Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in professional development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Deborah Degner, President of The Leadership Bridge, LLC, located in Fort Worth, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
The Leadership Bridge is an executive coaching and leadership development business. I work with individuals and groups to develop skills that can help them reach their career goals and become the leader they want to be. I help clients figure out what is getting in their way and assist in creating a pathway to success. It is an exciting and fun journey we take!
Tell us about yourself
I've always been pretty addicted to lifelong learning and improvement. During my corporate career, when selected to attend a leadership development training program, I would be giddy! I finally realized I could do this every day and help others. More than six years later, I am working with so many amazing clients and really enjoy supporting them as they create their ideal leadership presence.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
People who know me recognize I have a hard time with a question that requires one answer. I live in a world of possibilities and options, so a few accomplishments come to mind. First, getting past the 2-3 year mark when many businesses fail seemed like a tremendous milestone. I also moved my business from PA to TX when we moved home after eight years and had to start over in building the business. Then Covid hit our world and really stretched me to pivot quickly to find ways to support people trying to adapt to our new working norm. So, I would say overcoming obstacles that always pop up in the world of small business feels like a major accomplishment and certainly has created quite a bit of confidence and resilience.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
It can be lonely at the top. Now, as a solopreneur, that sounds a bit silly, but what I mean is I miss having a partner, co-workers, boss, staff, etc., who are equally invested in the business. I have chosen to keep the company this size with the purpose of maintaining some reasonable work-life harmony. For now, I manage lonely times by making a conscious effort to stay connected with other coaches and mentors who I collaborate with and to keep my connection vibe in check. I love working from home and also love going on-site with clients during training and speeches. It works, but it has definitely been an adjustment.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Prepare for financial goals to take longer than you expect. I'm just reaching the financial goals I wanted to reach two years ago. I didn't plan for all my business interruptions (move and COVID) but should have accounted for more unknowns.
- Stay connected with people who inspire you and lift you up. Build into your business plan by networking with these people on a regular basis to help keep momentum and inspiration.
- Create a business plan and update it each year. You can find a basic guide through the Small Business Administration. Make it your own and simplify as needed but create a written plan and update it at least annually, so you know where you want to go and how you are doing on your path. A business with no written plan is like trying to drive a car with no steering wheel. Best of luck!
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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