Financial expert and coach Sonia Baeriswyl speaks from the heart with warmth, her unique gift is to speak and communicate with the heart of each person as if they were unique. The daughter of a tragic alcoholic and the third of 10 children, Sonia rose from the valleys of discouragement and despair to the current pinnacles of success.
As you will soon come to learn that it wasn’t only a turbulent home life that had impacted Sonia’s childhood years, it was also that of Sonia’s childhood difficulties of her school life combined with the failure of her teachers to recognise her as a slow learner added to the label and stigma that stayed with her throughout her entire adolescent years, that eventually damaged her self-esteem to such an extent that it took several years to overcome. Having learned to live with a difficult disability, and overcoming much adversity, Sonia now proves through the use of determination and personal example that it’s truly making the most what you have that makes the difference.
We talk to Sonia very openly in depth about her childhood struggles and how determination has since played an integral part in her dramatic turnaround over the past years.
Hey Sonia, can you introduce yourself to us and tell us your story?
My name is Sonia, I was born in June of the year 1974 and this is my life story of struggles and success also the ups and downs of my life as I moved to be the successful person in my life and I am proud of what I have become today. I was born in France, however, France was not the homeland of my parents. They were born in Tunisia and then migrated to France in 1968 for a better life. It was the time when the Second World War had ended a couple of decades before but the damage France got was so greater to be recovered from than the time. The major cities of France were heavily damaged due to this worldwide conflict. There was a huge loss of resources and priceless human lives that was beyond repair and France was still being recovered from the Second World War and its aftermath. My family found this opportunity to upgrade their own lives and their children lives. So they migrated because there seemed to be many windows of opportunities opened for my family to get a better lifestyle and for a better future for their children
Migration has never been an easy thing for any family, migration is much easier said than done and being an immigrant in a country comes with a lot of side effects. As my parents came to France from Tunisia, they didn’t have any jobs in their new country, they were jobless regardless of the fact they had to feed their family. They know it was hard for them to settle down in this new place and country as there are many odds against them.
When my parents moved to France they had four children, in the future life of theirs, they got five more children and I was one of them. When I was born, I knew my family was suffering from the start, seeing my family suffering from the low budget and all the problems they had, I was determined from my early childhood to be a better person and help my family to get a better status in society. Unfortunately, the string of problems wasn’t yet to be over.
At the very start, my parents were suffering due to lack of jobs. The problems were closing their grip around us. The situation got so bad with the alcoholic habit of my father that my father started to spend all of his time and money on this forbidden habit. Every time my father got paid from his low salary job, he didn’t come home. He spent his time drinking alcohol and wasting all the money.
I am very happy that I have very supportive siblings as when I was younger, my elder sister Tourkia helped me a lot by paying my school fee, I still owe her for this kindness. As we were immigrants, there was the biggest problem to face, it was communication. I didn’t know the French language at all, it was very hard for me to communicate and convey my messages to others. My family speaks their native language at home, so it was a bit difficult to adapt to the new language. Also, I was an average student at the school. Not knowing the language added more problems to my current situation. I had no knowledge of the language or the French culture, not even a bit. All the habits of Tunisian people were not compatible with the new French culture.
As is the average student, I had to work hard for the better grades at school but my efforts were not easing up the situation. I was not good in class and also not impressive at exams. This was a really bad combination to have. At the age of 15 due to average grades, I was demoted to a special class for average students. I was enrolled in accounting due to my bad grades. My mother is very tough, she has seen a lot of troubles and problems in her life that made her a strong woman. She was very eager to give her children the best she can. She gave us strict education at home to cope with the harshness of life. And I have to say, her struggles didn’t go in vain. I was not the blessed child from the start. I was very shy around the people. At the age of five, I was struck with a very bad fever that lasted a year. I was very sick at very small age and this condition didn’t help me and really held me back.
So my family wasn’t the perfect family every one dreams of. My brother had a serious health condition, he was schizophrenic. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterised by abnormal social behavior and failure to understand what is real. Common symptoms include false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, and hearing voices that others do not, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and a lack of motivation. I was very afraid of his condition. I was very afraid while returning home from school every single day. Every day I used to come home just after 7pm, just because of my brothers and sisters. As I mentioned before about my mother, that she was a tough woman. She was used to making all of the house decisions as .she was the dominant one of the house.
While my father was always the silent one as he wasn’t interested in his family that much. My mother wasn’t a literate woman, she used to wake me up every Saturday in the morning to help her in the shopping at the market as she wasn’t able to do the math.
My parents were always fighting due to my father irresponsibility and his alcoholic habit. I used to see them fighting every day but I never lost hope. I promised myself to be strong for me and for my family. Due to my father bad habit, our family was struggling for money, it was hand to mouth in those days. I promised myself to be stronger and get my own place to live in this world just to be away from their constant fighting. I promised myself to have a good flat and a good job to be financially secure and alone and happy.
I figured out that my hope was not going to be enough if I wanted to achieve my goals and ambitions, so I started to believe in myself. I started working harder at school and my results were getting better at school day by day. At the age of 15 when I was enrolled in finance, it was here that I met a teacher who helped me a lot in achieving good grades. I started to build trust in myself and my determinations. I passed the exams with astonishing grades. I became confident and less shy. After studying accounting for 10 years I was able to get a master degree in accounting.
After achieving this, my goals weren’t very far to achieve. My life got better and better from then on. Fortunately, I got a good job at a firm as an accountant. I was very happy about this. All of my hard work, my hopes, my belief in God and universe has turned in to a fruitful result. I was rewarded for my hard work, but I never stopped working hard. I started as an accountant and then became the CEO, CFO and at last the member of the board. I was very happy to achieve this position. I used to work with old people at night to pay for my studies but now I can help others. I love to help poor and needy because I know how hard life can be. I watched harsh life conditions first hand that is why my heart is very soft for the poor and old people. I wasn’t at all an attractive girl when I was younger, I was average. But I believe I am now both strong and intelligent as well as beautiful and also a determined woman, all thanks to my hard work and positive hope.
As I have come a long way since I started, few things I have learned from the course of my life that with determination and strength of your ambitions, you can achieve anything in your life. Sometimes the things we get was not the same thing we wanted all the life and the things we get turn out to be good for us. Everything we get or everything that happens does happen for good reason, if you are determined, have ambitions, and stay stick to it through thick and thin you will definitely get them no matter the time and efforts. There come many times when a man can lose all of his hope and positivity, as it happened to me a lot of time, I could have lost all the hope and stop struggling and working for my life and that could cost everything that I wanted.
Nevertheless, I stand still and strong through every storm that has come in my life and this behavior turned out to be so good and beneficial for me. It made me successful and it has stabilised my life economically and financially. For me, it’s so important to just stay positive no matter what others say or think about you and your choices. The only thing that people can do is just criticise you and turn down your moral. People always switch on you for no reasons or some lame reasons and they label it as the way of their life. Even your family sometime does not believe you and they do not support you in your decisions and even in your life. The definition of success differs from every person to person.
Most of the people work very hard throughout their lives to achieve their goals and success. This means they work hard to acquire an education or achieving their life ambitions or making money. Moreover, through hard work and by determination I have achieved my life goals. I am thankful for every single person in my life who supported me or has believed in me as my family mistreated me. A determination is a key to survive in this cruel world, it is the ability to stand for something no matter how difficult it seems to achieve. With determination comes willpower and optimism.
Having previously worked in the private finance sector for 15 years and then a further 5 years in your own consultancy, can you tell us how you arrived at where you are now?
During my school time, I actively participated in several clubs and societies. I attended the University of Lyon III, in France for my master degree in Finance. Since then I have joined several financial firms and worked as a financial officer, whilst often participating in social charity works in Sri Lanka.
After finishing my masters I started my career as a finance manager at Chopard till 2002, Then I joined to Pilatus Aircraft Ltd as a financial manager till 2007, then I worked at Suez Energy till March 2010. After working as chief financial Officer up to 2009 I became involved in a personal project of Humanitarian in Sri Lanka for a year. In 2010 I joined as Senior Controller for shareholders in CAVIAR HOUSE & PRUNIER GROUP. Then I worked as a CEO & President in Lux En Bouche start-Up, Fine FOD RETAIL ACTIVITY INDIAN OCEAN. From 2016 I started working as International finance & strategic advisor, Indian Ocean.
In the meantime, I have also written several books on the topic of personal success naming, All-around Success (2018), Respect (2018), Love Your Self (2018), How to bring out the greatness in you (2018), Coach Yourself to Success (2018) Love yourself (2018) Positive flow of life (2018) Love & CO (2018) Money my love (2018).
What were the first few steps to setting up SB Consultancy?
I began by mastering new skills, topics such as Crypto, movie industry, French tech, fundraising. I put a lot of emphasis into quality, originality, and dependability of our service to differentiate ourselves from our competitors by offering a variety of practitioners who are not only certified in their professions but trained in understanding the dynamics of individual energy systems so as to maximise the connection to their trainees and more easily meet the needs of the customer.
I found it was also important to build a community relationship-oriented business, I focused on strengthening the trust of our customer base, and providing not only services but information that will aid everyone.
By focusing on customer needs we provided a specialty service to the under-served market. After surveying many potential customers, we have found that the general trend is people feel that they have no alternative.
How are you helping people how to shake off mediocrity and live up to their greatness?
I am treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice and I give everyone a fair chance. I am able to provide a wise counselling service to others and I have a number of ways of looking at the world that make sense to both myself and others thus being aware of the motives/feelings of not just myself but also others.
I also take pride in valuing close relations with others, in particular, those in which sharing & caring are reciprocated; being close to people.
Can you tell us how you learned to live with a difficult disability, and how you overcame much adversity?
Being careful about my choices; not taking undue risks; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted. I took a liking to laughing and teasing; bringing smiles to other people faces and seeing the light side; making (not necessarily telling) jokes.
Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; not jumping to conclusions; being able to change one’s mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly.
I approach my life with excitement and energy; not doing things halfway or halfheartedly; living life as an adventure; feeling alive and activated.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
I am committed to values such as excellence, passion, quality, integrity and leadership which allow them to navigate challenges and provide for future opportunities. I am very passionate about ‘service’ and ‘excellence’ and dedicate ourselves to long-term relationships as we commit to improving the quality of your life. We pride ourself on our analytical ability, our value-added service, competitive fees, our high standards of quality and our adaptability to changes in the market and in the method of our practice
The most rewarding moment in your personal life?
Speaking the truth but more broadly presenting myself in a genuine way and acting in a sincere way without the need for pretense.
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled with the most whilst in the world of finance?
Doing favours. I am forgiving those who have done wrong and accepting others’ shortcomings, I like to give people a second chance and not being vengeful.
What outlets do use to market SB Consultancy?
We focus on our target market and focus on certain kinds of services with certain kinds of users. We intend to always be active in personal relationships with clients and strategic allies keeping abreast of their needs and wants.
Which methods are you using to build your audience and expand your network?
We are focusing our advertising on several key platforms.
What is the best piece of advice you have received to date?
There have been a few, but mostly to stay disciplined and to maintain control over my appetites and emotions.
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned since building SB Consultancy?
Not to shrink from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain. I have learned to speak up for what’s right even if there’s opposition and I will continue to act on convictions even if unpopular.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen and taking time to express my thanks. I spend a lot of my time thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualise.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and leading female pioneers do you also admire and why?
Mother Teresa, despite the enormous scale of her charitable activities and the millions of lives she touched, to her dying day she held only the most humble conception of her own achievements.
What Youtube or online space channels are you watching currently?
Les Brown, Tony Robbins, Tedx and anything related to crypto.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
‘The Buddha Said’ by OSHO.
What does your Podcast playlist look like?
Les Pieds Sur Terre.
What does success look like in your eyes?
Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe; knowing where one fits within the larger scheme; having beliefs about the meaning of life that shape conduct and provide comfort.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
I see #BEYOUROWN as a motivation tool. Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, and skilled performances in various domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience.
Lastly, what is next for you and SB Consultancy?
Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it; believing that a good future is something that can be brought about.
The keys to success will undoubtedly be effective market segmentation through identification of several niche markets as crypto, virtual reality, and implementation strategies. Along these lines, the company intends to implement personal selling and direct marketing strategies to the target markets. Excellence in fulfilling the promise: completely confidential, reliable, trustworthy expertise and information.
Of course, we want to continue to offer an uncompromising commitment to the quality of our work: that is, quality data, information, and solutions. However, now we are looking to develop a stronger visibility to generate new business leads and hopefully quantify successful niche marketing tactics: we intend to find and target the quality-conscious customer in the right channels, making sure that the customer will find us through aggressive marketing.