Tuesday, September 20, 2011

PLPT GEMS: Meet Rosetta

PLPT GEMS Presents
Rosetta Thurman
Author. Life Coach. Keynote Speaker.

In 2010, you quit your full time, non-profit job and founded Thurman Consulting, an education company specializing in leadership, entrepreneurship and social media. Based on your experience, please share some best practices with us on transitioning from employed to self-employed. What worked well and what do you wish you'd done differently?

The best thing I did was to build up my reputation and personal brand in my industry before I struck out on my own. I started my nonprofit blog at rosettathurman.com in 2007 and little did I know, my online presence would be THE factor in paving the road for a consulting business in the future. In 2008, I began to solicit paid opportunities while I still had the financial cushion of a full-time job. For two years, I took consulting gigs and speaking engagements on the side. I worked evenings, weekends and used vacation time to work on my "side hustle" while still being committed to my 9 to 5. By the time I quit my job, I had enough business lined up to be financially viable on my own, plus connections for future business.

One thing I wish I had done differently was to save more money before leaving my job. I had about 3 months of living expenses saved up when I left, but it would have been ideal to have at least 6. That way, I could have been more selective about how many clients to take on in the beginning. I took on a lot of work (probably too much!) right away to mitigate the initial costs of starting my business.

Just to give you more of a sense of the transitions I made in my business - in the beginning, I relied heavily on long-term contracts with nonprofits to support their programs and communications. I hated it, because it limited my ability to pursue other kinds of work as well as travel. Now, I focus primarily on speaking, coaching and training nonprofit leaders and passionate entrepreneurs. I absolutely LOVE what I do :)

PLPT has been following your blog, Happy Black Woman, for a long time and have watched it evolve from more personal exploration to include lifestyle and career coaching. You also actively manage two other blogs. What role has blogging played in your professional and personal development?

Blogging was the launching pad for my business. It has been THE main way that clients learn about me, my work and what I stand for. For the speaking aspect of my business, for instance, all of my clients come through my blog or through word of mouth, usually from social media circles. In my professional development, blogging has given me a platform to inform and inspire other people. In my personal development, blogging has allowed me a space to explore my own interests and connect with like-minded people in many different industries.

You created the 31 Day Reset program last year which has been hugely successful! (For those of you who don't know, the 31 Day Reset program is a personal development challenge to help you "manifest change in your life or simply gain more clarity about your path to happiness and success." What other resources/programs do you offer on your site?

The 31 Day Reset has become the signature personal development program on Happy Black Woman. I also offer an entrepreneurship program, Side Hustle Boot Camp to help other women start making money doing what they love. In that program, I teach everything I know about getting the word out about you and your new business. You can learn more about that program at howtostartasidehustle.com. We are working on the live version right now, but the online version will be offered again soon.

What is a typical day in the life of Rosetta Thurman? What is your favorite part of the day?

My favorite part of the day is the morning! These days, I get up by 8am and read a daily reflection from Mark Nepo's "Book of Awakening." Then I do a walking or sitting mediation on a different theme depending on what intention I want to call forth for the day. Sometimes it's compassion. Sometimes it's love. Sometimes it's clarity. Most of the time it's courage. Courage not to hold myself back and sabotage my gifts. Courage to share what I know with other people. I try to eat healthy as much as possible throughout the day and take breaks to walk around the block and talk to my mom and sister. Some days, I'm traveling to different parts of the country to speak at conferences and events. Other days, I might spend the day downtown meeting with colleagues or catching up with friends. I usually do most of my blogging in the morning and conduct coaching calls in the afternoon. My "official" work day ends around 6pm, but I often use the late evening hours to work on longer-term writing and training projects I have in the works.

Who is your support system and how do they help you reach your goals?

My mom is totally my biggest supporter. She runs a fitness consulting business so she gets what I'm going through and also offers me business coaching when I need it! I also rely on my online connections - I love learning from and sharing information with other consultants, speakers, coaches and entrepreneurs. I am also a member of the Young Entrepreneurs Council, which has been great for higher-level connections and visibility. Last month, we were invited to the White House for a special event where I was able to meet other young entrepreneurs who were doing AMAZING things and motivated me to think bigger about my own business.

Do you ever experience moments of fear, regret or self-doubt? How do you overcome this negative thinking?

Yes. Not as much as I used to, but yes. One of the things I try to remember is that although I feel fear, I am not the fear itself. It helps to sort of notice when I'm thinking negatively and ask myself where the thoughts are coming from and journal about them in the moment. More often than not, my fear or self-doubt has more to do with perceptions of how I compare or "stack up" to others rather than the truth of my own unique gifts.

I also live by business guru Tom Peters' motto: "Test fast, fail fast, adjust fast." I don't expect everything I do to be a slam dunk, which manages my own expectations and lessens the fear of "failing."

What advice would you offer to others who are searching for their purpose, or are afraid to take the first step towards their own dreams?

Get clear about what you want for your life by creating a personal mission statement. You can find instructions for how to do that on happyblackwoman.com.

Also, fear means GO.

How can our readers connect with you?

You can learn more about me and my work at happyblackwoman.com and rosettathurman.com. I also invite you to join me in DC on November 11, 2011 for the first-ever Side Hustle Boot Camp LIVE event! It is a learning and networking event for black women entrepreneurs with a keynote speaker, entrepreneurs panel and afternoon workshops. We are planning a full day of inspiration, information and motivation to help you launch and grow your business on the side!


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