Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rita Ernst, Owner of Ignite Your Extraordinary, LLC., located in Louisville, KY, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I ignite positivity in workplaces to improve performance, culture, and well-being. My services include speaking, workshops, and consulting engagements customized to meet the audience's specific needs. I work with conference organizers, leaders, and business owners.

Tell us about yourself

I'm an organizational psychologist with 25+ years of experience in public, private, and non-profit businesses. I've owned my consulting practice since 2008 and released my first business book, "Show Up Positive," on June 14, 2022. Work consumes the majority of our waking hours and daily interpersonal interactions, making it a significant contributor to our self-esteem and identity.

When work is a place where happiness and productivity converge, everyone wins. Individuals are fulfilled, teamwork is effortless, and business success abounds. When I work with organizations, I share their success, and it's addictive. Witnessing conversations that honor belonging, community, and stewardship is deeply rewarding.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Developing my culture repair process that generates tangible business improvements within 30 days. By engaging everyone in the organization, the opportunities and capacity for change are exponential. After replicating the results over and over, I felt compelled to translate my approach into a book that could extend my reach to more people.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

It is so easy to fall into the comparison trap, which fuels negative self-talk. When you attend networking events or read through your social media feed, there are hundreds of messages about being more, doing more, and building your business faster. It is easy for your confidence to take a hit even though you may be comparing yourself to someone who is ten years ahead of you in their journey or starting with six figures in accessible capital you lack.

That self-doubt causes us to chase shiny objects in the form of quick solutions. Before you know it, you've sunk lots of time and money with little return. Choosing when to stay the course and when to incorporate new approaches and finding trustworthy people to guide you in your journey requires fortitude.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Relationships are premium capital. Your network is essential in assisting you with brand awareness, introductions, social proof, referrals, and more. Having strong relationships, you can lean into paves the way for early success.

Be realistic about your financial runway. It can sometimes take years to pay yourself a decent salary. Have a plan for your finances, such as angel investors, business loans, or supplemental income streams.

Invest your early profits back into your business growth. Every business owner of a start-up is spending time on things that are not strengths or divert their attention. Create a prioritized list of experts you need, price their services, and then hire them as soon as you can make the economics work.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I host a live show on Youtube, Facebook, and LinkedIn, every Monday at 12:45 PM (ET), called the Monday Minute. The purpose is to inspire others by sharing one positive behavior to practice for the week. You are invited to join me live or catch the replay and start building your #ShowUpPositive habits one week at a time.

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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