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Hidden Gems: Meet Paula Shepherd

Today we’d like to introduce you to Paula Shepherd.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
It started the way most stories did back then; I went to college to get a good job and make a lot of money. While I successfully climbed the corporate ladder, something always seemed to be missing. I said no to contracting jobs because they seemed way too risky and never considered being my own boss. Traditional 9-5’s felt so much more safe and stable., But the reality was that I didn’t love the culture. Creating change in an environment that lacked diversity and equity and was managed by primarily men who didn’t have school-aged children was tough. At the time, I was the only female manager and the only manager with school-aged children. I’d tried repeatedly to get other jobs but didn’t have the technical degrees, despite my experience and expertise, that were required. I felt perpetually stuck – like a hamster on a wheel. It was taking a serious toll on me mentally.

In April 2018, I hired a career coach. I had absolutely no idea what a coach was, but she was recommended and I was willing to do whatever it took to do something that I loved. During one of our sessions she asked if I had ever considered becoming a coach and told me I was a natural, something she said she typically doesn’t recommend. Within a few months, I was enrolled in an ICF Accredited Coaching Program and six months later, I was certified. When I put my mind to something, I go all in. But I had no idea how to start a business and after endless hours of googling, I hired another coach to help me learn to navigate the online space and connect with people. I vowed to myself my last day would be August 31, 2020 and never lost sight of that goal. I was basically working a full-time day job and at night working a second full time with coaching. It was physically and mentally exhausting, so it was time to make a decision. At the time, I had a 6 figure salary, held the benefits for our family and have four children. Leaving wasn’t an easy decision. It was uncomfortable and risky and I definitely did not have a cushy savings account at the time.

However, in May 2020 I gave my notice after two successful months in my business and agreed to stay until the second week of July. Two full months before my goal date of August 31, 2020. I kept investing in myself – books, private coaches, and deciding from the start that I would not fail. Since I began, I have coached over 50 paid clients and countless pro bono. Investing back in myself and my business, including support has been instrumental in the rapid growth of my business. Early on, I adopted the mantra “there are no rules.” and I put in motion The Courage Blueprint(TM), my method for taking aligned action toward your vision always anchored to your values.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Everything has been an experiment. I don’t like using the word struggle to describe my experiences so far, but it has been tough. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely place. When you start a business, it’s like caring for a newborn. You have to nurture and care for it to thrive and grow. Your attention gets pulled in a variety of directions and sometimes, the path you’re headed down isn’t where others want to go. As a result, you can lose relationships – which has been the case for me. There have been times when I’ve wondered what I’m doing wrong or what they did wrong, but in each case it was just a parting of ways because we had different visions for our lives. And that’s okay. But it certainly doesn’t make the loss any less painful.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
As a Business Confidence Coach & Consultant, I’m a mix of holistic life and mindset coaching with business strategy sprinkled on top. We always begin with self-discovery because it’s important to know who we are, what we define as successful and what we stand for before we ever try to help someone else. I help business owners create a business that embodies their values and is set up to scale from the very beginning and then show up powerfully online with courage and charisma so they can create more online connections and ultimately more impact and income. I’m known for my desire to elevate the voices of others and my encouragement of collaboration, community and connection. We are always better together and my intent has always been to design the business I always wanted to work for. I’m also known for telling others to “Use their outside voice.” A way of speaking up and out for what you believe in and in support of ourselves and others, including social injustices.

How do you define success?
Success is more than money. It’s creating a business I can stand behind that creates a ripple effect of good in the world. Clients growing ethical and sustainable business models that don’t require hustle and grind. But most importantly being able to live a life I love without being controlled by my work. If I can create the business I always wanted to work for and bring in team members that can take ownership and feel empowered to use their voice, then that’s success.

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Image Credits

Enid Jones Photography

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