Interview with Helen Packham, transformational life and business coach

When corporate leadership trainer Helen Packham had her daughter in 2012, she lost her confidence and identity. Read how, after a challenging review, she left her job and started her own business.

And today she’s come full circle to help other women unlock their courage and confidence, and launch successful online businesses on their terms.

What is your career background?

My background is in corporate leadership development. I got my first job as a coach at Virgin Atlantic, and then climbed the ladder to coach and train executives within financial services in all areas of leadership including impact and presence, communication, engagement, motivation, change and conflict.

How did your career change after having children?

I completely lost my confidence and identity after having my daughter in 2012. It felt like such a seismic shift that I became untethered to who I used to be. I just didn’t know what I was good at any more.

I returned to work with the belief that I wasn’t worthy of my senior role. I felt that I had lost all those years of experience and was a complete fraud that didn’t belong in board rooms. My behaviour reflected my belief and I started to make mistakes and avoid difficult situations because I felt so out of my depth.

After a challenging review I decided to leave in 2014 and set up my first business. I then set up my second business in April 2016.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

My first business focused on sleep coaching, due to a very sleep deprived year off work with my daughter. But it never felt quite right and I now know that it was due to me ‘running away’ from my corporate experience due to my loss of confidence.

My son was born in July 2015 and the world was turned upside down again! My marriage broke down and I embarked on a long and interesting journey to reconnect with my identity and gain back my confidence.

This is where the idea for my current business was born. I wanted to find a way to help women just like me unlock their courage and confidence and utilise the treasure trove of skills and experience they had within them, all in a way that meant that life and business were on their terms.

How did you move from idea to actual business?

I sought support early on in the form of a business mentor. She helped me pull out all the years of business coaching experience, and put it into a three month 121 coaching programme for women.

I also learnt how to market myself online, and use social media to attract and sign clients. I started taking action and building relationships, and just one month after launching I signed my first premium client!

Who’s your target audience?

My focus is on helping women business owners who are in the first year of launching an online business. They are women (mostly mums) who have put their needs to the bottom of the pile, and are now ready to take their turn, get known for what they are great at and feel fulfilled every day doing what they absolutely love.

How do you spread the word about what you do?

My main strategy has been to build and monetise a following on Facebook. I have done this by building a community of like minded women on my Facebook page and in my group The Tenacious Tribe Of Lady Entrepreneurs.

I use Facebook Live to reach my ideal client, and create excitement around my programmes and offerings. But my biggest aim is to give as much value as possible to the people who follow me. I have also recently started branching out into speaking, which has been fantastic for spreading my message.

What’s been your most successful marketing strategy?

Facebook live is an incredible platform, and I have been able to reach so many people and see amazing results in my business. It has led to many opportunities for me to spread my message further.

And your proudest moment so far?

In January 2016 I put together a vision board of all the things I wanted to achieve in 2016. At the time I was still incredibly self conscious and lacking in confidence. I started to dream big and take action.

One of those dreams was to speak on stage at a TEDx event. I am so proud to say that dream came true in October!

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Why is work so important to you?

I have always valued work and I love learning new things every day, meeting new people and feeling mentally challenged and stimulated. I also want to make an impact on the lives of others, to inspire other women that they can do the things they are dreaming about, that they DO have it all within them.

It really does give me a sense of fulfilment to know that I am making a difference in whatever way I can. I also want to inspire my children and give them the love, connection, and opportunities to really flourish in life.

How do you balance your business with your family?

I launched my second business when my son was seven months old, and had to find a way of working that meant I wasn’t blurring life and business and burning myself out in the process.

It hasn’t always been easy but I have found that having bullet proof boundaries, blocking my tasks for maximum mental focus and managing my energy rather than my time have been great for me to achieve the results I have whilst looking after my family.

I have some free resources that may help fellow mums in business with this. My free energy planner is a one pager that turns time management on its head and helps you maximise your energy to be more efficient and productive in the time you have.

I also have a Mum Boss schedule, which shows how I block tasks and include me time into my week so that I am playing from an eight-ten most days rather than a two! My son doesn’t sleep (ironically) so this is something I live and breathe every day.

What are your three top pieces of advice for mums wanting to start their own business?

1) Get solid on you

When building a business the best place to start is with some inner work. Getting really clear on who you are, what you need and your values and strengths is a fantastic starting point for building a business on the right foundations.

Not only will it enable you to make decisions and feel more confident about what you want to achieve, but you will also build an authentic brand that represents everything about you and what you are here to do.

2) Find out what your clients really need

A lot of the time, service based entrepreneurs build services offering things they think their clients need. If you are able to tap into the biggest challenges your ideal clients face, you can build a service that solves their problems.

Not only this but you can speak directly to your ideal client through your marketing and messaging by explaining how they are feeling and how you can help them. People will buy based on the problem that you can solve for them rather than the process you are offering.

3) Get visible

The most powerful way to market your business is by utilising social media. Facebook is a fantastic platform to do this. Get visible by engaging people through your Facebook page, showing up regularly and offering to help solve their problems.

Facebook live is just brilliant and can get you instant results. If the thought of going live scares you, take small steps. Start with a video and go from there. Once you start you will love it!

Find out more about Helen can help you on her website