Episode 15: Making Sure Your Business Isn’t Your Life from a Tech Startup Founder Turned Solopreneur with Neha Gunnoo

May 16, 2023 | podcast | 0 comments

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You can find the full transcript for this episode at the bottom of this page

In this week’s episode I’m introducing you to Neha Gunnoo, a former tech startup co-founder who stepped away from her startup after realizing how much it was harming her mental health.

Neha is now founder & senior content strategist of Luova Digital Ltd specializing in digital content strategy and marketing with clients and partners globally including the US, Europe and Mauritius. Neha was previously the co-founder and CMO of LeFinTech Ltd – a startup in Mauritius specializing in chatbots for small businesses in Mauritius. She was responsible for the business and marketing strategy and for maintaining the relationships with different stakeholders. She was among the finalists of the Turbine Test Drive 2019 and the startup was incubated at Turbine.

Neha has worked in various companies such as Accenture Technology and Barclays Mauritius. She is a regular Speaker at local and international events, Host & Owner of the Bold Enough Podcast, Mentor at the AMFCE and AfriTech and Content Marketing Trainer at Chelvan Training. She was awarded the title “Rising Star of the Year 2022” by the Women in Tech Africa and has been featured in multiple magazines for her entrepreneurship journey

If you don’t protect your mental health, even as an entrepreneur, you’re not going to be very productive, you’re not going to give all your energy because at the end, you won’t even have any energy to give to your business. So I made the decision. I wanted to preserve my mental health. And I feel it got to a point when I decided that it was the time to give up on this startup journey and start something on my own.

In this interview we talk about her decision to leave startup life behind, the fears she had to face to make this choice, and why looking back she has zero regrets. She also shares what she’s doing differently as a soloepreneur to prioritize her mental health and ensure that her business is not her life.

What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • Why Neha ultimately decided to transition from being a startup founder to being a solopreneur
  • The advice she received that helped her face her fear of failure and realize it was time to step away from her company
  • Why knowing when to quit is an essential skill for all entrepreneurs 
  • What she’s doing differently as a solopreneur to make sure she can prioritize her mental health
  • Her advice to new entrepreneurs on finding a mentor that shares your same values
  • Her encouraging words for new entrepreneurs who may be intimidated by networking
  • The importance of making the leap into founder life armed with knowledge of what you’re getting yourself into

Find Neha Online:

Resources & Inspiration from the Show

  • List of resources to help you find a coach, therapist, or peer support If you’d like additional support for your mental and emotional well-being as a founder

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About Founders’ Fears & Failures and your host, Dr. Melissa Parks

Melissa is an entrepreneur, former therapist (PhD in Clinical & Health Psychology), and an executive coach for entrepreneurs with a special focus on startup founders. Her passion for supporting startup founders in particular began after witnessing firsthand the emotional rollercoaster her husband experienced as a startup co-founder.

She started the Founders’ Fears & Failures podcast with the mission of shining a light on the mental and emotional challenges that come with life as a startup founder. Having lived abroad for 10 years herself she realizes how much we can learn from hearing stories from around the globe which is why the show doesn’t focus on a country-specific startup ecosystem.

Melissa is also the co-founder of the Location Independent Therapist Community, and a mom to a toddler who keeps her on her toes, and fuels her passion for helping to make the world a better place.

If you are interested in coming on the show, please get in touch. We would love to hear your story.

Want to connect further? Get in touch with Melissa on social media:

Want to work with Melissa?

Melissa is a former therapist who provides mindset coaching for ambitious professionals around the globe. Schedule your free discovery call HERE.

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Did you enjoy listening to this episode? Leave your review on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

Disclaimer: The Founders’ Fears & Failures is for educational, informational, and entertainment purposes only. It is not meant to be used for personal health advice and should not be construed to constitute personal or professional consultation or guidance, or to replace medical or mental health treatment. The opinions expressed by this podcast, including the podcast guests, are not meant to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of a medical or mental health provider regarding any questions or concerns you have about your medical and/or mental health needs. If you are in crisis, please visit this website to find a list of suicide hotlines around the globe. 

Episode Transcript

Melissa 

Neha, thank you so much for coming on the show today. I really appreciate it.

Neha 

Thank you, Melissa. I’m very happy to be here as well on your podcast today.

Melissa 

Yeah. And I think are you in Mauritius right now?

Neha 

Yes, I’m on tropical island. The beach is very nice. Very hot at the moment So in summer. Still in summer.

Melissa 

Yeah, yeah. Oh, well, that sounds really lovely. I’m in Seattle right now. So we’re on kind of opposite sides of the world from each other. I’m glad we found a time that worked for both of us. But it’s very rainy today. So tropical to hot sound sounds wonderful.

Neha 

Is it very cold at your place?

Melissa 

Yeah, it’s pretty cold. My husband said make sure you put a hat on our son today before he goes to daycare. Because it’s like, like a winter hat. Anyways, Neha, I let’s just dive in and talk. Let us now you know, how did you get into the world of entrepreneurship?

Neha 

Yeah, so I’ve been in 9-5 corporate jobs for like, four years. But even when I was in the corporate jobs, I started freelancing a bit. In social media marketing, I wanted to know more about that. So I started learning and took a bit of freelance clients, one or two clients just to start and build up the portfolio. And eventually, I always wanted to, you know, start something on my own, there was always this, this thing inside of me. And once I got in a place where I had stable freelance clients, I decided to quit the corporate job and go into freelance, but at the same time, so I had a business idea with a friend. So which was quite interesting it was that we decided to develop chatbots for us to help small businesses and new entrepreneurs to automate their manual task. So it was mainly focused on the small businesses. And so we said, why not? We’re actually won. There’s a competition for when you can submit your business idea in Mauritius, and then you can be among the finalists, and then you get a lot of benefits if you win the competition. So when we did that, we were among the finalists. And this gave us like, Yay, so we can do that. Then we started the startup adventure. It was the new for me, it was my first step into the business world as an entrepreneur. So I did that for like, less than a year I think, before I exited, and then well, today, I’m have my own company, while solopreneurship, in digital marketing, which will be like two years this year. Yeah.

Melissa 

Okay. Yeah. Well, okay, that’s a very summed up version, right. Of your story. Yeah. So I understand that you you had a startup for a while, but it was something that that you ended up deciding wasn’t, wasn’t for you. Right. And you switched into the world of solopreneurship?

Neha 

Yes, yeah. So, um, first, of course, it was very exciting, you know, having a new thing, a new challenge, especially when you’ve been in the corporate job. And you just switch to a whole new world, a whole new environment. That was very exciting, very challenging as well. But very motivating as I think all new business owners or entrepreneur can relate to that. How exciting is it when you start a new thing, especially when you have an idea which people like as well. So it started off great. We were very well working on the product and everything I think for a year was amazing. I had a business coach as well was helping us to develop the product and also to bring it to the market. So then the marketing aspect. Yeah, so I exited about less than two years. Firstly, because there was a bit of conflicts between me and my ex co-founder. Of course, conflicts are normal in a way, in all business partners and everything. So we try to resolve that we try to do things differently. But eventually, the vision that I had for the startup and the vision that he had for the startup didn’t match. And it was becoming, it was becoming at the point where, you know, we could not make this decision together. And, and eventually, I had to make a decision, you know, because I think that we hear a lot of things that entrepreneurs should never give up on their, on their business, on the startup on the product, or anything. That this is what this is what I have been hearing, since I started the entrepreneurship journey. A lot of people came to me that this is what entrepreneurs do, you have to keep fighting, you have to never give up. But I believe that a real entrepreneur should know when to give up. I think that’s very, very important. Just because you, you are an entrepreneur, or it could be your business idea or anything, doesn’t mean that you have to keep on fighting, even if it’s not, you know, nothing is happening. Of course, you can use fight, but at the point you need to know when to give up, when to start a new thing, when to say, you know, no. And another thing that which a lot of times is not being talked about is the mental health of an entrepreneur, which is so, so important. When I first started my entrepreneurship journey, I literally literally had no one who sat down with me and talk to me and ultimately how I was like how my mental health was, how was my work life balance? I that I also believed that, okay, as an entrepreneur, maybe I shouldn’t really care about my mental health, that there is nothing more important than my business. I was made to believe like that. But yeah, those are the things that I learned through through experience that if you don’t protect your mental health, even as an entrepreneur, you’re not going to be very productive, you’re not going to give all your energy because at the end, you won’t even have any energy to give to the, to your business. So, so yeah, I made the decision. So I wanted to preserve my mental health. And I feel it got to a point when I decided that it was the time to give up on this startup journey and start something on my own. Yeah,

Melissa 

yeah. Oh, you’ve touched on so many good, well, not good, bad messages that we get in the world of entrepreneurship. Right. Like, yeah, just that message that you have to you have to do it. All right, you have to be a superhero. You have to the business is always more important than anything, even your mental health. Was there anything that like helped you to see that differently? Like any, anybody in your life that helped you or any support that you got that helped you to see things differently?

Neha 

Yeah, I would say that at the time, I did talk to a lot of people when I was I was in the situation, when I wanted to go, of course, I was doubting myself, am I making the right decision? What are people going to say, This is my first business. There’s always the fear that what are people going to say, you know that? Are people going to say that? I just thought that something and now I’m running away? You know, there’s all the self doubt and fears that was happening. So what I did is I talked to people who were in this environment, distorted environment have established businesses. I reached out to them on LinkedIn. They weren’t even friends or anything. So I just said, can I talk to you or anything? And yeah, a lot of them responded. And then I talked to them about my situation. I remember that. There was a founder that I was following. He’s in the US. And I never talked to him, but I always followed his articles and everything on LinkedIn. So I remember and the friend knew I was working with him. So he put me in contact with him. And yeah, I remember I had this call with him. And he didn’t know me, personally or anything. But he listened to me. And he’s someone who has had several businesses failed. And then eventually, he had something which grew up. And yeah, I remember just telling him about my situation. And what do you think about it? I think because when you tell the same story to people who are in the same environment, as you, I mean, like people who you see every day, they have a different opinion about things. Yeah. And then there is those people who don’t know you. So they’ll have a neutral opinion about things. That’s what I wanted, you know, someone who doesn’t know me to have a neutral opinion. And, yeah, so he gave me really good advice. And I think the most important advice that he gave me was that if your heart and mind is not at the right place, then you know it, and you know what you need to do. And he also touched on the point that there is nothing more important than your mental health, no matter how much you love your business or anything. And when something is not right, you just feel it, and you have to follow your gut, no matter what people are going to say, of course, they’re going to talk because that’s what everyone does. But at the end of the day, you have to choose your peace over everything else. So you know, those 1000s and I have friends as well, who supported the decision. Even my family was there. So this gave me a bit of courage to take the decision. And, and yeah, and once I took it, I didn’t look back. And I’m actually very happy that I took that decision. It changed a lot of things in my life.

Melissa 

Yeah. Good. Yeah. So it was really difficult in the moment, right. But it’s kind of like, once you got past the decision, looking back at you, you knew it was a good thing.

Neha 

Yes, exactly.

Melissa 

Yeah, I’m so glad that you got that advice from it sounds like somebody who kind of turned into a, like a temporary mentor almost for you to get to provide you with information because that message that we just kept, you have to keep going and going and going is so prevalent in the in the startup world, and it can be really toxic, right? Because, as you said, Knowing when to quit is actually a really good skill to have as an entrepreneur.

Neha 

Yes, yes. I so agree. So great. Because, yeah, I think all those things that we that you hear about entrepreneur, you know, never give up. Don’t sleep sacrifice sleep because you need to work. And the topic of mental health is not really here for entrepreneurs like. And I haven’t even heard of that a lot of times that you have to really hustle hard as you want to see it in your life. I think those those things were okay at a certain point in time, where they fit in, in the in the culture that we have in the environment. But things have changed now. And I think that every business is different, every entrepreneur is different. And it’s only the ultimate owner who knows what he or she is feeling and what he or she has, how can he or she achieve what they want, in their own way. Actually, you know, not everything that has worked for an entrepreneur in the past is going to work for everyone. Of course, there must have been founders who have sacrificed their sleep, who really hustled hard and did something really amazing. But it doesn’t mean that this is going to be the same for everyone.

Melissa 

Yeah, absolutely. And you don’t know what you might lose along the way. Right? You might I hear from a lot of second time or third time founders who say like, okay, yeah, I did it. I sold the company. I am living the dream. And I want to be a founder again, but I don’t know if I can do it. Like, I can. Basically I can’t do it in that same way. Right. I don’t want to burn out again, I don’t want to sacrifice, work life balance the same way I did last time. So yeah, I think there’s I think we’re seeing a shift. And my goal. One of my goals with this podcast is to help people to not have to go through the burnout or you know, all the mental health problems. You know, people can start thinking like, even at the beginning, maybe when they go into the world of being a startup founder, you know, how can I make sure my mental health is part of this picture.

Neha 

Yeah, that yes, that is true, which is what I did with the second time, you know, learning from the mistakes and really doing it differently. I did everything differently. I prioritize my mental health, I already set boundaries, which is very, very, very important. So it’s very different how I work now, and which is very surprising, I would say is that I am more productive now that I was before I see things happening in the better way, because I changed the way I work now.

Melissa 

Okay, yeah. And I’m so curious. It because it sounds like you’ve really created a company, that’s a better fit, right? It allows more flexibility it allows and you’re working by yourself. So gosh, we could talk a lot about the co founder thing, right? co founders can be great if the relationship goes well. And it can be really problematic if if the relationship doesn’t go well. So you don’t have to deal with that right now. So it sounds like there are some some great pros. I’m just curious, too. Is there anything that you miss about the like, the your previous company, and compared to your current company?

Neha 

Not really

Melissa 

Good! it sounds like you found the right, yeah, you found the right path? Yeah.

Neha 

I don’t I don’t know if people are going people who I knew from the previous startup are going to listen to that podcast, but it’s going to be two years that I’m a solopreneur. And I don’t miss anything from the previous, the previous startup. I wouldn’t to change a thing.

Melissa 

Okay. Well, I have to ask you then to another question. related question. Do you think in the future, you might do something similar? Again? Like, do you think you’d get back into the startup world, potentially build a product that you want to scale? Or is solopreneur life just is it just the really such a good fit?

Neha 

Um, I think I could, um, I do have like, I mean, if if one day I woke up, and I have an amazing idea that I want to bring in the world, and I see that as a solopreneur, I can’t do it, which is okay, it’s important to admit, when you can’t do it all, then partner or anything, then I will be happy to go back into the startup  world, but of course, with different mindset and maybe do it differently again, especially in choosing the co-founder or putting the boundaries, very clear responsibilities and duties, you know, things which I did not know, before, or things which I did, I did not do before. And also maybe the environment, because I think that is very important. Also, you know, when you’re a business owner, you go to you, networking is very important in the business world. So who you network with, sometimes, was when I was a new entrepreneur, I went to all the networking events. I you know, there was not one thing that I would not, I would say no, because I thought that. I’m new, I’m new in the business world, I need to talk to people I need to be visible and everything. But it’s also important to know to which people are you networking with? What type of business owners, what type of founders do you look up to? So I mingled with everyone, there was no differentiation or anything. But I think this time, I would do it differently. Because what everyone is different in that there is a certain type of founders, or maybe these entrepreneurs that you look up to, you know, the way they carry themselves, the way they have done their business, their principles, their values, which really relate to, to what you want to bring in your startup. So yeah, I would choose those people wisely. In my networking, so in my business world,

Melissa 

I think that’s that’s so wise. Because I’m sure there are people listening, right, who are thinking, like some people might be thinking, okay, yeah, I’ve realized startup life isn’t for me. I want to also be a solopreneur. But other people might be listening and saying like, Okay, this sounds really nice. But I’m still a startup founder, right? How can I? And so you’re giving some great tips to like, Okay, if you’re still in the startup world, you know, be thoughtful about about, kind of the people you network with and the founders you surround yourself with. And I know you also told me that mentorship is something that that you learned a lot about through your experience.

Neha 

Yeah. Yeah, when you’re new entrepreneur, I knew nothing about the business. Well, I think having a great mentor, and a great business coach can really help you dive in into that business world. Because let’s face it, a new entrepreneur and the business world is quite scary, you know, you there’s so many things you don’t know about, and about the paperwork, how to market your product, how to integrate a new brand into the world. So, so so many things, and if you don’t have the right mentorship, um, you know, from the start, you can go into a different direction, which doesn’t really fit. So how do you really choose, you know, a great mentor? There are, there are many mentors, many business coaches nowadays, not a lot of them, you can find them, I think it’s important to before you actually choose a mentor or a business coach is to really sit down with them and ask your questions to see if they really believe in your product, in your startup in your business? Or are they just doing it, you know, for the sake of coaching just for the sake of mentorship? Yeah, or because they have, I don’t know, some KPIs to meet or, you know, so it’s really important to, to really understand and what’s the mentors objective? Is it is he or she really going to genuinely help me? Or is it just going to be a business relationship where you won’t even find answers or you could be lost in anything. So you can also do a trial with with a specific mentor, like for a month, or something like that. And then you see, the energy is matching as you want to be. But it’s also important to know before getting to a mentor, to really sit down yourself and brainstorm and really understand, Okay, I’m a startup founder, sure. This is my business. This is my business idea. What is my vision? What is my direction, how I want it to be? Maybe you want to work life balance, you don’t want to hustle? You want to set boundaries. So you know, those are the things that you want for yourself and for your team as well. So this mentor has the same principles as me. Because let’s face it, if you’re someone if that you really value your mental health and your work life balance, and you have a mentor who sacrifices sleep, and thinks that for him, it’s a normal way of living, which we respect, of course. So can you really fit in together? In a dozen little things? But it which shows in the way of working? I would say.

Melissa 

Yeah, no, I think that’s such great advice to Yeah, kind of experiment with it, have a trial run. And make sure it’s a good fit. Because yes, if you you want to try to prioritize mental health, and you don’t see that happening for your mentor. Yeah, that’s, that could be a red flag.

Neha 

Exactly.

Melissa 

Yeah. What about I know you mentioned LinkedIn, do you? Did that help you to find mentors? Or did you have any other resources that helped you to find mentors?

Neha 

Um, so there was LinkedIn? Yeah, I would say yes, I did find some great people on LinkedIn. And I had people in my circle as well, who refer to me to amazing people, and and then they help a lot. So I would say that, you know, my circle of network and business are only people who have the same values and principles, like me. You know, because then we can really relate to each other, even when we talk to business thing. Because there are already people who are leading their startups in a very different different way. Since for me the mental health, I think we should normalize that entrepreneurs, the people who are in my circle or in the same wavelength. So in that way our business discussions or conversations really flows, because I think that’s, that’s very important, the professional relationships that you have with people, it has to be on the same wavelength. And you really want it to be, if you feel like a specific founder, or someone is not really in the same direction as you, it’s fine, it’s really fine. But then you need to really ask yourself, why do I want to learn from that person? Is he going to be or she is going to be someone who brings me to the direction that I want to be? Because the values are different the way of working on different and, yeah, I think that that is the same actually, I think, in the same in the personal in your personal life, that you will choose people wisely to bring in your personal space. And I think your professional space should be the same thing. You know, choose wisely, who you’re going to bring in the post professional space.

Melissa 

Yeah, you’re right, right. And I think sometimes we don’t like maybe we know that. I wouldn’t say that everybody does that? Well, on a personal level, either. Right. Like sometimes we don’t do that. Well, but, but I think often we we really don’t do that in a professional space. So I think what you’re saying is so wise, I’d love to know, because I know that you’re really involved in the world of women in tech there. And what what about women in tech? And you know, I know that that’s kind of a woman I’ve spoken with, who are founders in the tech world, seem to face this, like unique challenges? Or do you see that like that there are some unique challenges in terms of mental health and trying to keep those boundaries and not hustle. Um,

Neha 

I think those are changing, of course, women in tech has been before, it’s been very difficult for women to break into the tech industry. It was supposedly only for men a very long time ago. But now things are changing with, with technology, even with digital tools, women have access to a lot of things to make them legible in the tech industry. So So yeah, this is this is changing. And there are more women in tech, now, I can say even in Mauritius. There are more events happening to celebrate the women in tech, and encouraging them to pursue pursue a passion, if they have passion for tech, they should definitely do it. Even in the corporate world also. So I see the trend, I see a shift that more women are being employed in the tech industry, because they have shown that they can to be also the same way as men and sometimes better than men. So yes, we do it.

Melissa 

And it gives me hope for the next generation to write because I know that one thing we say is like, Okay, girls aren’t always as interested in like, in STEM, but if they can see these these women kind of opening up doors and paving the way hopefully that can change to for the younger generation.

Neha 

Yeah, I think it’s very important that the women in tech, you know, they come forward and they share their story about Yeah, you can you can do it because I did it and inspire the future generation, you know, it’s going to motivate, motivate them right from from them. They’re teenagers, they’re interested in STEM, so they’re going, you know, to go forward with those specific challenges or obstacle.

Melissa 

Yeah, I’d love to know, to what about you know, I think whether you’re a startup founder or a solopreneur, there are still going to be things that are scary, being an entrepreneur, what helps you to do things to continue to step out of your comfort zone to do things that are scary?

Neha 

Um, so, yeah, of course, there are things that are scary. So even if I work as a solopreneur. I do have, I do keep myself on the forefront in my networking space, knowing what is happening in the business world and everything. So I keep that I think it’s important even if you’re a solopreneur to big because it’s, it can gives you opens opportunities for new clients or business relationships and everything. So yeah, I keep talking with other people always trying to know always on, on LinkedIn, also what is happening and everything keeping good relationships with, with professionals. And because it helps, let’s say if I have an idea for a project that I want to do in the future, I would be very happy if I could have, you know, a support system in my network to help me from that. So, yeah, I would say when you feel solopreneur and, or even business owner who’s introverted, I can understand how difficult it is to just go and talk to people or network with them. I have, I have friends who are very introverted, and they’re business owners very successful in their field. But they do find it challenging to go and network with people, which is totally understandable. But taking the small steps, baby steps, just join a tiny group online. It doesn’t have to be face to face, you can join, there are so many slack communities, for entrepreneurs, for founders, for new businesses, snack communities, there are Facebook groups. You can be members in different communities, for entrepreneurs, and when they do events or meeting you can just pop in for a while. Talk to one or two people. And yeah, just just sometimes we do. It’s important to just connect with with other people. Yeah. And then you can learn from other people as well. You know, in entering the conversation, even if it’s a brief conversation, you can just forge a really good connection, which can afterwards become a really good partnership as well.

Melissa 

Yeah, I love that. I love that message about just like kind of one step at a time, the baby steps that you mentioned, because I think so often, especially I think you you hit the nail on the head, so to speak like that. So often people who are introverted worry like, okay, how can I do all the networking that’s required of me, but there are ways that you can do it. I even consider myself quite introverted. Like, I noticed that if I like to, even if I do too many podcast interviews, like in one week, I, I need time to recharge my batteries. But online really can offer you kind of ways to get to know, make it your own, also, so to speak.

Neha 

Yeah, like, look at this, you’re out here to the other side of the world, and we still manage to connect and you’re having a conversation today.

Melissa 

Yeah. And so speaking of podcast since I went on my podcast, I know you also have a podcast that and my understanding is it’s about mental health, too, right?

Neha 

Yeah, yeah, I have a podcast called Bold Enough. So I really started the podcast based on what happened about my mental health, so then I said that I really wanted to start something and give a platform to both men and women to share their story and give advice about their, how they overcame their mental health issues. The goal was to really normalize talking about those topics. So we talked about, I have guest in a lot of a lot of stories, it could be anything, so there’s no taboo. Because I really wanted to normalize talking about this, I think, like, if people listen to us talking about sensitive topics, which are classified as sensitive topics or taboo topics, but if we’re talking about it very openly, and sharing those, our vulnerability, you know, on a podcast, I think we can help others to open up also and to normalize those things. Yeah, those are very, very important to bring you know that that mental health awareness

Melissa 

yeah Yeah, well, of course, I couldn’t agree more. Yeah, just having these conversations, like you’re saying making it a normal thing to talk about it. I’m curious to known how like, what about these days, I know, you’ve mentioned a few things that you’re doing to help you with kind of take care of your mental health, anything else you do, like in terms of self care to make sure that your mental health doesn’t get ignored?

Neha 

Um, so if I take how, what are the things that I’m doing differently as a solopreneur. So I will say first thing is the boundaries, which are very important, you know, setting really strict boundaries between you and your clients, between you and your team members, between you. And actually, everyone. It’s very important. Boundaries, were things that I never set it before. Because when I was a new entrepreneur, I believed that the best way to get the business going is to always be here, to always be 24/7 on the go, if someone is calling me I need to pick up right away. If someone has sent me an email, I need to respond right away. Because I was afraid that, you know, it’s a new business. And what if I’m late, and then the potential client just get away, you know, this type of fears? Yeah. But for the experiences, I’ve learned that if a client really sees your value, he or she is not going to run away. Instead, they’re going to respect your time. Yeah, so it’s very important to set those boundaries. Like for me, for example, I already tell any client who I’m onboarding how I work, like, after working hours, I am not going to pick up your call or reply to your email, unless it’s a very, very urgent thing. But the very, very urgent thing is like, the biggest thing that you can imagine, which is not going to happen, and can wait, yeah, another day. Yeah. So I really already tell those to potential clients. And then if they are okay with it, it’s really good. But if they’re not fine with it, that’s good. Also, because then it should, it tells you that these are not the clients that you want to work with. Yeah, it’s not a good fit, it’s very important to understand if you’re a very good fit, you can do a trial run with your clients and see how they work, how you work, and you really fit in. Before I had the clients just calling me 8pm on a Friday night, or Yeah. Or on Saturday or on a public holiday. And but before I used to, you know, pick up the calls, even if I was very tired, and you know, don’t have the mental energy to talk to them. But yeah, this is something that I do very differently. Now, I already set clear boundaries for myself, and then I let the people knew so that they know why, if you call around the time, I’m not going to to pick up even if you’re a client that we just, yeah, just because your clients pays you money. Does it mean that you have to be here for them? Yeah, there is a time for working for them. And there is a time for for yourself. And yeah, I think setting those boundaries has allowed me to really disconnect at a certain time point of time during the day. And I think that disconnection is very important. So you can’t always have your mind working, thinking, running, it never stops. I think you should. It’s very important to stop it at at some point during the day and to have days where you’re not thinking about your business at all. And I feel it’s very difficult also to do that, especially when you’re it’s your own business. Yes, it’s difficult to cut off. But one thing that I always say is, your business is not your life. And it’s part of your life. So I treat my business the same way I treat my other parts of my life. So it’s a part it’s not. It’s not my whole life, I can’t have my whole life around it. Because I’m sure that it’s not only running a business that you want to do in your life, I’m sure there are other things that you want to do in your life, you know, other things that brings you brings to joy, you need to have time to do all of that. So it’s important. I had a conversation with a new entrepreneur on the other day, and she was telling me that she works all the time. And even on weekends, even the working hours, she doesn’t have the time to sleep. And I could see myself in her when I was a new entrepreneur, the same thing that I did. And it’s not, I don’t think that was a healthy way to run a business. If you really listen to some really successful founders stories, they are going to tell you how important it is to to take time for yourself, because they do that every day. They don’t run their business 24/7 at all. Yeah, the very successful ones who have millions of dollars for anything. They really prioritize their well being and their family and their mental health. Yeah.

Melissa 

Yeah, yeah. I couldn’t agree more. Um, but I think it is something that a lot of founders struggle with is because sometimes to get if you’re not a solopreneur, right, sometimes in order to get to that place of being able to have those boundaries, you need to start delegating. And I think that’s a hard thing for people too. Sometimes also, too. It’s like, for a lot of people, they’re their startup is their baby. And so to start letting, letting it go out into the world and letting other people help take care of it can be really hard.

Neha 

Yeah, no, I agree. I agree that delegating part is really important, I had time. I couldn’t delegate this well, because you know, you sometimes you say that nobody can do the job better than you. Because you know your business better than anyone else. But at the end of the day, you have to really think if you want to grow your business, there is no other way than recruiting people. And delegating things, and it’s all about trust, you know, you have to trust the people that you’re bringing in your, in your, in your business, your team members, and I know some of the entrepreneurs, it’s difficult to trust a stranger to do the to do the work. And it’s understandable. But But What other choice do you have, if you don’t want to grow your business? So you have to trust people that they’re going to do their job? Well, because there is a reason that you recruited them. And you have to let them do their job and not micromanage. I know, founders micromanage so much, and then lose very great people in that team. Yeah, it’s, I think it’s all about trust. And it’s also to really understand that if you have a new team member, they are going to make mistakes, they are going to forget things. They have a learning curve. And you have to be very patient with them. So once you really understand that this whole things is going to be okay. Yeah, you have to be patient with with people. And I think once the the one that you recruited, they’re going to see that, okay, you’re being patient, you’re trusting me with something. So they would want to do their job better, actually, instead of always micromanaging or if they made a mistake, once or twice, you’re going to feel very frustrated and I team members can feel when the founder or the boss are frustrated, even if you don’t say if you don’t show it, they can feel it. And but if they do, if you know that they’re going to do mistakes and it Okay, that they do mistakes because they are learning everyone does mistakes. At some point, they will come to a point where they will just become very autonomous. I think it’s the patience that we need to have at the start.

Melissa 

Yeah. And I suppose this, these are kind of words of wisdom, also for the clients who outsource to you, right?

Neha 

Yes. Yeah, of course. Because when you have a new client that you really have to take time to understand their business, their requirements. Also the, you know, you have to have a relationship, a working relationship with them, which doesn’t come like right away. It takes time. You have to change something. And then it’s going to be to be okay.

Melissa 

Yeah, it’s that, yeah, that transition period, right? Because I have people who I outsource to my business too. And I know, it’s always like, okay, it’s like a little bit of a hurdle on both sides. Like you’re saying, right? But it’s the only it’s the only way to grow. I think that that you said that, too. It’s so important to remember that. Yes. Neha, what about what if we, this is the question I always ask guests, if we could go back in time to when you were just starting your entrepreneurial journey? What words of advice would you have for yourself?

Neha 

Um, I would say that event, if I had an exciting venture in front of me, I would tell myself to take a step back, and not get caught up in the excitement. And it’s just like, jump into into something to take a step back to reflect this, how, what is this whatever you want? If yes, then how do I want it to work? What are the things that it’s not going to work for me? And what are the things that is going to work for me? And how I want it to turn up? At the end of the day? You know, that self reflection and maybe talk to people who have been in the same business in the same industry as well? What are the tips? What are the advice? And and then jump, but to jump was knowledge?

Melissa 

I love that jump with knowledge. What’s it what a great piece of advice they have, we’re gonna have to start wrapping up. So what if guests want to guess what if listeners want to reach out to you and learn more about what you’re doing and learn more about your podcast? Where can they? Where can they connect with you?

Neha 

I’m the responsive on LinkedIn. So you can find me on LinkedIn, Neha Gunnoo and my podcast is called Bold Enough. It’s available on Spotify and Apple Music, Google podcasts and everywhere you can find it. You can just search for it. And then with my name, you’re going to find it. Yeah, anyone can just send me a LinkedIn connection. And you can send me a message I’m very responsive.

Melissa 

Well, I’ll make sure to include all of those links and also the link to your company in the show notes too, in case people want to want to reach out to you. Thank you. Thank you so much for coming on the show today. It was really wonderful.

Neha 

Thank you for having me. I love our conversation.

Melissa 

Me too. Okay, great. Thanks.

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HI I’M MELISSA

I'm a therapist-turned-coach who loves working with clients around the world! I work with the globally mobile community to support them through transitions as well as entrepreneurs who need support navigating the rollercoaster of entrepreneur life.

I'm also the co-founder of the Location Independent Therapists (LIT) Community, a mom, a self-compassion advocate, and an aspiring author.

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