Set Boundaries with Yourself (and stick to them). If weekends are sacred family time, tell your family that you’re unplugging each weekend and have them hold you accountable. Once you set up your work boundaries, tell your clients. Your boundaries — whatever they may be — only work if you tell people what they are and you force them to adhere to them. You can’t just talk the talk saying you don’t want to work 60 hours per week, you have to walk the walk and stick to it.
As a part of my series about the strategies that busy and successful leaders use to juggle, balance and integrate their personal lives and business lives, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alejandra ‘Alex’ Love, MBA, CPLP®. She is a Coach and Trainer who works with female entrepreneurs to grow their business with less stress.
As a first-generation American, growing up in a single parent home in Brooklyn, New York; Alex saw her mother work two jobs to make ends meet. Inspired by her mom’s tireless efforts she was determined to earn a living that broke the check to check cycle. Driven by this goal, Alex went on to be the first in her family to earn a Bachelors, earn a Masters and obtain work in the corporate sector.
However, corporate just wasn’t cutting it — her true passion was in empowering women — still driven by her mother’s determination years ago, Alex wanted to help women break the check to check cycle by transforming their talents and hobbies into businesses!
With a decade of experience as a Corporate Coach and Trainer and has worked with over 6500 professionals through group coaching, online courses, live training, and one-on-one sessions. Alex decided to take the leap and created Alex Love Consulting, LLC; where she is able to use a blend of traditional business acumen, lessons learned as a business owner, and her passion for empowering others to support innovators, thinkers, and visionaries in making their dreams a reality.
As a mother, wife, and business owner, she truly understands the challenges of balancing personal life with work. Today, through intentional process development, streamlining, and system automation; Alex helps female entrepreneurs build profitable and sustainable businesses.
When asked what she does Alex simply says “I’m in the business of helping women make a living, while living their best life!”
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
As you see in my bio, I’m a Brooklyn native, single-parent home (my mom is the best by the way). So, I’ll skip ahead to my journey to business ownership.
“Years ago, I was working at a company, one I was very loyal and committed to. As the company expanded new members joined the team; As members joined it was my role to train and coach them.
My supervisor at the time transitioned out and there was a management role open. I waited for the position to be posted internally, and checked the website every day for a chance to throw my hat in the ring.
Until one day it was announced that the last person I trained would be my new supervisor. To say the least I was devastated, betrayed, hurt, and quite frankly pissed off.
How could a company trust me to train 1000s of people but not trust me to lead those very people?!? That devastation was the swift kick in the butt I needed to move forward; I signed up for every job site, applied to every job I could find, and searched constantly for a full-time gig. No luck…
Desperate to find something, I started applying for 3–6-month consulting contracts. I wasn’t really a consultant and I had no clue what I’d do after the 3–6 month contracts ended but something had to give — so I did what any desperate job hunter would do I made myself a “real” consultant by creating a business with the word consulting in the name — and version 1(there are a few layers to this story) of Alex Love Consulting was born. In the most ironic, a twist of fate I created my business in order to get a job. That job was great and really allowed me to grow in my craft but it just wasn’t enough; I was missing the joy of helping others. That’s when I made the decision to lean into my passion and commit to helping female entrepreneurs grow their business and so version 2 of Alex Love Consulting was born.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
I took a five-year hiatus just 2 months after creating forming the business — BOTH a mistake and a lesson learned.
Here’s some context — So, I’m officially a consultant now (my business name says so but I’ve never had a client at this point) and someone finally bites; they want me to interview for this eLearning Design project. 3 phone interviews, a flight to headquarters for an in-person panel interview, and a CEO interview later; I walk out of the office with no clue if I’d be offered the role. I get the contract, started to work on it and around the 2.5-month mark the position was expanded to full time. The offer of a guaranteed salary and fear of never getting another client was enough to make me close up shop. And just as quickly as it started version 1 of Alex Love Consulting was finished.
What was your biggest challenge to date either personally or professionally and how did you overcome it?
FEAR and DOUBT. When you think about running a business, it’s all “I’m going to love my new boss; this will be great!” Then you actually start doing the work and it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done. You work tirelessly because if your business fails, YOU
That type of pressure — chasing perfection, comparing yourself to others, the time investment, the toll on your family, disappointing the people who lean on you, living check to check — it’s all enough to scare you right out of Entrepreneurship; but I’ve learned that if you push past the fear, you create the space for new and amazing opportunities. So, I just keep pushing and great things keep happening.
What does leadership mean to you and how do you best inspire others to lead?
To me, leadership is empowering others to be great. I inspire others by telling them the whole story, not just the social media highlight reel. Portraying this idea that anything great happens without hard work, trial, and error does a disservice to everyone; it sets people up for this unrealistic expectation that they’ll be an overnight success. When that success doesn’t come you just have a trail of shattered dreams in your wake; my work is about helping women build their dreams not breaking dreams down.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My family unit, I can’t just pick a single person. That probably seems like a generic answer but it doesn’t make it any less true. I have such a supportive and talkative family — they tell everyone about every accomplishment, business venture, bake sale, and fundraiser — they aren’t shy and that type of walking advertisement is PRICELESS. I really couldn’t do this work without their ongoing support and motivation.
Was it difficult to fit your life into your business/career and how did you do that?
Absolutely. Working a traditional job that required frequent travel across the US; running a household — cooking, cleaning, school pickup, drop off, laundry, groceries, etc.; building a business; and trying to have a life was so challenging in the beginning. I was working 19 hours a day, exhausted AND moody all the time, surviving on a 24-hr Espresso IV drip and then BOOM, I crashed. Both physically and mentally I couldn’t handle it and I was ready to quit again. I took a few days (turned into 4 weeks) off to decide whether this was for me; and when I decided this was my life’s work and legacy, I made a plan — I literally wrote a guide to work-life balance. More importantly, I committed to and held myself accountable to the plan — until the plan became a habit.
Did you find that as your success grew it became more difficult to focus on the other areas of your life?
Honestly, I think that my growth and success is directly tied to finding balance. Having a
plan and process that allows me to enjoy the fruits of my labor makes the work feel even
Can you share five pieces of advice to other leaders about how to achieve the best balance between work and personal life?
1. Let go of what doesn’t help you grow. If anything doesn’t build your brand, increase your income, or multiply your joy — let it go. Whether it is a person, place or thing; negativity can be contagious. We are all influenced by our surroundings and when you are taking the leap of faith as a business owner, toxicity seems to be everywhere.
If a particular business task drains your energy — outsource it;
if a “friend” constantly makes you feel insecure about yourself or your business — rethink that friendship; and
If you have must do items you do repeatedly — automate it.
Running your business is hard enough, cut the extra stress out of your life.
2. Set Boundaries with Yourself (and stick to them). If weekends are sacred family time, tell your family that you’re unplugging each weekend and have them hold you accountable. Once you set up your work boundaries, tell your clients. Your boundaries — whatever they may be — only work if you tell people what they are and you force them to adhere to them. You can’t just talk the talk saying you don’t want to work 60 hours per week, you have to walk the walk and stick to it.
3. Be Grateful for the Small Things It is so easy to put power in the negative by giving it your attention and focus. It’s time to start balancing yourself through gratitude. Try starting your morning by choosing three things you are grateful for that day — no matter how silly these three things may be — and say them aloud. When you say “Today I am grateful for…”, smile, even if you don’t feel like it. Smiling will help shift you into a positive mindset and raise your energy.
4. Find (and eliminate) Your Time Wasters
Distractions are a part of life no matter where you work, but if your goal is to work fewer hours so you can have time for your loved ones and actually enjoy life, you’ll need to identify your time wasters (and eliminate them).
Start by tracking how you spend your time; write down each activity and how much time you spend doing it. After a few days you’ll see a pattern, identifying your time wasters will help you to determine your next steps. In the meantime, here are some quick actions you can put into place today:
· If you have an office door — Use it;
· Enforce your business hours with family and friends;
· Turn off your computer notifications during designated work blocks;
· Only check emails at specific times during the day; an
· Try keeping your phone out of arms reach to avoid constantly checking notifications.
5. Reward yourself
Too many business owners forget to take care of themselves while worrying about the weighty responsibilities of business and life. However, to live a fulfilled and happy life you have to take the time to enjoy the perks of the lifestyle you’re creating.
Choose your perks carefully and fit them in. (If you can’t afford a weekend at a luxury resort — invest in a “reading afternoon” or a box of fancy chocolates every weekend.) When you see tangible evidence of your hard work being rewarded, it is much easier to feel accomplished, balanced, happier — and more confident. Rewarding yourself is a necessary investment for a balanced life.
What gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment and pride?
Knowing that through my work I can motivate other women to transform their passion and purpose into a business they love. I take so much pride in telling women I know their dream is possible; helping them leverage their ideas, systemize their processes, and ultimately reach that business goal is extremely fulfilling.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
This is a good one because I’ve thought about it A LOT. The program would be called
“Entrepreneurship for Everyone” it would bring free Entrepreneurship courses and train to young adults (18–25) in underserved communities with the intention of increasing local business in said communities. Students who complete the program successfully and demonstrate a true aptitude for business owners would receive a no strings attached business grant of $2000; with opportunities for additional grants and funding.
What is the best way for people to connect with you on social media?
Facebook: Alex Love Consulting