1. What is your business ?
Daisy Swan & Associates Career Coaching and Strategy. I am a career coach and strategist who works with individuals to help them clarify their career direction and to take actions to reach their desired goals. I provide one-on-one coaching as well as groups to meet the needs of individuals of all ages and life stages. I also offer at least one panel event per year to discuss topics of interest to clients. Recently I co-taught a class at Insight LA, a meditation center in LA; I am a long-time meditator and I know how valuable it can be to clients who are experiencing stress about career transition to increase their mindfulness and gain a larger perspective on where they are in their journey. I have had associates work with me for the past 6 years. At times I’ve had three associates; at others just one. I am about to bring on a second associate again.
2. Why did you launch this business?
This question gave me pause as the answer has several dimensions. I had been a career counselor at universities and knew that I wanted to eventually have an ability to have a flexible schedule so that I could be available to my family. In 1995 I started seeing clients ‘on the side’. In 1999 I stopped working for any organization to be home with my son who was 3 at the time. So I was seeing clients just a few hours per week. I started to see that I wanted to have larger conversations with clients, to help them with other issues that were clearly impeding their career growth so I decided to get my coaching certification. At the end of that one year process I launched my website in 2003. I never thought I’d have so much success off of a website! In 2006 I decided to put more effort into my branding because I wanted to offer more services and classes to help more people. So in 2007 I re-launched my website with the branding you now see on my site. Of course it’s always a work in progress, but the look and feel remains the same. I still have a flexible schedule and my son is now 15, but I work basically full time now.
3. What gives you your greatest pleasure in your business?
Because I know what transition feels like (I feel like I go through one several times a year!) I appreciate the challenges people face and love to help them through these. I really love working with people who are working in diverse fields –while I help them gain clarity I also learn so much from them. And seeing the unfolding of options and actions taken to achieve change is really fulfilling.
4. Where have you run into challenges in your business?
The biggest challenge for me is managing my calendar…personally and professionally. I think I always assume it should be easier than it is so I think I’m doing something wrong. I’d like to set up a scheduling system that helps me juggle things more simply. While there is probably a solution, I think the juggle is just part of having a really full life. I also, at times, just want to make everything better for the world of people who are struggling so I put a lot of pressure on myself to figure out big solutions. I know that sounds grandiose, but it’s true…I get caught up in thinking about how to get people back into jobs they really thrive in. How to help workplaces and jobs be more satisfying for people. All of these thoughts make me hungry to learn and do more, and so far we’re stuck with 24 hours a day, so I have to ease up on my expectations of what I can really do right now.
5. What is a key resource that has helped you and might also help other business owners?
My website has been a very important aspect of my company for sure. I have had two assistants (one virtual and one virtual but also local) helping me for years, and they are so helpful to me. I think the most important thing is that I have met many wonderful people through my involvement, which is sometimes very loose due to time constraints, in various groups. While I have gotten a lot of clients from my website I also have gotten many, many referrals from friends and former clients. The communities I’m involved with feed me immensely, especially because I work alone so much. I really need the balance of being with ‘my people’. So I suppose, ultimately, it’s been my hunger to learn and reach out to others to do so, that has been my greatest ‘resource’.