Tonight, we’re launching our professional development series, Small Business Self-Care, at Make Lemonade (326 Adelaide St. W). You’ll hear from a powerhouse panel of industry leaders and take part in breakout sessions designed to help you streamline your business with a smart strategy.

Meet Monique Bryan. She’s a highly sought-after success coach who has been helping women cultivate their professional, passion-fuelled journeys and dream lives for over a decade. After a breast cancer diagnosis, she decided to pivot from working for international retailers to helping entrepreneurial women realize their dreams. She is trained in multiple areas of product development, global sourcing, manufacturing, business development and strategic planning. 

SDTC: What is the major issue that most of your clients face?

MB: Most of my clients are overwhelmed and doing it all on their own. They have so many ideas and so many things they think they “should” be executing, but they become so overwhelmed with the process that it leaves them paralyzed. Or they are pulled in a million directions and always feeling like they are juggling so much but achieving so little.

What do you see as being the biggest mental roadblock to entrepreneurial success?

Confidence. Not everyone has a supportive partner or a circle of friends who cheer them on towards their goals, so they are left coaching themselves. Everyone needs a cheerleader, someone to remind them that they are special, that they can do this and that the world wants what they have to offer.

We all have the stories of our past running in our heads 24/7–things we were told when we were children about who we were and what was possible for us. As adults, we think that goes away, but it doesn’t. It takes work. Becoming a confident person takes working on ourselves. We are a constant work in progress. As we grow in our businesses and our lives, we need new tools to manage the big life we are about to step into. We can’t use the old tools; we have to keep expanding and growing and getting support.

What questions should women entrepreneurs ask themselves before embarking on a new project/business idea?

“Does this push my business or life forward or backward?” We are either moving toward our goals or further away from them. It’s as simple as that.

What are some tips that have helped you hone your focus and establish a plan for success?

One key thing I ask myself is, “If I don’t do this thing, will I regret it?” If the answer is yes, then I always make a plan to do it. When I have a big project, I rid myself of distractions. I lock myself away from anything that will take away my attention from the task at hand until it is complete. I put my phone on Do Not Disturb. I go into a room without a TV. I turn off the internet so I don’t see alerts come in and I am not tempted to turn on Netflix.

What do you love most about what you do?

The freedom of choosing how I spend each day and the unpredictability of the opportunities–the opportunities I create and the ones that are presented to me based on the new connections I make with my clients and the people who are following what I am doing.

What is your advice to women who may be considering a major career pivot?

Ask yourselves these questions:

1. “Am I in a place financially to do it?” Financial strain will kill a dream faster than anything.

2. “Why do I want to change?” Investigate what is at the root of your need for a change so that when you do make the change you are going in the direction of what you truly desire.

3. “What will make me happy?”

4. “Who can I ask for help?”

What do you wish you had known when you were first starting out in your career?

1. That it was going to take a lot longer than I thought.

2. That I can’t do it alone and to surround myself with people who can help me.

3. The best way to be successful is to help people tap into the feelings they desire the most.