answer varies from business owner to business owner, but for me, the answer is asking for help. It took me a long time to become self-sufficient, so I take a lot of pride in doing things on my own. However, I learned to reach out for help and to identify groups of people who can support me.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Pick something you love learning about because you will be learning about it for the rest of your life.
- Surround yourself with people who support you and encourage you to keep going, no matter how unrealistic your dreams and aspirations seem to the rest of the world.
- Play the long game. It took me seven years from the time I started my business until the day I did it full-time. It was a part-time side hustle, a passion project first.
If you can't come home at 5 pm or 6 pm after work and do it until 1 am because you love it so much, it may not be the business for you. It requires tremendous sacrifice in the beginning. Once it is up and running, you can set healthy boundaries and live a more balanced life. Just understand that running and growing a business requires sacrifice, especially in the beginning. And if your dream isn't inspiring enough to carry you through the tough times, you won't reach a point where the business is self-sustaining.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
There is power in believing. You must have an unwavering belief in yourself, no matter the odds. Write your goals in pen and your plans in pencil. If you had all the answers, you would be there by now, be willing to change your mind, and adjust your approach without losing sight of the goal. Freedom is worth the responsibility. Sure, it is stressful and scary. There will be nights where you lose sleep, knowing tomorrow it could all fall apart. However, growth happens while you rest, not while you exercise. Take care of yourself, because sometimes it will feel like you're all you have... and then you'll realize you're all you've ever needed anyway! Keep dreaming.
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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