This blog features Lauren Malone. Lauren works as a Business Coach and Author of The Expecting Entrepreneur. Here she talks to #YesSheCan about her career within a traditionally male industry.
A typical day for me: I am currently a one-woman band and balance my business with being mum to my 1year old (currently 15 months). I use Zoom to see my clients throughout the week and use the time I am not ‘in’ my business to work on myself and ‘on’ my business – creating copy for social media maybe or working on some professional development – I’ve recently finished the Neuroscience Professional Development Programme. I am passionate about business not taking over everything and so I take long lunch break on the days Oak is not in nursery to play, enjoy a family lunch and maybe take a short walk in the beautiful forest where I live. Before starting my own business, I worked as a learning and development coordinator training communication and leadership skills in primary care settings, this was a job that followed over 10 years of managerial roles (in hospitality and then in primary care) where I discovered the art of effective questioning – or coaching as I would later discover it was called! The communication and leadership skills I was training were based heavily in the teachings of Nero Linguistic Programming (NLP) and so it was this that drew me to studying for my NLP practitioner certification, a qualification where I also certified as an NLP Coach and TimeLine Therapy™ practitioner. It was experiencing TimeLine Therapy™ – which is the process of releasing negative emotions and removing limiting beliefs – that opened my eyes up to the difference I could make in the world, you see, before this experience I would have said I wasn’t good enough to start my own business.
‘I am passionate about business not taking over everything’
It was in January 2019 that I certified as an NLP Coach and NLP and TimeLine Therapy™ practitioner and decided I would start my business. I was, at the time, halfway through a 12-month contract due to finish in September 2019 – the perfect timing, I thought, to complete my Master Practitioner qualifications and make preparations to start my own coaching business. In February 2019 I discovered I was pregnant with my first child, due October 2019. I was delighted but also a bit concerned that starting a business the month before my baby was born wasn’t ideal, but neither was looking for employment…So I Googled ‘Starting a business when pregnant’ and the answer I got was ‘don’t’. I was shocked! So, I quit my job and set up Lemon tree Coaching and Development Ltd. I hadn’t at that point decided my niche so took every opportunity to practice and develop my coaching skills, including qualifying as a master practitioner in NLP, Hypnosis, TimeLine Therapy™ and NLP Coaching. It was in August of 2019 that I checked my business bank account and saw that my turnover meant that I could take 2 months off for the baby to arrive and that, more importantly, I was capable of creating a successful business. I didn’t know what direction I would take but I now knew it was happening!
After the setbacks I faced, most notably the negative response to my initial Google search, I decided that I was going to write a book, that that book was going to be called The Expecting Entrepreneur and that it was going to be what future women would find when they searched as I had done. I knew to write the book authentically I wanted a successful business and so that was my driving force. I took every opportunity, I developed myself professionally, I learnt everything I could about being an entrepreneur. I didn’t listen to the people who called me crazy, or brave or who implied I would be too tired (or more specifically implied that if I wasn’t, I would be a bad mother). I believed in myself and my business 100%.
‘It is really only you that stands in your own way’
I am passionate about female empowerment. I am not saying every woman the moment she finds out she’s pregnant should quit her job and start a business, I am saying she should if she wants to! Without being called brave or crazy or worse! I recently discovered that lots of women in business don’t like being associated with the word ‘entrepreneur’ because of the connotations of certain men – I am passionate about women stepping up to be their true selves and creating the lives they want, for themselves and their families.
The drive and determination to succeed was from having experienced TimeLine Therapy™ I had done deep work on my mindset which I think gave me the self-belief. The determination came from the sense of injustice, the implication that my life should stop now I was entering motherhood. Start with yourself, look at what you believe to be true about yourself, others and the world around you. Consider how these beliefs can help or hinder you. You have unlimited potential if you allow it.
My biggest achievement and the biggest lesson I have learnt along the way is always a difficult question, but I would say my biggest achievement of 2020, publishing my book The Expecting Entrepreneur before my son, Oak, turned 1, while breastfeeding and working full time. My biggest lesson would be that it is really only you that stands in your own way.
Have I felt that my gender has brought unnecessary challenges to career? Yes! When I was in managerial roles I often was asked ‘can I speak with the male manager’ – outrageous! When I started my business, I was judged because of my choices and how they related to being a mother.
My hobbies outside of work are walking and am lucky to live in a beautiful part of the world with beautiful forests all around. I enjoy the gym and cooking (and eating). I like to meditate and practice yoga. I love to read (my degree from the Open University is in English Literature) and take relaxing baths and my guilty pleasure (that I feel no guilt about) is my daily dose of Australian soap opera Neighbours.
The mantra I live my life by is I am enough, I have enough, I do enough.
The one woman who impacted my life was my mum. She was a high-level manager when I was born in the 80s and took very little time off work. She took judgement and criticism from professionals, other parents and even myself (I didn’t understand!) but yet she was passionate about her career and knew that she was more than just a mum. I didn’t know it growing up, but she is the inspiration that puts me here today.
The values that motivate me and my business are compassion (for self and others), abundance (unlimited success, health, wealth and happiness for all), equality and positive action.
‘The potential and power to succeed lies within you’
I know that society is trying regarding gender imbalance and that’s really good. These things take time. I recently complained to my business bank because they wrote to the secretary of the business and put ‘Dear Sir’ – lots of people would just have let it go. Putting up with inequality (all forms of inequality) is not what will drive us forward.
Strategies that I think can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations are to believe in themselves and their mission, stand up for what is right and be compassionate. The energy you put out is the energy you get back. Go for it! (and work with a coach to release any limiting beliefs).
A key leadership lesson I have learnt along the way is Compassion. We all view the world differently and we all have different values. The potential and power to succeed lies within you.
What I would say to my 16-year-old self is that this is just part of the adventure.