#BEYOUROWN MEETS LOUISE STEPHENS
Louise Stephens is a business strategy expert, digital marketing coach & creator of Louise Stephens – Business Coaching where she teaches women how to harness the power of social media and accelerate their business to financial success.
Welcome Louise, thank you for coming on board with us, can you introduce yourself to us?
Thank you so much for having me! I am super excited to be here & have the opportunity to share a little about myself, my work & of course what Louise Stephens Business Coaching is all about! As you mentioned, my name is Louise. I am a born & bred New Zealander who has spent the last 11 years living abroad in Melbourne, Australia.
In more recent months I relocated back to my homeland, where I live in a small town called Waihi so I could spend more time with my parents as well as brother, sister & my niece & nephew who live in the Auckland region.
My family mean the absolute world to me, they are the number 1 reason why I started my own business & I feel so incredibly blessed to not only be closer to them but have the freedom & flexibility to spend time with them.
I am a die-hard romantic & on most Friday nights I can be found curled up on my couch with my puppy Panda, re-watching my favourite rom com’s.
Or, if I’m not drawn to my usual tear-jerkers, I will be found watching The Big Bang Theory. I am in huge denial that their final episode has aired so to stop myself from curling up in a ball & crying, I’m keeping their memory alive by either watching re-runs or scrolling the cast members Instagram feeds & re-living all the good times!
Something not a lot of people knows about me is from the age of 7 I’ve played golf. My dad was in the New Zealand Fire Service & travelled a lot with work. Being daddy’s little girl, when he was home, I would often caddy for him, until one day I got sick of watching & decided to start playing myself.
In my early teens’ I started playing at an elite level; Entering both junior & representative competitions as well as in my last year of high school being named Cromwell Sports Person of the Year.
Playing such a disciplined sport & at an elite level has helped me develop a strong, competitive inner mindset as well as igniting my passion for personal development & exploring the world. Although I don’t play too often now, it’s still a sport I love & I am a still a huge #fangirl of Tiger Woods.
Having been bitten by the travel bug, when I am not exploring the gorgeous scenery of New Zealand or visiting friends & family either here or in Australia, you can find me ticking new & exciting places off my bucket list. I adore travelling to new destinations, the personal growth that comes from seeing different parts of the world & how other cultures live.
Can you talk us through the path you have pathed to where you are now as a business coach?
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved helping people. Growing up my older brother was my world & I just loved doting after him. Although I never intended on going to University, at the end of high school many of my friends were going so I decided to follow suit & went too.
At the time, The Lord of The Rings had just started coming out & I wanted to be the next Peter Jackson. Sadly, it wasn’t to be, computer science & coding wasn’t for me, so I decided to change my degree & find something more focused on helping people.
I went onto complete a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Community & Family Studies with a minor in Education. At the ripe old age of 24, I decided not to complete another year to become a Social Worker but instead gain some experience in the real world.
Going down a completely different path, I started working for a fitness marketing company as a sales consultant. After 9 months with them, I decided to relocate to Melbourne & I started working for Australia’s Largest Travel Retail.
I started out in one of their front-end retail stores, progressed my way through the company into leadership roles, their internal recruitment team & then launching my ‘dream job’, a career coaching role in Victoria, Tasmania & overtime being an integral member of the team to launch the function into Queensland, where their Global Head Office is based. It was here I had found my way back to working with & empowering people. Achieving so many career highlights as well as both internal & external awards for the work we did.
After hitting what would be considered ‘a glass ceiling’, I started to think about what was next for my career & my life. Having dedicated most of my 20’s & early 30’s to my career & progressing up the corporate ladder, I started to think about the other areas of my life that had been put on hold.
Wanting to find a way to incorporate my love for coaching, into a more flexible lifestyle, just shy of 9 years with the company I decided to resign & start my own business. As I started to uncover what that looked like, I went onto complete further personal & professional development, to ensure I could turn my practical, hands-on experience into my own business & empower others to do the same.
Having no idea what to do next, I invested in a business mastermind program where I had access to a team of business, mindset & marketing coaches as well as a community of like-minded people all turning their passion for coaching into a business.
Within 9 months I celebrated my first month of profit & in September I will be celebrating the 3-year anniversary of Live What You Love Business Coaching being launched. It’s been quite a journey, filled with highs & lows, but every day I am so very grateful to part of it.
What does a typical day look like for you?
This is such an interesting question! Hand on heart, no day really does look the same. But there are key & I believe crucial elements that are present in each day to ensure I stay grounded, focused & of course, living what I love! It doesn’t matter if it’s a weekday or weekend, every morning I wake around 7am & the day starts to flow from there.
I hold ‘joint custody’ of Panda, a Shi Tzu puppy, with my parents. Depending on what I have on, he spends 4 or 5 nights of the week with me. So, when he’s here, we spend a good half an hour or so having cuddle time before we get up & brave the cold.
I’ve overcome some severe mental health challenges over the past 3 years, specifically depression & anxiety. From this experience I learned first-hand how important it is to fill our own cups up, before everyone else’s; for me, I do this with meditation every morning.
In more recent weeks I’ve started ‘meditation for puppy’s’ to ensure Panda doesn’t miss out on the calming goodness! Once we are ready to start the day, I light the fire, get dressed & I connect my favourite playlist on Spotify to my TV. I then spend the next 5 minutes with my hands on my heart doing a ‘gratitude rant’. All areas of life can be challenging & some days bring more challenges than others, I have found focusing on the goodness in life helps calm any nervous or anxious energy I might have, transports my mind into the present moment & gets me excited to live the day ahead.
The small town where I live is surrounded by native bush & the beach is only a 10-minute drive down the road. I feel so fortunate to have so much natural beauty around me so every day before I start working or catching up friend friends/family, Panda & I are hitting the pavement for a walk around the park.
On days that mum isn’t at work we take him & her other two dogs for a run at the beach. Needless to say, these guys all feature a lot on my Facebook & Instagram stories!
My dad is now retired so most days I’ll head around to have a coffee & talk about life with him. From there the world is my oyster & it really depends on what appointments I have, what client sessions I have booked & whatever else needs to be done in my business.
As I’ve recently moved to a new town, I’m making a conscious effort to meet new people & make new friends. As well as attending local networking events & connecting with like-minded people in the local community or online. Call me a nanna but I’m always in bed by 10pm to ensure I’m well-rested to make the most of the next day, living what I love!
Can you give us 3 ways you are helping powerful coaches, healers & female entrepreneurs to turn their passion into their own business?
In a literal sense, I work with my clients either on a one on one basis or they are a member of the Kick Start Your Start-Up Program.
This is a 12-month program that includes;
- 3 months of one on one, personalised coaching & mentoring with myself
- 12-month access to a private, online community where we have weekly live webinars & they have the opportunity to ask me or others in the group questions as well as share in celebrations
- Lifetime access to the Kick Start Your Start-Up membership portal that houses hours of worksheets & tutorials on the exact strategies I used to start & grow my business.
I have a free Women’s Only Facebook group called ‘Launch To Legacy’. Members are invited to ask questions, share in each other’s wins & are encouraged to promote amazing offers or opportunities to the group.
In more recent months I have re-launched the ‘Women Empowering Women’ Facebook Live Interview Series. On a fortnightly basis, I interview amazing women in a business where they have the opportunity to share their story, how their product or service helps others, answer live questions & share a promotional offer to the viewers.
I am totally addicted to researching & trying different business strategies to then be able to share what works & what doesn’t, I also love working with my clients one on one to have a complete mindset shift AND empower them to connect with their inner courage & confidence to grow as a person & ultimately as a business owner.
How are you working towards your own personal development?
As the saying goes “if you’re not growing your dying”, so needless to say, I am a huge advocate for personal development.
I love taking on my inner fears! Whether that be by breaking away from a 9-5 to start my own business, travelling around the world or going bungee jumping in Queenstown, going out to accomplish every story your mind tells you that you can’t do & doing it, is one of the greatest strengths I believe I & you have!
As I mentioned previously, a lot of my adult life was focused on creating an amazing career that I felt like I had forgotten to create an equally amazing life along the way.
So, wherever I can, I push myself outside of my comfort zone in life before any other area. I am surrounded by my family & I honestly believe that alone has brought me so much personal development & growth. I moved out of home when I was 17, went to University quite far from where my family lived & then relocated to Australia, rarely returning for holiday. Integrating myself back into family life has been such a huge blessing but has also challenged me on so many personal levels.
Along with taking on my own inner fears, I am also surrounded by a multi-disciplinary team of experts. I work alongside a psychologist, business mentor & coach who constantly challenge me to grow both personally & professionally.
There’s a lot of inner work is done when you choose to live life on your own terms & help others do the same. To ensure I am constantly evaluating my own life path, I meditate daily, journal & ensure I have goals to work towards in not only business but health & in my relationships.
I am also extremely lucky to be surrounded by the best friends anyone could ask for. I have many friends both in the coaching industry & outside of it, who not only support me but also challenge me & encourage me to show up, being the most authentic version of myself.
Number one rule in business you stick by?
To know & understand your own values & stick to them. We live in a world where social media platforms are so prevalent & on a daily basis, we are consumed with massive amounts of information telling us who we should be, what we should be doing, how much money we should be making & if we’re not meeting these expectations we’re failing.
When we know why we do what we do & how we want our business & lifestyle to be, it’s so much easier to stay true to our own journey & find joy in the process opposed to putting huge amounts of pressure on ourselves to always be further down the journey than we are.
A past mentor once told me, “you only fail if you give up!” When I get caught up comparing myself to the bright & shiny ‘perfect life’s’ of everyone else or feel like I’m ‘failing’ I remind myself of this, go back to my why, what I am creating and how I’m choosing to create it to ensure I get back on track.
Oh, and being a little cheeky, my second rule is to be consistent! It doesn’t matter if that starts off doing one action task a week or seven, start with what you can do consistently & grow from there.
What are your preferred marketing methods?
I am a huge advocate for marketing yourself both in person as well as harnessing the power of online platforms. My three favourites being Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn.
To me, ‘marketing’ is about building relationships both in-person & across social platforms. To me, the quickest way to do this is by getting yourself out of your comfort zone & either meeting new people face to face or engaging & giving value to others online.
When you’re prepared to consistently put yourself out there, those you interact with naturally want to know more about you & what you do so they either embark on a conversation with you in person or will head to your social pages to discover more & then potentially send you a direct message.
Once your ideal customer or clients get to know you, like you & trust you, you give yourself & business the very best opportunity for them to become paying customer or client.
By attending local networking events or networking either in Facebook Groups or more one to one on platforms such as Instagram or LinkedIn, you give yourself & business the very best opportunity to be seen, for those to see you as an industry expert & you just never know who you will meet or where your conversation can lead.
Some of my greatest friends, mentors & clients have come from attending local networking events as well as by having the courage to put myself out there in Facebook Groups or engage with posts on either Instagram or LinkedIn.
Can you share one pro and one con of running your own business?
The biggest pro of running my own business would have to be having the freedom & flexibility to choose my own hours & who I want to work with. Having always worked for someone else it was definitely a big mindset shift to get used to moving away from the mainstream, 9-5 & making myself available when I had to be.
Now, I love that I get to choose what time I get up, how I start the day best suited to me & then focusing on what work needs to get done. The biggest con or challenge is working by myself & not having a team of colleagues around me to interact with or share the journey with.
I think most solo business owners will agree that although it’s amazing having time, freedom & flexibility on your side, it can sometimes be a lonely journey & it’s easy to miss the daily human connection.
Ensuring that we make time in the week to get away from our computer or phone screens to socialise with friends &/or family is so important for the well-being of our mental health, to have a support network around us when challenges arise & of course to celebrate the wins.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
To me, #BEYOUROWN means to show up in business & life as the real, authentic you! The good, the bad, the ugly because we are all unique & that’s what makes us who we are.
Instead of shying away from owning our imperfections & experiences, have the courage to be brave & give yourself permission to be you. Sure, some might not like it & we may lose friends or family members because of it, but let’s be honest, that’s not our problem! Life is way too short to go against our own values, put our needs last & pretend we are someone else just to please others.
When I first started my business, I remember feeling so inadequate, lacking in self-worth & believing that I needed to be someone else, do what others were doing, & learn even more to attract paying clients to work with.
When in reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. People want to work with me for who I am & the experiences I’ve had, so when I made the decision to let go of trying to be someone else & started showing up as the real me, my business went from strength to strength & I was a much happier person because of it.
Finally, what are you working on?
We are almost at the end of the financial year here in New Zealand & Australia so planning for the remainder of 2019 & into 2020 is in full swing! The biggest focus right now is on client growth & working with more women to start &/or grow their businesses to profit.
There are so many amazing women out there, who have big dreams but often lack the courage, certainty or know how to take action. I am really excited to connect with more of them & work along-side them to start making it happen!
Now that I have settled into a way of life back home, I am excited to launch the Kick Start Your Start-Up – Interact Social Media Workshop in New Zealand, starting with the town I live in & expanding into main city centres throughout the country.
Finally, I recently re-launched the ‘Women Empowering Women’ Live Facebook Interviews. They have been really well received by both interviewees & viewers, so I have a big focus on continuing to grow the awareness & audience for these wisdom offerings.