Whether it’s caused by a fleeting crisis in confidence or a brief lack of focus, even the most-prosperous entrepreneurs can find themselves taking a stutter-step on the way up the ladder of success. That’s where Alena Edmondson, founder of the Atlanta-based Abundant Life Coaching, comes to the rescue for the struggling business owner.
In addition to helping the novice business owner plan, launch, run, and expand their businesses, Edmondson, a certified life coach, sees much of her clients coming from established business owners who have for one reason or another find themselves struggling to find success.
“I help business people identify anything they feel is missing and that may be holding them back,” Edmondson, 51, said. “Sometimes it’s working with very successful people who just want to get to next level.
“The process of thinking that I develop for clients starts with the question of are you where you want your life and business to be,” she said.
Though she worked as an entrepreneur trainer for more than a decade with her husband, Jerome Edmondson, in their company, the Entrepreneur Development Network (EDN), Alena took her life/business coaching enterprise separate in July 2011.
Edmondson said Abundant Life Coaching was developed as an outgrowth of a 12-week business planning course taught at EDN. She discovered that even though many of the course participants would have the tools to launch their own business, they often needed a boost to help them actually start.
“Many would put their business plans on the shelf allowing fear of the unknown to paralyze them from moving forward,” she said. I help clients out of the proverbial tree, to remove the obstruction of doubt, fear, etc., so the business owner can work strategically on their business goals of starting or growing their businesses.”
With the many minority-owned businesses in Atlanta, Edmondson said she finds common grown with many of the entrepreneurs she counsels.
In fact, it was Atlanta’s well-earned reputation as a home to Black commerce that attracted the Edmondsons to leave Detroit and establish their business in Atlanta 10 years ago.
“This city has the reputation as the Black mecca, and we found that to be true, especially when it came to people looking to start their own businesses,” Edmondson said. “So this was the perfect place for us to settle. In Detroit, we found that many people worked for the auto companies and then would retire. Here you have many people who strike out and start their own businesses.”
Aside from the business-building essence of the city, Edmondson said its pivotal role in the 1960’s civil rights struggles is an inspiration for her efforts.
“The whole Civil Rights Movement helped to awaken the African-American spirit for business ownership,” Edmondson said. “We know other nationalities come to this country and do it. We just needed to raise the awareness we could do it as well and the 1960s helped spark that.”
Edmondson said that even with the supportive surroundings Atlanta provides, challenges quickly presented themselves when she found she wasn’t getting as many clients as she hoped for back in 2011.
“I wondered what I was doing wrong, was it my message or my marketing that wasn’t working,” Edmondson said. “I wondered if the people I had worked with really got it. Did I really reach the person.”
At times, it seemed the life/business coach needed a life/business coach of her own, she said.
But as clients began coming though the door and revenues began to grow, Edmondson said she began to find herself on more solid footing financially and emotionally.
Attracting business primarily on a referral basis, Edmondson said she now has about 15 clients per month and nets between $5,000 to $6,000 monthly. Edmondson claims a 75 percent success rate among her clients.
By next year, Edmondson hopes to bring on a small staff of life/business coaches under her to expand her services that she describes as “almost at capacity” now.
“When thoughts of not making it would come to mind, I would immediately focus on why I wanted to become a life coach and that would remove the doubt and fear of not being successful,” she said. “Do those thoughts still come, absolutely? But when I see success with a person it tells me these processes really work and it makes me push even harder for success.”