Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Claire Chandler, founder, and president of Talent Boost, located in Long Branch, NJ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Since 2013, Talent Boost has been helping businesses assess and accelerate their ability to grow. Whether you're a business owner, a serial acquirer, or a C-Suite leader, we help you identify your biggest gaps and your greatest opportunities BEFORE you grow - then show you how to implement the right people-process-performance infrastructure to accelerate your growth strategy.
Tell us about yourself
I spent close to two decades in corporate America, most recently as vice president of human resources. I was traveling non-stop, leading an amazingly talented team, and trying to figure out whether the corporate executive track I was on was the right one for me.
Then I received a cancer diagnosis. And while I was on medical leave, I finally couldn't outrun that voice that had been asking me, "Are you doing what you're passionate about"? Once I admitted to myself that the answer was "no," I felt honor-bound to do something with that answer. So I got healthy, returned to work, put in my notice, and started my entrepreneurial journey.
What motivates me each day is that wake-up call that cancer gave me: Life is too short. It's too short NOT to play the biggest game you can, to share your greatest gifts with the world. So I'm motivated and inspired to help as many business leaders as I can build and grow their businesses the right way and to be the types of leaders their people enthusiastically want to follow.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think my greatest accomplishment is that I'm still a business owner. The failure rate of new businesses is staggering - only about 25% ever reach their 15-year anniversary. I started my business with little more than a company name and logo, and over the past nine years, I have grown my business by building relationships with some extraordinary clients, helping them to accomplish extraordinary things. The pinnacle for me is when my clients tell me, "You're part of our family now." That is worth more to me than any dollar amount.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Business owners and leaders can feel ridiculously lonely. We put enormous pressure on ourselves to be inspirational and to have all the answers. And it's difficult for most of us to express our vulnerability and ask for help. But I have learned that "leaning" into that vulnerability - and raising our hand to ask for input, ideas, and support - is essential not just to survive as a business owner but to continue to thrive as you grow.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Your mission - i.e., your purpose - is absolutely foundational. Until you can clearly articulate what you are in business to accomplish and why it matters, you will struggle to motivate others to follow you, let alone to stay motivated to lead them. So don't skip this step.
- Once you have mission clarity, make a list of all the fundamental "DNA" - the knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors - you and your team MUST possess and demonstrate to achieve your mission.
- Looking at that list, identify which of those mission-critical fundamentals you currently lack and which ones you currently have in abundance. THAT analysis will enable you to focus your near-term actions on playing to your strengths while filling your gaps.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
When I was still working in corporate, my boss once stopped me in the hall and said, "You need to tone down your walk. It's too 'bouncy.' It makes you seem too happy, and people wonder if you're up to something." I didn't take his advice. But it was emblematic of the tight-lidded box most corporate cultures try to confine you to. As a business owner, I don't tone down my walk for anyone.
I stay authentic to my style, my personality, and the unique gifts that I feel blessed to offer to the world. So as a business owner, DON'T TONE DOWN YOUR WALK FOR ANYONE.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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