Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shamis Pitts, Founder and Owner of Pitts Leadership Consulting LLC., located in New York, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
PLC is a professional services organization that specializes in leadership development, employee engagement, and building and sustaining an inclusive culture. The team spends 60% of its time on large transformational change initiatives in the aforementioned focus areas for universities, non-profit and for-profit organizations. We do this via consulting, advising, training and facilitation. I also spend 30% of my time providing executive and leadership coaching to leaders - mid-career to C-Suite - across multiple industries. For the balance of my time, I keynote conferences and deliver ad-hoc workshops.
PLC’s vision is for well-being to thrive in every individual and in every organization. Our mission is to strengthen the employee/employer social contract to support a thriving and engaged workforce and help leaders amplify their greatness in the workplace and beyond.
Tell us about yourself
I launched PLC in March 2019 after completing a “year on” of soul searching. For years, I struggled to connect with my purpose and made the decision to step back from the world of work until I could answer the questions - “Why am I here? What do I want to contribute to the world?”
I was often supporting someone else’s vision for the future without having a commitment to my own. I had been working 70-100 hour weeks, prioritizing work over well-being, telling myself that I was doing so in order to support the organizations I was leading and the employees within them. After taking a step back, I realized - I believe in leading by example. How can I support the well-being of others if I am not operating from well-being? I then committed to a life of well-being and established the support system I needed to be in integrity with that choice.
All of that said, when I launched my business, I thought I was going to focus solely on professional coaching. It is my joy. Then I realized that I was playing small. All of the skills and education that I had curated and cultivated over my 20+ year career provided the launch pad for me to grow PLC into what it is today. Each and every day, I am living my purpose. I am motivated by impact and growth. As long as our clients continue to experience that, PLC will endure.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
As a practitioner, my biggest accomplishment is knowing that the work that we do is transforming people’s lives, personally and professionally. Receiving this feedback is a gift.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Saying “no” to engagements. Not because I have a scarcity mindset and am afraid that we have to take every opportunity that comes our way. Quite the opposite. The PLC team is operationally gifted, which enables us to manage multiple engagements at one time. However, all, because we can do that doesn’t mean that we should. Our organization focuses on promoting individual and organizational well-being, so we need to walk the talk regarding doing too much. And the team is all too happy to remind me of that!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be focused. Boiling the ocean is not productive (and not good for the environment - hehe). Figure out the pain points you want to solve, why you are uniquely positioned to solve them, who you want to serve, and what you want to be known for.
- Be adaptable. Exploration and experimentation are important. There is no “one right way.” Take a design thinking approach. If you are not certain what that means, I challenge you to explore and learn!
- Be confident. I believe confidence comes from preparation and practice. You must believe in yourself first. So knowing what you know, need to know, and don’t know are all key. That’s the prep. Then practice until “talking the talk” becomes second nature.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
There is no such thing as a “self-made” person. Everyone gets help in this life to get to where they want to go, regardless of whether they acknowledge it, admit it, or are aware of it. You need not be on this entrepreneurship journey alone. It won’t serve you. Ask for support. Find your community. And remember to have fun!
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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