On Caroline Leon’s home page she has this statement:
When we change the way we do business we change the world.
This sums up so well about how I feel about business and that we can use it for good. One of the things I particularly love about Caroline is that her pricing reflects what she wants to achieve in her business. That her pricing reflects her values as well as being a way she gets paid. So often this aspect of pricing is ignored.
Caroline is a conscious business coach. She helps her clients get super clear on their business dreams to create a soulful strategy to make those dreams a reality and to then take action in a way that beats the crap out of overwhelm. I am very happy she agreed to share her thoughts on running a business as an introvert.
Why did you decide to start your own business:
Having spent well over a decade, working my way up the career ladder as a communications and project management professional, I realised that despite working in the not-for-profit sector my work felt very far removed from actually helping people. I craved a way to be on the front line helping people directly rather than working behind the scenes. It was around 2010 that I became interested in coaching and in 2012, I quit my well-paid job to embark on an adventure to find my true calling in life. After building a successful life coaching business and coaching hundreds of people, I decided to make another transition in 2017 and built my current business, mentoring conscious business owners to grow businesses rooted in integrity.
What is the number one thing you have done in your business so that it works with your introversion rather than against it?
I’ve carved out call free spaces in my daily schedule. As a coach, I’m often hosting video calls with individuals and groups. Whilst these sessions more often than not light me up, I do need dedicated space in my day for focus time and creativity, otherwise I start to feel drained. Where possible, I keep my mornings free from calls and until recently Fridays were kept sacred for creative time.
What introvert super power do you think has particularly helped you build your business?
My love of deeper connections. I’m rubbish at small talk and love to find out more about people and what really makes them tick. So even though I’m supporting people with their businesses, I always get to know my clients on a very personal level, which has resulted in some incredibly close working relationships. Understanding people’s values and tendencies has really helped me to suggest business strategies that align with who they are rather than push them to do things that they will inevitably resist.
A second super power that springs to mind is my love of writing. I definitely think this is one of my introvert super powers and has allowed me to build, grow and engage my audience with valuable content free from manipulation and thinly veiled sales pitches.
What has been your biggest challenge being an introvert in business?
Staying connected to my clients and audience when I feel the need to withdraw. I know that consistency is key in business and so I’ve had to work hard to find ways to maintain a consistent presence with my audience even when I feel like hiding under the duvet. I haven’t always managed to achieve this but as I get better at planning and repurposing content, I find I’m able to maintain contact with my audience even during times when I need a break from “socialising”.
What does a normal (or ideal) work week look like and have you been intentional in this set up to support your introversion and need for quiet?
My normal and ideal weeks are further apart than I would like at the moment because things have got so busy for me this year. My ideal week, which I had in place until not that long ago was having my mornings dedicated to content creation and other focused or creative work. I’m better able to concentrate on things like writing first thing so until recently, my calendar wasn’t open to calls or coaching sessions in the morning. Another ideal (which has unfortunately slipped lately) is to have at least two whole days free from calls. These were Wednesday and Friday but these have been filled with sessions and other commitments. As 2021 approaches, I will be working hard to create firmer boundaries in my schedule so that I can once again create call free spaces in my calendar.
Are there any systems you have put in place that have been crucial to managing your energy?
Scheduled breaks. Lots of them. I have 30 minute breaks scheduled in the morning and afternoon and I also have a very long lunch in the middle of the day, partly because that’s how the Spanish do it (I live in Spain), and partly because I have two young children who are at home for lunch but it really helps me to start my afternoon work feeling refreshed and renewed (if the kids haven’t worn me out that is!).
I also put a limit on how many calls or sessions I’ll do each day and have at least a 30 minute buffer (oftentimes more) between the calls I do have so that I have time to reset, grab a coffee and take a break.
Are there any other introvert businesses that inspire you that people should check out?
My business mentor, George Kao is a self-declared introvert and it’s through him that I’ve learned a lot about managing my energy and taking breaks. Another inspiring introvert business owner for me is Susannah Conway.
As part of supporting your clients you offer a year long mastermind. How as an introvert do you organise your group calls to work with your introversion?
I purposely structured the Mastermind with my introversion in mind. Rather than weekly calls, it’s only 3 calls a month so that I have some weeks off from hosting calls. Also not all of the calls require me to be “on”, as once a month one of our calls is a co-working session which I love because it’s being with people while we each do our own work – the introverts dream!
Also as a mastermind, there often isn’t much to prepare for with the calls, as we are focusing on what is coming up for each of the participants. What I also love about the mastermind model is that it’s not all on me to teach or coach, as the individuals in the group tend to end up supporting each other with suggestions, advice and encouragement, which is wonderful to both witness and facilitate.
You focus on coaching conscious entrepreneurs to use ethical strategies rooted in integrity. How does this approach show up in your own business, particularly as an introvert?
Every strategy I teach my clients has come from my own experience and success in business. What’s wonderful for me and my (often also introverted) clients about a more ethical approach is that it requires less energy. When you are no longer trying to shout louder and be more visible than everyone else, your nervous system can relax.
My strategies rooted in integrity approach centres on showing up authentically in your business and developing and deepening meaningful relationships with people in your audience and network. In my experience this not only cultivates trust and leads to more organic sales but also feels more fulfilling and rewarding to the introverted business owner.
Following on from the last question, how do you support your clients to work out what feels ethical to them? And when they do work this out, what impact do you see it having on the success of their businesses?
One of the positive pieces of feedback I receive from my clients is that I don’t insist that they do things in their business in a particular way. I offer support, guidance, structure and templates but always encourage my clients to do what feels right for them.
Given the dysfunctional world of online business and how tired people have become of pushy and manipulative sales strategies, when my clients embrace a more ethical approach I see two things happen. They feel better about their business and how to market it and their audience and potential clients feel better about doing business with them. The deeper I have gone into “conscious business” the more profitable I have become and I help my clients to achieve the same.
You can find out more about Caroline here
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