Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in coaching but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Karen Pambianchi, Founder of Swift Water Life Coach, located in Merrimac, MA, USA.

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

Swift Water Life Coach supports corporate professionals in navigating the challenges of being pulled in a million directions and their desire to succeed in their careers and outside the office. With so many demands, success-driven employees are vulnerable to burnout and feeling overwhelmed daily. Through the power of coaching, I help these managers and team leaders prioritize their values. To create sustainable habits that align with their goals for their careers and their personal lives.

Tell us about yourself

Coaching is a lifestyle for me. Naturally curious, I've been known to ask questions, dig deeper and understand more thoroughly. There's always more beneath the surface, and what's beneath the surface has a great deal more influence than we give credit until we reach the point of physical, mental, or emotional breakdown.
I sought out my own life coach nearly two decades ago because I wanted to show up differently in my life. The results were amazing. I increased my self-awareness while simultaneously changing my attitude and behaviors almost subconsciously. I leaned into who I was and what I had to offer and stopped trying to change who I was - and it changed my life. I took control. I built a career I loved, designed my life around the people in it, and held on to myself. I want to help my clients do the same thing in their own lives. I love when a client has an "ah-ha moment." A moment when they see something from a new perspective or have an idea appear because of what we explored. It brings to life what coaching is all about
everyone has everything they need to achieve their maximum potential. Sometimes they need help finding it.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is expanding my coaching business to support organizations and individuals. Building business connections within corporations and being able to help groups of employees to engage with each other and learn individually has been a highlight of my business journey.

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

The hardest thing about being a business owner is feeling alone. Even with my growing network, there are days when it feels lonely to make every decision and play so many roles in my business. It's been critical to my success as a coach and a business owner to build up my network of business owners and coaching colleagues to help navigate growing and scaling my business and to ensure I'm serving my clients to the best of my ability.

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

For anyone looking to start a business, I'd first say congratulations on having the courage to explore it! My top three tips would be:

  1. Build a network of people you like and trust.
  2. Don't compare your business to other businesses.
  3. Pivoting is all part of the process.

As I already shared, having a network of business owners and colleagues in my industry has greatly benefited me. I have learned a lot about different facets of my business (marketing, finance, operations, etc.) from business owners in other industries. Sharing industry knowledge and best practices with other coaches have helped my business and my skills as a coach. It has also allowed me to serve my clients and potential clients best by having a solid referral network. I am growing my business alongside raising two young children. As a result, I currently make many business decisions based on my family. As a result of my priorities, my business growth is intentionally slow and steady. Imposter syndrome can easily creep in if I compare my business to others. Instead, I compare my business from two years ago to where it is today. Who I serve and how I can confidently honor my family priorities and celebrate tremendous growth. I could easily get down if I only compared other businesses at different stages. Every year I have been in business, I learned something significant about my clients and myself. The knowledge guided me to make adjustments and pivots in how I serve my clients. Pivoting is part of the process. It can feel redundant and takes work on the business side to align your communications, but being agile and willing to shift has also enabled my business to grow in ways I couldn't have imagined. It's part of the process if you can embrace it and lean into it, pivoting can serve your business well.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Starting and building my business is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. It's not always easy, but it's always worth it.

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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