Renée Trudeau is a sought-after work-life balance coach and self-care expert, author, and speaker. She’s been featured in national and international media outlets including the New York Times, Working Mother, US News & World Report, Woman’s Day, and more.
Read on to find out how she was able to create s soulful business.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.
I was one of those people who were 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 a soulful business, where you’re really enhancing the 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 helps me too. Also, I was raised by spiritual seekers and 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 my business, my time is largely spent leading others and sharing my vision. I constantly look for ways I can innovate so I can “work less and make more” and enjoy more time with my family relaxing!
What did you do before launching your own business?
I was a Type-A, over-achieving, driven communications and 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).
Because I had training in leadership and organization development, I was doing coaching on the side and internally at the companies where I worked. I lost three 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 the 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 and branding, 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 seven to help me start a publishing arm for my first book (The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal) 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 in 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’ve been planning for a few years to lighten my load during this important time so that I can be 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.
How were you able to take your coaching business to the next level?
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 and 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 seven 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 balance 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—learning to let go. When our lives are simpler, and we have fewer choices, we’re 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 and professional support network
- Managing your energy and saying no
- Living more in the present and 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. I only do things I *really* want to do. I pause a lot, tune in, and see if this activity will truly nourish and nurture me. I make sure it’s not a “should.” 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.
Thanks to Renée Trudeau for sharing her story!