Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ellin Lolis, Founder of Ellin Lolis Consulting, located in Sheridan, WY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Professionals across the globe dream of attending the world's most prestigious MBA programs but need help and trusted guidance due to the complex application process and fierce competition. I'm Ellin Lolis, founder, and CEO at Ellin Lolis Consulting, where we help our clients get admitted to top MBA programs around the world, with a 98.9% success rate.
Tell us about yourself
I started working with admissions consulting out of a passion for helping people tell their stories, public speaking, and writing. I came to admissions consulting a bit by chance after a friend asked if I could help them prepare their MBA application. We spent months figuring out which parts of their story to highlight and refining exactly how to tell it, both in writing and through admissions interviews. In the end, they were admitted to all the schools they targeted, so I began helping their friends, then their friends' friends, and so on. Now, I have an amazing team and work with clients around the globe, helping them get into the world's most elite MBA programs.
Every day, I meet different people and hear new stories. Learning about these individuals, having the honor of helping them present their ambitions to some of the toughest critics in the world, and seeing them reach their goals is an unending source of inspiration for me!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Owning and running your own business brings a lot of responsibility and challenges. It requires immense effort and grit, but it also gives me the unparalleled freedom to work on what I'm passionate about with people I love for people I love working with.
Having the ability to truly devote my time to what inspires me and pushes me forward while being surrounded by great people is a huge win! When all of this results in helping our clients achieve their goals and targets, it brings me a sense of utter accomplishment and pride.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
For me, it was understanding where I fit in with "hustle culture." I started my company when I was in my early 20s, so there were a lot of people telling me that I needed to grow my company into a multi-million dollar entity within a few years and keep pushing. That just wasn't me, though. I really enjoy working closely with a small number of clients and offering bespoke service that allows me to really get to know each and every one of them. On the business side, I like having the time to get to know and interact with my team. I also find tremendous value in pursuing personal interests outside of my profession. However, I feel like it's always a challenge to battle the temptation to give up just a little bit more free time in the name of growth.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Be ready to work more than you initially thought, and accept that it might take a while for things to really lift off. No real success happens overnight, no matter what media and self-proclaimed gurus want you to believe. Learn how to manage your business (and personal!) finances and understand how money works so you're not caught off guard when fluctuations and unexpected expenses happen - and they WILL happen. Lastly, make sure to surround yourself with people you trust and really enjoy working with them. You'll be spending a lot of time together, and life is too short to accept anything less than that!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
There has been a lot said about how to succeed in business, but throughout my career, I noticed that the most successful people follow very simple rules:
- Keep your word: whether it comes to delivery deadlines or promised results, don't make promises you can't keep. All great businesses are built on trust, and not delivering what you initially promised is a sure way to hurt or even end a relationship.
- Focus on your client's success, not yours. When you work with the goal of making others successful, your success inevitably follows. By helping others win and delivering outstanding service, you'll quickly stand out as an expert upon whom others can rely.
- Nurture relationships. Even in today's extremely interconnected and globalized economy, relationships matter. Your clients and teammates want to feel heard, understood, valued, and respected. When you focus on building such connections, you'll get long-term or repeat customers, benefit from word-of-mouth, and you'll build a brand.
- Always follow up. Many great deals and opportunities are lost daily due to a lack of follow-up. The reality is that we're all extremely busy and that your offer or email might've simply fallen off their radar, although they were interested in working together. So a simple note and a reminder can do wonders and show you're an organized, proactive person who's on it.
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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