I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Cottes; entrepreneur, performance coach, keynote speaker, published author, host of the Success on Purpose Podcast and founder of Emergent. Emergent is the premier online community group for new and emerging entrepreneurial women creating a simple business and a life they love. Her work in the entrepreneurship space has been endorsed by individuals such as Bill Clinton.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I was suffering from burnout trying to re-launch my business after becoming a single mom of an 18 month old baby girl.
But I wasn’t sure I could because I was so overwhelmed. I wanted to (needed to) do a business in a way that worked for my new situation as single mom to an infant.
And to be honest, I doubted I could do it because I was trying everything and “it” just wasn’t working and it couldn’t run the same way I ran my business when I started out nearly a decade ago.
Also, if it was going to take too much time away from my daughter, I was afraid all the effort wouldn’t be worth it.
If any of this sounds familiar, let me tell you — I know deeply what it’s like to feel the tug between all the competing priorities in life.
I felt like I was failing, I was stressing out and I struggled with making simple decisions. I even questioned whether I could do it… and I am a business coach!
I was tired of spinning my wheels, and knew that creating a simple and scalable business that could earn a good income was key to getting what I needed for me, my family and for my business to succeed long term.
So I set out to find a way to make that happen. And I am sharing everything I learned and continue to learn, with my audience!
Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?
I recently launched by beta testing a group coaching membership program called Emergent. Emergent is for new and emerging entrepreneurial women creating a simple business and a life they love. If you’re just starting out and you aren’t getting the traction you want, or you’re an experienced entrepreneur that needs to shift the way you are spending your time and energy, Emergent will support you in creating, building and scaling your business with more clarity, confidence and ease.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
I am grateful for all my business coaches. Without them, I wouldn’t have seen how to run my business in a way that made it an actual business and not just a hobby. I learned how to manage my time in a way that felt light and energy giving. Early on, I learned how to measure and refine what’s been working in my business and let go of the rest. I also learned how to put systems in place, so that it made working in my business a breeze. But I also knew that having all this in place was my starting point to the simple and profitable business vision that I have always had inside of me.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I launched my career in 2001 with non-profit organizations focused on youth entrepreneurship and information and communication technology for development. I accidentally became a webmaster and campaign writer thinking that I would be designing programs and workshops. I ended up launching an online resource of best practices in entrepreneurship to a wide global audience, and it was later endorsed by Bill Clinton in 2002. Since then, I’ve continued to volunteer in that sector, by sitting on various boards and committees on youth entrepreneurship and community economic development. Globally I helped design and build virtual networks and communities online. Locally I’ve gone into high schools and inner-city youth centres to run mini-workshops on teaching young people to dream. I have a dream to start my own non-profit and I feel this coming soon.
My message is always about “possibility.” It’s simple, but I know that it only takes one person to say “you can be and do anything you want to be when you grow up” to give them that nudge to launch their life forward.
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
“The Greatness Guide” by Robin Sharma is one of my favourite books out there. This might have been one of my first leadership development books, along with “The Secret” and “Good to Great,” by Jim Collins. I remember downloading these books onto a CD and taking my clunky cd player for a run! One of my best friends had bought “The Greatness Guide” for me for my birthday and it was around the time my life shifted. Sharma writes about how clarity breeds success, so I got clear about what I wanted in life.
“By getting clear on what you want out of life, you heighten your awareness around what’s important. With better awareness becomes better choices. And with better choices you’ll see better results. Clarity breeds success.” — R. Sharma
Around that time, I decided I didn’t want to climb the corporate ladder. I moved back to my home town of Winnipeg and dove into my MBA. I knew I wanted to have my own business so that I could create a life that I wanted, not one that was handed to me. It set a foundation for how I live my life and operate inside my business, so that I can truly live out my best self.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I become an entrepreneur” and why?
1. Plan for a simple scalable business from the beginning. When our lives get complicated we need simple and we need time and we need low stress and we need to stay present. Plan to allow for all of this in your business and in your life and don’t wait. For me personally, life suddenly became complicated as a single mom and with my child split between homes I needed way more time and way more flexibility. I only get to spend a portion of her life with her. “Balance” looked completely different. My time became way more precious than I would have ever imagined with only having so much time to spend with our young children in the first place. Creating a simple business that supported a life that I could love again became urgent for me and important to me for daughter to have a mom who was not only present and but also living her best life.
2. The how is just as important as what. When I was re-launching my business, I felt the pressure to build a full-time one-on-on business coaching practice like I had done successfully in the past. However, this no longer fit my life and I found it was energy draining now, as opposed to when it was incredibly energizing for me in the past. I would say, evaluate where you are now and decide what will bring you the most joy in order to plan for longer term sustainability. Choose a delivery method that feels good energetically and master your return on energy in your daily activities.
3. Build a solid foundation for your business instead of looking for quick fixes. So many people will launch a course only be exhausted and broke at the end of it. It’s usually a sign that the foundation wasn’t built. Instead, take the time to do your research, connect with your audience and design something they truly want. Doing the hard work now, will pave the way for the easy work later.
4. Show up and shine as who you are (and not who you think you need to be.) The right people and the right results will come only if you are showing up as who you want to be. Anything else, will attract result that you don’t want and having to undo a lot of crap and clean up a lot of mess. This is true in your life and in your business.
5. Do one thing and do it well if you want to grow faster. At the beginning we want to offer a whole lot of things. We either have a lot of great ideas, or we think that having a menu of offerings will encourage people to buy. Doing too many things is just crazy making for you, it confuses your audience, and it will slow you down. This showed up as fear of commitment in my business to offering just one thing to start with. Once I committed to my “one thing,” everything became clear and earning in my business became much easier.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
I would love to have a meal with Robin Sharma. His book influenced my life so much, and I feel like there’s so much I could learn from him. I’d love to have a 1:1 conversation with him.