In our ‘Inspiring small businesses’ series we share and celebrate great stories from fellow small business owners who took their idea to the next level and built their own business. Starting your own business is a huge step, no matter how small your business is, so by bringing you closer to the great minds behind these inspiring businesses, we hope that you will find motivation and survival tips for building yours.
In our next interview, Will Aylward, a Life Coach and Rapid Transformational Therapy Practioner shares his inspiring business story.
What is it that you do?
I serve as a Life Coach and Rapid Transformational Therapy Practioner helping people around the world to go from feeling stressed and struggling to living free and empowered.
At the heart of my work is supporting people in seeing what they can’t see: the limiting thoughts, beliefs and stories that are holding them back. We all have limiting stories that hold us back, such as ”I’m too old”, ”I’m just not good enough”, ”people like me don’t have what I want”.
I help people in seeing what these stories are before supporting them in re-writing new and empowering narratives, encourage them to take courageous action so they can live life their way.
What’s the story behind your business?
Before starting my business I was working as a Teaching Assistant in my former secondary school. I enjoyed the job and although I loved supporting students academically, what felt better than improving student’s grades was improving their levels of self-confidence and belief. This was worth more to me than good grades. So after a short-time considering training to be a Teacher, I searched for other avenues that would have me helping people on a deeper level.
At the same time as I searched for a profession that felt aligned with me, I was in a long-distance relationship with a German girl I’d met whilst backpacking in New Zealand.
Although the long-distance thing was working, we both knew early on we eventually wanted to live together. I wanted to get out of the UK, so Yvonne moving to me wasn’t an option. I loved my visits to see her in Germany and could see myself living here. The problem was this… I didn’t speak the language! What I needed was a means of making money, whilst living in Germany, but not needing to be fluent in the language. After attending lots of weekend workshops, I soon found the world of Coaching and had the biggest ”aha” moment of my life as I was sat learning about Coaching. A career that’s not only fulfilling and would have me helping people, but also enables virtual work via Skype… it was meant to be. I moved on 11th April 2015, when my Coaching business went full-time.
What inspired you to start your business?
My huge desire to help people and having the freedom to work abroad, but still work in English were the two biggest inspirations. Another inspiration is the TV program ”The Apprentice”. As a teenager, I would watch with wide eyes, fantasising over one day having my own business. I loved the idea of being my own boss and not living an ”ordinary” life where I worked for the man in exchange for a pay check at the end of the month. For me, life is a gift and we needn’t settle. I’ve always been a risk-taker so moving to Germany, moving in with my girlfriend after only being in a long-distance relationship, and starting a business, all at the same time was exciting.
What’s the most difficult aspect of running your own business?
The most difficult aspect for me, honestly, has been sales and marketing. In the beginning, I was hopeless. I was great at helping people, but terrible at marketing and selling myself. I learned pretty early on that someone can be AMAZING at what they do, but if no one knows about their product or service, the person doesn’t have a business, they have an expensive hobby. Since studying sales and marketing and working with a business mentor who specialises in this, my business continues to grow.
I’ve also struggled with ”switching off” from work. It’s always work in progress, but I do my best now to switch off from ”work mode” at the end of the day and into ”play mode”. Not always easy when there’s always emails to respond to or opportunities to be created.
What is the best thing about running your own business?
In a word, freedom. Helping people to create more freedom in their lives whilst at the same time, living life and running a business that enables me the freedom I want too. I love to travel, so having a business I can run from anywhere in the world (as long as I have an internet connection) is incredible. It doesn’t get better for me though than when a client tells me ”My life is so much better now because of working with you”. Those words are priceless and spur me on to continue doing the work I do.