Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in leadership and career development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Alex Tremble, Founder of GPS Leadership Solutions, located in Washington, DC, USA.

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

I am an award-winning speaker, author, executive, and leadership expert who advises some of our nation's most senior-level leaders on how to shape their company's culture to attract, retain and develop diverse and highly effective leaders. In addition to speaking, coaching, and consulting, I am the host of The Executive Appeal podcast, which focuses on providing ambitious leaders with the leadership and career advancement skills required to excel as senior and executive leaders. Organizations bring me in to help them communicate more effectively and authentically with their teams, develop and implement inclusive senior leader mentoring programs, host organization retreats to our values and DEI-focused learning opportunities, or serve as their keynote speaker, panelist, and event moderator.

Tell us about yourself

I began my career as the youngest Federal Government employee to create and manage three Federal Government-wide senior leadership development programs. I quickly went on to establish my own leadership development company, GPS Leadership Solutions LLC., while publishing two bestselling leadership books ("Reaching Senior Leadership: 10 Growth Strategies Every Government Leader Should Know" and "The GPS Guide to Success") geared towards helping leaders gain influence and attain career success. I am honored to be a Fellow of The Aspen Institute's Socrates program, a Leadership Center for Excellence 40 under 40 honorees, and a top leader known by the International Association for Talent Development.

My passion lies in helping ambitious people learn the skills and strategies needed to reach their highest potential personally and professionally. Why? Because over my career, I have seen way too many hard-working, ambitious people struggle to reach their goals because they adopted the career advice that all successful people know is a lie. What is that lie? Hard work will take you to the top!

The world is full of hard-working people who never get anywhere near where they want to be. The reality is that the secret to success is actually more closely aligned with strategic relationships. So everything I teach, using my 4C Relationship Building Model, is to equip ambitious leaders with the skills needed to build and manage important, difficult, and complex relationships.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

This is a hard question to answer because I have had so many honors, but I would say the top three are:

  1. Being invited to The White House to share my ideas on developing our nation's emerging industry leaders.
  2. Being asked to speak at one of the world's largest international talent development conferences hosted by the Association for Talent Development.
  3. Being selected as an Aspen Institute Fellow due to my forward-thinking in improving organizational culture and promoting DEIA efforts.

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

Knowing when to take a break. Unlike when you are working for a company, many other employees may be responsible for marketing, accounting, HR, product design, delivery, IT, customer outreach, etc. You are responsible for all of those things when you are just starting off. If you don't do it, it doesn't get done. If you have a sick day, that is a day when no movement is made, a day when an invoice is not sent, or a day when a customer does not hear back from you. At some point, you will get used to juggling all of those balls in the air. You will likely even get good at it at some point. But, then, you need to know when it's time to rest. When it's time to close the doors for a couple of weeks, I do this twice a year for a family vacation and Christmas break. But it took me a while to get comfortable doing this.

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

  1. The old adage, "build it and they will come," is 110% trash. The reality is that you can have the best product in the world, but if your customers never come in contact with it, how could they ever purchase it? As a business owner, YOU must be willing to put yourself and your products in front of the right people. If you are worried about rejection, which most people are, then I have some great news for you. You will be rejected! Lol Now that you know that you're going to be rejected, there is no longer a need to be worried about it. Just as each and everyone one of us stumbled as we learned to walk, each business owner will stumble as we launch products, build new client relationships, create marketing plans, etc.
  2. Always do a little extra. Although my goal is to ALWAYS provide a great product and receive rave reviews from the participants (which I do), one of the other reasons, so many of my customers hire me again is because I make their lives easier. I believe in always providing spectacular customer service, which is really nothing more than figuring out how to make my clients' jobs as easy as possible. Can I create marking material for them? Can I draft the contract for their review? Can I identify and share other resources that may make their job overall easier, even if it has nothing to do with me and my work? You need to understand what your clients value and provide that to them.
  3. Make your client look good. Everyone likes to look good in front of their bosses, employees, and coworkers. You want to do such a great job that there is no way that they wouldn't bring you back again. To bring you back would be another easy win for them. But, the only way to successfully do this is to truly understand what your client values and what their superiors values.

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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