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Welcome to Becoming the Boss, our series celebrating small business owners who have made the transition from solo-entrepreneur to employer. Check back periodically for new installments.
Dr. Stacia Pierce and her daughter Ariana are at the helm of a small family business that makes a big difference in women’s lives across the globe. Together, through their thriving Orlando, Fla.-based company, LifeCoach2Women, they’ve helped some 25,000 women entrepreneurs in the U.S. and abroad better balance their lives and businesses.
“Our express goal is to help them grow their businesses, increase revenues and achieve their most desired dreams, but not to lose their personal lives — and sanity — in the midst of it all,” Stacia, also a busy motivational speaker, pastor and accomplished author, told Free Enterprise. “I know what it’s like and how to make it work because I’ve been through it, and am still going through it.”
Many of Stacia and Ariana’s clients are women transitioning from full-time motherhood to full-time entrepreneurship, a shift Stacia herself successfully made.
Stacia, who earned her Ph.D. in religious studies, launched her women empowerment-focused entrepreneur-coaching business from her house in July of 2011. She says entrepreneurship is in her blood, and she often fondly thinks back on playing at her parents’ feet as a young child while they ran their own small businesses from her childhood home.
“My father was an independent Realtor and my mom owned a cleaning business,” the 49-year-old mother of two said, “so I hail from a strong line of self-starter entrepreneurs, and I’m continuing the family tradition with my daughter now.”
Coming full circle, Stacia’s daughter played at her feet, too, as she began her entrepreneurial journey, starting multiple home businesses, including, at one point, her own beauty product line.
Today, Ariana, a 25-year-old recent graduate of Michigan State University, closely assists her mom in organizing and hosting several popular business success and work-life balance workshops for women throughout the year. The mother and daughter duo’s high-energy “Ultimate Success Tour” one-day intensives take place annually in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and Orlando, Fla.
Further following in her mother’s enterprising footsteps, Ariana is also an entrepreneur in her own right. The avid fashion blogger and published author owns and runs a nascent high-end nail polish venture, Superstar Nail Lacquer, as well as Style Shoppe, a fashion and beauty accessories startup.
We spoke with Stacia, LifeCoach2Women’s founder and CEO, to find out how she grew her entrepreneur coaching and mentorship business from the ground up, how to harmoniously work with family and to gather her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. Here’s what we found out:
What inspired you to launch LifeCoach2Women?
“I had been a motivational speaker for many years. I traveled the nation speaking at women’s events and hosting my own annual conference. Each year, thousands of women and teens were showing up to my ‘Women’s Success Conference’ to be inspired to achieve. My mission was to motivate women to succeed. My message was about success, but one that would fit any woman in any circumstance.
The women who attended my conference started writing me letters, sharing how they were inspired not only by what they learned at the conference, but by my business acumen. The conference had given them the courage to launch their own businesses and now they were asking me to help them with business advice.
I started getting more and more requests for business mentorship. We were getting hundreds of inquiries from those who wanted to take action on the inspiration and information that they received at my conference. There was a whole group of people that wanted step-by-step instructions on how to start a business doing what they loved.
— Dr. Stacia Pierce (@lifecoach2women) March 29, 2017
I knew then that I was faced with a big decision. I felt my conference was ready for a shift. It was time for me to narrow my focus to women in business. I was taking a big risk of losing potentially thousands of attendees by switching gears, yet something told me that I needed to take the leap, follow my instinct and try something new.
I hosted my first private business retreat and opened it up to only 25 people, and we sold out in 10 minutes! That retreat confirmed that I was moving in the right direction. Over the next few months, I rebranded my business, products and services. Then, I launched my first business coaching program and worked closely with a group of business owners for six months and helped them achieve many of their business goals, with several of them breaking into six figures.”
How many employees do you have now, including yourself and Ariana?
“My daughter Ariana is my business partner. She and I have a total of six full-time employees and four virtual assistants.
Ariana runs the operations of Ultimate Lifestyle Enterprises [the parent company of LifeCoach2Women]. She is responsible for her own main brands as well. She is my partner in our ‘Success Mastery’ coaching program. She is regarded as a social media guru that trains business owners in creative social media marketing to increase business exposure and their bottom line.”
What’s your top tip for effectively (and harmoniously) working with family?
“Allow everyone to have freedom of expression and to be themselves, and treat their opinions and ideas as valuable. When you work with family you have to put personal family positions aside and just work together like everyone is a creative part of the team.”
When did you know you it was time to make your first hire?
“I knew it was time to make my first hire when I couldn’t handle the creative side of the business and the tech side, and keep control over everything.
I was growing fast and everything was getting out of control. My first hire was a personal assistant who had graphic design skills and some tech skills, which greatly changed the game for me and put my mind at ease, allowing me to focus on what I do best.”
— Ariana Pierce (@AriTheHeiress) February 3, 2016
How do you know you’re hiring the right person for the job?
“For me, intuition comes first, but then also to be fair, I also have a set of questions that I ask and, based upon the applicant’s answers, I am able to discover if the person fits the core values and mission of our company.”
What does it mean to you to “Be the Boss”?
“It means that you have to walk in a leadership role of responsibility and to set people up to succeed. Being the boss means that you also set the tone for your business and your team that works with you. Positive people are productive people.
Some of the things that I do to set the tone: Before every meeting we share why are grateful to work together and on the projects that we are working on. I get my team inspirational books to read and we have our own book club to keep us growing in the same direction.”
What does it mean to have created not only your own job, but jobs for others as well?
“As an entrepreneur, not only have I empowered myself by starting a business, but I also have empowered so many others to provide for their family, express themselves creatively, and be a part of a great movement to make a difference in the world.”
How do you mentor your employees?
“I mentor my employees through our daily meetings, challenging them to set goals, and providing supplies that fit their expertise. Most importantly, I encourage them to use our goal-setting products for daily success.
Our team members are avid users of the LifeCoach2Women ‘Success Journal’ and ‘Productivity and Profit’ daily planners. They religiously use the same tools that I created and provide for my coaching clients to get results for our business. These are the foundational tools from which I’ve built my company, and how I show my clients to build theirs.”
Who is your biggest mentor in business and what’s the biggest lesson he or she taught you?
“My biggest mentor is business success educator Peter Daniels. He taught me two things: 1) The value of goal setting, and 2) meditating. You have to know what you want and then you have to think about how you are going to get what you want. And take fast action on it.”
What’s the most rewarding part of helping women go after — and achieve — their entrepreneurial dreams?
“With the shakiness of our current economy, it gives me and my daughter great joy to empower women to start their own business and create their own streams of income.
The people we have the pleasure of working with — 80 percent of them women — are so excited about being financially free.
Though my largest demographic is women, we’ve been attracting more men who want business success coaching as well. A lot of times, they’re the husbands of the women who noticed such a big change in their wives that they joined us as well.
My clients are mainly from the U.S., but we also have a good base in other areas, like Africa, New Zealand, England, the Bahamas, Jamaica and Canada.”
How do you weave giving back into your family business?
“We have a foundation, the ‘Read to Succeed’ foundation, which donates books to youth in underprivileged areas. We started this foundation in honor of my father, who encouraged me to read often. I want to have this same impact on youth, helping to shape their minds at a young age and steer them on the path to success.”
What’s your go-to work-life balance tip for busy entrepreneurs?
“Never get stressed about what you can’t do and then do what’s most important at the time. You can’t be everywhere for everyone, but there is someplace where you must show up to make everything else work out. Follow your intuition and show up in that place, whether it is at home or at work, and everything else will work itself out.”
What’s next for LifeCoach2Women?
“We want to reach a broader audience, so I’m putting together a two-tier program that maintains my private business coaching. We want to touch more lives in a super accessible way, through an online school with downloadable resources that clients can start at any time and work with at their own pace.”