Last updated on December 27, 2022
Randa El Zein is the founder of Be You International. Here she shares the story of her business’s evolution, from its founding to its modern-day transition to a fully virtual format, and how her passion for helping others find their passions has been the driving force of her work. We hope you enjoy this interview!
Coaching Focus: Randa’s mission is to inspire younger women to find their passions and to live meaningful lives.
Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Tell us about your journey as a coach.
It was 12 years ago when I first learned about life coaching. As part of a short-lived marriage that I was struggling to find myself in, I decided to be proactive about finding a solution.
We went to a couples’ retreat, and from there, I went on my own to a women’s retreat where I had a most transformative experience, made all the more impactful due to a dream I had on the very last night at that retreat. I dreamed I was helping a blind woman do something that she had given up on doing herself. I insisted I be the one to help her.
I woke up from that dream, my heart racing in my chest, and I knew…that was my calling. I knew I was meant to act on that dream and help other women see what I now can see.
All this happened in Canada. Soon after, I got out of that marriage, and I quit my previous career. I packed my bags and moved back to UAE where women don’t have as much available to them in terms of retreats and coaching and the type of help that was available to me living in Canada as I went through my divorce.
It’s been 12 years that I’ve been doing this work, and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else with my life. This is it. It’s my passion. And I love helping others find theirs because happy people change the world. We are happy when we do and live our passions.
I published a book back in 2018 on just that subject: PASSIONABILITY: Igniting a Life Full of Love, Happiness, and Meaning. I also do Passionability retreats and am now working on having it as an online community/course.
We want to destigmatize talking about money, including how much coaches make. Would you please share with our readers any relevant insights from the financial side of your business?
Financially speaking, it’s a struggle for me. I am great at coaching, but not as great at running and managing a business. As a result, I’ve made many wrong turns that cost an arm and a leg.
But the important thing is that I don’t do the work I do for the money…12 years in, I think I’ve definitely made that point clear.
This year though, due to the pandemic and how it disrupted my business, I closed my physical office space and am now transitioning my work into the digital space. I’m launching an online community-powered course, and I’m so excited about where it will take my business.
Plus, I’m collaborating with an adventure travel company on creating ‘vacations for the soul.’ Starting in January, it will transform the way I deliver value.
What courses, programs, or certifications have you done? Would you recommend them, and for whom?
Co-Active Training Institute (CTI) is a very rigorous program created by the founder of ICF, so it’s a great coaching school. I also have a master’s degree in Education Psychology from Ball State University in Indiana.
What advice or perspective might you give to a new coach trying to get their first clients?
When I first started, I had one goal: to practise my skills and all that was learning as frequently as possible. So I was charging $10 a session, and I picked up the phone and called all my friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. I was a woman on a mission!
Money comes after. But what I would also advise is to get your ducks in a row…. the marketing and business ducks, that is!
What are your thoughts on “choosing a niche” as a coach?
Oh, I wish someone had knocked me on the head at the very start when I was struggling with the decision between coaching younger women or youth.
Business-wise, trying to walk the line between two constituencies is never a good idea. Pick one… then later add another, or add 10. But first, only 1. You will never be able to cater to everyone.
What books have significantly influenced your life? What are your key takeaways from these books?
There are far too many to list here. However, Byron Katie’s Loving What Is is a great one. The takeaway is that if you argue with reality, you lose—100% of the time!
If you received an extra $10,000 to spend on your business, how would you spend it and why?
Right this moment, with $10,000 I would find a stellar Instagram manager and ads specialist.
Why? because I’ve monitored and tracked my target audience all these years (I track everything under the sun—that’s how you improve) and have discovered that Instagram is where my ideal client hangs out.
What are some of your favorite mantras or thoughts currently? Why?
It’s more of a question: “What don’t I see?” It stretches my mind beyond the obvious.
When you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or have lost your focus or motivation, what do you do?
I have a little piece of paper with the word MEANING written on it. I wrote that when I was in a dark and depressed state. It is a reminder for me to only do and keep what I find meaningful in my life. Everything else is just everything else.
Do you have any examples of how a “failure” set you up for later success?
The 3 years of the pandemic led me and my business to hit rock bottom. Now I see that it was only a major RESET button that needed to be pressed to disrupt my business and how I operated so that I could reopen in a completely new format.
What sets your coaching business apart from others?
I constantly get comments from my clients along the lines of them loving how ‘real’ I am, that I’m vulnerable and an open book. So I bring real-life examples into my coaching so they can relate and feel inspired rather than feel that I’m a coach whose life is perfect and balanced, which they would not be able to relate to.
If you could put a message on a huge billboard—getting a message out to millions—what would it say and why?
“Be Yourself, powered by your passion.”
Thanks for letting us know!
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