Natalie Loeb conceived the idea for her business after her children were born. Wanting to put her family first, she left a job she loved in human resources at a global law firm to work part-time closer to home. “But when my previous employer offered to bring me on in a more flexible consulting role to focus on training and development, I knew I’d found the right balance,” she says.
She started Loeb Consulting Group to take advantage of the new opportunity, but soon found that running her own business was much different than working in-house. She learned some hard lessons about being disciplined in how she uses her time, knowing when to say no, and the importance of setting reasonable boundaries and communicating them clearly. “If the scope of a client’s request puts me in a position of compromising my firm’s standards, I now know to walk away,” Loeb says. “It’s not easy for an entrepreneur to turn away work, but sometimes it’s necessary.”
Loeb stresses the importance of effective time management, staying true to core values, and nurturing one’s passion for the business:
“Gauging what is and isn’t a good fit for your business has to do with always keeping an eye on your values and what you stand for. Staying true to those values can help guide you, particularly during challenging times. For example, during the economic downturn, our business slowed considerably. Rather than giving up and returning to work as a full-time employee elsewhere, I used the time to invest in the business by earning an executive coaching certification, which opened up a whole world of business opportunity in the form of leadership coaching. Over the years, I’ve discovered that one of the most important parts of running a business is finding the time to take a step back to ensure you’re spending your hours in the most effective ways. It’s easy to want to follow all your great ideas, but you have to prioritize. The ability to delegate is also critical. You’ve got to let go and trust others to do their jobs—after all, why would you hire employees if you do all the work yourself?”
To read the rest of Natalie’s story and the stories of other small business owners like Natalie, download our eBook, “What I wish I knew.”