Interview with Renee Trudeau – President, Renee Trudeau & Associates and Career Strategists

Interview with Renee TrudeauTell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey

I was one of those who people who was destined to be self-employed (I had brochures printed up when I was 11 advertising my babysitting, catering and mother’s helper skills). I was always giving my self-employed physician dad ideas on how to promote his growing practice, too.

I can’t imagine not being an entrepreneur. I love the art of business – especially soulful business, where you’re really enhancing quality of life and making the world a better place.

I feel really blessed that my personality (a very creative, big picture, cause-driven ENTJ) serves my work and larger vision. My business and leadership background really helps me too. Also, I was raised by spiritual seekers/intellectuals who helped me learn to be curious and fall in love with the human potential field.

I love what I do. Though, sometimes – even though I have a large team and we serve clients and organizations worldwide – I feel a bit lonely and isolated. I think all entrepreneurs often share this emotion – it’s a courageous journey! Thanks to a wonderful team of women that support our two businesses, my time is largely spent leading others/sharing my vision; teaching/speaking/writing about life balance; connecting via high level partnerships with other teachers/speakers/authors and constantly looking at ways I can innovate so I can “work less and make more” and enjoy more time with family and relaxing!

What did you do before launching your own business? 

I was a Type-A, over-achieving, driven communications/PR executive for almost 14 years, working primarily with health, wellness and medical clients (one of my favorite jobs was serving as the PR Director on the Whole Foods Market national account back in the early 90s).

Additionally, because I had training in leadership/organization development, I was doing coaching on the side and internally at the companies where I worked. I lost 3 family members (my brother, mom and dad) from 1992 – 2000 and it was a big wake up call to course-correct and find a career that fed me both inside and out and provided me the balance I was seeking. That and the desire to have flexibility to be with an infant, was the catalyst for me launching my first business in 1999.

How did you fund your business?

I’m a saver. I used my corporate nest egg and some inheritance from my grandmother and invested heavily in marketing/branding and a website, and a fully furnished office for my first business Career Strategists. For my second business, I cashed out my 401K to hire a team of 7 to help me start a publishing arm (for my first book) and develop a training program to support women in becoming certified facilitators and leading self-renewal groups based on my first book. I’m a risk taker and like to do things “big.”

How many hours do you work a week and how much is spent is your home office?

I just finished launching my newest book “Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life” and I traveled a lot and my hours were longer. But this just changed since my son started middle school this fall. I have been planning for a few years to lighten my load during this important time so I can be very present to his new developmental stage. Now I shoot for working 25 – 30 hours a week, but I also travel for speaking engagements and to lead workshops and retreats. I spend about half the time working from my home office. At times, I work at the wonderful www.somavida.net in Austin, Texas.

How were you able to take your business to the next level? Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal

By asking for help, letting go, getting high level mentoring, surrounding myself with women who hold the highest and best for me and by keeping a daily meditation/yoga practice. And by cultivating a willingness to continue to challenge my ways of thinking and seeking things – especially old habits – so I can keep adopting new ways of being.

What has been your biggest business struggle as an entrepreneur?

Probably letting go and releasing control. I used to be such a control freak (I’m the oldest of 7 kids) and I always try and do too much, even still. But I feel at almost 48, this is finally shifting for me. Every morning, I now ask “How can I do less today?”

As a work-life effectiveness coach, what advice would you give to entrepreneurs who are trying to balance it all?

  • Stress is caused by being overly ambitious (trying to do too much) and by trying to control everything—learn to let go! When our lives are simpler and we have fewer choices, we’re just happier.
  • Four strategies that can make a huge impact on work/life balance (or feeling more harmony in your everyday life) are: learning the practice of self-care; building a personal/professional support network; managing your energy/saying no; living more in the present, slowing down.

How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?

I have a wonderful team of support and I say no a lot. And I only do things I *really* want to do. I pause a lot, tune in and see if this activity will truly nourish/nurture me. I make sure it’s not a “should.” And I allow myself to practice ‘good is good enough” quite a bit, too. I also make sure I create time for friends and women’s gatherings that really feed me — this is essential to my emotional well-being.

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