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September 30, 2019 Peggy Liu

Petra Mayer: Investing in self-development means investing in your career

How Mayer's focus on her clients' 'why' has benefited her, and the value of leaning on a network of entrepreneurial advisors.

Reformatting business structures to adapt to the digital revolution sweeping the modern world is becoming a necessary process. But for some business owners, adopting digitized strategies and practices as well as learning to work with unfamiliar online tools can be intimidating.

The good news is that business consultants and eLearning coaches like Petra Mayer are here to help. The better news is that even though it may seem like technology is constantly advancing at a rapid rate, you don’t need to become a tech wizard to find success in this ever-changing digital market. In Mayer’s experience, what you really need is a healthy level of confidence, a willingness to learn, and your singular, personalized why.

Since 2011, Petra Mayer has been helping corporations and small businesses refine their online business strategies through her company, Petra Mayer Consulting. On top of one-on-one consulting services, she offers group training programs, VIP retreats, and online courses for clients aiming to clarify their online business strategies and learn new tech skills. 

Before diving into entrepreneurship, Mayer worked at a Vancouver-based airline company developing their websites and online tools. The company eventually closed and moved to New York, which prompted Mayer to begin down a new career path. She began exploring freelance consulting opportunities and after a lot of soul-searching decided to become certified in e-commerce management and professional coaching. This experience in self-development was so transformative for Mayer that she started creating programs to help other entrepreneurs going through the same process.

Now, years and many insightful experiences later, she wants to remind those who are struggling with finding their purpose that the value is in the journey, not the destination.

“The journey is where we really learn the most,” Mayer states firmly. “It’s where you do the work and build your story as a company. I see this lacking with many start-up companies that want to rush into their success. They haven’t done the [inner] work and haven’t got any stories to tell yet, so they don’t have any experience of what their clients really need. If that’s the case, it’s better to start with clients one-on-one to slowly build up the company’s story.”

Mayer’s story continues to change as she tries new and different things. “Sometimes a situation will change and I have to adjust my courses to move with the market. It’s like a dance,” she says. “The same goes for others. Your story as a self-employed professional is like a living organism.”

Nurturing self-development is crucial if you want to succeed as your own boss, but it’s a skill that is just as important for managing a company. The degree to which you know and connect with yourself — your purpose, values, and skills — will shape not only your business model but your company’s culture, employee treatment, and audience engagement. Good business consultants like Mayer will push their clients to do this inner work in order to achieve the best practical results.

“You have to dig deeper to find what you want to bring out of your clients,” says Mayer. “Of course, you have to know what your client wants to stand for and their skill set on the technological side, but the important part is that you have to connect people with their “why”. Why do they want to pursue this [business venture] in the first place? What’s driving your clients? What’s their purpose?”

Apart from her insights on the emotional component of business consulting, Mayer also has practical advice for those interested in pursuing self-employment. While there is a need to invest in doing inner work, in order to keep learning and be held accountable, she stresses the importance of investing in a supportive community as well. 

“You really need to build a network of advisors; find networking groups and connect with people with different experiences. You can’t do it alone. Hire a coach or a consultant, but only when you have some income to help you do that. Remember, cash flow is what kills businesses,” she says. “It will take a while to get a clear audience, a network, referrals, and your basics in place, so the important thing is to not overextend yourself.”

True to her commitment to steady development and learning, Mayer is currently undergoing another transformation with a focus on bringing in more corporate clients and larger organizations. To keep up with her story, check out the Petra Mayer Consulting website.

Peggy Liu

Peggy Liu is a freelance writer and content creator and editor. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in English Literature, where she was also a mental health columnist for the student newspaper. When she isn't digging her way to the bottom of a peanut butter jar or petting friendly dogs around Vancouver, she can be found sitting in cafes with a notebook and a cup of coffee.