Through what she has learned and lived, Rachel McInnes is passionate about changing lives for the better. A former management consultant, she had a long-held desire to coach and help transform lives. She supports women through their major life-changing transitions and has created a safe space for them to connect, share, laugh and receive support. Here she talks about the inspiration behind her business and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
I started the first version of my business in 2003 and have been evolving ever since.
My current business supports women through major life-transitions (and obviously parenting is a key one). I have another arm of the business, which supports small business owners to achieve their dreams.
My original dive into my own business was because I had a desire to coach back before it was so very common. There were no paid jobs where you could coach, so I packed up my life (and the house I had bought) in London, where I was working as a management consultant, and headed back home to ‘go out on my own’.
I thought I would be free from all the extras that a real job involved and free to just do what I loved. I did not realise that setting up your own business actually means more of that extra stuff. You are suddenly the head of finance, and the marketing, HR and tea making. The juggle and complexity is like nothing else.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I think I started with huge naivety and enthusiasm. I was living with my best friend at the time and apparently, I was pretty painful sitting at my desk (in the corner of the lounge) anytime she entered from her room or after work, bouncing on her with enthusiastic greetings.
Times were different then. Digital marketing wasn’t even a term. I started by word of mouth. My expectations were realistic at least as I was not expecting to match my ‘glamourous’ London job income any time soon. So I focused on building things, having fun, meeting people, and studying a diploma in hypnotherapy to learn about the mind. It was a great time that first year.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Hopefully my biggest breakthrough is yet to come. I’d hate it to be all downhill from here!
I’m not sure I have had any major breakthroughs, more a series of learnings along the way. The main breakthrough is realising that you can’t fully outsource many of the functions of your business. You can get help with all areas, you can perhaps outsource IT or legal, but sales, marketing and finance you need to be across – you need to understand your target market, you need to know how to calculate a margin (get in touch for the formula if in doubt).
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
I have an integrated work and family life. Family is me and my daughter and our pets. My office or ‘coaching cave’ as I call it is a converted shed (that my mother and I converted) in my garden under a Pohutakawa tree. My commute to work is easy. Open front door, put on gumboots, grab umbrella if weather demands it, juggle tea cup and phone and 10 seconds later I am at work.
I try to keep work in the cave and avoid taking it into the house. I also try to work normal ish business hours and minimise weekend work where I can.