Friday 9 August 2013

2Inspire business profile: Clare Whalley, Life and Business coach at Meta4 Coaching & Training Solutions

Clare Whalley turned her back on an unhappy career to focus on personal development. Her Company, Meta4  provides extensive coaching to individuals and businesses in order for them to achieve successful rewards. Today, she provides 2Inspire with great tips for those who want to be fulfilled and rewarded through business. 

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you? 

All my days are different as I have a varied business. All days start with my doing a plan for what I need to do throughout the day, a ‘to do’ list.
My day tomorrow includes: chairing a Women’s Networking group that I run independently with a small committee. It starts at 9.45, so I will be hosting the members and guests
and then facilitating the meeting until 12pm. We have 60 seconds business presentations from all the members and visitors, a business support section and speaker slots, plus referrals.
From the meeting at 1pm, I’ll be implementing some marketing for a workshop I’ll be running in 2 weeks time; Growing & Sustaining a Successful Business.
Planning for clients for the week ahead.
Putting together plans for Social Media campaigns
Plus, the final touches on an application for some training & development work I’m aiming to win.
Busy day, but finished up by 5pm.
What made you start the business and how did you get started?
I used to work for BT, went into their Graduate Scheme and worked with them for 8 years. I was unhappy for the last 5 years! I had the opportunity to work in India for 2 months where I developed a training package and migrated some work out there. It made me realise that I could do this for myself. I came back, went to see a Life Coach; partly because I really needed to work out what I wanted to do, but also I was interested in personal development. From there I decided to resign!! I left in February 2007 and signed up for an NLP course. This gave me the tools I needed to set up my own coaching and training business. I had a teaching degree and had completed lots of sales, customer service courses as part of my BT training, so felt equipped. I have to say; in retrospect, I don’t think anything can equip you for self-employment!!
What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
Having left BT without a penny to my name, having had a company car, free phone, laptop etc, to be 7 years on, running a successful business achieving all the personal and business goals I set myself.
The greatest accomplishment has to be winning contracts with Colleges who deliver to local business, to run Presentation and Communication Skills workshops when presenting was something, 8 years ago I was terrified of doing.
What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
As a business owner I think challenges are never far away; however, I think looking back the 1st 6 months in business have to be the most challenging. My husband is also self-employed and always has been and even then I still had no idea what it would be like to start each month from scratch, earning for myself. You have to be great at sales, marketing, PR and a whole other raft of skills and if you’re not you quickly have to learn how to be. There are lots of networking groups out there that offer help and support and it was  a group I joined early on that helped me realise that there were other business owners out there dealing with the same issues and advice was soon flowing on how to combat them
What are your future plans for the business?
I set goals for my business every year at the start of January. I look to the next 12 – 18 months. I set visual goals for what I want to achieve in business and what I want to achieve personally. This year I’ve aimed to work with more start-up businesses as I believe that there’s little help out there and it’s such a minefield of information. Having a coach from the outset will help you work out exactly what you want to achieve and help you put the steps in place to get you there in the quickest and most cost efficient way. My plans for the next 12 months are to work with more people looking to improve their presentation and communication skills. It’s a key skill to have as a business owner. If you can’t communicate or present well what you do, it’s almost impossible to sell your products and services.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Not a thing. Everything you do in business is a learning experience. If you make a mistake, you correct it, learn from it and move on.
Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
Anybody can run their own business. I am seeing more and more women starting their own business and joining networking groups. Lots of women come to see me who are in a career they hate (just like I used to) and are afraid of saying I want to run my own business. In fact, lots of women open with ‘oh, you’ll laugh...’ For some reason there’s a huge lack of confidence and self-belief. But I see those women again in 2 years time and they’ve cracked it. Women have the really important skills needed to be successful: commitment, passion for your product and an open-mind. If you have these attributes then all other skills to run a sustainable and successful business will come with experience and time.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Go for it!! What’s the worst that could happen? I would say go and seek out a coach. You’ll be amazed at what can be achieved in a short amount of time and will set your plans in place for the next 12 months, avoiding lots of time and money wasted on NOT getting customers!

What or who inspires you in business and why?
My husband, Rob, he’s been running his own business for 17 years, getting up at 5am most days to see clients (he’s got a Personal training business). He’s always upbeat, positive and supportive in all I do and aim for.

    What is your favourite inspirational quote?
‘If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it’. I’ve won lots of business with this quote in mind!

Contact Details
Clare Whalley – 07739 196896


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