Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Hélène Ferreira, a Co-Active Career & Fulfillment Coach located in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

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

In the pursuit of giving back and helping others, I started searching for a meaningful way to have a bigger impact! Most of us struggle with professional and personal challenges on a daily basis, and we aren't provided with a lot of support! Yet, our careers and personal goals are very important to us and help us feel confident and fulfilled. So, I started my coaching business in February 2022. I decided to name the company after myself because I saw the possibility beyond coaching. I provide Career & Fulfillment coaching now, but I intend to expand my offer. I'm a firm believer that through experiences, through movement, we get to grow and experience joy. Stay tuned. Currently, I leverage a combination of Co-Active training and Positive Intelligence to empower hyper achievers and people pleasers to get out of their own way, gain clarity, set healthy boundaries/habits, break free from self-doubt and build more confidence!

Tell us about yourself

My name is Hélène Ferreira; I was born and raised in France in a little town 3 hours southwest of Paris. I'm a self-starter; I started working at 16 years old and left home at 17. I studied Business & Entrepreneurship in the Alps next to the Switzerland border and graduated with an MBA in Business in 2015. I'm also a foodie and a travel enthusiast. I enjoy discovering new cultures, learning new languages, and volunteering in various countries I visit. I always wanted to be part of something bigger than myself that could have a positive impact on others around me. I was searching for purpose and meaning for a while.

Like most of us, I spent most of my time focused on finding the best ways to be successful growing up. As a hyper-achiever, I was trying to do everything right, and after a couple of years working many different jobs after my graduation in 2015, I thought it was about time that I start my career and find a good job in my field because, well, isn't that what we are supposed to do? I had been working in sales and in the hospitality industry, so when I had the opportunity to start working in Tech, I thought: Jackpot! This is great for my future, there are many opportunities and growth in that field, and for a while, it really felt like it was enough. I had chosen a company where giving back was part of the package. It was very important for me to keep helping communities/volunteer while working. In the midst of the pandemic, while working from home, I realized that I was very unfulfilled. I was doing so little of the things that actually brought me joy. I felt stuck, I lacked purpose, and I was overwhelmed. I couldn't figure out how to get out of my own way and break free from self-doubt and exhaustion.

I was overworked and burned out trying to keep up with all the priorities and do everything the business was expecting from me. As a people pleaser, I tend to say yes too often because I love helping, but I was putting targets before my own needs. I was losing my confidence and my good habits, and I didn't have time to exercise or eat healthily. I was so tired that I didn't have any mental energy left to do anything; it was a virtuous cycle. I kept pushing through, and I kept a straight face publicly; no one knew what was going on. Stress and anxiety left me frazzled, numb, and emotionally drained. When traveling, I discovered how fulfilling it was for me to help people and communities, to have a bigger impact, and support people in their journey. When I was helping kids, mentoring friends or co-workers with their goals and/or projects, or volunteering, that's when I felt truly alive! The fear of failure held me back from taking action for a long time, so I hired a coach. Probably the best decision I've ever made! It was such a great investment in myself.

Powerful shifts happened

I was able to release my mind, bring new perspectives and be in the moment. I felt inspired, hopeful and confident again. She helped me work through my challenges, and I was able to reconnect with my strengths, values, and purpose. At this point, I knew coaching was a natural path forward. While still being coached, I took a positive intelligence course which helped me tremendously; then, I started the renowned Co-Active Coaching Program from CTI. And now that I am trained as a Co-Active Coach and soon to be certified, I meet and coach amazing, bold and talented people regularly…, and it feels awesome!

Building my business made me feel alive, and every day that I coach, I feel aligned with my purpose. It re-energizes me to work with people from all walks of life, and it helps them gain clarity on what they truly want, empowers them to achieve their goals, and brings more joy into their life. If I can have even the tiniest impact, and it helps them shift their perspective, grow their mindset, or get them closer to what they truly want, then that's a win!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

  1. Getting started!
  2. Having a positive impact.
  3. Happy clients who are referring people and who want to keep you as your coach because they get so much value out of it.
  4. Growth.

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

Time management & Self-doubt. As a business owner, there are a lot of things, especially when you get started, that you are doing on your own, and it can be overwhelming to manage it all. Being organized and accepting that everything does not need to be perfect and that you may need to ask for help to get started is key!

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

  1. Never stop believing in yourself and your abilities! You are stronger than you think you are, and we don't acquire grit and resilience by succeeding all the time.
  2. Welcome the challenges, the struggles, and the failures! They teach us what we need to know to proceed forward. They are showing us the best path forward. It's never a failure, always a lesson!
  3. Ask/Accept help - you don't have to tirelessly figure out everything on your own; reach out to people who are experts in their field, people who inspire you, or are a few steps ahead of you sometimes; you could be greatly surprised!

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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