Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in career development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Caroline Ceniza-Levine, Founder of Dream Career Club, located in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a longtime executive recruiter turned career coach and founder of The Dream Career Club. I coach experienced professionals from tech, media, financial services, consulting, non-profit and other industries on how to find work they love and earn more doing it.
Tell us about yourself
I am a multiple-time career changer. I trained in classical piano at The Juilliard School, majored in economics (as well as music) in college, started as a management consultant in investment banking, and then also worked in retained executive search, corporate HR, and finally running my own career coaching business since 2008. We spend so much of our waking hours at work that we shouldn't settle for anything less than loving what we do — I'm passionate about helping people figure out what that dream career is, even if it's something different than what you're currently doing. Just as important is the fact that your earning power is often people's largest asset — I'm passionate about helping people negotiate what they're worth and maximize their earning power.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I'm excited by my client's accomplishments. For example, a lawyer by day and composer by night wanted a career where he could do both, and he's now in a legal role at a tech company and recently released an album. A longtime growth marketing professional in financial services wanted more meaning and now runs an elder care organization. A mid-level project manager felt undervalued and underpaid, so we worked on rebranding at a higher level and negotiating for more money, and she's broken into the VP ranks and a double-digit compensation increase.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
As a services provider, you have two key roles — doing the work and running the business (sales, marketing, finance, tech, etc.). It's a juggle to remain focused on both sides and give both of them the proper attention and effort.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Cash is king, queen, jack, and ace for a business. Revenue is nice, but if your expenses exceed your revenue, then that's not a healthy business. Landing sales is nice, but if your selling cycle takes too long, you may run out of time before money comes in. Follow the money!
- Doing the work that your business is known for isn't the same as working on your business. You also have to pay attention to the operations of your business, as well as generating new leads, not just doing the work in front of you.
- Invest the time to review your business and course-correct as needed. Market conditions change. Customer tastes change. Your priorities and interests also change. You need to continually evaluate whether your business strategy is relevant for now and whether you're still in love with the business you have.
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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