Susanne Grant is an Award-winning Work-Life Balance Integration Expert, Intuitive Business Coach & Consultant, and International Bestselling Author. She supports CEOs, Entrepreneurs, and Conscious Leaders to redefine success, so they have the impact they desire without sacrificing their health, relationships, or themselves.
After the birth of her child in 2015, she realised the collective lie “hard work equals success” wasn’t working for her and she did not want the next generation to grow up and think this was “normal”. So she made a powerful decision. She gave herself permission to break free of the old way of doing business and created a new business model – where holistic health and wealth are an integral part of the business and its success.
Today, she runs an award-winning coaching company and hosts sold-out masterminds and events. Her work has been featured in Authority Magazine, Billion Success, Brainz Magazine, and many more. In fact, thousands of people have benefited from her work who are now living life on their terms as they implement Susanne’s motto: “Work Smarter, Not Harder”. You can connect with Susanne on LinkedIn or visit the website here.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Susanne to discuss her journey as an entrepreneur and here’s what went down:
When did your entrepreneurial flair first reveal itself?
I think growing up there were several ways the entrepreneurial flair showed itself. I’ve always been a really fast thinker and I love taking the lead on projects. My passion and vision are what has driven me to go far as it allowed me to take it. I wasn’t afraid to change the “rules”, although I did on occasion drive my high-school principal crazy with my “new and improved” ideas. Luckily they were happy to allow me to make these suggestions – and implement them. Being in a space that allows you to bring these ideas to fruition really helps the entrepreneurial spirit. I don’t think it would come as a big surprise if I ever talk to them at a high-school reunion, that I do what I do! Looking back at these different skills that just came naturally to me are actually extremely valuable as an entrepreneur.
How did your life look like before being an entrepreneur?
Before being an entrepreneur, I lived in a different country and I wasn’t a mother yet (which all changed within 12 months). Over the years, I worked as a data analyst for different international companies and I was a volunteer at a holocaust survivor research group and concentration camp in The Netherlands. As I have a background in (historical) research and a real knack for spotting patterns, these skills turned out to be extremely useful in a corporate environment when working with complex data, systems, and structures.
As an entrepreneur, what is it that motivates and drives you?
By the time I reached my 30s, I was completely burned out. After I gave birth to my daughter in 2015, I realised the collective lie “hard work equals success” wasn’t working for me and I did not want my children growing up thinking this was normal or the only way to be successful for that matter. What drives me is the number of fellow entrepreneurs suffering from mental health, not to forget the shocking numbers the “me too movement” revealed to us for example.
As a survivor of (sexual) abuse myself, I cannot stress enough how important it is to STOP these patterns in our generation, so our children and grandchildren do not have to deal with the deep-rooted “stuff” that is passed down to us generation by generation. That is why I am so passionate about supporting busy CEOs and entrepreneurs to create a new definition of success that serves them, their business, and families in the best way possible. Success can come without sacrifice and it is about time we embrace this new philosophy.
In one word, describe your life as an entrepreneur and explain why.
Phenomenal. It has been an absolute journey for sure and I’ve grown personally A LOT and I’ve achieved more than I ever thought was possible. From becoming an international best-selling author (a childhood dream coming true) to serving my clients globally, and the ripple effect this has on their families and communities. Thanks to the technology that is available nowadays, I’ve been able to make this happen and if you are talking about ending generational patterns and cycles, I truly believe many of my ancestors would be amazed how far one of their own has come.
What were your top three motivations for starting your business?
After being diagnosed with Complex PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) at 17 and burnout at 25, I knew it was time for a drastic change. Even though I was told I was beyond help at 18 by my psychologist, I found a way to recover from the “unrecoverable” in the years to come. Understanding the importance of (mental) health and the impact it has on your daily life, performance and intimate relationships from my journey has given me great insights I am now honoured to give back to my community. Life can be a challenge, to say the least, especially when you are managing different hats such as business owner, partner, parent, and more! But the thing to ask ourselves: Is a business sustainable if the business owner is suffering mentally and/or within his/her relationships? Is that the kind of “wealth” we should aim for as a society?
Because of my own experiences, I became very passionate about creating real sustainable (mental) health and wealth by changing mindset, unhelpful beliefs and breaking the (generational) patterns, where we no longer accept outdated norms; where the hustle culture is promoted by many and being busy is seen as a badge of honour. I believe the time has come where we take a stand and say “it stops with me”. As we have seen and are currently seeing it with movements like Black Life Matters and Me Too. There is still a lot of important work to do. I believe we are ready for a humanitarian shift where the (generational) beliefs are ready for a big massive upgrade and we no longer accept inequality, abuse of any form, and suffering mentally as the norm!
These three motivations (1) ending the stigma on (mental) health, (2) breaking (generational) patterns, and (3) creating real long-term sustainable health and wealth for all is what makes me show up every single day because I know that it stops with you and me. We are here to break the cycle!
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful business?
In my experience, I think mindset, alignment, and strategy are the key factors to running a successful business on top of a great idea, of course! The thing is with these 3 key elements is that they need to fit together in the right way to make it work. If you are working hard and giving it all you can (mindset) but you are working on the wrong thing (strategy) there is no use in putting in all that effort. You may have some success, maybe a little, maybe a lot, but it is not in alignment with the bigger picture. Find someone to support you or some way that is in alignment with who you are. Rome wasn’t built in a day and there isn’t one way to succeed. Redefine what true success means for your business, you as a person, and your family, and create an aligned strategy that fits your unique circumstances. The one-size-fits-all approach isn’t suitable if you want to run a successful business that works for you.
What are the three biggest challenges you have faced growing the business and how did you overcome them?
For the longest time, I’ve felt extremely unsafe. As the PTSD, I mentioned before also tied in with being stalked and threatened on- and offline, it took me quite some time to be able to be the face of my business and share my own personal message. I’ve had to do a lot of soul-searching and coaching myself to feel safe enough to show up, be visible and speak my truth. It wasn’t easy, but it was definitely worth it!
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
My motto is “Work Smarter, Not Harder”, and there are different things you can do to effectively grow your business. Personally, I love to write and I am absolutely fascinated by the written word and its history! In 2019 I decided to join a book project, which became an international best-seller at the beginning of 2020. It made me realise that networking in the broadest sense of the word, is the way to get new leads quickly to help you grow your business. You can use other people’s networks via podcast appearances or write for popular magazines and websites. Or outsource this of course to your marketing person/team. Writing for several large media outlets has been proven to be the best marketing strategy for the company, and as an extra bonus, I love to write. Win-win!
As you grew the business, what have been some of the most important leadership lessons you have learned?
Communication is key and if you don’t learn to communicate your needs properly it becomes rather tricky to lead properly. Whether this is at home with your partner, or in the company with your assistant or manager, if you are not managing to get your message across – and listen to the people you work with – it becomes quite a struggle to grow the business smoothly. For example, I see this with my clients all the time, because they are busy people, they expect others to know what is going on inside their heads. This often results in freelancers being hired, not communicating their needs to complete the job properly which leads to constantly hiring new people and never getting the results they want. Slow down, listen and communicate clearly to get the best results. That is true leadership must include – clear communication.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
It is not advice I’ve received personally but I really like the quote from Robert Bennett, U.S. senator:
“Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously. If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life. You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself.”
It has helped me realise that you can’t control what happened to you in the past, but what you can control is how you feel about these things and decide on how to move forward. That gave me hope, and that spark inside of me has allowed me to help me find a way out of the most difficult and dark periods of my life. Nowadays, this is allowing me to think and dream bigger beyond my wildest dreams and bring my vision to life!
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Get yourself support! Whether you hire support for your business, work with a mentor, or get one of your friends to be your cheerleader, surround yourself with people who want you – and can see you – succeed. Especially if you hire someone who has experience in what you are trying to achieve or working towards, or helps you with tasks like admin or outreach, you don’t need to do it all by yourself. Don’t waste your time reinventing the wheel, you don’t have to struggle your way to the top. Success can come without sacrifice.