black woman wearing a pink shirt smiling

Starting Up | Ruth Heron Executive Coach and Consultancy Ltd

In our ongoing series highlighting women embarking on entrepreneurial journeys, meet Ruth Heron. Ruth is a dedicated personal development and empowerment coach, specialising in both individual growth and learning strategies. She created the ‘HER Signature 3R Programme,’ designed for career revitalisation among women over 40, as well as an empowering initiative tailored for women leaders of colour. With a decade of coaching experience under her belt, Ruth established her own limited company in 2023.

What inspired you to start your own business?

Over the past decade, I’ve dedicated myself to coaching career women, particularly those over 40 and women leaders of colour, who find themselves facing daunting obstacles on their path to success.

Through countless conversations and interactions, it’s become evident that many of these women are grappling with feelings of powerlessness, being stagnant and struggling. They are yearning for empowerment, validation, and fulfilment in their careers, just like I did when I got to 45.

I suddenly realised that I had found my purpose in life, which is to share my learning and experiences, so these women don’t have to go through what I did and so that they can move forward to success, much quicker and with greater clarity and focus than I did.

What were the first steps you took to get your business started?

I made sure that I had clarity about my client group and what I wanted to support with them. I then mapped out what kind of resources and programmes I wanted to share. I then did ProBono sessions, so that I could test out my structured programmes to test my thinking and get feedback to improve.

I also, linked in with colleagues and friends, who had already set up a business and became an associate of theirs, delivering through their company. This helped me to not only practice my craft but also to get my name and brand known.

Following that I started to engage on social media and I set up a webpage. I then hired an accountant and set myself up as a limited company.

Are there any sacrifices you’ve had to make as an entrepreneur?

I am still balancing my business and a full-time job, so my time is a sacrifice as I have had to grow my business in the evenings and weekends, which has minimised my ‘me’ time. Although, I don’t really think of it as a sacrifice though, more of an investment into my future.

What has been the most amazing day in your entrepreneurial life so far?

Having my first paying client for my coaching programme, when I had not done a hard sell. She had been through a programme for Black Women Leaders that I developed and delivered, and which was hosted and subsidised by the Women’s Resource Centre. She got so much value from it, that she wanted to continue working with me and was happy to pay for it.

What has been your scariest moment?

Stepping forward to promote and market myself as this isn’t a natural thing for me. Realising that if I didn’t put myself forward, then my business would not grow, and it would be dead before it had even started.

How do you work on making your business grow?

It’s a step-by-step process which takes intentional, focused, and dedicated time. If I don’t put the time in, then this stunts the growth of my business. The more time and effort I put in, the more opportunities present themselves, the more I become seen and the more my business grows.

What is the best thing about being your own boss?

I have full ownership, license, authorship, and authority to create, build, develop and succeed. The more I progress, the more I believe in myself and my abilities, the more my confidence grows and the more I silence my inner critic and negative self-talk.

What are the challenges of working for yourself and how do you tackle them?

The main challenge is time. My time must cover design, development, delivery, marketing, networking, strategising, planning etc. Very simply, I have weekly planning sessions, where I prioritise, reflect, and plan. I make action lists and prioritise based on the risk if I don’t get that action completed.

Who do you admire or look to for inspiration as a business owner?

My Christian faith serves as the cornerstone of my identity and beliefs, inspiring me to continually strive towards embodying the best version of myself.

From a business perspective, I am inspired by my friend and ex-colleague whom I have done associate work with. She built her Diversity Consultancy from scratch, www.kenroi.com and in 2023, her consultancy company won a ‘Consultancy of the Year Award’ for Diversity and Inclusion.

I also, have a dear friend who is now retired, but she is my greatest advocate, and she believes in what I am trying to achieve, so she offers her support, encouragement and business sense to my strategising and planning. It has been motivational to have someone who you know is in your corner, willing you to succeed, without any ulterior motive or return expectation.

What piece of advice has had the most impact on your business? And who was it from?

The advice that I lean on most, wasn’t from anyone, but comes from the Bible. Philippians 4:13, ‘For I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength’. From this verse, my mantra is ‘YES, I CAN’. My goal is to embrace every opportunity that comes my way.

Years ago, I had a senior colleague, now friend, tell me that I must not let anyone make me doubt myself or my abilities. She said that I must first believe in myself, for others to believe in me. Also, she encouraged me to seek opportunities to continuously improve, develop and better myself.

What are the three books, websites, or resources (professional or personal) that you would recommend to other business owners?

Kaley Chu | LinkedIn

Ekua Cant | LinkedIn

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?’, Dr Julie Smith

You Coach You – How to Overcome Challenges and Take Control of Your Career’, Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis.

The Squiggly Career – Ditch the ladder, Discover opportunity, Design your Career’, Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis.

What other passions do you have away from your business? How do you relax?

I love to travel. I have three adult sons, and nothing gives me more pleasure than when we are out exploring a new country together. I cherish this time before they settle down with their own families.

I also like to bake. Everything tastes better with a touch of Jamaican sugar cane rum added into the mix!

Connect with Ruth on LinkedIn

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