How Merel van der Wouden is Helping Women Earn Up To 50% More With Her Coaching Business
Merel is the founder of Blackbird Negotiations, a company that helps women negotiate salary raises.
The trigger 🔥
1. What motivated you to start your own business? Was there a key moment?
I was working in corporate Toronto in a mainly white male dominated field. I saw firsthand that there were not enough women in leadership positions, and that equal pay was still an issue. During my time at as a consultant, I negotiated several successful salary raises and expat contracts.
But I wanted to live a more purposeful life that was on my own terms—so I combined this desire with my professional strengths. The key moment was when I attended a yoga and meditation festival called Wanderlust in Hawaii.
Planning it ✍️
2. What went into launching Blackbird Negotiations? Did you have money to invest? Did your friends and family support you?
I did a lot of research and coached women for a low rate to test if people were willing to pay for the services Blackbird Negotiations offers. I had my friends and family supporting me, but I also invested in a business coach. I invested my own money 🙂 and managed to get some barter deals for website and design.
3. What is your business model and how do you make money?
I earn money (mainly online) by selling negotiation courses, e-books, and 1:1 coaching.
Starting it 🤞
4. How did you find your first clients? How did you get the word out about your new business?
I was already a successful negotiator so my friends would call me for negotiation advice! While I lived in Bali I started to build my brand online through Instagram and by sharing negotiation advice.
5. How do you leverage technology in your business? What are your favorite tools and how do you use them?
I love technology and it can make my life so much easier. I use Content Office to plan my Instagram content, and I'm also a fan of Google Drive, because I have access to my documents on all my devices.
Overcoming challenges 💪
6. What were the main challenges you faced, and how did you overcome them?
In the beginning it was challenging to create a stable flow of income, as well as all the distractions I experienced while living in Bali as a digital nomad. So I decided to move back to the Netherlands and join a co-working space to be surrounded by like-minded people.
7. What are the most important new skills that you have learned?
I don't even know where to start! I've learned so much over the last 2 years starting and working on my own company. Definitely WordPress skills, time management, and email marketing.
8. What does a typical day look like? What days do you love your work and what drives you every day?
I start my day with meditation, followed by exercise. Every day is different, but I usually prefer to work from my co-working space. I love days where I coach or do public speaking. What drives me is the freedom to create a life I love—my career is part of that.
9. What does your next 6 months look like?
I just hired a new coach and I'm working on different areas in my life. During these 6 months I will go through a lot of change and I might even move to a new place
10. What advice would you give to someone else who's about to launch their own business?
Most important: start before you're ready and find your community of like-minded people who will cheer you on.
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