‘No’—probably one of the trickiest words in a freelancer’s vocabulary. But not for Kerstin Auer, creator of self-care and coaching solutions called Tools for Better. Kerstin’s approach to business consulting is unique. She identifies that growing and sustaining a successful business depends on mental well-being. Therefore, she brings a holistic approach to consulting including social media management, content creation, copywriting and self-care. Kerstin offers an individualized approach to coaching that aims to integrate seamlessly with her clients’ lifestyle.
Some of her offerings include a virtual coaching and yoga retreat, a build-your-own coaching solution for mindfulness as well as her writing and coaching services, primarily for tourism and real-estate businesses.
Want to ‘nama-stay’ and read the rest of the story? Meet Kerstin Auer, freelance writer and coach:
What was life like before you started your consulting business and what motivated you to quit your day job and start your own business?
I moved to Canada 8 years ago from Germany. I got a job to sustain me but always knew I wanted to begin freelancing again. I was self-employed most of my life back in Germany.
While I was working, I started writing a book on immigration and I was contacted to see if I wanted to write a couple travel guides. This not only kick-started a brand new revenue stream but also my entry into social media marketing.
I built my business on the side for a few years, slowly adding clients and freelance gigs, as well as writing coach-yourself posts and resources. When I had a solid base for going solo I quit my job and continued with my social media marketing business. I’ve always known being my own boss is the only option for me.
My roots have always been in coaching so I slowly started writing and introducing my guides. The whole process took over 5 years.
Kerstin’s 3 pearls of wisdom for entrepreneurs:
- You’ll need more money than you think. Make a solid budget and factor in the unexpected.
- Take time to work ON your business and not just IN your business. You need to plan and dream in order to grow.
- Value your time and work. You don’t have to give everything away for free. Be very selective with doing pro-bono work. It has to be a good fit and a win-win.
Describe the biggest challenge you’ve experienced as a small business owner and how you dealt with it.
Once I grew to a certain point, I had to make a decision of whether or not I was going to grow my team. I ended up deciding to build out my online courses in order to create a second stream of passive income. To help me overcome the growing pains of being a freelancer I’ve found an income model that’s scalable.
Share a story where you went above and beyond to solve a problem.
I’ve had to be very mobile to do the work that I do. The flexibility of doing online work has allowed me to go to some pretty interesting places to meet clients. I had one customer pick me up in his plane and take me to his location because it was a remote ranch. That was definitely interesting and a highlight. I’ve worked from Vegas or camping…anywhere really! As long as I have my laptop and iPad I’m good-to-go.
It’s a typical work day. Where can we find you?
Mostly from my home office, but also from clients’ locations, coffee shops, and on the road.
Inspiration or perspiration?
Determination and grit are key. It’s important to have a plan and work towards that, but also to be flexible enough to adjust when things don’t work out (because there will be times that suck).
Who is your role model?
I love the ladies from One Woman Shop. They are such a supportive community/business, empowering and bringing together female solopreneurs.
Also really admire the Entrepreneur Mom Now group. Super supportive with a big emphasis on collaboration. Even though my kids are basically grown, it’s great to connect with other moms who are on the same journey.
Do you have a motivational mantra or inspirational quote that helps you get you out of bed in the morning?
“Whatever you are, be a good one.” -Abraham Lincoln
Work-Life balance is *tough* for a small business owner. How do you stay balanced?
Say “NO” more often, without feeling guilty.
What’s next for your business?
Branching away from doing only freelance work, to offering a line of coach-yourself workbooks and virtual retreats that incorporate coaching and yoga.
Since Tools for Better has allowed Kerstin to generate a second revenue stream, she’s been able to start giving back to charities and causes she cares about (one of the biggest highlights of her entrepreneurial journey to date).
Learn more about Kerstin:
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.