Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in coaching but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Suzanne Paulinski, founder and CEO of The Rock/Star Advocate, LLC., located in Queens, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
The Rock/Star Advocate was created to guide music industry professionals away from the toxic hustle culture that inevitably leads each one to career burnout and many to an unhealthy dependence on harmful substances. I work with clients 1:1 and in group containers to create custom time-management solutions to design a healthier work/life balance for their lifestyle.
Tell us about yourself
Eight years ago, I had completed my Master's in Psychology and was ready to leave the industry completely after severe burnout. It wasn't until a fateful conversation with a former client-turned-friend, Corina Seligman, about what I called her Post Tour Depression that I realized I could uniquely use my new degree to provide desperately-needed support - the support I wish I had come up in this industry.
I've been in the music industry for 20 years now, and I can still vividly remember how painful it was living with a scarcity mindset, believing whole-heartedly that the only way to pursue my dreams was to suffer through it and "sleep when I'm dead." It got me nowhere fast, and I only woke up to a different way of life after contracting a chronic illness. I am motivated daily to help others learn from my mistakes before they reach the level of burnout I experienced before the age of 30.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am a fan of celebrating all wins, big and small, but the one I'm most proud of so far as the founder of The Rock/Star Advocate has to be bringing on Jennifer O'Hagan as my director of Rock/Star Affairs. There was a time I thought I'd never be able to pay someone else to help me run my business - I was just grateful I could pay my bills! I remember the fear and excitement I felt when I consistently brought on help for 4 hours/month.
By 2018 I knew I needed to take a leap of faith and trust more money would come if I could move more work off of my plate and focus on the things I do best. It was then that I extended Jenn's hours (which by that point had been 4 hours/week) to 20 hours/week. She now manages my group accountability program - Rock/Star Slackers™ - as well as pitching me for speaking engagements, editing my podcast episodes, and talking me down when I begin to spiral into a "fraud talk" moment (known otherwise as imposter syndrome). No one can do this alone, and you often have to jump before you're ready and give up some control in order to reach your goals.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing is managing your own mindset on a day-to-day basis. Luckily, since it's what I teach others, I have an arsenal of tools to reach for when I begin to feel like I'm off my game. However, before I gained these tools, my largest obstacle in growing my business was always my own doubts and fears. Overthinking can cause us to talk ourselves out of some of the most worthwhile risks, and when you work for yourself, there isn't always someone around to help keep you from your own thoughts.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Act now, you're never going to feel ready, and the fear is not going away, so do it anyway.
- Embrace the mess. Throw perfection out the window and let go of trying to be right. Bathe in the mess and accept that this is all one big science experiment - the more you do, the more you learn.
- Surround yourself with people who not only support you but who also take risks/live with passion. You never want to be the smartest or most experienced in the room. Be sure to challenge yourself and learn from the company you keep.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Just remember that this is your journey. It's ok to hustle, as long as your hustle is on your terms. It doesn't always look like the 5 am Club and evenings at the gym. Sometimes it looks like the 10 am Club and evening naps before a late-night session in the studio. Redefine your hustle and have the faith to trust your way of doing things is not only good enough but is the right way for you. If you're wrong, you can always change your approach and try again.
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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