Six months ago today, after 30 years of working in the corporate world, I decided to follow my passion and purpose, and launch my own business.
Heads Up and Freer was born with the aim of supporting business leaders and organisations perform at their best and build high performance teams.
I remember clearly the feelings I had at the time:
Excitement: I was genuinely excited about creating a business related to my passions, and having a meaningful impact on my client’s lives.
Liberation: I was liberated to explore my own innovative ideas, create new partnerships and collaborations, and find my own clients to grow my business. No more corporate constraints.
Fear: I definitely felt fear. I doubted my own abilities and was terrified of failure or not being successful enough or able to get enough clients.
I still have these feeling today. These feelings drive me forward to grow and improve my business and have a positive impact on all my clients every day.
Finding time to reflect on my progress is important to me.
1. What achievements have I made? Recognise all the small, but significant steps.
2. What have I learnt? We learn from our successes and our mistakes, all the time.
3. Where am I on my journey? Check-in with your vision and why you do this.
Taking those first small steps are the hardest part.
It’s really tough starting out on your own, particularly creating awareness of what you are doing and finding new clients.
You have to keep reaching out to those prospects and believe your messages will eventually land.
There are lots of knock backs and no responses.
It’s important not to take this personally, be resilient and recognise that the timing may not be right.
Importantly if you are passionate about your business, the impact you can have on your clients, and have a well thought through plan, you will make it work.
Doing something I am passionate about gives me the energy and driving force to keep moving forward and be resilient, taking the ups and the downs as I go.
There are so many reasons not to! Our mind puts lots of blockers in the way because they think they are protecting us from the dangers of failure.
Fear is one of the biggest blockers that hold people back. I’ve made sure I’m very aware of this and whenever it rears its head I make sure I refocus on my vision, purpose, passion and all the positive steps I’m taking to build my business.
“Dream big, start small, but most of all, start.” – Simon Sinek
Creating a Vision, Brand & Purpose:
I actually took quality time out to think about what I wanted to achieve with my new business - what my strengths and passions were, and how I can genuinely support clients to address challenges they have.
Interestingly, I think it’s so important to spend some quality time on this. Challenging yourself about what value you can really bring to clients and understanding your real motivators, passions and drivers is critical. These need to be strong and meaningful as they will be your driving force going forward.
I am proud that I have created my own brand and logo which is deeply connects to the purpose of my business. Heads Up & Freer. https://www.headsupandfreer.com
Importantly this provides a “guiding compass” for my business going forward.
It has allowed me to enter into a wide range of conversations about collaborations and partnerships, and understand where my boundaries are and what I’m prepared to do without compromising my longer term ambitions.
It’s meant I have known which business is the right business to progress and which not.
“Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” -Tony Hsieh
Thought Leadership & Expertise:
Having expertise and skills in your line of business is critical. It’s why clients buy services from you. They expect the best and will be demanding.
It’s important to let people know what you know, what your expertise is and how you can support them and provide value.
I have already shared over 40 articles, video insights and blogs on my website including topics relating to “Leadership”, “Performance” and “Communication”. I genuinely enjoy writing or speaking about these topics and really hope people enjoy reading them and see where my expertise and passion lies. https://www.headsupandfreer.com/blog
I’m active on LinkedIN sharing insights about experiences I’m having and topics I’m passionate about. Apparently, I’ve had over 100,000 post impressions in the past 6 months and am connected with 2000 wonderful business leaders.
Social Media and digital marketing have an important role to play in business success these days. It’s crucial to understand how you can use it, how you can communicate with impact, and what works for your business. It’s all too easy to get caught up in comparing yourself with others, rather than understanding what you want to achieve and the impact.
For me, I think using Social Media is about consistently showing up and demonstrating your thought leadership and expertise in a way that resonates with your audience and target market. Often this involved being bold, curious, passionate, authentic vulnerable.
“People don’t care about your business, they care about their problems. Be the solution that they’re looking for.” – Melonie Dodard
Mastery, Learning & Breakthrough Moments Podcast:
Because I provide consulting and coaching services my clients expect a level of quality, knowledge, experience and professionalism in what I do, as do I.
I’ve really enjoyed significantly increasing my understanding of the science behind positive psychology, coaching and leadership.
I’ve completed six specialist certifications in Positive Psychology with the University of Pennsylvania.
I completed “The Winning Mindset for Leaders Digital Coaching Programme” over a 3 month period with Sporting Edge with a great leadership cohort.
Currently I’m completing further professional qualifications in COR.E Dynamics and Core Energy Coaching with iPEC which allows me to understand core energy and the knowledge of how to apply those dynamics to effect positive, sustainable change with clients.
I’ve created a new Podcast “Breakthrough Moments with Heads Up & Freer”
I wanted to share valuable insights about how people think, feel and behave when going through pivotal moments in their life and hope people enjoy listening to each episode.
Thank you to all my guest speakers. Currently new episodes are released every 1-2 weeks. https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/breakthrough-moments-with-heads-up-freer/id1651197538?i=1000583670802
“Don't ever get to the point where you feel like you know it all. Life still has so much more to teach you.” Germany Kent
Getting those first Clients, Collaborations & Testimonials:
The toughest part of any new business is getting those first paying clients.
You have to believe in what you do, keep focused on your vision for the business and the value you bring to clients, and create awareness of what you do.
I really appreciate those first clients that trusted me and believed in my ability to deliver “Leadership Programmes”, “Executive Coaching” and “Communicating with Impact workshops”. Thank you. I look forward to working with more clients in the future
I’ve also really enjoyed exploring new collaboration opportunities. These have been broad and varied but always related back to having an impact on individuals or teams performance. I’ve engaged with the education sector – schools, universities and management schools. I’ve engaged with local business communities. I’ve engaged with communities of expertise related to Coaching, Marketing and Business Start-ups. Most of the time this involved planting seeds which will grow into future opportunities.
The most powerful marketing tool a business has is ‘word of mouth’ and ‘testimonials’, which give confidence to potential clients that you deliver value and real benefits.
I’ve been fortunate to have “Positive Feedback” and “Testimonials” from clients and people who have experienced the value and benefits of my services and capabilities. I really do appreciate their comments – thank you.
“Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” - Walt Disney
Mentoring & Coaching:
As a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing I’ve been privileged to provide career mentoring and coaching to 14 leaders over the past 6 months.
Earlier in the year I mentored students and leaders of the future from Swansea University as part of their Professional Mentoring Programme.
I’m also part of the brilliant iPEC coaching community being involved in workshops, webinars and professional coaching sessions with over 30 colleagues. I have received some fantastic coaching as well provide professional coaching to colleagues.
On top of that I now have paying clients trusting me and benefiting from my executive and business coaching.
If you are a leader or executive wanting to experience the benefits of professional coaching please get in touch.
“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right.” – Henry Ford
Leadership Programmes & Training
I’ve delivered some thought-provoking leadership programmes to a number of clients and received some wonderful feedback for which I am really grateful. I’m looking forward to doing more over the coming months.
🚀🚀🚀“Mark, You came across as very passionate about your area of expertise, you are very articulate and exude calmness and put people at ease.
👂👂👂“Mark, Passionate, Always Learning, Interested in others, Good Listener, Your expertise resonates in discussions.”
⚡️⚡️⚡️ “Mark, Great Energy without being over the top, and I like the way you reflect and are very present in the moment.”
🌍🌍🌍“Mark, I’ve enjoyed the balance of the course, your energy and your passion for the topics. Truly thought provoking! Thank You.”
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. African proverb