I’m very happy to be sharing this interview with Nicole Burgess, a fellow ex-accountant. Nicole has a clinical practice in Indiana called Burgess Counseling and Consulting LLC-I and is a women’s soul-led leadership coaching business worldwide. Her conviction is helping other ambitious women in midlife go from being driven by fears to living a soul-led life.
As a fellow ex-corporate accountant, I always love reading what other accountants have done since leaving the corporate world. Just as with introverts, accountants tend to get put into certain boxes. A box that is not very exciting and definitely not creative. Yet I keep meeting ex-accountants who have gone out into the world doing all sorts of creative work. Its a wonderful reminder that no matter what labels society tries to put on you, its possible to ignore those labels and do your own thing.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
I used to work in Corporate America as an accountant then as a business analyst. No matter where I went or what job I had, people would tell me their life story. I went to grad school and became a licensed marriage and family therapist. Over the years the hours companies would require me to work and lack of flexibility in how I could work didn’t work for my temperament. I started my own business in California, then opened my clinical practice when I moved back to Indiana. A few years ago I began my coaching business, so I could reach more women who were not seeking mental health. I love the flexibility I can create in my work hours, I can work from anywhere, and I can choose who I work with making it a match for the client and myself.
What is the number one thing you have done in your business so that it works with your introversion rather than against it?
My work hours start after 10am. This allows me to do a slow warm up for my day. I can exercise, meditate, journal, and do some work on my business before I begin working with clients. The second thing that comes in close is being able to work remotely. I used to have an office and I love working from home or other places.
What introvert super power do you think has particularly helped you build your business?
I think there are so many. My quietness seems to put people at ease yet I am fierce with my boundaries. Good listening skills, intuition, and connecting with other professionals often on a one to one basis to build collaboration.
What has been your biggest challenge being an introvert in business?
As I have built my coaching business I am needing to be seen more both online and offline. This at times has felt tiring, so having downtime is important and shifting my mindset that it is a marathon not a sprint.
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?
Currently I work IN my business three days a week with the intention of reducing it to two. I work ON my business for a few hours the other couple of days. I haven’t worked on a Monday with clients for years now, which allows me to slowly welcome in the week. I am also a highly sensitive person, so having an “extra” day has been huge for me. I used to get the Sunday night blues when I was working in Corporate.
Are there any systems you have put in place that have been crucial to managing your energy?
I talk with clients often about the importance of self-care. This not only includes business, but health, financial, social, and spiritual aspects. I have specific days/times when clients can contact me. I do not have the ringer turned on my phone..ever. I don’t check emails or social media until after I have exercised or meditated. If I am not able to get outside for the day, then looking out the window at nature can help ground me.
Are there any other introvert businesses that inspire you that people should check out?
Sarah Santacroce has been a mentor for me in the past. Sarah is doing incredible work around how we market our businesses. I like Denise Duffield-Thomas for her money mindset and how she has shared over the years the way her business is set up. Amy Porterfield is another woman who inspires me because she is a podcast too and does online courses.
I love meeting fellow accountants who’ve chosen to ditch the “safe” job and do something they love. How did you do this for yourself and how does this experience now inform the work you do?
I became an accountant because my family thought it was “safe”, yet once I got the degree and went into the field it didn’t take long for me to realize it wasn’t for me. And as I said before people kept telling me about their relationships, struggles, etc. I knew in high school I loved psychology and when I finally decided to go after my dream I never looked back. My accounting background does help me with my business because I know how to manage expenses, pay myself, what fee to charge, and save for retirement.
As someone who works primarily with introverted and highly sensitive women to support them to flourish, how have you tailored your approach to work best for your clients?
Coaching sessions are often every other week to allow for action steps between the sessions and not feel rushed. I also have handouts to support goals women are working on and women can contact me between sessions with Voxer.
You’ve created the Soul-filled Sisterhood Podcast as part of your business. What was your reasoning behind choosing a podcast over other ways of sharing your message and marketing your business?
I love being able to speak with other women from around the world and think podcasting is easier for me than writing. I have heard from various introverts that they too enjoy podcasting. Podcasting offers another way to collaborate with people plus inspire women on what is possible.
Find out more about Nicole here.
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