Welcome to part 3 of the Real Women, Real Business series!
This series is about understanding the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of quitting a job and starting a business.
Before I left my corporate job, I was so in awe (and still am) of women who had taken the leap and set up their own business. I wanted to know how they came up with their idea and what gave them the courage to finally go for it.
This week’s interview is with a Career Executive Coach!
If you love what you read, here are the other interviews in the series for you to peruse at your leisure!
- Interview 1: Ellie Frost, Brand Strategist, and Business Coach
- Interview 2: Rachel Creeger. Comedian, Writer, and Director
- Interview 4: Monika Wawrzyczek. Mystique Lash Salon, and Academy
- Interview 5: Louise Winter: A Modern Funeral Director
- Interview 6: Georgia Gallone. Digital Marketing Consultant and App Founder
An interview with Laura Peli, a Career Executive Coach!
What is your business?
Ni-Cons Consulting is a company focused on Career Consulting and Coaching. We work all over Europe and China, collaborating with Universities and high schools, as well as the corporate world. We work with the future leaders, shaping their leadership skills through coaching and motivation.
What was your previous job?
I worked in Business Hospitality Consultancy, I had an important role within the company and I loved it. But two years ago I felt it was the right time to leave and start a new adventure with my business partner Carla Ferrero.
What made you decide you wanted to leave your corporate job?
I have always wanted to be a coach focusing only on developing people’s skills and abilities. Although I could coach and train the employees within the organization at my previous firm, I wanted more.
How did you decide what business to set up?
Carla and I worked alongside youngsters for quite a while. We realized that the students were not prepared enough to face the world of work. Especially millennials, who had a different attitude towards the small ‘daily failures’.
We understood there was a gap in the market and we gave it a go. In the UK there were already few existing companies like ours, however, in the rest of Europe, we were kind of pioneers in what we do.
Was everyone supportive of your idea?
Initially, several people asked me if I was sure I had considered all the potential scenarios. I knew that in order to reach my goal I had to trust in myself and do a leap of faith.
Some people even asked me if I was afraid to fail. The answer is “No”. Our life is made by daily failures, without them we wouldn’t be able to be good professionals.
Did you have to get any outside investment to get going?
No, we didn’t, we preferred to have the full ownership of the company. For this reason, we managed not to have external investors.
Did you take any courses or qualifications?
Carla has majored in Chinese language and lived in Asia for several years, this is why we work with Chinese students too. Whereas I have gained my BA in foreign languages in Italy, then I moved to the UK where I got a couple of Masters in London.
Nevertheless, I am a coach, so between The Coaching Academy and other private institutions, I have done several courses and training in this field. I never stop studying though, as a matter of fact, I am already looking for the next course to attend!
Did you have any particular fears about starting a business and if so how did you get over them?
I recall my business partner and I being overly enthusiast at the beginning and that positive attitude really helped, especially when our business was in an embryonal state.
When you start a new business you have to keep your goal in mind: never forget the reason behind the company. Also, we set short and medium-term goals, in this way we keep ourselves motivated.
What was the hardest thing about setting up the business?
The hardest was knowing that the income would have been unstable for a while, at the beginning is hard, but if I focus on my aims, I see that it’s worth it.
How do you manage your time? Do you take certain days off?
My personal life has suffered initially, I was very focused on my work and I didn’t really take a lot of time off. But after the first 6/9 months, I have managed to find a way.
The secret for a good balance is to keep one day a week (or two half-a-days) and take that time just for yourself to do the things that you love. At the end of the day, if you burn out, you won’t be a good CEO.
Do you ever procrastinate and how do you deal with it?
It happens that when we travel for work, we have bigger workload waiting for us at the end of the day! In case I have extra work to do, I try to sort it out as soon as possible, working till late or early in the morning.
How do you market your business? Word of mouth/types of social media?
I think LinkedIn is an incredible tool in terms of marketing your business. We also keep up with the social media world with our Facebook page and Instagram.
Half of our business is from word of mouth, which, as far as I am concerned, is the best way. Happy clients who spread the voice is a powerful marketing tool.
What is your favourite thing about having your own business?
I can manage my timetable and I can work from anywhere.
Thanks to the internet, a coach like me I can easily work with people via Video Call. It all depends on how you organise your schedule.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to women who want to start a business?
To think if this is what they really want. If yes, then do it as soon as possible. This world needs more women leaders.