Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Henna Pryor, Founder of Pryority Group, located in Chester County, PA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is keynote speaking, coaching, and facilitation, with a focus on Workplace Performance and Performance Mindset. I do the keynote speaking myself, but I'm grateful to have built a team of fantastic partner coaches and facilitators in the other areas as well. Our customers are corporate leaders, corporate teams, entrepreneurs, and ambitious professionals who are looking to level up their workplace performance.
Tell us about yourself
I'm Henna! An American-born, 32nd generation Pakistani Princess, which means absolutely nothing because Pakistan is no longer a monarchy. (But it sounds pretty cool, doesn't it?)
I started my career in the Big 4 at EY, pivoted into professional staffing, and spent for 14 wonderful years with a company called Kforce; but in late 2019, I couldn't shake the insatiable interest I had in entrepreneurship. For many years in staffing, my clients and candidates would say, "We know you're our staffing partner, but we should really pay you for all of the coaching and development you do for us." It made me think - what DO I do for them? And should I make a business out of it?
I realized where I brought unique value was at the intersection of 3 things: A deep knowledge of the professional landscape, a relentless curiosity around human behavior and psychology, and a refreshing delivery style - which involves keeping it real, authentic, and as light-hearted as possible. Personal and professional development work doesn't always have to feel heavy and serious. We can make huge leaps as professionals and individuals and do it in a way that feels engaging, relatable, and, dare I say it? FUN.
When someone says to me, "Henna, you really get me. How could you possibly know that?" or "That's exactly what I needed to hear to get out of my own damn way."
THAT is what energizes me every day to create, read, teach, and share. I love watching my clients transform their thinking and move closer to their full potential.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I hope this answer feels dated in a few years' time (I have big goals!), but so far, it was doing my TEDx talk in New York City a few weeks ago. I've loved watching TED talks since high school - and standing on that stage sharing my own talk was always a big bucket list dream of mine. Needless to say, it was a total thrill to stand on that red dot and share my big idea. I can't wait to do more of it.
I'm also really proud of the fact that my business has grown to where it has in a relatively short period of time. I was fortunate to achieve a level of material success in my previous corporate role, and as a result, I was TERRIFIED to leave it after 14 years. I hoped and prayed that maybe one day - a few years from now - I'd be able to at least match my best year's compensation numbers as an entrepreneur. I was able to surpass it in year 2. That really meant a lot to me, and it threw a pile of fresh kindling onto the fire about what's possible when you put your heart into something.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
If you're not careful, business ownership can be very lonely. When your ambitions are big, your time can easily be sucked into working IN the business, working ON the business, working AROUND the business, and everything else in between. It's imperative to find your communities. I say "communities" (plural) intentionally because different ones will serve in different ways. I have my peer group, who I go to for advice and learning. I have my hype squad for when I need a boost in morale or energy. I have my non-industry friends who can help my brain shut off when I need a reset.
As a solo business owner, the community doesn't always just land in your lap... you really need to carve out the time and intention to seek it and nurture it, but it's time well spent. Find your people.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Place small bets! Tiny, low-risk experiments are the absolute best way to get a TRUE sense of what your target customers really need and want. If the experiment is successful; double down and scale the heck out of it. If it isn't successful, the truth is... no one was really watching you that closely anyway.
- Embrace the awkwardness. Being an entrepreneur is synonymous with stumble, fumble, imperfection, and inevitable mess. If you go into it with the expectation that it'll be smooth and linear, you're setting yourself up for a world of frustration. If you want things to always be easy, you'll never make the bold requests that help your business make real leaps. Plan to test ideas before they're fully baked. Plan to have conversations you don't feel ready for. Plan to slip and fall into the mud a LOT. Do it awkwardly, but do it anyway.
- Invest in yourself as much as you possibly can. Since my first year in entrepreneurship, I've invested in books, coaches, training programs, and other things to help me boost my knowledge and craft. Of course, the amount I had available to invest varied from year 1 (scrappy startup year) to the current day, but there is so much value in learning from those who have successfully walked these roads before you. And a reminder that those people are humans too that once were in the same shoes - and often so much more generous with their time and advice than you'd think!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Taking the leap into entrepreneurship can be one of the scariest leaps, but for a large majority, it's one of the most rewarding. It's not for everyone, but if you're considering it, don't wonder what it's like - ASK people. Talk to people who have done it successfully. More often than not, even "super busy folks who would never have time" are HONORED to help and pay it forward... after all, we had people do that for us. :)
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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