Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kristin Schuchman, Founder of Spark a Career, located in Portland, OR, USA.

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

At Spark Career Counseling + Business Coaching, we help clients considering a career transition find their purpose. Based in Portland, OR, we provide career counseling and business coaching to those ready for the next step, be it advancement at your current workplace or making a complete career transition. Our counseling approach focuses on a personalized deep dive into your professional wants and needs. During our sessions, we will explore your workplace abilities, temperaments, priorities, and passions through a series of tests and thought-provoking discussions - all in search of your career spark. We also provide resume writing, interview preparation, and online business presence consulting for websites such as LinkedIn. Now accepting clients in the Portland area for in-person and from anywhere in the United States or Canada for remote sessions.

Tell us about yourself

I am a career consultant based in Portland, Oregon, who works with professionals in transition who feel like they've come home when allowed to be creative or empowered to make a difference. Helping people create career paths that feed their souls yet provide financial stability, I offer a mix of personal branding expertise, coaching skills, and clear-headed insight. Whether changing or advancing careers, starting a business, or re-entering the workforce after an absence, I love helping people unlock their full potential. Focused on giving clients an edge, I keep pace with social media tools and HR technology. My counseling practice, Spark a Career, is located in Portland, Oregon.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I have helped countless clients unable to maneuver a complex career transition gain clarity and direction as they succeeded in forging challenging shifts in their careers. I also ran a co-working space for counselors and coaches for four years and continue to coach and mentor other counselors and coaches as they build successful practices.

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

The hardest thing about running a business is keeping it from taking over your life. I no longer struggle with that since I've learned to build systems to help me manage my time and create boundaries, but I did struggle with it early in my entrepreneurial career. I take what I've learned to coach other business owners to escape from business ownership overwhelm.

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

  1. Test your idea by doing your due diligence with both qualitative and quantitative research (studies, focus groups, research, etc.)
  2. Build systems early on to ensure you're not reinventing the wheel as you complete tasks and projects. Invest in a high-quality CRM to help you manage client relationships, and read The EMyth Revisited by Michael Gerber.
  3. Understand your cash flow and use a cash flow statement as you plan your business expenditures. Hire a competent bookkeeper or accountant who will help you understand this if you don't already, and outsource your books/accounting and tax filings if the thought of keeping on top of these tasks fills you with deep reservoirs of dread.

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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