An Interview with Serial Entrepreneur and Business Mentor, Silja Thor

 

Tell us about your journey! What led you to this point?  

 I started out my career as cabin crew, but I knew I wanted more. So, in my early 20s, I moved to Edinburgh to join my first start-up venture, and so began my life as a serial entrepreneur. In the early days, I worked extremely hard and did very long hours, and as a result, I had absolutely no work-life balance. In fact, after two years, I was hit with the realisation that I didn’t have any friends in the city I was living in, and all because I would start in the office at 6 AM, finish my workday late in the evening, and work most weekends as well.  

 

Still, it wasn’t until I had my daughter that I decided I needed to make a change. I’d begun to notice that I was often the first person to drop her off at daycare and the last person to pick her up in the afternoon. It forced me to come to terms with the fact that I was losing out on a lot in my life, including quality time with the most important person in it. That proved to be a big turning point for me. It was at that moment that I decided I wanted more balance, which would allow me to focus more on my daughter and also afford me the ability to pay myself a decent salary, which is often not the case in the start-up world. 

 

I had been mentoring quite a lot during my time as a founder and start-up entrepreneur, so I figured why not make a business out of that? So, that’s exactly what I went on to do. One of the key things about my mentoring business is that it has been built around my life, rather than the other way around. I made that happen by asking myself what I wanted to do every day and figuring out a way to make that super profitable. Thankfully, I had plenty of experience that I knew would help me do exactly that. During my early years of entrepreneurship, I really did do it all. So, I knew the big dos and don’ts of starting something new. This knowledge provided me with a strong foundation on which I could build the successful business I have today.  

 

What has been your biggest achievement?  

 My biggest achievement from a business perspective would have to be lifting so many other entrepreneurs up through my mentoring business. A big reason why is that I’m able to get to the core of a problem very quickly, and this gives me the ability to motivate my clients, even when they’ve felt stuck in their business for a very long time. By working with me, entrepreneurs who feel overwhelmed can unlock what it is that’s holding them back. When they do, they often begin an extremely beautiful business journey which generates both passion and profit, while at the same time affording them a sustainable work-life balance.  

 

In other words, my biggest business achievement is helping people do what they love by giving them the tools they need to understand what truly matters. By working with me, they can take the power back, and that’s something I’m extremely proud of.  

 

Other achievements worth noting include the success of my NGO. Through my organisation, my team and I feed 150 people every month and run a small micro-business program. Together, we aim to help impoverished but aspirational female entrepreneurs start up their own businesses and become self-sufficient.  

 

What’s the biggest result you help your clients to achieve?  

The biggest result I help my clients achieve is actually one of the biggest results I achieved personally. I work with them to build a business that fits around their life and allows them balance, while at the same time leaving those feelings of stress behind. Working with me gives people the chance to focus on what truly matters and just ditch the rest. And, not only that, but they find a way to do so profitably, too. I’ve had several clients go from making several thousand a year to six figures, and all through building a business that is in harmony with the rest of their lives.  

 

This has to do with the way clients can begin operating from their zone of genius when they find a flow that works for them. In doing so, they can build stronger foundations and better offers. This helps them to become irresistible to their target markets and attract clients who are ready to invest. So, basically, by learning to adapt their businesses to their own needs, client attraction becomes almost effortless for my clients.  

 

What would be your biggest piece of advice for readers who want to achieve the same?  

To achieve the same results, you have to go back to your core, your ‘why.’ To do that, you first need to remind yourself of why exactly you started the business, the results you set out to achieve, and what you wanted to gain for yourself along the way. This last point is particularly crucial. Whether you wanted to be location independent, spend more time with your family, or something else entirely, remembering what you wanted for yourself is a key part of being a successful, happy entrepreneur.  

 

Once you’ve gone back to your ‘why,’ it will become far easier for you to operate from alignment. This just means that any business that you build or growth that you see will come as the result of a clear vision.  

 

So, go back to basics, get your ‘why’ clear in your mind, and then make sure you have the right foundational pieces in place. These include targeting the right clients and having a solid offering.   

 

What are the biggest mistakes you see people make and how can they be avoided?  

I see so many people trying to do too many things at once and please everyone in the process. But, if you try to please everyone, you very often end up not pleasing anyone. This leads to so many otherwise talented entrepreneurs getting stuck on a never-ending hamster wheel. The reality is, though, that you just won’t attract clients if you don’t niche down your offering and target ideal audiences. Far from helping you make more money, the only thing this approach leads to is burnout and difficulty reaching the right clients.  

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Luana Ribeira

Luana Ribeira is a best selling author, international speaker and host of business Innovators Radio.