Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rolande Sumner, Founder, and CEO of Life After Service Transitional Coaching, located in Powdersville, SC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
LASTCo is a coaching and consulting firm that services two distinct audiences. Privately, we work with new women coaches seeking to create coaching businesses from scratch. Commercially, we work with veteran-friendly organizations seeking to improve their veteran retention and bottom lines. This season, I focus on consulting organizations on retention and engagement matters. With the recession approaching, my firm will be able to make a more significant positive impact.
Tell us about yourself
Essentially, I began working for myself as a way to serve others on my terms. I found working in a traditional job constricting. In the conventional workplace, there are rules about when and how you do your work. I needed more freedom and autonomy over my work and clients. It's my nature to ask many questions and challenge ideas that seem old-fashioned and in favor of all stakeholders. Business ownership was the natural step for me, as I get to choose whom I work with, the work that matters most to my team and me, and the impact it will make. There is freedom of time, unlimited earning potential, and the freedom to create an effect.
My motivation to continue is the understanding that my life will not be complete if I don't fulfill my God-given purpose. I don't want to pass tomorrow and see the new blessings that God has given me on the shelf. Instead, I want to know I have taken every opportunity to live out God's plan to fullness.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is being recognized for my hard work via media coverage, business awards like Alignable Local Business Owner of the Year, and the Brainz Magazine Crea Awards. I love to see my clients thrive. It makes sales outreach and business obstacles worth it.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
To date, one of the hardest things about being a business owner is knowing when and how to expand my team. It's hard trusting other people with my business and brand, but it's necessary. I lost money because I didn't have enough time to do outreach and sales. It was important to me to find people who understood and respected what my brand represents and share my values.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Do interviews and intern in the field or service you want to provide. In theory, a business idea might be significant. However, you may discover that you hate it. That's an expensive lesson. Interviews and internships will help you see what that particular business looks and feels like. It will give you a first look into the highs and lows of that service, industry, and business.
- Access the bar to entry before making a move. It's essential to understand what is necessary to start. Do you have the proper credentials, permits, insurance, etc.? How much will it cost? What are your target audience's expectations and needs? How long will it take you to serve your first client or customer? Understanding the potential bar to entry can give you the information you need to make a well-informed decision on the service, industry, or product to provide.
- Invest in education. You don't know what you don't know, which can cost you a ton of money finding out on your own. When you are staring up, learn how to do so from someone who has been there, done that, and collected a super bowl ring. There is no need to struggle on your own. Enrolling in a startup business program taught by someone with experience with business startups is essential. Education will save you time and money. You will reach your startup goals faster than if you tried it alone.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If you want to start a business but don't know what to do or how to start, pray. Ask God to lead you in the direction you need to go. Ask him to provide you with the nouns and the energy to conduct the verbs for your success. You would be amazed at how excellent a business partner God is.
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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