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Beate Chelette is The Growth Architect and a results-oriented businesswoman with an entrepreneurial spirit and a proven track record in growing, building and scaling women’s businesses. Once $135,000 in debt and a single mother, she successfully sold her business to a global entertainment media company owned by Bill Gates in a multi-million dollar deal.
Through her online courses, one-on-one training programs and live speaking events, she mentors women entrepreneurs with her 5 Star Success Blueprint, developed with the knowledge gleaned from her growing, scaling and selling her own company. Beate has a deep commitment to supporting women.
She is the creator of The Women’s Code, the fourth step of Growth Architecture that is focused on Supporting Balanced Leadership. Her proprietary methods specifically address women’s obstacles and she leads from experience, having survived in business in a highly competitive male-dominated environment.
She is a respected speaker and mentor and is the author of the #1 International Bestseller “Happy Woman Happy World How to Go From Overwhelmed to Awesome”, a book that corporate trainer and best-selling author Brian Tracy calls “a handbook for every woman who wants health, success and a fulfilling career.”
Beate, your story is amazing how did this all start ?
For me, it all started with my aptitude test.
In Germany, during a (very serious) career counseling session in school, I took such an aptitude test which asked me six pages of questions. Among them were these three:
- Are you afraid of heights?
- Do you enjoy being outside?
- Do you mind carrying things?
When I said “yes” to all three, my career results came in: “Based on your unique skills and talents an excellent natural career choice for you would be… a roofer!”
A few years later when I worked as a photographer assistant I found myself at great heights, outside carrying photographic equipment; and there I was, on top of a glacier in Switzerland… ensuring that the product, a car that was transported with a helicopter, made it to a photo shoot!
That’s when I realized that a talent can be turned into all kinds of businesses. Preferably the one you are most passionate about. Because then, it’s not work.
I am sure, you had adversity- what was the lowest point in your life ?
Yes, I had adversity. My lowest point in my life was when a key employee of mine got too close to a key vendor of mine and formulated an idea on how I can run my business better, the only tipping point- they wanted to run it without me.
So I am in this big lawsuit as I decided to sue them. So I go to Germany and I tried to improve operations and increase sales within my business. My father had a stroke and later we found out he had pancreatic cancer.
He ended up dying 6 weeks later. I am going through this challenging moment and my photography and production business is in trouble.
I decided to write a letter to the White House at that time and I had a business plan. True story, I get a letter back which put me in touch with the Small Business Administration and the Deputy Chief.
We were able to get an underwriter to restructure my debt and 18 months later- a person from Corbis(Bill Gates’s privately held company) wanted to know how I was growing my Celebrity at home stock photography business because they wanted help growing a similar business.
I denied to help them and instead made an offer that if they wanted help- they would have to buy me out.
They acquired my company in a multi million dollar deal and the rest is history.
Wow, how do you bounce back from adversity ? What is your advice ?
I think about: Did I do what I can possibly do to mitigate or solve the problem ? The reality is the larger the impact you want to create, the more tough waters you have to tread and the darker the tunnel you’ll have to be in. At the end of it all- you will see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel knowing that you made it.
What is one quote you live by ?
“Courage is having fear and doing it anyway.”
What were your thoughts on the acquisition ? Why didn’t you retire ?
My daughter says “I only retired for one day”. I made a lot of money- a self- made multi millionaire I never have to worry about money. I could put my daughter through college- I have everything that I could ask for. However, I wanted to give back.
There’s a lot of bullshit information and internet marketers perpetuating a false narrative of being an entrepreneur and selling bullshit get rich quick schemes. I wanted to single mothers and immigrants escape a life of misery and build their own dreams.
Should everyone be an entrepreneur ?
It depends on the temperament of the individual. Being an entrepreneur is not that internet marketing bullshit you see online. 80% never make more than $1 million. You really have to consider and formulate your business model. My celebrity photography home business was solving a need because photographers were underpaid and we made use of the unused archive of photos they had.
What is the biggest mistake an entrepreneur makes ?
Not understanding the concept of time and money. People are scared to spend money on things that will save them time so they can focus on other areas of their business that needs attention. By investing in your business and buying time- you put yourself in a position to focus on the priorities: whether they be personal or professional. Second, is not being clear on the mission or vision of your life and company not aligning.
Why are entrepreneurs afraid to sell ?
They can’t connect passion to their profit. Let me explain, when you propose the solution as a genuine problem that can solve the prospect’s problem and you are passionate about it, it doesn’t feel like selling but a conversation you are having. Also, some will feel they are pushing the prospect to purchase however if your product/service can solve the problem- then it will be a disservice if you don’t sell.
The myth that price doesn’t matter but it’s about value, is this true ?
People have different motivations to buy and at Growth Architecture we help set up the packages which generally range from a cost effective package to a premium option. If a customer chooses you over price, then there’s nothing you can do- some people are just motivated by price no matter how valuable your product or service is. At the end of the day, there are many other people you could do business with if things don’t work out.
If you were to die tomorrow, what is 3 pieces of advice you’d like to share with the world ?
- On my grave, I want people to remember me for being an instrumental force in defining women and men leadership.
- Focus on yourself, inspire yourself and take care of yourself.
- Value your relationships. The top is very lonely and it’s better to build relationships with people and take them along with you for the ride.