You may remember Helen from her guest post ‘How To: Anatomy of a Perfect Pinterest Pin‘; she’s the brains behind The Start-Up Studio, helping aspiring entrepreneurs to find their purpose, start their business and quit the job that no longer makes them happy. And of course, we’re all about starting awesome businesses here at Desk Life Project! Helen told us all about her own entrepreneurial journey, and how she helps people do what they love.
Hi Helen! You describe yourself as a “business strategist, coach, entrepreneur and self-confessed business geek”. How did you get started wearing all of these hats?
Yes it’s definitely a lot of hats! But they all work really well together. I have always loved business and working out what makes one person succeed and another person struggle. I studied Economics at university and then trained in strategy with one of the top consulting firms worldwide, Accenture. I learnt so much about business fundamentals, strategy and implementation. However I felt my calling to offer more in the world was unanswered so I joined The Prince’s Trust, the leading youth charity in the UK. I trained and coached hundreds of entrepreneurs to explore and start small businesses. It brought it all alive for me and I found my absolute passion for supporting others to achieve their potential through entrepreneurship. I’ve freelanced, supporting large organisations with business planning and financial forecasting, and also started and now run a property business. I bring this 10 years of experience and passion into The Start-Up Studio, where I support driven entrepreneurs who want more simplicity, success and fun in their businesses. I just love helping people in the fun, creative, messy stages of starting and growing a business.
How did you go about setting up your business, and did you have any struggles doing this in the beginning?
There was no real start date for my business as it was an extension of what I had been doing freelancing. However I started with the end in mind. This is where I always encourage my clients to start as well. I spent time working out what I wanted my business to look like in a year’s time (if you try to think too far ahead it can feel overwhelming). What did I want to feel when I was running my business? I then worked out where I was (I did a mini audit if you like) looking at what was working, what my skills were, what I needed to learn. Then I worked out my interim goals and my 90 day strategy with action steps. This basically meant I had a road map with small manageable steps to get me to my overall goals. Absolutely there were struggles, of the hundreds of entrepreneurs I have worked with I have not met a single one who didn’t face struggles at some point in their business. It is more worrying if you don’t as you’re either oblivious to problems or living and working in your comfort zone. The biggest struggle for me was getting used to not having a set routine, schedule and a boss holding me accountable. You have to be so much more disciplined when you are an entrepreneur and I definitely wasted days at the start focusing my time and energy on the wrong things and not focusing enough.
For those who have never experienced any form of business coaching before, what is it and who can it benefit?
This is a tough one as everyone has different definitions of coaching. I actually offer a bit of a hybrid of training, mentoring, coaching and strategy so clients get the best of all the worlds! How I work really depends on the style of the individual client and what stage they are at. I essentially work with them to help them realise their business ambitions. I do this by helping them nail their vision, working out their strategic action steps to get there and supporting them to take huge action. For me success is all about vision, strategic action and confidence and I work on all these areas. We usually meet online for weekly meetings to talk about the help they need, and I provide follow up emails with extra resources and workbooks. I provide support in between sessions via email, this can be for anything from how to overcome mindset issues they are having to reviewing their website copy. I work with people from idea through to growth so essentially if you have a motivation to start a business, or you have your why but don’t know the ‘how’, or you have been running your business for a while but are stuck as to how to really make it a success, then I can help you. The main requirement is that you are determined and willing to take consistent action to succeed.
What kind of things do you help entrepreneurs with?
I help with anything and everything needed to start and run a business, a bit of a one-stop-shop. The early stages of setting your vision and strategy, how to set yourself up for success through mindset and confidence work, creating a strong foundation with market research, service and product design, core messages of your business. We then move onto the build so looking at copywriting, websites, pricing, website design, branding, operational details, financial forecasting and bookkeeping systems, visibility plans and then onto launch and beyond. It is all tailored to what areas the client really needs support in.
Based on your experience with clients, what do you think is the number one roadblock that entrepreneurs face when starting their business?
Am I allowed two? People often know what they want to achieve but have no idea how to go about doing it so they get easily overwhelmed with what they don’t know and also easily frustrated that they aren’t achieving their business aspirations as quickly as they want. The second roadblock is definitely themselves. I have faced this myself when starting out. We all have worries, confidence issues and limiting beliefs, but when you start your own business a great big spotlight is shone on them and it takes courage and work to set yourself up for success.
What’s the biggest lesson you learned in starting your own business?
Don’t try to do ‘all the things all of the time’. I was so tempted to try every strategy that I knew and got quickly overwhelmed and stuck. I have learnt to focus on a few things, do them well, master them, see if they work and then move on. There is plenty of time, you are hopefully in business for the long term so you have time to see what suits you and your market.
Do you have any advice for those who are sitting on a business idea but don’t know where to begin?
Absolutely, definitely seek help and keep yourself accountable. I am not saying that help is coaching (although it could be), but it is essential that you don’t embark on this journey alone as it is too easy to give up on your dream idea when you face your first hurdle. Reach out to your community, join a group of other entrepreneurs online, immerse yourself in the business world, find a coach, tell people what you want to do and why so you are held accountable, and you feel supported in your business journey.
Where can everyone get in touch with you and find out more about your services?
My website is www.thestartupstudio.co.uk. I’d love for you to join my growing tribe of entrepreneurs in my Facebook group where you can get:
1) Coaching support from an experienced start up mentor (me!)
2) Clear strategic advice on how to start your business
3) Masterclasses on key business themes to help you upskill and uplevel your business
4) A supportive community of fab entrepreneurs like you
See you in there: Join the Facebook group here.