Shevonne Joyce works with women to develop or re-invent their personal brand for maximum impact and quantifiable results. In 2017, Shevonne was named one of the Top 10 Australian Women Entrepreneurs by My Entrepreneur Magazine. She’s successfully built a global brand in 60 countries and is a trusted thought leader. With a background in human resources, after 12 years spent across organisations ranging from startups to corporates, she left to follow her passion of helping entrepreneurial business women to succeed in their own ventures.
We caught up with Shevonne to find out more about the ‘secret sauce’ that differentiates her mentoring approach, her goal of helping female entrepreneurs to become the next Oprah in their field, and the tangible results she’s achieved for clients.
As a passionate advocate of gender equality, you’ve made the conscious choice to mentor female entrepreneurs. What drove that decision?
Entrepreneurship is the way of the future and there was always a sense that I wanted to change the world by helping game changers. The decision to work with women came down to the nature of the problems my ideal clients commonly experience in business that I have the expertise to help them solve. Women generally experience unique barriers to business success including being afraid to put their true brand out there in fear of retribution, struggling with confidently valuing their worth and being either underpaid or not paid at all for the work they do.
They can also be unsure of how to effectively position themselves as an authority in their market in a way that’s congruent with them. Often, they feel like the ‘oddballs’ in their industry and they don’t know how to differentiate themselves or how to position their unique offering in a way that attracts their ideal buyers or has the impact they are seeking. They know they want to go big and be the next Oprah of their field but by the same token, they’re terrified of their own success and how to manage that responsibility.
Some women find themselves quickly in the spotlight and feel overexposed, having to overcome extreme fears and anxieties about being in the public spotlight and what that role entails, almost overnight. This impacts their ability to build a trusted and quality brand, develop their thought leadership and create the movement they are capable of.
The consequences of these problems continuing unresolved is that women become or remain financially dependent on others, experience extreme stress and burnout and question their self worth.
Their business either fails completely due to lack of cashflow, or they end up working in a business that makes ends meet but is ultimately unfulfilling because they’re struggling to bridge the gap to the next level. Some women are in businesses that are earning quite a lot of money but the problems they’re experiencing are preventing the business from reaching its full potential because they feel unable to position themselves effectively in front of their ideal clients.
While these are problems commonly experienced by women and I market to women, in the past, when it was the right fit, I have also successfully worked with men and would do the same again regardless of gender or gender identity. In addition, I’m a strong campaigner for the equality of all, including the LGBTIQ+ community, and frequently utilise my platforms to speak about human rights and equality more broadly.
Give us an insight into the ‘secret sauce’ you bring to your mentoring engagements.
This secret sauce has three main ingredients.
Teaching clients how to think, not giving them the answers all the time
If you have a mentor who isn’t able to take you to the depths of the human brain to help you learn the thinking behind the strategies you’re applying and, instead, just gives you answers all the time, what do you learn? You learn how to ask questions, not how to solve problems. The aim of our work together is to set their business up in a way that enables clients to continue applying thinking and strategies to their business and their life more broadly, long after we’ve finished working together.
The ability to get real with women about what’s holding them back in a nurturing way
Women will often say they have chosen to work together because they know I’ll get real with them in a caring way and they don’t want to ‘beat around the bush’ so to speak. Together, we unlock the drivers of the problems that hold them back instead of only treating symptoms. Being able to get the balance right between helping women to navigate the uncomfortable truths necessary for their success whilst also truly demonstrating care with them at all times, is something I’ve mastered. This leads to bigger and better results overall because we create real change.
Focusing on quantifiable results
Being able to help women understand how the intangible impacts the tangible and the strategy for turning that into quantifiable results that matter to them, is another key part. The reality is that business exists for quantifiable results and the numbers never lie. Progress needs to be measurable. It’s about respecting the numbers, understanding them, getting comfortable with them and building on them.
Tell us about some of the most impactful results you’ve been able to achieve for your clients.
Of course, the work we do together positively impacts their quantifiable results, including making them more money. For example, a current client has doubled her revenue in 2 months through the strategies we’ve implemented. However, the true impact is seeing women bloom into who they truly are so that they can go out there and absolutely own it. A lot of the time, when they reach out to me, these women are at breaking point. It’s amazing seeing the difference between who they are when we first speak to who they are when we’ve finished our work together. It’s hard to put that transformation into words.
You’ve been recognised as a game changer and you’ve also judged the Telstra Business Awards and Telstra Business Women’s Awards. Drawing on your thought leadership, what are the biggest challenges facing entrepreneurs today?
The lack of preparedness for what it actually takes to be successful as an entrepreneur. We’ve become the consumption generation – our attention spans are shorter and given the pace of modern life, we want easy answers now. In a lot of ways, people misunderstand entrepreneurship as the easy way, only to find themselves experiencing baptism by fire so to speak.
Many industry experts tell you all you need is a Smartphone and a social media account to start a business, which is true to start a business but to grow it, you need far more than that. This sets up false expectations and many people launch a business unprepared, with no budget to invest in growing it and no real strategy around how they’re going to succeed.
While entrepreneurship is incredibly rewarding, it also takes an incredible amount of hard work and dedication to master. In many ways, it’s one of the biggest teachers of life lessons and in some instances, can take you to the depths of resilience you never thought possible. In school, we learn first and then take a test but in entrepreneurship, the test comes first and the lesson after.
Building a successful business through the varying stages of growth is a unique skill on its own and one that’s often underestimated – so many women don’t budget or invest in it. You don’t walk into your first French class and expect to be fluent, yet for some reason, many women put extreme pressure on themselves to automatically know how to build the business of their dreams without investing in help. The key difference between the 80% who fail and the 20% who succeed is their willingness to invest in solving problems.
What has been your greatest challenge?
My greatest challenge has also been my greatest gift because it has enabled me to develop the expertise needed to help my clients! Being quite an outspoken and bold woman who simply can’t just do a job without wanting to do it better, I’ve experienced a lot of judgment over my time and have been subjected to the gendered language that holds a lot of women back. For example, ambitious women being labelled ‘aggressive.’
The biggest turning point in my career was when I realised the characteristics others had labelled as my weaknesses were in fact my strengths and without these, I would not be able to achieve the results with women that I do. It was then that I began unapologetically putting myself out there in the world and destroying myths and stereotypes about women.
For example, that outspoken and bold women aren’t nurturing or caring and that if we’re passionate about helping clients, we have to do it ‘for the love of it’ instead of also being passionate about building profitable businesses with integrity. This first hand experience has enabled me to create strategies that have successfully built a trusted and quality personal brand.
What are you most proud of?
It sounds cheesy, but I’m owning it – my clients. These are women who have the courage to overcome significant barriers to become the success they’re capable of. They are all unique, extremely talented (even if at first they don’t realise it) and are changing the world in their own fields. It’s when we see the results coming through and realise all the challenges faced were worth it. Those are the best moments.
What’s one piece of advice for future female leaders?
“The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.” – Maureen Dowd.
This applies in business and in life – always connect with and invest in those who take you to higher standards of greatness and never accept any less than that from anyone, including yourself.
Photo credit: Jo Westaway
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