Self-Starter Stories: From student career guidance counselor to career happiness mentor
This week's #selfstarterstory features Soma Ghosh, founder of 'The Career Happiness Mentor', a web-based mentoring service.
www.PickYourself.co.uk caught up with Soma to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey.
What was your last job?: I was a school's careers adviser, here I helped young people decide what their post-16 options were and worked with students to help them make informed decisions about all their options including advising about apprenticeships and university.
Looking back, what lead you to be where you are today?: I was made redundant in 2010 and this really had a huge impact on my personality and my decisions about my career and life after that.
What was the most challenging part of starting a business?: The most challenging part is actually getting started because it is an unknown territory. It's not something you can do by yourself so the first thing I did was make sure I hired a coach to help me get started.
When did you choose to PICK YOURSELF instead of waiting to be chosen by someone else?: I choose to pick myself for quite a few different reasons!
- I knew I wanted more than just what I was doing I just wasn't sure what it was at the time but I felt at heart I was definitely meant for more.
- One of my family members was going through a terminal illness and was also very young. This made me question everything and really re-assess and my life.
- I realised if I didn't change things I would continue to be unhappy in my life and I didn't want to live a life half-lived.
- I have always been a bit different and nothing lights me up more than my business and helping others.
What did you learn from your worst boss?: That you can knock me down but I will always keep fighting and come back stronger each time.
What is your favourite business book and why?: I have a few but my overall favourite is "The Big Leap" by Gay Hendricks.
It's a great book about going out of your comfort zone and living your life to its full potential without any excuses, as he calls it your 'upper limit problems'.
Do you do everything yourself? What do you outsource?: At present, it is just me. I have outsourced my web design and branding previously which had a big impact on my business. I am looking to get a VA (virtual assistant) as I get busier but at the moment I do manage things by myself and outsource when needed.
What is your productivity secret?: Planning, planning and planning. It's important to set up a plan or schedule for the week ahead. I normally do this every Sunday afternoon or evening. I enter my tasks for the day in my Google Calendar and this helps me keep on track of things.
I also have assigned days for different tasks. Monday is my admin day. Tuesday is my writing day. Wednesday and Thursday I take calls with clients. On Fridays I take calls if need be and do any outstanding admin.
What is your favourite marketing tool ?: Linkedin - This is where most of my ideal clients congregate and it's generally a great networking site.
How do you market your business?: I market my business predominantly through word-of-mouth. Online, I market through Linkedin and Facebook. I have two Facebook groups I run. One is a community group for my tribe. The other group I run is a networking group.
I believe you can only be successful in business if you continue to develop relationships with others and give more than receiving. So I am also passionate about helping and supporting other business owners because it's not easy, and for me, collaboration is a very important and key part of business success. I have also recently been approached by some members in my group for business mentorship.
When you first launched, how did you get your first paying customers?: I got my first paying clients through Facebook. I established a really good relationship with an admin of a Facebook group who recommended me to the women in her group and it all started from there. As well as through my own community that I run online.
How did you get your first traffic to your website?: I got my first traffic to my website through promoting it on social media. My business mentor, also helped me to drive traffic.
What would you say to someone who is toying with the idea to start a business but haven't yet?: Make sure you are clear about what type of business you want, who your audience or ideal client is, and what niche you'd be serving.
It's essential to do market research around this to find out what your clients and customers actually want. Also, it is important to make sure you do 'mindset work' regularly and to surround yourself with people who are already successful in an arena you're entering into, as this helps lift you up, and provides you with a lot of insight and motivation.
Lastly, if you can get a mentor or join a mastermind group do this. It will really help you with ongoing accountability and to stop you putting off necessary things to help your business thrive.
If you could have dinner with one entrepreneur, who would it be and why?: I would love to have dinner with Robin Sharma. I really love his book "The Monk who sold his Ferrari".
Its an important book for me personally and I recommend it to my clients, because he's a model of career unhappiness to career happiness. His story (although fiction) is based a bit on his own life.
My father was a Lawyer and he too pursued creating his own practice after stepping away from being a criminal lawyer. I would love to ask him what makes so many lawyers great business people as this is a pattern I am seeing recently.
Unfortunately my father passed away when I was 6, so I never got to ask him this question but he was a born leader.
I love what Robin stands for and his philosophy about leadership. His work helps me so much and I would have a lot of interesting questions to ask him. I also feel I am a spiritual person and a lot the things he talks about in his vlogs resonate with me so much. Definitely, someone, I look up to alot and feel he has really inspired my business journey.
To keep up to date with Soma's journey, follow her via her social media channels below:
Soma Ghosh has qualified for the #PickYourselfUK Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award 2017.
If you'd like to enter yourself or nominate a small business entrepreneur for this award, please submit your story below.