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Women in Business – Surviving the First Two Years: “Be ok with changing your mind.” Interview with Rachel Gilfrin

Interview with Rachel Gilfrin, founder of Rachel Harriet Coaching, on her experiences being a woman entrepreneur.

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Please tell us a bit about yourself, and describe your company. 

My name is Rachel Gilfrin, 31 years old and my company is Rachel Harriet Coaching. Prior to the business my career was in Corporate Sales, and I have 12 years experience in this area.I have always been really ambitious and was keen to climb the corporate ladder, but found so many stumbling blocks along the way. I decided to become more self aware and identify the areas I wanted to improve in, and make sure these were not holding me back. I quickly realised that confidence and mindset were at the source of all self improvement, and became really interested in developing myself and my colleagues in these areas.

During this time I worked with a Life Coach, and realised how pivotal this work had been for me. What if I could help other women to improve their confidence & fast track their careers with my own coaching practice? 2020 offered a lot of time to re-evaluate and reflect on life, and I eventually took the leap and left my corporate job to go all in on my business.

I now offer both 1:1 coaching sessions and have just launched a corporate group coaching programme, which focuses on empowering early career – middle management females to articulate their own vision and choose their dream career path.

What has been the most challenging thing you have faced in the first two years of operating your business? How did you overcome it? 

The most challenging thing I’ve faced has probably been my own patience to progress. I set out a business plan for the first year and aimed to be realistic about what was achievable in such a length of time. Because I was so passionate about creating success, I often found myself trying to rush through to certain milestones, and I didn’t celebrate my wins enough. I am still working on this, and to help me reflect I do weekly, monthly and quarterly check-in’s where I go back and review the goals I set at the beginning of that period. I’ve nearly always exceeded what I set out to do, but without proactively doing that check-in I can often become complacent!

What are some of the biggest digital marketing challenges you have faced to date? How have you overcome them?

As a new entrepreneur, coming into the digital space I have to be honest, I felt quite overwhelmed. For me, my challenge was where to begin. There are such a huge number of platforms now to try and master, and various “strategies” to implement. How did I know which one was right for me? There was plenty of toe-dipping which was swiftly followed by frustration as I didn’t get the results that I hoped for.

I realised that there was no merit in trying to do and be everything, especially when not every method was right for my business niche & ideal client.

I decided first and foremost to stop having expectations on the ROI, or exposure that I’d first anticipated.

Social media wise, I decided to pick two areas to focus on simply having a presence on rather than attempting to master. I chose one “freebie” product to promote but rather than promoting this in fits and starts kept it out there consistently. And aside from this I got on with my work and trusted that over-delivering and serving the clients I had now in the best way I could was the absolute priority, and it was most likely to lead to word of mouth referrals.

Please tell us what led you to the path of entrepreneurship. 

So many entrepreneurs say things like “I always knew I was meant to work for myself”, and this was definitely not the case for me. I was grateful for my corporate career, and entrepreneurship seemed to come out of nowhere for me. The desire to help other women achieve more and use their full potential was what put me onto this path. Of course I knew there were plenty of other coaches out there but I also knew that my experience in the real, everyday corporate world would be so valuable.

What are the three most important things every woman entrepreneur should do, when first thinking about starting a business? 

The first thing would be to really take the time to get clear on what your values are as an individual, and then how you can align the business mission with these. If you don’t get this clarity, a lot of business owners suffer with feeling “stuck” or like something isn’t quite right. 

Secondly, I definitely recommend doing a business plan but being really realistic about what can be achieved in the first year. Whilst it would be fantastic, we can’t all hit the magic six figures in the first 12 months! A sustainable business needs to be built up and grown gradually, otherwise you as an individual might not be ready for such exponential growth. 

Thirdly, be ok with changing your mind. My business plans have evolved significantly since day one, and until you are “in it” and doing it full time you can never truly get a perspective on what to keep and what to change! Hiring my own coach really helped me work through this process.

Are there actionable steps a woman in business should take to ensure that her company is successful in two years?

Being consistent is key, but regularly checking in and being practical about what is and isn’t working is also important. Build up credibility as early as you can with reviews/testimonials. And working on your mindset consistently and keeping the faith will prove invaluable!

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