This story is about…
Name: Denise Duffield-Thomas
Company: Lucky Bitch
Industry: Personal Development
What motivated you to start your business?
I knew from the age of 9 that I wanted to work for myself. I had this vague idea of wearing a shoulder padded suit and working on a typewriter.
I just wanted the creative freedom to do my own thing. It took me another 20 years to crack it though!
Eventually, after a lot of failed attempts, I decided that I would give myself six months. I got the support of my husband (crucial from a financial perspective), cut our expenditure way back and just started.
The important thing though is that I finally found the “right” business idea – and actually the one that I’d wanted to do all along. Once I got over the idea that “personal development is wishy washy,” it grew from day one.
Tell us about your business…
I started LuckyBitch.com as a way to express my love of personal development and to market my new life-coaching practice.
It’s since grown into a multi-six figure mindset training organisation for women all around the world. Mostly focused on helping women release their money blocks and have the courage to create an exceptional life and business.
I called it Lucky Bitch, as a tongue-in-cheek way of acknowledging that when women are successful, it’s often attributed to a single lucky break, when we know it’s anything but!
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Before I had any clients, I went out and spoke ANYWHERE that would have me. I did a series of free two hour workshops and at the end just made a very timid pitch, “If you enjoyed this workshop, I have a coaching special…”.
Women would run up and practically throw money at me, and that’s how I got my first clients.
That early hustling really paid off.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
I made an early decision that I would blog every single week, no matter what. It’s the best free marketing out there. Even though I only had a few people reading, I wrote every blog post as if there were thousands of people reading. Word started to spread, people shared my blog posts around and I just celebrated my 10,000th newsletter subscriber. But everyone starts at zero, so you can’t be discouraged in those early days. The discipline is what builds it.
What have been your biggest challenges so far with running your business?
I’ve also been a personal development junkie, but nothing prepared me for how much running my own business would challenge me personally.
I often get bouts of fear and doubt – “can I really do this?”
I thought that the very fact of my fear meant that I wasn’t destined to be successful, but I’ve since learnt that most successful women still experience fear.
Don’t think that an absence of fear is the goal. It’s just the ability to move through it and be persistent.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I surround myself with other women and we talk honestly about our businesses, including the fear we all experience.
A mastermind of like-minded people is crucial to overcome those inevitable stumbling blocks.
What do you love about running your own business?
I love the freedom and independence. I also love the life-changing results we get for our clients and for the women who do our home-study money bootcamp. It’s gratifying hearing the success stories. It definitely keeps me going!
What advice would you give to other business owners?
Persistence is much more important than bravery.
Find your own niche and voice – don’t be generic. Before I renamed my company, Lucky Bitch, I was trying to be very nice and polite, with “The Inspired Life Formula”.
I was terrified that someone would “out” me as outspoken and sweary. When I renamed, I had a few people who were offended, but now I see it as a litmus test – “are these my peeps?”
You don’t need to be like ANYONE else – just play up parts of your own personality. There is room in the world for any quirk.
There can be a million people in your industry, but if you are truly YOU, you don’t have any competitors.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I call one of my entrepreneurial girlfriends. They understand the journey and won’t let me give up.
My husband is incredibly supportive but in those early days, if I complained too much, he’d “helpfully” suggest that I just get a job!
What’s your favourite quote?
TODAY is your lucky day.
Who inspires you?
Oprah has inspired me my whole life, but now my heroes are my entrepreneurial friends – in the trenches every day changing the world!
Do you have a business philosophy?
“That would be a great chapter for my next book!”
No matter what happens – good or bad – it’s going to be a great lesson.