“I felt all of it,” says Cheri Ruskus, “the highest highs and the lowest lows.”
Starting her first business in her 20s, she experienced all of the emotions that most entrepreneurs have felt or are likely to feel. Some of this is due to her recently diagnosed ADHD, which, she says, many entrepreneurs have. It’s not an affliction, but just a different way of learning, she says. It also explains why entrepreneurs are attracted to ‘Bright, Shiny Objects,’ the new name of her podcast (formerly Business Victories Podcast).
Chief among these feelings is the fear of failure–or, just as often–the fear of success. Many entrepreneurs are afraid of the responsibility that comes with success and so move on to the next thing before finishing the last one.
Beyond the feelings are the experiences she shares with so many other entrepreneurs. After 16 years as the owner of a successful call center, her business became another casualty of the dot com bubble burst. From this low moment, she started writing ‘The Victory Letters,’ stories meant to encourage and relate to entrepreneurs who are experiencing many of the same scenarios. The letters eventually became her first book of the same name, and she still sends a new one out via email every Monday morning.
Her support for entrepreneurs continues with ‘The Victory Circles,’ her business coaching business that she has run for over 20 years. Once a month for six months, groups of ten business leaders gather to benefit from Cheri’s knowledge and feedback. Cohort members also benefit from each other’s strengths and weaknesses in the same way that every business runs best when all employees bring their expertise to the table.
Though the business coaching meetings once took place in person, post-Covid, the meetings now take place over Zoom. This provides the opportunity to work with and learn from business leaders farther afield and see from their perspective. It’s not unlike a therapy session.
Despite the popular image of entrepreneurs as wealthy, glamorous, and in living a perfect work/life balance, Dax and Cheri both agree that business coaching is something everyone in charge of a business could benefit from.
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- “Many entrepreneurs have ADHD. It’s what gets our sparks going. Contrary to the idea that there’s something wrong with you, it’s just that you think differently, your brain thinks in a different way. And so it gets hard to focus because you’ve got so many ideas.” (1:39-1:59 | Cheri)
- “That’s when I really decided to become a business coach because I felt all of it. I felt the highs, I felt the lowest of the lows.” (9:55-10:05 | Cheri)
- “I’ve had business coaches, and it really can be transformative, because you just sometimes need somebody else who has enough familiar types of experiences that helps you tease it out. It’s almost business therapy. I think that’s another way for us to think about a business coach.” (15:45-16:06 | Dax)
- “It’s so much about mindset, running a business. That’s where a business coach comes in, to help you with the mindset piece, but also, to make sure your I’s dotted T’s are crossed when it comes to your accounting. Your business as a whole has to work healthy, not just one aspect.” (16:07-16:49 | Cheri)
- “I think so many entrepreneurs make the mistake of starting a business that doesn’t have early cash flow, which creates a lot of stress. And I also like to think of happiness flow, the idea of starting a business and then thinking, ‘Well, 12 months from now, I’ll be making money and 12 months from now, I won’t want to pull my hair out. 12 months from now this business will make me happy. It’s entirely the wrong place to start a business from.” (22:55-23:21 | Dax)
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