From Corporate to Coach - Elizabeth Hope Derby

From corporate to coach

I designed my business to live my purpose and enjoy work-life balance on my terms.

It’s been a wild ride.

In 2011, I quit my marketing job at a Fortune 500 company to pursue my dream of being a writer and business owner.

I didn’t have a clear vision for what my career would look like; I just knew I wanted to leverage my passion and profitable skills to create more freedom in my life.

After working as a newspaper columnist and a freelance copywriter for advertising agencies, I became a brand strategist who specialized in messaging for solo and small business owners. We spent hours defining their vision and value as service providers, then translating their genius into offers and content that spoke to potential clients.

99% of my clients told me our work together increased their clarity and confidence. But every so often, a solopreneur would spend thousands of dollars building and writing a website she loved—then never even share it.

I wondered why someone would spend so much time and effort in marketing, then not follow through on the visibility piece.

Then one of my clients read her new website and told me, “I should read these words to myself every morning. Maybe then I would start to see myself like you do.”

Something clicked.

It shocked me to realize this smart, accomplished woman didn’t fully believe in her brilliance. We’d spent hours detailing her unique expertise and the value of her services, but something continued to block her brain from seeing the extent of her power and ability to succeed.

Over time, I realized some clients simply felt anxious showing up in bigger, bolder ways professionally. Fear of failure and subtle self-criticism kept them playing small.

As a business owner, I was familiar with the voice of my inner critic. Mine constantly berated my mistakes and imperfections. It panicked whenever I rocked the boat by increasing fees, setting boundaries, or taking breaks.

Despite my accomplished exterior, I felt trapped by the pressure of perfectionism, people-pleasing, and Imposter Complex. What’s worse, I felt so alone.

I often felt like a failure who wasn’t cut out to make it as a real entrepreneur. For years, I felt like absolute garbage because I couldn’t disprove the critical voice in my head.

Even though some of my clients and friends had similar doubts and fears, I harbored the belief I was special—as in, I was uniquely screwed.

Turns out I was wrong. 🙂

I wasn’t alone in these feelings—and neither are you.

Every brave person who forges their own path, especially in business, faces self-doubt and fear as a primary obstacle to growth.

That’s just the nature of how our brains work. They’re designed to keep us safe. They’ll use every fear and self-critical thought they can conjure to scare us back into our comfort zone.

And let’s not forget that traditional business and leadership culture tends to be steeped in systemic oppression. If your identity, beliefs, or desires don’t fit the typical mold, you’re unlikely to feel safe or like you belong in power (even if you totally do).

The trick is to give yourself enough support—intellectually, emotionally, socially, and logistically—to recognize your fear-monsters as thoughts and feelings (not facts) and stay centered in your power.

You can absolutely break through your professional ceilings and build lasting confidence as an entrepreneur. But you simply can’t do it alone.

To level up in business and overall life satisfaction, you must give yourself the support you need to feel safe taking risks.

I’m also a fan of strengthening your mindset—I.e. deliberately upgrading the way you think about yourself, your goals, and your ability to succeed.

Upgrading your mindset has a cascading effect. You make faster, more efficient decisions. You take inspired, courageous action. You call in more free time, money, and energy—while ENJOYING the life you already have.

When I finally hired and worked with a high-level coach, my whole world changed for the better.

I transformed my mindset and superpowered my confidence. I improved my marriage and body image. Most of all, I strengthened my business and blossomed into the leader I longed to be.

Coaching gave me the critical tools and skills to unlock my courage and creativity in business. All because I was willing to ask for help and invest time, money, and energy into nurturing and supporting myself as a human and entrepreneur.

Once I understood the power of coaching, I could no longer settle for helping my clients sound confident in their branding and marketing. Sure, we could tell a great story on paper—but I had to help them live it.

In 2017, I became a coach for high-achieving women entrepreneurs. I made it my mission to help them upgrade their mindset and take meaningful risks to create a business and life on their terms.

Believe me when I say, it’s totally possible to go from feeling like a fraud to showing up as a confident leader.

You don’t need to “fake it til you make it” or force yourself to gut it out alone.

You’re already good enough, just as you are. You simply need more support than you’ve given yourself thus far.

So take a deep breath and let yourself exhale.

Because you don’t have to do this all alone. In fact, you were never meant to.



Want to learn more about coaching with me and how it can work for you?


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