Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Elizabeth Solomon, Founder of New Realm Coaching and Consulting, located in Northampton, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I work with leaders, entrepreneurs, and organizations of all sizes and industries to help them redefine "business as usual". This involves helping them develop their communications, reimagine their work culture, understand the systemic influences on their work, and unpack their relationship to influence and power. Though they are diverse, my clients are all committed to one thing: operating with more mindfulness, empathy and authenticity.
For my individual clients -- almost all of them would be labeled as high-achievers. Some of them have been so focused on doing and being productive that they have ignored or forgotten their feelings. In these instances, the work is about building self-awareness and making space for unfelt grief. Other times, these high achievers have found themselves surprisingly unsatisfied with where their efforts have taken them. Our work may involve reflection, sense-making, and redefining their purpose and their future.
My organizational clients are focused on developing emotional intelligence at the individual, team and cultural level. They recognize the importance of developing and articulating a clear set of values: values which underpin both their brand and their culture. Our work often involves facilitation, team building, individual leadership coaching, and processes designed to elicit feedback and insight from a wide variety of stakeholders. These clients are often mission-driven and excited to develop a brand and a culture that both reflects their strengths and informs their goals and aspirations.
Other times, my clients are founders and leaders who want to improve their storytelling - either at the level of their brand or at the level of their own leadership. These clients are system thinkers and burgeoning thought-leaders... folks who know they have something to share and need some clear language and vehicles for doing that.
No matter what, all of my clients care deeply about building a more equitable world. They are driven to learn about themselves and those around them. They want to see things from multiple perspectives. And better still, they want to achieve great things without sacrificing their soul or what they know is true in their heart. They want to better understand their story so they can reshape and redefine how they move through the world. I encourage them to think outside the box, get honest and vulnerable with their emotions, and think systemically about their leadership, their purpose, their motivation, their environment and their impact.
Tell us about yourself
As a young girl, I remember looking out at the world and saying to my dad, “So many people, so little time.” So many stories, so much healing to do.
For a long time, I thought I would become a therapist: listening to people’s stories and helping them express their souls. I dreamt of collecting photographs and stories in a thick coffee table book.
But as I grew up, I became more and more interested in the structures and societal influences that shaped our personalities, actions, cultural beliefs, and inner dialogues. It started in high school, which I hated. I didn’t understand the structures of repression, the inauthenticity, the arbitrary expectations.
My eyes were opened to the controlling systems that stifle our greatest gifts and discount our profound wisdom.
Throughout my college-aged years and after, I studied, lived, and traveled all around Western Europe. At age 28, I bought a one-way ticket to India, where I spent four incredible months exploring the country and my inner landscape, then continued a year-long journey through Nepal, Southeast Asia, and parts of Africa. I learned that I thrive when I’m forced to adapt. I’m at my best when I stay open to change but remain attentive, organized and consistent.
India upended my understanding of Yoga, which became an important lesson about going to the source of a thing—understanding tradition and wisdom before it has been manipulated and commercialized. This particular lesson is now reflected in how I understand leadership.
After spending time studying and working in both spirituality and psychology, I moved from California back to Massachusetts to raise my child. As I started working with Daniel Goleman and others invested in the work of EI and heart-centered leadership coaching, all of my experiences—personal and professional—cohered around the importance of paradigm-shifting leadership.
I am half spiritual guide, half company strategist. My left and right brain are equally strong and present in my work. I believe that most organizations are lacking in terms of clarity and human connection. I am motivated to help individuals and teams listen and share more deeply so they can build trust and be REAL PEOPLE as they move their important initiatives forward.
Influenced by neuroscience, theater, spirituality, and a dash of the mystic, I operate differently than other coaches, consultants, and writers you may have encountered. I’m not into fluff, and I suffer no bullshit. My approach is both data-driven and intuitive, grounded in the facts while embracing our humanity.
With a Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology, expertise in emotional intelligence, 12 years as a corporate culture researcher, and decades of awareness-centered lived experience, I’ve come to understand the impact of wise and self-reflective leadership. As a communication consultant, I help my clients understand and articulate the story of their work. As a Systemic Constellations facilitator, I help them see and understand the unseen dynamics driving their lived experience.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I have made a career out of my passions. I have become an incredible collaborator - working with some of the brightest and most heart-centered people on a variety of different projects. One of my greatest accomplishments is building my business as a single mother. I have maintained an incredible relationship with my child as a result of focusing on cultivating balance and leaning into my own networks of support. I am also proud of the bridges I have built - between heart and mind; brand and culture; values and behaviors; and the seen and unseen worlds.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Being everything is hard. In the beginning, you are the entire executive suite all rolled up into a single person. Knowing when to bring in help, how to delegate, and how to move into a CEO role is challenging. There is a real learning curve around learning to say NO - particularly as you expand your brand and more and more opportunities come your way. It can also be hard to make space to think ahead into the future and do the necessary work of reflection and recalibration. It’s easy to get so caught up in “projects” and “contracts” that you fail to plan for the future in a mindful and meaningful way.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Growth is incremental. Don't listen to the overnight riches stories. Few who are truly successful did it overnight. PLAY THE LONG GAME.
- Network, network, network. Look for your future collaborators and engage in conversations with your peers. If you are mission-driven, think of your “competitors” as “allies.” While you want to be discriminating about who you share your time, treasure, and talent with, it’s good to be connected to a larger community of people all invested in similar things.
- Love your clients. Find clients you respect and are inspired by. This will keep you going when it gets tough.
- Redefine hustle. Building business is hard work and burnout is very real. Protect your creative time. Protect your downtime. Don't let the fire and drive take over every aspect of your life.
- Ask for support from the unseen. Connect with the divine. Connect with your beneficial ancestors. Connect with whatever you identify as supportive in the spirit world.
- Remember that your business has a soul and a personality that is all its own. Treat it with respect and infuse it with dignity.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I gave six tips because I really feel they are all important.
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.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.