Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Connie Steele, Co-Founder of Flywheel Associates, located in Leesburg, VA, USA.

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

I am a future work & life expert and executive consultant that guides companies and professionals in finding purpose, gaining momentum, and thriving in today's constantly changing and hybrid world. With over twenty years of experience, I have observed firsthand how the rigid and conformist approach to business and careers has evolved. Workers are leaning into nonlinear paths, and companies have to adapt to more fluid ways of working.

By assessing and analyzing workplace challenges from a human-centric perspective, as well as conducting original research published in the annual State of Work and Career Success report, I have developed an understanding of what today's workers want and need. Through strategic management sessions, presentations, and workshops, I help organizations and professionals adapt to this new world of work.

Tell us about yourself

I was working as the VP of Marketing / CMO of a technology company... I was a mom of young children... and I just realized that the role and the environment weren't a fit. I felt like I was being pulled in so many different directions, never actually able to devote the amount of energy I wanted to in any area. Was that really what I wanted to be doing for the next ten years?

This was what I spent most of my life working toward up until this point. Being in the C-suite was the goal. But I needed to make a change — for my family, my life, and my own mental health. And that's when I saw a former colleague working as a consultant, and it just completely opened up my mind to what a career could look like.

I began the process of re-evaluating and redefining what success means to me, and it shaped me into who I am today. That's why I do what I do, why I think the way that I think, and why I'm passionate about helping others redefine success to live happier and more fulfilled lives in the future of work.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I went solo because it felt like the only option that was right for my family. But if I'm being honest, I was terrified. Every day, I asked myself, 'Will I ever be able to land more clients? Was starting a business a mistake?'

There wasn't one big client that changed things around, but there were a lot of small wins that added up until, one day, I didn't question whether or not I could bring in more business. I wasn't afraid anymore. I had confidence. I knew that people wanted to work with me, that there was value in what I had to offer, and that I could create my own thing. And just adopting that mindset has been my biggest accomplishment.

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

It really is that fear. When you feel like you're on your own, when you don't have a safety net, it's really easy to let fear turn into inertia, which can so easily turn into giving up and going back to the corporate world.

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

  1. Shift from focusing on the destination to the journey. If you're hyper-focused on the end destination all the time, you're never going to feel like you're going fast enough; you're never going to feel like you're successful enough. You're going to miss all of the small wins — and that's what really energizes you to finish the marathon and cross the finish line.
  2. Start measuring success as a feeling vs. a hard metric. This is your most powerful tool in redefining success as progress. For example: If I get a message from someone on LinkedIn saying they love the message that I'm sharing, there are no sales, there's no consulting, and it's not contributing to any meaningful metric. But I know I had an impact, even a small one, and that makes me feel successful. And it gets me to keep trying.
  3. Build a village. You're not actually alone when you go solo... Or at least, you shouldn't be. You will need to tap into a network to learn about your industry and target audience. You will likely need support in operationalizing and/or running a business. And you will definitely need some kind of emotional support throughout it all. There's a lot of truth to the idea that 'your network is your net worth.'

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

When you add that all together — focusing on the journey, measuring success as a feeling, and enlisting a network for support — you get what I call Redefining Success as Progress. This is a simple mindset shift, but it helps you do two things that I think are really important: (1) feel fulfilled every day and (2) constantly test, learn, and pivot so that you're always heading in a direction that makes you feel successful.

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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