EP 14: Overcoming Mindset Obstacles and Building a Successful Business with Emma-Louise Parkes

Building a successful business is possible for any entrepreneur. One area that typically comes up a lot for entrepreneurs – especially introverted entrepreneurs – is mindset challenges. We can’t completely overcome mindset obstacles, but you can find ways that help you to manage them more effectively, so that you can bring your focus back to your business and your zone of genius. 

Our guest on the podcast today is Emma-Louise Parkes. She is a Business & Mindset coach for ambitious introverts, empaths & highly sensitive entrepreneurs, and host of The Ambitious Introvert Podcast. She works with new & established entrepreneurs & helps them start, grow & scale successful, sustainable online businesses.

Spending 17 years as an air traffic controller & 10 years coaching new recruits to the role, Emma-Louise understands the importance of decision making, confidence & mindset for success. Her focus on clarity, consistency & habits allowed her to build a 7 figure net worth in her 30’s – she now uses these principles to help her clients build solid foundations that support massive levels of growth & success.

In this episode, we explore how she went from corporate aviation coach to business + mindset coach, how clarity and mindset work contributed the most to her success, the mindset obstacles she has faced, and some of her hard no’s in business and on Instagram.

From Aviation Coach to Online Business Coach For Introverts

First of all, how cool is it that Emma-Louise was an air traffic controller? She was an air traffic controller for 17 years and because of all the knowledge she had in this role, she transitioned into coaching new recruits on how to do their job. This included lots of mindset and strategy work. She was also a facilitator for discussions between controllers, pilots, cabin crew, or different aviation staff around all things safety.

She then started doing life coaching as a side hustle. In 2019, Emma-Louise decided to bring her coaching business online and a little over a year ago, she made it her full-time job. Although these were two totally different fields of coaching, what a perfect transition to make because both are focused on mindset and strategies.

It hasn’t been that long that Emma-Louise has been online with her business, but I feel like I’ve known her for a long time. It’s been almost a year that she has been working with introverts and sensitive entrepreneurs as a Business and Mindset Coach. She notes that early on her struggles online were with being too broad with her target audience and niche with writing content that was created for lots of different people. Overwhelm hit her because of this and it finally became obvious that she should help people that were a few months behind where she is now and that’s what she did.

Working With Introverts: Levels of Introversion

There are different types of introversion as an introvert. For instance, there is social anxiety and people who identify with this tend to be on the higher end of introversion. I was shocked that actually 1 in 3 people are introverts, so just because someone identifies as an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean they are on the same level.

For Emma-Louise, who works with introverts and highly sensitive people, she has her clients take the Myers Briggs Type Indicator before they begin working together, which helps her coach each of her clients on a more personal level. She really loves this questionnaire because the results show the percentages of introversion a client has. She has had clients who range from 97 percent, which is pretty high to more around 55% introverted, so there is a definite scale in her opinion as well. Some of her introverted clients think video, reels, or anything similar is a hard no for them. She also has clients that have YouTube channels and do reels almost every day.

Marketing Methods as an Introvert

I love and recommend a few methods that I think are best for introverted entrepreneurs and I always love hearing what marketing methods other introverts are using themselves and what they lean most towards.

I am not surprised at all that Emma-Louise prefers her podcast and email marketing to create connections with her audience the most. She started with Instagram though, and had this to say, “I started off with Instagram only. I chose Instagram because I’m quite a visual person, and I liked the idea of it being a very visual platform. I found that I poured a lot of time into it and didn’t really get much in the way of results”, and I think it’s important to note that you need to look at your insights and metrics often to see where you’re getting leads and sales from. Emma-Louise’s podcast is where she gets the most leads from and that is where she puts most of her energy. 

When I took a look at where I was getting more traffic from, especially to my website, I found that Facebook had 10 times the amount of traffic than my Instagram. Although I was spending more time engaging and creating content for Instagram, I switched my strategy over to share more content on Facebook, so don’t be afraid to utilize one of your marketing methods more than the other if you notice more traffic coming from one in particular.

Niche Clarity and Mindset Work for Success

What contributes the most to your success? For Emma-Louise, it was gaining clarity around niching and digging into mindset work that she really noticed a shift in feeling successful. When talking with her about niching down, she said that it wasn’t a traditional sense of niching down, but more about simplifying things and getting clarity on working with introverts and highly sensitive entrepreneurs that allowed her to be more concrete in her work to take action. 

When she created content for introverts and sensitive entrepreneurs, she started getting messages from so many people agreeing with her and actually saying that they felt like Emma-Louise was in their head. It can seem like you are niching yourself into a small box, but in Emma’s case, her audience is narrowed down, but that doesn’t mean the work that her clients do is only one area. She works with VAs, OBMs, graphic designers, photographers, and other entrepreneurs who just so happen to be introverts or sensitive in nature. You can niche by service or by one area like working with introverts.

Another area that helped Emma-Louise was doing mindset work. It wasn’t that she had a bad mindset, but it was when she took the obstacles she was facing and found a way to manage those that she noticed a difference, which is something that introverted entrepreneurs especially tend to struggle with. For Emma-Louise, this meant she needed to do mindset work regularly if she wanted to grow because of the realization that how she felt or thought six weeks ago, wasn’t going to serve her for how she needed to feel or think in the current moment.

Building a Facebook Community

If you aren’t already familiar with Emma-Louise, she has an amazing Facebook group: The Ambitious Introvert Network. When it comes to creating a connection and having a space for ‘your tribe’ to hang out, I wanted to know Emma-Louise’s take on connecting with others in a Facebook group, and what her experience has been like. 

The Facebook group actually started for her as a challenge from her coach at the time. She didn’t care to do it, but she is always willing to try something new before she makes it a hard no. The challenge itself was exhausting for her and the group only had around 10 people in for the longest time, but once she started talking about it on her podcast, she started getting more and more requests to join the group. She says it’s not your typical Facebook group because she doesn’t share content like most other groups do. She shares her long-form content there, articles, podcast episodes, and connects with the members of the group on a more personal level, which I really resonate with as an introvert myself. It’s her preferred way of connecting over Instagram.

You don’t have to go live in the group or create a masterclass for them to watch if you don’t share your content in that way. As an introvert, I really love that in a group that there’s no need to be there to connect live, like I have to keep it on my schedule and watch when things are happening in the moment. I really love that it’s more organic and authentic for the way that I consume content.

Managing Mindset Obstacles as an Entrepreneur

There are many mindset obstacles that entrepreneurs face when running a business. We want to overcome them completely, but I think there are always going to be struggles we face, but it’s how we manage them that makes the difference.

One obstacle for Emma-Louise was actually believing that she could be a great business owner. She had been an employee for so long in her career path, that it was difficult for her to make the mental transition that she could actually be great. This was a huge shift for her mindset. Another obstacle for her was marketing her business online. When she first created a Facebook account, it wasn’t for personal reasons like keeping up with family or even sharing selfies because she is a private person. She wasn’t the type of person to spend all day on social media, so she made a point that social media was a space to be purposeful for her business as a way to market it.

A Common Myth About Working Online and the Importance of Setting Boundaries

Do you feel like you have to be online 24/7 for your business? Emma-Louise shares that this is a myth about working online when you’re trying to grow your business. We both agree that especially in the early stages of running your business, it can feel like you need to be doing all of the things online to have a presence, but what you are actually doing is setting yourself up for burnout and overwhelm! It’s important to remember that people have help in their business and you may only be seeing a fraction of what they are actually doing. 

It’s also important to touch on boundaries when it comes to your business on the topic of running your business. Some if not all introverts have a hard time setting boundaries and being firm with them. If you know that you have a hard time with this, then it is something you should consider working on especially at the beginning of any client relationship. Emma-Louise and I have both struggled with this. There have been times where we have bent over backwards for clients and they began to expect that from us. Setting firm boundaries helps you to be mindful about protecting your energy. 

The insights that Emma-Louise shared on this episode of the podcast were incredible and I resonated so much with what she was saying. Just because someone else is wildly successful in their business, doesn’t mean you can’t be successful, too. The more clear you are on who you serve, what mindset obstacles you need to manage, and the boundaries you have set with yourself and your clients, the better equipped you will be at building the business you love. And if you want some of Emma-Louise’s introvert-friendly marketing tips, then be sure to check out her free 49 Introvert-Friendly Marketing Tips Ebook.

Are there any hard no’s or things that you aren’t willing to do in your business because of the boundaries you have set?

A Breakdown of This Episode

[2:04] Emma-Louise’s journey from Aviation Coach to Business + Mindset Coach

[5:32] Working with clients on different levels of introversion 

[7:00] Marketing methods that Emma-Louise enjoys and utilizes in her business

[9:53] What contributed most to her business success

[15:21] The biggest mindset switch for Emma-Louise as an entrepreneur 

[18:57] It is a complete myth that you need to be online 24-7 to be able to grow your business

[22:45] It took Emma-Louise 18 months into her business to feel successful

[29:43] How niching down to introverts and sensitive entrepreneurs has actually opened up her business

[34:35] Having hard no’s are really important as an introvert

If you enjoyed this episode, I invite you to take a screenshot and tag me on your Instagram stories @introvertcoach and tell me your biggest takeaway!

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