Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Janelle Howell, Owner of Training by Nelle, LLC., located in Winston-Salem, NC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I own and operate Training by Nelle LLC, a corporate training consultancy designed to empower remote and hybrid employees through engagement, collaboration, learning, and accessibility. Specifically, I partner with remote-first companies and organizations with a hybrid work model to provide soft skills training, virtual facilitation, and people enablement strategy.
Tell us about yourself
I’m a passionate and highly outgoing Talent Development practitioner with over 16 years of experience in training, coaching, and public speaking. Having served on workforce development/advisory councils since age 15, pursuing the training route seemed like the natural career path for me.
I’ve always had an interest in helping others improve professionally. To make a long story short, after I graduated with my Master of Science in Organizational Development & Leadership, I was determined to start my own business and make a difference. I was frustrated with the lack of investment in training and learning, and development in the workplace as I moved into different roles throughout my time as an on-site and remote employee.
Watching new hires make a dash for the door due to unstructured training and lack of coaching and companies overlooking simple yet innovative ways to improve the employee experience was disheartening. I always keep my experiences and observations like these in the forefront of my mind, especially given the current state of crisis in the workplace is in. This keeps me motivated as I always want to be a positive force for change, working hard to ensure both the employee and the company win.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is seeing positive results from my clients. When I get an email from a past participant who found success in implementing my techniques from my training session, or a company experiencing growth in productivity, I feel a sense of personal gratification. Knowing I’ve made a real impact on a personal and organizational level is truly rewarding.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Understanding that you can’t do it all. At some point, you have to start delegating your minor tasks (i.e., administrative, sales, HR, etc.) and focus on conducting your actual business. If hiring outside help (even temporary) isn’t an option at the moment, start looking at different systems and workflows to get the job done for you. The more you can automate and outsource - the better.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Pace yourself. It can be tempting to jump in headfirst when starting a business, but you want to educate yourself as much as possible about the basics (i.e., adopting the appropriate legal structure, managing finances, determining start-up costs, etc.). You will be wearing many hats at the beginning, and the more knowledgeable and prepared you are, the better position you can put your business in. More importantly, learning the ins and outs of sales and marketing will be essential to your growth. Tap into as many free resources as you can online - webinars, podcasts, eBooks, courses, etc. and set a realistic timetable for deadlines, product/service launches, and special go-live dates.
- Believe in yourself. You have to be your biggest fan and make it a habit to use positive self-talk. Use daily affirmations and meditation to keep a clear mind and focus. Throughout your entrepreneurial journey, you will have to stay headstrong through adversity and block out the naysayers and trolls. Prioritize cultivating a group of family, friends, peers, and mentors who truly respect and support your vision. At the end of the day, make sure you aren’t the main source of negativity, telling yourself you don’t have enough experience or what it takes to succeed. Mind over matter. Keep the faith and keep going.
- Make sure you REALLY have a passion for what you do. There will be days you may question why you’re even doing this. You may feel overwhelmed and ready to give up at times, and it’s during those dark days and times of uncertainty you need to remember your purpose. Always keep your passion at the forefront.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Remote and hybrid work models are here to stay - whether you’re on board or not. Adapting to change is never easy, but it’s essential in order to survive. For actionable tips and insights related to remote and hybrid work, feel free to check out my blog.
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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