Leading in an entrepreneurial Start-up
AIBL interview start-up entrepreneur, Monique Jeremiah of Exceptional Tuition and Resumes.
Monique Jeremiah is one of those rare individual’s who grabs hold of opportunities and makes them work. As a young entrepreneur, leadership skills have had to be learned along the way. Her story is not only inspirational, but also educational.
Exceptional Tuition and Resumes was established in 2010. The business idea spawned from Monique’s experiences working as a university tutor and trainer, small business manager, and a technical writer within the corporate human resources environment. She identifies her passions as:
- employment and education
- helping people to succeed in these two areas, and
- a natural love of leading people.
Monique started the company to “alleviate the common struggles faced by students and job seekers”. Today Exceptional Tuition and Resumes holds a teaching office on the Gold Coast and offers home based tutoring across the Gold Coast, Brisbane and soon Melbourne and Perth. Exceptional Tuition and Resumes also specialises in writing mining job and university graduate resumes, cover letters, answers to selection criteria and LinkedIn profiles to help job seekers apply for employment.
What were some of the first leadership issues you experienced?
As a younger leader at a mere 23 years of age, I experienced the everyday challenge of being doubted about my leadership competency. I believe this was a reflection of outdated views of age and gender. Many of the events I attended were filled with mature aged men who would often frown upon me probably thinking I was out of my league. Many women in their 30’s and 40’s saw me as competition so they ostracised me in an attempt to numb down my self-confidence. Old friends and some family also did not believe that I had the leadership experience or life experience to lead a company and so I was constantly questioned and doubted. Luckily I never let these social pressures deter my desire to become a strong leader and to challenge the norm.
From another perspective, although I held a Bachelor of Business and other relevant qualifications, I was aware that it was only academic training and nothing prepares an individual to become a company director or tenacious entrepreneur except true hands on experience and trial and error learning. Therefore I forced myself to learn through making mistakes and always hoped for the best. When mistakes occurred I forced myself to not give up, to not be de-motivated and to recognise opportunities in the face of adversity.
As an inexperienced business owner, many banks also rejected my requests for bank loans for my office set-up, furniture and computer equipment. The challenge here was overcoming rejection and accepting that I had to self-fund my company right from the very start.
What were the most demanding, or most critical issues you face and how did you deal with them?
The most demanding issue I face everyday is the mental stress of dealing with competing priorities in the company and finding ways to relax my mind so that I can focus on other things outside of work and recover mentally. Part of it may be because I am 100% client focused, therefore I have to juggle meeting their deadlines and ensuring things are being completed internally. To deal with this issue I recently took up Latin dancing 5 days a week to give myself a better social life and to enhance my physical health.
How do you measure the success of your leadership and how do you analyse your weaknesses when it comes to leadership?
As a people and goal orientated leader I measure my leadership success through the number of clients we obtain and how many we help to achieve their education and employment goals. Additionally, I measure how successful my interns and team members are in their engagement with our clients and in their own personal careers. When people are succeeding and appreciating our company for what we do, that is when I feel like I am a good leader and have achieved my objective. I also measure my leadership through my ability to delegate and ensure that tasks are being completed on time. Everything needs to be well organised and everyone, both internally and externally, is satisfied as a whole with company operations.
How important do you think is it to have a strong, competent leader when building a successful business? Why?
A strong and competent leader is essential for the set-up and growth of a great company. A leader sets the company culture, sets the standard and expectations of business operations and is in charge of the company’s public perception and success. If you are not a true leader or willing to give your all to your company, you will simply fail in business regardless of how much financial or business assistance you receive from others along the way. To be a strong, competent leader you must be educated in every area relevant to your company, you must be fearless of challenges and competitors, you must have the ability to lead people from both a nurturing and goal driven approach and you must be self motivated, passionate and conscientious in all regards in order to push yourself to work hard and lead by example. Overall a strong and competent leader would do whatever it takes to succeed!
Monique can be contacted at [email protected]