The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.
I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.
1.Can you please tell everyone your name?
2. Tell us about your business and what you do?
Great ideas — whether from research, expertise or an crucial organizational message — often never see the light of day. There are various reasons for this such as time, resources and the inability to communicate a compelling message. I started Experiential Communications, a consultancy based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to address this challenge, primarily for researchers, Learning and Development departments and those in higher education. Experiential Communications’ purpose is to ensure that essential ideas are heard in a world of misinformation, distracted audiences and alternative facts. I do this by deploying smart communications strategies for clients and providing experiential in-person training and online courses (such as my Research Translation Writing program — https://www.researchtranslationwritingcourse.com).
3. Why did you want to become an entrepreneur?
I always dreamed of running my own business. My father was a small business owner, and I spent a good deal of time studying the lives of entrepreneurs in the communications space. It was always extremely enticing to go out on my own. I am grateful to have worked in full-time roles at some exciting organizations, the majority of which were based in Europe, over the course of 10 plus years. This is a significant training ground to pursue my goal of running my own show ultimately. The key drivers were to explore my interests, use my creativity, align my business with my values and eventually run a company that is 100% geographically independent. I am now five years into the journey and don’t plan on ever stopping what I am doing. Running my own business has been the most rewarding job of my life, both financially but more importantly to me, at a personal level.
4. What are the challenging aspects of running a business?
I think being an entrepreneur comes with more extreme ups and downs than working a 9–5 job. Winning the big client is a great feeling and creates a wonderful high. Losing work or sending a proposal to a prospective client and then hearing crickets can be quite emotionally draining. We can’t be too excited and overconfident from the good moments, nor should we beat ourselves up and get too down during the difficult times. I think it is essential to set up a social system — whether it is with friends, family members or other entrepreneurs — to help us keep the balance. This is especially true for solopreneurs who don’t have the luxury of commiserating with the colleagues at the coffee machine.
5. What do you love most about your job?
I love pursuing my interests. Several years ago, I considered going back to school to pursue a masters and ultimately a Ph.D. with the goal of teaching at the university level. I eventually decided not to go down that route. Fortunately, I have been able to pursue teaching in my own way by putting together a curriculum and then marketing and selling my communications workshops.
I have always been interested in organizational learning. I don’t have a university credential per se as an instructional designer or learning expert. Again, I have been able to carve out that niche in various ways, such as starting a podcast in which I interview experts in the learning and development industry and taking on projects for clients that have an L&D focus.
I appreciate how running my own business enables me to use my creativity and drive to develop business processes out of my interests.
6. How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
I love basketball — both playing and watching. On average, I play three times per week at lunchtime with some friends. I end up taking a more extended lunch than most are accustomed to (90 minutes on average). However, it is incredible how much more productive I am in the afternoon as the result of stepping outside and exercising. If I am particularly busy, I can make up the time by catching up on work in the evening. In my previous full-time roles, I didn’t have the flexibility to do this.
7. What would one piece of advice that you give to a new business owner?
It is a marathon, not a sprint. As entrepreneurs, we need to learn from our mistakes as we introduce new products and services to the market. It is rare to hit the target immediately. Usually, it is an iteration process as we see what works when launching something new and what can be improved. This iteration process takes time. If I compare the first training, I did back in the first year of my business to how I now conduct workshop now, and it is night and day. I wouldn’t have been able to provide the type of training in year five if I didn’t experiment and learn from my other previous engagements. Every assignment is an opportunity for learning and improving.
It is not always easy to have the type of patience that is required to develop a long-term sustainable business.
Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web: