Independent Executives – Endless Possibilities
There are endless possibilities for executives looking to become an independent executive
Being independent executive is a high-pressure job in any industry. Though an executive is accustomed to working however many hours it takes to get the job done, the focus always used to be on one company, and all of the time was focused there. Now time is split between building a business as well as working with multiple other businesses, often at the same time.
If an executive is someone who needs structure, then he or she will need to think through how to organize the business to give it that structure. Inherently, with a solo practice, there is no structure, and this is tough for most initially. As many independent executives can attest, being an independent executive is not for the weak of heart. It not only takes a variety of skill sets but a cast iron stomach as well to be able to roll with the ups and downs. As much as we discuss the flexibility and life balance this career can offer, there can be some challenges as well.
Choosing this career is starting a business. The executive is now responsible for business development, marketing, sales, IT, operations, accounting, and finance. In many cases, the executive is also the administrative assistant and travel agent. Fortunately, given the technological tools available, this is much easier than it was a decade ago.
Some of the more challenging aspects can be developing a portfolio of clients and meeting the various demands and challenges each client will bring. An executive building the business with little or no base can expect it to be at least a year before acquiring enough quality clients to provide a reasonable source of income. Since interim executive and management consulting work is intended to be temporary, a large part of the focus should be on constantly coming up with ways to better build your pipeline and your business.
Making the Choice as an Independent Executive
Independent executives have a variety of backgrounds and experiences that can lead to this career choice. Often, you can more successfully build an independent executive business by paying attention to what is around you and listening than by careful planning, determination, and having an illustrious previous corporate executive career. Countless experiences, opportunities, and connections can be leveraged to create a career that fits what you want to do next in life. Regardless of your background, the possible pathways for a successful independent executive career are endless.
Case Study – Never Speechless
Jayne Latz is CEO of Corporate Speech Solutions (CSS), serving both individuals and groups in Fortune 500 companies. As a licensed speech-language pathologist, speech trainer, and coach with twenty-five-plus years of experience, Latz launched CSS, customizing speech improvement and accent-reduction training programs to suit individuals and groups for both business and personal success.
Jayne relates her story:
“There are three people who shaped or helped shape me into the person I am today: my mother, my father, and my husband. I was a shy girl and did not speak until I was three years old. Family friends worried about me, but my mother never did. She said, ‘Jayne will speak when she is ready,’ and I did.
One day, when I was a teenager, my mother came home from work and excitedly said, ‘I met the most interesting woman at work today. She is a speech-language pathologist.’ In those days, the early 1970s, this was not a well-known career. I had never heard of it. My mother had never heard of it either. In fact, most people were not familiar with the field of speech-language pathology.
By the time I went to college, I was one of the few college freshmen who was laser-focused and knew exactly which path to pursue. I completed college and went on to get my master’s degree. For the next twenty years, I worked in the medical field, helping stroke patients and the elderly to recover their voices.
My father was an inspiration because he was an entrepreneur. He owned a retail furniture store and served as a role model for being my own boss. There was always something in the back of my mind telling me to create my own business. One day, while attending a professional conference for the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA), I met a group of colleagues who were involved in a small niche in our field called Corporate Speech-Language Pathology. A light bulb went off at that moment. I was so excited. This was the perfect path for me to pursue—the blending of my background as a speech-language pathologist combined with working in the business world. The goal would be to provide training to business professionals who would benefit from speaking with greater clarity and confidence while climbing up the corporate ladder.
When I returned home from the conference, I began the mental design of my new company while still working in my traditional position in the medical environment. My husband and I began to brainstorm on the name and eventually the logo for this new venture.
Corporate Speech Solutions, LLC was born, and since that time our company has helped hundreds of corporate professionals overcome communication issues that were holding back their careers. It is my goal to share the knowledge I have acquired over the past ten years in order to help you rise up the corporate ladder.”