Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Erin Thomas Wong, Founder, and CEO of Life-Friendly Business, located in Bournemouth, Dorset, UK.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I help women to adopt a life-friendly approach to grow and scale their businesses through mentoring, masterminding, and my membership. Taking a life-friendly approach means working to their own measures of success, at their own pace and on their own terms. I’m a Small Business Mentor and Host of The Life-Friendly Business Podcast. The Cocoon Business Membership offers the community and training you need to build a successful business. I also offer Masterminds for those who are ready to move to the next level and want to do so with the peer-to-peer support of a group of like-minded women.
Tell us about yourself
Previously I had a career in TV Production, which I absolutely loved, but when I had my first son 14 years ago, I quickly realized that I would not be able to achieve the work/life balance that I so desperately wanted. My first business was a jewelry franchise, and it opened up a whole new world of entrepreneurship for me. I went on to found several more businesses and now run Life-Friendly Business, mentoring other women like me who left employment to run a small business, giving them the flexibility they need to create the work/life balance they want.
I work with amazing, highly skilled, heart-led women and get to see the impact of my work on a daily basis as they share their journey with me. I love seeing the difference it makes for them to have a safe space to talk through their challenges, brainstorm and get support.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
A huge highlight for me was back in 2015 when I was honored in the Houses of Parliament for my work supporting women in business. It was incredible to get recognition from my local MP for the mums in the business network in West London that I had co-founded with my previous business partner.
In 2017 I launched Life-Friendly Business (then called Making Mumpreneurs) whilst living as an ex-pat in Abu Dhabi. I wanted to create a supportive network that was online and, therefore, accessible to anyone around the world. The inner circle of this is my Cocoon Business Membership which has been running for six years, and I’m so proud of the wonderful community I’ve built. The support and sisterhood that has grown over time have created such a safe, welcoming place for family-first female entrepreneurs. It’s been amazing to see friendships blossom and collaborations being born.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
When you’re working alone, it’s easy to get stuck in procrastination and self-doubt because you don’t have anyone to talk things through with on a daily basis. It can feel really lonely and sometimes overwhelming when you’re the only one who can make a decision. This is why having a Mentor is invaluable - to have someone to brainstorm with and someone who will share their knowledge and experience with you.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Set your boundaries early on - what’s important to you? What do you need in order to thrive? For example, I don’t want to be on client calls when my kids come home from school, I don’t want to work during school holidays, and I need time alone to decompress. Once you’ve decided on these, you can schedule your work around them.
- Be super intentional with your time. You need to have an overview strategy that you check in with on a regular basis. I call this ‘CEO time.’ It helps me focus on what’s really important that week, so everything I do is working towards the end goal, and I don’t get distracted with shiny object syndrome!
- Find your tribe. As a solopreneur especially, feeling part of a community is an invaluable support. Surround yourself with people who get it, who you can speak openly with about the challenges, and who you can be inspired.
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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