South African e-magazine, Womenontop, focuses on delivering quality content and features that enable and enlighten women to be their best. Articles include everything from integrative health, business, and climate change to yoga. Womenontop is your resource for mindfulness and is a dedicated guide to personal growth, career change and wellness.
1. Can you please tell us more about your business?
A. My coaching practice runs under my name – Karen Petersen – with the tag line Freedom Fighter. This is exactly what my coaching is about. Although I focus my coaching on women who feel trapped in their sexuality, I also work with women who are trapped in toxic relationships, entangled in harmful religious experiences, or caught in a job that is soulless.
2. When, how and why did you start your business?
A. I started my business during lockdown in 2020. My memoir, Coming Out Coming Home, is my story of meeting and falling in love with a woman after 24 years of marriage to a man. We were pastors of a church so there was quite a lot to work through. After the book was published, women approached me who were in similar experiences wanting help and advice. I really enjoyed the interactions with them and decided to pivot my career from marketing to coaching.
3. What is your role in the business?
A. I’m the coach. My technique is around questioning. I believe that the women I work can find their own answers and way forward to freedom, truth and authentic living.
4. Where did you study and what did you study?
A. I studied counselling during a Christian Worker’s Certificate course at Africa School of Missions many years back, went on to practice counselling for many years and then recently went through a 21 day coaching course with Evercoach from MindValley. It’s a continual work in progress as I continue with coaching courses.
5. How did you finance your business?
A. With personal funds and funds from selling the book.
6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.
A. I’m currently juggling two functions – my marketing business and my new coaching practice. I always try to spend the first hour of the day with some work on myself – reading, being quiet, practicing mindfulness. After that I tackle my emails for the day and then on to the practical functions of work – phone calls, making appointments, admin, social media, to-do lists, coaching sessions. I usually try and take some time out for lunch where, again, I practice mindfulness and try to slow down internally.
7. How do you balance your home life and your work life?
A. In the evenings, I generally take our beloved Jess, our rescue dog, for a stroll together with my wife, before we make dinner together, often with a glass of wine. We like to take weekend getaways when we can to take time out and enjoy exploring new places.
We also tend to socialise quite a lot with friends, which is always inspiring. I enjoy work, but I also enjoy downtime, which I believe is absolutely essential. I do need to make some time for exercise so I have recently purchased a rebounder to build up my strength physically. I contracted covid during December and am still struggling with getting out of breath with any physical exertion.
8. What drives you and inspires you?
A. Nature – the sea, the bush, the mountains, all inspire me. Travel inspires me – experiencing different cultures. I’m currently inspired by other coaches, particularly Byron Katie and Rich Litvin.
I don’t think I am driven any more. I used to be and it nearly killed me. I now try to live in each moment and experience as much as I can from it, even when it’s not positive. What can I learn from it? How do I progress from it? What shall I do better? Where do I need to slow down?
9. Where and when do you have your best ideas?
A. Usually in the bath or at night in bed. The other time ideas come up is during discussions with friends and colleagues.
10. Where and how do you market/advertise your business for sales leads?
A. Mostly on social media – Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
11. What is next for your business?
A. I have loads of ideas, but I think the next thing is to start group sessions for women who feel trapped in different aspects of their life, where we work through various issues together.
12. What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs hoping to start their own business?
A. Keep at it. Never give up. Mix with people who support you. Network endlessly. Make use of social media.