With a rich background that spans from nursing to calligraphy, Olivia Smith has a passion for helping others reach their full potential. After starting a creative business and serving as a controller in the accounting world, she found her true calling in founding a nonprofit that served women in recovery from addiction.
This experience inspired her to launch Write A New Story, a coaching and consulting firm for entrepreneurs and business owners looking to create transformative change and build a roadmap for success. With her team, she is pushing herself to reach a wider audience and spread her message of growth and transformation.
Get inspired by this powerful woman and learn about her journey as a successful entrepreneur, business leader, and coach.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Olivia Smith: Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate in this interview. I started my career in 1984 as a Registered Nurse working in the areas of intensive care, trauma, ER, and organ donation. After the birth of my second child, I became a full-time stay-at-home mom.
It was during this time that I started a calligraphy business which led to me founding a creative company manufacturing and wholesaling products for the gift industry. I grew this company over the next fifteen years to be a multi-million dollar business. I then transitioned to the accounting world where I served as a controller for a multi-million dollar medical company.
During this period, I began volunteering at the Tennessee Prison for Women, working one-on-one with inmates teaching them a course on decision-making. This experience was extremely powerful and was the spark that led me to start a nonprofit in 2017 in Williamson County, TN, called Healing Housing. Healing Housing serves women in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction.
Our mission is to love and house women who have completed treatment who have no financial means or networks on which to lean on to help ignite transformation and restart their lives. After founding the organization and serving as the Executive Director for several years, we now have a team of
solid leaders in place which allowed me to step away from the day-to-day operations. My experiences at Healing Housing are what inspired me to take the next step in my entrepreneurial journey and found Write A New Story. My passion for igniting personal transformation was magnified during my time at
Healing Housing. I saw how important this work could be in the business sector. I founded Write A New Story in 2022. My focus is on coaching and consulting entrepreneurs and business owners on how to create transformational change, turning obstacles into opportunities to propel growth. I help clients clarify who they are and where they are going, and empower them to build a roadmap for success, so they can achieve their goals, gain peace of mind, and Write Their New Story!
In the past year, what is the greatest business achievement you’d like to celebrate with your team? Please share the details of that success.
Olivia Smith: My team has encouraged me to spread my message of transformation and entrepreneurship beyond the walls of private coaching and consulting to reach a wider audience. My comfort zone is with smaller groups, so I’m pushing myself this year with a speaking engagement in March to a group of 70 women who are members of a nonprofit group in South Carolina. My team is working diligently with me on refining my message and training me on how to create and deliver an effective, public presentation.
This effort has pushed me to grow in new areas. Translating confidence in one-on-one situations into confidence in front of a larger audience turns my obstacle of fear into a wonderful opportunity to spread my message of transformation and growth.
What advice do you wish you received when you started your business journey and what do you intend on improving in the next quarter?
Olivia Smith: After several entrepreneurial journeys, I feel “well advised,” so for me, it’s about heeding all the advice I’ve received over the past years and making sure I act upon that advice sooner rather than later! The main pieces of advice I’m practicing are: Stay in my lane, keep my efforts focused on revenue-generating activities, and quickly delegate tasks that can be more easily done by others. For next quarter, I will focus internally on continuing to build my systems. Externally, I will focus on delivering quality engagement experiences to my clients. They are my most important assets! Their positive endorsement of me and how our work together has transformed their personal and business lives will be my proudest achievement!
Here is a two fold question: What is the book that influenced you the most and how? Please share some life lessons you learned. Now what book have you gifted the most and why?
Olivia Smith: The EMyth by Michael Gerber. I read this book for the first time in 1997 after I started my entrepreneurial journey. I am rereading it now as I move through yet another entrepreneurial season in my life with Write A New Story.
Having 25 years of life and business under my belt since the first reading, I wanted to revisit this refreshing primer on the basics of building a solid foundation. Wow, how relevant this book continues to be. The wisdom and instruction that is offered is basic, sound advice for any entrepreneur who wants to build their company the right way from the ground up.
Most of the lessons learned have come from the school of hard knocks.
- Really KNOW who YOU are and where you are going
- Align your actions with your goals
- Decide what lane you want to occupy, and stay in it
- Spend time hiring well and training well because turnover is very costly
- ALWAYS seek out strong accounting and legal advice as they go hand in hand
- Just because you “can do” certain tasks doesn’t mean you should do those tasks
- Stop trying to think you have to know everything
- Stop trying to be perfect
- Be satisfied with a good days work; set boundaries for when work ends each day
In my coaching and consulting practice, I will be gifting a copy of EMyth Revisited to each new business client. Whether you are starting a new company or have been in business for some time, it’s never too late to take the time to work “ON YOUR BUSINESS.”
This book is dedicated to teaching the business owner how to properly view the entrepreneurial venture.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Olivia Smith: I couldn’t agree more with this statement. My business tag line is “turning obstacles into opportunities.” I always try to see new situations with a “glass half full attitude.” The real challenge today is knowing “who we are.” If you don’t know who you are, it’s very difficult to chart a course for where you are going.
Here are a few key questions to ask yourself:
- How have the events of the past few years shaped or reshaped your thinking in both your personal and professional life?
- Have your priorities changed?
- Do you need to stay on the same path or chart a new course?
One of the ways we address this at Write A New Story is through behavioral assessments. The starting point for my clients is an online behavioral assessment and debrief where we go in depth into understanding “who they are” at this point in their life, and how this knowledge informs their future decisions both personal and in business. Using this knowledge creates decision-making that drives transformational change.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?.
Olivia Smith: Development of good systems. Smooth operations thrive on properly developed systems. It is much easier to hire, train, and retain good employees when the proper systems are in place.
- Have someone whose job it is to focus on the developing and maintaining strong systems and processes, and keep them current!
- Clear job descriptions lay out clear expectations which allows for accountability to be measured.
- Clear processes allow for proper training, which gives employees clarity in their roles, increasing job satisfaction, and decreasing turnover.
Every process your company has should be outlined in written form and be easily accessible to anyone asked to perform those duties.
What does “success” in the year to come mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Olivia Smith: Success for me this year will be in “Practicing what I Preach” to my clients. By the end of 2023, I want to have all company roles defined and plotted on the organizational chart with written job descriptions for each key role.
That will allow me to delegate effectively in a timely manner and keep my focus on my highest and best use; generating revenue. I want to run my company so that it serves my primary goals and objectives.
I want to walk the walk that I’m asking my clients to walk. That will allow me to speak from a very authentic place and will hopefully inspire my clients that what I’m asking them to do is vital to the health of their business.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Olivia Smith for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Olivia Smith or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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