Trust your instincts and your own way more than what you see everyone else doing.
Courtney Parks, MA, CPCC is a Business & Career Coach and mindset expert dedicated to helping women create success professionally without exhausting themselves personally. For the past 14 years, Courtney has taught high-achievers with big visions how to work smarter, not harder, using her signature 5 Step Passion Success & Balance Coaching Method. With a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Northwestern University and certification from the Coaches Training Institute, her unique blend of skills and expertise combine solid business and career development strategies with intuition, inspiration and personal growth.
Courtney’s clients span from consultants, creatives and C-suite executives to women on the rise in finance, law and journalism. She’s been fortunate to help women double, triple and even quadruple their incomes while working less so they have time for themselves and their families. Courtney lives with her wife and sweet little kitty in Santa Monica, CA and is deeply committed to women’s empowerment, spirituality and LGBTQ rights. She also loves music, fabulous food and bubbly, yoga and anything to do with the beach.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I started my career as a psychotherapist and worked in some pretty intense positions. While I was good at my work and proud of it, I was making very little money and burning out fast! Eventually, I left the field and got a day job to support myself while trying to figure out a way to serve people that fueled me instead of drained me. I spent my days off one summer “creating my vision” for how I wanted my work and life to be – and found out that vision already existed in coaching.
When I started coaching and opened my business in 2005, I knew this was the work I was put on this earth to do. My tagline became “success without exhaustion for women” – because I wanted to teach other women how to find work they love and be successful at it without sacrificing their time, energy and BEing. I’m fortunate to have helped hundreds and hundreds of business owners and professionals to work smarter, not harder, so they can still have a life…and to make this happen much faster than I did.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I love having time for myself in the morning before connecting with others. When I get up, I do a quick email check, some exercise or stretching (most days), then eat breakfast while watching the Today Show (my fave) and read the paper online. After a shower and more email or prep time, I spend the bulk of my day working with clients, either virtually or in person.
When I’m not in session, I work on marketing, projects, collaboration and content creation to support my online community. I really focus and batch my time – plus everything I do is on my calendar, not just on a to-do list. I don’t work nights, weekends or Wednesdays (unless I choose to) so I can relax, have fun and get off my computer! This makes me much more productive when I am actually working.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I start by writing out my thoughts (with an actual pen and paper) and really fantasizing about the best possible scenario and results. Once I’m clear enough on the big picture, I start figuring out how it can work and what kind of support I need. The bigger steps get broken down into a task list and get plugged into my calendar. Even if I don’t know every detail when I start, I do my best to jump in as soon as I can so my enthusiasm stays high.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I definitely don’t consider this a “trend” but I’m loving how many women are stepping up into leadership positions and fighting for their rights. I’ve been committed to empowering women in their work and lives since college (both personally and professionally) – so seeing this wave of fierce, fabulous women rising in politics, business/corporate, media, sports, grassroots/global activism is beyond exciting to me.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
While I may be working on multiple projects or ideas at once, I do my best to actually finish what I start…all the way to 100%. It’s so easy to lose focus and stop at 90 or 95%. Finishing things before moving on to other things makes a big difference when it comes to productivity.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Trust your instincts and your own way more than what you see everyone else doing.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You can absolutely make more money with a lot less work.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Check in with yourself and your intuition. Your intuition is the best decision maker you have in your business! If you’re only thinking with your head and ignoring your gut, you’re wasting precious time and energy.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Relationship marketing – which can mean a lot of things. I realized early on that cultivating a personalized experience with exceptional client service, professionalism and timely follow-up mattered. Everything I do (online or off) has a warm, personal touch – and people comment on it all the time and are often surprised by it.
I also realized that I didn’t have to know (or be followed by) a million people to build a successful business. I had to know people who knew people and create meaningful relationships (which I do naturally no matter what) and make it easy for others to connect me or spread the word. I’m hugely supportive of my network and ask for support strategically and consciously, without obligation or pressure. While I use a variety of growth strategies, people have – and continue to – make the difference for me.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Oh wow, I’ve had many! The one that stands out in my mind is my first speaking engagement. I got hired to speak to a team of about 20-25 people and I was horrible – and I’m not being hard on myself, it was really bad! I’m a pretty outgoing person but I was so nervous, read my notes and barely looked up.
When I finally got the courage to speak again (this time, at my own workshop), I asked three friends to be there. They met me beforehand and told me they’d sit at different places around the table so everywhere I looked, I’d see one of them…it makes me tear up now just thinking about it! After that, I continued to invite friends or colleagues to my speaking gigs until I got comfortable doing it on my own.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Someone needs to create a reasonably priced way for people to get airlifted over the traffic in LA…now THAT would make money!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A nice little authentic Italian dinner for my wife on her birthday (which happens to be on Valentine’s Day) while we were staying in Solvang. It mattered because she’s an amazing cook who makes dinner for me all the time, like I’m living in a restaurant! I love to make her happy and give her the same experience away from home.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I’m a huge fan of the Coaches Console (for more than just coaches) and have used it for years. While I don’t need every feature, it’s a website, contact management, scheduling, billing, email marketing, shopping cart, content/course delivery system (and more) all-in-one. I use it to onboard clients so they can complete forms/sign agreements and also for scheduling, coordinating groups, tracking my coaching hours, etc. With or without an assistant, this takes care of the back end of my business for me.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I love “Money and the Law of Attraction” by Abraham-Hicks. I’ve studied and taught LOA for years and blending spiritual principles, business/career strategy and wealth consciousness is what has worked best for me and my clients when it comes to getting major results…even for those who are skeptical.
What is your favorite quote?
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin. A beautiful representation of what I help women do every day.
• You were born with unique gifts and put on this earth for a reason – and it wasn’t to struggle or exhaust yourself
• It’s easy to lose focus on projects and stop at 90 or 95% – finish things 100%
• You can absolutely make more money with a lot less work
• Trust your instincts and intuition more than what everyone else is doing
• Fear is a natural part of success and upleveling so learning how to work with it is a game changer