This is probably something that many of our readers already know, but planning to start a business and actually starting and running that business are very different things.
We wouldn’t blame any first-time entrepreneur for feeling nervous. The world of business is highly competitive, and starting a business involves a great deal of personal, professional, and financial risk.
Many entrepreneurs self-fund their businesses until they become self-sustaining, which can potentially take years.
In many cases, women entrepreneurs have even more challenges to overcome, not the least of which is discrimination from male-dominated industries.
Business coach Stephanie Delaunay is combatting this issue and giving women entrepreneurs the tools they need to leap over their hurdles and start successful businesses.
So far, Delaunay’s business coaching has helped more than a hundred women find the confidence and skills necessary to start their own businesses, and she’s very passionate about sharing her expertise.
In this article, Delaunay will help us cover some key concepts for burgeoning entrepreneurs, especially in the area of motivation and following through on your goals. We hope you’ll join us.
Becoming a coach
Delaunay had an interesting journey before becoming a top-level business coach. She and her husband owned a restaurant back in France from 2014 to 2019. During this time, she also worked as a life coach.
In 2019, Delaunay and her family relocated to the United States, where they invested in another restaurant, this time in Florida.
Delaunay started to also invest in personal development coaching programs, hypnotherapy, and other disciplines as well, all of which are relevant to her current coaching work.
She remains highly motivated to help others find consistent sources of motivation and overcome any barriers that might be in the way, which we’ll be talking about soon.
“For me, coaching isn’t just a business, it’s a vocation, a purpose. I think I was born to guide people to find their success in life.”
Now let’s explore how that’s actually accomplished.
In terms of the common barriers to finally starting a business, Delaunay feels that many are rooted in some sort of fear.
“There’s the fear of rejection, fear of loneliness, the fear to act. These can all stop someone from being themselves and finding their strength.”
This is tied closely to the intimidation we talked about earlier. It’s no secret that thousands of people try to start their own businesses, and some of those other entrepreneurs will end up being direct competitors.
There are absolutely no guarantees that a business will be successful, even if it has an excellent business plan and a great deal of funding.
An entrepreneur really has to find their own way and be their own biggest advocate.
Beyond these common fears, Delaunay notes that women entrepreneurs, in particular, also struggle to overcome personal and societal expectations of how they should act. These can easily get in the way and prevent someone from concentrating on the work itself.
One of Delaunay’s main goals is to help women understand that they’re much more than those expectations.
“Women are unconsciously driven by the ‘good girl’ belief that they have to be the woman that their boss or their partner wants, not who they really are and want to be. Women think about their abilities through the lens of motherhood and traditional female roles. Straying from these beliefs can cause negative feelings, which feeds into a harmful cycle.”
Moving past these expectations can be a challenge, especially for someone who has always unconsciously assumed them to be true.
Still, the advantages of being true to yourself are enormous. Instead of spending time and energy trying to be something else, you can focus on the work at hand, on who you really are and who you want to be as a business leader.
Succeeding as an expatriate
For centuries, the United States has been synonymous with economic opportunity. Immigration to the US has been a key part of the country’s history, and even today, many people, Delaunay included, recognize the incredible opportunities present here.
However, moving to a different country is a challenge of its own. An expatriate will most likely be leaving many friends and family members behind. In their new country, they will also have to adjust to countless cultural differences that are difficult to prepare for.
For Delaunay, the process of moving to the United States was an interesting one, to say the least. Though she’s found success here in the US herself, she understands that so many other women who come to America struggle to adjust to their new environment.
Even worse, this adjustment period can sometimes delay professional efforts.
“Expatriation is an adventure and an emotional roller coaster. When you come to a new country, you stay focused on learning how to interact with people, and you put your dreams on the backburner. It’s also hard for native French speakers to find good consulting and coaching in the US.”
This is precisely why Delaunay often specializes in helping French-speaking women. These women are coming from very different cultural backgrounds, and that can be a major disadvantage when trying to succeed here in the United States.
“In the US, I work with French Canadian, French, Belgian, and Swiss professionals. I help them adjust to the business culture of the United States. With a more comprehensive understanding of how things work here, they have a much better chance of succeeding.”
When expatriate entrepreneurs succeed in their new country, it’s a win-win for everyone. The individual business owners find professional success and the country where they live now reaps economic benefits from their success.
Running a business consists of making a large number of decisions all the time. In the early stages of any business, these decisions are especially crucial to the eventual success or failure of the company.
Delaunay warns that someone’s emotional state and personal perspective at the moment when a decision is made can have a large impact on the decision-making process, and that impact isn’t always positive.
“If you find yourself in a difficult moment, try to just focus on the next step. Also, don’t make any major decisions unless you’re in a neutral emotional state. You don’t want temporary emotions to affect your judgment.”
We’ve all experienced this before: looking back at a decision we made, we wonder why that was the choice we made. ‘What was I thinking?’ In many cases, the answer is that we were thinking about how we felt rather than taking a rational look at the situation.
Delaunay also stresses just how important it is to not merge your personal identity with your business.
“You’re not your business. Your identity is so much more than that. Keeping this in mind can make it easier to keep a level head when running your business.”
It’s easy to become invested in your work, and of course caring about the success of your company is important, but work-life balance is even more important. The healthier you are, the more productive you can be.
The post-COVID business landscape
Another reason why Delaunay’s work is particularly important right now is that more and more people seem ready to become entrepreneurs or otherwise pursue their dream jobs.
In Delaunay’s view, this change was sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to have strong rippling effects throughout many different aspects of global society and international systems.
Delaunay feels that this is a net positive. More people are realizing that they need to create the life they really want.
“We are at the beginning of a big societal shift. This pandemic has changed our priorities. I’ve seen so many people realizing that life is short and that they want to live a life of purpose. They want to follow their passions and cut their co-dependencies.”
Don’t be surprised if you continue to see small business startups increase in numbers. Entrepreneurs are motivated and prepared for the road ahead. This is also an incredibly exciting moment in which to be an entrepreneur.
All these startups will no doubt have a lasting impact on the business landscape.
Before finishing up, Delaunay has some parting words of advice for anyone out there who’s getting ready to start a business.
“First, stop scrolling on IG and trying to copy famous people who are already successful. Your ideal business idea is already inside you, so don’t waste time or money imitating others. Focus on your own authenticity and explore it.”
Hopefully aspiring entrepreneurs in our readership have found some words of wisdom here and feel ready to take on the many challenges of running a small business.
Special thanks to Stephanie Delaunay for sharing her expertise.