Shannon Whaley is a Women’s Business and Marketing Coach for passionate and driven, service-based entrepreneurs who are ready to shift their hobbies into thriving and sustainable businesses. She has built her company, Traveling Wild Woman, upon her values of Freedom, Adventure, and Passion and helps women all over the world build businesses they are proud of. Her passion is storytelling and helping women reclaim their voice and use their own stories to market their business in a way that feels like talking with an old friend. Read our interview with the lovely Shannon below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I knew from a young age that I wanted to be of service to women and help them live a fulfilling and exciting life, however, I didn’t know exactly what that was going to look like. I’d spent six years in social services as a Domestic Violence Crisis Counselor as well as a Drug and Alcohol Intervention Specialist, and while the work was rewarding, it was so hard on my heart. I had to step away for nine years as I figured out what it was I actually wanted to do. I moved abroad to the Cayman Islands in 2013 with the intention of finding myself and figuring out what I wanted to do as an adult, and so I set out on a mission to read as many personal development books and articles on how to find my calling. I stumbled upon the Desire Map, by Danielle Laporte, and things started to click and make sense. I joined her online Facebook community and connected with other women who were doing what I wanted to be doing: coaching women and helping them identify and reach their goals!
My business has evolved, as have I, over the last couple of years, and the women I meet through networking and via social media inspire me daily. There are so many empowered and powerful women doing amazing work and it’s so wonderful to be connected to our bigger vision of helping and healing women all over the world. When I got sober in 2013, I made a commitment to myself to become the best version of myself, and so I am my own motivation. I was not living the life I was meant to live for too many years, and now that I have the clarity and peace that sobriety brings, I am not willing to lose that again.
Tell us about your business
As a Business + Marketing Coach I help women look at the not-as-fun part of being an entrepreneur, and help them get the systems and structures into place so they can build a legitimate business aligned with integrity and their values. Once we have the structures in place, then we are able to move forward with the fun stuff like social media marketing, branding, and sharing their story online in a way that feels good to them.
I can talk about business and marketing stuff all day, but my passion is in storytelling. Every woman has a story to tell, and in the sharing of our stories we heal the shame and guilt that has been associated with it, and in turn heal others. Our stories can help transform our lives, as well as others, and help people feel less alone in their struggles. Our stories are also what set us apart in the sea of coaches/consultants/bloggers, whatever we do. Our stories are unique and brilliant and are what get us noticed and hired. I absolutely love what I do, and it is an honor to support other coaches in creating the business that they have been dreaming about.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Absolutely! I have created a Market Research Guide for entrepreneurs that will help you get clear on your offering, and will help you create products and programs that sell themselves which you can access here.
- Bachelor of Arts, Psychology with a Minor in Women’s Studies
- Certified Yoga Instructor
- Graduate: Coach Training through Inner Glow Circle
- Current Mentor and Coach with Inner Glow Circle
- Student Trainer for Spring ’17 Coach Training, Inner Glow Circle
Where is your business based?
I am based on Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I joined Inner Glow Circle because I knew I was going to need an entire team to help me get to where I wanted to be. It’s a Mastermind of coaches who are there to support women before, during and after coach training programs. I met several of my group and one-on-one coaches within IGC and got the support and training I needed to feel confident as a coach. I also invested in a group coaching program to help me get clarity on my niche and marketing strategy. I also hired a one-on-one coach to help me up-level my business from a part time gig to a full time career. Getting the support has been a total game-changer for me.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
I have relied heavily on social media, so Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, to help me build my business. I have a private Facebook group, The Traveling Wild Woman Coaching Community, that has helped me build my following and credibility amongst my target audience. Reaching out to women online, helping them solve their problems, and offering them support has helped me grow my list. I’m a member of several groups online and show up regularly and powerfully, offering support when I can. I’ve also used my own story as a way to connect with my audience. There are so many pieces to my puzzle. I’m not only a coach, but a yogi, I’m sober, I’m a traveler, and I love cats. Sharing my daily life as well as my struggles has helped me to connect with women on a deeper level.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
My first company was not set up properly, and so five months in I was forced to close the doors of Traveling Wild Woman, Ltd. It took another three months for me to open the second edition of Traveling Wild Woman, which gave me the opportunity to see where my gaps were in my own business, so I could pass the information along to my own clients. I spent all of my time marketing my business and growing, but little time on making sure I had a solid foundation. Bank accounts weren’t separated, the money wasn’t being tracked properly, I didn’t have a healthy business that was sustainable. So in a way it needed to shut down so I could see what I needed to do to have a business that was in integrity and legal. Now that I have learned that lesson firsthand, I am able to pass that along to the women I work with so they are solid from the very beginning.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I cried, I took many deep breaths, and I hired a team of lawyers to make things right. It’s more expensive to clean things up, so now I know to invest in a team from the beginning so there is no mess to clean up. I’ve hired an accountant and a bookkeeper to help me with my finances, budgeting and making sure things are legal so I am protected in the future.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
My vision board is always right in front of me, on my wall in my office. When I take a break and look up, I see pictures of Prague, Brazil, Italy, quotes, and my goals. My “why” keeps me motivated. The women who reach out to me and tell me that my story has helped them. The messages I receive from strangers thanking me for opening up and being so brave. Knowing that I was put on this earth for a reason, even if I don’t know what that is all of the time… I know I was put here to have an impact, and so I continue doing my own personal development to elevate my own consciousness, in service of becoming the best possible version of myself.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
My story is my super power. There are plenty of other Business Coaches out there, but there are no other Shannon Whaley’s. I’m in this business to connect, share and build relationships with. It lights me up knowing that the support I give women is changing their lives. I want to help other coaches feel the way I feel, so they can have their own clients thanking them for changing their lives. My vibe attracts my people, and that’s what sets me apart.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
You’re not going to get to where you want to be on your own. You have to hire people to help you, you have to ask for help, and you have to reach out for support because if you’re going to be badass as you want to be, you won’t get there alone.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Find mentors, join masterminds, surround yourself with people you admire and look up to. Stop telling your dreams to people who don’t understand you. Find women who believe in you, support you and push you to reach farther! People give us advice based on their own limiting beliefs, so check your source when you’re asking for advice. Is the person you’re asking living a life you’re envious of? If not, don’t ask.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
Inner Glow Circle. It’s a mastermind community for coaches where various mentors lead group coaching calls throughout the week. I am a mentor within the community but it’s been such a huge resource and great business building tool for me as well.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Facebook Group www.facebook.com/groups/travelingwildwoman
Hashtags #travelingwildwoman #iamawildwoman
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“Profit First” by Mike Michalowicz. It’s helping me get my business financially healthy and I recommend it to anybody that has a business.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am learning about finances, how to have a financially healthy business, and how to create a group program women are interested in! What I think women want and what they actually want are sometimes two different things!
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
- I have five spots available in my one-on-one practice, so I’m looking to fill that with passionate and driven women who are ALL IN, no plan b, and turning their side gig into a full time career. I am also launching a 9 month group coaching program this month, that’s starting in April, and am looking for 8 powerful and empowered women, who are looking for support to create, build and launch their coaching/consulting business. I am also looking for more speaking engagements and opportunities, both on the island and overseas.
- I have spent the last year nurturing my list, growing my following and building my community. It’s through this relationship building that will help me fill my programs, as well as FB ads, and my referral network.
- I have also joined Toastmasters to improve my public speaking skills, and am reaching out to friends and colleagues who are in the public speaking circuit as well.