In today’s Her Business Story we meet the unstoppable female founder Audrey Ezekwesili, founder of Facilitate4Me Ltd
Audrey, tell us more about your business Facilitate4Me Ltd
I’m a Change Management Consultant. I help people transform their businesses into the vision they have. I work with them to make it as easy as possible for everyone involved; from management to frontline staff.
I am also an author. In my latest book, ‘Behind Every Successful Woman is… The Good, The Bad and The Mundane that women navigate through, to succeed’, I give tried and tested tips to help women create, keep and build their careers as well as manage the highs and lows of being successful.
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
After 20+ years, I realised that I had no desire to climb the corporate ladder anymore. I was more excited about helping others achieve what they wanted. I knew that in order to succeed in business, I had to be clear on what my client’s needs were rather than what I thought they wanted.
How long did it take for you to put your business idea into action?
It took me two years. I had a lifestyle and commitments to maintain.
So, I did lots of research in the background, worked on a variety of ideas in the evenings, wrote my first book (‘Developing People: To 10 tips for new and middle managers’) – whilst I carried on with corporate my day job.
I also and had loads of discussions with trusted coaches and mentors who were key to helping me shape my ideas. When the option for voluntary redundancy was announced where I was working at the time, I saw it as an opportunity to take the leap which I did.
What has been your scariest moment as an entrepreneur?
The scariest thing about being an entrepreneur is the inconsistent cash flow and not having a guaranteed regular monthly income.
I’ve become more interested in the news, politics, economics and technology as I know these could have an influence / impact (positive and negative) on my business.
What has been your proudest moment?
Getting my first client! It was such a confidence booster and I haven’t looked back since. I am also really proud that I continue to have repeat business from my clients
What is the biggest lesson you have learned from founding your own company?
That anyone can do it – with determination, perseverance, hard work and belief!
If you lack any of these, surround yourself with people who can help you such as mentors and coaches. You’ll learn other bonus skills as you go along.
What does success mean to you?
Success is about being honest with yourself about what you want, regardless of whether others approve. It’s also about never giving up.
Success shouldn’t be defined by other people’s yardstick.
I wrote ‘Behind Every Successful Woman is… The Good, The Bad and The Mundane that women navigate through, to succeed’, because although we are in a world where almost everything and anything is possible, we still find ourselves carrying the perception that a woman can only be successful if she sacrifices family life or career.
Has a mistake ever led you to success?
I think mistakes are subjective or perceived errors. There have been many instances where what I or others thought were mistakes have unearthed opportunities.
Also correcting a mistake has led to an unplanned or unintended success of a different kind such as better relationships. The key thing is to never give up.
Which women inspire you?
Many female family members such as my mum, my aunt and my mother-in law and also female coaches and mentors. All are bold and formidable women in their own right. Celebrity wise, I’d say Oprah Winfrey
And which men?
Closer to home are my husband and a few valued male friends and colleagues who have been my emotional cheerleaders. Notable public figures include Barack Obama
What one thing do you wish someone had told you when you first started out?
You don’t need to wait until you have reached perfection before you act – Be bold and take the first step or else you will be waiting a long, long time!
What’s the best piece of business advice someone has ever given you?
Learn not to take rejection personally.
When you go for opportunities, think of yourself as a representative of your business that way if you don’t win that contract or secure that client you can brush it off as “it’s the company that is being rejected, not me.”