How did you become a business coach and consultant?
To answer this question, I am going to tell you a little about my background.
I met my husband and business partner, Mark Simpson, close to 30 years ago in college. After graduating cum laude from Duke University, I obtained a Masters in Psychology, worked a few years in a non-profit, and then opened up a private practice at age 27, specializing in counseling and consulting.
During this time, I had my first “aha moment” as a business consultant when I was hired by a multi-million dollar trucking company to help them improve their team communication. I interviewed key employees and upper level management- specifically around the corporate communication structure. I created the systems, provided the training and implemented their new communications strategy. This started my awareness about the tremendous value of streamlining businesses to help them run better.
Also in our 20s, Mark and I created, ran, and owned the Hands-On Children’s Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma – a 16,000 square foot museum that had all the right “appearance” yet was sorely lacking in low-cost marketing, daily operations, and other core systems. Sadly, this business did not work out financially long-term. It was painful to shut the doors on a business that we created and loved.
And yet, as is always the case, what we learned from that difficult “bump in the road” has been invaluable.
We then moved to New Jersey so that Mark could run a company with his brother, and I continued serving others as a life coach. We had three children and I wrote a best-selling book, The Balanced Mom- Raising Your Kids without Losing Your Self (2006, New Harbinger) which, surprisingly to me, sold in the top 5% of all books and was translated into Italian!
In this chapter of my life, I essentially helped women connect with their authentic selves and create more balanced and fulfilling lives. I helped some of these women “reinvent themselves” and step into new careers. It was exciting work for me.
This phase of my life is similar to the life design coaching I do now with those in transition. The difference is that I have expanded from working with just mothers to anyone who wants to create a meaningful new chapter that is a good fit for them.
The second population I began to work with is entrepreneurs. I mentored with Rhonda Hess, the founder of the Coach Training Alliance in Colorado and attended certifications and training of 3 other prominent, national business coaches across the country. I am a junkie for learning!
And after 25 years of owning businesses, helping others run their own businesses, counseling all kinds of people, and struggling in the same areas myself, two overarching themes have become clear:
#1- The happiest, most successful people are the ones who are passionate about their purpose, work primarily in their innate strengths and talents and live life on their own terms outside of work.
#2- For entrepreneurs and small business owners, the path to real success is to run a business of systems and accountability. Without that, the owner has his/her hands in too many areas and the business runs more like a frustrating roller coaster of feast and famine than a well-oiled machine.
And so… here I am now in my late 40s, approaching 50. And I’m focused on serving the two populations I find most fascinating- life design coaching with those in transition and business coaching for established entrepreneurs.
To sum it up- I help people enjoy engaging work, without overwhelm, and live healthy, balanced, quality lives, steeped in their personal values. The pathways to get there are different. The purpose and vision are the same.
Who are your life design, “people in transition” clients?
My Life Design clients are people who want a new career or feel that something important is missing in their lives.
They are eager for real success in terms of finding engaging work (paid or volunteer) and living life on their own terms. They are open to assessments and tools to help them understand themselves better, as they are NOW (which can be quite different than 20 years ago.) And they are receptive to receiving help, guidance and feedback to help them develop the roadmap for quality work and a healthy life.
I love the journey I take with these clients and am so grateful that they share it with me.
Who are your entrepreneurial clients exactly?
I typically work with established entrepreneurs and small business owners who have anywhere from 1-15 employees.
I prefer this size because this type of company benefits tremendously from easy-to-implement systems. It’s a matter of me setting up goals with my clients, providing the right series of questions, designing the templates, documents and checklists (creating the systems), helping them implement and tweak their customized systems, working with their team as needed, and holding them accountable to their goals.
By the end of our time together, my clients are feeling more ease in their business, enjoying their lives and their businesses a lot more, and are generally making more money as well.
I love helping them rediscover the joy in their businesses and in their lives. THIS is why I do what I do!
Do your life design clients need to want to become entrepreneurs?
Not at all! Running your own business brings immense challenges and is definitely not for everyone.
Through a combination of objective assessments and coaching sessions, we get to know who you really are and what will bring you success and fulfillment, in the career world and in life. Perhaps your ideal next chapter is starting your own business. And perhaps it is not. We will discover that together and develop your own unique roadmap for your next phase.
How are you different from other business coaches?
I’ve walked in the shoes of the people I serve. I’ve worked in different areas and had to figure out who I am and what kind of career and life balance I need to stay energized and content. And I’ve run businesses, hired and fired, and trained teams.
I have spent a LOT of time and money being trained by national coaches across the country. And I’ve spent an enormous amount of time observing what works, building upon that, and eliminating what doesn’t work well.
In my experience and research, these programs are one of a kind.
As a life design client, I include objective assessments, in-depth live strategic sessions, supportive phone sessions, and specific exercises and tools to help you dig deep and really get to know yourself as you are now, which is critical for creating your next chapter that fulfills you, supports a healthy life, and brings you joy.
I help many clients with actual informational interviews in areas of interest. By the end of our work together, you will walk away with a clear roadmap for what you need in life and in work to be happy and fulfilled.
For entrepreneurs, I combine live strategic coaching sessions, supportive phone sessions, training tools, and the creation of checklists, systems, and documents that become the business’ Operations Manual.
You leave with clear, concrete progress in the areas of systematizing your business, up-leveling your assistant or team, and honing your own focus, so that your business runs better without more of your time.
Over the course of this program, we look at big picture 1-3 year goals and break them down into 90-day goals. I support you and hold you accountable so you achieve them, without becoming overwhelmed and without feeling so alone.
I am both a coach and a consultant. As a coach, I bring out the wisdom of my clients. As a consultant, I give advice, based on my training, ongoing research, and experience. And I give more in this role than most coaches.
I sit down and actually do work for and with my clients- which most coaches do not. I have learned over the years that telling someone what to do, when it is not a natural strength or talent, only leads to frustration. So I decided, contrary to my coach trainings, to do the work for my clients in the areas of my innate strengths.
When a tool or system is needed, I help create it. Depending on the client, I create team checklists, written job descriptions, step-by-step systems, written informational interview templates, and so on.
Finally, I am clear with the vision I want for all my clients: to enjoy engaging work, without overwhelm, and to have the time, money and energy to live your values and enjoy life on your own terms. It’s never all about the money, or “making 10 times what you make now”… it IS about having enough money to pay your bills easily and live your values AND then about learning to being happy with all that you have.
What industries have you worked with?
I’ve had the pleasure of working with people all over the country. The industries I’ve worked with include, but are not limited to:
Can I hire you if I am not in driving distance to Durham, NC?
Absolutely! Many of my clients don’t live here. If you talk with me and decide to invest in my services, we will decide together if flying in for some live sessions or talking over Skype makes the most sense for you.
How do I know the investment is worth it?
To be honest, the results you receive are a combination of what you learn from me, the support and accountability I offer you, and what you put into the program. The last part I don’t have control over- only you do. If you do your assignments that we agree on together, and show up prepared for our coaching sessions, I am extremely confident that your investment is well worth it.
My investment prices are lower than they were when I lived in the Northeast and are much lower than many group coaching programs where you barely receive individual attention. I consider my prices incredibly fair and client friendly.
The best “proof” I can offer is that in the past 7 years, 85% of my clients reinvested with me for a second program.
Finally, I offer a free 20-30 minute “get acquainted call” to all interested clients. On that call, I learn about you and you learn about me and how I work. You know, by the end at the end of that call, if I am the right person for your needs and if the investment is worth it to you.
What type of personality do you work best with and what is expected of me?
I work best with motivated people who want to live a healthy, balanced life while enjoying work that engages and fulfills them.
As a Life Design client, you don’t necessarily have to want paid work, if you don’t want or need it, but I do work best with people who crave meaning and purpose in their lives.
What is expected of you, as a client, is that you show up for our sessions on time, participate fully, share your successes, concerns, and challenges, and work with me to set and achieve your goals. I offer lots of support along the way and, in general, our work together is uplifting and energizing- because you get the results you want.
Who are your programs NOT for?
I am selective who I work with and I choose to turn away people who aren’t suited for my programs and won’t get the results they are looking for. (It wouldn’t be fair to them.)
My coaching and consulting programs are NOT for those who refuse to invest time and energy in getting the results they want. I can’t do it all for you- it’s about us working together, me giving you the questions, tools and exercises you need to make progress, and you completing the assignments we create together. We work at your pace but you do need to do your part if you want results.
I am with you every step of the way- once you are willing to make the commitment, on your end, as well.
And we actually have some FUN! I tend to click with the clients I work with and it’s common for us to laugh quite a bit along the way.
As a life design client, what can I expect?
As a life design client, you can expect to:
- Learn how to turn down the voices of “others” and turn up the volume of your own voice
- Clarify your definition of “success” and what you really, really want in business and in life to be happy and fulfilled
- Become more aware of your innate strengths and talents and interests
- Identify career or volunteer options that will energize and excite you, as well as honor the lifestyle you want
- Take steps towards your goals such as co-creating informational interview questions or testing out entrepreneurial ideas in bit size chunks
- Feel supported every step of the way
To learn more about the program, check out my short talk How to Get Unstuck and Write Your Next Chapter
As an entrepreneurial client, what can I expect?
As an entrepreneurial client, you can expect to:
- Run a much more efficient, effective business
- Make more money
- Work with a more energized, more efficient team (or assistant) who communicates better
- Be supported every step of the way… so you don’t feel so alone
- Become a happier, more balanced business owner who has time to enjoy what matters most to you outside of work
Ok, Bria, I know that I am interested in working with you. What is the next step?
The next step is for my team to set up a complimentary get acquainted call so I can learn more about you, you can learn more about me and how I work, and together we can decide if I am a good fit for your needs.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and learn more about us. I hope to talk to you soon!