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Taking the leap with Alice Ter Haar

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Welcome to this week’s episode of the phenomenal career podcast this week. I’m excited to have Alice Ter Haar. I’d love for you to introduce yourself to the listeners.

Hello, I’m Alice. I’ll give a whistle-stop tour of my career. I worked in marketing for about 10 years, most recently, I was at Deliveroo. I decided to take part in this marketing scholarship called the marketing Academy.

Any marketers in the room who were interested in personal development – look it up because it’s phenomenal and essentially, that completely turned me on to this amazing world of personal development. 

Around that time, I went through what was probably the biggest crisis of my career and that shook the foundations for me in terms of what I valued and how I was measuring my success.

I had gotten so obsessed with the vanity metrics of salary and job title as defining me being successful, that actually, this crisis was a blessing in disguise. I realised that I’d become distracted by the wrong things. I started to take note of my core strengths such as being a good facilitator, leadership, development, and coaching and wanted to celebrate these more.

I started to focus more on personal development, trying to facilitate that skill set more and so booked some speaking gigs and panels etc. And luckily, because I worked for Deliveroo, people wanted to hear what I had to say, and I was happy to be a spokesperson. That kind of developed into a fully-fledged side hustle.

I ran my first public-facing workshop where people could buy tickets last January, I started working with clients, I went down to four days a week at Deliveroo but that came to a head last May when I was offered voluntary redundancy.

I thought it was going to be a disaster but it gave me the push I needed to go and take Badass Unicorn – my personal development consultancy – full time and here we are, 10 months later. 

Were you nervous about leaving the 9-5 and going solo? 

It was an amazing feeling because I was free to pursue this thing that I always wanted to do. I just didn’t dare to do it.

I remember pinching myself, and I still do it some days where I’m like, holy cow, this is my actual job. I sometimes don’t think about some of the things I do as being work because I find them fun. 

It is 100% exciting, freeing – the sky’s the limit. Don’t get me wrong, the idea I wasn’t going to have a solid pay check coming in every month scared me, but I have learnt to adjust. 

What attracts clients to your business?

I think one of the struggles that I hear particularly from people that do my course, is, what do I do next? They might have a good idea about what their 10-year goal is, but how do they do something in the next six months to get there? And how do they make sure that that’s even really what they want? 

So, I try to encourage people to think about a concept I call following the scent. If you find something that energises you and that you want to do again – try and find ways to follow that aroma in any which way you can. As you follow that aroma, ask yourself – does the scent still give you energy?

Do you want to do it more? Does it make you want to find new ways to build it? Each time, keep sniffing things out. Each step (or sniff) is going to create another step and another opportunity. 

Do you doubt yourself sometimes?

Of course! I think all of us at points suffer from imposter syndrome. You can win an award in your line of work but will still wake up at 5am because you feel like you had something to prove.

Especially because you’ve got a side hustle. You don’t ever want people to think that you’re not pulling your weight or you’re not doing your hours. 

Some different people’s imposter shows up in different ways. My imposter syndrome massively shows up when I compare myself to others on social media. When I look at other influencers or other personal development professionals – I question everything, but I recognise my triggers now. 

What’s your business teaching you right now?

What’s your business teaching you? Or what’s the world teaching you? I think we should ask ourselves this every week or month just to ground ourselves and remind ourselves about what the universe has to tell us.

I think right now, it’s about patience and perseverance. I am impatient. I look at people with an Instagram following 10 times the size of mine and think, I want that, I want to get there. And yet, you forget that this time last year, I was still only doing this hustle one day a week.

I was using my personal handle on Instagram when I started, and actually, I’ve grown that massively in a short space of time. 

I think that’s a big lesson. Each time you’re learning and growing, and getting ready to level up, I remember Jay Shetty [author and podcast host] saying once, you can’t go from level one to level 10 on a video game – there’s a reason why it’s steeped.

You have to learn the skills that you need to get to the next level. 

I remember a couple of years ago, I wanted to push my business like a silver bullet. I wanted to be on BBC News, talking about personal development, and so pushed and pushed and fast-forwarded five years worth of hard graft, because I wanted it now.

But when that happens, you end up in a situation where you’re not quite ready for that success because you haven’t levelled up all the way along. 

It becomes much trickier because you don’t have the skills, you haven’t built up the resilience, the armour, whatever you want to call it.

I think for me, putting one foot in front of the other and following that scent works.

Do you have any advice for our listeners?

Just keep up the good work and don’t be distracted or put off by the fact that other people are moving quicker than you or you’re not exactly as far forward as you want to be. 

Be present and nurture where you are at in your journey. I also think there are so many people that would love to be where I am, where you are. So I think perseverance and patience are key.

I am about to become a mother and for so long, my business has been my baby, so now this idea of taking leave, taking my foot off the gas of saying no to work – It’s something I’m struggling with right now because I’m impatient.

I have all of this ambition and I’ve got this momentum and now suddenly it’s all changing – my perspective is shifting. I’ve got something growing inside me that I care about more than anything, and yet I still care about the business and my clients. I think the perspective shift is going to be something I know I’m going to struggle with because I love what I do, and having to have that be second fiddle is going to be a challenge for me.

Thank you so much for sharing that. There are so many mothers that I know that are in business that go through a similar thing so thank you so much for being vulnerable with that, and we wish you all the best. Where can we connect with you? 

The best place to connect with me is probably on Instagram as badassunicornco. You can also sign up there for my email list where you can find out about the free workshops that I run. 

Taking the leap with Alice Ter Haar - Just Jaz
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