Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Amber Tichenor, Founder of To Be, Coaching + Consulting, located in Richmond, VA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Hi. It's my mission to help women feel empowered, confident, and included. I'm committed to helping women to free the world from frenemies so they can find their sisterhood of support. My name is Dr. Amber Tichenor, and I specialize in female relationships! Specifically, female rivalry and how to overcome it. My business is 'To Be, Coaching + Consulting', and my customers are primarily female leaders/ managers for mid-to large-size organizations. I help leaders in the workplace understand why "Good Women Walk" and how to instill a positive organizational culture of psychological safety to attract and retain talent.
Tell us about yourself
My history in the corporate world taught me a lot about how people work, lead and interact with each other. I've found it's not enough to just break out of a comfort zone - we all need support to have great relationships without rivalry or sabotage. I think the most meaningful credential I can share with you about who I am isn't that I have a Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational (I/O) Psychology or about my book, "Behind Frenemy Lines,"
I'm a daughter, a wife, a mother, and a confident woman who surrounds herself with other incredible women so we can support, inspire and uplift one another fiercely. I live in Richmond, VA, with my husband, two kiddos, and fur-baby Stella. I initially began collecting female rivalry stories about 15 years ago, circa 2007, as research interviews for my Ph.D. dissertation. I needed to focus on an issue in the working environment for my topic. I knew I wanted to also focus on women because I am very passionate about women's issues, especially workplace issues. Until that point, while I'd been exposed to certain types of "passive-aggressive, non-tangible, mean-girl, or Queen Bee behaviors," I'd not yet experienced a full-on rivalry that was targeted directly toward me, in or out of the workplace. The purpose of my research study was to give voice to these women who'd experienced rivalry within a working environment. Although I hadn't been on the receiving end of it, I saw firsthand the outcomes of the behavior. I saw what it did to the women on the receiving end. How cruel the behavior was, how passive-aggressive and disruptive - not only to the targeted individual involved but to the organizational culture. I wondered why this sort of behavior seemed to occur predominantly between women. While it's been shown that some men act inappropriately in the workplace towards women, they typically do not show these behaviors to other men or even women, for that matter. Utterly astonishing to me was the fact that the negative behavior continually seemed just to be "swept under the rug" because it wasn't talked about. There it was, this big pink fat looming elephant, just sitting there - but people tip-toed around it. Organizations were doing nothing to deal with it, and the women experiencing it had zero support. By ignoring it, the organizations were endorsing the negative behaviors, and so it continued. This endless cycle of negativity motivated me to research and write about it.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I've been able to 'niche-down' and truly pinpoint what I'm passionate about and what I'm able to offer. I offer something very specific to the world - how to deal, address and cope with female rivalry in the workplace. It's a topic that's not frequently addressed but hugely disruptive to the working environment. It's from niching-down that I was able to write my recent book, "Behind Frenemy Lines: Rising Above Female Rivalry To Be Unstoppable Together."
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
It's you representing you and selling you (or what you do) - your brand, your work, your name. There's no one to fall back on except yourself. It's easy to second guess or doubt - but you have to kick those thoughts to the curb as they'll get you nowhere, fast.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be open to change.
- Be very clear about your offerings: What you are doing/ what you are selling.
- Hire a business coach.
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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