After her diagnosis of and recovery from stage 2A breast cancer, Melanie knew she had to bring more balance into the fast paced, high stress life she led running a successful events and PR agency. She now inspires other women to make positive, healthy lifestyle choices through private coaching, workshops, authorship, public speaking and her iHear Radio show, Fearless Fabulous You!. Her interview inspires us to group our tasks to be more efficient with our time and write our own five-year business plan.
What inspired you to become a holistic entrepreneur?
In 2009, after running a very successful, fast paced, high stress culinary events and public relations agency I was diagnosed with stage 2A breast cancer. After a year of four surgeries, five months of chemotherapy, endocrine therapy and post traumatic stress – all while continuing to run my company full time – I decided that my former life was too stressful and my future life needed more balance. I made significant changes in my diet, exercise and overall lifestyle and decided I had a strong message and could an positive example for other women to make better lifestyle choices to stay healthy.
Tell us about your business or practice.
I offer 1on1 coaching and workshops with a focus on diet, movement and stress management, I write and speak on these topics and I interview inspiring women and health, wellness and nutrition experts for my radio show, Fearless Fabulous You! on iHeart.com and W4WN the Women4Women Network.
I have written two books which form the basis of my speeches: The first is “Getting Things Off My Chest: A Survivor’s Guide To Staying Fearless & Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer” and the second is “Fearless Fabulous You! Lessons on Living Life on Your Terms.”
What is your current business model?
I started as a writer, published my first book, became a speaker and published a second book. I decided to focus on transformational coaching in response to the number of people who were reaching out to me for advice and mentoring to “rethink their lives.”
What has been one of your favorite moments as a business owner thus far?
Helping people become confident in who they are and what they envision their position to be. Also, helping people make small changes in their lives to make a big difference down the road.
In the past, I have derived great joy and fulfillment creating meaningful and lasting programs in the food and beverage industry including The James Beard Foundation Awards
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in running your business or practice?
Really, just time. I would like more of it. And money. I would like more of it. But if you dedicate the time, the money will come.
How have you overcome those challenges?
I am learning to “chunk” my tasks to be more efficient with my time. I am learning to focus on the change I am making and not the change I am earning.
How do you find new clients?
I network, network and network some more I also blog weekly and host two weekly radio shows. These don’t necessarily generate business but they generate awareness.
What have you found to be most effective in securing new clients to sign up for your services?
Referrals and personal contacts. Social media is great for inquiries. Especially LinkedIn and Twitter.
What do you do to keep your existing clients engaged in the long term?
I stay in touch with them and send them articles and updates that may be of interested even if we are “on hiatus.”
As your own boss, what is your best strategy for staying focused and productive during your workday?
I mentioned before that I “chunk” my time. When I am working I really focus hard to be in the moment. This means not taking calls or looking at emails while I am writing and giving the client full attention. I also take 10 -15 minute breaks during the day to get up from the desk and move, brew some tea and step outside to refresh my head.
If you could start your business over again from the beginning, what would you do differently?
I would write a strong five year business plan to include an e-marketing plan, recruit a financial partner to oversee that end of the best while I serve as
rainmaker and strategist. I would also invest more in technology and videos to market myself.
What were some of the first mistakes you made that you would tell a new holistic entrepreneur to avoid?
Have a clear digital marketing strategy. Be very clear how you will price and monetize your offering, build your mailing list, invest in great videos and a strong opt-in. I missed several opportunities by not having a strong e-marketing/digital plan.
What are the top three business tools or resources you couldn’t live without?
iPad, Headphones wMicrophone, iPhone
What has been your most effective method for growing your business?
Referrals and Affiliate Marketing
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever for done for your business?
Posed bare breasted in support of The Grace Project to show beauty in women who have had mastectomies.
What is your favorite indulgence?
Sleeping in. No alarm clock. No emails. No tech. No deadlines, No agenda.
Most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?
Fried scorpion in Singapore
Most memorable place you’ve ever visited?
Borneo to spend Christmas with a tribe of former headhunters
Last book you read?
1000 Places To Eat Before You Die. My first career and first love was/is eating, drinking and traveling. I confess I have tried all but three of the foods/dishes in the USA section.
If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, it would be…
Plain unsweetened yogurt mixed with whatever is available
What is your go-to breakfast?
plain unsweetened yogurt mixed with fresh fruit and nuts and seeds or savory with chopped veggies, chickpeas and spice
What do you find most fascinating about the human body?
The body’s capacity to create life. Sadly it’s the body’s mind that takes life.
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
Freedom to live and work on my terms.
Melanie Young is a transformational coach and award winning author based out of Gardiner, NY. You can find out more about Melanie and her business, Fearless Fabulous You and The Connected Table, by visiting www.melanieyoung.com and www.theconnectedtable.com.