Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Theresa Destrebecq, Founder of Emerge Book Circles, located in Le Rouret, Alpes-Maritimes, France.

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

Emerge Book Circles creates and leads book-centered learning communities within organizations to support teams to learn and grow together or to create cross-functional learning opportunities for employees across an organization. The goal is not just to read a book together but to create space for collective intelligence, where everyone is tasked with moving beyond just consuming ideas to creating from those ideas. We read books in the realm of leadership, inter and intrapersonal communication, emotional intelligence, organization culture, change management, etc.

My customers include global organizations ranging from a few hundred employees up to tens of thousands. I am not focused on any specific industry, though I do enjoy socially responsible organizations.

Tell us about yourself

My initial career was in traditional education and educational leadership before I became a coach in 2012. About five years after that, I started to feel an itch for something different. I have always been curious and a learner, and I used books as my primary tool for learning new things. This love for reading, combined with a desire for community and connection, led me to start playing around with the idea of creating professional book circles.

I tried and tested the model in a B to C model first before deciding that working directly with teams and organizations would be more impactful. What started as a bit of a side hustle in 2017 became my full business in 2019. I no longer do any coaching and focus solely on creating connected learning experiences.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment is creating a completely new business model and having success bringing it to companies. Although there are a lot of coaches out there today, I don't know of a single person who does what I do. Yes, there are book clubs in organizations, but they are often not facilitated by a trained coach and are not as impactful (in my humble opinion.)

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

What's hard for me is how I manage my time. When it's your own business, and you want to succeed, it's easy to keep working to reach your goals. I set strong boundaries for myself so that my work doesn't consume me, and I still find that I am successful.

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

  1. Don't be afraid to do something completely out of the box.
  2. Set good time boundaries for yourself.
  3. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
  4. Practice patience and still be persistent.

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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