Rachael Evans is a world-leading visionary business disruptor, speaker, author and coach, dedicated to helping women step into their bravery and reclaim their feminine power. Specializing in the auto repair industry, Rachael has transformed a struggling body shop from ‘rags to riches’ which led to launching her multi-million dollar company teaching others to do the same. She is now a champion for female business owners, entrepreneurs, and CEOs looking to find harmony within their greatest roles as mothers, partners, and professionals while continuing to thrive through their successes.
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Table of Contents
Let’s start with a brief introduction first. Introduce yourself to our readers.
Rachael Evans: I am a 44-year-old entrepreneur and CEO, mother of 3 biological and 3 stepchildren, wife to my darling husband Dean, and proud Australian. I started my first business when I was 18, selling party plan cosmetics, and I’ve since gone on to own and operate another 5 businesses. I’m now the founder and CEO of The Workshop Whisperer, which is business coaching specific to the auto repair industry, and I also work with 7 and 8 figure female entrepreneurs to find more harmony in their lives. I absolutely love learning, so you can usually find a trail of books all through my house open at various pages waiting for me to stop by and read another one. I love going on adventures with my husband to explore new places, and I also love my quiet time as I’m an introvert at heart.
Our audience is interested to know about how you got started in the first place. Did you always want to become a CEO or was it something you were led to? Our readers would love to know your story!
Rachael Evans: I never thought about being a CEO when I was little. I first thought I was going to be an astronaut! Then I thought I might be a tennis player, and then law took my fancy for a time too. By the time I was mid-way through my high school years, I was very attracted to business subjects, and I had taken my first part-time job at the age of 14. I loved earning money!
By my mid-twenties I knew I really didn’t like working under other people as I was often frustrated by their lack of vision and inefficient ways of doing things. I saw an opportunity to create my own business after the birth of my second child almost 15 years ago, and I haven’t looked back since. I think because I am naturally visionary I’m drawn to lead others.
“Selfmade” is a myth. We all received help, no doubt you love to show appreciation to those who supported you when the going got tough, who has been your most important professional inspiration?
Rachael Evans: There are so many to thank, including my parents, kids, and my husband, and while I love a great business success story, I think the person who I most need to be inspired by is myself. I’m the one who had built me up through the rough times, including a divorce when I simply didn’t want to face the day, and during times when there was little support around me or belief in my vision. But I kept showing up for myself, and I’m so glad I did.
How did your journey lead you to become a CEO? What difficulties did you face along the way and what did you learn from them?
Rachael Evans: As my company is a private and self-funded business, it was a natural progression for me as the founder and visionary to become the CEO. I think the most difficult challenges have been growing through the many different versions of the business. At certain points, I felt like, and still feel like, I’m shedding my skin every 5 or 6 weeks as the business grows and the team requires me to level up again. As we grow, I constantly need to stretch to expand my own knowledge to capture the company’s best opportunities. This is a never-ending process.
Tell us about your company. What does your business do and what are your responsibilities as a CEO?
Rachael Evans: The Workshop Whisperer is business coaching specific to the automotive aftermarket. We deliver world-class business training to auto repair shop owners in a virtual environment, which has been to our great advantage during the pandemic! As CEO it’s my ultimate job to create the vision for the business, and to convey that vision to our team so they know where we are going, and why! I’m constantly assessing, learning, thinking, and creating in order to ensure we are dynamic and moving ever forward.
What does CEO stand for? Beyond the dictionary definition, how would you define it?
Rachael Evans: For me, CEO means transformational leader. The CEO, in order to be successful, is someone who has the vision and ultimately the communication skills to get their people on board and execute on that vision.
When you first became a CEO, how was it different from what you expected? What surprised you?
Rachael Evans: Initially, I felt incredibly stretched, and my e-Disc profile showed just how much I was stretching! I’m a “high D”, and being CEO was forcing me to stretch across into the “C” quadrant as I required a level of attention to detail that isn’t natural for me. At times I felt overwhelmed with the information required to do the job, but as time has gone on, and I’ve put a senior leadership team in place, that overwhelm has settled down, and I’m feeling much more capable.
There are many schools of thought as to what a CEO’s core roles and responsibilities are. Based on your experience, what are the main things a CEO should focus on? Explain and please share examples or stories to illustrate your vision.
Rachael Evans: I believe as CEO one of your fundamental responsibilities, particularly in an entrepreneurial business, is to also be Chief Inspiration Officer. It’s your job to inspire the team into action, and that comes down to you being a great communicator. You need to lead the company’s short and long-term strategy, and you must ensure that you have the key leaders around you that will help support the growth of the company, right down to the newest and most junior employee. As CEO, you must be acutely aware of conditions and trends in your marketplace, whilst also remaining free from the distraction of what other businesses may or may not be doing.
I’ve been challenged many times as CEO to get on board with the latest and greatest thing, whether it be a new social platform, a new type of software, or even crossing over into a new market with a similar client profile. However, the key to our success is to know what we are good at, what problems we solve and for who, and what lane we are in. You can’t serve two masters, and it’s dangerous chasing two rabbits!
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Rachael Evans: The most difficult decision I’ve made for the company was to hire a general manager. Someone who effectively has taken control of the day-to-day running of the business, and executes my vision and strategy with the team. Initially, being the founder, I was concerned about opening the business up to someone from the outside who doesn’t know the business as I do, but it’s a great thing for both our employees and our clients. Our team now has total support right across our working day, helping them execute their roles, and our clients reap the rewards of the extra level of detail we can put into the delivery of our service. It’s been a win/win.
How would you define success? Does it mean generating a certain amount of wealth, gaining a certain level of popularity, or helping a certain number of people?
Rachael Evans: The purpose of our company is to help auto repair shop owners to achieve business and lifestyle success, so for us, it’s very much about how many businesses we get to help transform, and how many lives we get to help change for the better. When you focus on helping others in this way, wealth will naturally find its way to you to do even more good with. We make sure we contribute a portion of the fees our clients invest in us to make an even more positive impact in the world through B1G1.com.
Some leadership skills are innate while others can be learned. What leadership skills do you possess innately and what skills have you cultivated over the years as a CEO?
Rachael Evans: I am innately a confident person, and this is a major strength in my position as CEO. I don’t rely on others for validation, and I have a strong sense of right and wrong, guided by my intuition. Thanks to being futuristic, I can usually see an outcome clearly that might be years away, and I can confidently reverse engineer the strategies that are required to get there. I’ve had to cultivate effective communication skills over the years.
I’m an introvert by nature, but in order to get my vision and message out there in the world, and to ultimately succeed, I’ve had to learn to be extroverted in certain areas. In doing this, I’ve learned to better manage my energy in order to make it through times where lots of communication is required. I’ve also had to learn a lot about human behavior, about how I prefer to deal with people, and about how the people on our team like to be led. There is a lot of flexibility required to lead at this level.
How did your role as a CEO help your business overcome challenges caused by the pandemic? Explain with practical examples.
Rachael Evans: As CEO, my role was very much to steady our ship and keep us in calm waters in the early days of the pandemic. What we were navigating was uncharted so it was important that I led with confidence while I gathered the information necessary for me to know how to proceed. As we were already a virtual business prior to the pandemic arriving, there was no major pivot for us to make. Our clients were all listed as essential services and as they continued to trade, so did we.
In times of crisis, people are looking for certainty, so I made sure we went live online with our clients each day to reassure them that while the health crisis at that level was something not seen for 100 years, we were experiencing a financial correction that was overdue. We set about helping our industry navigate that, and many of our clients actually had their best financial year on record in 2020. So did we.
Do you have any advice for aspiring CEOs and future leaders? What advice would you give a CEO that is just starting out on their journey?
Rachael Evans: My advice to any new or aspiring CEO would be to get a coach and mentors! It’s one thing to be supported by your team, but it’s entirely another to be stretched to grow and held accountable by a coach who is specific to your industry. Have multiple mentors around you who have the results you want so you can learn from their experience, and don’t take advice from people who don’t have those results.
Thank you for sharing some of your knowledge with our readers! They would also like to know, what is one skill that you’ve always wanted to acquire but never really could?
Rachael Evans: Speaking another language! I learned French for 3 years at school, and Italian for a little while as well, but I still can’t hold a conversation in anything other than English.
Before we finish things off, we have one final question for you. If you wrote a book about your life today, what would the title be?
Rachael Evans: My book would be called “Divorced, Determined, and Brave – The Modern Woman’s Guide to Winning In Your 40’s”. I might actually go and write that book now!
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Rachael Evans 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 Rachael Evans or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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