Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Meredith Fay, a Life and Career Coach, based in Gig Harbor, WA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I work with high-EQ, high-achieving millennial women who are struggling with self-doubt, boundary setting, guilt, slowing down, and asking for help. Often these women have experienced significant gaslighting in challenging personal or professional relationships and, despite being absolute rock stars, feel like they’re never good enough and that it’d be “selfish” or “lazy” to actually start taking care of themselves.
Tell us about yourself
My career started in nonprofit management, and I spent the last decade or so in the corporate tech world as a consultant and in-house adviser. I transitioned into coaching gradually as I saw over and over that even world-class corporate visioning, change management, and transformation work routinely failed to produce the results I actually cared about: unleashing individual growth and potential.
In parallel with that, in my personal life, I was living out the exact description I just shared of my customers and their pain points. Even though I had it all together on paper and was checking all the right boxes for successful adulthood, by age 25, I was already falling apart on the inside. I had chronic health issues, depression, anxiety, massive amounts of stress, some very unbalanced and toxic relationships, and zero ideas of who I was, what I wanted, or what I needed. I didn’t know why things felt so much harder for me than for my peers, but I knew that continuing on the way things were was not an option.
This catalyzed a decade of exploration and experimentation to try to figure out why I was the way I was, unwind from old patterns, and heal my body, mind, and spirit. While it’ll always be a work in progress, I’m grateful to say that where I am today is a 180-degree turnaround in my quality of life. I’m healthy and energized, my stress levels are manageable, I’m supported by some amazing people, I'm much kinder to myself, and I’m engaged in deeply soul-filling work every single day.
I was lucky to have the time, freedom, and disposable income to figure all this out, but it was incredibly slow, expensive, and painful in the process. Most people don’t have the privilege to get into this stuff as deeply as I did. I made a commitment to turn my most difficult experiences into a force for good by taking what I learned along the way, condensing it, improving on it, and sharing it in a much more accessible way with other women dealing with the same challenges.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
There’s an inner answer and an outer answer to this.
Internally, my biggest accomplishment is doing the tough work to be ready to share my story with vulnerability and courage so that other women out there navigating the same challenges know they’re not alone and that there is a better path forward.
Externally, each individual client who comes away from our work saying things like “I can identify what I actually want for the first time,” “I’m starting to trust my intuition,” or “I’m being a lot more compassionate toward myself” feels like an incredible success.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
For me, the hardest thing has been finding when to turn off my thoughts about work. I love this stuff. It’s my passion, it’s my hobby, most of it is pulling directly from my own life experience, and every moment is a ripe source for inspiration and storytelling. It's easy to be in a work headspace nonstop.
When I was in the corporate world, work/life balance was actually easier because I frankly wasn’t that interested or invested in what I was doing. Now, I have to remind myself that just because I genuinely enjoy this work doesn’t mean it’s constructive to be thinking about it 24x7. I still need to enforce mental breaks of engaging with completely unrelated topics to keep myself fresh.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Create a financial safety net for yourself. There’s no need to buy into the social media hype about taking a leap of faith and becoming a millionaire overnight. There’s a near-zero likelihood of that actually succeeding for any of us, and deep down, we know it, which is why starting a business usually comes with a sense of sheer terror. The far kinder thing to do is to move slowly and build a runway of financial resources that will allow you to focus on the work you love without also having to contend with panic attacks every time you look at your credit card statement.
- Create an emotional safety net for yourself. Starting a business can be a lonely experience, and many of us have the fun bonus of contending with a chorus of voices from friends, family, and colleagues, projecting all of their fears and insecurities onto our vision. Deliberately and preemptively find at least one person who gets it and will regularly counter all those fearful voices and remind you that you are actually brave, capable, awesome, and not crazy for doing what you're doing.
- If you’re not already a business/sales/marketing maven, prioritize low-cost ways to educate yourself and experiment with this skill set before you make any major investments. There are a million high-ticket business coaches that promise the moon, and I’m sure some of them are great, but I’ve found a significantly higher ROI on affordable classes that teach you the foundational skills for yourself. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Get extremely clear on specifically what your gaps are, and then go fill those gaps with practical, actionable point-solution training wherever you can.
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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