Helen Walker on The Art of Monetizing What You Love
Helen is a Sales & Mindset Coach, and CEO of Helen Walker Coaching and is an inspirational business leader who has learned how to monetize doing what they love. They took some time out to share their insights with Rob Barratt, Co-Founder of The Industry Leaders.Your answer
Can you begin by telling our audience a little about yourself, your business, and what led you to pursue your particular passion as a profession?
My business is focused on empowering women through transforming their mindset and self-confidence, having myself suffered years climbing the career ladder, plagued by Imposter Syndrome and low self worth, feeling unhappy despite having achieved financial success. After overcoming depression and a period of life where I truly lost myself, my confidence and sense of who I was, I am on a mission to help women around the world overcome their limiting beliefs, replacing these instead with unwavering self-belief in themselves. I do this for women who have their own businesses so I can support them to make more sales and to create financial independence and a life they love. I have had a natural ability for sales from a young age and built a highly successful career in recruitment -and I think this ultimately comes down to my love of people, conversations and connections.
I'm curious to know, what was the defining moment that made you realize that this passion could actually become a business? How did you identify the unique value it could bring to others?
Having started to address that I was ready for change after being diagnosed depressed, I slowly started to rebuild my life, but my lightbulb moment came when I read The Chimp Paradox, at the age of 34. This book changed my life and saw me quit my depression medication, instead studying mindset like a religion. The Chimp Paradox provided me with an explanation for my massive self-doubt and helped me see how I could address it effectively. This, I used personally, to find myself again, and then realised I had also found my true calling.
As someone who had excelled in sales her entire career, I had started to coach others, and seeing women around me struggle in business upset me. I discovered they were not reaching their true potential for two reasons. They lacked the sales skills because they had never been taught them, and they didn’t have the self-belief required to succeed in their business. I now possessed expertise in both areas - and Helen Walker Coaching was born - and with it my mission to show women who believe they’re not good enough to succeed in business that “they do deserve it, they are good enough and they can do it!”.
Every entrepreneur faces obstacles, especially when turning a passion into a business. Can you share some of the initial challenges you encountered and how you overcame them?
When I first started in my business I was passionate, excited and determined to make a success of it - but I also found myself having to figure things out alone, when previously I'd had teams of people to help me with things - like tech, for example....Tech, especially when entering the online space can be really overwhelming as you feel like you've missed out on some lesson somewhere, and you're the only one who doesn't know how to do this stuff. Sales pages, lead magnets, lives, reels, email automations - this was all new to me and not knowing how to approach some of this did initially slow me down as I was making myself overwhelmed into inaction. What I realised though, was that it wasn't actually the tech that was the problem - I'd learnt new project management systems which were much more complicated than the basic stuff I was trying to master, all the way through my career - it wasn't that.
I realised actually my block was self belief. This was my biggest challenge. The logistics of life when I set up my business meant I had quit a high paid job, I had 2 young kids, and was working part time -it was the self doubt that was the problem. I was scared I couldn't do it, so I had to overcome that, so I could take the action needed. I was worried I'd run out of money, and not have enough time to achieve my goals, working around the kids. Having a word with myself, to keep myself accountable, and reminding myself of all the high achieving things I'd already succeeded at in my career became daily activities. I reminded myself of my ambition and resilience which had stood me in good stead so far, and dug deep to find this. I also was driven by my absolute mission to help other women learn the art of sales so they could grow their businesses and they became my focus, not me. I have to admit, I was also helped along dramatically by the fabulous book, The Chimp Paradox, which became like my bible, when the mind monkeys came out to play.
Monetizing a passion requires a solid business model. Can you walk us through how you developed yours, and the key factors that make it successful?
My business model is based around me finding ways to share what I've learnt throughout my career, to impart my knowledge on others. I focused my business around a specific niche, of female entrepreneurs, which is a growing market, many of whom work online flexibly around their families - so my strategy to operate in the online space to deliver training means keeping overheads low, and being in their world. Offering both 121 support and group coaching ensures I am able to scale, and when looking at growth my focus is on bringing in the leads. Sales is what I know, so monetizing my knowledge came fairly naturally to me -once I'd worked out how to connect with my ideal clients.
People buy from people they like and relate to and I needed to show my audience I understood their struggles, and I was there to help them move forward. So I ensure my visibility is high, and I share my own stories to inspire others so they can see their dream is possible. I've found my own ways to have fun with this and video is my medium, and how I connect to women to make them think 'oh I do that...she could help me'.
Many people worry that monetizing their passion may take the joy out of it. How have you managed to balance the business aspects with staying true to what you love?
Knowing that every time I make money, I’m helping someone build their dream life means the joy never disappears. This business was absolutely created from a frustration and desire to help more women who are selling themselves short. I want to help move the dial on the amount of small businesses that fail, and this drives me everyday.
Helping women to build up their self confidence and self esteem lights me up, so seeing transformations before my eyes is a fabulous reward too.
Also having found my own way to have fun with my message really helps - so comedy videos, and sketches on reels, means I'm playing the strengths of my own character - being playful, a bit cheeky, and tapping into the thoughts going on in the heads of my ideal clients through an alternate persona. This approach, vs the approach I first took when I started of trying to show up as a polished 'masked' version of the real me, brings the joy!
As your business grew, what strategies did you employ to scale it while maintaining the core values and essence of what made it special in the first place?
I dropped the idea of perfection and realised that 80% was good enough, so I was taking more action, more often. My strategy is simple - focus on my ideal client no matter how big I grow. Always think about what they need, and how I can help them, and focus on making moves that help me reach more people - rather than busying myself with just 'doing' tasks that could be never ending.
I also outsourced a lot of work and only do the work that requires me now, to give myself more capacity to do what matters in the business. Automation also helped.
Your journey is truly inspiring. What key insights or pieces of advice would you offer to someone looking to turn their passion into profit?
Stop trying to make it all perfect, just start and learn along the way - there's time and space to make mistakes, it won't bring your business tumbling down -in fact it's important to embrace failure, it’s normal and the quickest way to grow. I've learnt lots from what didn't work which I've built on.
Reflect on your journey so far, and ask yourself regularly 'what are you most proud of?' - you have to recognise your achievements to give yourself the momentum to push forward. It's also important to look forward. What future developments or projects are you excited about in your business? Give yourself some big hairy goals to go after.
Very importantly 'Do you'. You need to find a way to use your character and personality as your super power, this makes you unique and will magnetise your ideal clients - which is what you need to build a purpose fuelled business.
Lastly keep an eye on the numbers. As someone who wants to help people it's often easy to not focus on the bottom line - but you can only continue to support people if you are making profit - so know that making money helps everyone!
Reflecting on your journey so far, what are you most proud of? What future developments or projects are you excited about in your business?
I am most proud of being able to make this business work - juggling my business whilst also raising 2 young boys, working in a way that is flexible for my family whilst showing up daily to help my audience.
My plan is to help more women world wide so I'm excited to grow my audience globally.