Bankruptcy–every small business owner’s worst nightmare. This nightmare became a reality for Linzi Hawkin just 5 years into running her first business. It was the scariest thing that has ever happened to her. As she reached this low point in her life, she never could have imagined where that experience would take her next.
Today, she helps brands deliver their messages more clearly with Hello Glow Coaching. Based in the Channel Islands and operating almost 100% online, Hello Glow offers business coaching that helps brands ‘be themselves on purpose’. Drawing on the highs and lows of her own entrepreneurial journey, Linzi is able to teach her clients valuable lessons to help them stand out from the crowd in an authentic way.
Curious to know how she built herself back up from the bottom? Read on.
What was life like before Hello Glow Coaching and what motivated you to quit your day job and start your own business?
I’ve spent minimal periods of time working for other people–it just doesn’t work for me. I’m not good at being told by other people to sit at a desk from 9-5. Generally, most of the stuff i’ve done has been for myself. As soon as you start working for yourself it becomes really hard to work for anyone else in the future.
I’m a surf and stand up paddle-board *(SUP) coach so I used to run surf school for a long time. Then, I worked for the government doing environmental sustainability work. But my main thing has always been running events.
I used to have a business that ran music festivals, which sounds really glamorous and exciting but is actually very stressful. Most of the events in and around my hometown and I was doing quite well–growing mostly organically. Then, we tried to run an event overseas in France. We seemed to be growing a bit too rapidly too soon and lost absolutely everything. That business went bankrupt–5 years of blood, sweat and tears down the drain. Lost a stack of money and my relationship fell apart. That was a low point–it was a pretty traumatic time.
After that I started to explore other areas, knowing I didn’t want to go back into events. A friend of mine was a Life Coach and it resonated with me so I completed my coach training in Sydney. I realized pretty quickly I did not want to become a Life Coach because–it’s just not my thing. I started using my coaching skills and specializing in the area of business coaching, working strictly with entrepreneurs.
Over the course of the last 4 years I started recognizing that the thing most people were really struggling with and the area that I could help them with the most was their branding. I began focussing my coaching right down to strictly brand coaching. I’ll work with clients from brand new startups to larger companies.
I help people find the soul of their business.
Linzi’s 3 pearls of wisdom for entrepreneurs:
- Listen to your gut. Without a doubt that’s number one. If you have a gut feeling it’s normally right.
- Be you, on purpose. Don’t try to be how you think other people want you to be. It usually doesn’t work and is quite obvious. When you lean into being really authentic in your business, it’s quite magnetic.
- Keep hustling. Do the Work. Entrepreneurship isn’t sexy. A lot of people don’t really understand what it takes to run a business. It takes a lot to build a business and you have to be prepared.
Describe the biggest challenge you’ve experienced as a small business owner and how you dealt with it.
Aside from going bankrupt, the biggest challenge was in my first couple years of building Hello Glow–it was really tough. There wasn’t an overflow of clients. I was in a frustrating place of knowing I was really good at what I did but not being able to get the traction that I needed.
When you’re in that space you start questioning if you’re good enough and all that jazz. I just started really leaning into helping as many people as I could, even if I didn’t get paid for it. The constant practice helped me keep getting better at what I did.
Having the tenacity and resilience to just keep going even when I didn’t feel like it was working was so important. Getting through those 18 months was really difficult though because I suffered from a lot of self-doubt.
There was also the idea of ‘niche’ing down’. When I started coaching, I started with a wide net and, within 3 months, I realized I wanted to focus on working solely with entrepreneurs. Every time I narrowed in and answered the question ‘what do I want to be known for?’ I gained more traction and my business started to grow.
Share a story where you went above and beyond to solve a problem.
I was working with a Life Coach and who came to me for branding. At the time she had been working with another business mentor/coach but his style didn’t really match with hers. So when she came to me she was feeling pretty flustered, confused and frustrated.
After a couple of months, I had a call with her and she broke down and was like ‘I just need to do this face-to-face’. She lives near London, Uk so not *too* far away from me. She texted me later on that evening asking if I could come over that weekend. I don’t normally meet with clients, everything I do is online, so this was a new ask for me. However, it seemed like the right thing to do.
The next week, she showed up at the airport and we holed ourselves up in a hotel for 4 days, working really long days. By the end of the 4 days, we accomplished what normally takes the entire 6 week program–it was really intense but sometimes, you just have to do what’s right for the client, even if it’s not what you normally do. If it feels right, you should do it.
It was an incredibly intense but awesome experience and it’s been great to watch her start to grow and succeed as a result.
It’s a typical work day. Where can we find you?
Right now I’m in Jersey in the Channel Islands and I work from home or my friend’s deli. I travel a lot as well, so as long as I have wifi I can pretty much be anywhere. When I travel I might work from a co-working space.
Inspiration or perspiration?
Perspiration. We’re all really good at ideas but it’s the people who do the work that really succeed.
Who is your role model?
Gary Vaynerchuk is definitely a person I look up to and learn from the most. I really admire his work ethic and his authenticity. I’ve learnt so much from his take on entrepreneurship.
The only other person would be Danielle LaPorte. Not long after I moved to Australia when I was at a low point, I came across a book of hers called The Firestarter Sessions. In the first chapter, she told the story of how her previous business had fallen apart–she was actually fired from her own business. To me, she was proof that you could pick yourself back up and do bigger and better things. So she’s been a huge inspiration for me right from the start.
Do you have a motivational mantra or inspirational quote that helps you get you out of bed in the morning?
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
It’s really powerful. When I was on the road to picking myself back up and starting again I had that quote on a piece of paper above my desk.
Work-Life balance is *tough* for a small business owner. How do you stay balanced?
I’ve got to be honest, It’s really hard. When you do work that you really love, it’s hard to put it down at the end of the day because you’re actually enjoying it. Although it’s amazing to love what you do, it also means you can work yourself crazy.
My biggest saving grace is that I surf and stand-up paddle board. Spending time in the sea saves me. It’s because I have that, that I don’t become a complete workaholic.
Having a good morning routine is also super important. I recognize how much of an impact it has on the rest of my day. I’m a massive earlybird so I can get up at 5:30am and go for a paddle or surf, then start working at 8 after spending a decent amount of time outside. Fresh air is essential.
What’s next for Hello Glow Coaching?
I’ve been shifting from Hello Glow to Hello Glow Coaching. Kind of ironic the brand strategist is rebranding herself [laughs]. But my business has evolved. I run a 6 week program called Super Stoked that offers 1:1 business coaching to help entrepreneurs find brand clarity and I’m developing an online version of that.
I’ve also started doing a lot more contract work. So half my work will be working with newbie entrepreneurs and the other half is working with agencies helping them expand their strategies.
On the side, Linzi runs a wildly successful program called SUPKids. The SUPKids program is designed to teach kids stand up paddle-boarding (SUP), water safety & environmental education, taking environmental education out of the classroom and into the outdoors (where it belongs).
About the Author: Amanda is a content editor at FreshBooks, writing and producing blog content to help small business owners achieve their goals and enjoy (yes, actually enjoy!) running their business. Amanda’s background in education and customer support makes her a natural communicator who loves empowering others to succeed. When she’s not writing and editing content, Amanda takes her dog, Jonny, on adventures searching for the best coleslaw in Toronto.
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