4 min read

Shifting Gears Executive Coaching - Karla Robertson

I love that I have created a living out of something I dreamed about and that I now have more control over what I do, how I do it, and who I serve.
Shifting Gears Executive Coaching - Karla Robertson

Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Karla Robertson, Founding and CEO of Shifting Gears Executive Coaching, located in Howell, NJ, USA.

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

My business is Shifting Gears - Mental Agility Coaching. I work with executives, teams, and private clients who are ready to build their internal fortitude to deal with what life throws at them and still generate success without sacrificing their career, joy, health, relationships, and performance.

Tell us about yourself

While a leading sales professional for most of my corporate career, I noticed that there were many talented people with whom I worked who were also talented in something unfortunate: How to crater their career and reputation. I noticed that their thinking and the meaning they were making of things that happened drove their choices for action that often were not productive and went a long way to drive people and opportunities away from them. This was painful as often they were wonderful people who couldn't get out of their own way. This also played out at senior levels, and the impact of senior leaders making poor decisions or behaving badly had a much larger impact on the organization, culture, and in the end, performance metrics and profitability.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Making a difference one brain at a time! The approach that I have developed helps one, and that person's mind shift has a ripple effect on others. I love that I have created a living out of something I dreamed about and that I now have more control over what I do, how I do it, and who I serve.

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

Well, I have to say there are two distinct prongs to being a business owner: 1-What makes the business GO, and 2-What makes the business GROW. Before going further, you need to have a serious talk with yourself or your partner in terms of what you each do best and where you should energies be focused. Divide and conquer. Align with your highest habits and talents.

GO tasks are things like the basic administration, e.g., have an accountant, attorney, legal stuff is in place and maintained, get insurances and subscriptions you need for your business, make sure your licenses are in place, a website is up, you have created content, design business card, write content, etc. This can be a drag and a drain for some people though I will say I did it all, and that gave me an idea of what is involved in some of these tasks when it came time to pick a service provider for them. These are the areas that a business owner has to let go of to some extent or totally if they are going to be on the GROW side.

GROW tasks are the actual delivery of services, promotion, social media, speaking, and writing articles, in essence raising your visibility and growing your fans and presence. You must make sure you deliver and get testimonials. And always, always be disrupting yourself to stay relevant. I know this means change. But if you don't like change, I promise you; that you will like irrelevance even less.

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

  1. Know yourself and be honest. Is owning a business really for you? If you have a partner, before you sign anything, do what you must to have candid conversations and see if there is true trust between you and if you both have what it will take to be successful together. Is there enough alignment? Do you have complementary skills and habits?
  2. Is there a true calling for what you have to offer?
  3. Do you have the financial basis to go down this road. Know the pragmatic things about owning a business.
  4. BONUS: I made mistakes in the beginning, and one was not doing enough pre-work and research and doing too much on my own. I realize sometimes you don't have the funds to pay for services. See what you can delegate and see if you can start the business on the side while you have a salaried job or a situation that keeps you financially afloat. Then make the jump. I think technology and social networks have made it easier to start and grow a business now than 25 years ago. So this is good news. Find someone who knows how to do social media WELL and understand that's a long game, so be prepared to invest or at least know what you are investing in and what the ROI is. Pick your providers well.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

There is always an up and downside to everything in life. If you've got the drive and passion for following what you feel you are meant to do or be, work hard to be the best at it. Lots of people hear the phrase: "Find what you love to do and be the best at it." I think many people who want to create a business listen to the first part and forget about the second. Anyone can be mediocre. Don't be one of those...unless you want mediocre results. Have integrity and when you achieve success, and I mean any level of success as you are growing, send the elevator back down and help someone else who wishes they were where you are now. Help others by sharing your success and lessons.

Where can people find you and your business?

Website: https://www.karlarobertson.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thebraincoach
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karlarobertsoncoach/

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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