Lisa Downer has 11 years of experience as an HR professional with various Fortune 500 companies. She has coached and trained innumerable executive leaders to find their dream job/career. She recently opened her own Career Coaching practice to help women in the corporate industry:
- Unlock THEIR Potential
- Tackle THEIR Career Obstacles
- Embrace THEIR Inner LadyBoss
Read our interview with lovely Lisa below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
In the beginning as a HR Professional it was about growth, pushing my limits, and feeling valued. However, in each new management role as I climbed the corporate ladder, I spent less time coaching my management team, and more time running on fumes. Although, I was consistently producing the highest number of management promotions in the regions I supported, the more successful I became, the less I was doing what I loved. Logically, it was time to move on. However, trying to change felt like running in quicksand.
The pivotal moment was recognizing I wasn’t alone. My executive managers were coming to me seeking coaching:
- To unlock their potential
- To overcome the obstacles that were interfering with their progress; and
- Stepping up and shining as a leader
One day, while journaling, I created a job description of the ideal next job for me. This job description craved a flexible schedule, freedom to travel, and ability to help women in business. In this moment, a decision was made, I was going to open my own business as a Career Coach. I enrolled in a Coaching Certification Program at the Coaching Training Institute (CTI) and started acting on creating my Element of Change.
Tell us about your business.
My coaching business helps women who are:
- Unclear about the direction of their career
- Attempting a major career change
- Overwhelmed by their career ideas
- Facing a midlife career slump
- Feeling flat-out stuck
My coaching practice works with women in the corporate industry that enjoy their current job, yet they spend more time (than they would like to admit) imagining how to get to that next position.
Or they are dreaming of a career change and have the perfect idea of what they want, but are unable to find the ideal job. They are frustrated and feel there is no hope. Or they fear making a career change. They have become comfortable where they are and they know that is not acceptable. When the desire to change careers happens later in life, we as women question if the risk is worth it. Instead of reminding ourselves that: “YOU ARE WORTH IT!”
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
I have two promotions:
- 1 FREE 45-minute discovering coaching session for women in business that are feeling stuck-in what’s next in their career move.
- A 3-Month “Un-Lock Your Potential Element Coaching Package” that includes 6 sessions (normally priced at $1,200) but if YOU enter the PROMO CODE “Ladybossblogger” by April 15th, 2017 you will receive the package for $800.00.
Where is your business based?
Denver, Colorado. However, my business is virtual. One of the things I love most is that I have clients globally!
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Step one: I enrolled at the Coaching Training Institute (CTI) to receive training and a coaching certification. CTI is the world’s largest in-person coach training and leadership development school and is at the forefront of helping individuals reach their greatest potential. It was important for me to receive this training to best serve my clients in their career transition and goals.
Step two: I leapt head first into my dreams. I embraced that failure was inevitable and success was paramount! I made sure to try new things (built my website on my own – this was no easy task), asked for help (created a network and tribe of strong female leaders to help support me) and scheduled time to take care of myself (worked on being healthy to role model what I was teaching). Finally, I sought (and succeeded) to find immediate success for my first client. It is so important to me that my clients understand I am fully invested in their success and we are in this together.
Step three: Hired a virtual assistant to help me as I manage my 9-5 job and coaching practice.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Referrals: I have been in the HR field for 11 years and leveraged my relationships with my network of talented leaders to experience a discovery session with me. I offered 1:1 discovery sessions with these leaders to have them experience first-hand what a career coaching session would be and asked them to share their experience with friends and colleagues.
Social Media: specifically Instagram and Snapchat. I share weekly stories on tips and tricks of how to embrace being a LadyBoss in the corporate world. It is a hoot using the filters to connect with my audience and share my business. I leverage Instagram to share thoughts and engage my community in career & health conversations.
Networking events: getting out in the community is key! I currently commit to attending a minimum of two network events a month. I use meetup.com and/or leverage my coaching committee to see what is happening in Denver to get plugged in. This also allows me to volunteer and share my services.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Challenge 1: Embracing that I am not an expert in this new chapter of becoming an entrepreneur.
Challenge 2: It takes time to build a pipeline of clients.
Challenge 3: Hearing the word “no” from potential clients stings.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Challenge 1: Asking for help, signing up for training (webinars workshops) to improve my skills as an entrepreneur.
Challenge 2: Consistent routines in my practice. This is the why I love using Buffer (see below in my favorite tools and resources) to ensure I am still posting on social media even when I am on vacation or anticipate a busy week. Being consistent is important to me and my clients.
Challenge 3: Currently working with my VA to build a platform to engage with my leads. It’s statistically proven it will take 12-15 attempts to convert a no client to a yes client.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I love being outdoors/active to unplug. When I am in a difficult time (busy week, received more no’s this month vs. the previous month, system issues etc.) I remind myself it’s time to unplug. I call it a Lisa “time out.”
“Lisa’s Time Out” includes me unplugging from social media, taking a hike, signing up for a restorative yoga class or signing up for a 1-hour hip-hop class at my favorite dance studio. It’s my time to unwind and clear my mind.
How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
- I have 11 years of experience in HR working for 3 different Fortune 500 companies. This allows me to bring the business element to my coaching sessions.
- I desire connection and build intentional coaching relationships to create a safe environment for my clients to be vulnerable and truly step into their inner LadyBoss.
- I have countless resources (networking and tools) that allow me to provide the means for my client to truly identify their dream job/career.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do!”
I can dream up the best ideas but they don’t mean anything if I don’t do something with it. I go big with my ideas so I can never look back and say “if only I tried this… if only I went with my gut…” #gobigorgohome
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
“Great things never came from comfort zones.” ~ Unknown
Embrace the things that make you uneasy the same way you would embrace the activities/situations that you look forward to. You will be a better leader for it and more than likely help others in the future overcome that same activity/situation.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
- Canva – I use canva for my PowerPoint presentations and social media postings. This allows me to keep the same brand (color, font etc) in everything I share for my coaching practice.
- Trello – to communicate daily/monthly tasks to my VA. If you haven’t tried it, I would highly recommend it. It’s a great platform to capture activities that you set for yourself with an easy way to track what has been completed and/or what is pending.
- Buffer – butter allows me to schedule out all my social media post for the week. This allows me to repurpose content and hit all platforms that I am using to share my business with all LadyBosses out there.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
Recently read “How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, a great reminder of the importance how to make a good first impression.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am currently working on creating a differential and vibrant Facebook Community (through my business page) to create a safe place for women to ask career questions. This platform will allow me to respond with videos. For example; How to prepare for an interview plus tools and resources, How to build a great resume while creating a support group for women in the corporate industry. If you desire to be a part of this join and invite a friend.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
- Goal #1: is to help 10 women in the corporate industry over the next 90 days un-lock their potential and embrace their inner-LadyBoss (Will YOU be one of these 10??)
- Goal #2: build a differential and vibrant Facebook community for women in corporate to help answer all career related questions/concerns.
- Goal #3: help support my tribe of women to improve their energy and maintain a healthy lifestyle as we embark into this entrepreneurial world.