Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in leadership development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Monica Outten, COO of Uplifting Leadership, located in Bradenton, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Uplifting Leadership is an employee and leader soft-skill (interpersonal skill) development company. We are passionate about the development of soft skills and how this development affects people, careers, and companies in an extraordinarily positive way.
We develop these skills through one-on-one coaching, workshops and group coaching, and online courses. Some skill examples would be leadership style and accountability, communication skills and how to have difficult conversations, setting expectations, giving and receiving feedback, taking ownership of your own training and development, managing perceptions, client service through personal connection, and much more. We love helping companies build a thriving culture by developing these skills through all tiers of employees.
Tell us about yourself
I've had quite a journey in my own career, exploring ways to utilize my skills in a variety of industries. I've loved each opportunity and have learned through each chapter of my own path, and I believe every position prepared me in some way to do what I do now.
This business started because my partner, Aleta Maxwell, began this company as an executive coach, and it was through our conversations together that we ended up expanding the company to offer online employee development courses, which is what I've really focused on producing.
I'm motivated each day by the challenge of taking our vision and making it a reality. This takes patience, flexibility, a lot of learning and acquiring new skills, and remembering the "why" behind the business.
Our "why" is serving people to reach their own goals through becoming more aware of these human skills and how to utilize these skills to serve whomever they do every day. We believe all titles and levels of employees and leaders can benefit from expanding their communication and interpersonal skills, and we know the ripple effect that happens when even just one person on a team expands their toolkit and intentionally becomes a better communicator, team leader, and team member. We've seen careers skyrocket, and people find fulfillment in what they do every day. This motivates me to keep going and to keep serving as many as we can.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think it's looking at where we are now and realizing all that went into getting here. We are still in the middle of our journey as a company, but knowing the obstacles we've overcome (I mean, we began during the pandemic!) and persevering to this point with a company we are incredibly proud of feels like a big accomplishment.
I've learned a whole host of skills I never thought I would or could, and that has given me the confidence to look at the challenges I face with a perspective of knowing I can figure it out.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Taking risks. It's terrifying to take certain risks but necessary. And it doesn't always go as planned. Sometimes you lose when taking risks, but with each chapter, whether it's a win or loss, look at what the takeaway is. Everything can teach you something, and you can continue to progress. Some of our hardest losses still provided benefits, and we acquired new skills and knowledge through them. But we can't progress without some risk!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Take your vision and learn as much as you can from others who have done something similar. Create a plan from what you've learned. For instance, we knew we wanted to create online courses, so I spent hours researching and learning from others who have. YouTube, Facebook Groups, books, and podcasts, I gleaned from it all to create a plan for our product.
- Really think about putting all action items into three buckets:
- Things you know how to do and can do easily.
- Things that are worth your time to learn and do yourself versus outsourcing.
- Things that are not worth your time to learn and do yourself or are beyond your scope of abilities.
This has been a constant evaluation and lesson for us. Some things I've chosen to learn and do myself, especially in the beginning stages. Some things are worth outsourcing either because it takes up too much valuable time or because it truly needs expertise that comes with years of experience.
- When you outsource, find people who are great at their "niche." Don't go with the "can do it all" companies or individuals. They rarely do it all well. If you are outsourcing, it's worth the time and hassle to find different individuals who are great at their "thing." Utilize them to scale your business.
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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