Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Christie Ellis, Founder of Phoenix Story Coaching, located in Malden Bridge, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Phoenix Story Coaching and my upcoming course, Joyful Life Design, are the businesses I'm here to talk about. I also own and operate three other businesses with 7 figure revenues. I teach everyday people to reach their goals joyfully - through science-backed strategies that increase productivity, creativity, connection, and purpose and decrease anxiety and overwhelm. Everyone can benefit, and I also love working with employers and entrepreneurs to provide the course as a benefit. Business owners watch their bottom lines, productivity and culture improve, and employees experience greater well-being, connection, and purpose. Everybody wins.
Tell us about yourself
I've been an entrepreneur for over 20 years. I've grown five businesses of my own and helped hundreds of other businesses succeed. Each new business has been the result of following my intuition about where help was needed. I've studied positive psychology, habit formation, mindfulness, and how people and organizations make change sticky for over 25 years.
When a close family member was diagnosed with advanced cancer, I became his 24-hour caregiver. I knew nothing about cancer but everything about how to manage my mind. Through joining support groups, I discovered how badly people needed the science-proven strategies I've been using all this time. They helped me learn about cancer treatment - I helped them learn how to achieve their goals and find peace and joy, no matter how dire their circumstances. It was obvious that I needed to put Phoenix Story Coaching and Joyful Life Design into the world. I currently donate 25% of my time to free coaching - these services should be available to everyone who needs them, and this is what motivates me every day - increasing access. My goal is to reach 50% of donated services by 2025. I hope you'll check in to see if I've achieved that! Currently, we are offering Joyful Life Design through the State University System of NY (SUNY) at less than 50% of the cost to enable everyone everywhere to take the course. You don't have to be a SUNY student - it's available online, everywhere, as a noncredit course.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
When I help someone make the one mindset shift they need or to learn the one idea that they need at exactly the right time - I am living my life purpose. In addition to my experience as a cancer caregiver, I am also a cancer survivor. I have overcome trauma and abuse. I have thrived after my first business failed. We are all so much more powerful than we realize, and when I help someone see and utilize their strength, there is nothing more I can ask for.
On a more public way of viewing this question, I am a woman who grew a 7 figure business before the age of 30. I've been on tv shows like World News Tonight, The Today Show even on tv in Japan! Representing myself and my brands. Despite running four businesses, I've also created a life with what is, for me, a perfect balance. We moved to the NY Hudson Valley 10 years ago. I live on 15 acres with chickens, gardens, honeybees, and all the beauty and peace I can stand. What's even better - I now help others how to create the dream life that they want.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Most people start a business because they see a 'wrong' they want to the right. That might be because their work-life balance is no longer acceptable. Or it may be that they see a wrong in their industry they think they can do better themselves. They tell themselves that when they are the boss, things will be different and better.
It's sort of like non-parents saying, 'when I have kids, I'll NEVER do THAT.' What I see is that whether you're an employee or a business owner - you take yourself with you. If you worked hours too long and blamed a bad boss, you now still work too much but blame bad toxic clients. What needs to change isn't outside of you - it's inside of you - your ability to plan for what you want your life and business to look like and then create boundaries that you can feel good and confident in enforcing to love the life you've made.
For myself, what I had to learn is that I'm an idea person. I have no trouble creating, but I get bored with execution. For this reason, I hire the best doers I can find and empower them to help me get my vision into the world.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't quit your day job. When you are focused on making money instead of on helping people, it has a bad B.O. Bad business odor. Everyone can smell how desperate you are to make money; you just can't smell yourself ;) People want to work with people who solve their problems. So your focus has to be on giving, not on getting. With financial needs removed from the equation, you can get really good at helping people and growing your client base. When you have the income you need to support your life, you'll be able to continue to grow, leave your day job, and keep focused on how to help.
- Keep it simple. You do not need a web page designed to start your business. You do not need fancy marketing or thousands of followers. It is easy to forget that when you're starting out, three new clients could change your life. Don't worry about communicating to the masses - communicate with the people you already know. You already know your next client - they just need to know you can help. * Phoenix Story Coaching achieved 6 figure revenues in less than seven months. No web page. Fewer than 300 followers when I started discussing it. Zero referrals from existing clients in my other businesses - it grew totally from scratch. You can do this too.
- Get clear on end you want in the beginning. Too many people have great ideas but don't consider where those ideas will lead them. For example, if you want to work from home, you don't want to grow a business as a public speaker! You'll be on the road all the time. Get very clear on the details of what your life will look like when you're successful. What are your day-to-day hours? How many days a week? Who are you working with? Clients? Employees? Where do you work? How much net revenue do you need to afford the life you want? What does that mean you need to charge people to achieve that? Create a plan for success now. Entrepreneurs get stuck in, overwhelmed, and 'I don't know.' When you know where you're going, your decision-making gets so much easier because you know your purpose and your path and can more easily assess how to get there.
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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