Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tiffany Houser, Founder, and CEO of EVOLVE, located in Washington, DC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
EVOLVE partners with leaders who are passionate about retaining and developing your talent and teams because we are passionate about igniting and amplifying leadership qualities in everyone. We are a full-service team of coaches, facilitators, and strategists passionate about people and transformation. With an emphasis on growth mindset coaching, team transformation, and people & relationship skill development [AKA soft skills], our work focuses on creating trust, inclusion, psychological safety, and purpose in teams while unlocking your team's potential, and ownership and vision.
Our work is delivered in 2 main formats:
1:1 coaching to identify strengths, breakdowns, blind spots, and vision to create safety, clarity, and alignment. Coaching focuses on amplifying what's working with your leadership, transforming what's not, and igniting what might be missing. This includes high-level resources, tools, support, and accountability.
Transformational Team Experiences
Our brilliance in designing, leading and facilitating team experiences. Whether it is an offsite, workshop, retreat, panel, town hall, summit, coaching series, breakout sessions, or team-building experience, we are a full-service team who can partner with you in-person, virtual, or in a hybrid format.
Tell us about yourself
My vision is for people fully in their potential as leaders, and master collaborators, engaged with their work and team vision while being adaptive, agile, and fulfilled in all aspects of their lives. People are working in psychologically safe, inclusive, connected, and thriving cultures creating extraordinary results and relationships in and out of the workplace.
This, along with the requests from my existing clients, is what led me to launch EVOLVE. I never set out to start a corporate coaching company. It was my clients who continued bringing me in to coach their teams and facilitate experiences for their teams and clients. I love what we create with our clients at EVOLVE. Watching their leadership and teams transform is such a thrill.
I have also been a SoulCycle Instructor since 2013, which has been an incredible compliment to my coaching. Being an example of work-life integration has taught my clients and me so much when it comes to self-care, boundaries, and empowerment.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Besides what I just mentioned about watching my clients and their teams transform, my biggest accomplishment as a business owner was in 2020. When the pandemic hit, the majority of our 2020 calendar was wiped out. There were some tough days, weeks in fact, where things didn't look or feel hopeful. There were a few moments where I was tempted to hop back into corporate, yet my desire, passion, and expertise held the course.
What I chose instead was to be visible, present, and of service to leaders. I created a live video podcast, where I shared practically every resource, tool, and coaching to anyone who was in the same space as me… uncertain yet determined to move forward.
I also interviewed other leaders, and as a result, our 2021 exploded with opportunities, and we as a company, no pun intended, evolved our offering, which is how we support companies now. So my biggest accomplishment was not giving up when things became massively uncertain.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Oh… that word hard doesn't exist at EVOLVE. It's part of our coaching methodology, which we can talk about later, But boy, there are a few things that are CHALLENGING about being a business owner. The most challenging for me was trusting my team. Even hiring them was incredibly challenging, even though EVOLVE cannot survive as a 1-person operation, nor does that align with our work, which is mostly rooted in a team and how you relate to your colleagues, clients, etc.
Finding people who were aligned with the vision of EVOLVE and also with me felt impossible. I know that was simply my fear and the control to simmer the fear down. I am incredibly grateful for everyone who has and continues to contribute to our work. Honestly, it feels like we are just getting started, given the new path we created in 2021.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The biggest tip is to be yourself. Lean into your authenticity, purpose, and vision. When you're clear on what YOU want and why that matters, you are able to stay the course, even when things become uncertain or challenging. Your ego is going to try at every twist and turn to keep you safe by having you think…
• This is not worth it.
• I am not worth [most likely because you're using that word… hard].
• I need something else [certificate, better website, better marketing, etc.].
• The economy is unstable.
• My competitors are better or farther along.
These are all moments; you get to go back to the reason you started the business. Connect with your vision, your purpose, rather than getting caught up in your ego looking to keep you comfortable and safe.
Not much about being a business owner is comfortable, yet we are grounded in who we are and our purpose, which creates the space to weather the storms.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Test the waters. One of the things that support us is asking people for their feedback and interest level before we create something new. If you are considering starting your own business, ask around people you feel would be potential clients/customers. Start a business that you yourself would be a customer of and learn what makes you a great customer, then find more people like yourself. Sometimes people think ideas aren't great because they are sharing them with people who are not the target demographic. I want to start so many more businesses for things I either want to experience or own that don't exist yet. So I nudge other friends and entrepreneurs to start them up, and I'll support them along the way. And finally, if you truly want to start a business, surround yourself with people who support you. That might mean expanding your existing circle/network, and do not judge those in your existing circle for not supporting you or your idea... yet. It's most likely triggering fear in them. Consider being compassionate and/or accepting they are not currently enrolled in your business idea, and then move on to find those who are. Best wishes!
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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