Born with an insatiable entrepreneurial spirit, based on her own past experiences, including being the only female in the boardroom of a major organisation by the time she was 30, Sarah Jones uses her skills and experience to help organisations and motivated professionals achieve their ideal career, and leadership paths.
She calls this ‘Inside Out Leadership’ helping people to unleash their confidence, resilience and mindset to fulfil their potential. Sarah started her coaching and training business several years ago, and regularly speaks at top industry events and conferences.
One of her clients called her back in to develop their next set of leaders, referring to the ‘Sarah Jones magic’ – which is taking the organisation closer to its goals by developing their new generation of teams and leaders.
Another client, within three months, landed his ideal role in the healthcare sector, despite lockdown, thanks to Sarah equipping him with a ‘can-do’ beliefs and attitudes – and clear career plan.
She is also the author of the book ‘From Vulnerable to Invincible’ and is a leading instructor on Udemy, the career platform.
Welcome Sarah, can you introduce yourself to us?
I’m the director and founder of Sarah-J Coaching where I help individuals to reboot their career, improve their current career or find what they love to do.
I also help organisations improve the team and executive performance through coaching, training and workshops. For example, I help new leaders accelerate their progress in their new roles, and teams perform to a higher standard and resolve conflicts. I help organisations with career and succession planning for their teams.
What is a typical day like for you at the moment?
I get up early to look at my social media and catch up on any administration, and I like my morning workouts to supercharge me for the day.
My days are very varied, by doing in-house development work for companies and then it can be a combination of coaching individuals, working on programmes for companies, and new client intake calls.
So, no two days are the same. I’m also often writing new content for my videos – on Facebook or Instagram, or preparing for any speaking gigs I have planned, as I tend to speak at least a couple of times a month if not more – online, for podcasts and I’m preparing for some industry conferences that I have been asked to speak at.
Or, I may have some media interviews to complete or articles to write.
As we are all now navigating through a difficult time post-COVID-19 Lockdown, how are you finding the situation?
I am very lucky in that I have always been able to work from home and the activities I used to do face-to-face I can also do online – networking and speaking for example. I have found it a good time to review my marketing, develop new materials.
We can’t always change what is going on in the big wide world, but we can manage our responses and what we chose to do, or what we can do in the present situation so I feel resourcefulness and resilience have been key during this time and will continue to be.
Who is the most influential female entrepreneur that you admire and why?
I really admire Arianna Huffington and what she has achieved. She really believes in the notion of thriving and admire the way she has developed her business and grown it, and ventured into areas and continues to do so.
What is a solid tip that can help other young female entrepreneurs looking to build their own business?
I would say have a clear vision for your business – start and think big then drill it down into who you want to help or serve. Figure out what problems you can solve, and what benefits you bring to the customer.
Put yourself into the customers’/audiences’ shoes and have a plan with goals so that you can track your progress. Focus on doing a few things well – not everything, try something first, get that working, then you can expand.
But do what you enjoy not what you think you should be doing as that passion and purpose will carry you through any challenges.
What has been the most challenging yet rewarding barrier you faced and how did overcome it whilst building your career?
In my former career, I was put into a leadership role during a time of huge organisational change. There wasn’t much support for me – it was sink or swim and I decided to swim.
I had to put a lot of effort and work into understanding how to lead, and that I had to flex my leadership style. It was challenging, especially during a major restructure but that’s what has given me a passion to help people in their careers – being the pilot of their careers, not the passenger so to speak!
Can you tell us which 3 marketing tools are your most preferred and how they support your everyday business functionality?
It all depends on where your customers are – and focusing on that. LinkedIn is great to be able to contact individuals and companies and keep your finger on the pulse.
Speaking is something I really enjoy and means that people can get to know you beyond words on the page, and in the same vein, I really enjoy the videos I produce for Facebook and Instagram and being able to answer questions during those sessions to help people.
What support networks do you personally love and can recommend to other aspiring entrepreneurs out there to become part of?
I really enjoy being a member of my local chamber of commerce to stay connected to my local networks and support the local community. And the Professional Speakers Association is great for honing and developing your speaker skills.
How are you working on your own personal development?
I continue to undertake additional training to support my business and grow it – for example, I am looking to complete a qualification that fuses counselling and coaching to add to my toolbox. On a personal level, I am completing my spiritual practitioner studies as my spiritual beliefs are the foundation for my success and happiness in life.
How are you looking to grow and expand throughout the rest of the year?
I think this year has been about focus and consolidation for me, so it’s about building on that foundation and systemising what I do to ensure I can maximise my time to spend it with clients. I am looking forward to continuing to support teams, executives and individuals during these challenging times, and potentially offering an online drop-in, confidential career clinic for any immediate issues that arise.