Thriving Through Entrepreneurial Highs and Lows

Get ready for an inspiring journey through the entrepreneurial landscape in our latest podcast episode!

In today’s podcast, I’m joined by Corina Walsh, author, certified leadership coach, and CEO of Shift People Development Inc. Our conversation was brimming with wisdom nuggets, offering invaluable insights into…

🌟The Exhilarating Entrepreneurial Journey: Dive into the riveting world of entrepreneurship as we explore the highs and lows, emphasizing the importance of preparation without succumbing to a scarcity mindset.

🌟Transitioning to Entrepreneurship: Join us for insights on the shift from employment to entrepreneurship, where we stress the need for meticulous planning and open communication, addressing crucial aspects such as finance and emotions.

🌟Practical Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs: For those eyeing entrepreneurship, especially those nearing retirement, we offer actionable advice—strategic career completion, early venture exploration, and proactive network building.

Tune in for valuable insights, and discover how to facilitate effective financial conversations in both personal and entrepreneurial contexts.

Show Notes:

Hello, and welcome back to episode 108. Today, I am thrilled to have a special guest, Corina Walsh. She is an author, podcaster, certified leadership coach, and the Chief Engagement Officer at Shift People Development Incorporated. I must say, she is the most inspiring woman I have ever had the pleasure of talking to.

Corina’s journey is fascinating. In her entrepreneurial spirit, she initiated her first business at the age of 10 alongside two friends. Tired of conventional toys, they opened a neighborhood storefront to sell their childhood toys. Fast forward to 2014, Corina felt the entrepreneurial call once again, prompting her to leave behind a 12-year career. Her mission was to assist companies in creating engaging workplaces accessible to everyone.

Today, Corina focuses on working with purpose-driven companies, guiding them in training their managers to become people-first leaders. Beyond her professional achievements, she is a devoted mom to both a son and a dog, and she enjoys watching cooking shows.

Now, let’s dive into the interview. I had the pleasure of chatting with Corina about her journey, and she shared valuable insights.

Zena: Hello, Corina. Thanks for joining me today.

Corina: Thank you so much for having me.

Zena: Yeah, you bet. Reflecting on how we met through Powerhouse, I recall your book, the Engagement Employee Blueprint, which I not only bought but also shared with others.

Corina: Thank you.

Zena: Indeed. Our paths crossed during our respective book launches, and that’s when I got to know your business and you as a person. Today, I believe we can offer some great perspectives. Could you share a bit about your transition from being an employee to venturing into entrepreneurship? What motivated that change?

Corina: It wasn’t an easy decision, nor should it be. In my twenties, I joined a biopharmaceutical company with an unpleasant working culture. This experience sparked my interest in understanding what makes a workplace good. Subsequent jobs in non-profit research didn’t differ much in terms of disengagement and management issues. My entrepreneurial spirit, ingrained since childhood, clashed with workplace norms. The turning point came when I joined a larger organization, hoping for a positive change. Unfortunately, the same obstacles persisted. Frustrated, I invested in coaching certifications and focused on employee engagement. When my husband’s job led us back to our hometown, I decided not to return to corporate life. It was time to start my own journey.

Zena: That’s impressive. Your entrepreneurial spirit from a young age paved the way. Working for others served as valuable learning experiences, both positive and negative.

Corina: Absolutely.

Zena: I find it fascinating how childhood experiences often shape our future paths. This conversation is crucial, given the rising trend of individuals contemplating entrepreneurship either due to forced early retirement or a desire for change. Could you share some of the highs and lows you experienced during this transition?

Corina: Certainly, the decision to leave a secure job was tough. The various positions I held allowed me to learn from both positive and negative aspects, shaping my approach as an entrepreneur. The journey has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs, and I’d be happy to delve into the details.

This conversation is gaining popularity as people explore new chapters in their lives, either by choice or necessity. Let’s continue to explore this exciting journey.

Corina: You perfectly captured the essence when you described entrepreneurship as a rollercoaster. If I had to sum up entrepreneurship in one word, it would be a rollercoaster. The excitement at the beginning is unparalleled – starting from zero, there’s only room for growth.

In those initial months, the possibilities and opportunities seem boundless. You share your venture with friends and former colleagues, and their excitement fuels your optimism. However, reality sets in when you realize that, without a sales or marketing background, you must learn these essential skills. The first year is often filled with energy, enthusiasm, and boundless optimism.

As you establish a foundation, the challenges intensify, and the sustainability of the business becomes the real test. The middle phase, sustaining momentum, is the toughest. While the highs of entrepreneurship are unmatched, so are the lows.

For instance, as you mentioned, being a published author brings an indescribable high – receiving that box of books with your name on them is a moment hard to surpass. Similarly, the elation after delivering a compelling speech is exhilarating. However, these highs quickly fade when you return to the daily grind of making sales, attending calls, and facing financial uncertainties.

Learning to ride these highs and lows is essential. You cannot take the highs too seriously or let the lows consume you.

Zena: I believe everyone who’s ventured into entrepreneurship just went on a journey with you. It felt like a movie playing in my head, depicting the ebbs and flows of starting a business. The growth phase, which I’d call the honeymoon, was extended for me, but it required long, joy-filled hours. It wasn’t work; it was a labor of love.

However, sustaining such intensity becomes impossible. The emotional challenges are immense. Tell me about the financial aspects without delving into the specifics. What were some key lessons you learned after leaving the comfort of a regular paycheck?

Corina: Great question, and a crucial one that is often overlooked. Talking about money, especially among women entrepreneurs, is vital. Shedding the societal notion that it’s impolite to discuss finances is the first step. Choose your financial team, advisors, and mentors carefully – I was fortunate to meet trustworthy individuals like you.

I had to address my own money mindset issues rooted in a scarcity mindset from my upbringing. It’s crucial to work through these issues, seeking help from therapists, mindset coaches, or competent mentors. Overcoming the notion that I wasn’t worthy of financial guidance when my revenue wasn’t steady was a significant hurdle.

Building relationships with professionals, including bankers and lawyers, was intimidating initially. Overcoming these mindset obstacles was possible with the help of a personal coach. Having a solid financial team in place has been invaluable.

On the business side, getting specific with your offerings is crucial. Trying to be everything to everyone spreads you thin and hinders standing out. Once I niched down my offerings, I witnessed a notable financial upturn.

Zena: That’s fascinating. I recently read a book called “Built to Sell,” emphasizing the importance of finding a niche. Your experiences echo this sentiment. Setting prices and valuing oneself are common challenges. How did you navigate setting your rates and understanding your worth?

Corina: Setting prices and acknowledging one’s worth are challenging aspects, particularly for women entrepreneurs. It takes time to build the confidence to declare your value and establish rates. The desire to help often leads to undervaluing our services. Overcoming these challenges requires coaching – financial advice, life coaching, and business coaching all play essential roles.

Entrepreneurship is akin to being a professional athlete. You wouldn’t try to register for the Olympics the day after deciding to become an athlete. Years of training and the guidance of coaches are essential. Professional athletes don’t wait until they lose to hire a coach; they do so in advance to ensure success.

Zena: Preparation is key, much like the example of Michael Phelps swimming in the dark to simulate unexpected challenges. While we may not replicate such extreme measures, the idea of preparing, both mentally and skill-wise, is crucial for success in entrepreneurship and life in general.


Corina: Absolutely, that’s such a great story. It underscores the importance of preparing for your worst moment. This ties back to navigating the highs and lows of entrepreneurship. While there might be no highs as rewarding as those in entrepreneurship, the need to brace for potential lows is essential. Closing a deal after a year of hard work or publishing a book is akin to winning a gold medal in our world. Preparing for the worst doesn’t mean anticipating scarcity; it’s about being ready to handle challenges if they arise. It’s about cushioning those lows.

Zena: Great advice, truly valuable. Now, in your transition, did you have conversations with your husband? How did you plan and prep for the transition, and did any difficult discussions arise? Was there stress, or was it a smoothly planned journey?

Corina: Absolutely, we had that conversation. I’m fortunate to be married to someone who truly believes in me. After a coaching session, I came home one day and told my husband that I felt the need to start a business. He never questioned it; he was unwavering in his belief in me, even when my self-confidence wavered.

Zena: That’s remarkable.

Corina: Yeah, and typically, I was the one in the relationship more concerned about money. While he does worry, it’s not as much as I do. We did have a plan when I left my job, and my husband’s job security was reassuring. It’s crucial to have a good financial cushion because you never know how long it’ll take to replace your salary—realistically, it can take two to three years. Have honest conversations about adjusting your lifestyle during this period. That’s the reality of entrepreneurship.

Zena: Absolutely. Managing expectations is key. When the financial cushion started nearing its end, it became a powerful motivator.

Corina: There is this idea in some business circles of skipping plan B, relying solely on smart decisions and effective communication within the team. It’s about everyone being on board and having faith in each other. The motivational aspect is unparalleled when you have to dig deep and have faith in yourself.

Zena: Absolutely. Now, any big advice for our listeners, especially those contemplating retirement or the next step in their career?

Corina: Certainly. If retirement is on the horizon, complete that path wisely. Don’t hastily cut off pension plans or similar benefits. I had the flexibility to make up my own pension due to my age, but for those closer to retirement, finishing the path is wise. Don’t wait until retirement to start building something new. Dabble into it while you have the safety net of a job. Consider taking a sabbatical to test the waters. Start building your network now; it’s everything. Don’t wait because building a business can take varying amounts of time for different people. Dip your toes in, lay the groundwork, and you’ll be in a better position when you do decide to make the transition.

Zena: Fantastic advice. It’s about preparation, testing the waters, and building a foundation while you still have the stability of your current job. It’s a smart and strategic approach.


Corina: Yes. Yeah, exactly. But then you’ve got time to try something else.

Zena: Yes. Yeah. Preparing. Oh, lovely. Karina, you’re, I’m going to tell everybody they need to find your book, The Engaged Employee Blueprint build a workplace culture where employees thrive. I have read this numerous times. I keep coming back to it. I know I’m a small business, couple of employees, but it is exactly what I needed. It is understandable and I could relate. And it was a good reminder, right? How to try and be a good leader and have a good workplace. So I highly recommend, I know you can find it on Amazon, but how else can we reach you and find you?

Corina: Absolutely. So, my website is It’s where you can find information about my business, Shift People Development. LinkedIn is also an excellent platform to connect with me, as I often share some of my best content there. By visiting my website, you can sign up for my mailing list, keeping you informed about free webinars, program openings, and more. Thank you for the mention, and I appreciate the plug for the book. I’ve read Zena’s book a couple of times, and it has been invaluable in helping me understand how to initiate financial conversations with my husband. These tools have been instrumental in overcoming the initial challenges of starting such conversations. I’m grateful for that.

Zena: It’s a good marriage, combining these two aspects. Thank you so much for sharing, and we look forward to more conversations. Take care.

Corina: Thanks for having me. Take care.