Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
Business days are often planned a week or weeks in advance. With multiple projects on-the-go most days are not the same. Working to a structured time and workflow schedule keeps me focused and minimises distractions and overwhelm caused by the volume of things that require ongoing attention.
Silence, gratitude, prayer and setting a clear intention for the day is how I like to begin each day. These times of quietness keep me centred through fast-paced days and constant change.
I give priority to making or returning calls and sending or responding to emails as that is how I communicate with potential clients, existing clients, JV partners or suppliers. When an upcoming seminar or conference is on the calendar I have regular telephone updates with my events manager who works remotely. I’ve learnt that building a big dream requires building a great team. I’m still learning to delegate as part of the growth process. After emails and phone calls, I then systematically work through the day’s agenda which could include following up leads, scheduling meetings, preparing for a presentation/workshop/seminar, negotiating with venues for upcoming events or writing my book.
Coaching clients or strategy consulting will often take place in a city meeting room, online or via telephone. On work-at-home days I stick to working UK business hours (9 – 5 or sometimes longer) like I would a corporate job. Being self-employed and working at home requires time discipline. If anything, it can require more discipline than working an office job. Potential distractions are many so without personal discipline productivity suffers. I believe entrepreneurs can benefit greatly from treating their own businesses as they would a big corporation, whether working alone or with a team.
What made you start the business and what steps did you take to start operating as a business?
I always knew I wanted to get paid for doing work that makes a difference in people’s lives and the world. My late father made me believe I could achieve anything I set my mind upon. Those words keep me motivated. Also, growing up I saw many women juggling a corporate job, raising a family and setting up businesses. As much as I admired their tenacity, I saw the pressure juggling all of these things put on them, their health or their families. This is not always the case of course, but they inspired me begin business-building early in my singlehood.
The first year of my degree course in Information Systems and Management helped me figure out very quickly that although I enjoyed the technical know-how of IT, I did not want to work with machines long-term – I wanted to work directly with people. Informally involved in music and putting together youth and music events in my early twenties, I toyed with the idea of setting up a music recording studio or a corporate events company. Stints in various client-facing jobs didn’t yield any career options that resonated with my vision. Whilst researching jobs and courses online one day, I came across Life Coaching and discovered there was an entire industry that offered the opportunity to build a career out of something I felt was a strength. A good friend recommended Noble Manhattan Coaching. I liked their ethos and values as a company so I trained to become a Certified Life and Executive Coach, set up www.radicalleap.com and never looked back. I eventually also became a Strategic Partner of Noble Manhattan, helping others become certified life, executive or corporate coaches.
Some of the key steps I took to start operating as a business included:
- Getting clear about what I wanted to do and how I was going to make it happen
- Getting the vision down on paper to keep me focused
- Lots and lots of research
- Registering the company as a legal entity
- Speaking to lawyers and accountants about pitfalls and growth strategies in business
- Attending business start-up, personal and leadership development events
- Reading business books and books written by those already accomplished in my industry
- Setting up the back-end systems and processes I would need for the day-to-day operations of the business. Knowing IT helped
- Preparing myself mentally and financially to balance having corporate job while I built a new business from the ground up. I had to be strategic
- Setting aside a budget for continuous professional development as is required in my industry – training, courses, events, books
- Bags of focus and determination
What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. That’s a whopping 80%! Being around since 2007 and making a difference in the lives and businesses of entrepreneurs and leaders not only in Europe but also in Africa feels like a great accomplishment. We still have a long way to go but I’m grateful we’ve made it this far. The brand has evolved and grown over the years and we’re looking forward to impacting more lives and being a company that creates changes of generational significance.
What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
Juggling multiple projects has challenged performance and productivity. It’s both exciting and adventurous but can put pressure on profits as well as wellbeing. The lessons I’ve learnt over the years have been incorporated in coaching programmes that helps busy entpreneneurs manage their time effectively, and maximise performance and productivity.
|Noreen Makosewe means business!|
What are your future plans for the business?
Expansion. Africa has been on the agenda from the beginning and right now there are great opportunities to take our products and services to entrepreneurs and business leaders in Africa. There’s a hunger for knowledge, personal development, leadership development and business development and I’d like Radical Leap to be a part of meeting that need. We have some clients in East and West Africa and are forging alliances with complementary organisations to collaborate on people development projects.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I would invest in business and leadership mentoring very early in the business. Mentoring would have helped me avoid certain pitfalls, access better resources and accelerate the growth of my business.
“You changed my life!”
Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.” ― Brigham Young
I believe this statement to be true. My experience of working with the Women of Africa charity has given me the opportunity to read as well as hear the challenges women experience, some of them heart-breaking. I believe investing in men is worthwhile too but there are so many odds stacked up against women worldwide and it’s going to take a lot of policy changes to bring about gender balance that will place many women in a position of safety and power to impact their communities with their knowledge and their talents. In the meantime, we should not stop inspiring and empowering the next generation of women who will carry on the work of ‘being the change’ and creating a better world.
What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Here are a few simple tips:
· Study the industry. Here are 5 free downloadable coaching reports that might help: http://tinyurl.com/lu79xm9
· Invest in the best professional coach training programme you can find
· Invest in mentors – personal, business, financial, spiritual
· Invest in continuous professional development
· Know who you are and what area of coaching you would like to focus on. Play on your greatest strengths and don’t be distracted by how everyone else is doing things
· Know who you want to serve with your gift and then give them your all
· Prepare to put in the work. It is a rewarding industry to be in and persistence pays off
· Learn from those with experience in your area of expertise
What or who inspires you in business and why?
I believe we all have internal wiring that compels us to pursue our individual life paths. I’m inspired to be the best I can be and fulfil my life purpose helping others fulfil theirs boldly. Things my parents said to me when I was growing up remind me that nothing is impossible. I’m also inspired by the women in my inner circle. The ups and downs of this journey are easier to handle with a good support network and lots of laughter. “No wo/man is an island.”
I’m inspired by the countless women all over the world who feature in lifestyle, inspirational as well business publications like Forbes; women who are boldly living out their purpose and making a difference whilst remaining authentic to their personality and their message.
There are also “invisible women” who inspire me. Women no one knows about but who are using the resources they have to change their world. They work quietly but their legacy will live on for generations. I know about these women through association with various charities. Because of them, light shines in dark places.
What is your favourite inspirational quote?
“The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” ~ (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)