Yolanda's note: This interview is dear to me because Tepsii is one of my good friends. We met offline many years ago and we reconnected a few years ago as we were both starting this crazy entrepreneurial journey. Now Tepsii is a kick-ass, boss copywriter who lives in her home country of South Africa.
What is your creative work and what inspired you to start?
I'm a lifelong writer who took a turn as a Life Coach because of encouragement from you, (my dear friend) Yolanda. I've always been someone people come to for advice. It just felt like a natural fit for me to coach because - to be truthful - I ask a lot of questions. Coaching is about helping clients uncover their own truth by simply asking powerful questions.
While trying to amp up my coaching biz I was planning a summit for beginner businesswomen who were interested in bridging the gap between life and business. As I was interviewing guests for my summit I was lucky enough to be "discovered" by a well-known copywriter in the online space. (p.s. I don’t really believe in luck - it’s really about being ready to seize an opportunity and having the know-how to run with your passion).
As the well-known copywriter and I got to know one another, she realized I was a lifelong writer in my corporate career. She said she had a feeling about me so she decided to take a random chance on me and send me my first ever client since her calendar was full. That client was super happy and so it began, a chain of happy clients + referrals.
And just like that my business grew rapidly through word of mouth.
How do you access your creativity and prepare to do your work?
To kick off a project with a client we do a 2 hour VIP intensive session. I have to get to know them intimately so I coach them through a series of questions to truly understand them and their biz.
I see clients one on one via Skype. When I first started out I was incredibly booked and I started to break down a bit. I put my soul into my work and I connect with my clients very deeply. I had never done work like this, it was nothing like my corporate writing gig.
So I developed a little routine. I embrace silence, color, and relax for a few minutes before I see clients. I also ground myself (Kind of like centering myself) and then I put a fresh cup of water in front of me before the call starts. The water is there to absorb energy, and it makes it so that I don't end up exhausted after a session. My VIP intensifies go deep and before I adopted these practices I was carrying people’s marital problems, money stress, and other emotional issues they shared. My methods sound a bit woo-woo, and I don't really understand the how behind everything I do. What I know is that it works!
What do you hope to inspire or accomplish?
1) Leave my day job. (I did that May 13, 2015)
2) Retire my husband from his legal career for the Feds (We celebrated this on July 8, 2015)
3) Move to South Africa. (Moved in early August 2015)
4) Launch a course to teach entrepreneurs how to write. (Launched late July 2015)
5) Inspire other aspiring entrepreneurs, especially women to do what I've done and also to show my daughters that anything is possible. And that they don't need a man to accomplish it! (I’m trying to do this every day)
6) Open a school and a non-profit. (This is my 5 year plan)
7) Publish books and become a best-seller + speaker on the topic of copywriting as well as motivation and entrepreneurship. (In the works!)
8) Launch a business building program for aspiring writers. (March 2016)
What if any surprises or challenges have you encountered?
I had referrals and clients practically begging to work with me pretty early on in the beginning. When it came time to find new clients, I was a bit... Lost! I had to learn how to prospect for new business and also how to hold discovery calls to "close the sale." It felt unnatural and scary at first. But, to succeed I had to do it!
Another hurdle was self-promotion with paid ads. That felt so out of my sphere! I resisted it and actually had to work through it with my coach before I could go all in. But I did it and the rewards have been huge!
How do you practice self-care and recharge?
Leaving the day job and not sitting in traffic was step number one! Step number two has been moving closer to family so that my husband and I have help with our kids. It's allowed me time to take long leisurely baths, take weekends off and enjoy family time at the park.
Going on little mini vacations to the "bush" so we can do the safari thing is also key for me. Nature is so soothing and I get a lot of healing during my time outdoors. Oh, and I started indulging in 2 hour Thai massages each week when we moved... It's simply glorious to be able to do that for myself.
Each day I color in lieu of meditation. Coloring is very calming for me. After coloring I do a gratitude practice to thank God for my abundance. The other thing I do throughout the day is read motivational books to renew my spirit!
What advice do have for women considering entrepreneurship?
I once did a periscope (www.Periscope.Tv/Tepsii) about failure! I called it “Secrets of Success from a Complete Failure.”
I got so much positive feedback on it. Because so often people share successes but birther failure or vulnerability.
My point was that success is not a linear path. There are times when we will fall on our faces. That's ok! I've been wanting to explore entrepreneurship since I was 18, but I never cracked the code to success till I was on the eve of my 31st birthday. My failures made me stronger, I have tried to start so many businesses it would make you dizzy if you were to count! But, here I am now... I finally found the sweet spot between my passion and making a profit!
My advice is that you should never, ever give up and don't take no for an answer. Also, guard your biz with your life. If you tell too many people and seek too much outside advice from people who aren't knowledgeable about what you are doing they will discourage you. Emotionally and mentally that will make space for self doubt and reduce your confidence!
What are your other dreams and goals?
I’d love to travel/relax for 6 months out of the year and my husband and I are planning to have vacation homes that we can visit and rent out in Cape Town, South Africa and Vermont, USA. Those are my biggest short term goals.
What are you most proud of with your business?
FREEDOM! I am in the driver’s seat and I do what I want when I want!
I'm also proud that my biz puts food on the table, pays for my girls’ private school tuition, allowed me to retire my hubby, and financed the move to South Africa.
How do you define the good life?
The good life is slow, easy, and flowing. It is relaxing mornings drinking tea and admiring the view, time to really raise my kids the way I want and be there for them whenever they need (without begging a boss).
The good life means safari drives to reconnect with nature and renew my spirit.
The good life is mountains, beaches, or the open savannah.
It's eating well, 100% organic and GMO free. It's cooking from scratch and enjoying food with my best friends and most cherished family members.
It's a “less is more attitude.” Less obligations, less stuff, less stress!
To be honest after all these years I’m certain that I’ve finally found the key to living the good life. I was always scared I’d have to wait until retirement to live on my own terms. I pinch myself because this is our reality.
Where can we learn more about you?
My website is where you should go if you want to read and know more about me, or work together. www.Tepsii.com
My facebook group, #CopyBosses is where you need to be if you want to know how to write killer copy. My #CopyBesties and I also share actionable advice help to grow your own online business. Our group is growing fast and I love watching the members make friends, create partnerships, and get new clients in there. I can't wait to see you over there!
BONUS: Get Tepsii's Brilliantly BounceProof- your fail-proof template for creating highly converting landing pages! Click below.
Yolanda's note: I hope you took a lot away from this interview and what it means to be about your business. I'm so inspired by Tepsii and it is encouraging to see someone I know from real life having so much success. Even though we are far apart these days, I still treasure our conversations, time spent together, and her support.
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