Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Maryann Udel, Founder of Sheltering Tree, located in Sherman Oaks, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
As a certified life and business coach focused on loss, I work with individuals or companies who are dealing with a major change in the business (restructure, merger/acquisition, or start-up growth) or life (a job loss, a divorce, a breakup, illness, or the death of a loved one) – they are feeling lost, uprooted, and unsure of where to go to find direction. We help to guide them through this period of transition, gain clarity around the things they don't know, become part of a community, and get support as they make peace with the past and live fully in the present so they can embrace the promise of their future. This is accomplished through individual sessions, group programs, and retreats.
Tell us about yourself
I began exploring coaching when I was almost laid off from my corporate job. I attended workshops and retreats and decided to get my coaching certification while still working my full-time job. By the time I was officially laid-off several years later, I had already started my business and had clients. I made a loss the focus of my business because I had been widowed at the age of 24 and knew how difficult it was to get the support I needed to get through my grief. Besides being a coach, I speak to help educate people about the different types of loss that humans grieve. Guiding others through their different losses toward their brighter futures keeps me going.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My first corporate client was the company that laid me off six months earlier. I decided to approach the HR manager to offer some training or workshops. Once I explained that I got certified as a life and business coach, focused on loss, he determined that the better use of my personal coaching skills was to offer confidential, individual sessions to those that were part of the next round of layoffs (about 150).
My individual sessions became part of their exit package. I was also available for confidential conversations with any of the remaining employees to process their uncertainty and loss. That contract lasted one year and led to the next one.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Loss is misunderstood, and many people don't want to talk about their pain. Taking away the stigma of grief and creating a safe place for people to open up takes time. I need to be patient as I continually educate, reach out, network, and stay committed to helping people find peace and hope. I need to stay visible so that people to find me. There are days when it can be hard to stick with it.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Get support and advice from people you trust.
- Make friends with other business owners for feedback, community support, and shared resources.
- Remember why you decided to do what you do and save client testimonials. They will keep you going when you feel like giving up.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Your business is there to support the life that you want to create. Stay connected to your family and friends, take breaks, have fun and live a full life.
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.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.