Sonya Stattmann Founder Business Coaching for Women in the Arena believes the current system of work doesn’t allow women to embrace their unique passion, their innate talents, or to pursue freedom. Her quest is to change all this for women, and encourage their liberation through defining what success means for them as individuals. Sonya draws from her own life journey and two decades in business working with thousands of women around the globe to teach women to structure and grow successful businesses.
Sonya has had to overcome a myriad of life challenges over the years and learned to draw on her own courage and resilience. This is what she uses to support and encourage women to embrace their value and power. She’s travelled the world and coached clients internationally to work to achieve the life and businesses of their dreams.
Sonya shares her thought leadership more widely through regular podcasts, as a keynote speaker and has also completed a TEDx Talk.
Explain for us your concept of ‘Women in the Business Arena’.
Originally I was inspired by Theodore Roosevelt’s speech ‘The Man in the Arena’. I won’t quote it here, but what I love about it is that it talks about the real hero being in the arena, covered in mud, striving for a worthy cause, failing and getting back up again and again, and all the while daring greatly. This epitomises the women I work with, who put their hearts and souls into their cause and their business every single day.
I see the business world as an arena, especially for women. Business has been designed and defined through a very masculine lens. Not only are women constantly coming up against the sexism in business, we are expected to deny our emotions (and superpowers). To operate in a more masculine framework by “hustling” and “killing it”, and sacrifice our balance for success.
I wanted to teach women how to operate more effectively in the business arena, to utilise their innate gifts and manage their energy. I arm them with tools to navigate their business with balance, grace and power.
Typically, what do you find are the major areas where women need support in business?
Women need support getting back to basics. What I have seen in my decades of working with women in business is that they are focused on the wrong things. Most women are focused on marketing and lead generation. But, their business foundation is broken and no amount of marketing or effort will fix it. When I talk about business foundation, especially with the service businesses I work with, I am talking about the right business model, target market, niche, packaging, sales process and messaging. If these aren’t right, marketing is a complete waste of time. Far too many people are missing a solid foundation.
Women also need support building the skills that will help them have financial stability, fulfilment and sustainable success. It is one of the reasons why I teach sales skills over marketing skills. If you can sell, you can create financial stability. Women also need to learn how to manage their energy, utilise their emotional superpowers and operate more aligned with themselves. For women, burnout is one of the leading causes of business failure. We need to be building more sustainable businesses that produce more return on effort. This is what my program focuses on.
After working with thousands of women across the globe, I have become an advocate for women designing their businesses in a way that works for them. No two businesses are exactly alike because no two people are alike. What works for one person, won’t work for another. Women need to utilise their strengths, align their business with their values and define their definition of success and balance.
This is why getting back to basics is so important and stripping away the “busywork” and “hustle” that has become an epidemic in the business world.
How has your approach to your own business evolved over two decades as an entrepreneur?
I have had so much transformation in the last two decades. Not only has the world changed, but so has the business arena. I think we have to constantly evolve to make our businesses relevant.
There are some key perspectives that have changed the way I operate my business and the way I teach business.
- You have to be specific, clear and specialised. Every market is flooded, so there is no room for being a jack of all trades anymore.
- Simplifying and streamlining are the keys to sustainability. We are now fighting exhaustion and burnout, so getting the most return on effort is necessary to create a business that will operate far into the future.
- You have to always be validating. I practice and teach a process for staying relevant to your market and their needs and wants. The world is evolving and if you aren’t staying relevant, you won’t last.
- Self-development is more important than business development. I teach them both because they go hand-in-hand, but self-development has more power in your business than anything else you do.
- As women, we operate differently. If we are going to succeed in business and have the impact we can in the world, we have to do it our way.
- You have to love chopping wood and carrying water. I have a great podcast episode on this. The bottom line is you have to learn to love the day-to-day operations of your business.
Which has been the most popular episode of your ‘Women in the Business Arena’ podcast series?
One of the more recent podcast episodes has been popular and covers the “chopping wood and carrying water” concept, EP 73: The Zen Guide to Operating your Business. Overall, two of the most popular episodes have been: EP61: How To Know When You Are Over-Owning or Under-Owning Your Responsibility and EP58: How do We Create and Embody a Bigger Vision. What I love about our podcast is the diversity. We cover the deep topics related to women in business, not just typical business topics but also the psychology around running a business.
What are the key ingredients of a successful podcast?
What makes a successful podcast…well that depends. I think we have to look at how we define a successful podcast. If you are using a podcast to support your business, it isn’t about vanity metrics. It’s about how it adds to your bottom line and sales. If you are using a podcast to spread your message, then success would be defined by how many people you reach and how many people continue to listen to your podcast. You also have to look at where your podcast fits in your sales cycle. Is it for lead generation (not the best use) or for sales conversion (warming a lead up)? All of these factors would determine the key ingredients.
I think a lot of business owners have an unrealistic view of podcasting. They think they can create something and it will generate a lot of leads. This isn’t how it works anymore. There are literally millions of podcasts, and only a tiny percentage ever get picked up for an iTunes list or featured anywhere. The burden of generating listeners is 100% on you. It is a whole marketing component and requires a lot of time, attention and investment. I generally tell my clients that podcasting comes after they have a solid business that is producing a profit.
If you are at this level, then I think the keys to a great podcast are being authentic and unique. It is about telling a story, sharing your wisdom and having great conversations.
What has been your greatest challenge?
For a long time, it was operating my business in a “masculine” arena. I kept trying to fit myself into someone else’s box. I followed all the methods, tactics and ways of operating that were taught by successful men, and then emulated by successful women.
Constantly I felt misaligned and exhausted. I struggled with my desire for integrity and transparency and sacrificed my balance for traditional definitions of success. I couldn’t find anyone teaching a different way.
Over the years, I learned to develop my methods, tactics and ways of operating that felt natural to me. These are a lot of what I teach now. The challenge now is that these are not the popular methods. I often go against the grain.
As Brene Brown talks about, I feel I am often braving the wilderness. It can be challenging to carve your own path, but ultimately it is worth it. My mission is to provide a safe space for women to be themselves and to operate their business in a way that aligns with their values and gifts.
For a long time, I didn’t value my innate gifts and feminine power because it wasn’t valued in the world. I have changed that and I am now in a position to help other women value themselves, not for fitting in, but for standing out.
What are you most proud of?
My commitment and grit to helping women take back their power. I have been on this path for a long time and we still have so much more work to do to right the imbalance in the world. Women have so much to contribute in every arena, but first, we have to see the value in ourselves.
I am proud of my contribution to this cause. I have done this in so many ways: working with women in my business, my TEDx talk, my podcast, the book I am writing and raising two amazing daughters. It is also the thousands of conversations I have had over the years, the insights I’ve had, the support I’ve received and the communities I’ve been part of. This is an amazing time in history to be a woman, and I am proud to be a part of that change.
What’s one piece of advice for future female leaders?
Listen to your internal wisdom. Learning to be your own compass is imperative to not only living a life fulfilled but to make an impact in the lives around you.
Stop being pulled by other people’s desires or fear and be pulled by your internal passion, purpose and motivation.
You have so much to offer the world. Your experiences, understandings and gifts are unique to you. There are lives only you can touch and wisdom only you can bring.
You are the female economy. Whether you are a female consumer, business owner or a woman in the workforce, you can create gender equality by choosing female led brands.
Sonya Stattmann is a Femeconomy Gold Member. To learn more about Femeconomy, hit the big red button below: