Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in coaching but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sara Wang, founder of VIV Coaching, located in Burnaby, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
VIV Coaching is a Metro Vancouver-based coaching business focusing on leadership, strategic development, and change management. We offer Executive business coaching services to small-medium-sized businesses, social enterprises, and non-profit organizations who are looking to thrive in today's ever-changing world.
We work with entrepreneurs and leaders who are frustrated with consistent revenue growth, overwhelmed with catching up capacity to meet increasing demand, or hesitant between funding and spending. They're doing OK but know that money is passing them by month after month, and feeling stressed or drained.
A lot of our clients have some decent marketing and operational systems in place, but they are looking to accomplish big goals that have in the past required a lot of effort. Whether that's with regards to:
• Getting more high-quality prospects on their calendars without overpaying for it.
• Inspiring their team to drive more consistent sales opportunities.
• Spending every dollar more efficiently with higher ROI.
• Or more funding to grow faster.
Our clients are mostly small-medium-sized B2B Service providers that create sustainable values and impacts on the community and the world. Such as consulting firms, coaching and training companies, and accounting and financial service providers.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Sara WANG; I'm the founder of VIV Coaching. What I'm here to do is to change the way leaders and entrepreneurs work with coaches and make the world a better place because of it.
The idea of VIV coaching came from the start of this pandemic in 2020 when I volunteered at local non-profits. I helped businesses and organizations overcome obstacles and grow in challenging times by mentoring and coaching entrepreneurs and non-profit leaders. I recognized the unsustainable patterns of traditional coaching practices and the immense emotional factors playing in our decision-making and actions that coaches often ignore. This is why I decided to create VIV to change the way leaders and entrepreneurs work with coaches. More importantly, I want to share my global experience and expertise to help others to thrive.
At its core, VIV Coaching is my desire to make a lasting impact on the world by helping others to thrive. VIV guides leaders through change and growth. When businesses and non-profit organizations grow, the economy and community grow, too. The ripple effect will lead to more jobs, better lives, a healthier environment, and the efforts of the non-profit growth would directly lead to a more socially just, equal, inclusive, and connected community and a more liveable planet.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
- As an executive coach:
• get eight distributors in a month.
• get six times more funding than expected.
• Increase the value of their service by six times.
- As the Managing Partner of the management consulting firm, I had triple grown the company across three continents against the 2009 global financial crisis by strategically transforming the consulting firm in traditional industries into an expert and advocate in renewable energy and sustainable development.
- Resurrected the exhibition from a major emergency crisis just 30 hours ahead of the 2008 Olympics Opening. As the Curator, organized the Canning Stock Route Exhibition for the first time ever Olympic Expo in 2008, a social project for BHP Billiton and the Australian Government, supporting over 300 aboriginal communities in the desert of Australia to preserve their history, culture, art and to provide education and job opportunities, and advocacy for cultural inclusion and sustainability. Received commendation from the IOC officials for hosting the best exhibition at the Olympic Expo.
- Initiated and led from idea to the completion of a philanthropic project to rebuild an elementary school of nearly 2000 students as an immediate response to a massive natural disaster in 2008. Formed a cross-party team of experts and raised over 2 million euros (CA$3M) in one week. As a result, the school was complete with an international and green building standard incorporated with solar energy, 60% cost-saving, and the school was named after my company.
- As the senior consultant for overseas business development of the world's largest steel company ArcelorMittal, she created and led the “City of Tomorrow” initiative in its main target market China, and organized a cross-industry conference and exhibition in 2007 in partnership with international and local government authorities, business organizations, the world experts of urban planning, architect firms, research institutes.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
To be an inspiring and empowering leader is really about pivoting the dance with everyone in your team, really getting to know them and what matters to them. Sometimes it can be a very subtle line to keep the balance of the dance.
I learned it from my own mistakes. When I was in my early 20s, I had very high expectations for myself and my staff. Sometimes, my assistant wouldn’t deliver a perfect job, I felt it was much more efficient if I just did it myself. I then started to feel a contraction when she spoke to me as if she was afraid of me. I realized that my expectations were too high, and I noticed that I was negatively impacting her and her confidence. I realized it was not productive.
What did I do to change? I started to engage with her, learn what was important to her, trust her ability, give her tasks and allow her to make mistakes but to learn from them. As a leader, I learned to become more flexible and open-minded, to focus on praising and encouraging progress instead of trying to be perfect.
Over time, I built a self-motivating company culture, which encourages challenge and innovation, promotes self-improvement and entrepreneurial spirit, and allows mistakes and continuous learning. One of my former staff one day invited me for coffee thanking me for the "life-changing" experience of working with me.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- "All dreams can become true as long as you dare to dream!" It'll take your determination, commitment, persistence, consistency, and a bit of time.
- "Money does grow from trees": Replace the word "spend" money with "invest" money. You plant a seed and grow fruits.
- Figure out your "WHY": most people fail for working so hard on the what and how but not getting clarity of why they do what they do. Your purpose is the driving force and the source of your motivation that keeps you coming back at times when you fall off track.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
- Sustainability: When speaking about sustainability, people often think about the environment or climate change. To me, sustainability is so much beyond the environment. It is only one aspect of it. Sustainability is really about that forward-thinking mindset combined with a holistic view to create both tangible and intangible values and impact for lasting consistence growth rather than a short-term money gain.
- ROI: I believe in "work smart rather than work hard." It's all about efficiency & effectiveness. Every entrepreneur cares about ROI, but to me, the Investment is so much beyond the money investment. It is all aspects of your resources. Focus on what really matters, and get the best outcome possible with minimum resources (investment).
- Getting support: at entrepreneurs, we can sometimes feel isolated, lots of things we can't really share with our staff or family and friends. Don't hesitate to reach out for support! That's why I have created an entrepreneurs peer group to support each other's growth journey.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.