Welcome to another episode of Explode Your Expert Biz Show, brought to you by http://gtex.org.uk/,
I am your host, Simone Vincenzi, The Experts Strategist, and this is the podcast for experts who want to become the ultimate authority in their niche while making an impact in the world.
Get your free ticket for Purpose To Abundance – Control Your Financial Future, Career & Business here
Today I have the pleasure to Interview Jelena Radonjic and Siawash Zahmat
Jelena Radonjic is an award-winning Career Fulfilment Coach, passionate about helping conscious, aspiring professionals thrive in the careers they love. An experienced professional with 25 years in international recruitment and education management, Jelena is CTI qualified, bringing together unique insights into how recruiters think and how personal coaches work.
Jelena has also worked with spiritual teachers such as John DeMartini and Deepak Chopra and infuses love, joy and spirit into her coaching and everything she does.
Jelena is all about results and offers a unique combination of deeper level work based on her training and practice as a personal coach with the application of specific recruitment knowledge and skills. Having lived and worked in 3 countries, she speaks 4 languages and is passionate about cross-cultural competence and communication which all allow her to identify strengths and development areas in clients of any background.
Siawash Zahmat is a high-performance business coach and the co-founder of the Muslim Coaching Academy. He’s a former professional poker player and earned a renowned reputation and success within the scene. Having gone through a life-changing experience, he was inspired to re-evaluate his journey and stepped away in order to pursue a more fulfilling career.
This is when Siawash immersed himself even more into self-development and chose to be a force in changing people’s lives, which subsequently led him to become a coach. Now happily married and father to a little girl, he’s one of the leading coaches in the Muslim scene. His enthusiasm and drive to change the coaching space for the better has been a driving force in always delivering excellence.
In this episode, we talk about
- What to do when you are at a crossroad.
- The 1 thing you must know about yourself if you want to find the right career or business.
- How to transition from one business or career to another.
Connect with Jelena
For listeners to download
Connect with Siawash Zahmat
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– Welcome to another episode of Explode Your Expert Biz Show, it’s absolutely great to see you here guys, welcome Jelena, welcome Siawash. Today is all about Purpose To Abundance. Purpose To Abundance, this is the event that we are going to do together on the 12th of August, the Control Your Financial Future, Career, and Business. So before we get to the event on the 12th of August, I wanted to interview you to get to know each other a bit more, so then even our audience and the people that are going to be attending the event will be able to know a bit more about you upfront. So I want to start straightaway with Jelena, so Jelena you’re an incredible career coach and helping people moving forward with their career. Why did you decide to go into this business and helping other people with their career?
– Thank you, Simone. And first of all, thank you for having me here today, it’s a pleasure and honour and I’m very happy to share bits of my journey. Prior to becoming a career coach, I worked in recruitment and I really loved working in recruitment because for me it brought the meaning and purpose together of matching two parties for a mutual win-win. So things around work, jobs, careers always had a deeper meaning for me because I see work as the central part of our lives, really, and that’s something that we continue to do through our lives, whatever it is that we do, it’s incredibly important. So that’s why I decided to put together my personal development work, my spiritual work, and all different bits and parts that I did over the years, together with my recruitment and selection experience, and sort of blended into career coaching.
– Now that’s awesome, thank you very much. How about you, Siawash, why did you decided to start your own business, in particular a coaching business?
– Hey Simone, yeah thank you so much for having me here. Well I tried a lot of different businesses. At the age of 18 I dropped out of school and got into professional poker. And that just shifted my mindset because I earned a lot of money at a very young age, right, and for me being in a job, it just didn’t feel right anymore. So I tried a lot of different businesses and it wasn’t really working because I was so focused on making money. What really clicked is when I started exploring more what my strengths are and what I really enjoy, right, and I looked at the list of things I enjoyed, from helping people reading books, really making a difference, and when it all kinda came together and that’s how coaching came, right. Initially it was just really actually accidental is by, I hired a coach and I just fell in love with coaching, right, and I thought, hey you know what, if this can be so impactful, I wanna do this, I wanna help others. I’ve been really doing personal development for a long time, but didn’t really think it’s possible to actually make a living of it. I didn’t see this as a potential profession, but it’s actually really a beautiful profession.
– It is, it is an incredible profession, yeah absolutely. I think we can all agree with , all the three of us here on this call.
– I want to go back to Jelena because there are some times where we are at crossroads, in particular in this time in history, is it very difficult to know what to do, is it what before felt secure and safe is not secure and safe anymore? Like before you knew that if you went to university, very likely you will find a good job, there was economic boom, where people were hiring but now even the job market has changed completely, which then lead people to question their career choices, even more right now and the career market has changed completely. And then got even people to say, actually I want to start my own business now. So we’re exploring both, I want to check with you, how do you think the career market has changed over the past few years, so what do you see the trend being right now?
– So, well the change is actually enormous over the last, I’d say even 10 years, but particularly the last five years. It’s a result of the technology disruption as well, technology disrupting all industries, obviously has a huge impact on the meaning and purpose of jobs. I mean, some jobs are entirely disappearing. New jobs, and job titles, and contents and job descriptions are emerging and there will be more and more new ones that we don’t even envisage now. So it’s a very exciting but also turbulent period of time.
– Other influences such as, as you pointed out, recession or generally shaky and jittery global economy, various political events, such as Brexit and so forth, impacts enormously people’s confidence and corporate confidence and therefore, the flux of jobs. I recently actually interviewed five graduates and I asked them to tell me about their graduate journeys, and that article is in the making now, because I wanted to see how they went about finding their first sort of, first or second ideal role.
– And their many different approaches, including networking, attending events, it’s not just looking for things online. But I think first and foremost, it’s about knowing what it is that you really want. And I would add to that, also being flexible to accept that that may change and will most likely change in the course of your life because nothing is constant, and particularly in the recent decade, I’d say with this speeding up of events, we have to be flexible and we have to reevaluate. And basically it’s been said that, millennials will change on average 14 jobs before the age of 40. Can you imagine? So it’s really moving towards–
– I can relate with that .
– There you go, and you’re our lovely millennial, aren’t you? So there needs to be a lot of flexibility and reevaluation but at the same time, staying true to yourself and what it is that you truly love doing and then moving in that direction, acquiring skills, up skilling if necessary, and it is becoming necessary for most professions actually to update your knowledge constantly.
– Yeah, and so the question I have for you Jelena, before I move to Siawash, is that how was your journey in different careers that you have that got, was it easy to find the thing that you really wanted to do, were there different stages, was it difficult, did you need a guide and support, how was it for you?
– Okay, so I think I was fortunate in the sense that I knew that I was more of a sort of liberal arts type of person. I always liked languages, so I saw myself working in something to do with international environment using my languages, and ideally in some sort of business to do with people. So that’s very roughly the idea that I had. But I have to say it is quite difficult when you are early 20s, really. I mean, we even throughout life we struggle and we don’t know sometimes what we want and alone you know, 20 or so. But I was lucky actually to be offered the job in Japan, my first corporate job was in Tokyo, and that came basically because I studied Japanese and English at university, so I got in touch with these recruiters and they hired me and that was fabulous, and that was in recruitment, which as I said I really liked because I could see the immediate impact of what I was doing and I really believed in the overall sort of, good purpose of what I was doing. And then after that my career journey was kind of up and down. So what I want to share from that is, to everyone who is at crossroads or in career transition, never despair. I have never seen anyone in my life whose career just went up and up and up and up forever, it’s just not possible, literally. So always think about, if you’re now at the rock bottom, it’s gonna start going up again because people face redundancies, move countries, all sorts of things happen, life happens. So it’s about keeping the flexibility and the resilience to navigate through life with your career and keep building on what you’ve got. So from there onwards, yes basically working for this Japanese company, I was an associate director for their European operations at the age of 29, which really was unexpected for me and put me
– Under a lot of pressure and lot of responsibility.
– So in that sense it was quite interesting that I went really like this, quite quickly, but then after that, it plateaued whereas for some other people, they reach sort of higher positions a bit later, but then it goes really like to the board level or whatever. Just one last bit that I want to share from my experience,
– Most of my roles that I got, were not through applying for a job, so that’s something
– That I recently discovered looking at my LinkedIn, and I took stock, and I realised that only once in my life did I apply for the job and got it, which was for the University of London career service which was public sector, which was my only experience in the public sector. All the other roles were either through referral introduction, I was head hunted by a former competitor, head hunted by a client, or I approached someone in the business meeting because I liked their business and I said I wanna work with you or for you. So that’s why I wanna emphasise the importance of networking.
– Yeah, it’s not just about, it’s not just about sending your CVs and approaching recruitment agency,
– And that’s it.
– I mean I’m looking at even the ways I was finding jobs before, I think that networking was the number one way, before starting
– My own business or even when I had my own business and I was rounding up with contracts, external contracts that interviewing people in the schools. They all happen because of recommendations and networking.
– I see my brother now, he change like, I think six jobs in two years already and they all came because someone, I think one or two came because of application or CVs, the other four, they came from connecting with people or someone seen him and they show up and they say, “Hey why don’t you come work for me.” And then
– Boot from JD Sport to Gucci to Dolce and Gabbana in that while so,
– I can definitely see what you mean Jelena. So now I want to move to Siawash, because when we are at this point of crossroad, we have two choices, so we have the choices of creating a better career and having a different career as employed and that’s where Jelena is going to talk about on the 12th of August at Purpose To Abundance, so if we haven’t gotten your ticket, get your ticket right now so you can come along. But also you have the choice to start your own business, maybe you say actually career, or a job is not for me. Before, I just want to say something, I think there are a lot of people that condemn the fact now in this society or in our industry in particular, “oh are you in a job? “Oh you don’t have your own business?” First of all I just wanna say, there is no right or wrong. There are people that perform better and they want having their own business. There are other people that perform better and work and they are happy, having a job. Most importantly, I think it’s
– What’s right for you cause I think that a lot of people right now start businesses because of the social pressure that there is by society now, or you start your own business, is that the cool thing right now, being an entrepreneur in our industry, that without realising what it really takes .
– Yeah. ,
– And if you’re watching live guys, gimme a whoop whoop if you’re agreeing with me right now here in the comments, I see many of your comments, so thank you very much guys. So Siawash, how about yourself, what has been your business journey like so far?
– Well I started part time, right. And actually what I want to maybe share very quickly is that before starting coaching, I think it was around five years ago, I was in a job, I started a business and I got a paycheck, right, of 200 pound, and I thought, hey you know what, I’m gonna rich and I gave notice and I gave notice in my job and in the next year I hardly made any money, and I went into like almost 15000 pounds in debt, and it’s just borrowing money, credit cards and stuff. And so when I started coaching around three years ago, I said you know what, I wanna do it differently and I had to do it differently because I was married as well, right I had different responsibilities. So a lot of times, people think like you have to kinda burn the boat behind you, burn the bridges, personally I think that’s not always great. It depends a little bit on your personality but what I did the second time when I started the coaching, I said, hey let me treat this coaching business as a part time job, right so I was earning a certain amount of money in my full time job, said let me just slowly increase my income and I started increasing and I actually doubled it, and then almost tripled it, and that’s when I gave notice in my job, right. So that’s when I went full time into my business but again it wasn’t, I think entrepreneurship, a lot of people have this idea that you can take your laptop and sit on a beach, but unfortunately that beach is often like your room or like your living room, right. And you end up working long hours without a regular paycheck. Right, so I went again through this rollercoaster, emotional rollercoaster but also financial rollercoaster. And what really made a difference for me is just having that job mentality, and I really appreciate you sharing that, right, because I used to have that mentality, of that it’s kinda like icky or wrong to be in a nine to five, but I actually shifting my mindset from running a business to running, actually I’m having a job here, right, that really helped me because, and this is what I’m gonna talk about in the event, in Purpose To Abundance as well, is really bringing that professional mindset into your business, right, creating a timetable, like I usually work from 10 to five, or sometimes I work in the evening, right, it’s a structure, there’s certain clothes I wear, right. And I think when you do that, when I started doing that, slowly my income became more stable, right.
– So I think in my business journey, it was crazy, I think it’s very similar to a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of times were not knowing where the next paycheck would come from, but it was about finding people, like finding GTechS, made a big difference for me, finding a community of people that supports you on the journey, cause you don’t need to do it alone. Like often we think like, hey if I ask for help it’s a sign of weakness, actually I think it’s a sign of strength.
– Absolutely. Right in a job, in a job, we have managers, we have supervisors, we have like a support system, right, and that structure is so important. So for me it was about finding a coach, finding a mentors, finding a community of like-minded people on the same journey. That made a big difference and really, also dedicating to personal development, reading books about business, cause again there is so many skills that I didn’t have and I had to develop it, marketing skills, sales skills. So yeah, that’s kinda like my journey in a big picture and then it just slowly got together, the paychecks became more regular, they start growing,
– I got now a regular, I think for the last six, eight months, I’ve had a really good regular paycheck, which is yeah, it can be like that.
– I see a lot of similarities and first of all, I wanna say that, like I’ve seen your business journey almost from the beginning, and seeing also where you are now and yes, it is a process where slowly things actually start fitting and coming together, and now it’s like, oh now it’s working, and so I think I also see a lot of similarities between the approach and I will have Jelena to comment on this, between the approach that we have when we are, maybe changing a new career, so no when you are starting a new business, Siawash mentioned something that is a lot of skills that I didn’t have that I had to acquire and so having that buffer given the time to build those skills. Is it same or is it different when you are starting, maybe a completely new career, maybe you find something that you’re really passionate about and you want to go down that path but your career to this point has been completely different, what do you in that situation?
– Okay, just very briefly before I answer that, I wanted to touch upon job versus entrepreneur, and it’s true, you said yeah it seems very fashionable and funky to run your own business but it’s not that glamorous at all as Siawash said. But I also wanna comment the other way around because the nature of jobs and corporates are changing so much that in some big tech companies, your job will be like being an entrepreneur, where you are given a lot of freedom, a lot of incentive to run with it, to develop your own projects, to get your teams together and do lots of exciting things, so there’s the other sort of reverse impact that a lot of corporate jobs are becoming more like entrepreneurial journeys. So the distinction is getting blurred, I think and it will be even more blurred as we move on and technology moves on. In terms of transition–
– Very good point, thank you for making this point, very, very good point.
– Thank you. In terms of transitions, I coach clients who, yes, who want to completely change their career journey, go into a different industry, different job, and also I coach clients who want to transition into self employment. So both scenarios. I’m very cautious, and rational, and pragmatic, I believe, so I would never advise anyone to, unless it’s a matter of life and death, to give up their job just like that. I prefer to make plans which are realistic and manageable and we discussed a timeframe. I also ask my clients, what is your financial buffer, your cushion? In other words, how many months you and maybe your family, if they have a family, can survive on what you’ve got until you are developing your new business, for example, or looking for a new job, if for whatever reason they feel like they need to get out now. I have clients who’d prepare their resignation letters, and I said, “Well, just hang on, you can always, “you can give it tomorrow but let’s discuss first.” So in terms of what you do, is yeah, there needs to be a level of sort of calm and rational planning around that, which would include a timeframe, in which direction you’re moving, what are your financials like, and also as you mentioned skills. So quite a few of my clients have taken on skilling up or even learning different, new things, while they’re still in their jobs. One most recent one actually transitioned from, he’s been in IT, very successful project manager for 15 years, but he just hated it, literally his soul was being destroyed. And we were discussing a lot in terms of what it is he wanted to do and he decided to go into property. So that’s a big jump, working on his own, developing his property model with not so much financial security, but we identified courses, where he could go and learn, what contacts he needed to pursue to start moving in the right direction, getting information, basically it’s a lot to do with making an informed choice. It’s a conscience choice but also it has to be an informed choice, so that’s–
– Was there a moment in your career journey where you made this mistake and you didn’t make an informed choice and you end up being in the wrong career?
– I didn’t end up being in the wrong career because I pretty much followed a trajectory around careers and education, so yeah generally quite similar. It had to do with jobs or getting MBAs or Masters to get a job, so it was quite similar. I did join one company where I stayed only for three months, that’s the shortest ever I stayed in a job. I really liked their business and I loved the business model and everything was great but it was a very small company and unfortunately the managing, sort of the people who ran the company along the company, their style of management was just unacceptable. With hindsight, could I have investigated that? I don’t know. It’s difficult. When you have a bigger company, you can approach people on LinkedIn, you can read some reviews, you can dig a little bit, but this was a bit of a, yeah a bit of a shock, I have to say. But apart from that, I think mostly yeah, I think I did my homework, mostly.
– All right, thank you for sharing and that definitely makes it, for anyone that works with you, makes it somewhat like they can feel they are definitely in safe hands. If you already have
– I hope so.
– A familiar, cause sometimes we learn there are things in life that you learn from mistakes,
– It sometimes becomes a painful experience, but other we learn just because that’s our nature, that’s how we are, and that’s how we think, and we don’t necessarily have to go through the failure to get it actually, it’s almost like a gift and I think that we have both to give to the table, so it’s great to hear that.
– Thank you.
– Now I wanted to now go back to Siawash and check, what has been like your worst entrepreneurial moment? Like the moment that you said, “Why am I doing this?” “I got enough.” Can be a recent, can be in the past, you go.
– Yeah, I think that’s, well there has been moments where I thought, like why the hell am I doing this, I could just be in a job, and just show up, do the work, go home, get a regular paycheck. And I think it’s been really in the first year, there’s been times where you feel like you’re doing work, productive work, and for example, you get a bunch of appointments with potential clients in your diary and they don’t show up, but someone says, yes, and then the next day they change their mind. And I think it’s, that really in the beginning really got to me, it’s like, I’m relying on people and they’re not as committed as I was to my business. And then I realised, like I need to change things and I think that’s really, that really got to me, it’s having basically, I think the first time was around, so I left a job in February, I think three years ago and it was in October, the first time I think that I wasn’t able to pay rent, it’s two months I think, it was October, November where I couldn’t pay rent. And that was painful. It’s really painful to just say to my wife, like hey I think , right. And I think especially as a guy, cause especially in the asian cultures, it’s like our job is to provide, right, so my wife was pregnant at that moment as well. She lost her job, so there’s almost like this double pressure there. Right, and I’m just sitting there when she’s going to be thinking, okay I need to do something, right I need to do something. But again, what I want to point out is that, in those low moments often we really can look in the mirror and really doing. And I realised like that, hey you know what, can you guys hear me? I know my connection is not really great.
– Yeah, yeah, yeah. We can hear you.
– It’s all right.
– So what was really important for me there is actually to realise that, hey you know what, this is not something I’m just trying out, cause I knew that this coaching thing was gonna be my profession. There was a 10 year commitment there. And that’s when actually, when I slowed down and said, hey you know what, let me look for another way to support myself. Right, and I think this is something that a lot of entrepreneurs overlook, it’s kinda like, either I kinda like do it or I die and then I go back into a job, but for me that wasn’t an option. It was actually like, hey you know what, let me just get a job and support myself while I’m building this business up. And I’m actually very grateful because my wife’s always been supportive, there’s been times where I said, I need to go back to job, she said, no just try another month, we’ll get through this. Right and somehow I think things into their place. So as entrepreneurs I think it’s just been focused and getting yourself up again and remembering why you doing it.
– Yeah, yeah. I can definitely relate, I think we can all relate with experiences and what you shared right now and I love the concept of thinking about a longer term, this is your commitment, and I think it might approach to also change of career, I’m assuming in a similar way, were it’s like, okay this where your end goal is, this is where you are now, how long is it going to take to get there, what can you put in place to gain those skills, what can you put in place to build this network and those contacts that can allow you to get to where you want to be, whether it’s in your business, whether it’s in your career. And that’s why we have decided to create Purpose To Abundance – Control Your Financial Future, Career and Business because we live in time were there is uncertainty and transition. So if you can be helped and supported, while we can navigate through this period of transition, whether it’s move from career to career or from career to business, then that’s where we can step in, because we have all been there changing from career to career, from career to business. So you will have the opportunity by coming along to Purpose To Abundance to ask Siawash and Jelena all the questions that you have about how they dealt with different situations cause there is wisdom and experience and definitely they have a lot of experience and wisdom that they can share with you, but also learn their strategies cause I know the talks that they have prepared for you, they are absolutely awesome on how to choose your perfect career and how to build your business by focusing on your core expertise. So before we are apart, Jelena, Siawash, any final words of wisdom for our listeners, if they are listening on replay, on the podcast, or if they are watching it right now live on Facebook.
– I agree Simone totally, that it’s a longer game, and Siawash as well, which you brought this theme in and it’s ever so important. And that’s the thought that can support us in any kind of transition. In my personal experience, I went through a lot of different stuff in my life, so it’s not just about careers, it’s even in your personal transitions, when you’re going through tough times, it’s keeping your eye on the end goal and knowing that you will come through and things will get better as long as you keep going at it and going at it and going at it, and not giving up, while at the same time having the, which is the more difficult part I find, having the wisdom and the calm and the tenacity to actually approach it in a slightly detached manner, which means taking the pressure off yourself to a certain extent because
– Oh yeah.
– Once you’re able to detach and take that pressure off yourself, that’s when miracles start happening if you keep your consistent action, that’s when it comes into fruition, that’s what I found. And I will touch upon that in my presentation, thank you for saying it’s gonna be awesome, no pressure , but I will endeavour to make it as interesting and engaging and I really look forward to seeing everyone on the 12th which is next Monday, in the evening.
– Yes. Get your ticket right now. Siawash, when you finish the fight with your camera, any words of wisdom from you?
– Yes, sorry had to quickly login from the phone. And yeah I think, something really important, right, because I think someone mentioned this on Facebook yesterday, that entrepreneurship is like, it works for some people and it won’t work for a lot of people, and I agree it’s not for everyone. But here’s one thing I can tell you, and I think it’s the same for career transitions, right, you can learn from your own experience and by making mistakes and failing and I think that’s great, you all have to learn from our own experience but really you can also learn a lot from other people’s experiences. And that’s,
– Yeah, that’s right.
– Personally I really believe that my personal success is because I really stand on the shoulder of other giants, I have learnt so much from other people’s experiences and that’s why I’ve been able to grow really fast. So if you want to
– Start a business, or you want to make some moves in career and you want to really find something that you enjoy but maybe also pays you really well, join us next week because you gonna learn a lot of stuff that will maybe take you years to learn by yourself. And so always focus on learning from other people as well.
– Awesome, thank you Siawash. So guys make sure you get your free ticket, Purpose To Abundance – Control Your Financial Future, Career and Business. It’s going to be on Monday, the 12th of August in Central London in Mayfair, closest station is Green Park Station. You’ll find the link here in the show notes, if you’re listening on the podcast or you will find as well the video where you can watch the interview if you haven’t watched it live or if you are watching it live right now, thank you for watching live, make sure you get your ticket. And also connect on social media with Siawash and Jelena, make sure you connect them before, with them before the event. If you have any question,
– You can ask them, so then they can bring them up as well during the q and a session that we are going to have on the 12 after the presentations. All right guys, thank you very, very much. Thank you Jelena.
– Thank you Simone. Thank you.
– I’m looking forward to the event, for the event on the 12 and have a fantastic day. Ciao ciao.
– Bye, thank you, bye bye.