I am the founder of XL Consulting Group, a consultancy helping businesses with strategy, business and marketing plans as well as website design. We help many people who are setting up their businesses for the first time or businesses that require a new direction. After a 30 year career as a marketing executive and corporate CEO, I thought all this valuable business experience in a large international corporation could be used to help people start their own businesses or increase revenues in an existing business.It was after I started my consultancy that I realized many of my women clientele had similar questions about how to start a business and that led me to author “Fabulous Fempreneurship” a business startup book for women entrepreneurs. Before the book was published early in 2016 I understood it was important to give ongoing support to women entrepreneurs rather than just getting a book in print.
From the book project a website was created for Fabulous Fempreneurship and also a mastermind on Facebook which has almost 500 members. Mentorship is extremely important to me, so I developed a mentorship program on the Fabulous Fempreneurship website to offer free help to women who are just getting started in the hopes of making their entrepreneurship dream a reality. More programs to help women entrepreneurs are in development and it’s exciting to be a part of this whole movement to change the business landscape for women.
ES: I am a morning person, so I get up typically around 6:30 am. The first thing I do is check my email to see if there is anything important that needs an immediate reply. Next I post on the Fabulous Fempreneurship Facebook mastermind and check out the other postings to engage with other members of the community. I also post to Twitter and look for interesting people I can highlight in the community, either for the quarterly newsletter or the Fabulous Fempreneurship blog. During the rest of a typical day I am working on projects for clients. My day ends by checking my email one final time and writing a list of things to get accomplished the following day.
ES: The number one thing I do is eat healthy. No processed foods, everything cooked from scratch. I try to exercise at least 3x per week to stay in the best physical shape.
ES: I have retained the same business model but the biggest change has been how to network effectively for results. I find most of my clients come from recommendations from people I have developed relationships with. In my previous career as a corporate executive, relationships were mainly with businesses within the industry who already knew the reputation of our corporation and therefore business development was quite easy. Working with SME’s is quite a bit different from working with large corporations, so I have concentrated on building strong individual relationships. Funnily enough, some of my current clients have come from my original corporate ties.
ES: The biggest challenge this year was the publication of my book “Fabulous Fempreneurship” and marketing the book to different sectors.RB: Describe what innovation means in your business and how do you go about it.
ES: Innovation is important to XL Consulting Group because our clients come to us for advice about starting companies. We are always researching industries for our clients before we help them with business and marketing plans. We also keep up with the world of “Wordpress”, the platform we use to design websites for our customers.
RB: How do you balance being a “big dreamer” vs setting realistic goals for your business?
ES: I’m hot on S.M.A.R.T. goals and I keep my goals to 3 practical business goals and one kick ass big dream goal. This way I can concentrate on a few key items and keep the goals realistic and manageable, while at the same time having a large dream that I’m constantly working on, one step at a time.
RB: Who or what motivates you to keep going with your business? And Why?
ES: My business is my passion so it is easy to keep going because women entrepreneurs at whatever stage they are at in their business are at the core of what I do. We help men entrepreneurs, of course, but women need an extra helping hand as they have been late to the entrepreneur game and therefore helping them succeed is my biggest reward.
RB: Has your definition of success changed since you have started your business? If so, how?
ES: When I started my business I wanted to make a difference to help startups be successful, even if they had limited business experience. That was the original definition of my own success and I am on my way to achieving this goal.
RB: What would you say is the most important skill required to run a business?
ES: Running a business takes a lot of different skills, especially at the beginning. You have to have tremendous determination to be an entrepreneur, because many times in the first couple of years you may feel like ditching the whole business because it is so hard. Only the determined make it through those rough beginning years.
RB: There are a lot of myths about entrepreneurs. Now that you have started and are successfully running your own business what would you say is the biggest myth? What have you learned most from it.
ES: Many people think being an entrepreneur means you have a lot of free time but the opposite is true. You are always working ‘in’ or ‘on’ your business 24/7. I have learned to switch off and take a breather when time allows and the remainder of the time I have learned to prioritise, stay focused and make the most of every day.