Secrets Of A Corporate Woman Turned Happy Business Adviser

Françoise Garnier

corporate woman turned business adviser

Transforming from happy corporate woman to satisfied business advisor or consultant, Oh what a journey and an uncomfortable feeling at first! What corporate woman would not express doubts like mine: Stepping out of a whole career spent in market-leading companies, did I really want this “smaller” life? Would I enjoy enriching teamwork and winning performances again? And would I keep learning and creating?I hear that women make great business advisors, consultants and coaches. People also say we have empathy, know how to listen, and find solutions. Perfect starting point for reinventing yourself! Still it is a big change; Here are some tips from my journey to facilitate yours.

A Corporate Woman's Life Is Not Perfect

Whether we are one of many or one of a few women in lead roles, our corporate life has tough moments; times when we can feel trapped with our wings clipped:

  • The pressure to perform is relentless
  • Too much work and travel destroy your work-life balance.
  • You don't always feel as valued and rewarded as you deserve.
  • Commercial greed can widen the gap between corporate reality and your ideals.

So, Plan To Recreate How You Love To Work

When we leave any part of our life behind, we usually remember all that made life great. That’s good because we want to renew those feelings:

  • The security of a team and processes around you, of a regular pay...
  • Experiencing an energising positive culture
  • Proudly celebrating team successes, exciting milestones
  • Believing in a (big) brand
  • Bouncing ideas, learning, creating… with the great people around you
  • Cheering the success of people you mentored / developed.
  • Continuously learning and enjoying professional development

No Longer A Corporate Woman? Make A Motivating New Start

When I left my corporate life, I knew one thing: Early retirement had ZERO appeal. I wanted a new meaningful long lasting career. If I had reached my "use-by date" as a corporate woman and become "unemployable, then I was going to share my experience and passion differently. And my new solution would keep energising me.Now I had the opportunity to plan how I was going to achieve my work and personal life priorities! But I had to overcome doubts; It was time to build SELF-BELIEF and Direction! That is what the next steps are about.

Being “Client-Centric” Starts With You

I treated my “reinvention” as A CLIENT PROJECT. This time I was the client!I was not my first client. My employers, peers, teams had all been my clients. They were "buying" something from me, something I was good at delivering and that was valuable to them. That perspective helps you leverage your strengths, be self-confident and focus.

Recognise Your Purpose And Value

Now you are the driver of your own bus 100% of the time! To stay motivated and to win, you have to express clearly what you want and why internal and external clients love you.I love 2 models which I find very powerful, individually and combined, for myself and my clients from start-ups to those in need of revitalising their brand:First IKIGAI, the Japanese concept meaning a “reason for being”. I feel that women in particular can relate to it, because of our multiple roles as partners, mothers, carers, business women…

This simple diagram helps me visualise my purpose and balance. It helps validate my brand positioning, shape my consulting business.

ikigai and career steps planning

And Simon Sinek’s well known brand model: The Golden Circle. Define your WHY, your HOW and after that, the What or features of your services.

Shape Your Business Around Your Life Priorities

Can you relate to these energy drivers often listed by women in particular?

  • Having flexibility (time and location)
  • Offering diversity (clients, problems, solutions…)
  • Being available to support family members when they need it
  • Minimise business complexity and constraints

And what about these 2 points important to me?

  • Simplifying my clients’ lives, delivering tangible value/ making a difference
  • Specializing in my favourite activities and still deliver an integrated effective support

Validate Your Plan

List your reflections’ outputs, then turn them into a 1-page plan for your business and services. Validate your plan with unbiased sounding boards, people who have been on a similar journey and who take your success seriously. Because they’ll ask the tough questions and will also see opportunities you can’t yet see! Also review and update regularly. Be proactive and open-minded to opportunities within your brand framework.

Be Disciplined

You are disciplined for your clients. Your challenge is to be - and stay - disciplined for yourself too. It is amazing how easily the best of us can get “derailed”! Apply simple effective business management and development processes, structure your “products”; have a plan and always follow up… Measure what works and doesn’t!

Focus Your Energy Positively

Dare to be selective! Trust our experience, you'll strengthen your client relationship and enjoy your business more. Use your strengths. It is OK to NOT do everything yourself. It is exhausting, ineffective and depressing to do work that you hate. Remember your Ikigai. Simplify or delegate. Plan to surround yourself with expertise that you can call upon when clients need it. Select your clients and projects. Resist the natural temptation to say Yes just because you need to earn a living. Now I know not to waste energy into a negative situation that can never be right. I walk away. By steering them towards a better match, I turn a “loose-loose” into a stress-free “win-win-win”.

So Where To Next?

I’ll share more tips later. So far, does some of my experience from corporate woman to enthusiastic business adviser resonate with you? Ask us how we make it work. Get in touch

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