Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Yvonne Ingalls, Executive Coach of Holosophy Leadership Consulting, located in Austin, TX, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I'm an executive coach, and I help leaders who are going through big inflection points - getting promoted into a big new job or joining a new company at a senior level. These transitions are super exciting and can be a bit terrifying. You go from being at the top of one game to the bottom of the next game. Confidence takes a hit, and what should be a time of 'taking flight' feels like getting dragged over speed bumps. I help leaders who are bold enough to put themselves out there to navigate through this transition faster, with more grace and less burnout.

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Tell us about yourself

I've been throwing myself into the deep end of life experiences for most of my career - moving to work in Paris, India, and Copenhagen, starting up a small business within GE with minimal experience in any aspect of that work (sales, product development, pricing strategy) starting my own business. I'm grateful for all of these adventures ... and I've 'white knuckled' my way through each one at a cost to my own well-being. I want it to be different for others who are willing to take a big leap - yes, it will be uncomfortable, and yes, you will stumble ... as a coach, I help them do what they dream of while growing in ways they never imagined. I love this work because I have been my target customer!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I have designed and facilitated a lot of leadership development programs. Most of them were 'bespoke' customs just for the group that gathered. I had a client who wanted to create a leadership program for 350 managers in cities all over the world. I had the honor of coaching 12 business leaders into being my co-facilitators, and we delivered that program in North America, Europe, and Asia with a nearly perfect net promoter score. It was so well received they wanted to offer it to ALL employees, so we scaled it up, and over the course of 5 years, more than 4000 people went through that program, and the NPS score continued to be nearly perfect. It was the largest-scale thing I've ever done and challenged every aspect of my business (design, logistics, client management). It's the most beloved thing I've ever created for an organization, and it was an absolute joy!

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Isolation. When I worked at a company, there were people around to stimulate my thinking, challenge me, support me, go get coffee, and laugh like idiots. I'm a solopreneur, and often, it's just me and myself in a room trying to design an offer or figure out a tough problem. I have created outlets for myself and other solopreneurs to get the community we all benefit from (bi-monthly get-togethers of exec coaches in Austin calls to discuss issues facing our industry, like AI design sprints to help each other come up with cool things.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Get crystal clear about what you want to offer and why. Get really adept at talking about it, yourself and what you stand for.
  2. Starting and growing a business is hard and will require things of you that you're not prepared for and won't like. Ramp up your self-awareness - what's going to be challenging for you about this endeavor (maybe you don't like sales, maybe getting more visible in your marketplace makes you cringe, etc). Get help from a coach who specializes in what you need.
  3. Dedicate a big chunk of time to talking to current and target customers. It's easy to mistake our passion for their desire, so find out what they really need, what it's like in their shoes, and how it feels to interact with your product.

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